Purusha Suktam (Rig Veda 10.90)

The Purusha Sukta is an important part of the Rig-veda ( It also appears in the Taittiriya
Aranyaka (3.12,13), the Vajasaneyi Samhita (31.1-6), the Sama-veda Samhita (6.4), and the Atharva-veda Samhita (19.6). An explanation of
parts of it can also be found in the
Shatapatha Brahman, the Taittiriya Brahmana, and the Shvetashvatara
Upanishad. The Mudgalopanishad
gives a nice summary of the entire Purusha Sukta. The contents of the
Sukta have also been reflected and
elaborated in the Bhagavata Purana
(2.5.35 to 2.6.1-29) and in the
Mahabharata (Mokshadharma Parva
351 and 352). Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta) is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the “Cosmic Being”.
One version of the suktam has 16
verses, 15 in the anushtubh meter, and the final one in the trishtubh meter. Another version of the suktam consists
of 24 verses. The most commonly used Sukta is 24 mantras or
stanzas version. The first 18 mantras are
designated as the Purvanarayana,
and the rest as the Uttaranarayana. This is probably in honour of Rishi Naranayan, the seer of Purush Suktam. Sometimes 6 more mantras are added. This part is called the
Vaishnavanuvaka since it has been
taken from another well known hymn called the Vishnusukta, a part of the
Rig-veda Samhita. Though the
mantras of the Uttaranarayana and the Vaishnavanuvaka do not seem to
have any coherence with the 16
mantras of the Rig-veda Samhita,
tradition has somehow tied them
together. The Purusha Sukta is
a most commonly used Vedic Sanskrit hymn recited in almost all Vedic
rituals and ceremonies. It is often
used during the worship of the Deity of Vishnu or Narayana in the temple,
installation and fire ceremonies, or
during the daily recitation of Sanskrit
literature or for one’s meditation.
The Purusha Sukta is a rather difficult
text to explain in a modern way. This
is primarily because of the archaic
language that does not always lend
itself to interpretations based on the
classical Sanskrit, and that many of the words can be taken in several
different ways, both literally and
symbolically. Nonetheless, the Purusha Sukta gives the essence of the philosophy of
Vedanta, the Vedic tradition, as well
as the Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavata
Purana. It incorporates the principles
of meditation (upasana), knowledge (jnana), devotion (bhakti), and rituals
and duties (dharma and karma).
Content of Purush Sukt
Some scholars are of the view that some verses of Purusha sukta are later interpolations to the Rigveda.[1][2] The Purusha sukta gives a description
of the spiritual unity of the universe. It
presents the nature of Purusha or the
cosmic being as both immanent in the
manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[3] The sukta holds that From this being, the original creative will (ldentified with Viswakarma, Hiranyagarbha or Prajapati) proceeds and causes the projection of the universe in space and time.[4] The sukta, in the seventh verse,
hints at the organic connectedness of
the various classes of society. The Purusha is defined in verses 2 to 5
of the sukta and described as a being who pervades everything conscious and
unconscious universally. Purush is poetically depicted as a being with thousand
heads, eyes and legs, enveloping the earth from all sides and transcending it
by ten fingers length – or transcending
in all ten directions. It is held that all manifestation,
in past present and future, is the Purusha alone.[3] Sukt also proclaims that Purush transcends his
creation. Finally, his glory is held to be even greater than
the portrayal in this sukta. Creation Verses 5-15 hold the creation of the Rig Veda. Creation is described to have started with the origination of Virat or
the cosmic body from the Purusha. In
Virat, omnipresent intelligence
manifests itself which causes the
appearance of diversity. In the verses
following, it is held that Purusha through a sacrifice of himself, brings
forth the avian, forest-dwelling and
domestic animals, the three Vedas, the metres (of the mantras). Then follows a verse which states that from his mouth,
arms, thighs, feet the four Varnas (classes) are born. This four varna-related verse is controversial and is
believed by many scholars, such as Max Müller, to be a corruption and a medieval or modern era insertion into the text.[1][2] After the verse, the sukta states that
the moon takes birth from the
Purusha’s mind and the sun from his
eyes. Indra and Agni descend from his mouth and from his vital breath, air is
born. The firmament comes from his
navel, the heavens from his head, the
earth from his feet and quarters of space from his ears.[3] Through this creation, underlying unity of human,
cosmic and divine realities is espoused,
