The purport of the following mantras is as given below:-
All this world that we see was duly created by God. He it is who preserves it and having disintegrated it at the time of the dissolution makes it disappear. He goes on repeating this again and again for ever.
Before the creation, i.e., when this effect – the world – had not been made, even the void (Akasha-space) was not; because, there were no actions which could take place in it, nor was at that time the causal matter of the world named sat, consisting of prakriti – unmanifested matter; nor were there the atoms; nor was there the second akasha – ether, which fills the universe (virat). There was at that time only the subltest, and the ultimate (material cause of all this world) called God’s Samarthya, i.e., material to work with. As the slight moisture that appears as fog on a rainless morning is neither sufficient to throw a veil over the earth nor to make the rivers flow, nor is it deep because it is so insignificant, even so the entire universe which ha been made by God with His Samarthya cannot be said to be deep in comparison universe is finite while God is infinite. Nothing can, therefore, cover Him.
The five verses, Na mrityurasit etc.’ are easy to understand. We shall explain them in the commentary.
This visible and multifold universe was made of God and He alone sustains and dissolves it and does not make it [again for a period. Tr.] He is Lord of all this. The entire creation exists in Him. He pervades everywhere like space and in His Samarthya – the final material cause – it is absorbed at the time of dissolution. O friend Jiva! He who knows Him attains to the highest bliss; but, he who does not know Him, the highest object of desire of all men, all existence, all consciousness, all bliss and eternal, does not verily obtain the
- highest beatitude. Rigveda. VIII. 7-17, 1-7.The author has left 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th verses unexplained for the reason that to one acquainted with Sanskrit they are easy of comprehension. We have thought it advisable to subjoin their translation.
- Before the creation of the world, there was Hiranyagarbha (holder of all lights in its womb). He was one Lord without a second of the created world. Having made the entire cosmos, from the earth up to the shining firmament, He is upholding it. We offer praise unto His blissful and shinning majesty .RigVeda VIII, 7-3.1.
!. God is the purusha with thousand (i.e.< innumerable) heads, eyes and feet because in Him, the all-pervading Supreme Being, there exist innumerable heads, eyes and feet of living beings like us, i.e., human beings and others. The Supreme Lord fills the earth which here stands for its denizens also) and the prakriti, i.e., the entire universe, from all sides,
II. Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal; no sign was there to mark off the night from day. That One, the breathless breathed by His own nature; apart from Him there was nothing whatsoever.
III. Darkness there was first concealed in darkness. All this was undiscriminated and diffused. Then it was undiscriminated and diffused. All this was covered by the void, the great pervading principle of the universe. By the great power of tapas (warmth) was produced that one (the universe).
IV. In the beginning was desire – the primal seed of design (of the universe). The wise sages searched with their hearts’ thought and discovered with their hearts thought and discovered the relation of the sat with asat.
V. Their rays spread obliquely above and below. There were seed-holders; there were mighty forces free action here and energy up yonder.
VI. Who verily knows and who can declare it here, where was this born and whence cane this manifold creation? The devas came after its production. Who knows whence it first came into being?
(Griffith’s translation slightly modified. Tr.)
- from within and without. He pervades the jiva the heart and the universe, He pervades these three and also surpasses them. He is beyond these three. In short, He is omnipresent filling the inner and outer sides of all things Yajur Veda XXXI. 1.
[In the next word purusha is used as a substantive and the words sahasra shirsha etc., as adjectives. The word purusha means God. He is so called because He pervades the universe puri (see Nirukta 1.13) or because He fills and exists in the entire cosmos or because the Supreme Lord fills this entire universe with His essence or because. He resides within and fills the interior of the jiva. the following verse of the Rigveda describes that innerpurusha, the Supreme Lord who is the indwelling ruler of all. There never was any thing superiour to or higher thatn the Supreme Lord – the all-pervading one, who is called the
- purusha. There can never be anything equal or superior to Him.
