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Friday, September 21, 2012



Nasadiya sukta - Hymn of creation Rig Veda 10th Mandala 129 sukta


English Translation (hard to translate as English doesn’t have the conceptual constructs required to translate it; this is the best one can get)


             Swami Vivekananda is highly critical of the (chiefly Western) literal interpretation of the One Thing 'breathing without breath' in this verse. In a letter dated 20th Dec 1895 he says:

In translating the Suktas, pay particular attention to the BhAshyakAras (commentators), and pay no attention whatever to the orientalists. They do not understand a single thing about our ShAstras (scriptures). It is not given to dry philologists to understand philosophy or religion. ...For instance the word Ânid-avAtam in the Rig-Veda was translated—"He lived without breathing". Now, here the reference is really to the chief Prana, and Avatam has the root-meaning for unmoved, that is, without vibration. It describes the state in which the universal cosmic energy, or Prana, remains before the Kalpa (cycle of creation) begins: vide—the BhAshyakAras. Explain according to our sages and not according to the so-called European scholars. What do they know?


Rig vedam  Mandala 10 suktha 129 verses 10240 to 10246

(1) नासदासींनॊसदासीत्तदानीं नासीद्रजॊ नॊ व्यॊमापरॊ यत्

किमावरीव: कुहकस्यशर्मन्नभ: किमासीद्गहनं गभीरम् ॥१॥

Na asat asit na u sat asit thadhanim na sidhrajo na thyoma aparo yath // kim aavariva kuhya kasya sharmannabha: kim asit gahanam gabheeram//

             ná ásat āsīt ná u sát āsīt tadânīm


(1)        'there existed no being, nor did any non-being then; no air, no sky beyond that; what was that which covered, and what, where; under whose protection; and was there that deep unfathomable water?

                    'sat' is invisible existence and 'asat' is visible existence; they are the 'puruSha' (spirit) and 'prakRuti' (matter) of the Samkhya philosophy. They have a distinct existence in Samkhya, but in the Vedic system they are blended and lost in the one invisible, immaterial, incomprehensible First Cause, or Brahman, in the intervals of Creation.

 (which is opposite PURUSHA SUKTHA  as manifest in one.)


मृत्युरासीदमृतं तर्हि रात्र्या।आन्ह।आसीत् प्रकॆत:

आनीदवातं स्वधया तदॆकं तस्माद्धान्यन्नपर: किंचनास ॥२॥

Na Mrthur aasidh amrutham na tharhi na ratraya aanha asit praketha / aanidhavaatham swadhya thath ekam thasmadh dhanya annapara kinchanaasa://

ná mṛtyúḥ āsīt amŕtam ná tárhi………


ânīt avātám svadháyā tát ékam


mRutyu - death; AsIda - come to; tarhi - at that time, then, if then, in that case, if so, because of that, so (therefore);
AnAhaH - binding, swelling; Anila - proceeding from or produced by wind; svadhaya - according to one's habit or pleasure, spontaneously, freely, willingly; tad - that; ekam - one.
tasmAt - therefore, from that, on that account; anya - another, other than that, opposed to; para - supreme, highest, best or worst, previous or following; chanas - delight, satisfaction; to delight in, enjoy, be satisfied with.

              The literal meaning of the text "tasmAddhAnyan na paraH kiM chanAsa" is perhaps 'Therefore, another none supreme, (so) why that delight?' The very question about delight implies that It was self-delighting, though there was none other It. Such Ananda born of the Self is the highest form of glory, which is why perhaps Vivekananda takes the meaning 'glory'.@


(2)        'there was no mortality, and hence no immortality; there was no indication of neither night, nor day; He (that), alone, breathed@ with no wind, (but) with his own will-power; no other thing than that existed beyond'



तम।आअसीत्तमसा गूह्ळमग्रॆ प्रकॆतं सलिलं सर्वमा।इदम्

तुच्छॆनाभ्वपिहितं यदासीत्तपसस्तन्महिना जायतैकम् ॥३॥

Tham aa asit thamasa gruhyalamagae praketham salilam sarvama idham/  tuchenavapihitham yadha sin thapas that mahina ajayathe ekam//

tápasaḥ tát mahinâ ajāyata ékam


The literal meaning is perhsps 'Darkness (tama) lay in darkness (tamasa) hidden (guha) at first (agre), (or so) it appeared (praketa).' All the four interpretations covey same meaning.

