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Vedic mythology contains a wealth of material about the worldview, lifestyle and social activity of the ancient Aryans. But this material is largely inaccessible to the perception of modern people because of the allegorical nature of the language of myths. That is why the images of Aryan gods are largely mysterious. The prototypes of some of them are still not clearly defined, which means that important information about real phenomena and events contained in certain mythical images has not been identified from a cognitive point of view. Among the unsolved images of Vedic myths are the twin gods Ashvina. In the literature on mythology, many interpretations of the prototypes of these gods are offered [Jog, 1964; Gonda, 1974; Toporov, 1998(1)], but they do not always help to understand the content of the plots associated with them. This article offers a new interpretation of the Ashwin prototype, which turns out to be an ordinary natural phenomenon - dew. This interpretation makes it possible to identify the special role of this phenomenon in the life of the Aryan pastoral tribes, the close connection of this life with certain natural conditions. The result is obtained by the method of step-by-step identification of elements of realistic content in the myth, their subsequent synthesis and identification.

The place and role of Ashwins in the life of Aryans. In the pantheon of the gods of the ancient Aryans, colorfully described in the collection of cult hymns of this people - the Rig Veda (RV), the twin gods Ashvins occupy an important place. 56 hymns are dedicated to them, that is, they are second only to the main gods of this pantheon - Indra, Agni and Soma. The Ashwins inhabit the sky, being one of its lords. The Vedic poet exclaims:

I praise the two outstanding lords of this sky, the Ashwins I call songs, awake, (Those) that immediately at the rising of the dawn, the borders of the earth, the distant expanses, tend to embrace (VI. 62. 1).

In their fast - moving chariot drawn by shining horses, the Ashwins travel through the sky every day, bringing people happiness, food, sacrificial delights, the brightest gifts, true prayers (V. 62.2-5). Their main advantage is that they rush to save people in trouble at the first call, and are the most powerful people in the world. As "divine healers" who heal the sick and infirm (VIII. 18. 8.), They also help people who have suffered from accidents. In addition, the Ashwins are the givers of material wealth and prosperity. Hymns 112, 116, 117 of the first RV mandala (book) list a large number of wonderful, heroic deeds that the Ashwins performed, helping people, saving them. Names found in poems,

This work was supported by the Russian Humanitarian Science Foundation. Project 07-03-00040a.

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perhaps they refer to some very specific people. Here are some of these acts::



It was Thugra who left Bhujya, O Ashwins, in a flood of water,
Like some deceased person - (his) wealth.
You took him out on animate,
Floating through the air, watertight boats.

You have taken out Bhujya, O Nasatya, on birds,
Able to fly three nights, three days,
On the seashore, on the other side of the mud,
On three chariots and a hundred legs, about six horses.

The white horse is a lasting happiness -
(What did you) give to someone who has a bad horse,
May this great gift of yours be sung...

with snow you held back the flaming fire,
(And) gave it restorative food.
Atri, thrown into the fiery furnace, O Ashwins,
You recovered safely, along with your entire entourage.

You have moved the well, O Nasatyas:
You have turned it upside down, with an opening to the side.
As the waters strive for drink ,so they flow for wealth,
For the thirsty thousand (people) The Gothams.

O Nasatya, the aged covering of the body
You have taken off Chyavana like a garment.
You have extended the life span of the abandoned one, O God.
And they even made (him) the husband of young wives.

Right out of the wolf's mouth you, O two men,
O Nasatya, have saved a quail.
And yet you did, oh of many uses, (so,)
That the grieving singer was (again) able to see clearly.

Carrying wealth, happy power, (long) life span,
Blessed with good offspring, an abundance of heroes, O Nasatya,
You have come, united in thought, with awards to the posterity of Jahnu,
Three times a day to the one who offered (your) share.

You have helped Us, O Ashwins, to fight,
To win thousands in one morning.
Accompanied by Indra, you drove away misfortunes
(I) Hostility from Prithushravas, O two bulls (I. 116).

Like a horse hidden (by thieves), O Ashvins,
Rishi Rebhu, (hidden) in the waters by evildoers, O two bull-men,
By Your miraculous powers, you have restored the (already) decayed one.
Your previous deeds do not grow old!

You gave Shyava Kanva a white (cow)
From the great herd, O Ashwins.
That deed of yours must be proclaimed, O bulls,
That you have covered the son of Nrishad with glory.

Great is your help, O Ashwins, healing.
Even the lame one... you have restored it.

Oatmeal, non-dairy, cowhide, depleted
The cow you made for Shay, O Ashwina, swollen (with milk).
(With your) own strength in the Vimade you have brought
His wife, Purumitra's maid.

By making gifts, O Ashwins, you have given
Vadhrimati the son of Hiranyahastu, O two husbands.
Shyavu cut into three whole parts, O Ashvins,
You, O givers of bountiful gifts, have raised us to life (I. 117).


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It was for all these acts that the Aryans called the Ashwins "those who meet trouble best" (III. 58. 3), "those who come to the rescue most quickly in trouble" (I. 118.3). The Aryans also turn to these gods with a request to endow them with wealth and all sorts of benefits. They are called the givers of horses, cows, husbands, prosperity, happiness. The Ashwins are also fertility deities who promote the birth of animals and plants. And if so, then arias turn to them with a request for their well-being. When the Aryan tribes moved to India and took up agriculture, the Ashwins became assistants in this matter.

