Purusha Suktam - A Hymn to Lord Rudra
Courtesy: http://hara-hara-mahadev.blogspot.in...udra-also.html
yat puruṣeṇa haviṣā devā yajñamatanvata |
vasantoasyāsīdājyaṃ ghrīṣma idhmaḥ śarad dhaviḥ ||

yat - That
yajña - rite that
devā - the gods
atanvata - performed,
puruṣeṇa - with the Purusha himself as
haviṣā - havis, the fire offering,
vasanta - the Spring
āsīt - became
ājyaṃ - its ghee.
ghrīṣma - The summer became its
idhmaḥ - samit-wood firebrand,
śarad - Autumn became
haviḥ - its burn offering.


When Gods prepared the sacrifice with Puruṣa as their offering,
Its oil was spring, the holy gift was autumn; summer was the wood.

Commentary :

Now some may wonder by seeing this verse. Now a series of doubts arise in the mind - Who are these devas ? where did they come from ? What's the relation between devas and Purusha ? what are these seasons ? How come ghee, wood, etc existenced even before Creation ?

The first thing which I would like to tell is - The Purusha Suktam is, no doubt, a creation hymn. But the Creation, here, is not about the material World(Prakriti) and its elements like sky, air, fire, water, earth..etc. The Creation in Purusha Suktam is mainly about the 'Living entities' but not Prakriti. It means the Purusha aspect in the creation is mentioned in the hymn but not its Prakriti aspect.

The Devas(natural forces) are the part of Prakriti but they become active or performs their functions when they are impelled byPurusha(Shiva /Atman). The devas perform their respective functions when Purusha unites with Prakriti. Until then, the devas are like dead creatures.

For example; There may be Fire(Agni) in Prakriti(Nature) but without experiencer(Purusha) how can there be something called 'Heat' ? How can we say that the fire is Hot or cold ? Truly speaking, the fire is neither hot nor cold. It is only because of Purusha(Shiva/Atman) we are able to identify the very characteristic called 'Heat' from the 'Fire'. But Purusha is unaffected by the experience. The reflected consciousness of Purusha, which drives the mind, is the true experiencer. The Pure being(Purusha) unaffected and blemishless.

The Devas are Body of Purusha(Atman). The Eyes, Ears, Mind and other senses are devas. Similarly, Earth, Water, Fire and Other elements are also devas. They work because they are impelled by Purusha(Atman).

yásya tráyastriṃśad devā́ áṅge sárve samā́hitāḥ
skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ( Atarva Veda X-7-13)

Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities? ( X-7-13)

"He, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the Support of the universe, Rudra the omniscient, who at the beginning gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!" ( Svetasvatara Upanishad IV-12)

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Now, the gods used Purusha as havis(offering) in Srushti Yajna. They offered 'Purusha' as 'Havis' to none otherthan 'Purusha'. i.e., The senses(devas) not only function because of Purusha but those functions are also perceived by Purusha alone. So purusha not only impells to action but also impells to perceive the result of the action.

Sri Rudram of yajur veda says: devana hridayebhyo namah (Yaurveda iv.5.9.p) ie., Salutations to Rudra who is sparkling heart of all beings.

Satapatha Brahmana IX-1-1-6 says :

"From Prajapati, when he had become enfeebled, the deities departed. Only one god, Manyu, did not leave him, but continued extended within him. He (Prajapati) wept. The tears which fell from him remained in that 'Manyu'. He became Rudra with a hundred heads, a hundred eyes, and a hundred quivers. Then the other drops which fell from him in unnumbered thousands entered into these worlds.They were called Rudras because they sprang from him when he had wept. 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.... )

The ghee, fire wood are symbolic. The Seasons are used as firewood and fuel for the Srusti yajna. Here Seasons like Spring, Autumn..etc should be understood to mean 'Order' or systematic passage of 'Time' . I.e., The Living beings were not created overnight. There was a systematic order. There is an evolution of species. In Spring, the trees flourish with greenery. But in autumn, the trees become dry and leaves fall from them. Similarly, in creation also, several new species evolves and several old species loses their existence. In spite of all, Just like there is an order in the occurence seasons, so also there is an order in evolution. There is a perfect order in the nature because of Purusha. The creation (or evolution) is not haphazard.

taṃ yajñaṃ barhiṣi praukṣan puruṣaṃ jātamaghrataḥ |
tena devā ayajanta sādhyā ṛṣayaśca ye ||

taṃ - That
puruṣaṃ - purusha
yajñaṃ - of the sacrifice,
jAtam - who was
agrata: - in the beginning,
sādhyā - those achievers
praukṣan - sprinkled him with holy water
barhiṣi - on the sacrificial bed of straw.
tena - By this means
devā ṛṣayaśca - did the gods and the seers
ye - who where,
ayajanta - sacrifice.

