If there is something called as the height of absurdity which qualifies the narrator of that absurdity to be sent to a mental asylum, here it is – the so-called commentary of Purusha suktha written by one Prof M.M.Ninan.
This is only a sample piece. Ninan has laid his hand on other Hindu texts also, with the claim that they are all the by-products of Christian Thought formed after the birth of Jesus Christ. By his "commentaries" to Hindu texts like Purusha Suktham and Upansihads, Ninan is only exposing the paucity of religious literature in Christianity and its dependence on ideas stolen from other religions. If he wants to portray Jesus as Purusha, he can do it from a Christian angle. But when he attempts to say that Jesus is the Purusha of Hindu theology, he cannot do it without destroying every word of Purush Suktha. He has done that precisely. It is like saying that Jesus is like the brick, the basic constituent of a magnificent building. In order to prove that, he has demolished the entire building and picked up a brick from the rubble to say – "see, how this brick is solely responsible for the magnificence of the building" – while there is no building left there to show its magnificence.
The "commentary" on Purusha Suktha is the most atrocious one which can also be compared to an attempt to squeeze the holy and mighty Ganga into a bottle, thinking that the bottle (Jesus) will look like Ganga by doing so. But the fact of the matter is that the Ganga has no bounds in her stature and greatness whereas the bottle would only be an insignificant speck, getting swept by the Ganga in her course.
Purusha Suktham as the product of St Thomas!
Usually the Christian writers have an obsession with history. There are two reasons for this. One is that they don't know their own history. They rely on Jewish accounts and the Jews also do not know from where they came or where their promised land exists. This is typically an identity crisis and the crisis of ancestry for Christian Thought. The second reason is that they want to inject their Christian identity into the local history wherever they go, because by doing that, it becomes easy for them to brainwash the locals and 'harvest' their souls. Ninan's job comes under the second category.
As far as Hindu texts are concerned, Puranas and Ithihasas are the historical documents of which the Ithihasas (Ramayana and Mahabharata) are highly descriptive of not only the history of Bharath but also the people as far as the Central Europe. On the other hand, the Vedas and Sukthas are oral works of religious and spiritual application. They are not historical documents. Strangely the Mlechas (non-Vedic people) are attracted to them and do their best to extract history from them. They did it with Rig Vedas. Ninan is only an extension of that crop though he was born to Indian parents coming in a long chain of Hindu heritage.
He claims to trace the 'historical development' of Purusha Suktham and concludes that the first 5 verses were the legacy of St Thomas, thereby pushing the history of Hinduism to post- Thomasian period, that is, after the 2nd century AD.
In the introduction he says as follows:-
"Thus for simple logical reason only the first 5 verses can be considered to form part of the original Purusha Suktha. And these have a definite Christian theology which came into the Indian sub-continent by the first century AD with the advent of St.Thomas the disciple of Jesus. Thomas' first converts were Jewish and Jewish mysticism known as Kaballa is reflected in the Purusha Suktha. Kaballah considers the cosmos as a man with
four dimensions of existence – Divine, Spiritual, Mental and Material. Early Christians presented Jesus as this cosmic Man who pervaded all cosmos. One of the titles of Jesus was "Son of Man" or in Indian terminology Narayana or Purushotama (Great Man).
The Purusha Suktha therefore contains various layers of historical development.
The first innermost layer was the Thomasian layer following the teachings of St.Thomas during his twenty year ministry in India. This was augumented by the Judao-Christian mysticism of Kaballa. These essentially fall within the first five verses. However following the ministry of Manichaen, whose ministry covered all over India starting from the North to the South, we see another layer, the Gnostic layer, where the gods and seers become the creators of the lower worlds.
Later layers come in simply as an attempt to introduce Vishnavism into the Purusha Suktham which must have come very recently after Vaishnavism became popular. It may have been just a few interpolations within the old document also. Most of the apparent difficulties which commentators struggle will disappear as we see this historical realiy. Interpolations makes it difficult to exactly pin point which layer belongs to which period and which portions of a documents are redactions and interpolation. As you go through this commentary you will be able to make your own judgement."