Having begun the conquest of Indian lands, the Aryans also turned to the Ashwins for help. Since these gods were distinguished by their ability to move quickly through space, rushing through the air on their chariot as fast as thought, they were best suited to be there at any moment and help during battles.



When (you're) in the air, when you're in the sky,
When among the five (genera) of human beings, -
Grant (us) courage, O Ashwins!

If only today, O Ashwins,
I would call (you) to capture the reward,
If in battles to overcome the (enemy) force,
Then this is the best help of the Ashwins.

Go for shine, go for strength,
Forward for the conquest of men, for (our) protection,
Forward for the power of action, O two seers (VIII. 9.2.12, 20).


The Ashwin hymns of this time describe many specific events. At the same time, the names of Aryan warriors are called. The content of the hymns makes it possible to get a fairly definite and vivid idea of how the conquering invasion of India took place.

If we describe in general the role of Ashwins in the life of Aryans, then it boils down to a set of actions that help Aryans solve their many everyday problems, i.e. concerns everyday life, daily difficulties and worries. Therefore, the Ashwins can be called the deities of everyday life: from the birth of a person to his death. At any moment of their lives, when faced with all sorts of needs, the Arias turned to the Ashwins, as they were sure of their quick support and help. They were gods-healers, saviors, protectors, helpers in creating a prosperous life. All aspects of Aryan life covered by these functions of the Ashwins were considered important, so these gods occupied a prominent place in the pantheon of gods. The author of verse VII. 73. 1 even calls them "first" among them.

History of the Ashwin gods. According to the RV, these are ancient gods, " born from time immemorial "(VII. 73. 1). Even in earlier times, another hymn says, the rishis1 called on them for help, and in their care for the Aryans, the Ashwins were ahead of the other gods (VIII.8.5.6). Not only for the contemporaries of the Vedic singers, but also for the ancestors of the Aryans - Manus, the Ashvins "sought the way" (I. 112. 16). And this was long before the Aryans invaded India. These gods helped to find the way to places of safe habitation. In the Vedas, Ashvins are associated with a period of advanced cattle and horse breeding. At this time, the Aryans were already using chariots intensively. All this is reflected in the name of these gods. The word "Ashwins" literally means "born of a horse", "having horses", "horsemen", "ruling horses" (Toporov, 1998(1), p. 144; Elizarenkova, 1999, p. 758; Ivanov, 1974).

Rishi-1 in ancient Indian mythology "sage", "seer" [see: Toporov, 1982, p. 384].

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But these gods also have another name - Nasatya. Some researchers believe that this name literally means "nosy", which indicates their equine appearance [see: Erman, 1980, p. 56; Vasilkov and Neveleva, 2003, p. 219]. This point of view goes back to the folk etymological tradition, which distinguishes the element of nasa ("nose") in this epithet, which reflects the motif of the birth of these characters from the nose of a mare. But this motif points to the divine origin of the Ashwins. The fact is that the mare was none other than the daughter of one of the main gods of Tvashtar, who took this form at the time of fleeing from her husband, the god Vivasvat.

According to another opinion, this name means "healing", "liberating" (Toporov, 1998(2), p. 202). This point of view is more consistent with the main functions of these gods - to be healers, saviors. This name is older than the name" Ashvina", and initially only one of the brother gods was called Nasatya, and the other was called Dasra. In one of the ancient documents found in the Middle East on the territory of the ancient state of Mitanni, dating back to the XIV century BC, this name is attested - Nasatya. It is mentioned along with the names of such major Indo-Iranian gods as Indra, Varuna, and Mitra. This indicates the great weight of Nasatya in the Early Vedic pantheon of deities [Dyakonov, 1970, p. 39-63]. Later, the name "Ashvins"is assigned to the brothers-gods. It has become the main one and is already completely predominant in the Vedas. Gradually, these deities began to be endowed with other functions.

* * *

Some features of the prototype of the gods. From the analysis of the etymology of the Ashwins ' gods, it is possible to identify their real referent, i.e., to answer the question: what natural phenomenon do they personify? The features of their prototype are as follows:

(1) The connection with horses indicates that this phenomenon can move quickly in space;

(2) This natural phenomenon has healing properties, frees from ailments.

The narratives about the Ashwins ' parents are very contradictory. The most extensive of them reports that the mother of the Ashwins was the daughter of one of the main gods of Tvashtar, Saranyu, and the father was the god of the rising sun Vivasvat. At first, the twins were given different names-Nasatya and Dasra. Later, both sons were called Nasatyas or Ashwins (X. 17. 1-2). The mother's name literally means "fast, agile". These properties can be easily transferred to the sons and thus once again confirm their ability to move quickly. His father's name, Vivasvata, means " shining one." The name of one of the Ashwins, Dasra, also means "shining, bright" in the Vedic language (Bhattacharji, 1970, p. 236). Therefore, we can assume that this feature is present both in the Nasatievs themselves and in the natural phenomenon they represent, i.e. we can talk about one more of its properties:

(3) It is sparkling.

