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Hiraṇyagarbha

   Pahari painting of Golden cosmic egg Hiranyagarbha by Manaku, c. 1740.

Hiraṇyagarbha (Sanskrit: हिरण्यगर्भः ; literally the ‘golden womb’ or ‘golden egg’, poetically translated as ‘universal germ’) is the source of the creation of the universe or the manifested cosmos in Vedic philosophy.

Hiranyagarbha, the source of all that is manifest and unmanifest; said to be the god of gods and that which connects all things, creates all things and where all things return.

Hiranyagarbha has manifested into countless forms and given many names, the first avatar was said to be given the name hiranyagarbha and said to be the founder and creator of the tangible philosophical yogic system we now know, his disciples are the rishis that taught the vedic teachings to the world. Each of these forms are only aspects of hiranyagarbha but not hiranyagarbha entirely. As the first vedic teaching states i am that which is, but this can be stripped back to i am that or i am.  Much the same as Daoism the dao is the source creator of the cosmos it can not be labeled or named as it is that which gives us the ability to name. Hiranyagarbha gives life to form and the formless, it is beyond definition and technically hiranyagarbha is only a part of the whole, this can only be truly understood by connection with this source of creation. The path of yoga, daoism, mystic paths of islam, chritianity and many other ancient spiritual paths are guides to returning to sourse; to the self, to Brahman, the dao, universal concsiousness or god.

 

In the Matsya Purana one of the eighteen major Puranas (Mahapurana), and among the oldest and better preserved in the Puranic genre of Sanskrit literature in Hinduism. Sloka (2.25-30) gives an account of initial creation. After Mahāprālaya, the great dissolution of the Universe, there was darkness everywhere. Everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing, either moving or static. Then Svayambhu, the self-manifested Being arose, which is a form beyond senses. It created the primordial waters first and established the seed of creation into it. The seed turned into a golden womb, Hiraṇyagarbha. Then Svayambhu (the self manifested being) entered in the egg.

The self manifested being? Beyond senses? This would infer a self manifested awareness or pure consciousness. When brahman or pure consciousness entered into this womb of light, purusha and prakriti emerged giving birth to the gunas or the nature of reality/universe.

Prakriti the object or the known things gives purusha the ability to know itself through the reflective nature of the cosmos and their connection. This union of hiranyagarbha and pure consciousness brahman can be seen in the yin yang symbol. 

The Nārāyaṇa Sūkta exclaims that everything that is, visible or invisible, all this is pervaded by Nārāyaṇa (pure awareness or purusha) within and without.The Īśvara Upaniṣad says that the universe is pervaded by Īśvara (God), who is both within and without it. He is the moving and unmoving, He is far and near, He is within all these and without all these.

The Vedānta Sūtra further states that Brahman is That from Whom this Universe proceeds, in Whom it subsists, and to Whom, in the end, it returns.

The Saṃkhya school holds that there are only two primary principles, Puruṣa and Prākṛti, and creation is only a manifestation or evolution of the constituents of Prākṛti due to the action or direction of Puruṣa’s Consciousness.

The Bhagavata states that Nārāyaṇa alone was in the beginning, who was the pious of principles of creation, sustenance, and dissolution (also known as the Hindu Trinity of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Shiva) – the Supreme Hari, multi-headed, multi-eyed, multi-footed, multi-armed, multi-limbed. This was the Supreme Seed of all creation, subtler than the subtlest, greater than the greatest, larger than the largest, and more magnificent than even the best of all things, more powerful than even the wind and all the gods, more radiant than the Sun and the Moon, and more internal than even the mind and the intellect. He is the Creator, the Supreme. The term can also mean as He who, having become first the Creator, has come to be considered as the womb of all objects.

Pure awareness entering into a golden womb of light might sound like it would create a rather large reaction. Some quantum physicists have looked at this ancient knowledge and correlated it to what we call the big bang theory.

 

 WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HIRANYAGARBHA ?

Hiranyagarbha Vs. The Big Bang Theory

It would be interesting to note a clear connection between the mythological concept of the Hiranyagarbha and the Big Bang Theory as we know it today. Both these aspects talk about the creation of the world. Let us now try to draw a parallel between these two theories – one completely religious and the other, completely scientific!

The Rig Veda—–

The Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda effectively describes the theory of evolution by saying that there was no existence, nor was there anything like non-existence, before the Hiranyagarbha. It further goes on to say that there was no air, no sky, no shelter, no cover, no day, no night, nothing at all. There was no water, no life or death, hence nothing such as mortal or immortal existed. There was only darkness – a vast, all-encompassing darkness. There was only a void, a huge, formless, blank, and nothing else.

However, the Rig Veda also believes that it was the first Vaak (word), the Primordial Sound of ‘Aum’ that gave birth to the entire universe. From that word came the huge, monistic Golden Egg, the Golden Womb or the Hiranyagarbha of Hindu mythology. Lord Brahma is considered to be this Hiranyagarbha, as He created the world. Brahma, as His name suggests, was brought forth by the Supreme Being, Brahman Himself. Lord Vishnu descended Himself in order to protect and preserve this universe, while Lord Shiva, the god of destruction, took over the task of destroying several aspects of the world through the course of the different yugas (epochs).

The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva work together on the natural cosmic process of creation, preservation and destruction. Once Shiva carried out destruction, Brahma created yet again, which gave rise to the cyclical process of the cosmos.

The Big Bang Theory————–

Present-day Science believes that the entire process of evolution in this universe started with the Big Bang. But can one really conceptualize what actually happened before the Big Bang? The answer to this question is a definite NO. No concept of Time or Matter ever existed before the Big Bang – it all came into being much later. Similarly, one simply cannot imagine who actually created the Big Bang. That remains a mystery for ever.

The Rig Veda, in this sense, conveys the same idea as that of the Big Bang Theory. It talks about the world being created out of sheer nothingness – no time, no matter, no space and no creator.

 

The Puranas——————

The Puranas also talk about the cyclical process of creation, destruction and re-creation. According to Hindu cosmology, a universe lasts for a time period of roughly 4,320,000 years, which amounts to one day in Brahma’s life. Once each kalpa (eon – roughly a thousand ‘Brahma years’) reaches its end, the world is destroyed by the elements of fire or water. Hindu mythology believes that Brahma rests for one whole night, which lasts as long as His day. The process of destruction, called Pralaya (cataclysm), goes on in a cycle for a period of 100 ‘Brahma years’. This amounts to Brahma’s lifespan being about 311 million human years.

LORD BRAHMA—————-

According to Hindu calculations, Brahma is supposedly 51 years old at this time and so, it is approximately 155 trillion years since He was ‘born’. Once His lifespan is over, another 100 Brahma years pass till the whole process of creation commences anew. This cycle of Brahma’s ‘birth’ and ‘death’ go on forever.

The lifespan of Lord Brahma is again divided into several Maha Yugas (that are one thousand cycles long), during which mankind is born and dies over and over again. Each of these Maha Yugas lasts roughly 4,320,000 years and is again divided into four stages or Yugas, based on the moral values in existence in that particular yuga. As the yugas progress from one stage to the other, morality, virtuosity and principles of righteousness deteriorate more and more, finally ending with the Kali Yuga or the Iron Age. The Kali Yuga will be the worst yuga, where there will be no appreciation for moral values, good conduct and righteousness. Once this yuga reaches its peak, there will be the pralaya and mass-scale destruction of the creation as a whole.

According to the Hindu pantheon, the present Kali Yuga has begun at the midnight of 17th February in the year 3102 B.C.

Hindu cosmology has always been advanced, explaining the complicated concept of relativity with extreme ease.

As Dick Teresi, author and coauthor of several books about science and technology, including “The God Particle”, puts it, “Indian cosmologists, the first to estimate the age of the earth at more than 4 billion years (modern science has calculated it to be 4.5 billion years). They came closest to modern ideas of atomism, quantum physics, and other current theories. India developed very early, enduring atomist theories of matter. Possibly Greek atomistic thought was influenced by India, via the Persian civilization.”

-unknown writer 

 

The Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta of the Rigveda declares that God manifested Himself in the beginning as the Creator of the Universe, encompassing all things, including everything within Himself, the collective totality, as it were, of the whole of creation, animating it as the Supreme Intelligence.

Sanskrit Verse

हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेकासीत ।
स दाधार पृथ्वीं ध्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
hiraṇyagarbhaḥ samavartatāgre bhūtasya jātaḥ patirekāsīta |
sa dādhāra pṛthvīṃ dhyāmutemāṃ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ||

य आत्मदा बलदा यस्य विश्व उपासते प्रशिषं यस्यदेवाः ।
यस्य छायाऽमृतं यस्य मृत्युः कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
ya ātmadā baladā yasya viśva upāsate praśiṣaṃ yasyadevāḥ |
yasya chāyāmṛtaṃ yasya martyuḥ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ||

यः प्राणतो निमिषतो महित्वैक इद्राजा जगतो बभूव ।
य ईशे अस्य द्विपदश्चतुष्पदः कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम ॥
yaḥ prāṇato nimiṣato mahitvaika idrājā jagato babhūva |
ya īśe asya dvipadaścatuṣpadaḥ kasmai devāya haviṣāvidhema ||

यस्येमे हिमवन्तो महित्वा यस्य समुद्रं रसया सहाहुः ।
यस्येमाः परदिशो यस्य बाहू कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम ॥
yasyeme himavanto mahitvā yasya samudraṃ rasayā sahāhuḥ |
yasyemāḥ paradiśo yasya bāhū kasmai devāya haviṣāvidhema ||

येन द्यौरुग्रा पृथ्वी च दृढा येन स्वस्तभितं येननाकः ।
यो अन्तरिक्षे रजसो विमानः कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
yena dayaurugrā parthivī ca darḻhā yena sava satabhitaṃ yenanākaḥ |
yo antarikṣe rajaso vimānaḥ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ||

