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Rigveda - Hymn 121 - Prajapati (The ‘Golden Embryo’) - Wisdom of the Creator, Truth is God's Law

In the beginning the Golden Embryo

[Stirred and] evolved:

Once born He was the one Lord of [every] being;

The Lord sustained this heaven and earth. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice? [a]


2 Giver of life, [b] giver of strength,

Whose instruction all [must] obey,

Whose [desire] the Spirit [obeys],

Whose shadow is immortality,

Whose [shadow] death. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


3 Who by His might has ever been the One

King of all that breathes and blinks the eye,

Who rules all creatures that have two feet or four. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


4 By whose might the snowy peaks [rise],

By whose [might], they say, the oceans

[Earth's encircling stream,] permeates with essence, [c]

By whose [might] the cardinal directions [extend]

Which are His [boundless] arms! . . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


5 By whose strength heaven and earth are held in place,

By whom is the sun given a firm support,

By whom the edge of the universe, [d] by whom the atmosphere [e]

Is measured out within the sky [above]. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


6 To whom opposing armies, strengthened by His help,

Look up [to You], though trembling in their hearts,

By whose [wisdom] the risen sun radiates its light. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


7 When the mighty waters danced, conceived the All

As an embryo, giving birth to fire,

Then did He evolve, the One life-force [f] of the Spirit. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


8 Who looked upon the waters, [looked on them] with power,

As they conceived insight, [g] brought about the sacrifice;

Who, among the Spirit, was the One God above. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


9 May He not harm us, Father of the earth,

Who generated heaven, for truth is His law,

Who gave birth to the waters,—shimmering, vigorous. . . .

Who but You, shall we revere with offering and sacrifice?


10 O God of Creation ! None other than You has comprehended

All these [creatures] brought to birth.

Whatever desires be ours in offering up [prayers]

May that be ours, through offering and sacrifice to You,

May we be lords of riches!


Footnotes


a. Or oblation

b. Ātman, Sanskrit. Refers to the inner self, spirit, or soul. It is considered as eternal, imperishable, beyond time, "not the same as body or mind or consciousness, but is something beyond which permeates all these"

c. Rasa, Sanskrit. Implies a liquid (juice), an extract (essence) and flavor (taste). It connotes an abstract concept about the aesthetic flavor of any phenomenon (sight, sound, smell, taste touch) that evokes an emotion or feeling, but cannot be described.

d. Firmament. Vault of the heavens, or boundary of outer space.

e. Or, ether. Rajas, Sanskrit. Sphere of the upper regions of air, vapor, mist, clouds, atmosphere. Gloom, dimness, any small particle of matter. ‘The whole expanse of heaven or sky.’ Literal translation, 'passion' associated with energy, excitement and birth.

f. Asu, Sanskrit. Breath, life, spiritual life. Water, vapor. Heart, Mind.

g. Or ‘strength’, or a proper name. Daksha: able, expert, skillful or honest. One of the Prajapati, the agents of creation.


Hindu Scriptures

Hindu Scriptures / translated from Sanskrit by R. C. Zaehner, copyright © 1966 J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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