Holistic Vision of Purusha-Sukta
By Dr. Shankar B. Chandekar
The most celebrated Vedic Hymn Puruṣa-Sūkta is found in all the four Saṁihitās : Ṛg, Sāman, Yajus and Atharvan with some slight variations. Puruṣa-Sūkta indeed is the Key Hymn to the Vedic revelations. Here, the foremost seer Nārāyana Ṛṣi in unision with Puruṣa, the Supreme Being envisions the threefold unity of Man, Nature and the Universe. In divine ecstasy he proclaims: ‘Puruṣa eva idaṁ sarvaṁ’ i.e. the whole unified universe is Paramātman. It aims at imparting direct vision of truth unfolding its all the three aspects: ādhibhautika, ādhidaivika and ādhyatmika. It presents Life as a Divine Gift and in itself a holy altar calling for mankind’s dedication to the selfless service of the universe. Its universal message is beyond all sectarian views and orthodox rituals. The Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad-Gita are in fact the continuation of the Puruṣa-Sūkta’s wisdom and vision.
In a highly symbolic language we find here poetry, philosophy and science blended together in a blissful harmony. Each mantra is a formula precisely cast into the most natural language forceful to convey Narayana’s Light of Supreme Consciousness. The aphoristic style of the Sūkta is unsurpassed in its simplicity, clarity and mathematical accuracy. There is no scope for any sort of myth, mysticism or supernaturalism. The mantras reveal holistic vision of the universe capable of being re-experienced under the guidance of an enlightened (tattvadarśin) ācārya.
On this Hymn there are many commentaries and translations available in Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Marathi and other modern languages. Many scholars Eastern and Western attempted to catch the essence and spirit of the Puruṣa-Sūkta. But their interpretations vary. The interpretations by modern European scholars based on Sāyana’s commentary lay exclusive stress on the external and ritualistic aspect of the later Vedic (Brahmanic) civilization. Modern Indian scholars Dayananda Sarasvati (1824 – 183), Auribindo Ghose (1872 – 1950) and S. D. Satawalekar (1824 -1970) follow Yāska’s Nirukta for their psychological, rational and spiritual interpretations. On this background Mayananda Chaitanya’s revelation of the Puruṣa-Sūkta excels in unveiling the holistic vision of Nārāyaṇa with utmost ease and serenity. His revelation of “Yajña” as the centre of all Life processes, cosmic evolution and Fourfold Natural Order (Cāturvarnya) seems to be most relevant to solve our social, political as well as spiritual problems. The following presentation is based on Māyānanda Chaitanya’s exposition of the Sarvāngyoga and Viśvarupa-Darśana-Yoga.
The most celebrated Vedic Hymn Puruṣa-Sūkta is found in all the four Saṁihitās : Ṛg, Sāman, Yajus and Atharvan with some slight variations. There are 16 Ṛks in the Ṛg Saṁhitā, 7 in Sāman, 22 in Yajus-Vājasaneyi and Kanva Saṁhitās, 18 in Kṛṣna Yajurveda (T.A. III-12), and 16 in Atharvan Saṁhitā. Puruṣa-Sūkta, in truth, is the key Hymn to the vedic revelations. In Vedic Sanskrit the word ‘Ṛk’ or ‘Ṛca’ means mantra (mananāt mantraḥ) which aims at reflecting direct vision of Truth. A man of wisdom and vision who reveals the mantra is called Ṛṣi (Ṛṣayaḥ mantra draṣtarāḥ), the enlightened seer. In Puruṣ-Sūkta, the foremost Vedic seer Nārāyana Ṛṣi ever in harmony with Puruṣa, the Supreme Being sees the threefold unity of Man, Nature and the Universe; and in divine ecstasy he proclaims: ‘Puruṣa eva idaṁ sarvaṁ’ i.e. ‘Puruṣa indeed is this Universe’. This proclamation conveys the essence and spirit of Vedic wisdom and vision. It aims at imparting direct vision of Truth unfolding its all the three aspects: ādhibhautika, ādhidaivika and ādhyātmika.
The Devatā whose grandeur and glory is revealed here is Puruṣa. The word ‘Puruṣa’ is so fertile in resonances that keep unfolding its three kaleidoscopic syllables in a never ending play in the image of creation itself, like:-
1. पुरुष: (पुरि-वस्) – who resides in the whole universe; He is everywhere.
2. पुरुष: (पुर-उषा) the dawn in the city. He who is filled with light divine.
3. पुरुष: (पुरु-षा) filled with wisdom and eternal happiness.
4. पुरुष: (पु-रुषा) – He whose passions are purified;
and so on Such is ‘Puruṣa’ the Universal Man, the Supreme Being immanent in a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet, Master of immortality. He is sacrificer, sacrifice and its object, origin and end of all that is. He is perceived by the enlightened seers as Puruṣottama, Paramātman, and the nameless Parabrahman, Narāyan Bhagawan.
The metre (chandas) of the Hymn that appears in Kṛṣnayajurvediya Tattiriya Āranyaka having 18 Ṛks, the last three are in the ‘Triṣṭubḥ’ metre (11 syllables in each foot) and the others are in ‘Anuṣtubh’ metre (8 syllables in each foot). These meters are like a musical theme developed by a blissful musician.
In a highly symbolic language we find here poetry, philosophy and science blended together in a delightful harmony. Each mantra is a formula precisely cast into the most natural language forceful to radiate Narayana’s vision of Supreme Consciousness. The aphoristic style of the Sūkta is unsurpassed in its simplicity, clarity, mathematical accuracy along with profundity of thought and solidity of judgment. There is no scope for any sort of myth or mysticism or idealistic speculation. The mantras reveal holistic vision of man and the universe capable of being re-experienced under the guidance of an enlightened ācārya (tattvadars̒in). It presents life as a Divine Gift and in itself a holy altar calling for mankind’s dedication to the selfless service of the universe. This natural process of evolution of human consciousness in termed here as ‘Yajna’. It is not like ‘soma-yaga’ or ‘pas̒u-yaga’ or ‘rājasūya’ of the ritualistic mimāmsakas. Puruṣa-Sūkta’s ‘yajna’ is beyond all sectarian views and orthodox rituals. Its state is sovereign; its message universal. The Upanisads and Bhagavad-Gita are, in fact, the continuation of the Puruṣa-Sūkta’s wisdom and vision.