यं करन्दसी अवसा तस्तभाने अभ्यैक्षेतां मनसारेजमाने ।
यत्राधि सूर उदितो विभाति कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
yaṃ karandasī avasā tastabhāne abhyaikṣetāṃ manasārejamāne |
yatrādhi sūra udito vibhāti kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema |

आपो ह यद बर्हतीर्विश्वमायन गर्भं दधानाजनयन्तीरग्निम ।
ततो देवानां समवर्ततासुरेकःकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
āpo ha yada barhatīrviśvamāyana garbhaṃ dadhānājanayantīragnima |
tato devānāṃ samavartatāsurekaḥkasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema ||

यश्चिदापो महिना पर्यपश्यद दक्षं दधानाजनयन्तीर्यज्ञम ।
यो देवेष्वधि देव एक आसीत कस्मैदेवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
yaścidāpo mahinā paryapaśyada dakṣaṃ dadhānājanayantīryajñama |
yo deveṣvadhi deva eka āsīta kasmaidevāya haviṣā vidhema ||

मा नो हिंसीज्जनिता यः पर्थिव्या यो वा दिवंसत्यधर्मा जजान ।
यश्चापश्चन्द्रा बर्हतीर्जजानकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
mā no hiṃsījjanitā yaḥ parthivyā yo vā divaṃsatyadharmā jajāna |
yaścāpaścandrā barhatīrjajānakasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema ||

प्रजापते नत्वदेतान्यन्यो विश्वा जातानि परिताबभूव ।
यत्कामास्ते जुहुमस्तन्नो अस्तु वयं स्याम पतयोरयीणाम् ॥
parajāpate na tavadetānyanyo viśvā jātāni pari tābabhūva |
yatkāmāste juhumastana no astu vayaṃ sayāma patayorayīṇāma ||

 

English Translation 

In the beginning was the Divinity in his splendour, manifested as the sole Lord of land, skies, water, space and that beneath and He upheld the earth and the heavens.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is that who bestows soul-force and vigor, whose guidance all men invoke, the Devas invoke whose shadow is immortal life and death.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is that who by His greatness became the One King of the breathing and the seeing, who is the Lord of man and bird and beast.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is that through whose glory the snow-clad mountains rose, and the ocean spread with the river, they say. His arms are the quarters of the sky.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings ?

It is that through whom the heaven is strong and the earth firm, who has steadied the light and the sky’s vault, and measured out the sphere of clouds in the mid-region.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offering?
It is that to whom heaven and earth, placed in the light by his grace, look up, radiant with the mind while over them the sun, rising, brightly shines.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
When the mighty waters came, carrying the universal germ, producing the flame of life, then dwelt there in harmony the One Spirit of the Devas.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
It is that who in its might surveyed the waters, conferring skill and creating worship – That, the God of gods, the One and only One.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
Mother of the world – may that not destroy us who with Truth as his Law made the heavens and produced waters, vast and beautiful.
Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?
Lord of creation! No one other than thee pervades all these that have come into being.
May that be ours, for which our prayers rise, may we be masters of many treasures!

— (RV 10:121) Ralph T. H. Griffith

 

  1. HIRANYAGARBHA was present at the beginning ; when born, he was the sole lord of created beings; he upheld this earth and heaven,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. (To him) who is the giver of soul, the giver of strength, Whose commands all (beings), even the gods obey, Whose shadow is immortality, whose (shadow) is death,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. (To him) who, by his greatness, has verily become the sole king of the breathing and seeing world, who rules over this aggregate of two-footed and four-footed beings,
    let us offer Worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. Through whose greatness these snow-clad (moun- tains exist), whose property men call the ocean with the rivers, whose are these quarters of space, whose are the two arms,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. By whom the sky was made profound and the earth solid, by Whom heaven and the solar sphere were fixed, who was the measure of the water in the firmament,
    let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. Whom heaven and earth established by his pro- tection, and, shining brightly, regarded with their mind, in whom the risen sun shines forth,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. When the vast waters overspread the universe containing the germ and giving birth to AGNI, then was produced the one breath of the gods,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. He who by his might beheld the waters all around containing the creative power and giving birth to sacrifice, he who among the gods was the one supreme god,
    let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. May he do us no harm who is the parent of the -earth, or who the unerring support (of the world) begat the heaven, and who generated the vast and delightful waters,
    -let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine KA.
  1. No other than thou, PRAJAPATI, hast given existence to all these beings ; may that object of our desires for which we sacrifice to thee be ours, may we be the possessors of riches.

-[H. H. Wilson]

 

As we have come to understand, learn  or remember we are that which is, the universe or cosmos is vibration, this vibration is light. Everything that is around us and outside of us also dwells and resides inside of our being. These prayers or hymns are merely a guided meditation to bring us back to the source of creation to better know thyself to be liberated from the darkness of ignorance, as we realize and connect with atman the source of creation that resides in the hearts of all beings, that gives rise to the holographic experience we call life.    

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