The Vedic evidence

Besides the Sun and the Dawn, the Rigveda makes frequent reference to a figure called SUryasya (or Sure, SUro) duhitr, 'the daughter of the Sun', or Surya, which is a feminine form corresponding to masculine SUrya- (only with a shift of accent).105 In most cases she appears in connection with the Asvins, that youthful equestrian pair whom we met in the last chapter and found to be a close parallel to the Greek Dioskouroi. It is often mentioned that Surya joined them in their car. She chose it, or them (1. 117. 13; 4. 43. 2; 7. 69. 3 f.), and her beauty added to their lustre; all the gods approved (1. 116. 17; 6. 63. 5 f.). It was a bridal car: the Asvins mounted it for her sake, and their swift riding made them her husbands (7. 69. 3; 8. 22. 1; 4. 43. 6; cf. 1. 184. 3).

In the wedding hymns RV 10. 85 and AV 14. 1-2 she has a special role as the divine model for the mortal bride. In RV 10. 85 (largely repeated in AV 14. 1) she has the Asvins as groomsmen or suitors, but her marriage is to Soma, to whom Savitr gave her with her consent. Soma in this hymn (1-5) is identified with the moon. Surya appears in some of the Soma hymns of book 9 as somehow connected with the Soma ritual.

According to the Aitareya Brahmana (4. 7-9; cf. KausUtaki Brahmana 18. 1) Surya's father had intended to give her in marriage to Soma. But all the gods desired her, and to decide who should have her a race was arranged, from Agni (the house-fire) to the Sun. The Asvins were the winners. Some of the Rigvedic allusions make sense in terms of this story, though we cannot be sure that it is not in part a later construction.

105 Surya 1. 167. 5, 184. 3; 4. 43. 6, 44. 1; 5. 73. 5; 6. 58. 4, 63. 6; 7. 68. 3; 8. 22. 1; 10. 85. 6-17, 20, 34-8; SUryasya (or Sure, Siiro) duhitr 1. 34. 5, 116. 17, 117. 13, 118. 5; 3. 53. 15; 4. 43. 2; 6. 63. 5; 7. 69. 4; 9. 1. 6, 72. 3, 113. 3. She is alluded to also in 8. 8. 10 (as yosana, 'the young woman') and 8. 29. 8.

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