There was not, is not and shall never be anything greater than he. He moves and renders all things unstable but Himself remains unmoved, stable and without a tremor. As a tree supports its branches, leaves, flowers and fruits, so does God uphold this entire universe, from the earth to the sun etc.
He is one, without a second. There is no second God of the same or of a different class. As the Supreme Lord fills all this (the universe) He is called thepurusha. This verse is the highest authority for taking the word purusha in the sense of the all-pervading God. Nirukata II. 3.
The word Sahasra according to the Shatapatha VII. 5, is the name of this entire universe.
- The phrase ‘dashangulam‘ in the verse stands for the universe and the heart. The word angulam (finger) is her used as a name for limbs or members.
- It signifies the finite world. The entire universe is composed of ten parts, viz., fiver great and five subtle, i.e., altogether ten elements.
- The phrase may also be taken to mean five vital airs (<>pranas) the four inner senses, the manas, etc.., together with the outer senses, and thejiva as the tenth or agan,
- it may mean the jiva’s heart which also measures ten finger breadths.
II. That purusha alone, who is possessed of such attributes as the above, but not one else, is the maker of all universes of all times – past, present and future. Verily there is no other maker of the universe than He. He is the Lord and Ruler of all. He presides over and is the vouch-safer of the state of emancipation. None else possesses the power of bestowing it.
He is independent of the distinct from the world – this earth – and He is free from birth, etc. But though Himself unborn He makes all take birth and produces this ‘cosmos – the effect- with His Samarthya – its
- first material cause. The first cause of Him – the Purusha, there is none, but He is the first efficient cause of all.
III. If it be said that the past, the present and the future worlds are the measure of His greatness, it will become finite and something that can be measured. Hence it is said that His is not so much only. He far exceeds the greatness indicated by them. The entire cosmos, from prakriti to the earth and all the creatures, are only a fractional part of the greatness of the Almighty Lord.
The bliss of emancipation is in His own self-effulgence and the three-fourths of the cosmos exists in the regions of light. The portion that illumines the world is three times as much again as the portion that is illumined. He is absolutely free and unhampered, the ruler of all, adored by all, all bliss, and illuminer of all.
- IV. The purport of the following verse is that the Purusha (God) is above and beyond and distinct from what has been described above as the three-fourths. He is distinct and separate from this world also which has been described as the one-fourth. The three-fourths cosmos and the one-fourth together make up four portions. The whole of this universe exists in the Supreme Being and is again absorbed in the cause -His Samarthya – at the time of the dissolution.
Even then the Purusha shine above all, free from nescience, darkness, ignorance, birth, death, fever, disease and other suffering. Thereafter the universe is again created with His Samarthya.
The animate, world, which moves and eats, i.e., the living beings endowed with life and consciousness, and the inanimate world, such as, the earth, etc., which does not eat, i.e., which is devoid of life and consciousness – both, are created this two-fold world through and through in many and beautiful ways and having created
- the two-fold universe pervades it altogether and entirely.
V. From Him was produced Virat – the Shining One – the body of all the bodies, taken together collectively, resplendent with various objects, which is metaphorically described as one whose body is the universe, whose eyes are the sun and the moon, whose breath is the wind, and whose feet are the earth.
After Virat were formed the special bodies of all living beings from the elements of the universe. These bodies derive growth from the elements and after death return to and are absorbed into them. God, however, remains distinct from all created beings. He first created the earth and gave it support and then the jives, through Hismight, supported their corporeal frames on it. The Purusha, the Supreme Being, is distinct from the Jiva also.
- VI. This verse has been partly explained in the chapter on the Revelation of the Vedas.
All objects which are found in the universe were created by God’s Samarthya and by Him they are upheld, although to some slight extent the jives also uphold and maintain the objects. All should, therefore, worship God alone and none else with an individed mind. He alone made the beast of the forest and the animals that live in towns. God alone made the birds of the air and the small living creatures, such as, insects, etc.
