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BrahmaGarbhodakaśāyī-ViṣṇuOne Brahmāṇḍa, with GarbhodakaśāyÄ«-Viṣṇu
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Click an area to go there. This is one of many material universes, Brahmāṇḍa, which expand from Mahā Viṣṇu when He breathes.

Hiranyagarbha (Devanagari: हिरण्यगर्भः ; literally the 'golden womb' or 'golden egg', poetically rendered 'universal germ') is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos in Indian philosophy,[1] it finds mention in one hymn of the Rigveda (RV 10.121), known as the 'Hiranyagarbha sukta' and presents an important glimpse of the emerging monism, or even monotheism, in the later Vedic period, along with the Nasadiya sukta suggesting a single creator deity predating all other gods (verse 8: yó devéṣv ádhi devá éka âsīt, Griffith: "He is the God of gods, and none beside him."), in the hymn identified as Prajapati.

The Upanishads calls it the Soul of the Universe or Brahman,[2] and elaborates that Hiranyagarbha floated around in emptiness and the darkness of the non-existence for about a year, and then broke into two halves which formed the Swarga and the Prithvi.

In classical Puranic Hinduism, Hiranyagarbha is a name of Brahma, so called because he was born from a golden egg (Manusmrti 1.9), while the Mahabharata calls it the Manifest.[3]


Part of a series on
Hindu philosophy


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Aurobindo · Coomaraswamy · Dayananda Saraswati · Gandhi · Krishnananda · Narayana Guru · Prabhupada · Ramakrishna · Ramana Maharshi · Radhakrishnan · Sivananda · Vivekananda · Yogananda ·

Matsya Purana (2.25-30) gives an account of initial creation. After Mahapralaya, the great dissolution of the Universe, there was darkness everywhere. Everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing, either moving or static. Then Svayambhu, Self-manifested Being arose, which is a form beyond senses. It created the primordial waters first and established the seed of creation into it. The seed turned into a golden womb, Hiranyagarbha. Then Svayambhu entered in the egg, and it is called Vishnu because of entering. Brahmanda Purana (1.4.25) says that it is called as Vishnu because it pervades the whole Universe.

The Narayana Sukta exclaims that everything that is, visible or invisible, all this is pervaded by Narayana within and without.

The Ishavasya Upanishad says that the universe is pervaded by Ishvara (God), who is both within and without it. He is the moving and the unmoving, He is far and near, He is within all these and without all these.

The Vedanta Sutra further states that Krishna is That from Whom this Universe proceeds, in Whom it subsists, and to Whom, in the end, it returns.

The Samkhya school holds that there are only two primary principles, Purusha and Prakriti, and creation is only a manifestation or evolution of the constituents of Prakriti due to the action of Purusha's Consciousness.

The Mahabharata states that Narayana alone was in the beginning, who was the prius of principles of creation, sustenance, and dissolution (also known as the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) - the Supreme Hari, multi-headed, multi-eyed, multi-footed, multi-armed, multi-limbed. This was the Supreme Seed of all creation, subtler than the subtlest, greater than the greatest, larger than the largest, and more magnificent than even the best of all things, more powerful, than even the wind and all the gods, more resplendent than the Sun and the Moon, and more internal than even the mind and the intellect. He is the Creator, the Father Supreme.

The Manu Smriti says: In the beginning, all this existence was one undifferentiated, unmanifested, indefinable, unarguable and unknown in every way. From this condition arose the Universe of 'name and form' (Sanskrit: Namarupa), through the medium of the Self-existent Creator, Svayambhu.

Hiranyagarbha Sukta

The Hiranyagarbha Sukta of the Rig Veda declares that God manifested Himself in the beginning as the Creator of the Universe, encompassing all things, including everything within Himself, the collective totality, as it were, of the whole of creation, animating it as the Supreme Intelligence.

Sanskrit Verse

हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेकासीत ।
स दाधार पृथ्वीं ध्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
'य आत्मदा बलदा यस्य विश्व उपासते प्रशिषं यस्यदेवाः ।
यस्य छायामृतं यस्य मर्त्युः कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
यः प्राणतो निमिषतो महित्वैक इद्राजा जगतो बभूव ।
य ईशे अस्य द्विपदश्चतुष्पदः कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम ॥

यस्येमे हिमवन्तो महित्वा यस्य समुद्रं रसया सहाहुः ।
यस्येमाः परदिशो यस्य बाहू कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम ॥
येन दयौरुग्रा पर्थिवी च दर्ळ्हा येन सव सतभितं येननाकः ।
यो अन्तरिक्षे रजसो विमानः कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
यं करन्दसी अवसा तस्तभाने अभ्यैक्षेतां मनसारेजमाने ।
यत्राधि सूर उदितो विभाति कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥

आपो ह यद बर्हतीर्विश्वमायन गर्भं दधानाजनयन्तीरग्निम ।
ततो देवानां समवर्ततासुरेकःकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
यश्चिदापो महिना पर्यपश्यद दक्षं दधानाजनयन्तीर्यज्ञम ।
यो देवेष्वधि देव एक आसीत कस्मैदेवाय हविषा विधेम ॥
मा नो हिंसीज्जनिता यः पर्थिव्या यो वा दिवंसत्यधर्मा जजान ।
यश्चापश्चन्द्रा बर्हतीर्जजानकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥

परजापते न तवदेतान्यन्यो विश्वा जातानि परि ताबभूव ।
यत्कामास्ते जुहुमस्तन नो अस्तु वयं सयाम पतयोरयीणाम ॥


In the beginning was the Divinity in his splendour, manifested as the sole Lord of land, skies, water, space and that beneath and He upheld the earth and the heavens.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

It is He who bestows soul-force and vigor, whose guidance all men invoke, the Devas invoke whose shadow is immortal life and death.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

It is He who by His greatness became the One King of the breathing and the seeing, who is the Lord of man and bird and beast.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

It is He through whose glory the snow-clad mountains rose, and the ocean spread with the river, they say. His arms are the quarters of the sky.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings ?

It is He through whom the heaven is strong and the earth firm, who has steadied the light and the sky's vault, and measured out the sphere of clouds in the mid-region.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offering?

It is He to whom heaven and earth, placed in the light by his grace, look up, radiant with the mind while over them the sun, rising, brightly shines.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

When the mighty waters came, carrying the universal germ, producing the flame of life, then dwelt there in harmony the One Spirit of the Devas.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

It is He who in his might surveyed the waters, conferring skill and creating worship - He, the God of gods, the One and only One.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

Father of the world - may He not destroy us who with Truth as his Law made the heavens and produced waters, vast and beautiful.

Who is the deity we shall worship with our offerings?

Lord of creation! No one other than thee pervades all these that have come into being.

May that be ours, for which our prayers rise, may we be masters of many treasures!

-- (RV 10:121)


  1. Hiranyagarbha
  2. The Philosophy of the Upanishads, by Paul Deussen, Alfred Shenington Geden. Published by T. & T. Clark, 1906. Page 198.
  3. The Mahabharata, Book 12: Santi Parva. Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr. Section CCCIII The Mahabharata.

See also

This page uses content from the English Wikisource. The original article was at Hiranyagarbha. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Religion wiki, the text of Wikisource is available under the CC-BY-SA.

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