Posted by: adbhutam | July 10, 2015

Evidence in the Br.upanishad for Viṣṇu being created

Evidence for Viṣṇu being created according to BUB 1.4.11

In the Bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣad 1.4.11 there is the mantra about the creation of the Celestial Kṣatriya class: deva-kṣatra. The upaniṣad mantra:

ब्रह्म वा इदमग्र आसीदेकमेव तदेकं सन्न व्यभवत् । तच्छ्रेयोरूपमत्यसृजत क्षत्रं यान्येतानि देवत्रा क्षत्राणीन्द्रो वरुणः सोमो रुद्रः पर्जन्यो यमो मृत्युरीशान इति ।

A sample of such ‘deva kṣatriya-s’ is given in the mantra. Shankaracharya’s Bhāṣya:

[In the beginning this, the Kṣatriya and other castes, was indeed Brahman, identical with that Brahman

(Viraj) who after manifesting Fire assumed the form of that. He is called Br.ahman, because he

identified himself with the Brāhmaṇa caste. One only : Then there was no differentiation into other

castes such as the Kṣatriya. Being one, i.e. without any protector etc. such as the Kṣatriya, he did not

flourish, i.e. could not do his work ‘properly. Hence he, Viraj, thinking, ‘I am a Brahmaṇa, and these

are my duties,’ in order to create duties pertaining to a Brahmaṇa by birth-to glorify himself as a

performer of rites–specially, pre-eminently, projected an excellent form. What is that? ]


Br.up.1.4.11 भाष्यम् –

क्षत्रं क्षत्रियजातिः ; तद्व्यक्तिभेदेन प्रदर्शयति — यान्येतानि प्रसिद्धानि लोके, देवत्रा देवेषु, क्षत्त्राणीति — जात्याख्यायां पक्षे बहुवचनस्मरणात् व्यक्तिबहुत्वाद्वा भेदोपचारेण — बहुवचनम् । कानि पुनस्तानीत्याह — तत्राभिषिक्ता एव विशेषतो निर्दिश्यन्ते — इन्द्रो देवानां राजा, वरुणो यादसाम्, सोमो ब्राह्मणानाम्, रुद्रः पशूनाम्, (in yajurveda 3.4.5 and sayana bhashya). पर्जन्यो विद्युदादीनाम्, यमः पितॄणाम्, मृत्युः रोगादीनाम्, ईशानो भासाम् — इत्येवमादीनि देवेषु क्षत्राणि । (Shankara makes this comment for the word ‘iti’ at the end of the ṛk of the Br.up.1.4.11 shown above. The ‘iti’ has got this meaning of ‘etcetra’ and thereby Shankara says that the deva kṣatras mentioned in the Br.up.1.4.11 is not exhaustive and are only a few and there are several others as well.  Thus the ‘ādi’ of the Bhāṣyam is crucial.)


Translation of the Bhāṣya:




The caste called Kṣatriya. This is being pointed out by a reference to its individuals. Those who are well known in the world as Kṣatriya among the gods. The plural is used (in ‘Kṣatriyas’), as in grammar a word denoting

a caste may be optionally in the plural.1 Or because there are many individuals in a caste, the difference is

figuratively transferred to the group. Who are they? This the text answers by mentioning particularly the

anointed ones: Indra, the King of gods; Varuṇa, of the aquatic animals ; the moon, of the Brahmal).as ;

Rudra, of the beasts ; Parjanya, of lightning etc.; Yama, of the Manes ; Death, of disease etc.; and

lsana, of luminaries. These are some of the Kṣatriyas, among the gods.  (Shankara makes this comment for the word ‘iti’ at the end of the ṛk of the Br.up.1.4.11 shown above. The ‘iti’ has got this meaning of ‘etcetera’ and thereby Shankara says that the deva kṣatras mentioned in the Br.up.1.4.11 are not exhaustive and are only a few and there are several others as well.  Thus the ‘ādi’ of the Bhāṣyam is crucial.)




