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Prajapati - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Hinduism, Prajapati (Sanskrit: (IAST: praj-pati))

"lord of people" is a group of Hindu deity presiding over
procreation and protection of life, and thereby a King of
Kings (Rajanya or Rajan). Vedic commentators also identify
him with the creator referred to in the[1] Nasadiya Sukta.


Prajapati in Vedas
Origin of Prajapatis
Possible equivalent
See also

2nd Kamadeva

An attempt to depict the creative activities of

Prajapati, a steel engraving from the 1850s




According to later beliefs in the post-Vedic Era, the Prajapaties were elected democratically. Lord Vishnu was
first elected democratically/unanimously as Prajapati (in the North of Aryavarta or Bharta) by all the Rishis and
subjects of that era and sat on the throne of Prajapati. Thereafter, Lord Brhma was elected as Prajapati (in the
west of Aryavrat or Bharta), after which Lord Shankar (in the South of Aryavrat or Bharta) or Rudras were
elected as Prajapaties. The throne of Prajapati succeeded further and there were about 26 Prajapaties, as
mentioned in the Vedas.
Prajapati is a Vedic deity presiding over procreation, and the protection of life. He appears as a creator deity or
supreme god vishvakarman above the other Vedic deities in RV 10 and in Brahmana literature. Vedic
commentators also identify him with the creator referred to in the Nasadiya Sukta.
In later times, he is identified with Vishnu, Shiva, with the personifications of Time, Fire, the Sun, etc. He is
also identified with various mythical progenitors, especially (Manu Smrti 1.34) the ten lords of created beings
first created by Brahm, the Prajapatis Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Prachetas or
Daksha, Bhrigu, Nrada.[2]
The Mahabharata mentions, in the words of celestial sage Narada, 14 Prajapatis (lit:caretakers of the Praja)
Hiranyagarbha is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos in Indian philosophy, 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: y devv dhi dev ka st,
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, 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

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Prajapati - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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called because he was born from a golden egg (Manusmrti 1.9), while the Mahabharata calls it the Manifest.
rmad Bhgavatam 8.8.16 cites Vishvakarman as the leader of the prajpatis, the sons of Lord Brahm who
generate progeny.[3] The eleven lords of created beings first created by Brahm, which are the Prajapatis:
1. Vishvakarman[4]
2. Marichi
3. Atri
4. Angiras
5. Pulastya,

6. Pulaha,
7. Kratu,
8. Vasishtha
9. Prachetas or Daksha
10. Bhrigu
11. Nrada

The Mahabharata mentions, in the words of celestial sage Narada, 14 Prajapatis (lit:caretakers of the Praja)
excluding Vishvakarman namely:
1. Daksha,
2. Prachetas,
3. Pulaha,
4. Marichi,
5. Kasyapa,
6. Bhrigu,
7. Atri,

8. Vasistha,
9. Gautama,
10. Angiras,
11. Pulastya,
12. Kratu,
13. Prahlada and
14. Kardama

They are the caretakers of the fourteen worlds - seven lokas and seven talas.[5]

The Prajapati community come brahmana warriors are seen as the descendants of Prajapati; Lord Brahm, Lord
Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Maharaj Manu are considered Prajapaties. Prajapati also means protector & preserver
The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883-1896), Book 2: Sabha Parva: Lokapala
Sabhakhayana Parva, section:XI. p. 25 And Daksha, Prachetas, Pulaha, Marichi, the master Kasyapa, Bhrigu,
Atri, and Vasistha and Gautama, and also Angiras, and Pulastya, Kraut, Prahlada, and Kardama, these
Prajapatis, and Angirasa of the Atharvan Veda, the Valikhilyas, the Marichipas; Intelligence, Space,
Knowledge, Air, Heat, Water, Earth, Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, Scent; Nature, and the Modes (of Nature), and
the elemental and prime causes of the world,--all stay in that mansion beside the lord Brahma. And Agastya of
great energy, and Markandeya, of great ascetic power, and Jamadagni and Bharadwaja, and Samvarta, and
Chyavana, and exalted Durvasa, and the virtuous Rishyasringa, the illustrious 'Sanatkumara' of great ascetic
merit and the preceptor in all matters affecting Yoga...

A possible connection between Prajapati (and related figures in Indian tradition) and the Prtogonos (Greek:
) of the Greek Orphic tradition has been made by several scholars.[6][7]
It has been argued that the name of /PRA-J[N]-pati/ ('progeny-potentate') is etymologically equivalent to that
of the oracular god at Kolophn. (according to Makrobios[8]), namely /prtogonos/.

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According to Damascius, Prtogonos (also known as Phans) had four heads, those of "a Serpent (Drakn)...
and a bull; a man, and a god,"[9] while in the Brahma Pura Brahm - identified with Prajapati in several
texts - is likewise reckoned as 4-headed [one head each having produced deva-s (gods), i-s (sages), pit-s
(ancestors), and nara-s (humans)].[10]

Nasadiya sukta
Hiranyagarbha sukta
Hinduism and monotheism
List of Hindu deities
Creation myth
Thirty-three gods

1. "Vishvakarma Architect of the Gods | Mamandram Magazine". Mamandram.org. 2008-10-02. Retrieved

2. Wilkins, W.J. (2003). Hindu Mythology. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Limited. p. 369. ISBN 81-246-0234-4.
3. http://vedabase.net/v/visvakarma "vivakarm prajpati Vivakarm, one of the prajpatis, the sons of Lord
Brahm who generate progeny.; SB 8.8.16" http://vedabase.net/sb/8/8/16/, httpvedabase.net/v/visvakarma, Extracted
on 09:49, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
4. Yajur veda 18-43 Prajapathirviswakarma mano gandharvasthasya ....
5. Narada said.. (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m02/m02011.htm)
6. Martin West, Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971: 28-34
7. Kate Alsobrook, "The Beginning of Time: Vedic and Orphic Theogonies and Poetics". M.A. thesis, Florida State
University, 2007.
8. Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955. vol. 1, p. 31, sec. 2.2
9. [1] (http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Phanes.html)
10. Julius Lipner : The Hindus. Routledge, 1994. p. 45

Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola

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