You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : February 1995

Purusha Sooktam - 2

From: KRAZYKAT (V1S_at_eclx.psu.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 20 1995 - 05:55:48 PST

Greetings to all, and a Happy Monday =)

I'm picking my way through this translation pretty slowly I must admit,
learning this by the seat of my pants and catching myself in more than 
a few errors.. This is why the output is rather low =) However, I feel
happy enough doing this to make everything worth the while..

Again, and always, I look forward to your comments..

Sundar

---Begin---



shree:

shree puruSHa sooktam

prathama anuvAkam

***

sahasra sheerSHA puruSHa: | sahasrAksha: sahasrapAt |
sa bhoomim vishvato vrtvA | atyatiSHTad dashAngulam ||

***

(sahasra) Thousands (sheerhsA) of heads has (puruSHa)
the great p. (sahasra) Thousands of (aksha) eyes has he,
(sahasra pAt) and thousands of legs. (sa) He (vrtva) 
manifests (bhoomim) the world. (attyatiSHTad) He stands
beyond (dashAngulam) the count of ten fingers.

The words puruSha in its most literal sense means man. 
This is not a generic for human, but includes the masculine
sense and principle of the world. In one way, it is interpreted
as Narayana alone is puruSHa, and all the rest of prakriti, 
creation, is female. Purusha may also be split as pura+usha -
 the dawn-light (usha) of the city of the body (pura). Or pu+
ruSHa, one whose passions are refined. Or even puru+SHa, 
filled with wisdom and happiness. Which puruSHa is
referred to here ?

Man - is a simple answer, with some merit for its 
arguments. Man was created first, and he is a creature
that knows not its own glory, and he is sacrificed for the 
rest of creation - a humbling thought for us.

However, theistic and mystic sources tend to interpret
puruSHa as paramapuruSHa, the supreme puruSHa, 
puruSHottama,the best among puruSHas, Sriman 
Narayana. He is the source and the basis of all creation, 
he manifests himself in all of it. All creation is his body 
- the vishvaroopa mahAkAya. He encompasses it.

So why does this puruSHa have thousands of feet, hands, 
eyes ? One must remember that large numbers, like a
thousand, can refer to a fuzzy 'uncountable'. sAyaNAcArya
interprets this as the puruSHa manifesting himself in all
that lives.. And since all was created from his body, as
we shall see, all heads are his heads, all eyes his eyes,
all feet his feet.

And then we see that the puruSHa extends beyond ten 
fingers. Rather limited that seems .. Until we read 
sAyaNA again.  The ten fingers here are the digits, 
the ten fingers of human hands. They are the basis of
count, of all mathematics, of all the logic and science
built on mathematics. However, they are all limited when
it comes to analyzing puruSHa. He is transcendent, and
beyond such limited understanding.

With uncounted heads
Uncounted eyes, and
Uncounted feet, He
Moves, as all of
Creation
Verily is He
Uncountable..
Beyond the grasp..
Of the hands of men..


***


***

puruSHa evedahum sarvam | yadbhootam yacca bhavyam |
utAmrtatvas - yeshAna | yadannainAtirohati ||

***

(puruSHa) Purusha (eva) alone (idam sarvam) is all 
of this, (yad bhootam) that which was, (yacca bhavyam) and
that which is too be. (uta) Moreover (amrtatva-sya) of 
immortality too (eeshAna) is he alone Lord. (yad) That 
which (annena) as food (atirohati) shows itself, that too is
puruSHa.

puruSHa is creation, this we know. In time, he is all that
is, all that was, and all that is to be. Does he have an end, 
like death ? No. He is Lord of immortality, of the eternal 
that dies not (a-mrta).

Creation feeds on itself. It requires food to grow, to
flourish. What is food but other life ? Life feeds on life,
be it plant, or animal life. This is why we say the world
grows on food, the world is fill of food (annamayam 
jagat). All that is hidden in creation, and all that emerges,
to show itself and be food, all this is purusha. He sustains
creation as food.

That which is, 
Was, and is to be.
All of this
Is he alone..
And the eternal,
Beyond all end,
He is Lord,
Alone, of that.
The world is food..
That which hides,
And ventures forth,
He is that too.