It is important to note that both the mother and father deities are morning apparitions. The mother is identified with the goddess of dawn Ushas or with the solar maiden Surya. The father represents the rising sun. This suggests that

(4) Nasatyas also represent some kind of morning phenomenon.

The reader may have already noticed that I proceed from a certain pattern characteristic of the relationship between deities and their real referents. Deities, as a rule, have in their external appearance some features that are similar to those of the natural phenomena they personify. This similarity allows us to establish with a sufficient degree of certainty at the very beginning of the process of interpreting the image of the gods their actual prototypes.

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Continuing to investigate the origin of the Ashwins, we find that they, according to the RV, had other parents besides Vivasvat and Saranya. This circumstance does not complicate our work, but on the contrary, makes it possible to determine some more features of the Ashwin prototype. The creators of the myths about these gods gave them many parents precisely because this made it possible to explain the presence of a large number of different properties in the prototype, which could not be deduced from the appearance of any one deity and the corresponding natural phenomenon. Here we are faced with one of the widely used "myth-makers" techniques - a multi-variant solution to the same problem. And this was done despite the fact that different decisions contradicted each other. But this contradiction was ignored in order to be able to explain the presence of many different properties in the prototypes of the gods. Each mythologeme was considered true if it explained at least something in the prototype, and it was not required to agree with other mythologems that relate to the same mythical image as a whole. Partial correspondence of individual elements of this image was placed above their complete coherence within this image.

Returning to the question of the origin of the Ashwins, we find that at first one of them was considered a son of Heaven (I. 181.4), and then both were called such ("offspring of Heaven") (I. 184.1). In verse I.117.11 they are called the grandchildren of Heaven. The connection of the Ashwins with the Sky suggests another feature of these gods:

(5) They were created in the heavenly heights.

One of the hymns says something completely different about who is the mother of the Ashwins. This is the heavenly river of Sindhu. In this case, we are definitely talking about the connection of Ashwins with water. Therefore, we can state another feature of the referent of these gods:

(6) This referent is related to water.

The presence of different mothers among Ashwins helps to understand the meaning of the words in verse I. 181. 4, in which Ashwins are called "born in different places". If in the same verse it is said that one of the Ashwins is the son of Heaven, then the other can be considered, for example, the son of Sindhu. And then, indeed, the two twin brothers were born in different places: one in the sky proper, the other in a more specific place in the sky - in the Sindhu River. The connection of the Ashwins with water is also mentioned in other verses, and this is not only about the heavenly waters, but also about sea water:



...You two have a chariot, oh wonderful,
With a common harness, immortal,
Riding on the sea, O Ashwins! (I. 30.18)


Both these gods themselves and all related objects and phenomena are described in bright, cheerful colors. Ashwins are beautiful youths wearing lotus wreaths (X. 184.3), "swift - armed lords of beauty, full of joy", "rich in miracles", and following "the shining path" (I. 3.1-3). From this description, we can deduce the following signs of the phenomenon personified by these gods::

(7) It is beautiful, evokes a joyful feeling, appears quickly, looks like a miracle, sparkles.

The Ashwin chariot is no less colorfully described:



(Ta) your chariot with three seats,
With golden reins, O Ashwins,
Which goes around the sky and the earth, the famous,
Come on it, O Nasatyi! (VIII.22.5)

Do you have golden handrails,
Shafts, golden axis,
Both wheels are gold. (VIII.5.29)


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It has three wheels, as well as seats. They are meant for the Ashwins and their wife Surya. In other versions of the myth, it is said that the third seat is occupied by the goddess of dawn Ushas. The Vedic poets generously endowed the chariot with traction power. They are sometimes horses, sometimes eagles, sometimes donkeys, sometimes dolphins, which indicates the enthusiastic love that the Arias felt for the Ashwins. All these signs once again speak of some extraordinary colorfulness of the prototype of these gods, and this prototype is well known to everyone and has become famous for something. And the fact that the chariot goes around the Sky and Earth hints at the ability of this prototype to appear everywhere. So you can supplement the previously identified features of this prototype with the following:

(8) It is everyday, found everywhere, and useful in some way.

A few more signs of the referent can be identified by analyzing the path that the Ashwins follow during the day. They start it in the sky early in the morning.



You wake up early in the morning like two old men...
Every day at dawn you go home as worthy victims (X. 40. 3).

Let your chariot ride at the earliest dawn.
Benevolent bull (horses) will arrive! (VII.71.3)

The Ashwins awaken before dawn. It appears after them:
Following your beauty Ushas
Reached out as you wandered around (I. 46. 14).


Based on the given lines, you can recreate the following attribute of the Ashvinov referent::

(9) He appears with the dawn, and before the dawn.

The way in which the Ashwins continue their movement is indirect. First, it is "sloping" (I. 118. 3), passes through the sky from coast to coast (I. 46.11) and goes downhill (I. 119.3). At the same time, the Ashwins circumnavigate the Sun (I. 112. 13). Secondly, their path goes in a circle. They make a "roundabout" (VI. 63. 2), their "roundabout" chariot rolls easily (X.39.1).