His claim that Vaishnavism was a post 2nd century AD development is the most absurd one. There are hard historical or archaeological facts to show that Vishnu and worship of Vishnu was in India much before the mythical St Thomas and not after him as claimed by Ninan. To substantiate this let me quote just one incident of a non Indian from outside India who embraced Vishnu Bhakthi. A Greek (Yavana) from Takshashila (Taxila) by name Heliodorus, declared himself as a devotee of Vasudeva and inscribed it in a pillar near Sanchi stupa. The importance of this inscription is that it was carved in 110 BCE, nearly 200 years before the mythical Thomas from whom Ninan claims that Vedic Thought, puranas and Ithihasas sprang up.
The place of Heliodorus, namely Takshashila has a farther antiquity into Ithihasic narrations. It was the city originally founded by Thaksha, son of Bharatha who was Rama's younger brother. It was the city where Mahabharatha was narrated for the first time to Pareekshit, the only surviving progeny of the Pandavas after the Mahabharatha war.
All these are hot iron poured into the ears of Ninan-like people. They have no respect for facts, history and Vedic religion. All they know is to tell falsehood or deride Vedic religion.
The very native place of Ninan, namely Kerala where he claims that St Thomas landed, has a different history for itself. Kerala is already a land retrieved from waters by none other an avatar of Vsihnu namely Parasurama.
When the British came, the Era of Parasurama was still in vogue in Kerala. There was no Thomasian memory in Kerala then. The colonial writers have recorded it in the Journal of Asiatic Society that "extending from Mangalore, through the provinces of Malabar, Cotiote and Travacore to cape Comorin" the era of Parasurama was in use. This era has a cycle of 1000 years with the New year starting at the time sun enters Virgo. They have clearly written that this era "derives its name from a prince who is supposed to have reigned 1176 years before Christ, the epoch being 7th August 3537 Jup.Per. or 1925 Kaliyug."
Parasurama's time goes to the time of Rama of Ramayana and hence the Parasurama, the prince in whose name the Parasurama Era was started in the stretch mentioned above, must have been the person who came in the lineage of rulers to whom Parasurama entrusted the ruler-ship. There is inscriptional evidence to show that a race established by Parasurama did rule Kerala regions. From the inscriptions found in 2 places, one in the temple of Rajarajeswara of Tanjore, written in AD 1031 and another in a hillock near Polur written in AD 1024 during the reign of Rajendra Chola –I, it is known that the Crown held by the kings anointed by Parasurama in an island called Chandhima was captured by this Chola king. The description says "seruviR sinavi irupatthorukaal arasu kaLai katta Parasuraman mevarum Chandhimath theevvaaraN karuthi iruththuya sempon thiruth thagu mudiyum" (செருவிற் சினவி இருபத்தொருகால் அரசு களை கட்ட பரசுராமன் மேவருஞ் சாந்திமத்தீவவரண் கருதி இருத்திய செம்பொன் திருத்தகு முடியும்).
A corroboratory narration is found in a 12th century book called "Mooshika vamsa kaaviyam" tells about one Ramaghata Mushika as the founder of this dynasty. He was born to the wife of a king killed by Parasurama in his war against the kshatriyas of Mahishmathi and the adjoining regions in Madhya Pradesh and North India. This widowed woman who was pregnant at that time took shelter in Yezhil hill (Mushika Giri or Eli malai – Kazargod of today). Later her son was crowned as the king by Parasurama himself and from him the Mushika dynasty came into being. A king of this dynasty by name Nannan is already found in Sangam texts. These kings were largely responsible for establishing temples of Vishnu in Kerala. The land called Mushika is found mentioned in Mahabharatha also, in the description of Sanjaya as one among the countries in South India. If with all this background history of Kerala, Ninan chooses to ignore them, it only shows his lack of respect for facts and history.