'salilaM' means 'water', 'sarvamAidam' is 'all, everywhere'. The interpretations correspond to each other.



(3)        'darkness was that which darkness covered before; this all was water with no indication of it whatsoever; that which was there to come about, was covered with void; THAT, alone, by power of heat (tapas),came into being'


           Through the power of austerity: 
'tapas' is said to mean not penance, but the contemplation of the things which were to be created. ("yah sarva-jnah sa sarva-vid yasya jnAna-mayam tapah" Mundaka Upanishad (1.1.9))




कामस्तदग्रॆ समवर्तताधि मनसॊ रॆत: प्रथमं यदासीत्

सतॊबन्धुमसति निरविन्दन्हृदि प्रतीष्या कवयॊ मनीषा ॥४॥

Kama:thath agae samavartha thadhdi manaso retha: prathamam yadha asit/ satho bandum asati nira vinda anhruthi pratheeshya kavayo manisha//


(4)        'desire was there in him before, the first seed of thought  that it was; in their hearts, searching with their wisdom, the sages found their bonds with being, in the non-being'  (CREATION BY THOUGHT BINDU)


            Swami Vivekananda explains in his article quoted above, that mind is nothing but vibrations caused in the 'chitta' (by desire). "The mind carries the impression farther in, and presents it to the determinative faculty, Buddhi, which reacts. Behind Buddhi is AhamkAra, egoism. Behind Ahamkara is Mahat, intelligence, the highest form of nature's existence. Each one is the effect of the succeeding one."

'bandhumasati' is (perhaps) 'related existence'; 'vindu' is synonymous with 'bindu', 'drop, globule' of the 'primal seed'; 'vinda/vindu' also means 'finding, acquiring'. Thus, sifting the existence that depended on no relationship from the non-existence which is only an appearance of relationship, the sages found the Truth as the next part of the line indicates.

This is a beautiful line. A 'kavi' is a 'sage, wise man, one who is gifted with intelligence and insight, one who is enlightened', so it stands for the Vedic Rishis. 'manIShA' is a lovely word that means 'thought, reflection, consideration, wisdom, intelligence, conception, idea'. 'hRudi pratIShyA' means 'standing firmly in the heart'. Thus, the Kavi with his wisdom, looked inside his heart, reflected on and found the conception of Unity with Brahman standing firmly and shining in his heart.


tiras - across, apart; vitata - spreading, extending; rashmi - a string or cord, a beam or ray of light; and 'reSha' is 'to howl, yell'; adhas - there, in that (remote) place'; svid - whether, or; upari - upward; AsIt - it was



[This, according to Sayana (SAYANAR AND Mahadeerar are early bhashyakarasin 800-1200 Ad, followed by western authors like Basham, Griffith,Wilson etc),  refers to the suddenness of Creation, which was developed in the twinking of an eye, like the flash of the sun's ray. It was so quick, he continues, that it was doubtful whether the things in the central space (understood by the word "across") were created first, or those above or those below; in other words, Creation took place simultaneously in all three portions of the universe. Sayana tries to reconcile this with the received notion of Creation in a series (viz. that from AtmA came AkAsha, and from the AkAsha the wind, from the wind fire etc.    

