Page 2

Verse 3

This world of name and form (nAma-rUpa-bheda- jagat) is but one part of Purusha. Sat (truth), cit (being) and Ananda (bliss) are the other three parts, that rest in Narayana alone, and are eternal in him. As Sri Krishna says in the Gita (10-42), ma eka amSena sthito jagat -- By a fraction of my yogic powers alone I sustain this world. And he is the one whose sport is this world, who sports without distinction of name or form. (rUpa nAma vibhedena jagat krIdati yo yathA).

Verse 4

Ranganathamuni comments on the greatness of the Purusha who looms above all creation. he is filled with grace and all joy, knowledge, and goodness. He is eternal, and the basis of all. The world's sustenance is but his sport. His joy is himself, as he is all. That besides, even the Vedas wonder about his greatness. ``so anga veda yadi vA na veda.'' He alone knows -- or maybe he knows not. (Rg Veda, nAsadIya sUkta).

The way ``yad annenAtirohati'' and ``sASanAnaSane abhi vyAkramat'' are interpreted is a point of some discussion. Peterson, Renou, and LeMee, who give simply ``man'' for Purusha, interpret these as ``man, who grows by food'', ``a part of man was made into all things that eat and eat not, and advanced towards these/as these, outwards''. I prefer sAyaNA's interpretation, as given above. Not only is the importance of food stressed, two verses before, but now Purusha is also that which eats not, life and non-life. This is in conformity with the Visistadvaita view of Brahman manifest as cit and acit, living and inert.

Verse 5

From Purusha came forth the universe. The creative aspect of his, Brahma, came forth, and grew to include everything in himself. This is why the universe is called ``bramhAnda'', the egg/sphere of Brahma. ``BramhAnda'' is also an adjective indicating magnitude. This image of extending above and on all sides of the earth is in concordance with Ranganathamuni.

What did this Brahma do after he was born ? SAyaNA gives the following interpretation. He grows very large after being born (sa jAto atyaricyata). And then (pascAt) he (sa) creates the earth (bhUmim) and then (ata:), (pura:) -- cities -- bodies for creatures to live in. ``virAt vyaktRkto deva-tiryag-manushyAdi rUpo 'bhUt''. He became large and became the bodies, or gave form to devas, animals (tiryak) and humans.

There is support for the former view from the sAkalya brAhmaNa, however. In this work, Aniruddha Narayana, one of the four aspects of Narayana in the first tier of the Vishaka Yupa, appears to Brahma. This Bramha, engorged with growth as it were, is inactive, he does nothing. Aniruddha asks him the reason for his inactivity ``brahman kim tUshNIm bhavasi - iti'' and Brahma replies, ``Because of not knowing'' - ``ajnAnAt - iti hovAca''. However, Brahma has to create. This is his nature. So to remove his ignorance, Aniruddha Narayana instructs him to perform sRshTi yajna, the sacrifice of creation.

In the brAhmaNa, this is termed kAncana yajna, the rite of gold. ``brahman sRshtyartham kAncana yajnam kuru''. By this means will you be able to create the worlds, as you have in kalpas past. The rest of Aniruddha Narayana's instructions and the details of the srSHti yagnya are given in the verses to come.

Verse 6

What sort of yajna is this sRshTi yajna? Nothing exists but Brahma-purusha, who envelops all. Logically, none of the ritual paraphernalia, the materiel, exist. It does not make consistent sense, to me, to look at this as an actual rite of ``sacrifice, where the gods sacrificed a giant to create the world'', as this has sometimes been decribed. This was in a comparative work that compared the Purusha Suktam to the Norse tale of how the Aesir made the world from the body of Ymir, the frost-giant.

Consider however the traditional view of this as a mAnasa yajna, a meditative sacrifice, of and in the heart, the first gedankeneksperiment, if you will!

The sRshTi yajna was Purusha's alone. He was havirbhokta, he who enjoys/eats the havis -- burnt offerings to the fire. His senses were the devas, the gods, who were the ritvik-priests of this sacrifice. Nothing but himself existed to sacrifice. And so he sacrificed himself (purusheNa havisha) as the offering into the creative fires of his heart. A sacrifice of his self to himself, for what or who existed but he? So the devas bound Brahma as the beast of sacrifice, and made ready for the rite.

Clarified butter, or ghee, is what is poured on the fire to make it burn brighter. The fire of course, is an essential part of any sacrifice. Fire is what speeds betweeen heaven and earth carrying the food of sacrificial havis offerings to the gods. Spring brightens creation as the ghee brightens fire. Samit (palAS, flame of the forest) twigs are fed to the fire, to make it hotter -- these samit brands are Summer. Autumn with its brilliant hues was offered into the fire as havis.

Purusha Sukta: