All About Suktam
Sukta is the invocation of God Himself as the great glory of His creation, His lordliness, sovereignty and supreme suzerainty. The Creator in all His glory manifests Himself in the variety in creation. Narayana, Shiva represent God, and Lakshmi, Durga represent the magnificence, abundance, plentifulness and grandeur of Narayana/Siva. The Sukta of the Veda is recited with benefit together with formal worship of the God and Goddess, for peace, plenty, and all-round prosperity. The emotions of man, when they are religiously roused,have a tendency to consider the world as an evil and God as a goal of life.
What is Suktam?
A Suktam is a hymn in praise of the deity intended. It praises the deity by mentioning its various attributes and paraphernalia. Rigveda is a Vedain form of Sukti’s, which mean ‘beautiful statements’. A collection of very beautifully composed incantations itself is a Sukta.
The Sukta is a hymn and is composed of a set of Riks. ‘Rik’ means – an incantation that contains praises and Veda means knowledge. The knowledge of the Suktas itself is the literal meaning of Rigveda.
The Rigveda Richas comprises mainly of the praises of God. Other than this it also has incantations containing thoughts which are evolved by the sages through their minute observation, contemplation and analysis. Every element of nature was an issue to
contemplate upon for the sages. In this process they have spoken about the mysteries of the universe, which are for practical usage.
Meaning of Suktam:
सूक्त sUkta n. Vedic hymn
सूक्त sUkta n. song of praise
सूक्त~ sUkta adj. well or properly said or recited
सूक्त sUkta adj. well said
सूक्त~ sUkta n. wise saying
Vedas and Suktams:
Hindu religious sources are classified as “Sruti” or “smRti”. Sruti that which is heard is of the nature of divine revelation. We believe that the Vedas, hymns composed by seers and sages beginning as best were sung under divine inspiration. This is why they are Sruti. These sages “heard” them as the voice of the Divine.
A Suktam is a part or portion of Vedic verses in praise of a deity or group of deities to please accordingly, and to get a Kamya Phala. (This definition belongs to the answerer and it is not final) Pavamana Suktam (Punyahavachanam), Ayushya Suktam, Vivaha Suktam etc, are in praise of group of deities.
The Pancha Suktams of Sri Vaishnava sampradaya or tradition are Purusha Suktam, Narayana Suktam, Sri Suktam, Bhu Suktam, and the Nila Suktam.
In South India, the Purusha Suktam, Vishnu Suktam, Sri Suktam, and Narayana Suktam are generally chanted together in paarayanam.
The Sri Rudram, Purusha Suktam, Upanishads, the Gita, and the Vishnu Sahasra Naamam are also recommended for daily paarayanam – chanting.
Since the Purusha Suktam is seen in all Vedas, it is cited as the essence of all Srutis by Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata. Saunaka, Apastamba, and Bodhayana have also written concerning the use of the Purusha Suktam.
What is Pancha Sukta Tradition:
How to go about choosing to chant the Pancha Sukta’s based on which tradition you belong to. If one is a Smartha Brahmin, then he will be following the Smartha Pancha Suktas but that should not prevent him to learn the other Suktas One thing interesting is that all of sects chant Sri Suktam, and the Sri Suktam is chanted to be blessed with wealth and prosperity and so when it comes to being blessed with wealth and prosperity there is no difference in various traditions.
The Shiva Pancha Sukta Tradition:
In every tradition of Sanatana Dharma, that accepts and uses the Vedas, five (pancha) Vedic hymns (suktas) are selected and considered the most important. The five hymns are recited especially in temple usually during the ablution ceremony (abhishekha).
