Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/116

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And now the goddess coming on
Has driven away her sister Dawn:
Far off the darkness hastes away.
Thus, goddess, come to us to-day,
At whose approach we seek our homes,
As birds upon the tree their nest.
The villagers have gone to rest,
Beasts, too, with feet and birds with wings:
The hungry hawk himself is still.
Ward off the she-wolf and the wolf,
Ward off the robber, goddess Night:
And take us safe across the gloom.

Goddesses, as wives of the great gods, play a still more insignificant part, being entirely devoid of independent character. Indeed, hardly anything about them is mentioned but their names, which are simply formed from those of their male consorts by means of feminine suffixes.

A peculiar feature of Vedic mythology is the invocation in couples of a number of deities whose names are combined in the form of dual compounds. About a dozen such pairs are celebrated in entire hymns, and some half-dozen others in detached stanzas. By far the greatest number of such hymns is addressed to Mitra-Varuṇa, but the names most often found combined in this way are those of Heaven and Earth (Dyāvā-pṛithivī). There can be little doubt that the latter couple furnished the analogy for this favourite formation. For the association of this pair, traceable as far back as the Indo-European period, appeared to early thought so intimate in nature, that the myth of their conjugal union is found widely diffused among primitive peoples.