for all are seen arising out of same original reality, the Purusha.[5] Yajna The Purusha sukta holds that the world
is created by and out of a Yajna or sacrifice of the Purusha. All forms of
existence are held to be grounded in
this primordial Yajna. In the seventeenth verse, the concept of Yajna
itself is held to have arisen out of this
original sacrifice. In the final verses,
Yajna is extolled as the primordial energy ground for all existence.[6]
The sukta gives an expression to
immanence of radical unity in diversity
and is therefore, seen as the
foundation of the Vaishnava thought, Bhedabheda school of philosophy and Bhagavata theology.[7] The concept of the Purusha is from the
Samkhya Philosophy which is traced to
the Indus Valley period. It seems to be
an interpolation into the Rig veda since
it is out of character with the other hymns dedicated to nature gods.[8] The Purusha sukta is repeated with
some variations in the Atharva Veda (19.6). Sections of it also occur in the Panchavimsha Brahmana, Vajasaneyi Samhita and the Taittiriya Aranyaka.[9] Among Puranic texts, the sukta has been elaborated in the Bhagavata Purana (2.5.35 to 2.6.1-29) and in the Mahabharata (Mokshadharma Parva 351 and 352
Regarding authenticity of Purusha Sukta, many 19th and early 20th century
western scholars questioned as to
when parts or all of Purusha Sukta were
composed, and whether some of these
verses were present in the ancient
version of Rigveda. They suggest it was interpolated in post-Vedic era,[10] and is a relatively modern origin of Purusha Sukta.[1][2] B. V. Kamesvara Aiyar, another 19th
century scholar, on the other hand, disputed this idea:[15]
The Purusha Sukta varna verse is now
generally considered to have been
inserted at a later date into the Vedic text, possibly as a charter myth.[16] Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a
professor of Sanskrit and Religious
studies, state, “there is no evidence in
the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-
subdivided and overarching caste
system”, and “the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and,
both then and later, a social ideal rather than a social reality”.[16]
1. a b c David Keane (2007), Caste- based Discrimination in International
Human Rights Law, ISBN 978-0754671725, pp 26-27.
2. a b c Raghwan (2009), Discovering the Rigveda A Bracing text for our
Times, ISBN 978-8178357782, pp 77-88.
3. a b c The Purusha sukta in Daily Invocations by Swami Krishnananda.
4. Krishnananda, Swami. A Short History of Religious and Philosophic
Thought in India. Divine Life Society, p. 19.
5. Koller, The Indian Way 2006, p. 44.
6. Koller, The Indian Way 2006, pp. 45-47.
7. Haberman, David L. River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India . University of California Press; 1 edition (September
10, 2006). P. 34. ISBN 0520247906. 8. S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1.
9. Visvanathan, Cosmology and Critique 2011, p. 148.
10. Nagarajan, V (1994). Origins of Hindu social system. South Asia Books.
pp. 16, 121. ISBN 978-81-7192-017-4.
11. J. Muir (1868), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the
People of India – their religion and institutions at Google Books, 2nd Edition, pp 12.
12. Albert Friedrich Weber, Indische Studien, herausg. von at Google Books, Volume 10, pp 1-9. with footnotes (in German); For a
translation, see page page 14 of Original Sanskrit Texts at Google Books.
13. Colebrooke, Miscallaneous Essays Volume 1, WH Allen & Co, London, see footnote at page 309.
14. Müller (1859), A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature , Williams & Norgate, London, pp 570-571.
15. Aiyar, B.V. Kamesvara (1898), The Purusha Sukta, G.A. Natesan, Madras , introduction, p. 7 16. a b Jamison, Stephanie; et al. (2014). The Rigveda : The Earliest
Religious Poetry of India. Oxford
University Press. pp. 5758. ISBN 978-0-19-937018-4.
Koller, John M. (2006), The Indian Way: An Introduction to the
Philosophies & Religions of India (2nd
ed.), Pearson Education, ISBN 0131455788
Visvanathan, Meera (2011), “Cosmology and Critique: Charting a
History of the Purusha Sukta”, in Roy,
Kumkum, Insights and Interventions: Essays in Honour of Uma Chakravarti , Delhi: Primus Books, pp. 143–168, ISBN 978-93-80607-22-1.
Further reading
1. Coomaraswamy, Ananda, Rigveda 10.90.1: aty atiṣṭhad daśāṅgulám,
Journal of the American Oriental
Society, vol. 66, no. 2 (1946), 145-161.
2. Deo, Shankarrao (Member of India’s Constituent Assembly and co-author of
the Constitution of India),
Upanishadateel daha goshti OR Ten
stories from the Upanishads,
Continental Publication, Pune, India,
(1988), 41-46.
3. Swami Amritananda’s translation of Sri Rudram and Purushasuktam,,
Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai.
