Purusha Sukta – 11

ಪ್ರಾಣೇಶದಾಸರಾಯರು – ಭಾಗ ೨
October 24, 2020
ಪ್ರಾಣೇಶದಾಸರಾಯರು – ಭಾಗ ೩
October 28, 2020

Purusha Sukta – 11

In the past few mantras of the second section of the Purusha Sukta, the manifestation of many instruments required for the performance of the manasa yajna were described. The manifestations were of things that were generic in nature such as ghee, curds, the pashu and the mantras. However, in the next rik, the ‘sadhanas’ needed for the performance of the Ashwamedha yajna is described. 

तस्मादश्वा अजायन्त ये के चोभयादतः |
गावो ह जज्ञिरे तस्मात् तस्माज्जाता अजावयः ||

“From him (the Yajna namaka Purusha) came horses and those animals that possess two rows of teeth; Cows manifested from him; From him came goats and sheep”

Rayaru says that the animals mentioned in this mantra are especially required for the performance of Ashwamedha and other important Yajnas.

पुनरत्र ब्रह्म अश्वमेधादि यज्ञसाधनादिद्रव्याणि प्राक् सामान्यतः उक्तान्यपि विशेषतः उच्यन्ते

“Even though the creation of the ordinary instruments of Yajna have been mentioned earlier, the creation of those required for the Ashwamedha and other Yajnas are especially stated here”

The word उभयादतः means those animals, such as donkeys and mares, which have teeth on both the upper and lower jaws. 

The words अजायन्त, जज्ञिरे and जाता need no elucidation and speak about the creation or manifestation of these animals. 

One particular aspect of this mantra that is prominent is the repeated use of the word तस्मात् that appears three times. In the Vedas, no word is out of place or redundant. The Vedas do not carry the defect of repetition i.e. there is no पुनरुक्ति दोष. Therefore, one is bound to question the repeated use of the same word in this mantra.

Rayaru explains the spiritual significance of such repetition very beautifully.

तस्मादित्यनेकवारोक्तिः अन्यस्य स्वातन्त्र्येण हेतुत्वनिरासतात्पर्यद्योतनार्थः

“The word Tasmaat has been repeated many times to stress upon the fact or conclusion that Purusha is alone the independent reason behind everything”

There is no other independent entity in this world apart from Sri Narayana. He is the single reason behind all creation. To emphasize this point, the Purusha Sukta deploys the word तस्मात् – From him – again and again.

This Rik also contains the word/letter ह as in गावो ह जज्ञिरे. Sri Raghavendra Swamiji says the word ‘ha’ here stands as an expression of astonishment or wonder looking at the creation of Brahman!

हेत्याश्चर्ये प्रसिद्धौ वा

“The word ‘ha’ is well known as the expression of astonishment”

With this, Rayaru moves on to explaining the third section of the Purusha Sukta. This section starts from the 11th mantra in the Rig Veda, while it is the 12th mantra in the Yajur Veda.

यत्पुरुषं व्यदधुः कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् |
मुखं किमस्य कौ बाहू का ऊरू पादा उच्येते ||

“Whereupon having worshipped the Purusha in their minds thus, how did they (Devatas) contemplate him? What creation did his face cause? What did his shoulders create? What creation did his thighs and feet lead to?”

So far, the mantras in the Purusha Sukta described the qualities of the Supreme Purusha and the nature of external creation from him. The present mantra serves to set a basis or prelude for describing the manifestation of various entities from the very body of Purusha. Therefore, the Sukta asks a question in this mantra. What creation occurred from the various organs of the Purusha?

Rayaru gives the context of this mantra thus

अङ्गेभ्यः सृष्टान् प्रश्नपूर्वकमाह  – यत्पुरुषमिति

“The description of creation from the various parts of his body is started by placing a question – through the ‘yat purusham…’ mantra”

Rayaru explains that the word व्यदधु explains itself as धृतवन्तः मनसा ध्यातवन्तः which means that the Devatas, through their manasa yajna, thought of Purusha along the lines of the previous mantras so far. 

Having done so, how did they contemplate the creation from his parts? 

कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् ?

कतिधा  केन प्रकारेण – The word कतिधा means ‘in what manner’

व्यकल्पयन् विकल्पितवन्तः मनसा विविधतया कल्पितवन्तः – The word व्यकल्पयन् means ‘contemplated in various ways’.

Thus, the mantra poses a question on our behalf:

“In what manner did the Devatas contemplate the creation of various entities from the Purusha’s body?”

The second half of the mantra expands this question further. Rayaru expands each word of the second half of the mantra thus:

अस्य पुरुषस्य मुखं किमासीत् किंजनकमुच्यते

“What came about, or what is regarded as having been born, from the face of this Purusha?”

बाहू च किंजनकौ उच्येते

“What is regarded as having been born from his shoulders?”

ऊरू च कौ किंजनकौ उक्तौ पादामिति कावित्यनुषज्यते

“What is regarded as having emanated from his thighs, and from his feet?”

Thus, the mantra poses a series of questions about the next stage of creation from the Purusha and lays the context for several mantras that follow.

Sri Krishnarpanamastu

Hariprasad N
Hariprasad N
Hariprasad N is based out of Bangalore, and works in the Software Industry, mainly on system software. Hari is a staunch believer in the Tattvavada philosophy of Sri Madhwacharya and owes his existence to the grace of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. He has interests in the areas of Spirituality, Politics and Law

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