योदेवेभ्य आतपति। यो देवानं पुरोहितः।
पूर्वो यो देवेभ्यो जातः। नमो रुचाय ब्राह्मये॥
yodevebhya ātapati | yo devānaṁ purohitaḥ |
pūrvo yo devebhyo jātaḥ | namo rucāya brāhmaye || (II.4)
Salutations to the One who is always effulgent and makes gods shine, acts as a teacher to gods, originated much before gods in the form of hiraṇyagarbha and who alone being self-effulgent.
It is said that Puruṣa alone prevails in all gods and goddesses and make them shine. Without Him, nothing can shine, which was discussed in part I. He also acts as a priest or teacher to gods in the form of Bṛhaspati. He is considered as Guru to gods and in astronomy, he is known as Jupiter.
Vedānta Paribhāsā a 17th century Scripture explains hiraṇyagarbha. It says “Hiraṇyagarbha is the first soul to be born and is different from Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.” The subtle body consisting of the five vital forces, the mind, the intellect and the ten organs is produced from the five basic elements. This paves the way for the soul to experience the result of actions or in other words it causes karma-s. The subtle body is of two kinds, superior and inferior. The superior one is the subtle body of hiraṇyagarbha and the inferior is the subtle body of living beings. The subtle body of hiraṇyagarbha is called as mahat or the cosmic intellect and the subtle body of living beings is called ego. Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (I.i.1) says ‘mahato mahīyān (महतो महीयान्) which means greater than the greatest.
Salutations are being offered to Puruṣa in this verse after talking about His Grandeur.
रुचं ब्राह्मं जनयन्तः। देवा अग्रे तदब्रुवन्।
यस्त्वैवं ब्राह्मणो विद्यात्। तस्य देवा असन् वशे॥
rucaṁ brāhmaṁ janayantaḥ | devā agre tadabruvan |
yastvaivaṁ brāhmaṇo vidyāt | tasya devā asan vaśe || (II.5)
At the time of creation, gods revealed the knowledge and essence of Brahman like this “The one who seeks Brahman thus, becomes one amongst us”.
Gods and goddesses all come under Him and function under His instructions. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.iii.2) says “The Brahman is like a thunderbolt (vajra) about to strike.” Brahman strikes those who are delinquent in performing the prescribed duties. The sun shines fearing the Brahman, the air blows fearing Brahman. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.iii.3) explains this; “From fear of Brahman, fire gives heat. Out of terror, the sun shines. Afraid of it, Indra, vāyu and Yama rush to perform their respective duties.”
Gods enjoy the comforts of their domiciles and indulge in all sorts of activities. They reached their present position after doing tapas. They get struck at this point and are not able to merge with Brahman, as they are attached to pleasures of their heavenly places. But a spiritual seeker first becomes a jñāni. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (VII.17) “Chief among them is jñāni, ever constant and with one pointed in devotion. I am exceedingly dear to him and he is exceedingly dear to me”. Kṛṣṇa did not stop with this. He proceeds to say “A man so illuminated is hard to find and such a stage is reached after many incarnations” (VII.19).
Kena Upaniṣad (II.3) says, “He (referring to a jñāni) who says he does not know Him, actually knows Him and the one who says (a-jñāni affected by ego) he knows Him, actually does not know Him.” There are two possible explanations for this. A true jñāni will never say that He has realized Him and he will continue to remain as one amongst many. On the other hand, the one who says that He has realized Brahman, in fact would not have realized Him at all. The one who has realized Him will never have ego.
This verse says that jñāni realizes Brahman and goes past gods. A jñāni’s sole aim is to attain liberation and not to enjoy the pleasures of the higher worlds. Only a jñāni becomes jīvanmakuta and later on videhamukta and becomes one with Brahman after his death. Gods are inferior to a great jñāni.
ह्रीश्चते लक्ष्मीश्च पत्न्यौ। अहोरात्रे पार्श्व्।
नक्ष्त्राणि रूपम्। अश्विनौ व्यात्तम्।
इष्टं मनिषाण। अमुं मनिषाण। सर्वं मनिषाण॥
hrīścate lakṣmīśca patnyau | ahorātre pārśv |
nakṣtrāṇi rūpam | aśvinau vyāttam |
iṣṭaṁ maniṣāṇa | amuṁ maniṣāṇa | sarvaṁ maniṣāṇa || (II.6)
This is the last verse of Puruṣasuktam. Hrī and Lakṣmī are your consorts. Day and night are your sides. Constellation of stars is Your form. Aśvini Devas are your mouth. Please bless us with whatever knowledge we seek. Give us pleasures of this world; and everything in this world and everywhere.
All of us know Lakṣmī, Goddess of wealth. By seeking Him, wealth is given by default. Wealth of jñāni-s will be limited and would suffice only for his comfortable living. He will never be a rich man, as too much of money will trigger ego. Hrī is the goddess of modesty and timidity and shame. She protects us from doing wrongful things. It is said that dharma is symbolically represented here by Hrī and Lakṣmī of course is artha, meaning wealth. Thus, who seek Him will be protected from committing sins and will be endowed with moderate means for his day to day living.
Aśvin-s-s are two in number and they are known as physicians for gods and goddesses. They are said to be the two sons of the Sun. They bring treasures to men and avert misfortune and sickness to jñāni-s. They are also called physicians of the heaven. They may also mean the next two of puruṣārtha-s. Puruṣārtha is the fourfold values of human life. They are dharma (righteousness or virtues), artha (wish or purpose), kāma (desires and pleasures) and mokṣa (the liberation). It is clear that the ancient scriptures do not prohibit these great human values. What they say is not to get attached to them.
Puruṣasuktam ends with a prayer. The first prayer is for knowledge to realize Him. He can be realized only through Supreme knowledge declared through Upaniṣad-s. The second prayer is for material wealth, comfort and pleasure. This conveys that those who seek liberation can also live material life. Finally, the prayer is for everything. Those who realize Brahman need not worry about anything, says Taittirīya Upaniṣad (I.v.3). It says, “If you know Brahman, all the deities will bring you their gifts”.
With this, Puruṣasuktam is concluded.