Horse in Hindu Mythology
Horse has his own place in our scriptures. Besides using it in war and
for riding purposes, it has some other references too.
Sangyaa and Ashwinee Kumaar
The first mention we find is of Soorya's wife Sangyaa. Soorya Dev's
first wife Sangyaa ould not tolerate Soorya Dev's Tej, so after giving
birth to three children, she kept her shadow (Chhaayaa) with Soorya Dev
and went to Uttar Kuru Desh to do Tapasyaa. At that time she changed her
form also, to a mare. When Soorya Dev made out that Chhaayaa was not his
real wife, He went to hs father-in-law Vishwakarmaa and asked him Sangyaa's
whereabouts. He told him that she had gone to Uttar Kuru and was living
there in the form of a mare. Soorya Dev went there assuming the form of a
horse and wanted to make love with her, but Sangyaa wouldn't agree as she
did not know who that horse was. Later Soorya Dev showed his real form and
made love with her in the horse form and had a twins - Ashwinee Kumaar.
Later they were appointed as Devtaa's Vaidya (traditional doctors). They
had the head of horse.
Soorya Appears Again as a Horse
When Yaagyavalkya vomited out the knowledge given by his Guru Vaishampaayan
Jee, he looked for better knowledge. he worshipped Soorya and pleased him.
Soorya Dev appeared before him in the form of a horse and asked him to ask
for a Var. He asked Soorya Dev to give him the knowledge which has never
been given before to anybody else. Then Soorya Dev (in the form of horse)
delivered him Shukla Yajur Ved to him. Since this knowledge was delivered
by the horse's mouth, it is called Vaajsaneya Sanhitaa too.
Soorya's Seven Horses
It is said that Soorya's chariot is daily drawn by 7 horses - 7 colored
This is another name of Maharshi
Dadheechi. Dadheechi knew Brahm Vidyaa very well, he taught it to
Indra also, but Indra did not want him to teach it to anybody else, so
when Ashwinee Kumaar expressed their desire to learn it from Dadheechi,
Indra warned him that if he did so, he would cut his head. When Ashwinee
Kumaar heard this they said, "No problem, we have a solution for
it." They cut his head themselves, fixed a horse head, learnt Brahm
Vidyaa from his horse head; and when Indra had cut his horse head, Ashwinee
Kumaar replaced it with his original head. That is how he taught Brahm Vidyaa
to Ashwinee Kumaar and that is why he is called Ashwashir also.
Kashyap had a Daitya son named Hayagreev. Haya means horse, and Greev
means neck, thus Hayagreev means horse-headed. He did a severe Tap for
Devee and got a boon from her that he should be killed by himself only.
After this he started troubling Devtaa, so Devtaa approached Vishnu.
Vishnu tried but was unable to kill him.
Since Hayagreev Daitya had such a boon that he should be killed by
himself only, Vishnu had to assume the form of
and then only He could kill Hayagreev Daitya.
(1) This Divine horse came out of
Saagar Manthan and was taken by Daitya Raaj Bali. He is considered
the best horse.
(2) He is the same horse on whose tail Kadroo and Vinataa betted
and Vinataa lost because Kadroo said that the horse's tail was
black and Vinataa was sure that his tail was white. Then Kadroo
said - "We will see tomorrow." Kadroo knew that she lied,
but to prove herself true, she asked her black Naag sons to cling
round his white tail and show it as black color tail because she
said to Vinataa that his tail was black. Thus Vinataa lost the bet
and she became the maid of Kadroo. Later when Garud Jee was born
to her, he freed her by bringing Amrit for Kadroo.
There is very famous Yagya also on horse - that is Ashwamedh Yagya. This
Yagya is performed to establish ones sovereignty over many kings in a huge
area of land. Many kings have done it. Indra is said to have done 100 of
such Ashwamedh Yagya. Normally it cannot be done without wife. When Raam
did it He had already exiled Seetaa, so He had to keep a golden statue of
Seetaa beside Him. In this Yagya, a protected horse is released to show
one's sovereignty. Normally people accept the sovereignty, but if somebody
does not accept it he shows this by catching the horse and challenge the
guards to defeat him. If the Yagya doer wins it is OK, otherwise he has to
surrender his sovereignty.
Horses on Prithvi
Pratardan's Horse - Pratardan was born in Chandra Vansh. Pururavaa's
eldest on was Aayu. He married the sister of Raahu anf had 5 sons from her
- Nahush, Kshatrvriddh, Rambh, Raji, and Anenaa. In Kahatravriddh's
lineage a king was born named Divodaas. Dividaas' son was Pratardan. He
was very qualitative. He was known by many names - he killed Madrashrenya
Vansh that is why he was called Shatrujit (as Raavan's son Meghnaad was
call Indrajeet because he won Indra); his father called him Vats
with affection so he was called Vats; because he always spoke truth that
is why he was called Ritdhwaj; and he had acquired a wonderful horse
Kuvalaya that is why he as called Kuvalayaashwa. (See
Horses or Indriyaan?
In Indian philosophy, horse is compared with our 10 Karm and Gyaan
Indriyaan (Gyaan Indriyaan - ear, tongue, nose, skin and eyes; and Karm
Indriyaan - hands, feet, mouth, anus, and reproduction organ). In Kath
Upanishad - most Upanishad are based on Ved, it is said that - "Imagine
your soul as the rider, body as the chariot, intellect as the charioteer,
and mind as the reins, senses as the horses, desires as the pathways. When
the soul is attached to a body with the mind and the senses, the soul is
said to be the enjoyer. A person who lacks discrimination and has an
unstable mind is unstable to keep his senses under control. He is like a
charioteer whose chariot is yoked to vicious horses. The power of the
senses is indeed great. Yet greater than the senses is heart, greater than
the heart is reasoning power of the intellect. Finally, your soul, the God
within your heart, is the greatest of all."
Horses and Elephants - Measure of Power
In olden times the strength of a man was measured by elephant's power,
for example Bheem had 10,000 elephants strength; but now it is measured
in horse power
Both animals were used in war also.