From these descriptions, it can be seen that the trajectory of the Ashwins is similar to that of the sun. At sunrise, they rise into the sky, smoothly circle around the sun, and at sunset they descend across the sky, thus passing from one edge (shore) of the sky to the opposite, i.e. from morning dawn to evening. This feature of the Ashwin path allows us to attribute the following attribute to their referent:

(10) This phenomenon of early morning and late evening moves from sunrise to sunset across the sky, i.e. it is characterized by a pair.

Ashwins have another important property. They were "those who know the appointed hour "(VIII.5. 9), regularly appeared in the morning before dawn and in the evening (I. 34. 3.10). Regularity is one of those essential laws of nature that ancient people have long noticed, especially appreciated by them, since it contributed to the ordering of human activity. They saw it primarily in the movement of the sun, stars, and planets, and perceived it as a law. If they found it in other phenomena, they evaluated it in the same way and believed that these phenomena add regularities to the main law of motion of celestial bodies for them. Because of this, the Vedic sages referred to the Ashwins as " two incarnations of the law "(I. 180. 3)," multipliers of the law " (I. 47.1). This characteristic of Ashwins allows us to supplement the set of features of their referent with such a feature:

(11) This phenomenon appears with a certain regularity.

The main feature of these gods, which is especially highlighted by the authors of RV, is that they bring people a very useful gift for them. What is this gift? This is the essence of the riddle of the image of these gods. It hides a valid re-

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ferent of these mythical characters. It is mysterious because in the hymns it is not called directly and is presented mainly allegorically-metaphors, analogies, comparisons, associative images, etc. The real purpose of unraveling the real denotation of these gods lies in revealing the true objective meaning of this essentially poetic image.

This denotation is characterized primarily by the highest value concepts of the material plane. It is called good (I. 46. 13), good, riches (I. 47.3.9; VII.71.2), treasure (I. 46.2), miraculous powers (V. 73.2), amazing food (VII.74.2). In other hymns, the gift of the Ashwins is given a more specific appearance. It is either the honey that the Ashwins ' chariot rims ooze (I. 139. 3), sprinkle with it (I. 180.1), or honey drinks (I. 181.6), or sweet drinks (I. 117.6). The honey is in a leather bag loaded on a chariot (VIII.5.19). And the Ashwins ' whip is honey. The priests ask to be sprinkled on the sacrifice offered to the gods (I. 22. 3). But the good brought by the Ashwins appears both in the form of fat (I. 157. 2) and in the form of water, as can be seen from the words:



...Your bull cloud is swollen, O two bulls
...Like a cow when pouring out (milk), making people happy (I. 181. 8).


It is important to pay attention to how the Ashwins pour out their honey, fat, etc. They sprinkle this moisture on people, the victim, that is, they spill it in the form of drops, sprinkle it. This feature of the Ashwins ' gift is conveyed by comparing it with the offspring of ploughmen (X. 106. 10). But in whatever form the gift of the Ashwins appears, it has a bright beauty, which is why poets call the Ashwins "lords of beauty" (I. 47. 5; VIII.5.5; X. 93. 6).

In order to understand what is behind the words "honey", "fat", "milk", let's turn to the verses of some hymns and determine the true object of these names.

In verse I. 166. 2, dedicated to the Maruts, the gods of thunder and rain, we read:



Carrying honey like a son,
Frisky (gods) frolic, joyful at the places of sacrificial distributions.


From these lines it is clear that honey is called rain, rainwater, since these gods are the personification of them. In verse I. 166. 3, rain is called milk:



Maruts for him (the donor) as good (friends) irrigate
Milk many (spaces), (these) gracious (gods).




Honey means not only rainwater, but also river water:




...Honey flows in rivers (I. 90. 6).

Thus, the word "honey" is used in RV as a metaphor for water. Therefore, the gift that the Ashwins bring with them is water. They have so much of this" honey " (water) that the leather bag containing it bursts. Poets attach great importance to the bag, so that along with the Ashwins and their companion Surya,it is called the fourth charioteer (IV, 45.1). But if there is water in the bag, then the meaning of the next line of the RV is clear:




You (Ashvins. - AM) refresh the track on the road with honey.

The Rishis didn't just call water honey. This word they applied to everything that was pleasant and useful to a person.:




..let the plants be honey for us!
Honey-bearing (let it be) the earth's space!
Let the Sky be honey - our father!

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Honey-bearing (let it be) we need a forest tree!
Honey-bearing let the sun be!
Let our cows be honey-bearing! (I. 90. 6-8).

The same is true of the word "fat". This is also a metaphor for water, as can be seen in the following lines:




When in the windings of the mountain (clouds. - AM) you decided (to go) on a hike
Like birds on some path, O Maruts, -
Then the barrels on your chariots flow drop by drop.
Sprinkle honey-colored fat for your singer! (I. 87. 2).

These gods of thunder and rain have only water dripping from their barrels. It is also meant by fat and in the priest's request to the gods Mithra and Varuna:




O Mitra-Varuna, sprinkle some water on me.
Streams of fat in our pasture,
Honey-open spaces, O owners of the beautiful power of the spirit! (III.62.16).



Obviously, the pasture can be sprinkled with rainwater.
This analysis allows us to determine another important feature of the Ashwin referent:

(12) It represents water falling on the ground from above.

And finally, let us mention the most obvious sign of the prototype, which follows from the twin nature of these gods:

(13) The referent is a paired phenomenon.