The Shaiva Pancha Suktas are:
3. Durga Sukta
4. Sri Sukta
5. Bhu Sukta
The Vaishnava Pancha Suktas are:
The Smarta Pancha Suktas are:
4. Sri Sukta
5. Durga Sukta
The Shakta Pancha Suktas are:
1. Devi Sukta
2. Durga Sukta
3. Sri Sukta
4. Bhu Sukta
5. Nila Sukta
Importance and the purpose of Satarudriya, Purusha, Sri, Narayana Suktams:
The Satarudriya, Purusha Sukta, Narayana Sukta and Sri Sukta are generally recited in a series in most of the temples of worship, especially during the performance of the holy ritual of abhisheka. These hymns, which are from the original Vedas, represent in quintessence an invocation of the Almighty manifest as Rudra-Siva, Narayana as the Virat-Purusha, and Lakshmi as the Goddess of Prosperity. The Satarudriya, which is also known as the Rudra Adhyaya, occurs in the Yajurveda and is a magnificent vision of the Creator of the universe, designated here as Siva or Rudra, in His aspects as an awe inspiring immanence in everything that can be found or even conceived of in creation. Here the ordinary notions of religion and even of God are lifted from the limitations of human thinking and made to cover the vast variety which God has revealed as all this manifestation. In this comprehensive attitude of devotion to God, the Satarudriya resembles the description found in the Purusha Sukta.
The Purusha Sukta is a hymn dedicated to the Cosmic Person we may call this Divine Person as Narayana, or Virat-Purusha, as we like and here is also to be found the cosmological suggestion that God pervades all things, not merely as a sort of enveloping or as entering into everything, but even forming the very stuff and substance of creation as a whole. All that was, is, and will be is hallowed and adored as the one Supreme Purusha. The great Indian tradition that all life is yajna, or sacrifice, has its origin in this sublime hymn of the Veda, where the act of 5 creation by God is regarded as the First Sacrifice performed by God Himself, as it were, by way of a Self-alienation of Himself into this objective universe.
Thus, every form of self-alienation which is involved in any sacrifice or service rendered by the human being is indwelt, even in its lowest form, by this highest spirit of the original Divine Sacrifice. A sacrifice is the way by which one becomes another; the subject sees himself in the object and looks upon the object as one would look upon one’s own self. This is the beginning of dharma tani dharmani prathamanyasan. These original principles of creation became the primary roots of all dharma, virtue, or righteousness in this world. The Purusha Sukta, also, for the first time, makes mention of the fourfold classification of human society into Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra, representing the spiritual, political, economic and working aspects of human society. What a wonderful inclusiveness of contemplation we find in this small hymn, which embodies in itself the mightiest seeds of philosophic, spiritual and social values.
The Narayana Sukta, again, is a hymn on the Supreme Being as the Father of creation,inconceivably transcendent and yet hiddenly present in the heart of everyone, being nearer than even the nearest of things. This is a tiny but incisive form of meditation by which the
human spirit endeavors to commune with the Supreme Spirit.
The Sri Sukta is an invocation to Mahalakshmi as the Divinity presiding over all prosperity in every form material and social, as well as spiritual. Intriguingly, the feminine gender is used in addressing Lakshmi as the Goddess of Fortune, in keeping with the tradition in human thought that the universe is the Glory of God, the Power of God, conceived almost as the Consort of God, for purpose of popular adoration and worship. This would explain the mystery behind the gender. In fact, God and His Powers are beyond the range of human evaluation or values, and thus above the ideas of male and female. These hymns are presented here in their original Sanskrit with the transliteration and English translation for the benefit of the public which, we hope will be of immense utility in people’s daily prayers.
Which tradition follows which Sukta:
All branches share the Sri Sukta.
Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Shaktas share the Bhu Sukta
Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Smartas share the Purusha Sukta
Shaivas~, Vaishnavas and Smartas use suktas for both Deva and Devi
Shaktas use only suktas for Devi, and omit suktas for Deva
Shaktas are unique in using the Devi Sukta
Vaishnavas do not use the Rudra Sukta (Rudram/Chamakam)
Shaivas do not use the Narayana Sukta
Smartas use both Rudra Sukta and Narayana Sukta
Purpose of Suktams:
Purusha Suktam – To keep devas under Control
Sri Suktam – To become Wealthy
Bhu Suktam – To obtain food
Narayana Suktam – To Meditate/Concentrate
Rudra Suktam – For Aspiciousness
Durga Suktam – To Destroy Enemies
Neela Suktam – To fulfill desire
Devi Suktam – To become eloquent
More Other Suktas:
Bhu Suktam is on the Goddess Earth, it occurs in Thaitriya Samhita
Neela Suktam is on the Goddess Neela, it occurs in Thaitriya Brahmana Devi Suktam also known as Ambhrani Sukta, is a hymn of the Rigvda (RV 10.125), it consists of 8 verses and is dedicated to Vak (Speech).