As the world celebrates the dawn of a new calendar year, we are reminded of how the Vedic Sages looked at phenomenon of dawn, the emergence of soft reddish light that begins to dissipate the physical darkness of the night and fills our minds with happiness, cheer and hope. This glorious moment, they understood, is also how the dawn of knowledge begins to dissipate the darkness of ignorance before the brilliance of true understanding fills our Buddhi and mind.
This is why the great Rushi Vishvamitra composed a beautiful invocation to Devi Ushas, the Vedic Representation of the physical Dawn and the inspiration of Dawn of Knowledge in our minds.
Ushas is gentle, kind, young, beautiful and purely “Mangal”. There is no hard edge to Ushas and she mesmerizes the entire world with her beauty. This Vedic characterization of Devi Ushas was superbly captured by a modern poet in a short verse that is far simpler to understand than the Rg-Vedic Suktam. So we include it first as an introduction.
जयः अस्तु ते (जयोस्तुते ) हे उषा देवते
देवि दयावति महन् मङ्गले
रुचिर् यौवना रूप सुन्दरा
जगामोहिनी अरुण रण्जिते
Sanskrut is a मुखोत्गत् language, a language that is best heard & recited than read. So we include a 2:20 minute clip of the above verse of Pandit Vidyadhar Gokhale.
(the Usha invocation is in first 2:20 minutes)
With this introduction, we can review the Usha Suktam of Rushi Vishvamitra. It is Sukta 61 of the 3rd Mandal of Rg-Ved. The Suktam has 7 verses and the Rg-Vedic Sanskrut is difficult. So we direct those who are interested to the Amba House discussion of Usha Suktam. We recommend you download the PDF and read the Sanskrut with the English transliteration a few times. A very brief summary is below:
- The Rushi describes Ushas the ancient indestructible divinity (पुराणी अमर्त्य देवि) who directs to us the immortal light from above our world (ऊर्ध्वं मधुधा प्रतीची अमृतस्य केतु: विश्व: ऊर्ध्वा), one who gives birth to the realm of light (स्वर्जनन्ति), one who energizes with energy (वाजेन वाजिनी), who kindles awareness (प्रचेता) in all alike (समानर्थं). He prays to Ushas as the symbol of the Eternal Truth or Rtam (ऋतावरी). He requests Ushas to rejoice in his praise ( स्तोमं जुषुस्व) and asks all seekers of Truth (ऋतस्य बुद्ध्नः) and those desirous of material wealth (इष्यन्यन वृषा) to invoke Ushas.
Rg-Vedic Sanskrut may be difficult to read but it is absolutely divine to hear. So we include below a 2:46 minute clip of the Usha Suktam. Listen to it every morning before you recite the Gayatri Mantra. Let Devi Ushas lead you to the brilliance of Savitaar just as the dawn leads the world to the sun.
There was a brave man, a fighter and a poet, who had dedicated his life to freedom of India from the darkness of colonial British rule. He viewed Devi Usha as the symbol of freedom for his Bharat-Mata and composed an invocation that will move you as it moves us every time we hear it. Hear it below (with English subtitles) in the divine voice of Lata Mangeshkar.
Let Devi Ushas bring Svasti unto You & Yours at the Dawn of this new year.
Svasti Astu Bhavatu
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