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"10 feet", "1000 heads, eyes and feet"

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Dec 28 1999 - 09:32:52 PST

> --- Sadagopan <sgopan@computer.net> wrote:
> > Dear Sri Sampath KumAran :
> > I have  a question ofr you on the passage
> > quoted from Purusha Sooktham below:
> > ( Sa BhUmim VisvathO vruthvA ,adhyathishtath
> > dasAngulam ) > This passage salutes the MahA vyApi
, who> transcends> > every thig in this Universe and
is beyond the> > arithmetic of counting with ten
fingers (digits) .
That> > Purushan ,> > who is sarva vyApi is not
subject to the rules of > > mathematical count .
"anantha yOjanAn adhIthya> > athishtathi "
> > is the commentary of SaayanA . The order beyond>
>regference> > is some waht correct , but "atleast
10feet beyond> > the reach of this one " does not go
well .
> > V.Sadagopan

Dear Sriman.Sadagopan,

Without giving the impression of being argumentative
(I am not) and with the sole purpose of further
learning, adiyen must request you to explain why "at
least 10feet beyond the reach of this world" "does not
go well" with you,Sir.

adiyen was discussing the poetry of tiruppAvai. And in
the course of explaining that "gnyAni-s" and
"mumukshu-s" look to another world apart for their
inspiration in life ("purushArthA") adiyen had tried
to convey that message through the phrase
"athyatishta-dasangulam"... meaning that such a world
is beyond the pale of this one. This world is only an
infinitesmal fraction of that one.

Poetically, the Rg. measures or predicates the
relationship between this world and the other one
through the phrase "atyatishtA-dasAngulam". It intends
to convey that although Man thinks this world is
enormous, the endless world of the Virat-purushA
encompasses all this world and countless more! This
fact the Rg.conveys poetically, saying that such a
"purushA" is one with a "1000 heads, a 1000 eyes and a
1000 feet".

Further, as if it feared that man's small mind may not
comprehend what is meant by "1000-headed, 1000 eyed,
1000-footed " VirAt-purusha, the Rg goes  further. It
next asks us to imagine the unimaginably enormous form
of the "virAt-purusha" by measuring its location in
relation to our own world. It is in that context that
the Rg. again poetically says "atyatishta=dasAngulam"
i.e. the VirAtpurusha pervades this world but also
stands apart ... "over 10 inches" above it.

adiyen is well aware that what this rg. conveys is
that this universe is nothing but the "samasti" or
conglomeration of the 'vyastis' or beings comprising
it.

adiyen also knows that the numbers "1000" or "10" used
in the Rg. are not definite limiting numbers but
poetic euphemisms. They are "upalakshana-s" signifying
the "virat" nature of the "purusha".

But there is no question about the "10 inches or feet"
being mentioned by the Rg. is there? It is a poetic
measure. And that is the very same sense in which
adiyen also translated it as "at least 10 feet (or
inches) beyond the reach of this world", so as to say,
"however large and expansive or grand we may conceive
our world to be, the world of the "purusha" which
"gnyAni-s" and "mumukshus" seek is at least "10 feet
(or inches) away and above it."

So adiyen is not clear why devarir feels "it does not
go well"? I thought it goes down rather extremely
well.

Any thoughts?
dAsan,
Sampathkumaran  


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