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Prajapati
Prajapati
(IAST: Prajāpati-Rajjan or Rajanya, "lord of creatures and protector") is a Vedic deity of Hinduism.[1][2][3] The term also connotes many different gods, depending on the Hindu
Hindu
text, ranging from being the creator god to being same as one of the following: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Agni, Indra, Vishvakarma, Bharata, Kapila
Kapila
and many others.[1] According to George Williams, the inconsistent, varying and evolving Prajapati
Prajapati
concept in Hindu
Hindu
mythology reflects the diverse Hindu
Hindu
cosmology.[2] In classical and medieval era literature, Prajapati
Prajapati
is equated to the metaphysical concept called Brahm as Prajapati-Brahm (Svayambhu Brahm), or alternatively Brahm is described as one who existed before Prajapati.[4]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Origins

2.1 Indo-European

3 Texts

3.1 Vedas 3.2 Upanishads 3.3 Post-Vedic texts

4 Prajapatis 5 Balinese Hinduism 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Etymology[edit] Prajapati
Prajapati
(Sanskrit: प्रजापति) is a compound of "praja" (creatures, procreative powers) and "pati" (lord, master).[5] The term means "lord of creatures",[1][2] or "lord of all born beings".[6] In the later Vedic texts, Prajapati
Prajapati
is a distinct Vedic deity, but whose significance diminishes.[2] Later, the term is synonymous with other gods, particularly Brahma
Brahma
or Vishnu
Vishnu
or Shiva.[1][3] Still later, the term evolves to mean any divine, semi-divine or human sages who create something new.[7][1][2] Origins[edit]

"An attempt to depict the creative activities of Prajapati", a steel engraving from the 1850s.

The origins of Prajapati
Prajapati
are unclear. He appears late in the Vedic layer of texts, and the hymns that mention him provide different cosmological theories in different chapters.[3] He is missing from the Samhita
Samhita
layer of Vedic literature, conceived in the Brahmana
Brahmana
layer, states Jan Gonda.[8] Prajapati
Prajapati
is younger than Savitr, and the word was originally an epithet for the sun.[9] His profile gradually rises in the Vedas, peaking within the Brahmanas.[8] Scholars such as Renou, Keith and Bhattacharji posit Prajapati
Prajapati
originated as an abstract or semi-abstract deity in the later Vedic milieu as speculations evolved from the archaic to more learned speculations.[9] Indo-European[edit] A possible connection between Prajapati
Prajapati
(and related figures in Indian tradition) and the Prōtogonos (Greek: Πρωτογόνος) of the Greek Orphic tradition has been proposed:[10][11]

Protogonos is the Orphic equivalent of Vedic Prajapati
Prajapati
in several ways: he is the first god born from a cosmic egg, he is the creator of the universe, and in the figure of Dionysus— a direct descendant of Protogonos—worshippers participate in his death and rebirth. — Kate Alsobrook, The Beginning of Time: Vedic and Orphic Theogonies and Poetics[11]