Apart from history and archaeology, scientific streams such as genetics and astronomy are also becoming useful tools to unravel history. Research after research in genetics is proving that India had served as an incubator for many thousands of years for man out of Africa to settle down and grow into well developed societies. It is from the Indian sub-continent, people and Thought had gone out to Middle East and Europe, on quite a few occasions in the past, and not vice versa.
Looking at Astronomy as a tool for dating history, a couple of researches do exist showing the antiquity of Ramayana and Mahabharata dated far back the Christian era. Even the pet theme of Ninan, namely the Rig Veda has left a legacy in the form of Rig Jyothisha by sage Lagadha which clearly state the uttarayana position at Dhanishta at the time of writing. This puts the date of that work at approximately 3600 years ago before present.
In the backdrop of diverse fields of science and arts becoming dynamic tools to understand history and the ancient texts of India, it is time the Vatican puts a stop to absurd researches and methods to intrude other religions, particularly the Hindu religion.
Distortion of Hindu concepts.
The Hindu concept of God-head is one Supreme God becoming many. Whatever it becomes, it enters into that and becomes the In-dweller. It is the object and also the In-dweller. It also means that the entire universe is its body and it has permeated throughout. This In-dweller is known as Purusha.
Purusha is 'puryam shete iti: purusha:' -the one who is resting in the house. From this word sprang pur, pura, puram (of Tamil too) and suffixes for names for cities. When we say Durgapur or Nagpur, it means these places have been recognised or sensed by people as having been specifically pervaded by the grace / energy of Durga and Naga respectively. Beyond this perception, the fact remains that Purusha exists in every manifestation of the Universe.
Purusha suktham is presented in a specific sequence, starting from a macro cosmic creation and Purusha's omnipresence in everything and how this manifestation must be sustained by yajnas as root of Dharma so that Glory is attained. Yajna does not mean sacrifice or killing but is a process of transformation of one into another which is done in a spirit of give and take so that equilibrium is maintained in Nature. My old article on this concept can be read here.
But Ninan would have us think that Thomas and his 'religion' were killed / sacrificed and Hinduism was built from that sacrifice!!
Writing on the 8th verse of Purusha Suktham, Ninan says:-
" We know from history that Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and all the host of the
modern Hindu gods were the product of post-Christian period in India, after the ministry of Thomas from AD 52 to 72.
The very idea and the term of Isa as Iswara came only after that. Thus this statement is simply the statement of how The Isai religion was destroyed (killed – sacrificed) and how the concepts and ideas of Isai were taken out and used in the recreation of a new religion by the domination of Brahmins.
This brought in the caste system and a host of new gods and the Vedas and the puranas and the ithihasas. This is described in the next verses. This is the origin of Hinduism. It emerged as a new religion by sacrificing the central Purusha of the Christian religion as brought in by St. Thomas. When the person of Christ is removed from Christianity what we get is Hinduism. Then out of the remanants are made myths legends and puranas in typical Gnostic fashion following the Manichaen ministry in India."
The biggest falsehood spread by Ninan is his contention that the very term and the idea of Iswara came into Hindu Thought only after Thomas. Only a person of deranged mental faculties or a complete fool can make such a claim. Leaving aside the numerous proofs for Ishwara in the Indian texts from pre- Christian era, I am just asking him one simple question. Does he mean to say that the "Isatwam" (ஈசத்துவம்) having the term 'Isa" or "Ishwara" - which is one among the 8 siddhis (ashtamaa-siddhis) is a post- Thomasian development? If he says yes, does he agree that the Isa or Jesus or whomever he has in mind when he said Isa, was not an accomplished one at all – was not a siddha-like person at all – or in other words, that Isa was only an ordinary mortal who could not claim anything extraordinary for himself? If he says no, then he has to agree that the concept of Brahman or Purusha or transcendence to the level of Brahman was in existence much before Thomas and Jesus. The ashtamasiddhis are nothing but extraordinary qualities that are comparable to the qualities of the Supreme Purusha. I think Mr Ninan had to do a much tougher homework to establish his Isa as an extraordinary being.
