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Prajapati


Prajapati in Hindu mythology is the primordial lord of creatures, and is mentioned in Vedic, epic and Puranic literature. In Vedic legends he is described in various ways as the creator of the world, and the creator of heaven and earth. He is an androgynous being who impregnated himself by fusing elements of mind and speech. In later epics he is the guardian of the sex organ. Prajapati becomes the name for Brahma in later Hinduism.

Prajapati is linked to the sacrificial root of creation "either by continually creating living creatures out of the sacrifices to the gods (Taittiriya Brahmana 1, 8; 2, 1), or as being himself the sacrifice from which life is sustained: 'Prajapati is sacrifice, for he created it in his own self-expression'" (Sarapatha Brahmana 11, 1; 8, 2) In relation to the thirty-three gods in the classical system, Prajapati was considered the thirty-fourth, embracing and including the others.


In the beginning, he arose as Hiranyagarbha. When born, he was the one Lord of all that exists. He supported the earth and this heaven. What God with our offering shall we worship?… O Prajapati, you alone have encompassed all these created things: may that for which with longing we have called upon you be ours; may we become lords of wealth. (Hymn to Prajapati, Rg Veda 10, 121)

A.G.H.


Sources:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 759 Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 208