4. Patrice Lajoye, “Purusha”, Nouvelle Mythologie Comparée / New
Comparative Mythologie, 1, 2013: http://
t.com/archive/2013/02/03/patrice- lajoye-purusha.html
Concept of Purush in Indian tradition
Purusha is an extremely complex concept whose meaning has
evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Its meaning and interpretation has depended on the source and
historical timeline. It may variously mean the cosmic
man, the Self, Consciousness and Universal principle.[1][2][3] In early Vedas, Purusa appears to mean a cosmic
man whose sacrifice by the gods created all life.[4] This was one of many creation theories discussed in the Vedas. The idea parallels Norse Ymir,[5] with the myth’s origin in Proto-Indo- European religion.[6] In the Upanishads, the Purusa concept
no longer meant a being or cosmic
man and its meaning evolved to an
abstract essence of Self, Spirit and the
Universal Principle that is eternal,
indestructible, without form and all pervasive.[4] The view of the immanence of the
Purusha in manifestation and yet his
transcendence of it is described in the sukt is similar to the
viewpoint held by panentheists. The Purusa concept is explained with the concept of Prakrti in
the Upanishads. The universe is
envisioned, in these ancient Sanskrit
texts, as a combination of perceivable
material reality and non-perceivable,
non-material laws and principles of nature.[3][7] Material reality, or Prakrti, is everything that has changed, can
change and is subject to cause and
effect. Purusa is the Universal principle
that is unchanging, uncaused but is
present everywhere and the reason why
Prakrti changes, evolves all the time and why there is cause and effect.[7] Purusa is what connects everything and
everyone, according to various schools
of Hinduism. However, there is a great diversity of views within
various schools of Hinduism about the
definition, scope and nature of Purusa. [2]
Definition and description of Purusha being a complex concept, its
meaning evolved over time in the
philosophical traditions of
Hinduism as well. During the Vedic period,
Purusa concept was one of several
theories offered for the creation of universe.[8] Purusa, in Rigveda, was described as a being, who becomes a
sacrificial victim of gods, and whose
sacrifice creates all life forms including human beings.[4] In the Upanishads and later texts of
Hindu philosophy, the Purusa concept
moved away from the Vedic definition
of Purusa. The
concept flowered into a more complex abstraction.[9] Both Samkhya[11] and Yoga schools of Hinduism state that there are two
ultimate realities whose interaction
accounts for all experiences and
universe – Prakrti (matter) and Purusa (spirit).[3][12] In other words, the universe is envisioned as a combination
of perceivable material reality and non-
perceivable, non-material laws and
principles of nature. Material reality, or
Prakrti, is everything that has changed,
can change and is subject to cause and effect. Universal principle, or Purusa, is that which is unchanging (aksara)[2] and is uncaused. The animating causes,
fields and principles of nature is Purusa
in Hindu philosophy. Hinduism refers to
Purusa as the soul of the universe, the
universal spirit present everywhere, in
everything and everyone, all the times. Purusa is Universal Principle that is
eternal, indestructible, without form
and all pervasive. It is Purusa in the
form of natures laws and principles
that operate in the background to
regulate, guide and direct change, evolution, cause and effect.[3] It is Purusa, in Hindu concept of existence,
that breathes life into matter, is the source of all consciousness,[2] one that creates oneness in all life forms, in all
of humanity, and the essence of Self. It
is Purusa, according to Hinduism, why
the universe operates, is dynamic and evolves, as against being static.[7] Both Samkhya and Yoga school holds
that the path to moksha (release, Self-
realization) includes the realization of Purusha.[13]
The abstract idea Purusa is extensively
discussed in various Upanishads, and
referred interchangeably as maha-
atman and brahman (not to be confused with Brahmin).[2] Sutra literature refers to a similar concept using the word puṃs. Rishi Angiras of the Atmopanishad belonging to the Atharvaveda explains that Purusha, the dweller in the body, is
three-fold: the Bahyatman (the Outer-
Atman) which is born and dies; the
Antaratman (the Inner-Atman) which
comprehends the whole range of
material phenomena, gross and subtle, with which the Jiva concerns himself, and the Paramatman which is all- pervading, unthinkable, indescribable,
is without action and has no Samskaras.[14] The Vedanta Sutras state janmādy asya yatah, meaning that ‘The Absolute
Truth is that from which everything else
emanates’ Bhagavata Purana [S.1.1.1].
For the theistic schools of Hinduism, there is no consensus among various these schools of
Hinduism on the definition of Purusa,
and it is left to each school and
individual to reach their own
conclusions. For example, one of many
theistic traditions script such as Kapilasurisamvada, credited to another
ancient Hindu philosopher named
Kapila, first describes purusa in a
manner similar to Samkhya-Yoga
schools above, but then proceeds to
describe buddhi (intellect) as second purusa, and ahamkara (ego) as third
purusa. Such pluralism and diversity of thought within Hinduism [15] implies that the term purusa is a complex term
with diverse meanings.
