Vedic Lore Age of the Vedas Upanishads Brahma Devas I Devas II Rta and Satya Yajña RIGVEDA Mandala I Mandala III Mandala V Mandala X Author e-mail me

Brahma

BRAHMA

One Reality in Multitude Forms (Manifestations)

 

Purusha Sookta

RV X.90.1-16 & Yajur Veda 31.17-22

Purusha is explained in the Nirukta as one resting within the body (puri-saya) or one pervading (filling) the whole universe. He, being Prajāpati, lord of contingent beings, is extolled and venerated as Yajña, the cosmic sacrifice or upkeep.

Thousand [countless] heads has the Purusha, so he has thousand eyes and thousand feet;

Pervading earth on all side [spanning 10 directions] and

Heart measuring 10 fingers [or spanning 10 senses],

He yet exceeds all, within and without. ¶1

Purusha verily is all this that exists (in this creation) and

What had been (in earlier creation cycles) and what would be (in future);

He exceeds the body that grows with food. Indeed, the lord of immortality he is! ¶2

Such [aforesaid] is his pre-eminence, greater still stands the Purusha.

A quarter of him is all beings here, three quarters of him sits immortal in heaven. ¶3

‘A quarter’ is explained as first quarter (waking state) mentioned in the Mandukya Upanishad.

Three quarters can refer to existence, consciousness and bliss. Nature (Prakriti) is existence; creatures or individuals are existence and consciousness; universal self (Purusha), all the three.

With three quarters, Purusha sits above;

His one quarter alone manifests here, over and again.

He pervades all spaces and becomes all beings

That eat and eat not (i.e. worldly and liberated ones). ¶4

Thence emerged Virāt [Hiranyagarbha],

Still sovereign is the Purusha; for he exceeds his creations.

Next, [in the process] appeared the creations: terrestrial and corporeal. ¶5

Yajña that gods performed with offerings of [creations of] Purusha;

Spring was its purified butter (ghee), summer its fagots, autumn its oblation. ¶6  

Contemplating first-born Purusha in heart or sacrifice, gods, rishis and

Sādhyas (perfect ones) worshipped him as Yajña (= venerable). ¶7

From venerable Purusha invoked by all, there appeared edible oil (food).

He created animals and birds and what are domestic and wild. ¶8

From venerable Purusha invoked by all, issued forth the Rik and Sama hymns.

From him issued the chhandas (Atharva hymns),

So too from him issued the Yajus hymns. ¶9

From him were born the horses (or energy)

And also the cattle with two rows of teeth (or senses behaving dually).

Form him were born the cows; from him, the sheep and goats too. ¶10

In what ways was the stated Purusha conceived:

What called his mouth, what arms, what thighs, what feet! ¶11

Brahmin (priest) was his mouth; arms were made kshatriya (warrior);

His thighs, merchant class; from feet were menial workers (sūdra) born. ¶12

Division of society is natural, not forced. In a vibrant society, people move freely between roles.

Moreover, as in human body, all organs are useful and collectively serve the self, so in the Purusha, the cosmic body.

From mind, the Moon was born; from eyes, the Sun;

From mouth, Indra and Agni; from breath, Wind (Vayu) was born). ¶13

From navel, came the space (mid-region); from head, the heavens emerged.

From feet, the Earth; from ears, the directions; thus the worlds were conceived. ¶14

Seven are the boundaries, and twenty-one are the fuel-sticks;

The Yajña with Purusha as its subject of veneration/contemplation

Was elaborated by gods in the beginning. ¶15

With Yajña (in which offering of the creations of Purusha alone are made),

Gods worshipped the Yajña (venerable) Purusha [One manifesting in all and still exceeding];

These verily were the first canons/dicta (dharmas)

[Like Brahmacharya, or treating all as Brahma or Purusha].

They became eminent ones and attained the highest heaven (nāka)

In which the former gods and sādhyas were dwelling as well. ¶16  

Ago, from flavour of Waters of All-Maker (Purusha) emerged the Earth principle (odour);

The creator (Tvashtri) shaped it into lovely forms [that gratify senses];

That is the birth and even godhead of the mortal. ¶17

Because the world serves dual purpose: enjoyment and liberation.

I know the Purusha of astronomical dimensions,

Golden like our celestial Sun, in striking contrast to darkness (tamas);

Knowing him alone, one can surpass death;

Alternative course indeed there is none. ¶18

Prajapati (Prajāpati i.e. Lord of Creatures) moves within womb;

Unborn though, is born in multitudes of forms (manifestations).

The wise comprehensively see his origin/seat

In whom verily all the worlds rest. ¶19 

Who nurtures Tapas (i.e. Enlightened Will) for the gods;

Who is the friend and guide (purohita) of gods;

Who precedes gods and is venerated by them;

Reverence to the enchanting Divine. ¶20

On realising the enchanting Divine [within], the gods in the beginning sang in his glory.

Whosoever wise recognises him like this,

Gods become well disposed to that wise. ¶21

Elegance (Srī) and Fortune (Lakshmī) are your consorts;

Days and nights (ahorātra), your sides; constellations, your spectacular form;

Two Ashvins (Asvināu i.e. Sun-Moon), your open jaws.

For me wishing, fulfil my wish for mastering that!

