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Mathomathis would like to present an article on Purusha Sukta by author Zachary F. Lansdowne Ph.D (who served as President of the Theosophical Society in Boston, has been a frequent contributor to The Esoteric Quarterly. His book The Revelation of Saint John, which provides a verse-by-verse analysis of the entire Revelation, was reviewed in the Fall 2006 issue). The Purusha Sukta is an ancient Hindu/Vedic hymn that celebrates the sacrifice of a God-like entity called “Purusha,” and it is still regularly chanted during Hindu worship. Modern scholars, however, find this hymn to be obscure. Author gives a theosophical interpretation, showing that Purusha corresponds to the concept of the Planetary Logos. The Rig Veda, the oldest text in Hinduism, is a collection of 1,028 Sanskrit hymns and is often dated between 1700–1100 BCE. The earliest version of the Purusha Sukta is in the Rig Veda, but subsequent versions of this hymn appear elsewhere with some modifications and redactions. It is one of the few hymns in the Rig Veda still being used in contemporary Hinduism, as reported by the President of the Ramakrishna Mission at Chennai, India: “This Sukta finds a place even today in the worship of a deity, in a temple or at home, in the daily parayana [chanting], in establishing the sacred fire for a Vedic ritual, in various rituals, and even in the cremation of a dead body.” According to the Hindu tradition, the Purusha Sukta was written down by an ancient scribe known as Narayana. Swami Krishnananda, the General Secretary of The Divine Life Society, reports on this somewhat mythical origin: “The Seer (Rishi) of the Sukta is Narayana, the greatest of sages ever known, who is rightly proclaimed in the Bhagavata [Purana] as the only person whose mind cannot be disturbed by desire and, as the Mahabharata says, whose power not even all the gods can ever imagine. Such is the Rishi to whom the Sukta was revealed and who gave expression to it as the hymn on the Supreme Purusha.” The Purusha Sukta is a small hymn, with sixteen verses, and is written in the oldest form of Sanskrit that has been preserved. Some of its words have multiple meanings, and some may have had meanings that were lost during the intervening years. Its language is ritualistic and may seem archaic. Moreover, this hymn may have a hidden, or esoteric, significance that was concealed behind its ritualistic language. For these reasons, modern scholars generally find the Purusha Sukta to be obscure. For example, John Muir refers to it as, “Another important, but in many places obscure, hymn of the Rig Veda.” Zenaide Ragozin writes, “The hymn, as a whole, is exceedingly obscure and of entirely mystical import.” One verse, which characterizes something as both the parent and progeny of something else, is called “a cryptogram” by Rein Fernhout. Another verse seems to describe a paradoxical situation in which a sacrifice has the same subject and object, so Steven Rosen asks, “Was the confusion that naturally bursts forth from this paradox meant to be like a Zen koan, a mystical riddle, or is it a product of the Vedas’ incomprehensibility?” On the other hand, Helena Blavatsky, cofounder of the Theosophical Society, states that this hymn has a coherent esoteric meaning: “It is those scholars only who will master the secret meaning of the Purushasukta, who may hope to understand how harmonious are its teachings and how corroborative of the Esoteric Doctrines. One must study in all the abstruseness of their metaphysical meaning the relations therein between the (Heavenly) Man ‘Purusha,’ sacrificed for the production of the Universe and all in it, and the terrestrial mortal man.” Blavatsky continues: “Hence in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda, the mother fount and source of all subsequent religions, it is stated allegorically that ‘the thousand-headed Purusha’ was slaughtered at the foundation of the World, that from his remains the Universe might arise. This is nothing more nor less than the foundation—the seed, truly—of the later many-formed symbol in various religions, including Christianity, of the sacrificial lamb. For it is a play upon the words. ‘Aja’ (Purusha), ‘the unborn’ or eternal Spirit, means also ‘lamb’ in Sanskrit. Spirit disappears—dies, metaphorically—the more it gets involved in matter, and hence the sacrifice of the ‘unborn,’ or the ‘lamb.’” Blavatsky never published a detailed commentary on the Purusha Sukta. In fact, to our knowledge, the two paragraphs given above constitute most of her published comments on this hymn. Alice Bailey, a later theosophical author, wrote a great deal on subjects related to the Purusha Sukta but did not write anything explicitly about this hymn. In what follows, the English translation of each verse of the Purusha Sukta (as found in the Rig Veda) by Michael Myers, a Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, is given in bold, followed by an interpretation of that verse in italics showing that Purusha corresponds to the concept of the Planetary Logos. The subsequent theosophical commentary, including a detailed analysis of the symbols in the verse, is based primarily on the writings of Blavatsky and Bailey. Purusha: The first five verses provide us with a detailed description of the relationship between Purusha, or the Planetary Logos, and human beings. 1. Thousand-headed is Purusa, thousand eyed, thousand-footed. Having covered the earth on all sides, he stood above it the width of ten fingers. The Planetary Logos, whose body incorporates all human beings, expresses Himself through the planet Earth but transcends it. Sri V. Sundar provides a slightly different translation for the last phrase in the verse: “He stands beyond the count of ten fingers.” The ten fingers in this phrase are the fingers of human hands. Sundar explains this symbol: “They are the basis of count, of all mathematics, of all the logic and science built on mathematics. However, they are all limited when it comes to analyzing Purusha. He is transcendent, and beyond such limited understanding.” Who or what is Purusha (or Purusa) in this hymn? […]
Hindu Scriptures & Sanskrit Literature | Mathomathis would like to present an article on Root By Kadambi Srinivasan | Published by | Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams | Tirupati 2019. The following article will explain about the creation of the universe by adopting the concepts of vedas and upanishad. Do note that, every concepts including the so called “modern science” has its own way on intercepting the cosmic creations. Readers are expected to have an open thought before making any judgemental thoughts in the article explained. King Prithu: One of the descendants of Dhruva was a tyrant named Vena. He would not listen to advice from his ministers and continued with his reign of terror. The Rishis then invoked the God of death and Vena died. After the death of Vena, the land had no king to rule. Eventually with the help of penance of the Rishis a boy and a girl was born. They named the boy as Prithu. The girl was named Archis. From the lakshanas, the Rishis knew that he was born from an amsha (part of) of Lord Narayana. Archis was Sri Maha Lakshmi. When he was old enough, the boy was crowned as king. After he was crowned as king, the Rishis called him Prithu, the great protector of the world. Prithu noticed that his subjects were thin and emaciated. He concluded that Earth was not yielding enough. So he confronted Mother Earth and decided to punish her. Mother earth got frightened and explained that as time passed sinful acts were being committed everywhere. In a fit of anger she decided that the people were not fit enough to enjoy the wealth provided to them. However, she promised that she will now agree to yield enough food for all people. Everyone then got what he wanted. King Prithu was very pleased with the earth and her bounty, that he made her his beloved daughter. Since then mother Earth came to called as Prithvi. He was the first king that ever won the hearts of the people. From his time kings have been called “Rajas”. “Ranj” means charm, “Ranjayati iti Raja”. Prithu was the first Raja – “Adiraja”. King Prithu performed one hundred Ashvamedhas. King Prithu’s grandson was Havirdhana who married Havirdhani. They had six children and the eldest was Barhishat. He married Shatadruti, daughter of the lord of the seas. Ten sons were born to this couple and they were famed as Prachetas. King Barhishat believed in the performance of yagnays and he performed many. Sage Narada took interest in him and initiated the Brahma Vidya advising him that it was the way for salvation. King Barhishat followed his advice. Prachetas, the ten sons of King Barhishat, were great devotees of Lord Narayana. Lord Mahadeva was pleased with them and decided to help them. He taught them Rudra Gita and asked them to repeat it with a steady mind in order to gain the favour of Lord Narayana. They did that. The Lord Narayana was pleased with their devotion and asked them to marry Marisha, daughter of an Apsara. He also told the brothers that she will bear them a son whose fame will spread all over the world. All ten of them married Marisha. A son was born to them and he was Daksha. It was the same Daksha Prajapati who insulted Lord Mahadeva. He was born as a human being for the sin he committed. Prachetas crowned Daksha as the king and left for the forest. However, he too left for the forest to perform Tapas. In the previous article, it was mentioned that Svayambhu Manu had two sons – Priyavrata and Uttanapada. We learnt earlier that Uttanapada’s son was the famed Dhruva. Priyavrata was the eldest son of the Manu. However, he had no desire to rule the kingdom and left for the forest to perform Tapas. Uttanapada and later Dhruva ruled the land. However, when Daksha, their descendant, left for the forest, the land was without a ruler. Lord Brahma went to Priyavrata and persuaded him to take up the reins of ruling the kingdom. Priyavrata married Barhishmati, daughter of Vishvakarma. Ten sons and a daughter were born to them. Agnitra was the eldest son. Three of his brothers left to the forest to perform Tapas. Agnitra and his six other brothers ruled the seven islands. The daughter Ojasvati was married to Shukra and their daughter was Devayani. People were happy during his rule. Priyavrata was interested in tracing the path of the Sun. He equipped himself with a chariot fast enough to travel with the Sun. He travelled with the Sun around the Earth seven times. The moats formed by the quick progress of his chariot became the seven great seas. They were named:- Lavan Ikshu Sura Sarpi Dadhi Kshira and Madhu. The earth divided into seven islands. They were named:- Jambu Plaksha Shalmali Kusha Krauncha Shaka and Pushkara King Bharata:- Agnitra’s son was Nabhi and he had no children. He performed a great sacrifice where he worshipped Lord Narayana. The Lord was pleased with Nabhi and promised that he will be born as a son to Nabhi. The child was named Rishabha. Rishabha was crowned as the king after Nabhi. Rishabha married Jayanti the daughter of Indra. They had hundred sons; the eldest of them was Bharata. Bharata was a great king and the land was called Bharatavarsha after him. After a long number of years, Bharata decided to retire to the forest. He distributed his kingdom among his sons he went away to the ashrama of sage Pulaha near Haridwar. He worshipped Lord Narayana with great devotion. His heart was filled with peace born out of renunciation and detachment. One day he rescued a new-born deer when her mother died. He brought up the deer with great care and was greatly attached to it. His meditation and prayers were all things of the past. And when he died Bharata’s mind was on the deer. Since his thoughts were on […]
Mathomathis would like to present article on Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 103 by the author Kosla Vepa Published by Indic Studies Foundation, 948 Happy Valley Rd., Pleasanton, Ca 94566, USA. Previous article can be found here (Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 106 (Buddha’s Date)) Their website can be located Indicstudies.us. The studies is also conducted by N.S. Rajaram PhD. Author’s in the volume 1 of their research start their discussion on a topic called Why are History and the Chronology Important by Kosla Vepa PhD. The date of Sankaracharya has been discussed in great detail by a very large number of scholars. For some details the works of Kota Venkatachelam and the essay of Ramachandran may be consulted. For the purposes of the present essay, the planetary positions at the time of birth of Adi Sankara and given in the article by Ramachandran is sufficient. The horoscope is given by Citsukhacarya, a boyhood friend of Sankara, in his work Brhadvijaya. According to it Sankara was born in the year Nandana of Kaliyuga 2593 (509 BCE) in the month of visakha, suklapaksa pancami tithi, punarvasu naksatra, karkataka lagna, in the abhijinmuhurta. The Figure A shows a star map for April 5, 509 BCE and it is easily seen that tithi, lagna, naksatra and the positions of the planets are exactly as described in the horoscope. This verifies that the planetary configuration as given for that date is correct. However, caution must be exercised in deriving the dates based on horoscopic data alone.
Mathomathis would like present an article on Life in the Womb: Conception and Gestation in Buddhist Scripture and Classical Indian Medical Literature By Author: Robert Kritzer. Before proceeding further, make sure to complete the previous article: Life in the Womb | Conception and Gestation in Buddhist Scripture | 101 The Garbhāvakrāntisūtra is a rather long sūtra that includes an account of the mechanism of rebirth. The account begins before conception, when the being about to be reborn is in the intermediate state (antarābhava). The text is best known for its week-by-week description of the development of the fetus, but it also details the ills to which the newly born being is subject. There are several extant versions of the sūtra. The earliest is a translation by Dharmaraksa titled Pao-t’ai ching (Taishō edition, Buddhist canon [T.], 317), dated 281 or 303. A translation by Bodhiruci titled Fo wei a-nan shuo ch’u-t’ai hui (T. 310 n. 13), dated 703–713, is found in the Ratnakūtasūtra. I-ching also translated the sūtra, and his translation (dated 710) can be found in two different places, in the Ratnakūtasūtra (T. 310 n. 14), titled Fo shuo ju-t’ai-tsang hui), and in the Mūlasarvāstivādavinayaks․ udrakavastu, titled Ju-mu-t’ai ching (T. 1451: 251a14–262a19). I-ching’s version is much longer than Dharmaraksa’s or Bodhiruci’s. It consists of three parts: (1) An account of the instruction of Nanda; (2) An account of conception and gestation that generally corresponds with Bodhiruci’s version, followed by various teachings related to suffering and how to overcome it; (3) An account of Nanda’s previous lives. There is no extant Sanskrit for the portion of the Mūlasarvāstivādavinaya in which the sūtra is found, but there is a ninth-century Tibetan translation. The other Tibetan translations of the sūtra are from the Chinese translations, not from a Sanskrit original. The Carakasamhitā:- The Carakasamhitā is the earliest of the Indian medical texts that Kenneth Zysk calls “the classical compilations,” which also include the Suśrutasamhitā, the Ashtanga Hridaya samhita, and the Astāngasamgraha. As is the case with Indian Buddhist texts, it is difficult to establish the dates of Indian medical texts. According to Zysk, the Carakasamhitā and the Suśrutasamhitā probably date from a few centuries before or after the beginning of the common era, whereas the Astāngahrdayasamhitā and the Astāngasamgraha are from around the seventh century, with the Astāngahrdayasamhitā probably being slightly older. Clearly, the authors of Indian medical texts share a certain pool of knowledge with authors of religious texts, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist. Author in the following article is primarily concerned with the different emphases and the uses to which this knowledge is put in the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra, which includes the most prominent Buddhist treatment of the subject of conception and gestation, and the Carakasamhitā, which author have chosen as a representative of the classical medical tradition. Conception:- Since both the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra and the Carakasamhitā presuppose a belief in rebirth related to, if not directly resulting from, karma, it is not surprising that their accounts of conception are generally quite similar. According to both texts, the mother must be at the proper time of her menstrual cycle, and her reproductive organs must be healthy. Naturally, the father and mother must have sex. Finally, the entity that will be reborn as the new baby must be present in the form of the intermediate being (antarābhava) at the time of intercourse; this is crucial if moral continuity is to be preserved from one lifetime to the next. Not surprisingly, given the different purposes of the two texts, there are also some differences. The Garbhāvakrāntisūtra specifies that the parents must have a “defiled thought,” that is to say, a lustful thought. This reflects the Buddhist conviction that desire, because it leads to rebirth, is essentially defiling and is, as the second Noble Truth implies, the cause of suffering. Like the non-Buddhist religious texts discussed above, the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra describes the rebirth process in detail, not as a disinterested explanation of the facts of life, but for the sake of arousing or confirming disgust in samsāra. Its audience was probably the meditating monk. The Carakasamhitā, on the other hand, is not addressed to monks, and it passes no moral judgment on socially acceptable sexual activity. Rather, its aim is to encourage a successful pregnancy and a healthy birth. In addition to instructions regarding the best position for intercourse, the sensibilities of both partners are taken into account. The couple is recommended to wear white clothes and garlands, to have pleasant dispositions, and to have sexual desire for one another. They should be stimulated, ready for intercourse, and well fed, and their bed should be sweet smelling and comfortable. For a week after intercourse, the woman is to be pampered with various soothing and nutritious drinks, all white in color, and all of her surroundings should be white. She should have a large white bull or a decorated horse to look at, morning and evening. She should be told pleasant stories and look upon men and women of agreeable form, speech, and behaviour as well as other pleasant sense-objects. Far from evoking disgust, these passages emphasize the pleasantness of the process, and the frequent mention of the color white suggests purity, not defilement. The other obvious difference is that the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra refers to the about to-be-reborn being as antarābhava, or intermediate being. The Carakasamhitā, on the other hand, calls it the “soul” (jīva), the same word that is used in the Brahmanical and Jaina texts mentioned earlier. Despite the difference in terminology, the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra and the Carakasamhitā agree that something in addition to the material contributions of the father and mother is required for conception to occur. Thus, in both these systems, which take rebirth for granted, a conscious entity accompanied by previously accumulated karma seems to be necessary for the mixture of semen and blood to become animated. After the explanation of the conditions for entering the womb, the Mūlasarvāstivādavinaya version of the Garbhāvakrāntisūtra (but not the version translated by Dharmaraksa) describes some features of the antarābhava. […]
Mathomathis would like to present an article on Cosmo Graphical Mapping by JOSEPH E. SCHWARTZBERG. The following article would start a conversation on a topic called as: Celestial Mappings To speak of celestial mapping as a part of the cosmographical tradition of traditional Hindu culture is perhaps to extend the meaning of “mapping” beyond its customary limits. Nevertheless, attempts have been made, since ancient times, to present orderly graphic portrayals of portions of the heavens in painting, sculpture, and architecture. The relevant literature is extensive. It derives on the one hand from art historians and on the other from historians of astronomy, and author have studied and understood only a small portion of the total corpus and none of it from primary sources in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. Thus, in what follows author can do no more than to provide a brief sketch of a few of the means and forms by which attempts at celestial mapping, broadly conceived, have been carried out and to indicate something of the emergence on Indian soil of certain centers of observational astronomy that sought to arrive at more objective and accurate views of the heavens than those that sufficed for most religious purposes. The development in India of anthropomorphic icons to represent heavenly bodies may be traced back to the time of the Kusanas (first century A.D.) in the case of Surya, the sun-god; to the mid-second century in the case of the planetary deities (grahas), including the sun and moon; and at least to the sixth and seventh centuries, respectively, in the cases of Rahu and Ketu, the deities associated with eclipses. These “planetary deities,” nine in all, were designated by the Sanskrit term navagrahas and were customarily portrayed in a fixed order, beginning with the seven that in turn exercised their lordship over the days of the week (sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn) and ending with Rahu and Ketu. They so appear in innumerable sculptures (especially on the lintels over the portals of temples), in paintings, and in other forms. Although their early manifestations would hardly be described as maps, we do find in later cosmographies, some of which are described below, the maintenance of both the icons and the order established in ancient times. Iconographic portrayals of astronomical phenomena were not confined to the navagrahas. “In some interesting paintings of the schools of Rajasthan and of Deccan we can see personifications of the lunar days (tithi), of the hours of good auspices (muhurta), of the days of the week (dina, vara), of the months (masa), of the years (varsa), of the stars (naksatra), of the signs of the zodiac (rasi), etc. These are based on iconographic texts often reproduced in the same pictures.” Plate 27 provides a characteristic example of the way naksatras (groups of stars near the plane of the ecliptic separating various lunar mansions) have been portrayed in Rajasthan in recent centuries. Not all symbols used to represent astronomical features in painted cosmographies were pictorial. As Tantric Hinduism developed, its use of essentially geometric astronomical (and astrological) charting came to be quite important. This esoteric tradition has given rise to numerous rather varied and often complex astronomical drawings, many of which have recently found their way into semipopular art books. Author, have not found it possible to study the original sources, which are never cited in the works he has seen. Nor author have been able to translate the abundant text or interpret the mathematical formulas that characteristically accompany the published drawings. Author have referred above to a pair of huge cosmographic paintings in Minaksi temple in the south Indian city of Madurai, both recent (1963 and 1966) replacements for accidentally destroyed works that were originally executed in 1568. One of this pair, entitled Bhugolam (the earth) has already been described. The other (Figure 1), several meters to the left of it and of the same size (about 4.25 X 4.25 m), is designated Khagolam (the celestial dome). Although there is a bit of hindrance for explaining the details of the painting with confidence, He suggests that, much of it could correspond fairly well to the following summation, by Pingree, of a portion of the cosmological sections of various Puranas. [About Figure 1: This oil painting on canvas is in the waiting hall of Minaksi temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is a repainting (1966) of an original dated 1568. This diagram is believed to represent, among other things, the twelve zodiacal months; the paths of the sun, moon, and five known planets; and presumably the ties of the celestial deities Rahu and Ketu to other heavenly bodies. Size of the original: approx. 4 X 4.5 m. Photograph by Joseph E. Schwartzberg.] Above the earth’s surface and parallel to its base are a series of wheels the centers of which lie on the vertical axis of Meru, at the tip of which is located the North Polestar, Dhruva. The wheels, bearing the celestial bodies, are rotated by Brahma by means of bonds made of wind. The order of the celestial bodies varies; the earliest seems to be sun, moon, naksatras, and Saptarishis (Ursa Major). Some Puranas place the grahas (planets) between the moon and the naksatras; in others, interpolated verses add Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (in that order) between the naksatras and the Saptarishis. Which of the many concentric circles shown in figure 1 represent the orbits (wheels) noted in the previous description is uncertain. But it seems safe to assume that the male and female figures seated in the center of the painting represent the sun and the moon, respectively, and that the wheels for the planets occupy the relatively light space between the more central and more peripheral groups of concentric rings. Radiating outward from the center of the diagram are twelve spokes that may be described as like hour divisions of a clock. Presumably these are the divisions between the twelve zodiacal months. The spokes vary in color. Those at […]