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ASHWINI KUMAR – the twin healers


Ashwini kumar – the twin healers

Other names: Asvinikumar, Asvinidev, Ashvins

The Ashvinikumar are mentioned in the Rigveda’s list of the most honourable deities as the “twin brothers”. They are Vedic gods symbolizing the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. In the Atharvaveda, their greatness is described as the “Disease-preventing deities”.

According to the Vedic belief, Jupiter, the planetary power, had presented them with a divine gem with which the Ashvinikumar protected the crops. The Ashvnikumar are the physician of the deities, who relieve them from diseases, give them their sight and energy to their weak bodies.

According to the Puranas, Vishwakarma’s daughter and Suryadev’s (Sun-God) wife Shangya was their mother. Shangya could not bear the brilliance of her husband Suryadev (Sun) and so she left her shadow (Chayya) in the service of Suryadev and went to practice devout austerity in order to gain the ability to endure his light. When Lord Surya came to know about Shangya’s deception, he cursed Chayya and went in search of Shangya. In the north Kurwa regions jungle, he found Shangya, who had taken the form of a mare to hide from her husband. Suryadev also changed himself into a horse.

Shangya, in the form of a mare and Suryadev in the form of a horse coupled, and she gave birth to twin children named Ashvinikumars. Their real names were Dasra and Nasatya.


The Ashwins are described as being handsome twins, one light and the other dark in color, both on  horse-back. They are depicted sometimes as the drivers of the horses for the Suryadev’s chariot (most popular depiction of the charioteer of Surya is Arun, the handicap son of Vinita, the mother of all bird species on the planet). Two circles, two mountain peaks, two eyes or two wheels also symbolize the Ashvins.

In astrology, they represent the zodiac sign Gemini. Ashvini is the name of an asterism (a small constellation), later identified with the mother of the Ashvins. This asterism is the first of the 27 asterisms that form the zodiac in Indian astronomy. This star is identified as Hamal, the brightest star in the constellation of Aries.

By their great efforts, Ashwini kumar eventually gained expertise in medical science and became famous as the physicians of the devtas (deities). The Ashwini kumar attained their greatest fame because they granted virility to Sage Chyavan. Chyavan was one of the Rigveda’s Sages with great mystical knowledge.

In his old age Chyavan got married to Sukanya, the daughter of King Sharyati. But due to his advanced age he was not capable of enjoying the pleasures of the bed with his wife. The Ashwini kumar gave him a divine medicine with which Chyavan attained permanent youth and vigor. ‘Chyavanprash’, the nutritious Ayurvedic medicine, which is very famous today, is named after Sage Chyavan.

Other notable patients of the Ashwinidev kumar were Vispala (the racing mare), for whom they fitted an iron leg and Upamanyu (Vedic Rishi of Kamboja lineage), who had his eyesight restored.


From the times of the Mahabharata, the two brothers Nakul and Sahadev out of the five Pandavas born to Madri are said to be the sons of the Ashvinikumar. According to the Ramayana, Ashvinidev were the fathers of the monkeys Dvivida and Mainda.


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