Fulfil my wish for mastering the whole universe! ¶22


Sookta on supreme Ātman

YAJUR VEDA 32.1-16

 

That alone is Agni (fire); that is Aditya (Āditya i.e. Sun);

That is Vayu (wind); that alone is Chandramas (delighting Moon).

That alone is brilliant Sukra (and pure, untainted); that is the boundless Brahma;

Those Apas (waters or particles);

That is Prajapati (or Brahmā i.e. lord of creatures). ¶1

All eye-blinks (i.e. minute time-divisions) sprang from resplendent Purusha.

None can grasp him from top, middle or sides. ¶2

There is no image or replica of him whose glory is just phenomenal;

Who is hymned as ‘Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha),’ ‘He never harms’ and

‘Nothing born prior to him.’ ¶3

Quoted portions reappear in the next sookta on Ka or Prajapati.

That Deva verily pervades all directions,

He alone, per convention, first appeared at start [of kalpa, creation cycle],

Now he alone moves within womb (or moves heart);

None other than him was born in past [kalpas] and will be born in future.

Witness and enjoyer, he is seated within subjects, facing all directions. ¶4

Nothing indeed was born prior to him.

He became all these worlds [along with their inhabitants].

Prajapati rejoicing with his creations employs three lights.

He divides himself into 16 principles. ¶5

By whom (ka) are created firm earth and bright heavens

And worlds of pleasures and of immortal bliss;

Who moves giant heavenly bodies through space;

That lord of creation we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶6

Whom carefully-held (or holding creatures) and moving Earth and Heaven

Owe their birth; and wherein the rising Sun shines warmly;

That lord of creation we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender.

‘Mighty Apas encompassed’ and ‘Almighty surveyed Apas.’ ¶7

Mantras 6-7 and quoted portions reappear in the next sookta on Ka or Prajapati.

The sage beholding that reality (sat), deep hidden within himself,

The refuge wherein all together take shelter;

Wherein all things merge and wherefrom spring,

Almighty (vibhu) is intimately embedded in the creatures ... ¶8

(That) observer of the Veda (gandharva), the learned man may reveal

That state of immortality hidden deep within oneself.

Three quarters are hidden there [Existence-Consciousness-Bliss];

One who knows them is the guardian/guide of father even. ¶9

According to Manu, fool is called child whereas revealer of mantra is called as father.

He is our kin, creator, and ordainer (of Cosmic Order);

He comprehends all beings and realms;

In whom gods savouring life eternal rose to third realm [of bliss]. ¶10

Encompassing creatures, worlds and all directions and their midpoints,

Upholding the first-born Holy Speech of Rta (Truth)

[Or posing as the first born (Hiranyagarbha) of Rta (Cosmic Order)]

He by himself (without anyone else’s aid) entered all as their Self. ¶11

Covering (pervading) the heaven and earth in no time,

Covering all worlds, directions and heaven,

Supporting the wide web of Rta (Cosmic Order),

He witnessed that, became that, he himself was that. ¶12

I may have access to the wondrous and venerable Lord of Assembly,

The giver of just rewards (karma fruit) and intuition (medhā)!

I may be favourite of supreme lord! I say so truly (svāhā)! ¶13

The intuition that hordes of gods and guardians (or forefathers) aspire,

With that intuition, O Agni, you make me intuitive today! Svāhā.  ¶14

Varuna may grant me intuition; so may Agni and Prajapati;

So too Indra and Vayu; the keeper of universe (Dhātā or Dhātr) may grant that. Svāhā. ¶15

Both Brahmin (learned in Law) and kshatriya (guardian of Law)

May share my splendour (srī)!

Gods may firm that supreme splendour in me! To you Splendour, hail! ¶16  

 

Sookta on Ka or Prajapati

RV X.121

In the beginning, celebrated Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha)

Emerged as sole lord of creatures;

He alone held firm the earth and heaven;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶1

Giver of self-concept (ego) and Self-knowledge and

Giver of vital breath (life) and vigour;

Whose rule the gods and world together celebrate;

Whose patronage is eternity (bliss) and death otherwise;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶2

Who by his eminence became

The sole ruler of all that breathe and blink (i.e. inanimate);

Who is the lord of men and cattle;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶3

By sheer eminence are said to be his

These snow-clad mountains, the ocean along with rivers,

These directions as his arms;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶4

By whom are created firm earth and bright heavens

And worlds of pleasures and of immortal bliss;

Who moves giant heavenly bodies through space;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶5

Whom carefully-held (or upholding creatures) and moving Earth and Heaven

Owe their birth; and wherein the rising Sun shines warmly;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶6

As the mighty Apas (waters/particles) pregnant and stimulating (fiery)

Encompassed the entire vast universe;

Therein emerged One who happened to be the Life (Soul) of all gods,

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶7

He (Almighty) with his eminence surveyed the Apas

Which were efficient and supporting cosmic upkeep (Yajña);

Who was alone God above all gods;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶8

He never harms us; who is the creator of Earth and

Who, the truth-natured, indeed created these heavens,

Who stirs up the vast, thrilling Apas,

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶9

O Prajapati, none other than you overshadows the entire creation and objects;

With whatever desires we pray to you, those be ours!

We be lords of riches [and not slaves]! ¶10