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Early Vedic man wondered how the world was created. He was inspired by the intricate mysteries of nature yet was not afraid as in other civilizations. He set out to explore making synthesis, reasonable analysis. Vedas hold rich knowledge, regarding astronomy, physiology, medicine, mathematics etc., Rishi's explanations are reasonable and objective. He is a poet (kavi) who puts his thoughts and visions into beautiful rhythmic poems. His explanations on creation are available in Rigveda 10th mandala (suktas No.129, 130 and also 90).
Purusha sukta is the 90th sukta in 10th Mandala, Astaka 8, adyaya 4 of Rigveda, the ancient of all the Vedas. Rigveda does not identify the sukta by that name, but 90th sukta came to be known as Purusha Sukta later on. The presiding deity of the mantra is Purusha, a collective personality which pervades whole of the universe. Purusha is pure consciousness and the other part is called Prakriti, which forms the visible world. Since all the mental activities are done with a machine called brain formed by a combination of Purusha and Prakriti, the completeness of Purusha can not be perceived. God is known as Aprameya - the One that can not be fully comprehended. This Cosmic Supreme has been shared by the devas. It is described that the devas did a sacrifice where ingredient required was Purusha himself and after the sacrifice the manifesting world came to being. The author of this sukta is Narayana who is lauded in the Bhagavata and Mahabharata. Rigvedic version has the first fifteen verses in anushtup chandas (meter) and the last one in trishtup.
During vedic times, no other religion co-existed with vedic culture. In Purusha sukta, the God of the Universe is described and praised. He is not merely the God of Israelites and does not hold forth any promised land. He is Himself the Universe and all the land is the promised land! Due to this reason, the ideas described in Purusha Sukta appeals to all nations, all the religions, all the cultures at all times. This is of course, if you think there is no difference between the Creator and Creation. In the Vedas (to call it a Hinduism would not be appropriate as no other religion and culture was existing parallel), there is no difference between the two. Take Purusha Sukta, for instance. In Daivibhagavata, we read that He wished to multiply and the very thought caused the world! Does the President paint his house? He desires, and the next moment it would be done! God is more powerful than any Presidents. He need not have to make dolls on all the six days to take rest at weekend. It is also said that the meters of mantras are capable of generating spiritual force during recitation. The vedic mantras were passed on to the next generation by verbal method only. This means, the way you recite these mantras is the similar to the one when it was composed!
Followers of religions from the East can not comprehend why God had to make dolls and why he would favor Israelites or make moon and sun as ornaments to magnify His creation. Similarly, for a Christian or an Islamic mind, it comes as a shock that the mortal man is himself one of heads or limbs of this Supreme being. By and large the Western religions are abundant in theology than philosophy. When He is thought to be Almighty, then any might should represent him. As human being is a bundle of specialized cells living in unison , the Purusha is a great circle having centre everywhere. It is not that the Devas, Rishis did cut the Supreme, nor fire came out of His mouth. The Rishis made a mental synthesis, referred in the sukta as Yajna and through this divine thought became glorified.
The objection to Purusha Sukta is that it advocates caste system and makes the lower classes subservient to elite. Sukta describes manifestations of God in the human beings as well as in the creation. It does not attribute to the present cast system. It is merely a socio-economic division. Srimad Bhagawad Geeta says, चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागश:। तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम्॥ --श्लोक १३; ज्ञानयोगः, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीत "The fourfold varnas are made by Me in accordance with habits and deeds. Though I am the Creator of varnas, I am above them" (--ślōka 13; jñānayōgaḥ, śrīmadbhagavadgīta). Purusha Sukta used in every worship (abhishekha, nirajana as well as along with mantra pushpa at the end of pooja) is an extension of the 90th sukta of Rigmandala 10. The extended mantras have origin in Yajurveda. It begins with shanti mantra. As such it assumes a great significance to believers. It is recommended that one should recite this sukta everyday. The sukta can be incorporated in your daily worship or simply recited. When one connects himself to a Supreme Cosmos, he will enlarge to be a greater personality. Pronunciation is the specialty of veda mantras. After one gets acquainted with pronunciation of compound letters, one should practice the way the mantra should be recited.
SUKTA 129: Author: Prajapati parameshi; Diety of the mantra: Bhavavruttam; Chhandaha: trishtup
In the beginning, there was neither existence nor non-existence. There was neither air nor space. There was nothing to envelope or to protect. There was neither death nor immortality. There was neither night nor day. Only God breathed windless by his own power. Apart from God, there was nothing whatsoever. Darkness prevailed everywhere before the creation of the universe. Yet there subsisted one glorious Being, all intelligence who created the universe by contemplation of what he wanted to do. Thereafter rose desire in the beginning, desire - the primal seed and germ of spirit. Sages understood the kinship of existent and non-existent. What was above then and what below it? There were mighty forces and energy. We do not really know. Who can therefore tell, how this universe was created and when? Did elemental matter exist or was it also created by God? The One alone knows. If He does not know, then who knows?
SUKTA 130: Author: Yajna prajapatya; Diety of the mantra: Bhavavruttam; Chhandaha: jagati and trishtup
The sacrifice drawn out with threads on every side stretch by a hundred and one ancients say weave forth and back. The Man extends it and unbinds it till heaven. The pegs tied to the seat of worship. Sama hymns are weaving shuttles. What were the rule, order and the model? What were the wooden fender and the butter? What were the hymn, chant and the recitation? When did all deities worship? Closely was Gayatri conjoined with Agni and closely Savitar combined with Usnih. Brilliant with Ukthas, Soma joined Anustup. Brihaspati's voice by Brihati was aided. Viraj adhered to Varuna and Mitra. Tristup day by day was Indra's portion. Jagati entered all together. So by knowledge men were raised to risis, when ancient sacrifice sprang up. With my mind and eyes, I behold them who first performed this sacrificial worship. They who were versed in ritual and meter, in hymns and rules were the seven God-like risis. Viewing the path of those of old courageous to take up chariots.
I know the Supreme Person who has sun's luster and is beyond all ignorance. The Wise one molded Himself in various forms and named them differently. The First Creator knew the Supreme person. He made the King of Gods for the benefit of others. The one who knows this becomes immortal - no other way is possible. The Devas performed first sacrifice using God. The sacrifice is the first lesson. The one who follows this reaches the Glorified, like the Gods who attained this earlier. All the materials and water arose from Visvakarma. He excelled other Gods. Sun rises through His brilliance. The world in gloom receives the brilliance from sun. I know the Supreme who is splendorous as sun and who repels darkness. The one who knows this becomes immortal - no other way is possible. He moves in the space causing end of darkness. Though unborn manifests as many. The wise who realize this do not have rebirth. Sage Marichi attained this. Salutations to that Sun God, the elder and leader of Gods. The one who knows Brahman as described earlier, the Devas declared, will have sovereignty over Gods. Oh, Sun God, Hri (Devi) and Lakshmi are Your wives, day and night Your sides, Stars are Your own form, Aswinis Your mouth. Grant me all my wishes. May all miseries leave us. We sing in Your praise in sacrifices. May diseases be cured. May birds, bipeds and quadrupeds be happy. May peace be on us.