I had written about Purusha Suktam and my interpretation of it in this blog, here.
I had not explained the meanings of some of the verses in detail (as I see it), as my aim was there to bring out the meanings as it appears in verses in that article. Here I would fill the gap.
An assumption that we all make is to assign the word Purusha to a Supreme Being, a person or some Being intuitively. That need not be right.
Purusha can have several meanings of which, what was originally intended is not known.
Purusha is the word given in Purusha Suktam to indicate one (a material?) that establishes the entire universe, which consumes food without residue or by-products, which burst when it got restrained to a standing of ten finger breadths, went on creating gas clouds, galaxies, constellations, stars, rocks and planets, atmosphere, thunder, fire, through these biological life, which anchors this universe through seven black holes through which it feeds energy, which gives rise to itself in various forms when it thinks so at any place as its mind is light.
This is what Purusha Suktam talks about. It models this Big Bang as a Yajna or sacrifice, in which the Purusha itself is the sacrificial bed, itself is the oblation and seven black holes feed this sacrifice.
The key verse in Purusha Suktam is this:
nābhyā āsīd antarikşham shīrşhņo dyauĥ samavartata
padbhyām bhūmir dishaĥ shrotrāttathā lokān akalpayan
which translates as
"Space is navel, heavenly bodies (galaxies and constellations) head, feet the land, directions give ears, manifests in the form of worlds".
This verse is the verse that exactly talks about how universe forms from purusha. It says the Top of Purusha forms stars, galaxies and constellations (burning hot gaseous ones), while bottom of purusha forms the rocks and planets. And this seems perfectly logical to what we know now.
It also says the central point (the navel) expanded into the Space that we perceive. It is obvious that is talking about an explosion from the central point, throwing out the top gaseous part into stars and galactic clouds, while the bottom cooler portion helps form rocks and planets.
It also says all the directions are its hearing organs, which could simply mean that as charges from purusha expand in all directions, creating a 'field' around them, they cover all directions and bring them under the influence of Purusha.
Another verse that depicts the rise of life is:
chandramā manaso jātash chakşhoĥ sūryo ajāyata
mukhād indrashchāgnishcha prāņād vāyūr ajāyata
which translates as
"Brilliantly shining mind like moon's light, born with eyes as sun (and sun like stars) is the nature of this Creation. Expressing itself (face denotes expression) as indra (thunder) and agni (fire), breathing life through the atmosphere is the nature of this Creation."
Light, which is known to be the fastest moving in the Universe is the mind of Purusha, says this verse. It also says Purusha expresses itself as thunder and fire. It also says that life is breathed through atmosphere.
It can also be interpreted as "Purusha breathes life through the atmosphere expressing itself as thunder and fire".
In Brihadharanya Upanishad, it is said that Purusha thought in mind that he should express himself and from one became two. If Purusha's mind is light, then according to this, light initiates biological life in combination with air, thunder and fire.
How it does that is a question that our scientists may have to answer. Or there are answers in other places in Rg Veda.
Interestingly, Purusha Suktam talks about seven black holes that feed this Yajna. It likens the Yajna of Purusha to a female with seven holes, capable of creation. The seven blackholes are the Samiths' of the Yajna says Purusha Suktam.
saptāsyāsan paridhayastriĥ sapta samidhaĥ kŗtāĥ
devā yadyajňam tanvānā abadhnun puruşham pashum
Like a female (one who bears children) with seven holes, this yajna has seven black holes, which are the fuel/fire (samitha) for this yajna, which keeps spinning out fast (with) unbound purusha as the sacrifice.
The usage of word Samith' here is very critical. Already it said that Purusha is the sacrificial bed and the oblation itself of the Yajna. Then what are these black-holes..? They are the Samiths'.
A samith at its simplest is a stick that is used to kindle the fire in a Yajna. It is the stick that is used to push the nearby unburnt elements into fire and burn them to ashes completely. (If you watch a Yajna, you can understand how samith is used to push unburnt elements to fire and buth them completely). Finally the Samiths themselves are burnt in the Yajna.
Like a Samith, a black-hole is used by Purusha to absorb the materials that are nearby to it and ashes' them. So according to this verse, the black-holes should probably be attracted' or drift' back to the Purusha (source of Yajna) and finally be merged with Purusha.
Combining this with another verse
tripād ūrdhva udaitpuruşhaĥ pādo syehābhavat punaĥ
Tato vişhvang vyakrāmat sāshanā nashane abhi
That three quarters is from the top of purushah; one quarter below comes into being as all pervading all that moves/goes and that metabolizes that does not metabolize
This gives rise to a visualization of the expanding Universe, with its lower portion expanding more (it is supposed to contain materials forming rocks and planets, while the upper portion is hot and forms gas clouds/stars and galaxies), as an inverted banyan tree, expanding in all directions.
Another way of looking at this is that the Universe keeps on expanding like a banyan tree from its root in all directions. It is more like an inverted banyan tree, as the lower part of the Purusha expands more.
Such a visualization is there in other scripts in many places, notably in Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna says this to Arjuna.
asvattham prahur avyayam
chandamsi yasya parnani
yas tam veda sa veda-vit
The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.
The aerial roots of this banyan tree (anchoring the expanding banyan tree) are the black holes. Like the aerial roots that go towards the ground, these black-holes may be drifting or accelerating towards the Purusha and serve to anchor the Universe with Purusha.
In fact they may also play a role in the Ultimate expansion of Universe, which is the convergence of all things born out of Purusha, back into the biggest black-hole that bursts out and starts another expansion of Universe, when it gets restrained a standing of ten finger breadths!
More posts by this author:
- The zUdras of Purusha Suktam
- Purusha Suktam – New Revelations..
- The Inverted Banyan tree (A Sequel to my Upanayanam Blog)
- Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra (Immortally Mortal)
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 21