On this Hymn many commentaries and translations are available in Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Marathi and other modern languages. Many scholars both Eastern and Western attempted to catch the meaning of Puruṣa-Sūkta. Their interpretations vary. The interpretations by modern European scholars based on Sāyana’s commentary lays exclusive stress on the external and ritualistic aspect of the later Vedic (Brāhmanic) civilization. Modern Indian scholars Dayananda Saraswati (1824 – 1883), Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950) and S.D. Satwalekar (1867 – 1970) follow Yaska’s Nirukta for their psychological, rational and spiritual interpretations. On this background Mayananda Chaitanya’s (1868 – 1934) interpretation of the veda and particularly of the Puruṣa-Sūkta excels in unveiling the holistic vision of Nārāyana with utmost ease and serenity. His revelation of “Puruṣa’ as the threefold unity of Ksͅara, Aksͅara and Purusͅottama of ‘yajna’ as the centre of all Life processes, of cosmic evolution, and of natural fourfold order (chāturvarnya) with its organic unity would enlighten us to overcome social, political and spiritual crisis of our times. However scientific and intellectual approach to the Veda may be, but according to Mayananda Chaitanya it is inadequate unless we have direct vision of truth (anubhava). It is, in truth, Vijañāna.
The following presentation is based on Mayananda Chaitanya’s expositionof ‘ Divya Drͅsͅti’ and the Viṡvarūpa Darśana-Yoga.
सहस्त्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्त्राक्षः सहस्त्रपात |
स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वा अत्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् ||१||
Puṛuṣa, the Supreme Being (Paramātman) has countless heads, eyes and feet. Pervading the earth within and around he rises above the solar space with a vast expanse of countless stars in the distant constellations and galaxies. He is all existence without beginning and end.
‘अत्यतिष्ठत् दशा ङ्गुलम्’ is unique expression skillfully designed to convey Nārāyana’s vision divine. It gives deep insight into the process of natural evolution wherein existence. (अस्ति) moves from subtle (अमूर्त) state of ‘being’ to the (मूर्त) five gross elements in endless succession. This process is tenfold: Ạkṣara Brahman (Purusā’s Power Divine) descends to Sāmyāvasthā ” sattvaṁ ” Rajas ” Tamas ” Ether (ākas̍a) “Air (Vayu) ” Fire (Teja) ” Water (apaḥ) ” Earth (Prithivi). Puruṣa is present is all these transformations. Thus, there is unbroken link from microcosm to macrocosm; from the eternal to the temporal, from amūrta to mūrta. This tenfold being and becoming of the Puruṣa can be counted on the tip of ten fingers of our two hands. Evidently, Puruṣa (Paramātman) is supremely standing before us with these ten attributes. Positively, He is within reach of a common man’s understanding, accessible to all human beings with their five senses, mind and intellect. He loves and serves all with his innumerable heads (brains), infinite eyes (wisdom and vision), countless arms and feet (valor and labor).
In the XI chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita during the Visvarūpa–dars̍ana the Purụsa is perceived as ‘अनेकबाहू दरवक्त्रनेत्रं’, ‘बहुबाहूरुपादम्’ and again in the XIII chapter Puruṣa (Paramatman) is adored as – ‘सर्वत: पाणिपादं तत् सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम्’ with the same significance of ‘सहस्त्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्त्राक्षा सहस्त्रपात्’.
Suggestiveness is an ornamentation of the sutra style in this mantra. Countless stars and galaxies in the measureless space (धुलोकः), five elements, three gunas sāmyāvasthā and Aksạra Brahman are suggested here rather than mentioned. This is Dhvani, highly estimated in poetic excellence.
पुरुष एवेदँ सर्वं यद् भूतं यच्च भव्यम् |
उतामृतत्वस्येशानो यद्न्नेनातिरोह्ती ||२||
Puruṣa indeed is this universe, what has been and what is to come. He is ever and forever without beginning and end. He is all-powerful, all-knowing Iśvara, the lord of immortality and master of creatures, when he rises through food.
‘Puruṣa eva idaṁ sarvaṁ’ is a positive statement which embraces both the temporal (Kṣara) and the eternal (Ā̇ksara) aspects of the universe. According to Nārāyana the Puruṣa is neither wholly one not the other. We cannot talk of these contradictory phases in isolation. For they cannot be separated from each other even for a moment. The Supreme Being is ‘sarvaṁ’ in whom the duality of matter energy, matter-mind, matter-spirit, jada-caitanya, Kṣara – Akṣara, mūrta – amurta, saguṇa – nirguṇa melts into delightful harmony. This is the climax of Vedic revelations. The expression:-
- सर्वं खलु इदं ब्रह्म | (Chāndogya Up. 3.13.1 )
- पुरुष एव इदं विश्वम् | ( Up. 2.1.10)
- एतद् वै विश्वं सर्वरूपमं गोरुपम् | (Atharva Veda12)
- वासुदेवः सर्वमिति |(Gita,7.19)
- सर्वं समाप्नोषि ततोऽसि सर्वं | (Gita, 11.40)
Points to the holistic vision of Puruṣa-Sukta. It is much more comprehensive and practicable than the theoretical philosophy of ‘ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या.’
‘यद भूतं यच्च भव्यं’ – here, the projection into the three division of time viz past, present and future is indicative of the three Gunas – Saūvaṁ. Rajas and Tamas represented by Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara ever active in Nature. They revolve in endless succession through Creation (उत्पत्ति), sustenance (स्थिति) and dissolution (प्रलय). But the Immortal Is̒vara (Akṣara Brahman) is beyond this temporal phase. Is̒vara prevails throughout the visible universe and witnesses the wondrous play of the Gunas.
Though Is̒vara abides in all Creation, human intellect is unable to identify Him unless this intellect is enlightened by the tattvadars̒in Sadguru. Here the seer Nārāyan guides us to see the eternal in the things that pass away.
Evolution appears only in the Mutable (Kṣara) aspect of the Universe. We find full glory and grandeur of the evolution on our planet Mother Earth through four classes of beings: udbhijja, svedaja, andaja and jarāyuja. ‘अन्नाद् भवन्ति भूतानि’ all these begins come from food, subsist on food. Man is the end product of evolution. He rises to wealth and power, civilization and culture through cultivation of food, along with advancement of science and technology. But man’s further evolution of consciousness from ‘नर’ to ‘नारायण’ is possible on this Earth in the company of enlightened seers (सत्संग) i.e.’ज्ञानांमृतं भोजनं’ along with proper nourishment. This is Nārāyanās universal message for the welfare of mankind.
एतावानस्य महिमा अतो ज्यायाँश्च पूरुषः |
पादोऽस्य ऽ विश्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवि ||३||
So great is His Majesty and splendor which we perceive with our five senses, mind and intellect, yet He (Vis̒varūpa Paramātma) is still greater in divine excellence.
This vast visible universe is but a radiance of His Divine Power. Major portion of his divine excellence is beyond comprehension of frail and feeble human minds. His three eternal aspects: jn͂āna, vijn͂āna and āstikya (Akṣara, Puruṣottama and Para-Sak) are radiant in heaven (enlightened hearts).
