Apáńipádo javano grahiitá pashyatyacakśúh sa shrńotyakarńah;
Sah vetti vedyaḿ na ca tasyásti vettá tamahuragryaḿ puruśaḿ mahántam.
This shloka is from the Yajurveda. The Yajurveda is mainly concerned with rites. The composition of the Vedas began roughly 15,000 years ago. In those ancient times, the written script was not yet known. The written script was invented much later. During that era, the rśis, seers of truth, who composed the Vedas taught their pupils the rks [hymns] they made, and by listening to them those pupils committed them to memory. Since written script did not exist in that era, there was no opportunity to write books; so rather than reading books, knowledge and teachings had to be committed to memory while listening to them. In Sanskrit Shruti means “ear”. The word Shruti is derived by adding the suffix ktin to the verbal root shru. For this reason, another name for the Vedas is Shruti. Veda means “knowledge” and Shruti means “that knowledge which is acquired by listening.” This was the system in those olden days.
The first script was invented almost five and a half thousand years ago. The name of that ancient script was Saendhavii. It was first invented in Mahenjodaro. Many ancient scripts have still not yet been deciphered. The next two scripts that we know of are the Bráhmii and Kharośt́ii scripts. Bráhmii script was written from right to left, like Urdu, while Kharośt́ii was written from left to right, like modern Indian scripts. However, during the reign of the emperor Ashok, the use of Bráhmii script was prevalent in all of north India. Kharośt́ii was little used by comparison. For this reason, Ashok used Bráhmii script on his stone inscriptions. In Laoria and other areas, one sees the exclusive use of Bráhmii script.
After the invention of a written script, people began to think about the fact that up until then the Vedas had not been written down. How much can really be committed to memory by listening? In this way, it was discovered that a large portion of the Vedas had disappeared. How much can human beings commit to memory? Sixty percent of the Vedas remained and forty percent was lost and will never be recovered. So everyone realized that the Vedas had to be written down, and while doing so it remained to be seen which portion of the Vedas was the oldest, which portion was from the middle period and which portion was the most recent. In this way, they were classified and collected according to the antiquity of their composition, and divided into the ancient, middle and recent portions. The most ancient portion is called the Rgveda, because each shloka is called a rk in this Veda. The name of the middle-period portion is the Yajurveda, and that of the most recent portion, the Atharvaveda. Atharva was the name of one Rśi. Since the inspiration and enthusiasm for the composition of this portion came from him, it was given the name Atharvaveda. In Sanskrit Atharva means “aged, very old”.
The Yajurveda is concerned mostly with rites. The word yajuh means “that in which rites are predominant.” The pandits accomplished in the Yajurveda were called ardhvayyu, in the Rgveda, rtvika, and in the Atharvaveda, brahmań. Now each of the three Vedas contains songs. In old Sanskrit, songs were called sáma. These song portions were separated from the three Vedas and collected together into a fourth Veda, which was given the name Sámveda. The Sámveda was not originally a Veda; it is only a collection of the songs from the other three Vedas. The pandits well-versed in Sámveda used to be called Udgátá, and of the four kinds of pandits, those who used to preserve the link amongst the four were called Hotá. In certain areas of India, one can still find people with the surname “Hotá”.
We were discussing the Atharvaveda. The Atharvaveda is also quite ancient. There is a shloka in this Veda [Yajurveda] about Parama Puruśa.
Apáńipádo javano grahiitá pashyatacakśúh sa shrńotyakarńah;
Sah vetti vedyaḿ na ca tasyásti vettá tamahuragryaḿ puruśaḿ mahántam.
Apáńipádo javano grahiitá. A denotes negation; páńi means “palm of the hand,” for example, a viińá [musical instrument resembling the violin] in the hand or páńi is viińápáńi. Similarly, one who does not have páńi or páda, that is, hands or feet, is apáńipáda. Javano grahiitá – “although He wanders about [without feet], He accepts whatever anyone offers [without hands].” This seems a little strange to hear. Parama Puruśa has no hands. Still, if someone offers him something out of love then He accepts it. Let us suppose someone in Patna offers something to Parama Puruśa. Wherever He might be, He accepts it, yet He is apáńi. Similarly, He is apáda, “He has no feet”, nevertheless He moves easily from one place to another within the blink of an eye. He is acakśu, He has no eyes, yet He looks all around Him like a lion and sees everything in the universe. He is akarńa, He has no ears, yet He hears whatever is audible in this universe and whatever is inaudible.
