Surya the Sun god was born from the union of the sage Kashyapa and the goddess Aditi. Kashyapa and Aditi realized that no one would be able to withstand the brilliance of Surya, so Kashyapa divided the fetus into twelve parts—the Adityas--and gave each one a universe to rule. The Sun who rules our universe married Sanjana, daughter of the Divine Architect, Vishvakarman. Even with only a twelfth of his original splendor, Surya’s presence was so intense that his wife, Sanjana left her husband and went to stay with her father, leaving her shadow, Chaya, in her place. Surya was taken in by the deception and fathered a child, Shani (Saturn), with her. Eventually, Sanjana returned to her husband, but was upset by his “infidelity”, turned herself into a mare, and galloped off into the forest. When Surya realized his error, he also transformed himself into a horse and ran after his wife. Surya found his wife grazing in a meadow filled with flowers on a glorious spring day. Sanjana and Surya, in the form of horses, were the very embodiment of strength, beauty, and vitality. They mated in the meadow and Sanjana subsequently gave birth to the Ashwini Kumars, the “twin horsemen”. The Ashwins were placed in the heavens at the very beginning of the sign Aries, and became the first of the 27 nakshatras—Ashwini. On Saturday April 18th at 11:57am PDT there will be a new moon in Ashwini. Since Ashwini is the first nakshatra, the new moon here represents the Lunar New Year. The Ashwins were the original physicians of the Vedas, the founders of Ayurveda, and beings of great healing and rejuvenating abilities. The Sun entered Ashwini yesterday and will remain in the sign of its offspring--where it is exalted--for almost two weeks. The Sun and Moon together in Ashwini will give us a good dose of vitality and rejuvenation as the twin healers work their magic. The particular energetic quality of Ashwini is called Shidravyapani Shakti—the power to quickly attain one’s objective.
The sage Chyavana meditated for such a long time in the forest that an anthill grew up around him until all that was visible of him were his two bright eyes. One day, Sukanya, daughter of king Sharayati, came across the anthill containing Chyavana. Seeing the rishi’s bright eyes, but not knowing what they were, she poked them with a stick. Chyavana howled with pain and uttered a curse that Sharayati and his army would be obstructed in answering the calls of nature. Soon the king and his army were howling in pain as well. Desperate to appease the angry rishi, Sharyati offered his daughter in marriage. Chyavana accepted Sukanya as his wife and rescinded the curse. Sukanya was a dutiful wife and took good care of her aged husband, who was now blind as well. She was young and beautiful and one day attracted the attention of the Ashwins when she was bathing in a lake. The Ashwins tried to convince Sukanya to dump the ugly, blind old rishi and take one of them as a husband. When she refused, the Ashwins promised to restore the youth of her husband first, and then let Sukanya choose between the three of them. She agreed to this and all three of them bathed in the lake. When they emerged they all shone with youth and vigor. Sukanya chose Chyavana as her husband and they lived happily ever after. In gratitude to the Ashwins, Chyavana always offered part of his sacrificial offerings to the twin physicians, who have the power to restore youth to the aged.