According to Robert Graves, the name of /PRA-JĀ[N]-pati/ ('progeny-potentate') is etymologically equivalent to that of the oracular god at Kolophōn (according to Makrobios[12]), namely /prōtogonos/.[citation needed] The cosmic egg concept linked to Prajapati
Prajapati
and Protogonos is common in many parts of the world, states David Leeming, which appears in later Orphic cult in Greece.[13] Texts[edit] Prajapati
Prajapati
is described in many ways and inconsistently in Hindu
Hindu
texts, both in the Vedas
Vedas
and in the post-Vedic texts. These range from being the creator god to being same as one of the following: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Agni, Indra, Vishvakarma, Bharata, Kapila
Kapila
and many others.[1][14] Vedas[edit] His role varies within the Vedic texts such as being one who created heaven and earth, all of water and beings, the chief, the father of gods, the creator of devas and asuras, the cosmic egg and the Purusha (spirit).[2][6] His role peaked in the Brahmanas layer of Vedic text, then declined to being a group of helpers in the creation process.[2] In some Brahmana
Brahmana
texts, his role remains ambiguous since he co-creates with the powers with goddess Vac (sound).[15] In the Rigveda, Prajapati
Prajapati
appears as an epithet for Savitr, Soma, Agni and Indra, who are all praised as equal, same and lord of creatures.[16] Elsewhere, in hymn 10.121 of the Rigveda, is described Hiranyagarbha (golden embryo) that was born from the waters containing everything, which produced Prajapati. It then created manah (mind), kama (desire) and tapas (heat). However, this Prajapati
Prajapati
is a metaphor, one of many Hindu cosmology
Hindu cosmology
theories, and there is no supreme deity in the Rigveda.[17][18][19] One of the striking features about the Hindu Prajapati
Prajapati
myths, states Jan Gonda, is the idea that work of creation is a gradual process, completed in stages of trial and improvement.[20] In the Shatapatha Brahmana, embedded inside the Yajurveda, Prajapati emanated from Purusha (cosmic spirit) and Prajapati
Prajapati
co-creates the world with goddess of Language.[21] It also includes the "golden cosmic egg" mythology, wherein Prajapati
Prajapati
is stated to be born from a golden egg in primeval sea after the egg was incubated for a year. His sounds became the sky, the earth and the seasons. When he inhaled, he created the devas (gods), fire and light. When he exhaled, he created the asuras (demons) and darkness. Then, together with goddess of Language, he created all beings and time.[22] In Chapter 10 of the Shatapatha Brahmana, as well as chapter 13 of Pancavimsa Brahmana, is presented another theory wherein he (Prajapati) is a mother, becomes self-pregnant with all living creatures self-generated, evil Mrtyu seizes these beings within his womb, but because these beings are part of the eternal Prajapati, they desire to live long like him.[23][24] The Aitareya Brahmana
Brahmana
offers a different myth, wherein Prajapati having created the gods, metamorphosed into a stag and approached his daughter dawn who was in the form of a doe, to produce other earthly beings. The gods were horrified by the incest, and joined forces to produce angry destructive Rudra
Rudra
to punish Prajapati
Prajapati
for "doing what is not done". Prajapati
Prajapati
was killed by Rudra.[22] The Kausitaki Brahmana offers a yet another myth, wherein Prajapati
Prajapati
created from his own self fire, sun, moon, wind and feminine dawn. The first four saw dawn and released their seeds, which became existence (Bhava).[22] In section 2.266 of Jaiminiya Brahmana, Prajapati
Prajapati
is presented as a spiritual teacher. His student Varuna
Varuna
lives with him for 100 years, studying the art and duties of being the "father-like king of gods".[25][26] Upanishads[edit] Prajapati
Prajapati
appears in early Upanishads, among the most influential texts in Hinduism.[27] He is described in the Upanishads
Upanishads
in diverse ways. For example, in different Upanishads, he is presented as the personification of creative power after Brahman,[28] the same as the wandering eternal soul,[29] as symbolism for unmanifest obscure first born,[30] as manifest procreative sexual powers,[31] the knower particularly of Atman (soul, self),[32] a spiritual teacher that is within each person.[33][34] The Taittiriya Upanishad, as an illustration, presents him as follows:[35]

The self (atman) that is free from evils, free from old age and death, free from sorrow, free from hunger and thirst; the self whose desires and intentions are real – that is the self that you should try to discover, that is the self that you should seek to perceive. When someone discovers that self and perceives it, he obtains all the worlds, and all his desires are fulfilled, so said Prajapati. —  Taittiriya Upanishad
Taittiriya Upanishad
8.7.1, Translator: Patrick Olivelle[35]

