Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Wed Mar 8 19:12:10 CST 2000

 Ravi <msr at COMCO.COM> wrote:

> The ardhanArishvara form is described in the
> mahAnArAyaNa upanishhad
> R^itam satyaM paraM brahma purushhaM
> kR^ishhNapi.ngalaM|
> UrdhvaretaM virUpAxaM vishvarUpAya vai namo nama.h ||

As I mentioned before, this mantra is very interesting. The words
R^itam, satyam and brahma are neuter nominative singular. The word
purushha is a masculine noun and the nominative is purushhaH, whereas
the mantra uses purushhaM. purushhaM is the accusative singular of
purushha. But, obviously all the nouns/adjectives have to be in the
same case, namely nominative. So purushhaM cannot be the accusative
case and has to be nominative. So we may take it that the mantra
conveys to us the fact that the word purushha is NOT to be profanely
interpreted as referring to someone of masculine gender. The
brahmAtman has no gender and is beyond all such mundane concepts. The
ardhanArishvara form also conveys this fact forcefully.

Contrast the above verse with "purushha eva idam sarvam" from the
purushha sUktam. idam and sarvam are neuter, singular nominatives.
purushha is used as masculine nominative, singular and is equated with
idam sarvam referring to things of neuter gender. purushhaH becomes
purushha in this verse by normal sandhi rules. Strictly speaking, here
the mantra should be "purushha eva-ayam sarvaH". But, by equating
purushha, *usually* referring to a person of masculine gender, with a
neuter nominative, the sUktam cautions against associating genders
with brahman. But the upanishhad goes further and deliberately uses
even the word purushha wrongly, and conveys the same message even more

BTW, this mantra is used in the daily sandhyA prayers of the black

Someone please correct me if I am wrong, I am no grammar expert. The
above occurred to me sometime back while reading the texts :-).


PS: The original message was a private exchange between Ravi, Jaldhar
and me. So I hadn't posted it to the list.

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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