They balmed as victim on the grass Puruṣa born in earliest time.
With him the Deities and all Sādhyas and Ṛṣis sacrificed.


Here is the Purusha himself bound as the beast of sacrifice. This beast has to be sanctificed, on a sacred bed of straw, with holy water. The word barhiṣi indicates this straw. Basing on the injunction of Satapatha Brahmana, the 'Rishis' here should be understood as 'Pranas'. "Those Rishis indeed were the non-being in the beginning. They say who are those Rishis?The Pranas are indeed the Rishis" (Sat. Br. VI.1.1.1)

The sādhyās are also devas but they have achieved the position through their deeds and sacrifices. They can be called as 'sacrifical gods'.

tasmād yajñāt sarvahutaḥ sambhṛtaṃ pṛṣadājyam |
paśūntāṃścakre vāyavyānāraṇyān ghrāmyāśca ye ||

tasmāt - From that
yajnAt - rite
sarvahutaḥ - called sarvahut
sambhṛtaṃ - was gathered
pṛṣadājyam - ghee mixed with yogurt. From this
cakre - were created
paśūn- beasts,
vāyavyān - denizens of the air,
āraṇyān - denizens of thewoods,
ghrāmyāśca - and denizens of the villages.


"From that great general sacrifice the dripping fat was gathered up.
He formed the creatures of-the air, and animals both wild and tame. "


Now because of the sacrifice performed by devas, there spring several species. At first, there was a unicellular organisms. The sacrifices performed by devas were responsible for diversity. Soon new species came into existence. Like that, all species whether birds or beasts or humans or wild animals everything was because of the sacrifice performed by devas. The Devas are 33 in number. The 8 Vasus, 11 Rudras, 12 Adityas, Indra and Prajapati are the Devas who are responsible for creation. The Purusha is the impeller and indweller of all beings including devas.

The dripping fat is to be understood as various bio-chemical components that arise because of sacrifice. These bio-chemical components( which is result of sacrifice) are responsible for origin of various species. But these bio-chemical components(Prakriti) which are responsible for design of Body and Gunas of various species cannot affect 'Purusha',the indweller who is Nirguna.

Lord Rudra is the Purusha, who is indweller of all forms of life. He is also the indweller of Devas. Fire, water, space...etc are pervaded by Lord Rudra alone.

eṣa ha devaḥ pradiśo'nu sarvāḥ
pūrvo ha jātaḥ sa u garbhe antaḥ
sa eva jātaḥ sa janiṣyamāṇaḥ
pratyaṅ janāṃs tiṣṭhati sarvato-mukhaḥ (Sv Up II-16)

"He indeed, the Lord, who pervades all regions, was the first to be born and it is He who dwells in the womb of the universe. It is He, again, who is born as a child and He will be born in the future, He stands behind all persons and His face is everywhere". ( Svetasvatara Upanishad II-16)

sarvānana-śiro-grīvaḥ sarva-bhūta-guhāśayaḥ
sarva-vyāpī sa bhagavāṃs tasmāt sarva-gataḥ śivaḥ ( Sv Up 3:11)

"All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all— pervading Bhagavan. Therefore He is omnipresent Shiva".( 3:11 svetasvatara upanishad)

yo devo agnau yo'psu
yo viśvaṃ bhuvanam āviveśa
ya oṣadhīṣu yo vanaspatiṣu
tasmai devāya namo namaḥ ( Sv Up II-17 )

" The Self—luminous Lord, who is fire, who is in water, who has entered into the whole world, who is in plants, who is in trees— to that Lord let there be adoration! Yea, let there be adoration!" ( Svetasvatara Upanishad II-17)