The Purusha Sukta
ॐ सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात् ।
स भूमिꣳ सर्वत स्पृत्वाऽत्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् ॥
ōm sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapāt,
sa bhūmiṁ viśvato vṛtvātyatiṣṭad daśāgulam.
Thousand-headed is the Purusha, thousand-eyed and thousand-legged. Enveloping the earth from all sides, He transcends it by ten fingers' length.
Note:—This is the first mantra of the famous Purusha Sukta of the Veda. Here the transcendent totality of all creation is conceived as the Cosmic Person, the Universal Consciousness animating all manifestation. The word 'earth' is to be understood in the sense of all creation. 'Dasangulam' is interpreted as ten fingers' length, in which case it is said to refer to the distance of the heart from the navel, the former having been accepted as the seat of the Atma and the latter symbolic of the root of manifestation. The word 'ten' is also said to mean 'infinity', as numbers are only up to nine and what is above is regarded as numberless.
पुरुष एवेदꣳ सर्वं यद्भूतं यच्च भाव्यम् ।
उतामृतत्वस्येशानो यदन्नेनातिरोहति ॥
एतावानस्य महिमातो ज्यायाँश्च पूरुषः ।
पादोऽस्य विश्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवि ॥
puruṣa evedaṁ sarvaṁ yad bhūtaṁ yacca bhavyam,
etāvānasya mahimāto jyāyāṁśca pūruṣaḥ,
pādo'sya viśvā bhūtāni tripādasyā'mṛtaṁ divi.
All this (manifestation) is the Purusha alone—whatever was and whatever will be. He is the Lord of Immortality, for He transcends all in His Form as food (the universe). Such is His Glory; but greater still is the Purusha. One-fourth of Him all beings are, (while) three-fourth of Him rises above as the Immortal Being.
त्रिपादूर्ध्व उदैत्पुरुषः पादोऽस्येहाभवत् पुनः ।
ततो विष्वङ् व्यक्रामत्साशनानशने अभि ॥
ततो विराडजायत विराजो अधि पूरुषः ।
स जातो अत्यरिच्यत पश्चाद्भूमिमथो पुरः ॥
tripādūrdhva udaitpuruṣaḥ pādo'syehābhavātpunaḥ,
tato viśvaṅ vyakrāmatsāśanānaśane abhi.
tasmādvirāḍajāyata virājo adhipūruṣaḥ,
sa jāto atyaricyata paścādbhūmimatho puraḥ.
That, Three-footed (Immortal) Purusha stood above transcending (all things), and His one foot was this (world of becoming). Then He pervaded (everything) universally, the conscious as well as the unconscious. From That (Supreme Being) did the Cosmic Body (Virat) originate, and in this Cosmic Body did the Omnipresent Intelligence manifest itself. Having manifested Himself, He appeared as all diversity, and then as this earth and this body.
यत्पुरुषेण हविषा देवा यज्ञमतन्वत ।
वसन्तोऽस्यासीदाज्यं ग्रीष्म इध्मः शरद्धविः ॥
तं यज्ञं बर्हिषि प्रौक्षन् पुरुषं जातमग्रतः ।
तेन देवा अयजन्त साध्या ऋषयश्च ये ॥
yatpuruṣeṇa haviṣā devā yajñamatanvata,
vasanto asyāsīdājyam grīṣma idhmaḥ śaraddhaviḥ.
taṁ yajaṁ barhiṣi praukśan puruṣaṁ jātamagrataḥ,
tena devā ayajanta sādhyā ṛṣayaśca ye.
When (there being no external material other than the Purusha) the Devas performed a universal sacrifice (in contemplation by mind), with the Purusha Himself as the sacred offering, the spring season was the clarified butter, summer the fuel, autumn the oblation. They set up for sacrifice the Purusha as the object of their meditation—Him who was prior to all creation; and they, the Devas, Sadhyas and Rishis, performed (this first sacrifice).
तस्माद्यज्ञात् सर्वहुतः सम्भृतं पृषदाज्यम् ।
पशूँस्ताँश्चक्रे वायव्यानारण्या ग्राम्याश्च ये ॥
तस्माद्यज्ञात् सर्वहुतः ऋचः सामानि जज्ञिरे ।
छन्दाꣳसि जज्ञिरे तस्माद्यजुस्तस्मादजायत ॥
tasmādyajñātsarvahutaḥ saṁbhṛtaṁ pṛṣadājyam,
paśūgïstāgïścakre vāyavyānāraṇyān grāmyāścaye.
tasmādyajñātsarvahutaḥ ṛcaḥ sāmāni jajñire,
chandāgïsi jajñire tasmātyajustasmādajāyata.
