Our Sanatana Dharma mentions millions of celestials, all who have been assigned a certain task and the responsibility of balancing the creation of the Supreme Being. Belonging to a genre of “Doctors” are the Ashwin devas, who associated with medicinal sciences and the celestials who gave mankind the knowledge of medicine.
The Ashwini twins are the sons of Surya Dev and Sandhya (twilight). During one summer, Surya Dev’s heat became unbearable to Sandhya. But with fear to mention the same to Suryadev, she asks her shadow Chaya to take her place in her form and runs away to a dense forest in the form of a horse. Days later, Surya Dev comes to know about this and comes in search of Sandhya in the form of a mare. He marries her again and Sandhya gives birth to Revanth and the twin Ashwins. Later, Sandhya comes to know that the horse was none other than Surya dev and asks for forgiveness for running away from him. Surya Dev forgives her and promises her that he would not emit unbearable heat in her presence since then. The Ashwini twins born to the divine couple are ever youthful and most handsome. They ride in a chariot drawn by horses daily before Surya Dev appears on the horizon and hence are considered as the dispellers of darkness.
The Ashwini Devas wanted to learn the medicinal skill which gave immortality from Rishi Dadichi who was considered the Father of Medicine. But, Devraj Indr did not want Rishi Dadichi to teach him as he was a mortal and also that the Ashwini twins would procure knowledge more than him. Hence he sets out to kill Rishi Dadichi. When the Ashwini Devas come to know about this, they request the sage to teach them the art so that they could bring him back to life after Devraj Indr severs his head. Rishi Dadichi agrees and they learn the cure and skilfully cut the head of the Rishi and replace it with the head of a horse. Devraj Indr comes and severs the head of the horse and goes away thinking that his mission is accomplished. Then the Ashwini Devas replace back the original head of the Rishi thus, granting him a new life. Thus, they went on to become the first surgeons and doctors who gave the world the knowledge of surgery.
The Ashwini twins also taught Rishi Chyavan the medicine which would keep mankind away from disease and boost the immune system of the body. When Rishi Chyavan taught and propagated it further to mankind. For this contribution of Rishi Chyavan, the medicine came to be known on his name, which till date is a powerful immunity booster popular as the Chyavanprash. Thus the Ashwini twins made their knowledge available to all mankind to keep them free from disease and suffering. Devraj Indr understanding intellectual knowledge of medicine leaves his enmity with them and appointed them as the Physicians of the Devas. The Ashwini twins are also the fathers of the twin Pandava brothers Nakul and Sahdev from the Mahabharat Epic.
With their duality, they represent light and darkness. With their healing expertise, they dispel disease of both the physical and spiritual and symbolise healing of body and mind to make life complete in all ways.