As for the Rigvedic justification of Varna system in Hindu society, in one verse of Purusha sukta (10:90.11), Varna is portrayed as a result of human beings
created from different parts of the
body of the divinity Purusha. This
Purusha Sukta verse is controversial
and is believed by many scholars, such
as Max Müller, to be a corruption and medieval or modern era insertion into Veda,[16][17] because unlike all other major concepts in the Vedas including those of Purusha,[18] the four varnas are never mentioned anywhere else in
any of the Vedas, and because this
verse is missing in some manuscript
prints found in different parts of India.
Notes and references
1. Purusha Encyclopedia Britannica (2013).
2. a b c d e Angelika Malinar, Hindu Cosmologies, in Jessica Frazier (Editor)
– A Continuum Companion to Hindu
Studies, ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0, pp 67.
3. a b c d Karl Potter, Presuppositions of Indias Philosophies, Motilal
Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0779-0, pp 105-109.
4. a b c Klaus K. Klostermair (2007), A survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State
University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-7081-7, pp 87,
5. Encyclopædia Britannica. Edition: 11 V. 19 – 1911 page 143.
6. Patrice Lajoye, “Puruṣa”, Nouvelle Mythologie Comparée / New
Comparative Mythologie, 1, 2013: http://nouvellemythologiecomparee.
hautetfort.com/archive/2013/02/03/ patrice-lajoye-purusha.html.
7. a b c Theos Bernard (1947), The Hindu Philosophy , The Philosophical Library, New York, pp 69-72.
8. An example of alternate theory is Nasadiya Sukta, the last book of the
Vedas, which suggests a great heat
created universe from void. See: Klaus
K. Klostermair (2007), A survey of
Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State University
of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-7081-7, pp 88.
9. Klaus K. Klostermair (2007), A survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State
University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-7081-7, pp 167-169.
10. Klaus K. Klostermair (2007), A survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State
University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-7081-7, pp 170-171.
11. A school of Hinduism that considers reason, as against Nyaya school’s logic or Mīmāmsā school’s tradition, as the proper source of
12. Jessica Frazier, A Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies, ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0, pp 24-25, 78.
13. Angelika Malinar, Hindu Cosmologies, in Jessica Frazier (Editor)
– A Continuum Companion to Hindu
Studies, ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0, pp 78-79.
14. Swami Madhavananda. Minor Upanishads . Advaita Ashrama . p. 11.
15. Angelika Malinar, Hindu Cosmologies, in Jessica Frazier (Editor)
– A Continuum Companion to Hindu
Studies, ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0, pp 80.
16. David Keane (2007), Caste-based Discrimination in International Human
Rights Law, ISBN 978-0754671725, pp 26-27.
17. Raghwan (2009), Discovering the Rigveda A Bracing text for our Times, ISBN 978-8178357782, pp 77-88.
18. Rigveda 10/81 & Yajurveda 17/19/20, 25.
19. Colebrooke, Miscallaneous Essays Volume 1, WH Allen & Co, London, see footnote at page 309.
20. Müller (1859), A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature , Williams & Norgate, London, pp 570-571.
21. N. Jabbar (2011), Historiography and Writing Postcolonial India,
Routledge, ISBN 978-0415672269, pp 149-150.

सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात् । स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वात्यतिष्ठद्दशाङुलम् ॥१॥
Sahasra-Shiirssaa Purussah Sahasra-
Akssah Sahasra-Paat |
Sa Bhuumim Vishvato Vrtva-Atya [i]- Tisstthad-Dasha-Angulam ||1||
1.1: The Purusha (The Universal Being) has Thousand Heads, Thousand Eyes and Thousand Feet (Thousand signifies innumerable which points to the
omnipresence of the Universal Being),
1.2: He envelops the World from all sides (i.e. He pervades each part of the
Creation), and extends beyond in the Ten Directions ( represented by Ten Fingers ),
पुरुष एवेदं सर्वं यद्भूतं यच्च भव्यम् । उतामृतत्वस्येशानो यदन्नेनातिरोहति ॥२॥
Purussa Evedam Sarvam Yad-Bhuutam
Yacca Bhavyam |
Uta-Amrtatvasye[a-I]shaano Yad- Annena-Ati-Rohati ||2||
Meaning: 2.1: The Purusha is indeed All this (Creation) in essence; That which existed in the Past, and that which will exist in the Future,
2.2: Everything (i.e the whole Creation) is woven by the Immortal essence of the Great Lord (Purusha); by becoming Food of which (i.e. by getting consumed in
Whose Immortal essence through
surrender) one transcends the gross world (and becomes Immortal).
एतावानस्य महिमातो ज्यायाँश्च पूरुषः । पादोऽस्य विश्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवि ॥३॥
Etaavaanasya Mahima-Ato Jyaayaash-Ca
Puurussah |
Paado-Asya Vishvaa Bhuutaani Tri-Paad-
Asya-Amrtam Divi ||3||
Meaning: 3.1: The Purusha is Greater than all the Greatness (which can be expressed by words),
3.2: His One Foot has become all these (visible) Worlds, and His Three Feet rests in the Immortal World of the Transcendence.
