Purusha Suktam - A Hymn to Lord Rudra
Courtesy: http://hara-hara-mahadev.blogspot.in...udra-also.html
The word "purusha'' in its most literal sense means 'man'. This is not a generic for human, but includes the masculine sense and principle of the world. A careful study of Vedik Scriptures reveal that Lord Shiva alone is Purusha, and all the rest of prakriti, creation, is female(Shakti). Purusha may also be split as pura + usha -- the dawn-light (usha) of the city of the body (pura). Or pu + rusha, one whose passions are refined. Or even puru + sha, filled with wisdom and happiness.

Purusha Sukta appeared first in Rig Veda 10.90. Narayana Maharshi was the 'Mantra Drashta'(seer) of the hymn. This Narayana Maharshiwas later incarnated as Devaki putra Sri Krishna during Dwaparayuga. His counterpart Nara Maharshi was born as 'Arjuna'. By the grace of Lord Shiva, Narayana Mahrshi got the divine vision of Purusha. He was the first Human Rishi to realise the universal oneness and oneness of Atman in all beings. This non-dual knowledge made Narayana Rishi merge with Lord Shiva. Those who know Purusha will become, verily, like Purusha, the self of all beings.

Sathapatha Brahmana of Shukla yajurveda describes how Narayana Rishi became one with Purusha.

"puruṣo ha nārāyaṇo'kāmayata atitiṣṭheyaṃ sarvāṇi bhūtānyahamevedaṃ sarvaṃ syāmiti sa etam puruṣamedham pańcarātram yajńakratumapaśyattamāharattenāyajata teneṣṭvātyatiṣṭhatsarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvamabhavadatitiṣṭhati sarvāṇi bhūtānīdaṃ sarvam bhavati ya evam vidvānpuruṣamedhena yajate yo vaitadevam veda" ( Sathapatha Brahmana 13:6:1:1)


"Purusha Narayana desired, 'Would that I overpassed all beings ! would that I alone were everything- here (this universe) !' He beheld this 'five days' sacrificial performance, the Purushamedha and took it and performed offering therewith ; and having performed offering therewith, he overpassed all beings, and became everything here. And, verily, he who, knowing this, performs the Purushamedha, or who even knows this, overpasses all beings, and becomes everything here."

In Mahabharata, Anushasana parva Bishma pitamaha says to Yudhistira:

Rudra bhakthya thu krishnena jagat vyaptham mahathmana,
Tham prasadhya thadha devam bhadaryam kila bharatha.

Arthath priya harathwam cha sarva lokeshu vai yadhaa,
Prapthavaaneva rajendra suvarnaakshan maheswaraath.

"The Krishna, due to his devotion to Supreme Lord Rudra, Has spread all over the universe, Oh Bharatha, Oh king of kings, After making Lord Shiva pleased by his penance in Bhadrinath, He has attained the state of being more dear, Than all the worlds and all aspects of knowledge."

In Mahabaratha, Lord Shiva says :

satyaśaucārjava tyāgais tapasā niyamena ca
kṣāntyā bhaktyā ca dhṛtyā ca buddhyā ca vacasā tathā ( Mh Bhar 10.7.60)

yathāvad aham ārāddhaḥ kṛṣṇenākliṣṭakarmaṇā
tasmād iṣṭatamaḥ kṛṣṇād anyo mama na vidyate ( Mh Bhar 10.07.61)


"With truth, purity, sincerity, resignation, ascetic austerities, vows, forgiveness, devotion, patience, thought, and word, I have been duly adored by Krishna of pure deeds. For this there is none dearer to me than Krishna".

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Purusha Sukta :
sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapāt |
sabhūmiṃ viśvato vṛtvātyatiṣṭhad daśāṅghulam ||

sahasra - Thousands; ( Thousand implies uncountable )
śīrṣā - of heads has;
puruṣaḥ - the great being.
sahasra -Thousands of
aksha - eyes has he,
sahasrapāt - and thousands of legs.
sa - He
vṛtvā - manifests
bhūmiṃ - the world.
ātyatiṣṭhat - e stands beyond
daśāṅghulam - the count of ten fingers.

A thousand heads hath Puruṣa, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet.
On every side pervading earth he fills a space ten fingers wide.

Commentary :

Veda Purusha Shiva is said to have 'Thousand' heads, 'Thousand' eyes etc. Here Thousand doesn't mean just 1000. Thousand(Sahasra) implies almost infinite but technically speaking we cannot use the word 'Infinite' because the number of living beings in the creation is not infinite. There must be a certain number. But human language is not sufficient even to name the figure. For some 'Mystical' reason, the Rishis used the words 'Sata'(100) and 'Sahasra'(1000) not only for the respective figures but also to denote "uncountable" in number. Scriptures say that God has uncountable names and all names are his names. But still we use 'Satanama' and 'sahasranamas' while worshiping God. The words 'Sata and 'Sahasra' are not meant for restricting it to 100 or 1000 but to convey the 'Wholeness'.

This verse explains the unity of all living beings. Even though, the external world appears with several living entities, the underlying principle(i.e., Lord Rudra) in all the beings is only one. The Self or Atman or Purusha is same in all. All hands, all legs, all heads of all living entities are hands/legs/heads of One Purusha.

The Skambha( pillar or Linga) sukta of Atharva Veda says:

yád éjati pátati yác ca tíṣṭhati prāṇád áprāṇan nimiṣác ca yád bhúvat
tád dādhāra pr̥thivī́ṃ viśvárūpaṃ tát saṃbhū́ya bhavaty ékam evá ( Atharvana Veda X-8-11)

That which hath power of motion, that which flies, or stands,which breathes or breathes not, which, existing, shuts the eyeWearing all forms that entity upholds the earth, and in its close consistence still is only one.