           ("Atmana AkAshaH saMbhUta AkAshAdvAyurvAyoragniH"--Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.1.1) by saying that this was the order in which things were created, but the development of the world was like a flash of lightning, so that the series could not be distinguished. ("tatsRuShTvA tadevAnuprAvishat"--Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.6)

Whether across, or below, or above:
The word 'tirashchIno', 'across' perhaps refers to the 'triyaksrotas', "that in which the stream of life is horizontal", i.e. the animal world. The epithets in the second line of the verse are unusual and obscure; according to Sayana, the meaning is that among the created objects some were living creatures, others were great, as the sky, etc., the former being the enjoyers ('bhoktAraH'), the latter the things to be enjoyed ('bhojayaH'), so the creation was distinguished as the food and the feeder. The verse occurs in Yajus, 33.74, where MahIradha gives it several different interpretations, none more intelligible than those of Sayana.

retodhAs - (those) inseminating (from 'retas' - semen and 'dha' - put, place); Asan - they were; mahimAnas - great, powerful beings; Asan - were; svadhA - (its) own home ground; avastAt - below; parastAt - above; prayatis - presentation (of the 'retas' - semen).

The translation into showers of seeds does harm to the intended insemination and alters the meaning. "Great beings inseminating, from above the presentation downward'. The image is an ancient one common to many cultures: above the heavens, Sanskrit 'diva(s)', masculine, and below the earth, Sanskrit 'prithvi', feminine, 'earth' in the act of procreation. The concept here appears to be rather of copulation between the male sky and the female earth which produces all life forms on earth. From above the semen--liquid rain, which inseminates the earth below.


तिरश्चीनॊ विततॊ रश्मीरॆषामध: स्विदासी दुपरिस्विदासीत्

रॆतॊधा।आसन्महिमान् ।आसन्त्स्वधा ।आवस्तात् प्रयति: परस्तात् ॥५॥

Thirachino vithatho rushmiraesha madha: svidhasi dupari svidhasit/

Raethodha aasan mahiman aasan tsvvadha aavasthath priyathi parasthath//


(5) 'their rays extending obliquely were below or above (no one knows);the force of creation, the great vital energy , was there; above was the power of will, below was the discipline (svadh)'

                 Sayanar takes the meaning of svadha as “ Maya”


addhA - certainly, truly, manifestly; pravacha - declare, announce, expose; AjAta - born; visRuShTi - creation, production (secondary creation in Puranas); arvAk - behind in time or space; devaH - gods, the Devas; visarjana - creating (RV), sending forth, dismissal;



कॊ ।आद्धा वॆद क‌।इह प्रवॊचत् कुत ।आअजाता कुत ।इयं विसृष्टि:

अर्वाग्दॆवा ।आस्य विसर्जनॆनाथाकॊ वॆद यत ।आबभूव ॥६॥

Kho aaddha vedha kaiya pravochath krutha Eeyam visrushti/

Arvagdeva aasya visarjan aenaathaachoveda yath aababoova// 

(5)        'who could know here for sure, who could further explain, whence this creation came about, and progressing to where on this side; gods were born with its progression; who then knows from whence THIS came about

    According to Swamy Nikhilananda:
since the suktam specifies a 'He' instead of 'It', the seer actually means 'SaguNa Brahm' and not 'NirguNa Brahm', and it is not surprising that SaguNa Brahm does not know something since He is a lesser consciousness than NirguNa Brahm. This view came up from Mr.Ramakrishna, another Shishya of my Guru while our little discussion was going on. But my Guru opines that since the entire RigVeda as 'sah' (He) instead of 'tat'(It), this theory has needs some more exploration before complete acceptance.

3) According to SAyana BhAshyam:
the last line has a different meaning. The penultimate word 'na' in the verse is usually translated as 'not', but it can also mean 'who else'. My Guru gives several references where 'na' is used as 'who else'. Hence, the translation becomes: "He knows, and [if not] who else knows."

Chandogya Upanishad 7.24.1 offers a similar proposition:

"In which one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else, that is infinite. But that in which one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else, is the finite. That which is infinite, is alone immortal, and that which is finite, is mortal". "Revered sir, in what is that infinite established?" "On its own greatness or not even on its own greatness".