Post-Vedic texts[edit] In the Mahabharata, Brahma
Brahma
is declared to be a Prajapati
Prajapati
who creates many males and females, and imbues them with desire and anger, the former to drive them into reproducing themselves and the latter to prevent them from being like gods.[22] Other chapters of the epics and Puranas
Puranas
declare Shiva
Shiva
or Vishnu
Vishnu
to be Prajapati.[16] The Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
uses the epithet Prajapati
Prajapati
to describe Krishna, along with many other epithets.[36] The Grhyasutras include Prajapati
Prajapati
as among the deities invoked during wedding ceremonies and prayed to for blessings of prosperous progeny, and harmony between husband and wife.[37] Prajapati
Prajapati
is identified with the personifications of Time, Fire, the Sun, etc. He is also identified with various mythical progenitors, especially (Manu Smrti 1.34) the ten lords of created beings first created by Brahmā, the Prajapatis Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Prachetas or Daksha, Bhrigu, Nārada.[38] In the Puranas, there are groups of Prajapati
Prajapati
called Prajapatayah who were rishis (sages) or "grandfathers" from whom all of humanity resulted, followed by Prajapatis list that widely varies in number and name between different texts.[1][2] According to George Williams, the inconsistent, varying and evolving Prajapati
Prajapati
concept in Hindu mythology reflects the diverse Hindu
Hindu
cosmology.[2] The Mahabharata
Mahabharata
and the genre of Puranas
Puranas
call various gods and sages as Prajapati. Some illustrations, states Roshen Dalal, include Agni, Bharata, Shashabindu, Shukra, Havirdhaman, Indra, Kapila, Kshupa, Prithu-Vainya, Soma, Svishtakrit, Tvashtr, Vishvakarma
Vishvakarma
and Virana.[1] Prajapatis[edit] In the medieval era texts of Hinduism, Prajapati
Prajapati
refers to legendary agents of creation, working as gods or sages, who appear in every cycle of creation-maintenance-destruction (manvantara). Their numbers vary between seven, ten, sixteen or twenty-one.[1]

A list of twenty one includes Rudra, Manu, Daksha, Bhrigu, Dharma, Tapa, Yama, Marici, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Parameshti, Surya, Chandra, Kardama, Krodha and Vikrita.[2][1] A list of sixteen found in the Ramayana
Ramayana
includes Angiras, Arishtanemi, Atri, Daksha, Kardama, Kashyapa, Kratu, Marichi, Prachetas, Pulaha, Pulastya, Samshraya, Shesha, Sthanu, Vikrita, Vivasvan.[1] A list of ten includes Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Daksha (or Prachetas), Bhrigu and Narada.[1]

Their creative role varies. Pulaha, for example, is the mythical mind-born son of Brahma
Brahma
and a great rishi. As one of the Prajapatis, he helps create living wildlife such as lions, tigers, bears, wolves, as well mythical beasts such as kimpurushas and shalabhas.[39] Balinese Hinduism[edit] Hindu temple
Hindu temple
in Bali Indonesia called Pura Prajapati, also called Pura Mrajapati, are common. They are most associated with funeral rituals and Ngaben
Ngaben
(cremation) ceremony for the dead.[40][41] See also[edit]

Nasadiya sukta Hiranyagarbha sukta Hinduism
Hinduism
and monotheism List of Hindu
Hindu
deities Creation myth Saptarishi