त्रिपादूर्ध्व उदैत्पूरुषः पादोऽस्येहाभवत्पुनः । ततो विष्वङ् व्यक्रामत्साशनानशने अभि ॥ ४॥
Tri-Paad-Uurdhva Udait-Puurussah Paado-
Asye[a-I]ha-Abhavat-Punah | Tato Vissvang Vya [i-A]kraamat- Saashana-Anashane Abhi ||4||
Meaning: 4.1: The Three Feet of the Purusha is raised high Above (in Transcendental Realm), and His One Foot becomes the Creation again and again.
4.2: There, in the Creation, He pervades all the Living ( who eats ) and the Non-Living ( who does not eat ) beings.
तस्माद्विराळजायत विराजो अधि पूरुषः । स जातो अत्यरिच्यत पश्चाद्भूमिमथो पुरः ॥५॥
Tasmaad-Viraadda-Jaayata Viraajo Adhi
Puurussah |
Sa Jaato Atya[i-A]ricyata Pashcaad- Bhuumim-Atho Purah ||5||
Meaning: 5.1: From Him (i.e. the Purusha) was born the Virat; (the Virat came into being) from the presence of the Shining Purusha (Who remained as the background or
substratum of Virat);
5.2: He (i.e. the Virat) created the Earth, by manifesting Her from His own being as substratum.
यत्पुरुषेण हविषा देवा यज्ञमतन्वत । वसन्तो अस्यासीदाज्यं ग्रीष्म इध्मः शरद्धविः ॥६॥
Yat-Purussenna Havissaa Devaa Yajnyam-
Atanvata |
Vasanto Asya-Asiida-Ajyam Griissma
Idhmah Sharad-[d]Havih ||6||
Meaning: 6.1: With the Purusha as the (Sacrificial) Fire, the Deva (the Shining One, referring to Virat) continued the Yagya (Sacrifice of creation),
6.2: Spring was (created as) the clarified Butter (of that Yagya), Summer was (created as) the Fuel (of that Yagya), and Autumn was (created as) the Havis (Sacrificial offering of that Yagya).
तं यज्ञं बर्हिषि प्रौक्षन्पुरुषं जातमग्रतः । तेन देवा अयजन्त साध्या ऋषयश्च ये ॥७॥
Tam Yajnyam Barhissi Pra Ukssan-
Purussam Jaatam-Agratah |
Tena Devaa Ayajanta Saadhyaa Rssayash-
Ca Ye ||7||
Meaning: 7.1: The First Divine Men were created as the Holy Water sprinkled with the Kusa Grass in that Yagya (Sacrifice of Creation).
7.2: The First Divine Men were the Sadhya Devas and the Rishis, Who were created by Him, the Deva (the Shining One, referring to Virat), Who performed the Yagya. (These Rishis were not human but divine Rishis like Saptarshis created
directly by Virat).
तस्माद्यज्ञात्सर्वहुतः सम्भृतं पृषदाज्यम् । पशून्ताँश्चक्रे वायव्यानारण्यान् ग्राम्याश्च ये ॥८॥
Sambhrtam Prssadaajyam |
Pashuun-Taashcakre Vaayavyaan-
Aarannyaan Graamyaash-Ca Ye ||8||
Meaning: 8.1: From the Complete Offering of His (i.e. Virat’s) Yagya (Sacrifice of Creation) was obtained Ghee mixed with coagulated Milk, …
8.2: … which (i.e. the Ghee and Milk) are (the created) Animals, both of Air (Birds) and of Forests (Wild Animals) and Villages (Domestic Animals).
तस्माद्यज्ञात्सर्वहुत ऋचः सामानि जज्ञिरे । छन्दांसि जज्ञिरे तस्माद्यजुस्तस्मादजायत ॥९॥
Tasmaad-Yajnyaat-Sarvahuta Rcah
Saamaani Jajnyire |
Chandaamsi Jajnyire Tasmaad-Yajus-
Tasmaad-Ajaayata ||9||
Meaning: 9.1: From the Complete Offering of His (i.e. Virat’s) Yagya (Sacrifice of Creation) was born the Rig Veda and Sama Veda,
9.2: The Chandas (Vedic Meters) were born from Him, and the Yajur Veda was born from Him.