And then he tells us that the Trinity of Hinduism was a post-Thomasian development! If so, does he think that the Tamil sangam poem from Paripaadal -1 came up in post Thomasian period? This poem calls Thirumaal (Vishnu) as Siva and Brahma. ( ainthalai uyariya anangudai arumthiral mainthudai oruvanum, madangalum nee... poovanum naattramum nee- lines 43 to 46 ஐந்தலை உயரிய அணங்குடை அருந்திறல் மைந்துடை ஒருவனும் மடங்கலும் நீ... பூவனும், நாற்றமும் நீ). The paripaadal poems are said to be the oldest among Sangam poems. There is even a poem found in Paripaadal that gives the precise position of planets in the sky at the time of composition of that poem (paripaadal 11). Commentators have deduced that such planetary alignment occurred in BC 161. But when you check it in computer software, the date tallies with BC 1042!! Such is the antiquity of this poem which is found in the compilation of Paripaadal.
Who is the Purusha?
There is yet another poem in Paripaadal which gives a similar description of the Purusha of the Purusha Suktha to none other than Thirumaal (Vishnu). There is one Purusha or a Purushotthama. He cannot be equated with any other deity of Hindu pantheon, except Narayana. He is the All pervading Brahman which is once again equated with Narayana only. This is the Final inference of the Vedas and all Vedantha according to Acharyas of all the three paths. None had challenged it and none can challenge it anytime. While such is the nature of Purusha, here is a 'pulluruvi'(புல்லுறுவி) – claiming Jesus as Purusha!
The Purusha Suktha begins with a description of Purusha as having 1000 heads, 1000 eyes and 1000 legs. Nianan's Christian friends abroad would say quits if they were asked to project Jesus in a form having so many heads and eyes and legs. But Ninan has no problem in 'fixing' these organs to Jesus somehow, for, fools do not need rules to follow before they utter something. They can speak whatever comes in their mouth. For whatever he says on Jesus as having multiple organs, only his Tamil counterparts such as Deivanayagam would have to do a tough job in justifying his explanation.
The reason is that there is a beautiful description of Thirumaal (Vishnu) in Paripaadal -3 which gives the details of the number of hands that Vishnu has. The number goes far beyond hundreds of thousands and upto an uncountable number called "aambal"! Either they have to prove that Jesus indeed was this multiple handed Vishnu or they have to establish that this song was composed in post-Thomasian period. They cannot do the latter because Paripaadal is older than 2000 years. It was composed in 1st sangam or even the 2nd sangam period and certainly not in the 3rd sangam period. Uruththirasanman (Tamil form of Rudra-janman), the last Pandyan king to have hosted the 3rd sangam lived sometime in the 1st or 2nd century AD according to many cross references. So Paripaadal clearly precedes 1st century AD.
The poem says,
" oru kai (ஒரு கை)
Iru kai maal (இரு கை மால்)
Mukkai muniva (முக்கை முனிவ)
naaRkai aNNal (நாற்கை அண்ணல்)
aimkai maintha (ஐங்கை மைந்த)
aRukai neduvEl (அறுகை நெடுவேள்)
ezukai yaaLa (எழுகையாள)
eNkai Enthal (எண்கை ஏந்தல்)
onpathiRRu thadakkai manpEraaLa (ஒன்பதிற்றுத் தடக்கை மன்பேராள)
pathiRRuk kai mathavali (பதிற்றுக் கை மதவலி)
nURRuk kai aaRRal (நூற்றுக்கை யாற்றல்)
aayiram viriththa kai maayamaLLa (ஆயிரம் விரித்த கை மாயமள்ள)
pathinaayiram kai muthumozi muthalva (பதினாயிரம் கை முதுமொழி முதல்வ)
nooraayiram kai aarari kadavuL (நூறாயிரம் கை ஆற்றி கடவுள்)
anaitthumalla pala vadukkal aambal (அனைத்து மல்லபல வடுக்க ஆம்பல்)
inaiththena eNvarambu ariyaa yaakkaiyai" (இனைத்தென எண் வரம்பறியா யாக்கையை)
This passage gives the number of hands that Vishnu has. Each number has a relevance and explanation for the greatness of Vishnu. The numbers mentioned are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, 100,1000, 10,000, 100,000 and then a non-countable number called Ambal.