This creation is limited. It is only the expression of Parama Pursuśa. At the time of performing any kind of action, a relationship is established between the person and the object. For example, if something is accepted then a relationship is established with that object. If I move down a path then a relationship is established with that path. Let us say a person arrives in Chiriatand from Patna. Here a relationship has been established between the mind and Chiriatand. If in the next moment, one wants to go mentally from Chiriatand to Patliputra Colony, then one does not require any feet. Similarly, everything in this world is within the mind of Parama Puruśa.
For human beings, there are two worlds, the internal world, and the external world. In the internal world, the psychic world, a person gets whatever they want in that very moment, because in that case everything can be done with only the mind, without the need of the motor and sensory organs. In the external world, this is not so. There the different organs, such as the eyes, feet, hands, etc., are necessary. But for Parama Puruśa there is only one world, the internal world. There is no external world. Say, for example, someone thinks that they cannot understand Parama Puruśa through logic. But my internal self-says, “he is with me,” and that very same moment Parama Puruśa hears what you say. Parama Puruśa needs no auditory organ in order to hear what anyone is thinking. Similarly, he does not need hands in order to accept something. He does not need eyes in order to see something, because everything is within his mind. Everything is born out of his psychic imagination. Let us say, someone, while doing gurupújá, says tava dravyaḿ jagatguro tubhyameva samarpaye [and offers something mentally]. Here Parama Pursuśa does not need any worldly hands in order to accept whatever is offered.
Sah vetti vedyaḿ. He knows everything knowable in this universe, but no one is able to know him. Here the word vedya has been used for “knowable”. The act of knowledge means the subjectivization of external objectivities. Generally we get a rough conception of an external object by seeing it, however, this sensory perception is not knowledge. Here vedya means “knowable”, “capable of being known”. Vedya is not the same for Parama Puruśa and the living being, because in the case of the living being, knowing takes place both in the mental world and in the external world, while for Parama Puruśa there is no external world. For this reason he sees everything with his mental eyes. He knows what is written on any page of any book. So he is the knower of all.
Na ca tasyásti vettá. No one is his knower, because Parama Puruśa is the subject of all and everything is his object. Normally the subject knows the object but the object cannot know the subject. Thus it is correctly said: na ca tasyásti vettá. But there is one thing to be pointed out – when a spiritual aspirant meditates on Parama Puruśa, Parama Puruśabecomes the sole subject of the spiritual aspirant’s mind. So, it is only through sadhana that the living being can know Parama Puruśa. Generally, when a person sits in meditation they make one mistake. They think: “I am seeing Parama Puruśa in front of me.” Rather than think this they should think: “I am sitting in front of Parama Puruśa doing meditation and Parama Puruśa is seeing this or knowing this, that is, He knows everything of mine, nothing can be hidden from Him.” Thus the living being is a finite entity and Parama Pursuśa is an infinite, endless entity. Through efforts a human being can know one … two … three … four, even many things, but he cannot know the infinite. Tamahuragryaḿ puruśaḿ mahántam. That is, this puruśa is called the mahána or greatest pursuśa, the original puruśa, the representative puruśa. The word mahána comes from the word mahat. There is a slight difference between the words mahat and brhat.
Often in Sanskrit the words brhat and vishála are thought to be identical in meaning, however, there is a difference between them. Vishála means something which is very large but which can still be measured, for example, the Himalayan mountains. They are several thousand miles long but human beings can still measure them, so this huge mountain range is depicted in the maps of the Earth. But what is brhat is so huge that it cannot be measured. There is only one such entity and that entity is Brahma – brhatvád Brahma brḿhańattvád brahma [brahma is that which is great and which makes others great].
Mahat does not signify “great” from the standpoint of a geographical area. It is a matter of the psychic world. Brhat is a matter of the external world, so what is great in the psychic world is called mahat. For example, I will call a person mahat who is short in stature but who has achieved great recognition in the world of knowledge, not brhat. So, here Parama Puruśais described as mahána agryapuruśa.
A.V. Part-09, Chapter-14