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Most people are only familiar with the Bhagavad Gita, the conversation Krishna had with Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. But this is not the only conversation that Krishna had concerning the proper way to live one's life; there's also the Anu Gita and the Uddhava Gita. The Uddhava Gita is a conversation found in the Srimad Bhagavatam between Krishna and his relative Uddhava, shortly before Krishna departed the earth.

In any case, in one chapter of the Uddhava Gita, Krishna teaches Uddhava the proper way to worship him in idol form, and in particular he says this:

The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, uśīra root, camphor, kuṅkuma and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuvāka known as Svarṇa-gharma, the Mahāpuruṣa-vidyā, the Puruṣa-sūkta and various songs of the Sāma Veda, such as the Rājana and the Rohiṇya.

The Purusha Sukta is a famous hymn to Vishnu from the Rig Veda, but my question is, what is the Mahapurusha Vidya? This book claims that it's just a name for the first verse of the Vishnu Purana. Here is the Vishnu Purana's first verse:

jitaṃ te puṇḍarīkākṣa namas te viśvabhāvana |

namas te 'stu hṛṣīkeśa mahāpuruṣa pūrvaja ||

Victory be to thee, Puńd́aríkáksha; adoration be to thee, Víswabhávana; glory be to thee, Hrishikeśa, Mahápurusha, and Púrvaja.

This verse does refer to the Mahapurusha name of Vishnu. But is the author right that this is the Mahapurusha Vidya? Or does it refer to something else? Are there any other scriptures that use the term "Mahapurusha Vidya"?

  • Swami Madhavananda's translation and comment on this verse of the Uddhava Gita (XXII. 31) says that it is referring to the opening verse of the Vishnu Purana. The Purusha Sukta is Rig Veda, 10th Mandala, 90th Sukta. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 8 '15 at 10:52
  • @SwamiVishwananda It seems strange that the first verse of the Vishnu Purana would be given in a list of Vedic hymns. In any case, Krishna's answer says that the first verse of the Vishnu Purana is actually taken from a Khila Sukta of the Rig Veda called the Jitante Stotram. I'm not sure whether that's correct though. – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 8 '15 at 14:54
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The first two verses you have mentioned from Vishnu purana is part of Jitante Stotra.

This is what is said about Jitante stotram in following web site

Jitante stotram is a Rigveda khilam meaning an infrequented portion. Just as Purushasuktam which propounds the tenets, exists in all Sruthis, so all so, this Jitante is proclaimed in the scripture and itihAsa purAnAs as a mahamantram and classified as confidential on par with tirumantram. This Jitante, being a portion of the Apourusheya vedas, it may be questioned as to how it exists in the other man-made works like ItihAsa and PurAnas. The answer is :- Khilam is a highly infrequented portion. The Sutrakaras have studied vedas with khilam portions. They have mentioned and included Jitante as a mantram in ItihAsa PurAnas as evidenced by the quotation " Jitanta iti mantreNa " .

For more details on Jitante stotram refer to the following site.

http://www.acharya.org/v/jitante/jitante01.html

My view is because it is referring to the Supreme Lord Vishnu, it might also be called Maha Purusha Vidya. But I am not sure about the origin or source of the name “Mahapurusha Vidya”

  • If you can find better proof that the Jitante Stotra is a Khila Sukta of the Rig Veda, I'm happy to accept your answer (since whatever the Mahapurusha Vidya is, it's presumably supposed to be a Vedic hymn). But at least from my initial Google searching, I've only found this verse in the Mahabharata, the Vishnu Purana, and in Pancharatra texts. In any case, you can read the Khila Suktas of the Rig Veda here: titus.uni-frankfurt.de/texte/etcs/ind/aind/ved/rv/rvkh/rvkh.htm – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 18 '14 at 18:28
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None of the (16) verses in the aforementioned hymn occur in either the Khila Bhaga or the Parishishta Bhaga of the Rigveda; this is taking into account the various recessions of the Parishishta in various parts of the country.

Infact they occur in the last portion of the (Brihat-)Rigvidhanam (which is neither Khila nor Parishishta). It also seems to be the source of what is repeated in the Rigveda-Brahma-Karma-Samucchaya verbatim.

In total - This hymn does not occur anywhere in the Rigveda. It is also not the opening verse of the Vishnu Purana. The opening verse of the Vishnupurana is similar to that of the Mahabharata -

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य ...

Infact, after the aforementioned mangalacharana, the first chapter of the Vishnu Purana begins so ...

पराशरं मुनिवरं कृतपौर्वाह्निकक्रियम् ...

and the second chapter -

अविकाराय शुद्धाय नित्याय परमात्मने ...

Coming to the question, a few traditional Pauranikas opine that this is to be found in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10th Skandha), in the version commented by Sridhara Svami. I have not yet perused this particular version, and so cannot confirm it nor deny it.

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