The transcendent ‘That’

The chapter 32 has 16 verses. Sages of the Veda realized that the Supreme Power cannot be described by the epithets involving genders like he, she etc.

Hence they used the epithet That, tat.

The verse SYV (32.1) states:

Agni is That,…

……Brahman is That,..

…Waters are That….

Verses like these point to the high spiritual and philosophical attainments of the sages.

The third verse states:

‘There is nothing to compare with That’ SYV (32.3)

na tasya pratimā asti

According to Swami Dayananda of Arya Samāj, this verse implies that the persons of vedic age were against the worship of the Gods using mūrti or icon. Viewed in the context of the first verse, this claim is tenuous, at best. The image or mūrti icon is a symbol of the supreme power and this symbol is used in the Veda many times. Recall the famous purusha hymn in [RV 10.90] or in chap. 31 where the Supreme Person is symbolized by a being of innumerable heads.

Agni is That, Aditya is That,

Vāyu is That, Chandramas is That,

the bright One is That, Brahman is That,

Waters are That, Prajāpati is That. YVS (32.1)


All winkings of the eye arose

out of the radiant Purusha.

None has comprehended him

above, across or in the midst. YVS (32.2)


There is none to compare with him.

There is no parallel to him,

whose glory, verily, is great.

Hiraņyagarbha etc. ‘May he not destroy us’ etc.

‘No one other than thee’ etc. YVS (32.3)


He is the deity who pervades all the regions,

born at first, he is also within the womb.

Verily, he who is born and is to be born,

meets his offspring facing him on all sides. YVS (32.4)


Before him there was nothing whatever born,

who pervaded the entire world of created things;

Lord of life, he rejoiced in his off-spring;

Possessed of sixteen parts, he unites the three lights. YVS (32.5)


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-air.

Who is the Deity we shall worship with our offerings? YVS (32.6)


When the mighty waters etc. He who in his might etc. YVS (32.7)


Vena beholds That Being, hidden in mystery,

in whom all find one single home;

In That all this unites; from That all issues forth;

He, omnipresent, is warp and woof in created things. YVS (32.8)


Let the Gandharva who knows the Eternal

speak of that station which is parted yet wrapped in mystery.

Three steps of That are in mystery hidden;

he who knows them shall be the father’s father. YVS (32.9)


He is our Kin, our Father, our Creator,

he knows all ordinances and all beings,

in whom Devās, attaining life eternal,

have arisen to the loftiest station. YVS (32.10)


Having encompassed all creatures, encompassed all worlds,

encompassed all the regions and directions,

and approached the First-born of Eternal Order,

he with the Self entered into the Self. YVS (32.11)


And going swiftly round the heaven and earth,

around the worlds, around the quarters, around the sky,

and lengthening out the wide-spread thread of Order,

he saw That, he became That, he was That. YVS (32.12)


The wonderful Lord of the Assembly,

dear to Indra, lovable, who

bestows wisdom, has been approached by me. Hail! YVS (32.13)


The talent that Devās and Fathers esteem,

with that talent, Agni, endow me today. YVS (32.14)


May Varuņa give me talent,

may Agni and Prajāpati give it;

May Indra and Vāyu grant me talent,

and Dhātr grant it to me. Hail! YVS (32.15)


Let both the spiritual and the political man

possess the lustre that I seek.

May the Devās give me the noblest lustre.

To thee, that lustre, Hail! YVS (32.16)

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