The two highlighted sentences of the bhāṣya are important in the establishing of Viṣṇu’s birth (creation) in the above Upaniṣad.  To find out what Shankara means by ‘. Those who are well known in the world as Kṣatriya among the godswe get sufficient information in the Kṛṣṇa Yajur veda samhitā:


3.4.5 अनुवाक 5 अभ्यातानाः

VERSE: 1 अग्निर् भूतानाम् अधिपतिः स माऽवत्व् इन्द्रो ज्येष्ठानां यमः पृथिव्या वायुर् अन्तरिक्षस्य सूर्यो दिवश् चन्द्रमा नक्षत्राणाम् बृहस्पतिर् ब्रह्मणो मित्रः सत्यानां वरुणो ऽपाम्̇ समुद्रः स्रोत्यानाम् अन्नम्̇ साम्राज्यानाम् अधिपति तन् मावतु सोम ओषधीनाम्̇ सविता प्रसवानाम्̇ रुद्रः पशूनां त्वष्टा रूपाणां विष्णुः पर्वतानाम् मरुतो गणानाम् अधिपतयस् ते मावन्तु पितरः पितामहाः परे ऽवरे ततास् ततामहा इह मावत । अस्मिन् ब्रह्मन्न् अस्मिन् क्षत्रे ऽस्याम् आशिष्य् अस्याम् पुरोधायाम् अस्मिन् कर्मन्न् अस्यां देवहूत्याम् ॥

In the above mantra portion a number of devas who are ‘adhipatis’ of certain groups is enumerated. (The mantra is a prayer to all these adhipati devas to protect the supplicant) The entities listed in the above are according to the Sāyana bhāsya available here:    (mantra detailing all deva-kshatras)

The Sāyaṇa Bhashya for the above:

The bhāṣya gives some explanation about the groups for which each deva mentioned in the mantra.

Agni the Head, adhipati, of elements, Indra, of devas, Yama (of….), Vāyu, Sūrya, Chandra, Bṛhaspati, Mitra, Varuṇa, Samudra, Annam, Soma, Savitā, Rudra, adhipati of Paṣus [exactly stated by Shankara in the Br.up.1.4.11 bhāṣyam], Tvaṣṭā, Viṣṇu, adhipati of Parvatas, Maruts, and so on….

For विष्णुः पर्वतानाम्  of the Yajurveda, the Sāyaṇa bhāṣyam says: Viṣṇu is the adhipati of parvatas like govardhana.

From the above Veda mantra it is clear that so many deva-adhipatis are there.  On closer examination one will find that even this list is not exhaustive.  For instance the Vitteśa (Kubera) as adhipati of yakṣas, etc. mentioned in the Bhagavadgita 10th ch. is not in the above list. What the Br.up.1.4.11 mantra lists is a very few names compared to the Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda mantra. One can see several names from the two sources overlapping. That is why Shankara says These are some of the Kṣatriyas, among the gods.   The list of deva-kṣatriyas mentioned in the Br.up..1.4.11 is not an exhaustive one; there remain many more than that  of that category. The name of Viṣṇu, appearing as one among so many deva-adhipatis in the ‘well-known source’ Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda is a deserving one for inclusion in the Br.up.1.4.11.  One cannot object that Viṣṇu has not been included in the Br.up. and therefore it would be wrong to do so. However we have several names in the Yajur veda mantra cited which have been included and there are names from that mantra itself not included in the Br.up.mantra as well.  That itself shows that there is no room for any choice on the part of the Br.up.1.4.11 and that there is no valid reason to exclude Viṣṇu from the list even while it is present in the Yajurveda list as one among many devas.


If only Shankara had not made that crucial twin-comment: 1. Of the deva kṣatras being well known in the world (veda) and 2. That the Br.up.1.4.11 list is only representative, ‘upalakṣaṇa’, there would be no knowledge about the fact of only some names, just seven, out of innumerable, that are mentioned in the Br.up.1.4.11 and that there are many more that ought to be included in the mantra in order to get the correct purport of the teaching of the Br.up.1.4.11. Otherwise one will go with the incomplete, wrong, knowledge that there are only these seven deva kṣatras.  Of course, for those who have done the Yajur veda adhyayanam of even the samhitā part and have some knowledge of the veda bhāṣyam the considerably longer list of names which includes viṣṇu as the adhipati of parvatas will be quite familiar.