From that (Purusha), who was of the form of a Universal Sacrifice, the sacred mixture of curds and ghee (for oblation) was produced. (Then) He brought forth the aerial beings, the forest-dwelling animals, and also the domestic ones. From that (Purusha), who was the Universal Sacrifice, the Riks and the Samans were produced; from Him the metres (of the mantras) were born; from Him the Yajus was born.
तस्मादश्वा अजायन्त ये के चोभयादतः ।
गावो ह जज्ञिरे तस्मात्तस्माज्जाता अजावयः ॥
यत्पुरुषं व्यदधुः कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् ।
मुखं किमस्यासीत् किं बाहू किमूरू पादा उच्येते ॥
tasmādaśvā ajāyanta ye ke cobhayādataḥ,
gāvo ha jajñire tasmāt tasmād jātā ajāvayaḥ.
yatpuruṣaṁ vyadhadhuḥ katidhā vyakalpayan,
mukhaṁ kimasya kau bāhū kā vūrū pādā vucyete.
From Him were born horses and whatever animals have two rows of teeth. Verily, cows were born of Him; from Him were born goats and sheep. And when they contemplated the Purusha (as the Universal Sacrifice), into how many parts did they divide Him (in their meditations)? What was His mouth called, what were His arms, what were His thighs, what were His feet called?
ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद्बाहू राजन्यः कृतः ।
ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्याꣳ शूद्रो अजायत ॥
चन्द्रमा मनसो जातश्चक्षोः सूर्यो अजायत ।
श्रोत्राद्वायुश्च प्राणश्च मुखादग्निरजायत ॥ १२॥
brāhmaṇo'sya mukhamāsīd bāhū rājanyaḥ kṛtaḥ,
ūrū tadasya yad vaiśyaḥ padbhyāgï śūdro ajāyata.
candramā manaso jātaḥcakśoḥ sūryo ajāyata,
The Brahmana (spiritual wisdom and splendour) was His mouth; the Kshatriya (administrative and military prowess) His arms became. His thighs were the Vaisya (commercial and business enterprise); of His feet the Sudra (productive and sustaining force) was born. The Moon (symbol of the mind) was born from His (cosmic) mind; the Sun (symbol of self and consciousness) was born from His eyes. Indra (power of grasping and activity) and Agni (will-force) came from His mouth; from His vital energy air was born.
नाभ्या आसीदन्तरिक्षꣳ शीर्ष्णो द्यौः समवर्तत ।
पद्भ्यां भूमिर्दिशः श्रोत्रात्तथा लोकाँऽकल्पयन् ॥
सप्तास्यासन् परिधयस्त्रिः सप्त समिधः कृताः ।
देवा यद्यज्ञं तन्वाना अबध्नन् पुरुषं पशुम् ॥ १५॥
nābhyā āsīdantarikśam śīrṣṇo dyauḥ samavartata,
padbhyāṁ bhūmirdiśaḥ śrotrātathā lokāṁ akalpayan.
saptāsyāsṇ paridhyasṛitaḥsapta samidḥa kṛtaḥ,
devā yadyajñam tanvānā abaḍhnaṇ purūṣaṁ paśum.
(In that Universal Meditation as Sacrifice) the firmament came from His navel; the heavens were produced from His head; the earth from His feet; from His ears the quarters of space—so they constituted the worlds. The enclosures of the sacrificial altar were seven (the seven metres like the Gayatri), and twenty-one (the twelve months, the five seasons, the three worlds and the sun) were the logs of sacrificial fuel, when the gods (the pranas, the senses and the mind) celebrated the Universal Sacrifice with the Supreme Purusha as the object of contemplation therein.
यज्ञेन यज्ञमयजन्त देवास्तानि धर्माणि प्रथमान्यासन् ।
ते ह नाकं महिमानः सचन्त यत्र पूर्वे साध्याः सन्ति देवाः ॥
yajñena yajñamayajanta devāḥtāni dharmāṇi prathamānyāsan,
te ha nākaṁ mahimānaḥ sacante yatra pūrve sādhyāḥ santi devāḥ.
By sacrifice (universal meditation) did the gods adore and perform (visualise) the sacrifice (Universal Being). These were the original creations and the original laws (that sustain creation). Those great ones (the worshippers of the Cosmic Being by this type of meditation) attain that Supreme Abode in which abide the primeval contemplators (the gods mentioned above) who thus worshipped that Being.
वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तम् आदित्यवर्णं तमसस्तु पारे।
तमेवं विद्वानमृत इह भवति नान्यः यन्था अयनाय विद्यते॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
vedāhametaṁ puruṣaṁ mahāntamādityavarṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāt,
tameva viditva'timṛtyumeti nānyaḥ panthā vidyate'yanāya.
ōṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.
I know this Great Purusha who shines like the sun beyond darkness. By knowing Him alone does one cross beyond death; there is no other way of going over there. Om. May there be Peace, Peace, Peace.