The Golden Womb and the Cosmic Egg
Creation stories abound in all cultural and religious traditions, worldwide. Hinduism is rich in the mythology of beginnings, and stories range from the philosophical to the material. One of the earliest stories of how the universe came into being is found in the Rig Veda.
Hiranyagarbha is a Sanskrit term that translates to “golden embryo,” “golden womb” or “golden egg.” It is derived from the root words hiranya, meaning“golden” or “wealth,” and garbha, meaning “womb,” “germ/seed” or “essence.” It is also the name of the founder of the yoga tradition – predating even Patanjali, who authored the Yoga Sutras. Whether Hiranyagarbha was human or a deity is not established, but the name first appears prominently as a form of the sun god.
The pre-Pantanjali yoga system is sometimes referred to as hiranyagarbha yoga darshana (yoga system of philosophy).
Hiranyagarbha in Ancient Texts
Hiranyagarbha is mentioned in ancient literature and verse. The “Rig Veda,” for example, contains a hymn to Hiranyagarbha that Hindus still chant in their daily rituals, in which he is referred to as the Supreme Being. The epic narrative, “Mahabharata,” cites Hiranyagarbha as the one who is glorified in Vedic verses and taught in yoga literature. The Upanishads call him the Supreme Existence, or Brahman. In this regard, Hiranyagarbha is also a name for Brahma in classical Puranic Hinduism because he was born from a golden egg.
The Hiranyagarbha Sukta (set of verses) in the Rig Veda, the Vayu Purana, Bhagavata Purana and Brahmanda Purana mention the golden womb, the Hiranyagarbha or Brahmanda, the Cosmic Egg – that is sometimes interpreted as the golden foetus or embryo – that, floating in a dark void, contracted and gave birth to the universe and all that’s part of it – containing both male and female principles in union.
In the Beginning There Was Hiranyagarbha
A verse in the Atharva Veda describes the beginning thus: “In the beginning was Hiranyagarbha, The seed of elemental existence, The only Lord of all that was born, He upheld the heaven and earth together, To what God other than Him, could we dedicate our life?”
The Hiranyagarbha is also equated with the life-giving Sun, an important agent of generation. In this context the Sun is referred to as the soul or Atman of all Creation, the Lord of all that moves and stands. As the Lord of all created beings, the Sun or Savitr is also called Prajapati. Creation has been described as Existence or ‘Sat’ (Being) and it is born of Non-existence or ‘Asat’ , possibly the dark void in which the Hiranyagarbha floated before releasing the Universe.
A verse in the Rig Veda describes the concept thus: “In the beginning, there was neither nought nor aught Then there was neither sky nor atmosphere above. What then enshrouded all this universe? In the receptacle of what was it contained? Then there was neither death nor immortality, Then there was neither day, nor night, nor light, nor darkness. Only the Existent One breathed calmly, self-contained .”
Read more meditation & health at our website:
He Is The Life Giving Force
Once the golden womb yielded to the Creation process, heat or energy was generated. Molecules formed, and they interplayed with atoms and elements, giving rise to more heat in the form of self-luminous vapour. Prajapati (Sanskrit: “Lord of Creatures”) symbolised creative radiance, and then there was light where earlier, only darkness prevailed.
The Rig Veda says: “In the beginning there was darkness, Intensified darkness, indistinguishable darkness, All the visible world was reduced to its primordial nature. This primordial world, enveloped by the All-pervading power of One Before whom the world of matter is a trifle became One (that is, came into existence) Through the force of His intense activity and spiritual fervour.”
While Hiranyagarbha appears most often as a deity or deity in human form, it is possible that a human teacher with the name once existed. Rishi Vashishtha, one of the most prominent Vedic sage-seers, is said to be the main disciple of Hiranyagarbha.
So we see that the Hiranyagarbha has yielded this Creation and we bow down and give thanks for it!
Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below. We love to hear from you!