The Taittirya Aranyaka(10:24:1) of Yajur Veda clearly says Lord Rudra is 'Veda Purusha' (purusho vai rudrah) Kaushitaki Brahmana (6:1:13) of Rig Veda calls Lord Rudra as "sahasrakha sahasrapat". ( tata.udatiṣṭhat.sahasra.akṣaḥ.sahasra.pāt). The same thing is confirmed in Svetasvatara Upanishad.

viśvataś cakṣur uta viśvato-mukho
viśvato-bāhur uta viśvatas-pāt
saṃ6 bāhubhyāṃ dhamati sampatatrair
dyāv-ābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ ( Sv Up III-3)

"His eyes are everywhere, His faces everywhere, His arms everywhere, everywhere His feet. He it is who endows men with arms, birds with feet and wings and men likewise with feet. Having produced heaven and earth, this God (deva ekaḥ) remains as their non—dual manifester".

puruṣa evedaṃ sarvaṃ yad bhūtaṃ yacca bhavyam |
utāmṛtatvasyeśāno yadannenātirohati ||

puruṣa - purusha
eva - alone
idaṃ sarvaṃ - is all of this,
yad bhūtaṃ - that which was,
yac ca bhavyam - and that which is too be.
uta - Moreover
amṛtatvasya - of immortality too
Iśāna - is he alone Lord.
yad - That which
annena - as food
atirohati - shows itself, that too is purusha.


This Puruṣa is all that yet has been and all that is to be; The Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food.


Lord Rudra is creation, this we know. In time, he is all that is, all that was, and all that is to be. Does he have an end, like death ? No. He himself is Lord of immortality, of the eternal that dies not (amṛta).

Taittiriya Aranyaka (10:24:1) of Yajurveda says "sarvo vai rudrastasmai rudraya namo astu" i.e., All this is verily Rudra. To Rudra we offer our salutations.

The same verse says "vishvam bhutam bhuvanam citram bahudha jatam jayamanam cayat sarvo hyesha rudrastasmai rudraya namo astu"i.e., The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such.

We know that Rudra is called Ishana(Lord). Lord Rudra is the Lord of all beings. He is the sole Lord of whole creation. Rig Veda (2:33:9) clearly says Rudra as īśānādasya bhuvanasya ( ie., Ishana ie., Lord of all worlds ). Rig Veda (6:49:10) says that Rudra is 'bhuvanasya pitaraṃ' ie., The Father of whole universe. Sri Rudram of Yaurveda ( iv.5.2.f) says "jagatam pataye namo" [i.e., salutations to Rudra who is Lord of entire creation(jagat)]

Taittariya Aranyaka(10:21:1) of yajurveda says:

ishanah sarvavidyanamishvarah sarvabhutanam
brahmadhipatirbrahmano'dhipatirbrahma shivo me astu sadashivom ||

"May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, ishana, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava(OM)." (Yajurveda Taittariya Aranyaka 10:21:1 )

Further Svetasvatara Upanishad clearly identifies Rudra as Purusha and regarding his Iswara aspect it says :

eko hi rudro na dvitīyāya tasthur ya imāṃl lokān īśata īśanībhiḥ (SV Up III-2)
sunirmalām imāṃ prāptim īśāno jyotir avyayaḥ ( SV Up III-12)
sarvasya prabhum īśānaṃ sarvasya śaraṇaṃ bṛhat( SV Up III-17)
tam īśānaṃ varadaṃ devam īḍyaṃ (SV Up IV-11)
tam īśvarāṇāṃ paramaṃ maheśvaraṃ ( SV Up VI-7)
ya īśe'sya jagato nityam eva nānyo hetur vidyata īśanāya ( SV Up VI-17)

Rudra is the Lord of Immortality too. That's why Vedik seers asked Lord Rudra not to withhold immortality and liberate them from bondages without pain. This verse is popularly known as 'Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra'.

tryambakam yajAmahe sugandhim pusti vardhanam
urvArukamiva bandhanAn mrtyormukshIya mAmrtAt (Rigveda 7:59:12)

"We worship the fragrant Three-Eyed One, the Promoter of prosperity. May we be freed from the bondage of death as a cucumber from its stalk; But not from immortality".

Creation feeds on itself. It requires food to grow, to flourish. What is food but other life? Life feeds on life, be it plant, or animal life. This is why we say the world grows on food, the world is fill of food (annamayam jagat). All that is hidden in creation, and all that emerges, to show itself and be food, all this is purusha. He sustains creation as food.
Lord Rudra is verily Food. He himself eats Food. He himself is the Lord of the Food. ie., Lord Rudra is the Giver of Food in his Iswaraform. He himself is the eater of Food in his Jeeva form. He himself is Food . Lord Rudra is this triad. For those who are in maya see only multiplicity but for the realised one all this(creation), verily, is Rudra.

Sri Rudram of Yaurveda (iv.5.2.d) calls Rudra as Lord of the food. (annanam pataye namo)

Lord Rudra himself eats food and expands himself. Regarding this, Satapatha Brahmana( IX-1-1-6) says:

"This Rudra with a thousand heads, eyes, and quivers, stood with his bow strung,and arrows on the string, causing terror, and demanding food. The gods were afraid of him. They said to Prajapati,:'We are afraid of this being, lest he destroy us.' Prajapati said to them: 'Collect for him food, and with it appease him.' They collected for him this food, the satarudriya."
Later, all gods, including Prajapati sang Satarudriya hymns and appeased Rudra. Satarudriyam begin with the words : "Namaste Rudra Manyava..... ( Salutations to thy anger O Rudra.... )"

To be Cont'd