All beings on the Earth (पृथीवि), in the mid – region (अंतरीक्ष) and in the distant stārry heavens (द्द्योलोकः) are His manifestations. This vast expanse of visible universe is His Lower Nature (āpara ̄prakrti, svarūpa or svabhāva). This mutable phase of the Puruṣa is described in the Gita as ‘Kṣara’(‘क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि XV 16-C). The Kṣara is eightfold: a set of five elements and three Gunas which constitutes His body-mind complex. Yet, His Higher Nature (Parā–prakrti) is greater and superior. It is called Akṣara, the immutable Self, pure consciousness of Being, the very Life-force by which Kṣara, Lower Nature is upheld. ‘ज्यायाँश्च पुरुषः’ means Akṣara Brahman which is invisible and permeates throughout Kṣara.
While interpreting ‘pada’ and ‘tripada’ we find commentators mentioning ‘One-fourth of Him and three-fourth of the Him’. But the Purusa (the Universal Man) cannot be conceived of – so divided. He is the unified whole. Human intellect with all its science and philosophy may comprehend Nature (Ksara). But His unmanifest Glory sung by the Vedas in terms of Akṣara, Puruṣottama and Parā-s̒akti is a threefold unity which can be perceived by the enlightened seers with ‘दिव्यचक्षु’. The Veda aims at attainment of this Supreme State of Consciousness which is glorified as Paramaṁ Padaṁ.
त्रिपादूध्वं उदैत् पुरुषः पादोऽस्येहाभवत् पुनः |
ततो विष्वङ्व्यक्रामत् साश्नानशने अभि || ४ ||
The self-illuminating Puruṣa with His three pādas (bhāvas): Akṣara, Puruṣottama and parā-s̒akti remains unmanifest and immortal as it is. Through His Will Divine He becomes manifest as Kṣara virat. The Kṣara from its state of equilibrium (sāmyāvastha) advanced towards evolution of animate (sās̒ane) and inanimate (anas̒ane) beings. This Mutable aspect of the Puruṣa revolves in endless succession through creation, sustenance and dissolution. In this Ṛk there are words packed with vision about groups or categories-in-contrast which are harmonized into the unified whole. The immortal Vision of ‘tripada’, temporal vision of ‘pada’ revolving in birth-life and death, creatures growing by food classified as ‘sas̒ane anas̒ane abhi’ are in unison with the ‘Puruṣa’ who is All in all. The Supreme Being (Puruṣa) is the Absolute Reality, the THING IN ITSELF wherein the duality of Ksara-Aksara, Murta-Amurta, Sat-asat, jada-caitanya, and temporal-eternal fades away, and the whole complex of the universe shines with the presence of the Puruṣa. This ineed is the Vision Divine (Divya–cakṣu) Nārāyaṇa bestowing on us.
‘Vyakrāmat’ in this context means ‘tapas̒ or sacrifice (yajn͂a). It has a reference to the following Vedic revelations :-
- इदं विष्णूर्वि चक्रमे त्रेधा नि दधे पदम् | संमूहळूमस्य पांसुरे ||
Throughout the universe strode Vishnu (Puruṣa), Thrice His foot He planted in divine wisdom and vision. And the whole was gathered in the manifest Ksara which is His one step. (Ṛ.V.1.22.17)
- त्रीणि पदानि वि चक्रमे विष्णुर्गोपा अदाभ्य: | अतो धर्माणि धारयन् ||
Vishnu, the supreme Being (Puruṣottama), who is invincible in wisdom and valore. His three steps are suggestive of ‘vyaṣti’, samaṣti and parameṣti which represent the kṣara, Akṣara and Puruṣottama respectively. (Ṛ.V.1.22.18)
तस्माद् विराडजायत विराजो अधि पूरुषः |
From His Will Divine appeared Kṣara-Virāta, from this creative aspect evolved human beings. Man with his ‘ego’ – self become master of the Earth. From East to West, from High to low regions.
As a result of His ‘Power Divine’ (Akṣara Ātman), this vast visible universe (Kṣara-virāta) manifested from Him. This Kṣara-virāta is also called ‘mahad-brahma’ (अव्यक्त प्रकृति), the primal source of all creation. The cycle of evolution proceeded further from mahad-brahma to gradually evolve into udbhijja, svedaja, andaja, d jarāyuja phases with the fine end product that is ‘man’. Soon after manifesting man became separate as a physically disconnected and distinct individual. He imprisoned himself into passions and desires of his individual personality, and there is an absolute forgetfulness of the Higher (Akṣara) and Supreme (Puruśottama) personality. Man procreated, multiplied and spread on the Earth with manifold kingdoms, cults and sects. Thus the world has been broken up into fragments by man’s narrow mindedness.
Some commentators (Rangn̄atha Muni, T. Venkatacharya) interpreted this Mahad–Brahma (Kṣara) for ‘catur-mukh-Brahmā’ who has created the ‘sruti’ along with ‘yajn͂a-dāna-tapas’. This catur–mukh–Brahmā, is the manifestation of Rajo-Guna who appeared at the end of the Krta-yuga. The Gita mentions him as ‘prajapati’ (III.10)
According to Mayananda Chaitnya tis Mahd-Brahma Kṣara is radiance (svarūpa) of the Puruṣa (Puruṣottama). This Mahad–Brahma is also called avyakta–prakṛuti where from all beings come and again rest into it after dissolution. (See Gita VIII.17). So ‘Mahad–Brahma’ (avyakta–prakṛuti) is not to be confused with the legendary ‘catur–mukh–Brahmā’ i.e. Srutikarta Brahmadeva. ‘विराजो अधिपुरुषः’ also means He governs the Kṣara-virāta with His Power Divine (Akṣära Brahman.)
यत पुरुषेण ह विषा देवा यज्ञम् अतन्वत |
वसन्तोस्य आसीत्आज्यं ग्रीष्म इध्म: शरद् हवि: ||६||
Devās perceived, ‘the Purusa Himself as Sacrifice’
Evident in ever revolving stage of Life and Nature.
This indeed is Universal yajn͂a wherein spring becomes ghee.
Summer works as firewood, autumns as the offerings.