* * *

Referent, or prototype of the Ashwins. So, we have identified a large number of features of this referent, which allow us to determine it quite unambiguously. But first, let's see what interpretations of it exist in the Vedic literature.

In the myths of the peoples of the world, twin gods are often found, as were the Ashwins. Mythologists have noticed that such gods represent paired phenomena that take place in nature. Therefore, researchers also looked for real paired phenomena for Ashwins. But the task proved difficult. "...As soon as we read a hymn, as soon as we read a few verses that vividly depict them, the cosmic phenomena associated with dawn, dawn and dew, we have an irresistible desire to find out what kind of natural phenomenon formed the basis of the idea of gemini, and immediately there are fortune-telling and perplexity, " wrote in the XIX century. Russian philologist V. F. Miller [Miller, 1876, p. 329]. These perplexities have survived to our time. The problem is still unsolved, as the Indian researcher S. Bhattacharji says: "The natural substrate of Ashwins is difficult to determine, and therefore scientists do not agree on their identity" (Bhattacharji, 1970, p.245).

Even in the time of V. F. Miller, a whole series of assumptions about the referent of these deities was put forward, which the scientist carefully considered [Miller, 1876, p.333]. Thus, the German researcher A. Weber believed that Ashwins represent the constellation Dioscuri, which is often seen in the sky at dawn. The English indologist M. Muller suggested that the Ashwins personify the coming of day and night. According to T. Goldstucker, they symbolize the morning and evening twilight. Religious historian W. Mannhardt believed that the Ashwins are the personification of the morning and evening stars. Later, this point of view was shared by the famous German Sanskrit scholar G. Oldenberg. Several hypotheses were expressed by the Italian Sanskrit scholar A. de Gubernatis. For him, the Ashwins were now the divine incarnation of autumn and spring, now the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, and now the two luminous phenomena that precede the day


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then, finally, the Sun and the Moon, the two brothers who accompany the dawn when it is on the edge between day and night.

V. F. Miller gave quite convincing objections to each point of view, showing their unsatisfactoriness. But in the end, unable to find any other solution, he joined the interpretation of the Ashwins as the personification of the Sun and the Moon. "If we ask ourselves," he wrote, " what in nature could give rise to the idea of light twins in the infant's imagination, we will find the answer immediately. There is no other double light phenomenon in visible nature than the Sun and the Moon" (Miller, 1876, p. 333).

The interpretations listed by Miller have survived to our time. Modern authors still share one or another of them [Toporov, 1998(1)]. But if, in addition to the objections that Miller had, we look at them from the point of view of the features of the Ashwin referent identified in this article, we will see once again their inadequacy. So, they do not have the visible ability to move quickly through space, not all of these objects are related to water, not all appear at dawn or at dusk, and even more so, not all have the ability to heal. Not all of these phenomena are sparkling. As for the Sun and the Moon, they are so different from each other that it is difficult to apply the epithet "gemini"to them. And they walk across the sky, as a rule, not together, but separately.

These interpretations are based only on one, although very important feature of the Ashwins - their pairing. But this does not take into account other signs, so these interpretations do not explain the holistic appearance of the gods. Some interpreters take into account the connection of the Ashwins with the morning and evening dawns and thus come closer to an adequate interpretation of their referent. Thus, even the ancient Indian lexicographer Yaske called one of the Ashwins the son of night, and the other the son of dawn (Nirutta, XII.2). But this interpretation only approaches the true referent, correctly noting its attitude to these parts of the day.

In addition to the pairing property, you need to pay attention to another essential feature of the desired referent, namely, that it is associated with water, and even more precisely, it is water falling from above. But what kind of water is it? Rainwater? No.




What (was it) that you,
the biggest lovers of sacrificial pleasures (and) riches,
Acting as an adhvarya (priest - AM), extracted from the waters? (I.181.1).

If this is not rainwater, then you need to look for one to which you can add other previously identified signs, and first of all regularity, everyday life, steaminess, appearance in the early morning and late evening. But dew has such properties. Therefore, it is the morning and evening referent of the Ashwin gods. And if you add to these signs a colorful description of this referent (it is beautiful, bright, sparkles in the morning dawn, looks like a miracle, causes admiration), then doubts about the correctness of such an assumption disappear.

Here it is appropriate to give a description of the morning dawn with dew falling in Greek mythology: "Morning is getting closer. The moon Goddess had long since descended from the sky. The east brightened slightly. The morning star of Eos - Foros, the harbinger of dawn, shone brightly in the east. A light breeze began to blow. The east is getting brighter and brighter. Now the rosy-fingered goddess Dawn-Eos has opened the gate, from which the radiant Sun-god Helios will soon leave. In bright saffron clothing, on pink wings, the goddess Dawn takes off into the brightened sky, flooded with pink light. The goddess pours dew from a golden vessel on the ground, and the dew showers the grass and flowers with sparkling drops like diamonds. It smells sweet

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everything is on the ground, scents are smoking everywhere. The awakened earth joyfully welcomes the Sun God-Helios " [Kun, 2000, p. 53].

This picture completely coincides with the picture of a dewy morning, repeatedly described in the RV. The difference is that the Aryan poets call dew metaphorically, while the Hellenes call it by its proper name. But this is precisely what helps us identify the object represented in the RV by metaphors.