Sayana's commentary on this SUkta is very elaborate, but it is evidently influenced by the Vedantism of a later period. Although, no doubt, of high antiquity, the hymn appears to be less of a primary than of secondary origin, being in fact a controversial composition, levelled especially against the Samkhya theory.


इयं विसृष्टिर्यत ।आबभूव यदि वा दधॆ यदि वा

यॊ ।आस्याध्यक्ष: परमॆ व्यॊमन्त्सॊ आंग वॆद यदि वा वॆद ॥७॥

Eyam vi srushtayartha aababoova yadhi vaa dhadhe yadi van a/

Yo aasya aadyasha paramae vyomanthsow anga veda yadi van a bedha//

'(7) 'from whence this creation arose; did he create, or did he not? HE who presides over it in the highest heaven, HE alone for sure knows, or maybe HE does not know


               The hymn is undoubtedly late within the Rigveda, and expresses thought more typical of later Indian philosophy, and it has been suspected of being intended as a polemic against the Samkhya school.

                 The hymn has been interpreted as one of the earliest accounts of skeptical inquiry and agnosticism.



                 This Nasadiya Sukta is sometimes considered the first written evidence of monistic thought.  The hymn mentions quite clearly that that which "exists" before the beginning is neither Being nor non-Being. In later monistic philosophy, that which is neither Being nor non-Being is referred to as Nirguna Brahman (in Vedanta)


                     In the Aitareya Upanishad, we  answer  this question of creation.. The Supreme Being created space and time first. The vibrations set up in space and time condensed themselves into the potentials of the would-be five gross elements called space—akasha or sky, we may call it—then air, fire, water, and earth. These gross elements did not come out suddenly from the vibrations of space-time. Intermediary forces, called tanmatras in Sanskrit, known as the potentials of sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, and gandha—hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling—were there. They were potential electrical forces, as it were, if at all we can make that comparison, which concentrated themselves, hardened themselves into the physical elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Up to this level, we may say it is God’s creation. Says Swami Vidyaranya in his Panchadasi, “From the original conception of Ishvara, down to this lowest level of creation in the form of the earth plane, we should consider it as God’s creation.” Earth, water, fire, air, ether, etc., have not yet been created.

                 Taittiriya Upanishad describe that, from that Universal Atman, space emanated. Space gave birth to air; air gave birth to heat and fire; fire gave birth to water; water gave birth to earth. Earth produced vegetables, plants, herbs—edibles of the organic kingdom. These, when consumed by individuals, became the substance of their bodies. Our physical body is the outcome of the food we eat. Foodstuff, including the water that we drink and anything that we take inside, becomes the stuff of this body. Consciousness gets merged in this body consciousness. The Supreme Consciousness, which descended gradually through space, air, etc., until it condensed itself into earth consciousness, became body consciousness when it was individualised. Individualised earth consciousness is the same as isolated individual consciousness. We have a fraction of earth consciousness, elemental consciousness.


Rig veda Mandala 10 suktha 90 verses 9799 to 9814

                        Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta, पुरुष सूक्तम्) is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the "Cosmic Being". According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, the seer of this verse is Rishi Narayana and this sukta can evoke God-experience in the seeker.[1] One version of the suktam has 16 verses, 15 in the anuṣṭubh meter, and the final one in the triṣṭubh meter. Another version of the suktam consists of 24 verses with the first 18 mantras designated as the Purva-narayana and the later portion termed as the Uttara-narayana probably in honour of Rishi Narayana.

                       The Purusha sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the universe. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[2] From this being, the sukta holds, the original creative will (later identified with BrahmaHiranyagarbha or Prajapati) proceeds which causes the projection the universe in space and time.[3] The Purusha sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of in the society.