‘Devās” are the enlightened seers who realized the Pur̗us̗a (Paramātman) as the whole unified universe. These men of wisdom and vision comprehended the secret of ‘अस्ति ब्रह्मेऽति चेद् वेद सन्तमेनं ततो विदूरिति’ | (Tait Up.2.6.1)
Existance is Brahman, the enlightened one knows it. Devas realize that the Puruṣa Himself is the sacrifice, the sacrificer and offerings in the sacrifice. The ever-continuing phenomena of Life and Nature, the ever-evolving spectrum of seasons like Spring, Summer and Autumn, the rise and fall of empires and civilizations on the Earth is the part of this universal sacrifice i.e. Yajn͂a. it is, in fact, the transformation of the ‘Puruṣa’s’ Supreme Consciousness into individual consciousness. It expresses a spiritual relation between man, nature and the Universe. It is suggested here that man’s ultimate goal is to regain his original puruṣottama Consciousness. So, this Divine sacrifice (Yajn͂a) is not complete unless man is awakened and raised to his original nature: svabhāv, to sacrifice himself in selfless service all beings who are svarupa of Nārāyaṇa.
In the revolutions of time immemorial this original Vision of Yajn͂a (the Yoga of divine wisdom in action) was forgotten by men here. By the end of Kṛtayuga the Brahmadeva (व्दितीय प्रजापति ब्रम्हदेव) initiated rituals of Yajna-dāna-tapas and proclaimed: ‘By these rituals (sacrifices) may you multiply fulfilling all your desires’. Thus Narāyana’s svakarma Yajn͂a of selfless action (अनन्यभक्ती) was replaced by Brahma’s Yajna-dāna-tapas (सकाम कर्म) for rewrds of whealth and power here and pleasures of heaven thereafter.
The words ‘devā yajn͂aṁ atanvata’ mean the ancient seers of ‘kṛatayuga’, wise men of old, worshipped the Puruṣa (Paramātman) by sacrificing their little individual ego-self to the Paramātman; and serving Him with svakarma i.e. selfless performance of one’s own natural duty. The Gita invites our attention to this Vedic svakarma yajn͂a in the following verses:
यतः प्रवृत्तिर्भूतानां येन सर्वमिदं ततम् |
स्वकर्मणा तमभ्यर्च्य सिद्धिं विन्दति मानवः ||
A man attains perfection when his work is worship of God, the Supreme Being from whom all the beings have come, and by whom all this is pervaded.
(Gita XVIII, 46)
The words Vasanta (Spring season), Griṣhṃa (Summer season) and S̍arad (Autumn), are indicative of the TRINITY of Kṣara-Akṣara-Puruṣottama or keval-kāla, mahā-kāla-ati-kāla respectively. It also denotes ‘bhūta, bhaviṣya vartamāna of the Rajas, Tamas and Sattvam of the Keval-kāla i.e. Ksara–virata’s threefold energy.
‘यत् पुरुषेण हविषा’ suggests that the Puruṣa sacrificed Himself in all the manifestations. The Gita rejuvenates this vision as-
ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् |
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ||
(Gita IV 24)
Puruṣa (Brahman) is the obation; Puruṣa is havi (ghee), Purusa is sacrifice who sacrifices into the fire of Puruṣa. The puruṣa shall be verily realized by him who always perceive Him as All in all, ‘sarva-huta’. This is mānas-yajn͂a or Jn͂āna-Yajn͂a’, the sacrifice of divine wisdom in action is greater than any other earthly sacrifice (dravya-yajna) (see, the Gita, chapter IV, 25-33)
तं यज्ञं बर्हिषि प्रौक्षन् पुरुषं जातम् अग्रतः |
ते न देवा अयजन्त साध्या ऋषयश्च ये ||७||
With a firm resolve that Paramātman is ever-present’
As Kṣara-virāta Deva purified themselves serving Him
With svakarma; Sādhyās and Riṣis followed them
Meditating on the threefold Nature of the Puruṣa.
Devas are the enlightened seers who are determined to act in svakarma. They are Brahmariṣis. Sādhyās are the wise men who received divine wisdom and striving for perfection in it. They are Maharṣis. Ṛṣayaḥ are mumuksūs who are acquainted with divine wisdom and desire to receive it.
This revelation of ‘Yajn͂a’ is the essence and spirit of all Life-processes at work in the body of the Supreme Being. This vision embraces the Kṣara–virāta, the all-pervading Akṣara-Atman and the Puruṣottama as a threefold unity. The ever changing panorama of the Kṣara-virāta, its natural constitution and the Life-process culminate in making man as the Image of the Visva-Puruṣa.
Devas, sādhyās and Ṛṣis are pilgrims on their upward march towards evolution of human consciousness. They worship Puruṣa by sacrificing themselves in the selfless service of the universe. This ‘yajn͂a’ is not one way traffic. For, the whole universe animate and inanimate including Prithivi, Anantrikṣa and Dyuḥ, are bound by this Yajn͂a-cakra offering their selfless services to the countless races of men on the Earth working to evolve civilizations. So. Men must realize that, Life is a Divine Gift and in itself a holy Alter calling for selfless performance of their nātual duty (svakarma) in love and gratitude to the Supreme Being. Such divine interaction between man, Nature and the Universe will lead to endless peace and bliss in the world. This is the priceless Gift accruing from this Yajn͂a.
तस्मात् यज्ञात् सर्वहुत: संभृतं पृषदाज्यम् ||
पशूँस्ताँ चक्रे वायव्यान् ग्राम्याश्च ये ||८||
Invigorating Kṣara-virāta with His Power Divine.
Akṣara, the seed of all beings, Puruṣottama arose
With manifold species, animals, birds of the wind, F
Forest dwelling wild beasts and household animals.
‘Sarva hutaḥ’ – when Puruṣa Himself is the sacrifice, he is being sacrificed totally by Himself for the creation of a new order of Life and action which is ever coming out of Him. This is His Leela, the Play Divine for recreation. Here, the language, and words पृषत्, आज्यम् appears to be related to ritual sacrifices like ‘soma-yāga’ or paśu-yāga or rājasuya-yāga and the like. But the meaning suggested is metaphorical. In the dravy-yā̄gaś rituals the word ‘पृषत् + आज्यम्’ denotes a substance having a mixture of yogurt (दधि) and ghee (घृत). But, here the expression metaphorically means certain most creative an energetic Power which is the ‘primal cause’ of this Kṣara-virata. It is ‘वीर्य’ (essence and spirit) as the seed of all creation. Purusa’s ‘Virya’ is His Power Divine, the all-pervading Akṣara-Ātman (Ishwara) who is omnipotent and omniscient. The Gita reveals this Divine Power as –
- बीजं मां सर्वभूतानां विद्धि पार्थ सनातनम् |
Know Me as the eternal seed of all the beings (Gita VII. 10)
- मम योनिर्महद्ब्रह्म तस्मिन् गर्भं दधाम्यहम् |
संभव: सर्वभूतानां ततो भवति भारत ||३||
सर्व योनिषु कौंन्तेय मूर्तयः संभवन्ति याः |
तासां ब्रह्म महद्योनिरहं बीजप्रदः पिता ||४|| (Gita XIV.3 – 4)
‘My womb is the mahad–Brahma; wherein I place the seed of Akṣara-Ātman. Thence is the birth of all beings. Whatever forms are produced, O Arjuna, in any womb whatsoever, the Mahad–Brahm (प्रकृति) is their mother and I am the seed-giving Father (पुरुषः).