But in one case in the Rig Veda there is a designation of this referent with a word that can be translated as dew. This is the word danu. Because of its ambiguity, not all translators do this. Danu is both moisture, and oozing liquid, and drops, and dew. Therefore, translators are faced with a choice, on the correctness of which an adequate understanding of the Ashwin referent depends. K. Geldner interprets this word in this context as "gift", "gift" (der Gabe) [Rigveda, 1999, p. 675], L. Renu-as " water "(eau) [ibid.]. Grasmann dwells on the word der Thau - " dew " [ibid.]. T. Y. Elizarenkova also acts in the same way when translating:




Grant him, O Ashwins,
the Nourishing power of oozing fat,
(In addition,) who praises you for your benevolence,
Thirsting for good, O lords of the dew! (VIII.8.16).

It is important to pay attention to one more word that often accompanies the gift of Ashwins. This is the word "sprinkle, sprinkle". With their gift, the Ashwins sprinkle the sacrifice, the ground, etc.:




Your honey whip,
O Ashwins, what gives good -
Sprinkle it on the sacrifice! (I. 22. 3).

When you harness, O Ashwins, (your) valiant chariot,
Sprinkle fat (and) honey on our power! (I.157.2).

The sprinkling process is the spraying of any liquid with drops. And this is just well suited to the description of the process of dew appearance: it settles in drops on plants and other objects.

After finding a valid referent Ashwins we can easily interpret the following phrase from RV:




..O easily invoked ones, following the glittering path of the Ashwins...
(VIII.22.1).

and another, similar expression:




Contact us with all your support
Come, O Ashwins,
Wonderful, leaving a golden trail! (VIII.8.1).

Regarding the first phrase, T. Ya. Elizarenkova writes: "Not quite clear epithet of Ashwins, which caused many interpretations "[Rigveda, 1999, p. 684]. But if the Ashwins refer to dew as a reference, then one can quite clearly imagine the picture of morning dew, sparkling, golden under the rays of the rising sun. And then the objective meaning of these metaphorical expressions becomes clear.

The proposed interpretation also makes such verses clear:




One wheel of the chariot-a wonder to surprise -
You've been held back.
(With another) You fly over others -
Over the generations of Nahusha (the name of the tsar. - A.M.), powerfully-over the expanses.
(V.73.3).

At dawn, the Ashwins pour dew on one side of the sky. This is the meaning of the phrase " one wheel of the chariot... you've been held back." After that, they race

page 14


to the opposite side of the sky and there shed the rest of the dew. This is the meaning of another phrase in this verse.

The meaning of dew for Aryans. But why did dew, such a seemingly insignificant natural phenomenon, suddenly become the prototype for one of the most important gods of the Vedic pantheon? Apparently, in the eyes of the Aryans, it was something more significant than our ideas about it. It is not by chance that in the Vedic vocabulary dew was designated by one word rasa along with such phenomena as juice and elixir of immortality, which, according to the Aryans, have a great nutritional power. And the name Nasatya, meaning, according to Battarji, "harmless", reflected the Aryans ' faith in the reliability of this god's promises of help. And what, after all, was the basis of the worship of the Ashwins along with such major gods as Indra, Tvashtar, Mitra, Varuna, Agni?


This will be clear from some requests made by Aryan priests to the Ashwins.




On three distances, O Nasatya-charioteers,
Come like a breath-wind - to the pasture! (I. 34.7).

Thrice, O Ashwins, with rivers-seven mothers (come)! (I.34.8).
Sprinkle fat on (us) pasture! (VII.5.6).

It becomes clear that the Ashvin reference dew was of great importance for the Aryan pastoralists as a sprinkler of herbs that fed on domestic animals. Thanks to the Ashwins, the grass grew luxuriantly, so that the cattle, especially the cows, had enough food and gave plenty of milk.




You have invested milk in a cow,
Boiled-raw, the ancient (wealth) of the cow,
Which to you, O two incarnations of the law (?), in a wooden vessel,
It is offered by the sacrificer, (and it is) like a glittering bird (of the sun) (I. 180. 3).
Make our cows swollen (from milk), horses-fast! (I.118.2).

A good herb is a generous honeybee. And this is her dignity that the priests credit to the Ashwins. It is they who bring honey, " pleasant to the bees." Ascribing to the Ashwins a large role in providing food, the Aryans consequently considered them deities of abundance and fertility and enthusiastically chanted:




Sowing grain, O Ashwins, plowing on the wolf,
Milking a person's refreshment drink, oh amazing,
Blowing dasya with bakura,
You have created a broad light for arius (I. 117. 21).

It should be noted that the dew is not too abundant sprinkler. The amount of precipitation during dew is small, averaging about 0.1-0.3 mm per night, but even this amount is significant, especially in conditions of drought, and it seems to have been common in those places where the Aryan pastoral tribes lived in pre-Buddhist and Vedic times, if they so exalted moisture, given by dew. And indeed, as paleoclimate researchers have established, in that period, in the Early Bronze Age, a sharp aridization of the climate was observed in the Danube region and the North Caucasus. This led to the migration of Aryans to the east, to the Urals, and then to Central Asia [Kuzmina, 2000, p. 9].

