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Vasus in Hinduism

Vasus in Hinduism is the combined name given to eight deities who are worshipped for wealth and prosperity. Bhishma in the Mahabharata is an incarnation of a Vasu. Eight Vasus are Apa or Aha, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara or Dhava, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha and Prabhasa.

Legend has it that one of the Vasus to please his wife stole the Divine Cow Nandhini from the Ashram of Sage Vasishta. Other Vasus joined in the theft. Sage Vasishta who came to know about the theft, cursed the Vasus to be born on earth.

But the Vasus repented the action and asked for forgiveness. Sage Vasishta relented and told them that seven of them will not have to spend a long time on earth and their curse will end soon after their birth. The one who stole the cow was to spend long time on earth practicing and propagating virtue.

To fulfill the curse, Vasus were born on earth as the sons of King Shantanu and Ganga. Before marriage, Ganga had told Shantanu that she should not question any of her actions. If she is questioned, she will desert him.

Ganga threw away seven children on birth into the river. The king did not question the action of Ganga as he was smitten by the beauty of Ganga. When she was getting ready to throw the eighth child, king Shantanu question the cruelty. Ganga then disclosed to him the story of the Vasus and the destiny of the eighth child. Vasus are worshiped as subsidiary deities in some temples in India.