Thus the word ‘पृषदाज्यम’ is used here for spiritual symbol leading to Truth of becoming of the Supreme Being. Narāyanā His state of Supreme Consciousness saw the worlds as the creation of His mind. In fact the Universe was, is and will be there as it is. It is anādi i.e. without beginning and end. The creation begins with the Puruṣa’s desire – ‘एकोऽहं बहुस्याम् |’. This power of the Puruṣa’s Mind is seen by the seers as ‘कामस्तदग्रे सामावर्तंताधि मनसो रेतः प्रथम यदासीत् |(ṚV.10.129.4)
तस्मात् यज्ञात् सर्वहुत: ऋचः सामानि जज्ञिरे |
छन्दाँसि जज्ञिरे तस्मात् यजुस्तस्मात् अजायत ||९||
From Him came to light the Vedic Revelations.
From that arose Saṁhitās: Ṛg, Sāman, Yajus, Atharvan.
Hymns, resonant with roaring Rhythms, recited and sung.
In metres: Gayatri, Anuṣṭupa, Bṛhati, Paṅkti, Triṣtpa, Jagati.
The word ‘Veda’ stands for direct vision of Truth i.e. ‘pratyakṣānubhūti’ of the Supreme Being (Paramātman).the well-known dictums: ‘एकमेवाव्दितीयम्’| (Chānd Up. 6.2.1) points to the same Universal Experience i.e. the Veda which is ‘One’ for all human beings, Maharṣi Vyāsa proclaimed this Truth :-
एक एव पुरा वेद: प्रणवः सर्व वांङमय: |
देवो नारायणो नान्य एकोऽग्निर्वर्ण एव च ||
Shrimad Bhagawata, 9.14.48
Originally there was only one ‘Veda’ i.e. direct Experience of the Universal Being (Viśvarūpa Nārāyaṇa) worshipped by the enlightened seers of yore. In agreement with this fact Mayananda said: ‘वेद नाम जानने का है | जब परमात्मस्वरूप को नारायण ने निजरूप जाना, और उस अवस्था में जो शब्द उनके मुख से निकले उसका नाम ‘वेद’ एवं स्वयंभू निश्चय प्रगट होना है |’ ‘ये वेद-मंत्र प्रथमतः विवस्वान नारायण ने देखे | जिन जिन छंदो के ऋषि नारायण है वे सब वेद-मंत्र है |’ ‘अखंडमंडलाकार चक्रगती के अनुसार व्दितीय परार्ध में ब्रह्मदेव ने सत् युग का ह्रास होनेवाले काल का प्रारंभ होने के समय, अव्यवस्थित हुअी स्वभाव रचना को व्यवस्थित करने की बुद्धिसे प्रेरित होकर, आदि नारायणने देखे हुए ‘वेद’ मंत्रोंके आधारसे ‘ श्रुती’ मंत्रो की रचना करके उनकी चार संहिताये कि और उन्हे पृथक-पृथक धारण करानेवाले ‘ऋषि-कुल’ निर्माण किये | जब तक ‘कुल’ की व्यवस्था ठीक चली तब तक संहिताएँ भी एकत्रित रहीं | पश्चात व्दापारयुग के आरंभ में सब ‘कुल’ पृथक-पृथक स्वतंत्र हो जाने के कारण वेदोंके सूक्तानुसार उनके विभाग करके कृष्णव्दैपायन व्यास मुनीने विस्खलित हुअे वेद तथा श्रुति मंत्रोंको एकत्रित करके पुनरपि उनकी चार विभागोमें रचना की | वर्तमान समय में जो चार संहिताएँ उपलब्ध है, वे यही है | इन चार संहिताओंमें जो ‘वेद’ तथा ‘श्रुति’ मंत्र है उन्हें आगामी काल में आनेवाले सतयुग के हेतू पृथक-पृथक कर देना ही आवश्यक तथा युक्त है | (श्रीमायानंद चैतन्य, लेख-संग्रह ‘वेद और श्रुति’)
With this point of view the Veda is Eternal, ‘apayryṣeya (अपौरुषेय) because, the Vedic revelations come from the Universal Beings (Puruṣa). Transformation of the Vedac into four Saṁhitas is the creation of Brahmā, the manifestation of Rajoguṇa.
तस्मात् अश्वाः अजायन्त ये के च उभयादतः |
गावो ह जज्ञिरे तस्मात् तस्मात् जाता अजाअवयः ||10||
From him were born horses and all those beasts
Having prominent jaws with two rows of teeth;
Cows, cattles as well were born from Him
All goats and sheep were manifest in Him
All these animals are very useful for advancement of civilizations. Along with these animals, plants and trees, rivers and mountains, hills, lakes and oceans are the priceless gift of Nature which make our environment happy and healthful.
यत् (यदा) पुरुषं व्यदधुः (तदा) कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् |
मुखं किमस्य कौ बाहू कौ ऊरू पादौ उच्येते ||11||
When the seers saw the Puruṣa embodied as Ksara-virata.
How did they think of His whole complex organism?
What came to be His mouth and arms?
What did they call His thighs and feet?
Narayan Ṛṣi speaks of the Puruṣa as the Living being pervading the solar system here and also the solar systems in the distant constellations and galaxies. The Puruṣa through His Power Divine (Akṣrara Brahman) manifest as Kṣara-Virāta wherein the entire mankind on the Earth, the divine incarnations (avatārās), ‘devas’ – the enlightened seers, and ‘sādhyās’ striving for perfection in Life Divine are all His manifestations. Nārāyaṇa imparted this integrated vision of the Puruṣa to devās and Sādhyās. With this vision they beheld the universe in the glory of GOD (Puruṣa). In the Puruṣa’s Sacrifice they saw every limb of His being transformed into the limb of Universal Life – as the Sun, the Moon, the Wind, the Solar Space, the ever-revolving spectrum of seasons, the shinning worlds, fauna and flora, birds and beasts, the countless races of men working to evolve civilizations for the well-organized societies formed of scholars, warriors, traders and workers – are the Divine Being Himself in manifestation. Here we see Puruṣa’s glory at the three levels – the Cosmic (Ksara-Virata), the worldly (whole mankind on the Earth) and the individual (man) as an epitome of the Purusa. The questions raised in this mantra are are full of curiosity about the identity of the Puruṣa at the Cosmic, Social and individual levels.
ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीत् बाहू राजन्य: कृतः |
ऊरु तदस्य यद् वैश्यः पद्भ्याम् शूद्रः अजायत ||12||
Men of wisdom and vision are His Mouth indeed
His Arms are trustworthy warriors and rulers;
Farmers and traders are His magnificent thighs.
His adorable feet are truthful workers all over.
In this mantra Nārāyana conceived a plan of sustainable social and individual development. The names Brāhman, Kṣatrīya, Vaiśya and Śudra here are indicative of the fourfold mindset of men evident in their nature (svabhāv) and functions. They are equally indispensable participants in the Divine Sacrifice (Svakarma-Yajn͂a) for creating health and harmony in the society. Such sacrifice adds eternal beauty and bliss to human existence as it is arising out of dedication to the One Supreme Being (Paramātman) present everywhere. Nārāyaṇa in unison with the Supreme Being declares humankind in general and man in particular to be His mouth, arms, thighs and feet. Every section of humanity is revealed to be a limb of the Purusa no matter whether a section springs out of His Mouth or out of Feet. All sections are equally divine.
In those days (in Kṛtayuga) most men were influenced by Divine wisdom and vision propagated by Nārāyaṇa, the Ādya Prajāpati. This was the Age of enlightenment, of Sweetness and Light when most people adhere to their natural duty (Svadharma or svakarma). In love and gratitude they sacrificed themselves in the selfless service of mankind. It was complete spiritual independence without any form of ‘Government’ as described by Vyāsa:
न वै राज्यं न राजाऽसीत दण्डो न दण्डिकः |
धर्मेणैव प्रजाः सर्वा रक्षन्ति स्म परस्परम ||
(महाभारत, शांतिपर्व, 59.14)
There is no doubt in the earliest ages, the Vedic seers had inculcated this spirit of spiritual democracy among all races of mankind.
Thus, it is evident that Brāhmana, Kṣatrīya, Vaiśya and Śūdra were not the nomenclatures of any caste, colour, creed or race. Those who interpret these as castes, and give a lower grade to the Śudras (feet) betray their own ignorance about the Veda.
After a considerable lapse of time this original vision of Cāturvarṇya was last sight of by men here; and it was distorted into Cāturvarṇya-vyavasthā (caste system) by the established class with selfish motive. Therefore, the Bhagavad Gita once again rejuvenated Nārāyaṇa’s original vision in the most celebrated verse:
‘चातुर्वण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः |’
Which means ‘cāturvarnya’ is Natural Fourfold Order of action evident in the Universe due to the revolutions of three Gunas in the Cosmic cycle. Grandeur and glory of the divine plan of action is expressed through this ‘cāturvarnya’. Every individual, nay, everything from microcosm to macrocosm is bound by this Natural Law of Action. This is Dharma in action – In human beings. It is called svadharma, svakarma, akarma, varnakarma or niyatakarma. It is eternal. It is the greatest integrating force which holds the whole humanity together in eternal companionship. It is altogether different from its later transformation into ‘cāturvarnya–vyavasthā’ which is a well-planned conspiracy of Brahmanism against the masses. It is based on the illusive superiority of clans and castes. Sri Mayananda Chaitanya has categorically pointed out that the cāturvarnya-vyavasthā’ (caste system) promoted by Manu-smṛti is the root cause of social disorganization. The caste system breeds ‘Varṇa-saṁkara’ which is harmful to the individual and social health.
This mantra visualizes healthy and harmonious development of man’s head (mukham), arms (bāhu), thighs/belly (urū) and feet (pāda). The inter-relation, inter-dependence and perfect co-ordination of the various systems in a human body represents the natural model of the universe. Likewise, this fourfold order is evident in human society in its four major systems viz. Education (teachers’s community), Defense (Warrior’s Community), Agricultural-Commerce-Industry (Farmers’-Traders’ Community) and Manual Labour (Workers’ Community). Development and prosperity of a nation depend upon their full co-operation and dutiful performance. Unhealthy competitions amongst these systems or ailments in any of these systems will paralyze effective functioning of the whole system (nation) and ultimately spoil the individual and social health. Thus, Puruṣa-Sūkta prepares man to muse over the holistic vision of Life and to work selflessly for the ultimate good of mankind along with his individual fulfillment.
चन्द्रमा मनसो जातः चक्षो: सूर्यो अजायत |
मुखात् इंद्रश्च अग्निश्च प्राणात् वायुरजायत ||
नाभ्या आसीदन्तरिक्षं शीर्णौ द्द्यौः समवर्तत |
पद्भ्याम भूमिः दिशः श्रोत्र: तथा लोकाँ अकल्पयन् ||४||
Mantras 13 and 14, give us adequate identification marks of the Puruṣa’s Cosmic Body (Virāta Śariraḥ).
His mind is reflected in savory, pleasant moon
His omniscient Eye is the Life sustaining Sun;
Lightening and Fire are His ever-blazing Mouth
The wind is His breath, the life-force of creatures.
His navel is antarikṣa, the measureless space
His Head is held high shinning in starry heavens;
The Earth is His feet, all directions His ears
Thus the universe, indeed, is His rich countenance
The meaning of the verbs ‘ jātāḥ’ ‘ajāyata’ should not be taken here in literal sense, as some commentators think. Better to understand these words in its figurative sense with reference to the questions raised previously यथा ‘अस्य मुखं किं आसीत, कौ बाहू, कौ उरू, कौ पादौ उच्यते’ and the answer given ‘ब्राह्मणाः अस्य मुखं आसीत्’. In this way Ṛsị Nārāyaṇ̄a acquaints us with various limbs (अङ्ग:) of the Puruṣa. The moment we realize it, we see the ‘Paramātman’ face to face on all sides with His countless heads, eyes, ears, mouths, arms, thighs and feet. This is practical demonstration, direct vision of Truth, Paramātma-sākṣātakāra. It speaks of creations as it is ever there ‘atyatiṣthat’ for ‘Puruṣa eva idaṁ |sarvaṁ’, Purusa Himself is all this and He is ever there before the seers, saints and sages, devas and sādhyās. We come across the same Vision of Truth when Arjuna describes his own experience of Sāksātkara:
अनेक बाहूदरवक्त्रनेत्रं पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरुपम् |
नान्तं न् मध्यं न पुनस्तवादिं पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूप ||16
त्वमादिदेव: पुरुषः पुराण स्त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम् |
वेत्तासि वेधं च परं च धाम त्वया ततं विश्वमनन्त रूप || 38
O Lord! I see Thee of boundless Form on every side
With countless arms, bellies, mouths and eyes.
There is no beginning, middle or the end.
I see Thy Vis̍varupa, O Lord of the universe.
Thout art the Primal God, the eternal Puruṣa.