If the Ashwins ' referent is rosa, it becomes clear why they were considered healer deities. The fact is that dew in many cases is used as a healing agent. Walking on it in the morning increases the overall tone, improves blood circulation and even cures such a serious disease as varicose veins. It can heal small ulcers on the skin. In No. 10 of the "Bulletin of Healthy Lifestyle" for 2003, the reader V. A. Zabolotina says: "40 years ago, my one-year-old daughter began to grow a finger on her hand. We treated the girl for about eight months, while one of the youngsters -


p. 15


doi doctor did not suggest a simple remedy - dew. We took the child to the village and walked her through the fresh dew every day, morning and evening. After 2 weeks, the finger was cleared and no longer hurt." The famous Bulgarian healer Vanga also advised her visitors to use dew as a remedy for certain diseases.
The ancient Aryans, apparently, knew these properties of dew, used them and called night, morning and evening dew " heavenly medicines "(I. 34. 9), appealed to the Ashwins with a request:
Extend the life span! Erase (bodily) injuries! (I. 34. 11).
* * *

Methodology of forming mythical images. Analysis of the image of the Ashwin gods reveals some ways and techniques of myth-making. To do this, it is necessary to compare the content of this image, i.e., the specific mental construction constructed by the Aryan sages, and the content of the real phenomenon, the referent of this image. From such a comparison, it becomes clear what new, actually mental elements were introduced into the named structure and thereby supplemented the realistic content of the natural object. The nature of these elements makes it possible to determine the mental operations that are necessary for their construction.

The first quite obvious difference between a mythical image and a natural phenomenon, in this case Ashwins and dew, is that this phenomenon is supplemented by subjectivity, i.e., the ability of active and conscious action. With the help of this method of subjectivization of natural phenomena, mythmakers solved the problem of explaining how such phenomena arise, have a certain activity and dynamism. The person of an archaic society was not yet able to understand the natural causes and factors of such processes, and therefore explained them by transferring to the natural world the driving factors familiar to him from the sphere of human subject activity. These factors are people's intentions, goals, attitudes, and physical operations. Ideas about this, which are essentially a kind of paradigm of subject-thinking activity, were transferred by the ancient sages to the sphere of natural processes, thus building their interpretations and explanations. But the paradigm was inadequate to this type of processes, as the anthropic to the natural, and therefore led to the appearance of fantastic images.

Ashwins, like other supernatural beings who act as driving factors of certain physical phenomena, turned out to be purely mental constructs that do not have adequate correlates in reality. As a result, mythical images were transformed into a hybrid of fictional and realistic content. The fantastic components of these images do not correspond with reality in terms of correspondence. Their actual role is conditional, symbolic, and metaphorical representation of actual referents. Such a conditional correlation between the image and the subject makes the task of interpreting this image difficult, turning the content of myths from adequate to reality into a poetic picture. The essence of deification (deification) of the phenomena of reality consists in their subjectivization with the help of anthropic paradigms. The natural world is thereby socialized, combining the physical and the social. Man treats such a world both as physical and as humanoid.

Subjectivity of nature is another basic feature of mythological thinking. With the help of this technique, mythmakers solved the problem of the causes and factors of changes occurring in nature and the manifestations of physical and biological phenomena observed in it. This technique was the source of the process of inventing gods-quasi-objects of the mythologized world. So, God In-


p. 16

dra, according to the ancient Aryans, was the root cause of an incomprehensible phenomenon - an earthquake:




Thou art great, O Indra: for (thou art the one) who in fits of frenzy,
As soon as he was born, he terrified heaven and earth,
When all the monsters (and) even solid mountains,
They trembled like blades of grass for fear of you (I. 63. 1)

The sociomorphic nature is enhanced by another method of mythological thinking. The processes of the emergence and subsequent organization of mythical creatures that are characteristic of humans-birth and the establishment of family ties-are transferred to natural phenomena. These creatures are endowed with certain geneological relationships, are united in families. In other words, when constructing a picture of natural phenomena, two more proper anthropic paradigms are used - birth and family. The natural world becomes even more like the social world. But since inadequate paradigms are also used in this case, the picture of the world becomes even more fantastic.

It is also constructed using such a method as generalization. Having discovered some property in a natural phenomenon and attributed it with certain modifications to the corresponding deity, the ancient people then generalized this property of the deity and extended its effect to other phenomena. Thus, the ability of dew in some cases to have a healing effect on a person first gave reason to consider Ashwins as healers. But then this form of helping people was extended to other critical situations in people's lives. The Ashwins became their helpers in all their troubles and difficulties. They were endowed with the ability to heal the blind, the lame, the decrepit, the barren, etc., which of course does not have the original prototype of these gods - dew. The Ashwins became assistants in the successful management of cattle breeding and agriculture, gods of fertility and abundance. Therefore, they were addressed with relevant requests. We see how generalization here develops into an arbitrary extrapolation, supplemented by excessive hyperbolization, which increases the fantastic nature of this image. An example of an arbitrary generalization can be the following verses:




You're the one who turns a fetus into a female,
You are in all beings!
O bulls-Ashwins, you call to life
Fire and water, and forest trees.

