Self-realization as revealed in art, archetype & analysis… by Jenna Lilla PhD
In the Introduction to the Second Section of Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung addresses the nature of ‘creative divinity’ (para 183), elucidating its various archetypal forms. One such form is seen in a 19th Century paining of the ‘Cosmic Man,’ as shown above. Jung speaks of the ‘Cosmic Man’, drawing upon passages from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad:
“Without feet, without hands, he moves, he grasps; eyeless he sees, earless he hears; he knows all that is to be known, yet there is no knower of him. Men call him the Primordial Person, the Cosmic Man. Smaller than small, greater than great ….” (cited in CW5, para. 182, emphasis added).
The Cosmic Man is an archetypal figure, representing the cosmic form of all forms and of all deities. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad speaks of Purusha, the Cosmic Man:
“That Person, no bigger than a thumb, the inner Self, seated forever in the heart of man, is revealed by the heart, the thought, the mind. They, who know That, become immortal. Thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed is Purusha. He encompasses the earth on every side and rules over the ten-finger space.”
The RigVedic deities are emanations of the Cosmic Man. Jung speaks of Rudra as an archetypal forms of the “life force” (para 176). Rudra “rules all the worlds by his powers.” He is “the Protector.” Having created the living soul he offers “the Golden Seed” of “enlightenment” and “gathers all beings together at the end of time” (from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad). Jung says: “behind these attributes we can discern the All-Creator,” confirming the idea in the following passages:
“Beyond this is Brahma, the highest, hidden in the bodies of all, encompassing all. Those who know him as the Lord become immortal. I know this mighty Person (purusha), who is like to the sun, transcendent over darkness. Those who know him truly pass beyond death; by no other road can they go. He is in the face, the head, the neck of all, he dwells in the heart of all things, all-pervading, bountiful, omnipresent, kindly (Shvetashvatara Upanishad).”
The ‘creative divinity’ of the Cosmic Man is not only transcendent to life, but also immanent to the living soul: “he dwells in the heart of all things.” Through these passages, Carl Jung illustrates “the important point that God is contained in the individual creature” (para. 177). According to the sacred texts whoever knows this “is immortal.” There is a parallel passage in the Katha Upanishad showing that God dwells in the heart:
“That Person in the heart, no bigger than a thumb, burning like flame without smoke, maker of past and future, the same today and tomorrow, that is Self.”
These ancient Hindu texts point to the sacred nature of the divine, both transcendent and immanent. “No bigger than a thumb,” God dwells in the heart as the “Self.” In the image below, we see the Hindu Deity Prajapatti. The image is an attempt to portray the creative activities of ‘Prajapati.’ Pattni (2006) speaks of Prajapatti:
“Prajapatti’ is the infinite eternal supreme God for profound Wisdom of the soul. Prajapatti (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh), the trinity God offered the eternal profound wisdom of the soul.” (Pattni, p.267)
The deities offer the ‘eternal profound wisdom of the soul.’ And this wisdom leads to the knowing that the Cosmic Man is the cosmic form of not only the deities, but of the living soul. The difference between human creativity and divine creativity is that while divinity creates material things, the living soul create images and ideas of things. We, like the Gods, are creative beings capable of transforming ourselves, each other, and the world through our ideas and images.
Carl Jung, Cw 5, Symbols of Transformation (in US Pubic Domain, first published 1912)
Jyotikar Pattni, A Flight of Delight- 2006