The Supreme refuge of the universe.
The knower, the knowable and blissful Abode supermall.
O Thou Viśvarūpa! the whole unified Universe.
The Veda Vyāsa repeats the same holistic vision of the Puruṣa in ‘Viṣṇusahastra-nāma’. (Mahabharat, Anus̍asana Parva, Adhyāya 149) and in the Bhāgavata in great details. This Vision tells of the supreme goal of human existence, the realization of the Puruṣa (Paramātman) through divine wisdom (jñana). It is Jñana-yajna which is superior to all dravy-yajñas.
श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयात् यज्ञात ज्ञानयाज्ञ: परंतप |
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते || (Gita IV)
The vision of ‘Ātma-Yoga’ as Lord Krishna revealed in the Gita is the rejuvenation of the same ‘Jn͂ana-Yajna’ which Devas (Seers), sādhyās (truth-seekers), Ṛṣis (pilgrims on the path of eternity) performed in Kṛtayuga without personal desire or motive. Next mantra 15, speaks of the sevenfold spectrum of this ‘Jn͂ana-Yajna’ leading towards evolution of human consciousness:
सप्तास्यासन् परिधयस् त्रिः सप्त समिध: कृताः |
देवाः यद् यज्ञं तन्वानाः अबध्नन् पुरुषं पशुम् ||
Seven are the ascending Circles of this Jn͂ana-Yajna
Thrice Seven samidhas; seven Triputies in Triple Gunas.
Enlightened seers offering refining flashes of wisdom
Liberated men binding them with Love and services of the Puruṣa.
Here Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi in harmony with the Puruṣa (Puruṣottama) invite all seeks of Truth to climb the heights of Ātma-Yoga, through the Jn͂ana-Yajn͂a. He also welcomes all human beings to participate in this Yajn͂a. In Kṛtayuga such Yajn͂a was known as ‘Brahma-Satra’ which used to continue for days together. It was open to all imparting wisdom and vision divine. This process of enlightenment has seven spectrum (Sapta-Loka) or (Sapta-Vyāvrti) viz – bhūh, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, matāḥ, janaḥ, tapāḥ, satyaṁ. These sapta lokaḥ correspond to saptra-bhūmikas namely Ṛṣi, Muni, Devarṣi, Maharṣi, Brahmarṣi, Vibhūti and Sant. All of them used to assembl under the guidance of Nārāyaṇa, the epoch-making tattvadarśin. This Jn͂ana-Yajn͂a is performed by means of five senses (pan͂ca-jn͂ānendriyas); mind, intellect and, ego- self of the man’ Sapta asya āsan paridhiyaḥ’ – these paridhiś are the widening circles of human consciousness. When a man rises above his animal passions and selfish desires, his purified mind yearns for Truth, for realization of the Ultimate Reality, for attainment of eternal peace and lasting fulfillment. This mental state is called ‘bhūh’. When he gets enlightened by the seers in Brahmavidya, he becomes Ṛṣi. This is the first essential ground (bhūmi) for sprouting the seed of Brahmavidya. The Gita describes it as –
तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया |
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिन: || (Gita IV.34)
‘In love and regards bow down to the ‘tattvaḍarśinaḥ’
Listen to them with full concentration. Get your doubts cleared by asking them questions. This śravan (श्रवण) is the first and most important stage in Jn͂ana-Yajn͂a.
Second phase – śravan’ is followed by ‘manana’ (मनन). It is pondering over what has been listened. He is called ‘Muni’.
Third phase is Devarṣi – a blessed sage who in his ecstasy of divine bliss travels everywhere spreading the message of peace.
Fourth phase is Maharṣi – who has attained sāksātkara of the Paramātman. He is skillful in imparting divine vision of the mumuksūs.
Fifth, sixth and seventh phases are known as Brahmarṣi, Vibhūt, and Sant, who are recognized by their Prāpti (Jn͂āna), Sthiti (Vijn͂āna) and ‘Acal sthiti’ (āstikya) who fearlessly act in the law of their being i.e. svadharma. Thus, the Jn͂āna-Yajnā culminates in selfless devotion (अनन्य भक्ती) of the Visvarupa Parameshwara.
Those who participate in this Jn͂āna-Yajnā are awakened minds who perceive this Yajnā as closely related to life and action everywhere. They undertake all works in this world, may it be political, social, economic, religious or spiritual to be done in a spirit of sacrifice. They see all life, all work as the sacrifice offered by Nature to the Puruṣa. Their liberation does not at all prevent them from acting selflessly for the welfare of the world. Thus, this Jn͂āna-Yajnā is fulfilled by ‘Svakarma-yoga’, the Yoga of desireless action, or the Yoga of wisdom in action. So long as we are dominated by the ego-sense we cannot act in the spirit of sacrifice but act for the satisfaction of the ‘ego’. This, personal egoism is the knot of bondage. This paṣu of ‘egoism’ (अहंकार) who sees that he is the doer of all actions (paṣyati iti paṣu) is to be totally sacrificed surrendered to the Puruṣa (Viśvarupa Puruṣottama). Then we become a Divine worker –
यस्य सर्वे समारम्भाः कामसंङकल्पवर्जिताः |
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहुः पण्डितं बुधा: || (Gita IV.19).
He whose works and undertakings are all free from personal egoism and attachment, whose ego-sense (ahaṁkāra) is burned up by the Fire of Divine wisdom of Jn͂āna-Yajnā, him the wise have called him ‘Pandita’, a man of wisdom. He receives what the divine will bring to him. He covets nothing, is jealous of none. What comes to him he accepts without repulsion and without attachment. He is ever satisfied with his ‘work as worship’ of the Supreme Puruṣa. How can he fall a prey to any kind of pollution, corruption or exploitation? We need such enlightened leadership in all fields of life, political, social, economic and spiritual. We need to orient our human resources in divine wisdom and vision through Jn͂āna-Yajn͂a as revealed by the Puruṣa-Sukta.
“त्रिःसप्त समिधा कृताः” It is now clear from the above discussion that ‘Samidhā’ here does not mean small dried pieces of branches (kindling sticks) of trees like Palāśa, āmra etc. to be placed around the sacrificial fire in ceremonial rituals of material yāgas. (dravya-yajn͂as).
‘त्रिसप्त’ – Three times – seven that is 21. Symbolically it represents – five gross elements (pan͂ca-bhūtas), five subtle elements (pan͂ca-tanmātras), five cognitive organs (pan͂ca-jn͂ānendriyas), five motor organs (pan͂ca-karmendriyas) and the mind as the 21st. In Jn͂āna-yajn͂a these 21 factors are to be illuminated, and set in harmony for selfless offerings to the Puruṣa. Seven circles of divine illumination has already been explained.