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j George M. Williams (2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 234–235. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.  ^ a b c James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 518–519. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4.  ^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (2007). The Indian Theogony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 322–323, 337, 338, 341–342.  ^ Jan Gonda (1982), The Popular Prajāpati, History of Religions, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Nov., 1982), University of Chicago Press, pp. 137-141 ^ a b Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 332. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.  ^ James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 169, 518–519. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4.  ^ a b Jan Gonda (1986). Prajāpatiʼs rise to higher rank. BRILL Academic. pp. 2–5. ISBN 90-04-07734-0.  ^ a b Jan Gonda (1982), The Popular Prajāpati, History of Religions, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Nov., 1982), University of Chicago Press, pp. 129-130 ^ Martin West, Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971: 28-34 ^ a b Kate Alsobrook (2008), "The Beginning of Time: Vedic and Orphic Theogonies and Poetics". M.A. Thesis, Reviewers: James Sickinger, Kathleen Erndl, John Marincola and Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University, pages 20, 1-5, 24-25, 40-44 ^ Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955. vol. 1, p. 31, sec. 2.2 ^ David Adams Leeming (2010). Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 313–314. ISBN 978-1-59884-174-9.  ^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (2007). The Indian Theogony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 322–330.  ^ David Kinsley (1988). Hindu
Hindu
Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu
Hindu
Religious Tradition. University of California Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-520-90883-3.  ^ a b Sukumari Bhattacharji (2007). The Indian Theogony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 322–323.  ^ Gavin D. Flood (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0.  ^ Henry White Wallis (1887). The Cosmology of the Ṛigveda: An Essay. Williams and Norgate. p. 61–73, 117.  ^ Laurie L. Patton (2005). Bringing the Gods to Mind: Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice. University of California Press. pp. 113, 216. ISBN 978-0-520-93088-9.  ^ Jan Gonda (1986). Prajāpatiʼs rise to higher rank. BRILL Academic. pp. 20–21. ISBN 90-04-07734-0.  ^ Annette Wilke; Oliver Moebus (2011). Sound and Communication: An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Hinduism. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 414–416. ISBN 978-3-11-024003-0.  ^ a b c d David Adams Leeming (2010). Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 144–146. ISBN 978-1-59884-174-9.  ^ Jan Gonda (1986). Prajāpatiʼs rise to higher rank. BRILL Academic. pp. 5, 14–16. ISBN 90-04-07734-0.  ^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (2007). The Indian Theogony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 324–325.  ^ Jan Gonda (1986). Prajāpatiʼs rise to higher rank. BRILL Academic. pp. 17–18. ISBN 90-04-07734-0.  ^ Sukumari Bhattacharji (2007). The Indian Theogony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 326–327.  ^ Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429, pages 3, 279-281; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads
Upanishads
that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads
Upanishads
are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism". ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 19–21, 205, 240, 350, 510, 544. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 495. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 85, 96–97, 252. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 53–56, 471, 534, 540. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 371. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Paul Deussen (1980). Sixty Upaniṣads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 21, 106, 198–205, 263, 508, 544. ISBN 978-81-208-1468-4.  ^ Klaus G. Witz (1998). The Supreme Wisdom of the Upaniṣads: An Introduction. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 115, 145–153, 363–365. ISBN 978-81-208-1573-5.  ^ a b The Early Upanishads: Annotated Text and Translation. Oxford University Press. 1998. pp. 279–281. ISBN 978-0-19-535242-9.  ^ Winthrop Sargeant (2010). Christopher Key Chapple, ed. The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition. State University of New York Press. pp. 37, 167, 491 (verse 11.39). ISBN 978-1-4384-2840-6.  ^ Jan Gonda (1982), The Popular Prajāpati, History of Religions, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Nov., 1982), University of Chicago Press, pp. 131-132 ^ Wilkins, W.J. (2003). Hindu
Hindu
Mythology. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Limited. p. 369. ISBN 81-246-0234-4.  ^ Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.  ^ David J. Stuart-Fox (2002). Pura Besakih: Temple, Religion and Society in Bali. KITLV. pp. 92–94, 207–209. ISBN 978-90-6718-146-4.  ^ Between Harmony and Discrimination: Negotiating Religious Identities within Majority-Minority Relationships in Bali and Lombok. BRILL. 2014. pp. 264–266. ISBN 978-90-04-27149-4. 

Further reading[edit]

Dictionary of Hindu
Hindu
Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola

External links[edit]

Prajapati: Hindu
Hindu
Deity, Encyclopaedia Britannica

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