Purusha Sukta – 12

ಪ್ರಾಣೇಶದಾಸರಾಯರು – ಭಾಗ ೩
October 28, 2020
ರಾಘವೇಂದ್ರರ ಮಹಿಮೆ
November 5, 2020

Purusha Sukta – 12

In the previous mantra starting with यत्पुरुषं वयदधु the Sukta asks a question on our behalf, wanting to know “Who or what came into existence from the various parts of the Purusha’s body?”

The Sukta answers this question in three mantras. The first of those is as follows:


ब्रह्मणोsस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः |
ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ||

“From the face (of the Purusha) came the presiding deity of the Brahmanas. From the shoulders came the deity of the Kshatriyas. The presiding deity of the Vaishyas emerged from the thighs while the deity of the Shudras came from the feet”

Sri Raghavendra Swamiji first clarifies that the word आसीत् used to describe the Brahmanas actually stood for creation and is not to be understood literally as “happened”.

आसीत् उत्पद्यत इत्यर्थः

“….the word Aseet means being created…”

In the ‘Brihadbhashya’ grantha, it has been explained that अभिमानि देवता or presiding deities exist even for the four Varnas. Rayaru leans on this grantha to explain that the words Brahmana, Rajan, Vaishya and Shudra are primarily to be understood as inferring the presiding deities of the four Varnas. This mantra is actually talking about the birth of the Devatas who are responsible for the four Varnas. Rayaru gives the details of the four Devatas.

तत्तज्जात्यभिमानवान् ब्राह्मणादिशब्देन ग्राह्यः

“From the Brahmana and other words, the corresponding presiding deities are to be understood”

स ब्राह्मण्याभिमानवान् ब्रह्मेति

“The abhimani of the Brahmanas is (Chaturmukha) Brahma”

क्षत्रजात्याभिमानी तु पवनः

“The abhimani of the Kshatriya Varna is Mukhyaprana Vayu”

वैष्यजात्यभिमानी तु नासिक्यो वायुः

“Nasikya Vayu is the presiding deity of the Vaishyas”

शूद्रजात्यभिमानी निरृतिरिति

“The abhimani of the Shudra Varna is Nirriti”

Thus, in this first of the three shlokas, the birth of the Devatas who are given the task of the four Varnas is described. Of course, in turn, these Devatas lead the birth and proliferation of the four Varnas.

This mantra uses a peculiar grammatical construct when referring to the parts of the Purusha’s body. It uses the following four words – मुखं, बाहू, ऊरू and पद्भ्यां. Only the fourth word पद्भ्यां is in the panchami vibhakti or ablative case and says “From the feet”. Sri Raghavendra Swamiji indicates that such variation is grammatically allowed in Vedic usage of Sanskrit, and that therefore the other three words are also to be understood in the panchami vibhakti.

पदभ्यामित्युक्तिबलात् सर्वत्र उक्तदिषा पञ्चमी ध्येया

“Due to the usage of padbhyaam the ablative case is to be considered in all (other three) places”

Sri Raghavendra Swamiji then quotes a shloka stated by Sage Narada which says that the names of the worlds or Devatas that emerged are also used to refer to those very parts of the Purusha’s body. Thus, for example, the face of the Purusha can be called as “Brahmana” since the Brahmana (Varna) emerged from the face. Such a convention is useful in constantly remembering the fact that there is absolutely no difference between the various parts of the Purusha’s body, and the elucidation is only to recall his auspicious attributes and infinite capabilities easily. The reference shloka of Sage Narada is as follows:

यस्मात् यज्जायते चाङ्गाल्लोकवेदादिकं हरेः |
तन्नामवाच्यमङ्गम् तत् यथा ब्रह्मादिकं मुखम् ||

With this, Rayaru moves on to the next mantra which gives details about the other Devatas who emerged from the various parts of the Purusha’s body.


चन्द्रमा मनसो जातश्चक्षोः सूर्यो अजायत |
मुखादिन्द्रश्चाग्निश्च प्राणाद्वायुरजायत ||

“Chandra emerged from the (Purusha’s) mind. From the eyes was born Surya. Indra and Agni came into existence from the face while Nasikya Vayu was born from the breath”.

While in the previous mantra, the birth of the Jatis and their presiding deities was described, the details of the birth of the other Devatas is described here. Unlike the previous mantra, the words मनसः, चक्षुषो, मुखात् and प्राणात् are in the panchami vibhakti here.

Rayaru explains that, while in the previous mantra, Brahma was said to have emerged from the face, in this mantra, it is again mentioned since Indra and Agni also came into being from it.

प्राक् ब्राह्मणो मुखादित्युक्तं नैतावदेव किन्तु इन्द्रश्चाग्निश्च अजायत इति प्रत्येकमन्वयः

“Earlier it has been stated that the Brahmana was born from the face. It is just not that much but is to be also understood that Indra and Agni (too) were born from it”

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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