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Late Prof. D. Sridhara Babu, has made the following observations in his monograph. (page 22 onwards).
- dadhikrAvan is a very swift steed associated with the sun (Aditya) and held in high esteem.
- He is often spoken of as a hamsa (swan/realised soul) living in light.
- The steed Dadhikravan is praised when Agni is kindled at the dawning of Ushas.
- Dadhikra is most closely connected with uSas.
- Slowly the identification of the sun with the horse and the horse as the symbol of the sun as well, gave an element of divine status to the horse.
- tArkSya (the sun) has been described as a divine steed.
- paiDva is a steed that the as’vins brought to pEDu.
- (Consider that as’vini is derive from as’va)
- paiDva is white, invincible and seeks heaven.
- In one passage (7, 77), it is indicated that the dawn is said to lead a white steed and in another (1, 163) it is described that the sacrificial steed is said to have been fashioned by the gods out of the sun. In addition to this, the horse appears to be a symbol of the sun in a particular kind of Soma ritual.
We have already seen as’va (horse) was considered a symbol of prANic energy by Sri Aurobindo We have also seen a yogic interpretation of Hayagriva and Madhu-Kaitabha as per Mahabharata.
Prof. D. Sridhara Babu suggested that over time the horse that was the symbol of the Aditya, sUrya (sun), became a symbol of the Aditya Vishnu. And that this led to the conceptualisation of Hayagriva, the knowledge avatar of Vishnu. In this story Hayagriva : Vishnu gets back his head : Skanda Purana, we have seen that the horse’s head given to Vishnu belonged to the Sun’s horses.
I would like to draw your attention to the name s’auri for Vishnu, its derivation from s’Ura meaning valour and it’s similarity to sUrya. It is a white horse that imparts the Vajasaneya Yajur Veda to Yajnavalkya. The Ashwini twins themselves were children of sUrya and sandhyA (sangnyA) when they were in the form of horses.
It is generally understood that the 7 horses on Surya’s chariots are the days of the week or rays of the sun.
See Also :
- Hayagriva : Devi Bhagavatham : Part 2 : Vishnu gets a Horse’s Head
- Hayagriva : Devi Bhagavatham : Part 1 : Vishnu’s head is lost.
- Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva, temples and worship