In the sequel are given some references from various sources to substantiate many names and the corresponding group that Shankara has mentioned in the Bhāṣya for the Br.up.1.4.11. The Mahabharata too contains several such names and groups.


For Indra being the King of Devas:

Indra is the adhipati of ‘lokapālas’ (so says the sāyaṇa bhāṣya).  This term means ‘devas’ as brought out by:

  1. अम्भःप्रभृतीनां लोकानांलोकपालानां चाग्न्यादीनां सृष्टिं शिष्ट्वा,  BSB 3.3.17
  2. ‘एष लोकाधिपतिरेषलोकपाल एष लोकेशः’ (कौ. उ. ३-९) BSB 1.1.28
  3. ईश्वराणांलोकपालानां समर्थानां सतां नियन्ता चेद्वज्रोद्यतकरवन्न स्यात्  Kathopanishat 2.3.3
  4. स ईक्षतेमे नु लोकालोकपालान्नु सृजा इति । Aitareya 1.1.3 mantra
  5. तस्मादेषां रक्षणार्थंलोकपालान् लोकानां पालयितॄन्  Aitareya 1.1.3 bhashyam
  6. तदधिष्ठाता अग्निः, ततो वाचः, लोकपालः ।  Aitareya bhashyam 1.1.4
  7. अग्न्यादयो देवताःलोकपालत्वेन सङ्कल्प्य सृष्टा ईश्वरेण   Aitareya bhashyam 1.2.1
  8. मुखादिभ्यश्चाग्न्यादयोलोकपालाः ।  Aitareya 2.1 introduction
  9. यतो मुखादिनिर्भेदद्वारेणाग्न्यादयोलोकपाला जाताः, स प्रजापतिरेष एव । Aitareya 3.1.3

For Varuna being adhipati of yādasa:

वरुणो यादसाम् BG 10.29

For पर्जन्यो विद्युदादीनाम्

  1. पर्जन्यस्तृप्यति पर्जन्ये तृप्यतिविद्युत्तृप्यति विद्युति तृप्यन्त्यां यत्किंच विद्युच्च पर्जन्यश्चाधितिष्ठतस्तत्तृप्यति Cha.Bhāṣyam 5.22.2
  2. पर्जन्यो नाम वृष्ट्युपकरणाभिमानी देवतात्मा । तस्य संवत्सर एव समित् ; संवत्सरेण हि शरदादिभिर्ग्रीष्मान्तैः स्वावयवैर्विपरि-

वर्तमानेन पर्जन्योऽग्निर्दीप्यते । अभ्राणि धूमः, धूमप्रभवत्वात् धूमवदुपलक्ष्यत्वाद्वा । विद्युत् अर्चिः, प्रकाशसामान्यात् । BUB 6..2.10

For यमः पितॄणाम् –



परेयिवांसं प्रवतो महीरनु बहुभ्यः पन्थामनुपस्पशानम् ।

वैवस्वतं संगमनं जनानां यमं राजानं हविषा दुवस्य ॥१॥


The bhashyam for the above is available here:


In the Brahmandapurana:


वैवस्वतं पितॄणां च यमं राज्येऽभ्यषेचयत् ॥ २. ८. ८ ॥


[Yama was coronated as the King of pitṛs. ]

The above is similar to the Mahabharatha (Karṇa parva) incident of Tripurasamhāra where Rudra is ‘coronated’ as the pati of ‘paśu-s’.

There are many more ‘rāja-s’ in the above document.

Mahabharata where many ‘adhipatis’ are listed:

Om Tat Sat






  1. What is the tatparyam behind Bhasmasura incident? Please do write about it. It is a stick frequently used to beat Shiva.


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