[The word prishat in t he text comes from the root prishu to moisten or pour and hence it means that by which food, etc., that removes hunger, is moistened. ajyam means ghee, honey, milk, etc. Prishat stands for food which is masticated andAjyam for t hat which is eaten without mastication. The conjunction cha (and) denotes insects, moths, etc.]
- VII. This verse has been explained in the chapter on the Revelation of the Vedas.
VIII. Horses were produced through the might of Purusha, also, were produced animals having two rows of teeth, such as, camels, asses, etc. Fromt ht emight of the Purusha were produced cows, the rays of light, the senses, and in like manner, were produced goats and sheep.
[Although horses etc. are included among ‘beasts of the forest,’ and ‘animals living in towns,; mentioned in one of the foregoing verses they are gain enumerated here in order to emphasize their good qualities.]
IX. The learned, the sages, the seers of the Vedic verses and all other men receiving instruction from the Purusha (God) through the Vedas worshipped Him and placed Him
- exalted above all in the space (temple) of their heart – yea, Him the Purusha, the perfect Being, manifest from all times, the maker of the universe, the adorable.
[The past tense ‘worshipped, etc., in the verse denotes the present as well as the future.] The divine instruction conveyed by this verse is that all men should commence all works and undertakings with praise, prayer and worship of God.
X. The question is asked in how many ways they describe the minght, and the attributes of this Purusha, some of whose attributes have been mentioned above; and, how they explain, in various ways the multifarious powers of Him, the Almighty Lord
What is the mouth, what are the arms, what the thighs and what the feet of this Purusha, i.e., what was produced by Him with high and noble qualities; what with such attributes as strength, valor; what
- with middlemost qualities, such as, business instincts; what with the attributes of the lowest order, such as, want of intelligence, etc.
XI The Brahmana is said to be produced from the mouth of the Purusha, i.e., from the first and foremost qualities, such as, knowledge, etc., and such acts as truthful speech and the vocation of a teacher and preacher. He made Kshatriya and ordained him to possess the qualities of strength and valor, etc.
The qualities of agriculture and trade and commerce are of the middlemost order. The Vaishya or the trader was produced from those qualities by God’s command. The Shudra, whose difference entiating attribute, is the service of and dependence on others was produced from qualities of the lowest order, such as, dullness of intellect, etc.
- We shall cite the authorities relating to the interpretation of this verse in the chapter on Varnashrama.
[In this verse the past tense denotes all the tenses, because according to the grammatical rule given in Ashtadhyayi III. 4.6, in the Vedas, all the tenses, present, past and future, are used interchangeably].
XII. The moon was produced from the mind, i.e., the reflective element of the Samarthya of this Purusha; the sun was produced from the eyes, i.e., the refulgent portion; the sky was produced from the ears i.e., the Akashic portion; the atmosphere was produced from the atmospheric portion and also, were produced from the mouth, i.e., the chief refulgent portion.
XIII. The inter-stellar space or intermediate regions were produced from the navel, i.e.,
- the power of fixing spatial relations of this Purusha; the shining spheres, the sun, etc. were produced from the head, i.e. the highest portion of theSamarthya which occupies a place of eminence like the head; God made the earth and waters from the feet, i.e., the highest portion of the Samarthyaand from the ears, i.e., aural (Akashic) elements he produced the directions; and in like manner, God produced all he spheres and the animate and the inanimate objects contained therein from their respective elements of the Samarthya.
XIV. The learned extended, do and will extend the yajna, from the agnihotra to the ashvamedha, and science with the help of the materials given by the above-mentioned PurushaNow are described the divisions of time which are necessary elements in the production of the world. Vasanta (spring) is like the ghee in this Yajna or in this universe produced by the Purusha; Grishma (the summer
- season) like the fuel or fire and Sharat (winter season) like the oblation thrown into the fire.
XV. The universe has seven circumferences. The line which passes round the outer surface of a sphere is comprised therein, viz.,
- The ocean,
- The atmosphere together with the small particles (the motes).
