The Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana, aka the Talavakara Upanishad Brahmana, is a confusingly named text which is actually an Aranyaka of the Sama Veda, not a Brahmana or Upanishad. It contains within it the famous Kena Upanishad which I discuss here, but my question is about a different part of the text. As I discuss in this question, the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana discusses how someone rescued Brahma from demons by singing the Gayatra Saman, an important hymn of the Sama Veda.
But after that, in this excerpt it gives the Guru Parampara by which the Gayatra Saman was passed down. Here's the beginning of it:
That is the immortal gayatra[-saman]. By means of it Prajapati went unto immortality, by means of it the gods, by means of it the sages (rishi). That the same the brahman told to Prajapati; Prajapati to Parameshthin Prajapatya, Parameshthin Prajapatya to god Savitar, god Savitar to Agni, Agni to Indra, Indra to Kashyapa, Kashyapa to Rishyashringa Kashyapa, ...
As I discuss here, Rishyasringa is the priest who conducted Dasharatha's Putrakameshti Yagna. But my question is, who is the figure "Prajapati" that Brahman taught the Gayatra Saman to, and who is the figure "Parameshthin Prajapatya" that this Prajapati taught it to?
Up until now, I had assumed that Prajapati and Parameshthin were just two names of the creator god Brahma, the husband of Saraswati. For instance, this chapter of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad gives the Guru Parampara of the Madhu Vidya (which I discuss here), and it says this:
- Vyashti from Sanâru,
- Sanâru from Sanâtana,
- Sanâtana from Sanaga,
- Sanaga from Parameshthin,
- Parameshthin from Brahman,
- Brahman is Svayambhu, self-existent.
Adoration to Brahman.
And this chapter of the Satapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda discusses the following Guru Parampara:
- Now the line of succession (of teachers). The same as far as Sâmgîvîputra. Sâmgîvîputra (received it) from Mândûkâyani, Mândûkâyani from Mândavya, Mândavya from Kautsa, Kautsa from Mâhitthi, Mâhitthi from Vâmakakshâyana, Vâmakakshâyana from Vâtsya, Vâtsya from Sândilya, Sândilya from Kusri, Kusri from Yagñavakas Râgastambâyana, Yagñavakas Râgastambâyana from Tura Kâvasheya, Tura Kâvasheya from Pragâpati, Pragâpati from Brahman (n.). Brahman is the self-existent: reverence be to Brahman!
Until now I had assumed that "Parameshthin from Brahman" and "Prajapati from Brahman" were just two ways of saying the same thing, namely that the creator god Brahma was a disciple of Vishnu. But the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana quote above seems to be treating Prajapati and Parameshthin Prajapatya as two different people. So who are these two figures, and which one of them is Brahma?
My question here about Adi Shankaracharya's use of the terms "Viraj" and "Hiranyagarbha" may be relevant to all this. Also, on a side note it's interesting that Indra taught his father Kashyapa the Gayatra Saman. Usually it's the other way around.