The Purusha is defined in verses 2 to 5 of the sukta. He is described as a being who pervades everything conscious and unconscious universally. He is poetically depicted as a being with thousand heads, eyes and legs, enveloping the earth from all sides and transcending it by ten fingers length. All manifestation, in past present and future, is held to be the Purusha alone.[2] It is also proclaimed that he transcends his creation. The immanence of the Purusha in manifestation and yet his transcendence of it is similar to the viewpoint held by panentheists. Finally, his glory is held to be even greater than the portrayal in this sukta.




Creation myth

Verses 5-15 hold the creation myth of the Rig Veda. Creation is described to have started with the origination Virat or the cosmic body from the Purusha. In Virat, omnipresent intelligence manifests itself which causes the appearance of diversity. In the verses following, it is held that Purusha through a sacrifice of himself, brings forth the avian, forest-dwelling and domestic animals, the three Vedas, the metres (of the mantras). From his mouth, arms, thighs, feet the four Varnas (classes) are born. The moon, which is also associated with the mind,[4] takes birth from the Purusha's mind and the sun from his eyes. Indra and Agni descend from his mouth and from his vital breath, air is born. The firmament comes from his navel, the heavens from his head, the earth from his feet and quarters of space from his ears.[2] Through this creation myth, underlying unity of human, cosmic and divine realities is espoused, for all are seen arising out of same original reality, the Purusha.[5]


The Purusha sukta holds that the world is created by and out of a Yajna or sacrifice of the Purusha. All forms of existence are held to be grounded in this primordial Yajna. In the seventeenth verse, the concept of Yajna itself is held to have arisen out of this original sacrifice. In the final verses, Yajna is extolled as the primordial energy ground for all existence.[6]

d 352).





                            There is in the Rig-Veda, the oldest human writing in existence, a beautiful passage describing creation, and it is most poetical — "When there was neither aught nor naught, when darkness was rolling over darkness, what existed?" and the answer is given, "It then existed without vibration". This Prana existed then, but there was no motion in it; Ânidavâtam means "existed without vibration". Vibration had stopped. Then when the Kalpa begins, after an immense interval, the Anidavatam (unvibrating atom) commences to vibrate, and blow after blow is given by Prana to Akasha. The atoms become condensed, and as they are condensed different elements are formed. We generally find these things very curiously translated; people do not go to the philosophers or the commentators for their translation, and have not the brains to understand them themselves. A silly man reads three letters of Sanskrit and translates a whole book. They translate the, elements as air, fire, and so on; if they would go to the commentators, they would find they do not mean air or anything of the sort.

The Akasha, acted upon by the repeated blows of Prana, produces Vâyu or vibrations. This Vayu vibrates, and the vibrations growing more and more rapid result in friction giving rise to heat, Tejas. Then this heat ends in liquefaction, Âpah. Then that liquid becomes solid. ... and it goes back in exactly the reverse way.

Prana cannot work alone without the help of Akasha. All that we know in the form of motion, vibration, or thought is a modification of the Prana, and everything that we know in the shape of matter, either as form or as resistance, is a modification of the Akasha. The Prana cannot live alone, or act without a medium; when it is pure Prana, it has the Akasha itself to live in, and when it changes into forces of nature, say gravitation, or centrifugal force, it must have matter...

What are the organs made of? We see that the instruments — eyes, nose, and ears — are made of gross materials. The organs are also made of matter. Just as the body is composed of gross materials, and manufactures Prana into different gross forces, so the organs are composed of the fine elements, Akasha, Vayu, Tejas, etc., and manufacture Prana into the finer forces of perception. The organs, the Prana functions, the mind and the Buddhi combined, are called the finer body of man — the Linga or Sukshma Sharira. The Linga Sharira has a real form because everything material must have a form.


Note:  The NASIDAYA is famous since it is called “sat-asit” Nyaya vadam.

           That –SAT-exists because , nothing can be created from “ASIT’-ACHITH.  May be some day I shall send about this also.



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