- The region of the clouds and the air thereof.
- the rain-water.
- The air above it.
- The air of extreme rarity called Dhanaanjaya.
- The ubiquitous electricity electricity (Sutratma – literally, the thread-soul).
There are thus seven covers or circumferences one within other. The constituent elements of the universe are 21 in number. (1) The subtle elements comprising Prakriti (primordial matter) called Mahat, the internal organs, the intellect, etc., and jives; (2 – 11) the ten organs of sensation and action, viz., the ears, the epidermis, the eyes, the tongue, the nose, the organ of speech, the feet,
- the hands, the organ of excretion and the generative, (12 – 16) the five Tanmatras (the potential preceptibilia, viz., sound, touch, sight, taste and smell and (17 – 21) the five Bhutas (the elements) viz., earth, water, fire, air, and ether (akasha).
These 21 are to be considered the chief ingredients in the construction of the world, although there are many more sub-ingredients derived from them. The learned fasten the Purusha with their contemplation who is all-seeing, the adorable Deity and the maker of the universe. They do not concentrate their mind upon any other object than God.
XVI. The learned have paid, do and will always pay homage to God the worshipful, with praise, prayer and worship. All men ought to begin all actions and with these and no one ought to do anything which is not preceded by them. Verily, do the worshippers of God, exalted in glory, attain to Him and emancipation in which there is no pain or suffering.
- The learned men who qualified themselves in the past and those who are qualifying themselves now and those who will qualify themselves in future obtained and will obtain this highest state of bliss to be enjoyed for a hundred years of Brahma during which period there is no return to the cycle of births and deaths.
On this verse Yaskacharay, the author of the Nirukta, observes: “The learned worshipping God with the soul and internal organs or they performed the universally beneficial yajnas, from the agnihotra up to theashvamedha, with the help of the terrestrial fire.
Those who adopted the prescribed means and qualified themselves in former times are enjoying the bliss of emancipation – the highest state. The followers of the etymological school call this band of the learned (devas) the dwellers of the region of light, i.e., God, who is self-effulgent or because thedevas live in the rays of knowledge. Nirukta XII. 41.
- XVII. The Purusha, in order to form the earth made the attenuatied matter (Apah) solid and thus made the earth. Similarly He produced the attenuated matter from the gaseous and the gaseous from ether (Akasha) and the etheric from the prakriti which He caused to evolve from the Samarthya.
The universe before the creation existed (potentially) in its cause called the Samarthya of God who is called Vishvakarman – the Universal Architect – because He is the Doer (par excellence) of all action. At that time the whole of this universe was in the casual state and not such (as it appears to us now). The Tvashta – the Fashioner – made the universe with parts of that Samarthya. Then the whole universe assumed a perceptible form.
- Then also mortal man assumed a visible form (i.e., was created). At the time of revealing the Vedas, God promulgated this commandment for man through the Vedas. “Thou shalt find the desired happiness arising from the contact of the object with the senses by performing with thy action-body righteous works with attachment and thou shalt obtain the highest knowledge called emancipation by performing works without attachment.
XVIII. This verse answers the question ‘By knowing what canst thou become wise.
The answer is:-
I am certainly wise because I know the Purusha, the Supreme Lord whose attributes have been scribed above, who is the greatest of all, the oldest, self-effulgent, above and beyond the darkness of ignorance and nescience. No one can become wise without knowing Him because by knowing thePurusha,
- the Supreme Lord, alone can a man cross death and attain to that state of the highest bliss (emancipation) which is beyond death. There is no other means of reaching that state.
The use of the word ‘only’ (eva) in the text shows that no one should ever offer the slightest worship to any one except God (as the Deity). That this in fact is the meaning is also apparent from the words ‘There is no other way of obtaining happiness either in the affairs of this world or those concerning the other world.