The Tamils had visualised such a great figure for Vishnu. Can Ninan quote a single line from his book to say that Jesus has atleast 4 hands? He would say that it is idolatry and cult worship which Christianity does not believe in. If he does not believe that, he cannot give an aura of a Purusha to Jesus or Isa. Because the forms and idols of Hinduism are nothing but symbolic representations of concepts such as Purusha.
Ninan knows that such a Purusha is a cosmic figure, but still wants to say that "It is very probable that Jesus identified himself with the primordial or Cosmic Person in saying "... before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58)."
No probables Mr Ninan. Give one straight expression from your texts. You cannot give, but you want to say that Purusha Suktha is a Thomasian idea and Jesus was the Purusha.
The absurdity of this claim is that he thinks Purusha is a man. He calls Jesus as Purusha, the first man. But the Purusha of Purusha Suktha is not a man, not even the first or a second or a third man. This Purusha is One and All. He IS, that is all. In him everything happens. Everything grows, everything thrives and flourishes. If you know how this happens, you can get whatever you want from Him– that is the import of Purusha Suktha.
It is like tapping the energy of the Sun, to give an example. Sun is like Purusha – having countless hands of rays and countless heads of knowledge. Everything thrives under that, and owes their growth to that. Anything and everything can be Saadhya – become possible under the sun and due to the sun – only if you know the nature of sun. You can tap energy from the Sun of hundreds of thousands of hands for diverse uses, only if you know what Sun is, how it exists and what things it makes possible. This is the core concept of Pursha Suktham.
The multitudes of organs are so told to express the Infiniteness of the Purusha. The Infinite contains in itself all that is finite. All the people including Jesus are finite beings. Since we owe our existence to that Infinite, we call it as the One and Only One and the source of all creation. People like Ninan can pick up only words. He looks at the word and its dictionary meaning and call Jesus as the First One from whom all men came!
His atrocious comparison sees no rhyme or reason in comparing Jesus with Isavasya Upanishad passage. For the 2nd verse of Purusha Suktham (page 12), he says,
"The same idea is repeated is the Isa Upanishad first verse.
"Isavasyamidam sarvam yatkiñca jagatyam jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjitha ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam || 1 ||
Jesus is immanent in this entire universe –
whatever in this universe, animate or inanimate.
By Him is given sacrificially what is given for your enjoyment.
Therefore do not try to gain some one else's wealth."
Isavasya Upanishad was originally a teaching given by a sage by name Dathyang Atharvana to his son when he became qualified to receive the teaching by having given up all desires except the desire for Liberation (Moksha). There is absolutely no question of desiring another man's wealth. The above verse also does not speak about Ishwara giving materials for enjoyment. The one who has conquered all desires is fit to receive the teaching. In other words, the first and foremost quality for one to become eligible to receive this teaching is to give up desire. Highlighting this in this verse as the fore most quality, the sage continues to teach his son. This knowledge is "Guhyathamam saastram" – says Krishna to Arjuna (Bhgavad Gita – 15 20) – secret knowledge. When this gets translated into written words and a non believer in Vedas attempts to explain it, anartham (wrong interpretation) springs up. That is what has happened through Ninan's pen!
But Ninan does not seem to follow what he had written. He says that one should not gain someone else's wealth? Doesn't this apply to him? Is he not stealing the Upanishad and Purusha Suktham from Hinduism to suit his own theories of Christianity? Has Christianity taught him to steal like this?
Creation verses of Purusha suktham.
The next three verses of Purusha Suktha are the best verses on Creation from which scientists can borrow better ideas on Creation. The idea is that not everything of Purusha is found manifest at any time. Only one fourth is manifest while the rest (three-fourth) are in unmanifest form. I have already explained this in the following articles:-