तस्मादश्वा अजायन्त ये के चोभयादतः । गावोः ह जज्ञिरे तस्मात् तस्माज्जाता अजावयः ॥१०॥ Tasmaad-Ashvaa Ajaayanta Ye Ke Co [a- U]bhayaadatah | Gaavoh Ha Jajnyire Tasmaat Tasmaaj-
Jaataa Ajaa-Vayah ||10||
Meaning: 10.1: From Him (i.e. Virat) was born the Horses, and all those animals who has teeth in both jaws,
10.2: From Him (i.e. Virat) was born the Cows, and from Him was born all types of Goats.
यत्पुरुषं व्यदधुः कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् । मुखं किमस्य कौ बाहू का ऊरू पादा उच्येते ॥११॥
Yat-Purussam Vya [i-A]dadhuh Katidhaa Vya[i-A]kalpayan | Mukham Kimasya Kau Baahuu Kaa Uuruu
Paadaa Ucyete ||11||
Meaning: 11.1: What did the Purusha (i.e. Virat) hold within Him? How many parts were assigned in His Huge Form?
11.2: What was His Mouth? What was His Arms? What was His Thighs? And what was His Feet?
ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः । ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ॥१२॥
Braahmanno-Asya Mukham-Aasiid
Baahuu Raajanyah Krtah |
Uuruu Tad-Asya Yad-Vaishyah
Padbhyaam Shuudro Ajaayata ||12||
Meaning: 12.1: The Brahmanas were His Mouth, the Kshatriyas became His Arms,
12.2: The Vaishyas were His Thighs, and from His pair of Feet were born the Shudras.
चन्द्रमा मनसो जातश्चक्षोः सूर्यो अजायत । मुखादिन्द्रश्चाग्निश्च प्राणाद्वायुरजायत ॥१३॥ Candramaa Manaso Jaatash-Cakssoh
Suuryo Ajaayata |
Praannaad-Vaayur-Ajaayata ||13||
Meaning: 13.1: The Moon was born from His Mind and the Sun was born from His Eyes,
13.2: Indra and Agni (Fire) were born from His Mouth, and Vayu (Wind) was born from His Breath.
नाभ्या आसीदन्तरिक्षं शीर्ष्णो द्यौः समवर्तत । पद्भ्यां भूमिर्दिशः श्रोत्रात्तथा लोकाँ अकल्पयन् ॥१४॥
Naabhyaa Aasiid-Antarikssam Shiirssnno
Dyauh Samavartata |
Padbhyaam Bhuumir-Dishah Shrotraat-
Tathaa Lokaa Akalpayan ||14||
Meaning: 14.1: His Navel became the Antariksha (the intermediate Space between Heaven
and Earth), His Head sustained the Heaven,
14.2: From His Feet the Earth (was sustained), and from His Ears the Directions (were sustained); in this manner all the Worlds were regulated by Him.
सप्तास्यासन् परिधयस्त्रिः सप्त समिधः कृताः । देवा यद्यज्ञं तन्वाना अबध्नन्पुरुषं पशुम् ॥१५॥
Saptaasya[i-A]asan Paridhayas-Trih Sapta Samidhah Krtaah |
Devaa Yadyajnyam Tanvaanaa Abadhnan-
Purussam Pashum ||15||
Meaning: 15.1: By making Seven Enclosures with Three times Seven sacrificial Firewood (symbolically representing various koshas
etc), … 15.2: … the Deva (the Shining One referring to Virat) in that Yagya (Sacrifice of Creation), bound the infinite expanse of the Purusha as (apparently) finite living beings (Pashu).
यज्ञेन यज्ञमयजन्त देवास्तानि धर्माणि प्रथमान्यासन् । ते ह नाकं महिमानः सचन्त यत्र पूर्वे साध्याः सन्ति देवाः ॥ १६॥
Yajnyena Yajnyam-Ayajanta Devaas-
Taani Dharmaanni Prathamaanya[i- A]asan | Te Ha Naakam Mahimaanah Sa-Canta
Yatra Puurve Saadhyaah Santi Devaah ||
Meaning: 16.1: The Devas performed the external Yagya by meditating on the real Yagya (i.e. contemplating on the Purusha Who is
Shining behind everything); And thus they first obtained the Dharma (based on the Oneness of the Purusha),
16.2: By Meditating on the Greatness of the Chidakasha (Blissful Spiritual Sky behind everyone, which is the essence of
the Purusha), during those earlier times, the Spiritual Aspirants became the Shining One themselves.

Twenty four verse vesion of Purush Sukt

Peace Invocation
Om taccham yoravrini mahe ghatun yajnaya ghatun yajnapataye daivi svastirastu naha svastir manushebhyaha urdhvam jigatu bheshajam sham no astu dvipade sham chatushpade Om shantih shantih shantihi
We worship and pray to the Supreme Lord
for the welfare of all beings. May all
miseries and shortcomings leave us
forever so that we may always sing for
the Lord during the holy fire ceremonies.
