by Swami Krishnananda
The Narayana Sukta is, in a way, the mystical appendix to the Purusha Sukta of the Veda, the only difference between the Purusha Sukta and the Narayana Sukta being the divination of the Deity addressed by them. The Purusha Sukta beholds the Supreme Being as the All-encompassing, Impersonal Purusha, while the Narayana Sukta addresses the Lord as Narayana. The Purusha Sukta, thus, is a hymn addressed to the Purusha extending beyond the cosmos yet at the same time present within creation, and the Narayana Sukta is a devout, touching, feelingful and personal address to the Creator of the universe. In the Narayana Sukta some clarification of the hidden meaning of the Purusha Sukta is to be discovered.
Narayana is the thousand-headed one, thousand-eyed, and thousand-limbed. But Narayana is not merely the Father or Creator of the cosmos, beyond creation, but is also hidden in the heart of everyone. Like a resplendent flame in the heart of the individual, Narayana can be visualised in deep meditation. In the lotus of the heart there is the citadel of the cosmos, the palace of the Creator of the universe. Thus, the worshipper of the Supreme Narayana need not necessarily look up to the sky to behold Him and adore Him. One can as well see the same Narayana within himself, in his own heart. While Narayana creates the world from outside, He also impels everyone through feeling and action from within. Through every nerve-current, life flows and vibrates. This vibration, this flow of life, is the chaitanya, or Consciousness, of Narayana moving in creation. Narayana is adored as the One Being extending beyond Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Indra and all the gods and angels, while Himself appearing as every one of them—the Imperishable, Self-existent All. Whatever all this universe is—yacca kincit jagat sarvam—seen or unseen, in its depths or merely heard of, Narayana is within and without all these, enveloping everyone. May Narayana bless us, and bestow upon us glory.