After all, you are two healers with healing tools
And two charioteers with everything connected with the chariot.
And you, O two terrible (gods), give power to that one,
Who, having a sacrificial drink offering, honored you from the bottom of his heart (I. 157. 5, 6).

Using this generalization, the rishis tried to explain the phenomena of conception, the appearance of fire and water, etc. indicated in the verses. They saw in them something in common, namely the role of water, liquid in these phenomena. So, water promotes the growth of trees, and trees become a source of fire. Thus, the Aryans began to see a causal relationship between rather different phenomena, looking for a common link for them.

Thanks to such forms of thinking, mythical images come into sharp contradictions with reality. Contradictions also arise within the images themselves, since they include elements constructed using heterogeneous paradigms. But, despite such eclecticism, the ancient people considered the content of these images to be true and built their life activities in accordance with such heteromorphic concepts. The reason for this attitude to the latter was such determining factors of the archaic consciousness as the belief in the infallibility of the ideas of leaders and clergy, in the reliability of the generally accepted, sunk-


p. 17


the content reserved by the priests, which received the status of sacred content. Faith, therefore, allows for obvious contradictions in mental constructions. Its principle is compliance not with reality, but with established social norms. The problem of truth is solved not along the line of "concept-reality", but along the line of "concept-attitudes of the dominant consciousness". People have not yet learned the principle of true knowledge - its validity and validity. Therefore, the truth in the understanding of mythological consciousness can be called conventional, declarative. Truth in the scientific sense, i.e. the content that is adequate to the real state of things, is found in myths not in their explicit plan, but in the subtext, in the implicit plan, in their subject references. These referents are partially and allegorically reflected in the external plan of mythical images. Therefore, the problem of interpreting myths, referencing mythical images, consists in the ability to reconstruct an implicit, heuristically extremely significant plan based on this enigmatic plan, which is significant for the interpretation of myths and for understanding those real phenomena and events that formed the basis of mythological constructions.
It also helps to understand the nature of ancient people's knowledge about such events and phenomena. We will be able to see in what respect this knowledge is reliable and in what respect it is erroneous. Thus, in the case of the Ashwin myth, we can understand what the Aryans ' knowledge of dew was. In part, they were reliable, as can be seen from the above points 2, 7, 8, 10 - 13. But there were also misconceptions (points 1-5). The understanding of the nature of this phenomenon was incorrect. Dew, of course, was not understood by the Aryans as the condensation of water vapor in the air. This was water taken by the Ashwins directly from the sea or river, including the heavenly one.
It is also not true that this water, falling to the ground at dawn, then quickly moved to the other side of the sky during the day and fell there in the form of evening dew. The temporal order of these ros was also misrepresented. Contrary to the actual course of events, at first, as the Arians believed, there was morning dew, and then from the rest of the same water, but moved to another part of the sky, evening dew fell. In fact, from the water vapor formed during the day, evening dew appears, and then from the same steam - morning dew. Misconceptions affected the content of the myth. The idea of the movement of dew water in the sky during the day was the basis for creating the image of the gods rushing through the sky on a chariot. But if the Aryans knew the true mechanism of the dew-producing process, then such an image probably wouldn't have emerged at all.
REFERENCES
Vasilkov Ya. V., Neveleva S. L. Commentary / / Mahabharata. Book 14. SPb., 2003.
Elizarenkova T. Ya. Slovar ' osnovnykh mifologicheskikh personakh i ritualnykh ponyatii [Dictionary of the main mythological characters and ritual concepts]. Mandalas I-IV. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 1999.
Dyakonov I. M. Aryans in the Middle East: the end of the myth // Bulletin of Ancient History. 1970. N 4.
Ivanov V. V. Opyt istolkovaniya drevneindiyskikh ritualnykh i mifologicheskikh terminov, obrazovannykh ot asva-"kon '"[The experience of interpreting Ancient Indian ritual and mythological terms formed from asva - "horse"]. Problemy istorii yazykov i kul'tury narodov Indii, Moscow, 1974.
Kuzmina E. E. Pervaya volna migratsii indoirantsev na yug [The first wave of migration of Indo-Iranians to the South]. 2000. N 4.
Kun N. A. Legends and Myths of Ancient Greece, Moscow, 2000.
Miller V. F. Ocherki aryiskoi mifologii v svyazi s drevneyshey kul'tury [Essays on Aryan Mythology in connection with ancient Culture].

The Rig Veda. Mandalas V-VIII / Notes by T. Ya. Elizarenkova to VIII.8.1. Moscow: Nauka, 1999.


Toporov V. N. Rishi / / Myths of the peoples of the world. Vol. 2. Moscow, 1982.


Toporov V. N. Ashviny / / Myths of the peoples of the world. Vol. 1. Moscow, 1998(1).


Toporov V. N. Nasatya / / Myths of the peoples of the world. Vol. 2 Moscow, 1998(2).


Erman V. G. Essay on the history of Vedic literature, Moscow, 1980.


Bhattacharji S. The Indian teogony. Cambr. 1970.

Gonda J. The Dual Deities in the Religion of the Veda. Amsterdam-London, 1974.

Jog K.P. The Asvins in the Rigveda and Their Traces in Later Literature // Journal of the University of Bombay. 1965. Vol. 34.


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