May all medicinal herbs grow in potency so that all diseases may be cured. May the
gods rain peace on us. May all the two-
legged creatures be happy, and may all
the four-legged creatures also be happy.
May there be peace in the hearts of all
beings in all realms.
Text One
Om sahasra shirsha purushaha sahasrakshas sahasrapat sa bhumim vishvato vritva atyatishthad dhashangulam
The Purusha (the Supreme Being) has a
thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a
thousand feet. He has enveloped this
world from all sides and has (even)
transcended it by ten angulas or inches.
Text Two
purusha evedagam sarvam yadbhutam yaccha bhavyam utamritatva syeshanaha yadanne natirohati
All this is verily the Purusha. All that
which existed in the past or will come
into being in the future (is also the
Purusha). Also, he is the Lord of
immortality. That which grows profusely
by food (is also the Purusha).
Text Three
etavanasya mahima ato jyayagamshcha purushaha padosya vishva bhutani tripadasya mritam divi
So much is His greatness. However, the
Purusha is greater than this. All the
beings form only a quarter (part of) Him.
The three-quarter part of His, which is
eternal, is established in the spiritual
Text Four
tripadurdhva udaitpurushaha padosyeha bhavatpunaha tato vishvajya kramat sashana ashane abhi The Purusha with the three-quarters (of
His energy) ascended above (the spiritual
energy). His one quarter of material
energy becomes this creation again (and
again). Then He pervades this universe
comprising a variety of sentient beings and insentient objects.
Text Five
tasmad viradajayata
virajo adhi purushah sa jato atyarichyata pashchad bhumimatho puraha From Him (the Adipurusha or original
Supreme Being) was born the Virat (or
Virat Purusha, the immense universal
form). Making this Virat as the
substratum (another) purusha (or being,
Brahma) (was born). As soon as he was born, he multiplied himself. Later, he
created this earth and then, the bodies
(of the living beings).
Text Six
yatpurushena havisha deva yajnam atanvata vasanto asyasidajyam grishma idhmash sharaddhavihi
When the devas (the demigods or beings
of light) performed a yajna (or sacrificial
ritual), using the Purusha as the havis
(sacrificial material) for the yajna (ritual),
the Vasanta (spring) became the ajya
(ghee), the Grishma (summer) served as idhma (pieces of wood) and the sharad
(autumn) filled the place of havis
(oblatory material like the purodasha or
rice-cake). Text Seven
saptasyasan paridhayaha trissapta samidhah kritaha deva yadjajnam tanvanaha abadhnan purusham pashum
For this (yajna or spiritual ceremony)
there were seven paridhis (fuel pieces
serving as borders). And, twenty-one
items were made the samit or sacrificial
fuel sticks. When the devas were
performing this yajna or ceremony, they tied the purusha (himself) as the pashu
(sacrificial animal).
Text Eight
tam yajnam barhishipraukshan purusham jatamagrataha tena deva ayajantaha sadhya rishayashchaye
The devas, the sadhyas and the rishis
performed the sacrifice by using that
Purusha as the means of yajna, the
Purusha who had been born in the
beginning, after sprinkling him with
water by the barhis (or sacrificial grass).
Text Nine
tasmad yajnat sarvahutaha sambhritam vrishadajyam pashugamstya gashchakre vayavyan aranyan gramashcaye From that yajna (or sacrificial ritual)
wherein the Cosmic Being was Himself
the oblation, was produced the prasajya
(or curds mixed with ghee). Birds flying in
the air, wild animals of the forest as also
the domesticated animals of the villages were also produced.
Text Ten
tasmad yajnat sarvahutaha richassamani jijignire chandhagamsi jijignire tasmat yajus tasmad ajayata
From that yajna (or sacrifice) wherein the
Cosmic Being was Himself the oblation,
were born the riks (the mantras of the
Rig-veda) and the samans (the mantras of
the Sama-veda). From that (yajna) the
metres (like Gayatri) were born. From that (yajna again) the yujas (the Yajur-veda) was born.
Text Eleven
tasmadashva ajayata ye ke cobhaya dataha gavo ha jijignire tasmat
tasmad jnata ajavayaha
From that were born the horses, as also
animals (like donkeys and mules) which
have two rows of teeth. From that were
born the cattle. From that (again) were
born goats and sheep.
Text Twelve
yatpurusham vyadadhuhu kadhita vyakalpayan mukham kimasya kau bahu kavuru padavuchayate
(Now some questions are raised by the
sages:) When the gods decided to
(mentally) sacrifice the Viratpurusha (and
produce further creation), in how many
ways did they do it? What became of his
face or mouth? What became of his two arms? What became of His two thighs?
