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The Three Sookthams on Sriman Narayana

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_COMPUSERVE.COM)
Date: Fri Sep 20 1996 - 05:24:58 PDT

Dear Members of the Prapathi Group :

Srimathi Nagu satyan's Questions on the above subject
--the similarities and dissimilarities and the traditions related 
to them-- are important  to consider. After Sri Sundar's excellent 
comments on Purusha Sooktham , my observations are more in the 
realm of speculation to foster more discussions .

First of all , their  sacredness and importance can be realized form the fact 
that it is only Purusha Sooktham that  is included in all of the Veda Samhitas 
( Rg 10.90; Sukla Yajur Vedam , Vajasaneya Samhita 31-1-16; Krishna
Yajur Vedam , Taittiriya Aaranyakam 3-12-13 ; Sama Vedam 4-3 and 
Atharva Vedam 19-6-3 with soime variations . The Version in the Yajur Veda 
Taittiriya Aaranyaka version is most frequently used in the Southern part
of India. In this version, the first Anuvaakam has 18 mantras and starts
with the Viswarupa vision , Sahasraseershaa Purusha : Sahasraksha:
Sahasra Paath . It is the ancient tradition to recite the first Anuvakam
with the second Anuvakam beginning with Adhbhya: Sambhotha: followed by 
Narayana Sooktham beginning with "Sahasra Seersham Devam  " 
and conclude with  the short  Vishnu Sooktham commencing with "Vishnohr Nukam ".
They form an organic whole from the point of subject and content.
All the three deal with the Purushotthama Tatvam elaborated in the 
chapter of Bahgavad Gita entitled Purushotthama Yogam . It is therefore
considered  as the essence of all Vedas. Gitaacharyan hints at it  in 
a Purushotthama Yoga slokam this  way : 

" I am centered in the hearts of ALL ; Memory and perception as well as their 
loss come from Me . I am verily that which has to  be known by ALL the 
Vedas , I indeed am the author of the Vedantha ,and the knower of the Veda am I
" .

The old adage is that an Aasthika should recite Sri Rudram , Purusha Sooktham,
Upanishad (portions) , Geetha and Vishnu Sahasra Namam daily as an
essential pentad for Moksham . The  use of Purusha Sooktha mantras 
for Homam , Japam and Puja has been elaborated by Sutrakaaras like 
Apasthambha and Bodhaayana for our benefit. There have ben commentaries
on them by Sayanaa of Vijaya Nagar empire time and Periya Jeeyar
or Sri Ranganatha Muni at a later time. Therefore the subject is vast .

For the purposes of our  discussion ,we can state safely that 
Purushotthaman can be meditated upon and worshipped in 
the gigantic Viswa Rupa form as wel as in the minutest form 
(aNu --aNorh aNeeyaan ) ... In Purusha Sooktham , at its beginning,
the focus is on the mighty form transcending the Universes. In
Narayana Sooktham , at its end , the minutest form of Purushottama 
shining in the heart cave of the chetanas are being saluted. It concludes 
with the thundering statement that He is Brahma , Hari , Indra , and every 
thing in the  universes created , sustained and destroyed by Him.
The one and only  mantra of Vishnu Sooktham sums up by saying that his glory 
is limitless and it is impossible to count them since it is  as difficult as 
counting all the dust particles in the Universes. It appeals to us by 
stating , May We offer our eulogies at  the feet of Trivikrama ,
who measured all the Universes. The Key passage for us in all the 
three Sookthams is " Naanya : Panthaa Ayanaaya Vidhayateh ".
There is no other path to Moksham.  The Understanding of the 
Purushotthama Tatvam as described by the Sookthams  is hinted 
as the only path to attain Moksham .

The other references dwelling on the subject matter of Purusha Sooktham
and the other two related Sookthams are :

1. Saakalya Brahmanam -Purusha Sooktha Samhitai
2. Purusha Sooktha Manthraartha NirupaNam (Part
    of the Text of Paancha Raatra Samhitai )
3. Purusha Sooktha Vaibhavam ( Mudgalopanishad )
4 . Maha Narayana Upanishad.

OM Purushottamaya Nama: 

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan