Sri Purusha Suktham
Vande Vishnum bhava bhaya haram sarva lokaika naadham
The Purusha Suktha is a well known hymn from the Rigveda addressed to Purusha, the Cosmic Being, the highest manifestation of Brahman in the world. The hymn speaks about the greatness of Purusha and how he created the worlds and beings from his own body through a sacrifice. The hymn is also controversial since it justifies the division of mankind into four castes and shows the Shudras as the low born from the feet of the Supreme Being. According to some historians, the hymn was not part of the original Rigveda but was a subsequent interpolation into it to justify the caste system. In Vaishnava tradition, the Purusha Suktha is considered a hymn addressed to Vishnu as Hiranyagarbha. However, there is another opinion which suggests that it was originally a hymn addressed to Brahma only, who as the legends suggest created the worlds and beings by sacrificing parts of himself.
Guidelines for pronunciation are in the footnotes
sri purusha suktam
aum thacchamyoraa vruneemahe|gathum yagnaaya|
gathum yagna pathaye|daivee svasthi rasthu nah|
svasthirmaanushebhyah| uurdhvam jigaathu bheshajam|
sham no asthu dvipade|sam chatush pade |
aum shanthi, shanthi, shanthi|
1. sahasra sheerhaa purushah | sahasraaksha shrarpaath|
sa bhuumim visvatho vruthvaa|athyathishta ddhasaangulam|
purusha e vedam sarvam|yadbhuutam yacchabhavyam|
uthaamruthathva syeshaanah| yadanne naathirohathi|
ethaa vaanasya mahimaa|atho jyaaya'scha puruushaha|
2. pado'sya visva bhuuthani|thri-paadasyamrutham-divi|
thri padduurdhva udaithprurushah| pad'osyehaabhavaat- punah|
thatho vishvanjvyakramaath|saasanaanasane abhi|
tasmadvirada jayaatha| virajo adhi purushah|
sa jatho athyarichyatha| paschad-bhuumi madho-puraa|
3. yathpurushena-havishaa| devaa yagna-mathanvatha|
vasantho asyaaseedaajyam| greeshma idhma saraddhavih|
sapthaasyasanparidhayah| thri saptha samidhah kruthaah|
devaa-yadyajnam-thanvaanaah| abhadhnanpurusham pashum|
tham yajnam-barhishi praukshann| purusham jaathamagrathaa|
4. thena devaayajantha| saadhaa rushayaschye|
tasmadyajnaathsarva huthah| sambhrutham prushadaajyam|
pasus'tha'ascha krevayavyaan| aaranyaan-graamyaaschaye|
5. tasmad-asvaa ajaayantha| ye ke chobhayaadatha|
gaavoha janjire-tasmath| tasmad-jnaatha ajaapayah|
mukham kimsya kau baahu| kaavuruu padaa-uchyethe|
6. uuruutha dasysyad-vaisyah|padbhayo shuudroaajayatha|
7. padbhyaam bhuumirdishassho-thrath|tadha lokaa'akampayan|
vedaaha-metham purusham mahantham|aadhithya varnam thamasasthu paare,
sarvaani ruupaani vichinthya dheerah| namaani kruthva abhivadan yadaasthe|
dhaatha purasthaadya-mudaajahaara|shakrah pravidvaan pradisha-schathra srah|
tham-evam vidvaan-amrutha iha bavathi| naanyah panda-ayanaaya vidyathe|
yajnena yajna-maya-jantha devaah| thaani dharmaani pradhamanyaasan|
theha-naakam mahimaanassachanthe|yatra puurve saadhyaassanthi devaah|
8. adhbhya-ssambhuuthah pruthvyai rasaascha| visvakarmana-ssamavarthalaudhi|
thasyas thvashtaa vidadha druupamethi|tathpurushasya vishva-maajana-magre|
vedaha metham purusham mahantham|aadithyavarnam thamasah parasthaath|
thamevam vidvaa-namrutha iha bhavathi|naanyam pandhaa vidhyathe'ayanaaya|
prajaapathischarathi garbhe anthah| aajaayamaano bahudhaa vijaayathe|
9. tasya dheera parijaananthi yonim|
mareechinaam-pada micchanthi vedhasah|
yo-devebhya aathapathi| yo devaanaam purohithah|
rucham braahmam janayantha|devaa agretha-bruvan|
yasthvainam braahmano vidyaath| thasya deva asaan vashe|
hreeschathe lakshmeescha pathnyau|ahoraathre paarshve|
nakshathraani ruupam|ashvinau vyaattham|
ishtam manishaana|amum manishana|sarve manishana|
10 .aum thachcham-yoraavruneemahe|gaathum yajnaaya|
gaathum yajnapathaye|daivee svasthi rasthu nah|
svasthir-maanushebhyah| uurdhvam jigaathu bheshajam|
shamno asthu dvipade|sham chatush-pade
aum shanthi, shanthi, shanthi|
shri purusha shuuktham samaaptham
Translation of Purusha Suktha
We offer our salutation to the congregation.
May the yajna flourish.
May the sacrificer flourish.
May gods be graceful to us.
May the plants grow upwards.
Wellness to the two-footed beings.
Wellness to the four-footed beings..
Aum, Peace, Peace, Peace.
A THOUSAND heads the Purusa has, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet.
On every side pervading earth he fills the space ten fingers wide.
This Purusa is all that yet hath been and all that is to be;
The Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food.
So mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Purusa.
All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven.
ith three-fourths Purusa went up: onefourth of him again was here.
Thence he strode out to every side over what lives not and what lives
As soon as he was born he spread eastward and westward o'er the earth.
When Gods prepared the sacrifice with Purusa as their offering,
Its oil was spring, the holy gift was autumn; summer was the wood.
They balmed as victim on the grass Purusa born in earliest time.
With him the Deities and all Sadhyas and Rsis sacrificed.
From that great general sacrifice the dripping fat was gathered up.
He formed the creatures of-the air, and animals both wild and tame.
From that great general sacrifice Rcas and Sama-hymns were born:
Therefrom were spells and charms produced; the Yajus had its birth from it.
From it were horses born, from it all cattle with two rows of teeth:
From it were generated kine, from it the goats and sheep were born.
When they divided Purusa how many portions did they make?
What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet?
The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made.
His thighs became the Vaisya, from his feet the Sudra was produced.
The Moon was gendered from his mind, and from his eye the Sun had birth;
Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vayu from his breath.
Forth from his navel came mid-air the sky was fashioned from his head
Earth from his feet, and from his car the regions. Thus they formed the worlds.
Seven fencing-sticks had he, thrice seven layers of fuel were prepared,
When the Gods, offering sacrifice, bound, as their victim, Purusa.
Gods, sacrificing, sacrificed the victim these were the carliest holy ordinances.
The Mighty Ones attained the height of heaven, there where the Sidhyas, Gods of old, are dwelling.
Suggestions for Further Reading
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- A Prayer During a Pradakshina at a A Hindu Temple
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Guidelines to pronunciation: Sanskrit is essentially a language of sounds and sound vibrations. The efficacy of Sanskrit prayers depends upon the vibrations that are produced during chanting. It is difficult to transliterate Sanskrit words into English with full justification to the original sounds. In the above stated transliteration we followed a simple approach to make it easier even for those who are not familiar with English or Sanskrit. Wherever you find repeat vowels (aa, uu, ee) please stretch the vowel sound (for ex., aa as in vast or path, uu as in cool or root, ee as in eel or feel). Similarly, "ai" should be pronounced as in gait, fight, or tight. Th should be pronounced as in think or thick, but when t alone is used, it should be pronounced as in two, top or tip.