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Purusha sooktam

Date: Wed Mar 01 1995 - 07:50:19 PST

tasmAdashvA ajAyanta | ye ke cobhayAdata: |
gAvoham jagnyire tasmAt | tasmajjatA ajAvaya: ||

(tasmAd) From that (ajAyanta) were born (asvA:) horses,
and beings with (eke ca) only one and (ubhayAdata:) two
rows of teeth. (gAva:) Cattle (jagnyire) were made (tasmAt)
from that. (tasmAt) From that (jAta) were born (ajA:) goats
and (Avaya:) sheep.

The most common interpretation I have seen for 'ye ke 
cobhayAdata' is all animals with two rows of teeth. The one 
here, I have seen only in "aNNa" 's thamizh translation.
However, it appeals to me as innately right. As for animals with
one row of teeth, I cannot think of any except whales with their
baleen. Someone with a better knowledge of zoological 
orthodonty may be able to help me here =). All the animals
specifically mentioned here, presumably had been tamed, and 
were counted as wealth in Rgvedic society.

>From that were born stately horses
Beasts with one and two rows of teeth
Cattle too, were born thereof
And goats and sheep with them created.


yat puruSHam vyadadhu: | katidhA vyakalpayan |
mukham kimasya kau bAhoo | kavooroo pAdA ucyete ||

(yat) The (puruSHam) purusha (vyadadhu:) that they divided,
(katidhA) into what forms , how, (vyakalpayan) did they shape
him ? (kim) What (Aseet) became (asya mukham) of his mouth ?
(kau) What are (ucyete) now called (asya bAhoo) his arms  ? 
(asya ooroo) His thighs, (asya pAdau) his feet, (kau ucyete)
what do they call them now ?

This verse begins a series of questions and answers as to how
 the purusha was divided up, and what each of the parts of his
body (kosha roopa - the form that contained all) became, in the
sarvahut rite of creation. Aniruddha Narayana had advised 
Bramha that to make his body the havis, Aniruddha the 
havirbhokta, and meditating on Narayana, merge himself, offer 
himself up to Narayana's form of fire. (mAm ca havirbhbhujam 
dhyAtvA manmanAbhootva mayyagnau nivaacaye)  And by just 
feeling the touch (madanga sparsha maatreNa)  of his, Bramha's 
body, in which all of the worlds are contained (jagat-kosha 
bhootas-tvat-kAyo) would become huge (brmhishyate) and 
become the bramhanda, the great all. The different classes of
animals that came forth from this (tasmAt udbhootAni prANi 
jAtAni), Bramha would be able to establish for them different 
and appropriate forms (yaTHA puram nirmAya) and assume the 
role of creator (sraSHTHA bhavishyasi) that he had in previous 

Those samskrt quotes are from the P.S. samhita of the sAkalya 
brAmhaNam, referred to before. Like most brAMhaNa verses, 
this ends with " evam srSHTHiyagnyam yo jAnAti  sa
janmaneeha mukto bhavati " - Who knows the rite of creation 
thus, will be liberated in this very birth.

So now the details of this 'ritual dismemberment'  of the
purusha's body, the bramhAnda, are given in the next few 
verses as an account of this creation rite.

When they had 
Divided him up,
Into what forms
Dis they cast Him ?
And what of his mouth,
His arms, his thighs, His feet ?
What did they make them ?