The only road to happiness is the worship of God alone. There can be no doubt that by believing and worshipping another as God man comes to grief. The settled conclusion, therefore, is that the Purusha alone is the (legitimate) object of worship of all men.
XIX. The Lord of creatures, the Ruler of all the animate and inanimate world, resides
- within it as its indwelling ruler. He is unborn and increate. By His might alone the whole world is decked out with variegated objects. Those who can concentrate their mind upon Him obtain a perfect visions of His nature, i.e., they know that the way to realize Him is the performance of righteous acts and the acquisition of Vedic knowledge. In Him all the words find their support. Verily in Him – the Supreme Lord – do the constant and the wise rest satisfied and secure by obtaining the bliss of emancipation.
XX. The All-pervading, the perfect Purusha sheds His luster into the inner sense of the learned because He bestows on them the bliss of emancipation which contains all happiness. He has been in existence from before the birth of learned because He is eternal. Our Salutations
are due to the lovable Brahma and also to His servants who, having acquired His knowledge from the learned, love Him with the love of a child for its parents.
XXI. May the learned, who acquire this most lovable divine knowledge which is born to of God and hence is called His child, teach it and the means of acquiring it, to others. He, who acquires the knowledge of Brahma in this way, is called a Brahmana. The sense come under the control of the Brahmana who knows Brahma but never under the control of one who does not know Him.
XXII. O God! All Shri (beauty) and all Lakshmi (splendid wealth) etc., serve Thee as the wives serve their husbands. Day and night are, as it were, Thy two sides. The sun and the moon, which are the axles of the wheel of time – the cause of all things, are, as it were,
- Thy eyes. The constellations, which were produced from the parts of Thy Samarthya – the first material cause, add to the grace of Thy person. The shining firmament and the earth are, as it were, Thy open mouth. May we know that whatever things of beauty there are in this world declare the grace of Thy person, i.e. Smarthya. O Virat! the Lord that support of all! Be gracious into me and bestow on me, out of Thy grace, the bliss of emancipation after death.
Grant through Thy favor that the blessings of all the worlds (or all the blessings of all the worlds (or all the blessings of the world), or of universal empire or of self-government be for me. Vouchsafe unto me O Perfect Almighty Lord! All beauties, splendors, wealth, and good and beautiful works and endow me with all good qualities through Thy grace. Destroy my defects and evil failings and make me without delay a repository of good qualities through Thy kindness
- We quote the following authorities in support of our interpretation of the words Shri and Lakshmi. In the Shatapatha I. 8. Shri is used in the sense of animals – symbol of good things of the world; in IV, 1. Shri means things of beauty or glory; in XIII, 1. it means things of beauty or glory; in XIII, 1. it means empire or its burdens and responsibilities. In the Nirukta IV. 10. Lakshmi is said to mean gain, acquisition, beautiful marks or qualities, speech, fame and renown, desirable acts or dislike for evil thins.
Here ends the exposition of the Purusha Sukta.
The Lord of creatures produced from its cause called His Samarthya this threefold universe, i.e., its three orders, viz., the higher ones, such as thePrakriti, etc., the lower ones, such as straw, mud, the small creatures, such as ants, insects, etc., and the middle ones, such as the bodies of men etc., up to ether (Akasha).
- The Supreme Lord, Skambha, the Prajapati, who has made this threefold universe containing various objects, pervades it, but the universe does not pervade Him. This non-pervading three-fold universe is insignificant as compared to Him, the Supreme Lord.
The Devas, i.e., the learned or the luminaries, the sun, etc., the Pitris, i.e., the wise, the Manushays i.e., the masters of the science of music, theApsaras, i.e., their wives, (i.e., male and female musicians) and all the races of men that are found on earth or the heavenly bodies, the sun, etc., were all created by the Supreme Lord, who reigns supreme over all. The heavenly luminous spheres and the planets and their satellites, such as the earth, the moon, were also created by Him.
There are many other Vedic verses like the above with this subject (the creation).