Under the divine leadership of Nārāyana seers and sages got themselves enlightened and devoted themselves to ananya-bhakti. They were committed to spread this Jn͂āna-yajn͂a throughout the world for establishing harmony and peace in the world.
यज्ञेन यज्ञम् अजयन्त देवाः तानि धर्माणि प्रथमानि आसन |
ते ह नाकं महिमानः सचन्त यत्र पूर्वे साध्याः सन्ति देवाः ||
By this Jn͂ānayajna seers sacrificed to Yajn̄a-Puruṣaa with svakarma-yajna: obeying the primal eternal Dharmas. Thus wise men of old attained perfection in Sevā-Dharma laying fourfold foundation of a societal pyramid.
This Puruṣa-Sukta leads us to march towards an enlightened humane society. It envisages the well-organized societies formed of the enlightened teachers, the warriors and statesmen, the farmers and traders, and the manual workers are all the Divine Being Himself in manifestation. So, there is no division or distinction of caste, colour or creed. It educates us to transcend these man-made barriers of narrow domestic walls, and participate in the ‘Vaiśvic’ culture of universal brotherhood. The vision of ‘Yajn͂a-Puruṣa’ reveals Divinity of ‘Sacrifice’ that is, to be ever in union with the Puruṣa (Puruṣottama), with Love and selfless service (ananya-bakti), enjoying fulfillment in the welfare of all (sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ). This Puruṣa-Yajn͂a is not at all concerned with any sort of idol-worship, observance of manifold ceremonial rites and rituals with selfish motives. This svakarma-yajna fulfills the deepest need of man – his aspiration for integral perfection, for the Universal Dharma (mānava-dharma) that leads to spiritual democracy (Svarājya) which aims to secure (a) economic and social justice to all people in the world, with top priority to the deprived and weaker sections of the community. (b) healthy social and political order in the individual nations and in the world, and (c) ecological harmony and a sense of belonging to the Universe. If this holistic vision of the Puruṣa-Sūkta becomes the integral part of education and training programs at all levels in all walks of life we shall see enlightened human beings who can transform this world into ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumkam’.
The variations, additions which we find in Puruṣa-Sūkta’s versions in Yajus, Sāman and Atharvan Saṁhitās; do help us in comprehending the vision of Nārāyana Ṛṣi. If we study the last six mantras in Vajasaneyi Yajurveda Samhita (31.1-22) as the running supplement to the hymn in the Ṛg-Saṁhita, we find divine revelations touching the climax point in the field of Brahmavidya. Readers of the Upaniṣads may be well surprised to discover the meanings of these mantras wherein the Puruṣa (Paraḃrahman, the Supreme Being) is perceived not as an abstraction (amūrta, nirguna, nirākara) but as the Absolute realization by the human intellect. The seer speaks of his direct experience of the Puruṣa:
वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तम् आदित्य वर्णं तमस: परस्तात् |
तमेव विदित्वाति मृत्युमेति नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय ||
(वाजसनेयी यजुर्वेद. 31.18)
I have realized this Supreme Being
Refulgent as the Sun beyond darkness;
By knowing Him alone one transcends death,
There is no other way to attain the Supreme.
Here, the seer makes a positive claim that he has realized the Puruṣa, and not merely concluded about Him as ‘neti neti’. With firm resolve he says, “I have known”, is of extreme value because it is not the expression of an opinion or belief but the statement of the direct vision of truth. The Vedic seer who first says,’Vdāhaṁ – I have known’ is the person speaking from direct experience (अपरोक्षानुभूति or अनुभव); the Upaniṣadic sage who borrows the expression, speaks from the ‘श्रुति’ – a fact that must have been quite clear to his contemporaries. Thus, the seer assures mankind that realization of the Supreme Being as the Puruṣa-Sukta reveals Him is perfect. Only with direct experience of the Puruṣa the wise transcend death and delusion; and never by chanting mantras in rituals, offerings (karma-kānda) nor by scholastic exercise, nor even by fearful austerities. The Gita again repeats it (XI .48).
Again there is a tradition among scholars who preach that the Puruṣa can be relized, through different paths – jn͂āna, karma, bhakti, upāsanā and so on. The Vedic seer says that these beliefs are not only erroneous but also anomalous from the commonsense point of view. As spiritual revelation, the firsthand experience (प्रत्यक्षानुभूति) alone has true value wherein jn͂āna-karma-bhakti is perceived as a threefold unity that cannot be separated from one another. There is no other way to realization except direct vision of Truth. ‘नान्यः पन्थ: विद्यते अयनाय’ has, this great significance. It decisively declares that direct experience (अनुभव) serves as the boat for crossing mortality. It is also an inducement to all spiritual aspirants who strive to attain the holistic vision of the Viśva-Puruṣa. But the question is, how can man attain to his own majesty and immortality? The answer of the Puruṣa-Sukta is – ‘Receive direct vision of Truth from the enlightened seers and sacrifice yourself completely (with body, mind and spirit) to the Purusa in love and gratitude.
In the present day world even the so called gurus pretend themselves as enlightened seers. They mislead the world asking their devotees to discard the world as mithyā, māyā. Here Mayananda Chaitanya comes to our rescue.
Like Nārāyana, Mayananda Chaitanya imparts us direct vision of Truth through his most celebrated work – The SarvāngaYoga and Divya-Drsti. According to him the universe indeed is God (Puruṣa); and this vast visible universe is His manifestation. This manifested world is as much real as the Puruṣa (Paramātman). What is manifested here is the Divine Reality. No word like ‘advaita’ or ‘māyā’ or ‘mithyā’ is seen in the texts of the Puruṣa-Sukta. The philosophy of the Puruṣa-Sukta is not pure Monism although it sees in One eternal Self (Aksara Puruṣa) the foundation of all cosmic existence. The SarvangaYoga reaches the climax of enlightenment when it revels “Puruṣottma” (Puruṣa) as the whole unified universe wherein the relativity of Kṣara (temporal) and Akṣara (eternal) disappears and mumūksūś are awakened to the Vedic revelation ‘Puruṣa eva idaṁ sarvaṁ’. This illumination enables man to transcend barriers of caste, colour, creed, race-superiority that divide mankind into thousands of cults and isms. Thus, the holistic vision of Puruṣa-Sukta, can help us to put an end to all philosophical and scientific controversies in the world and inspires us to abstain from the major vices of our time viz. exploitation of human and natural resources, pollution of environment and mid-region space (antarikṣa), and corruption of thought and action. Our object, then, in studying Puruṣa-Sukta will not be scholastic scrutiny or scientific, metaphysical speculation of its text. Let us approach it for its holistic vision and universal message on which humanity can march ‘Towards an enlightened and humane society.