Hiranycigarbha, Sanskrit for “golden germ” or “golden womb,” mythological founder of the yoga tradition.
According to the Rigveda he is the supreme lord of all beings and the Mahabharata calls him the higher mind.
He is also identified with Brahma, who was born from a golden egg.
The name is also brought in connection with an actual sage who wrote an early text book of yoga.
The legend of the image of the Liber Novus is Hiranyagarbha.
As Shamdasani pointed out in his commentary: “In Jung’s copy of vol. 32 of The Sacred Books of the East (Vedic Hymns) the only section that is cut is the opening one, a hymn ‘To the Unknown God.’
This begins ‘In the beginning there arose the Golden Child (Hiranyagarbha); as soon as born, he alone was the lord of all that is.
He established the earth and this heaven:-Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?’ (p. 1).
In Jung’s copy of the Upanishads in the Sacred Books of the East, there is a piece of paper inserted near page 311 of the Maitrayana-Brahmana-Upanishad, a passage describing the Self, which begins, ‘And the same Self is also called … Hiranyagarbha’ (vol. 15, pt. 2).” Cf.
Jung’s lecture of 15 December 1939 (JMP, vol. 7). ~Psychology Yoga Meditation, Page 142, fn 355
Through introversion, as numerous historical witnesses testify, one is fertilized, inspired, regenerated, and reborn. In Indian philosophy this idea of creative spiritual activity has even acquired a cosmogonic significance. According to the Rig-Veda (X, 121), the unknown creator of all things is Prajapati, “Lord of Creation.” His cosmogonic activity is described as follows in the various Brahmanas:
“Prajapati desired: I will propagate myself, I will be many. He practiced tapas, and after he had practiced tapas he created these worlds.”
The term tapas is to be translated, according to Deussen, as “he heated himself with his own heat, in the sense that “he brooded his own brooding,” brooder and brooded being conceived not as separate, but as one and the same thing.
As Hiranyagarbha (the Golden Germ), Prajapati is the self-begotten egg, the cosmic egg from which he hatches himself.
He creeps into himself, becomes his own womb, makes himself pregnant with himself in order to hatch forth the world of multiplicity.
Thus Prajapati transforms himself by introversion into something new, into the multiplicity of the world. It is particularly interesting to note the gradual approximation of widely divergent ideas. Deussen says:
“Just as, in a hot country like India, the idea of tapas became the symbol of strenuous effort and suffering, so the idea of tapo atapyata gradually acquired the meaning of self-castigation, and became associated with the view…that creation is an act of self-abnegation on the part of the creator.
Self-incubation, self-castigation, and introversion are closely related ideas. Immersion in oneself (introversion) is a penetration into the unconscious and at the same time asceticism.
The result, for the philosophy of the Brahmanas, is the creation of the world, and for the mystic of regeneration and spiritual rebirth of the individual, who is born into a new world of the spirit. Indian philosophy also assumes that creativity as such springs from introversion. Rig-Veda X, 129 says:
“Then the One, that was hidden in the shell
Was born through the force of fiery torment.
From it there arose in the beginning love,
Which is the germ and the seed of knowledge.
The wise found the root of being in not-being
By investigating the impulses of the human heart.”
~Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, The Dual Mother, Paragraphs 588-590.
We asked earth.
We asked Heaven.
We asked the sea.
We asked the wind.
We asked the fire.
We looked for you with all the peoples.
We looked for you with all the kings.
We looked for you with all the wise.
We looked for you in our own heads and hearts.
And we found you in the egg. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Paragraphs 59-60.
Image legend: “hiranagarbha.” In the Rig Veda, hiranagarbha was the primal seed from which Brahma was born.
In Jung’s copy of vol. 32 of the Sacred Books of the East (Vedic Hymns) the only section that is cut is the opening one, a hymn “To the Unknown God.”
This begins “In the beginning there arose the Golden Child (Hiranyagarbha); as soon as born, he alone was the lord of all that is. He established the earth and this heaven:-Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?” (p. 1).
In Jung’s copy of the Upanishads in the Sacred Books of the East, there is a piece of paper inserted near page 311 of the Maitdiyana-Bdhmana-Upanishad, a passage describing the Self which begins, and the same Self is also called … Hiranyagarbha” (vol. 15, pt. 2). ~The Red Book; Footnote 130.