What were (the products of) the two feet
Text Thirteen
brahmanosya mukhamasit bahu rajanyah kritaha uru tadasya yadvaishyaha padhyagam shudro ajayata
From His face (or the mouth) came the
brahmanas. From His two arms came the
rajanya (the kshatriyas). From His two
thighs came the vaishyas. From His two
feet came the shudras.
Text Fourteen
chandrama manaso jataha chakshoh suryo ajayata mukhad indrash chagnishcha pranadvayur ajayata
From His mind was born the moon. From
His two eyes was born the sun. From His
mouth were born Indra and Agni. From
His breath was born the air.
Text Fifteen
nabhya asidanta riksham shirshno dyauh samavartata padhyam bhumirdishash shrotrat tada lokagamm akalpayan
From (His) navel was produced the
antariksha (the space between the earth
and the heavens). Dyuloka (or heaven)
came into existence from His head. The
bhumi (the earth) evolved out of His feet,
and deek (or spacial directions) from His ears. Similarly (the demigods) produced
the worlds (too).
Text Sixteen
vedahametam purusham mahantam adityavarnam tamasastu pare sarvani rupani vichitya dhiraha namani kritva abhivadan yadaste
“I know (through intuitive experience)
this great Purusha (the Supreme Being),
the wise one, who, having created the
various forms and the nomenclatures (for
those forms), deals with them by those
names, and who is beyond darkness and is brilliant like the sun.”
Text Seventeen
dhata purastadya mudajahara shakrah pravidvan pradishashcha tasraha tamevam vidvan amrita iha bhavati nanyah pantha ayanaya vidyate
In the ancient days, Prajapati (Brahma)
praised Him. Indra who knows all the four
quarters also spoke about Him. Anyone
who knows Him thus, will become
immortal even in this life. For attaining
liberation there is no other path (than knowledge of this Purusha, the Supreme
Text Eighteen
yajnena yajnam ayajanta devaha tani dharmani pradhamanyasan te ha nakam mahimanas sacante
yatra purve sadhyah santi devaha
The (demi)gods worshiped (the Supreme
Creator in the form of) yajna through
yajna (sacrifical ceremonies). Those very
processes became the primary dharmas
(laws guiding humanity). Those great
ones attain that heaven where the ancient devas (demigods) and sadhyas
Text Nineteen
adbhyas sambhutah prithivyai rasacca vishvakarmanas samavartatadhi tasya tvashta vidadhad rupameti tatpurushasya vishvamajanamagre
The Viratpurusha manifested Himself
from out of (the all-pervading) water as
also the essence of the element of earth.
This Viratpurusha was born out of the
greatness of the Paramapurusha, the
Creator. The (Paramapurusha, known as) Tvashta engaged Himself in the act of
creating (the fourteen planetary systems),
(which form of the expanded) figure (of
the Viratpurusha). (Thus) the entire
creation (related to the Viratpurusha)
came into existence in the very beginning of creation.
Text Twenty
vedahametam purusham mahantam adityavarnam tamasah parastat tamevam vidvan amrita iha bhavati nanyah pantha vidyate’yanaya
“I have known that great Purusha
(Supreme Being) who is brilliant like the
sun and who is beyond all darkness. One
who knows Him thus becomes immortal
(even) here. There is no other path for
liberation than this.”
Text Twenty one
prajapatishcharati garbhe antaha ajayamano bahudha vijayate tasya dhirah parijananti yonim marichinam padamicchanti vedhasaha
Prajapati (the Supreme Creator) moves
inside the cosmic womb. (Though) unborn
He takes birth in a variety of ways. The
wise ones know His (real nature) as the
origin (of the universe). The (secondary)
creators desire to attain the positions of Marichi and others.
Text Twenty two
yo devebhya atapati yo devanam purohitaha purvo yo devebhyo jataha namo ruchaya brahmaye Obeisances to Him, the self-luminous
Brahman, who shines for the (demi)gods,
who is the leader of the rituals of the
gods and who was born even before the
Text Twenty three
rucham brahmam janayantaha deva agre tadabruvan yastvaivam brahmano vidyat tasya deva asanvashe
In the beginning of creation, the gods,
manifesting the light of Brahman,
addressed Brahman thus: “That brahmana
who realizes (You) thus, all the gods will
come under his control.”
hrishcha te lakshmishcha patnyau ahoratre parshve nakshatrani rupam ashvinau vyattam ishtam manishana amun manishana sarvam manishana Om shanti shanti shantihi
O Purusha! The goddesses Hri (modesty)
and Sri (Lakshmi, wealth) are Your
consorts. Day and night are Your lateral
limbs. The stars are Your form. The
Ashvins are your widely opened (mouth).
(O Purusha) fulfill our desire for self- knowledge as also our desire for the
enjoyments of this world (like longevity,
cows, and horses). Give us all that we
need. Om, let there be peace, peace,


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