Hiranyagarbha: the golden egg

Hiranyagarbha The Golden Embryo by Artist Vidya Devi and Dhirendra Jha, with permission from Exotic Indian Art

In the image above, we see Hiranyagarbha. Hiraṇyagarbha means the ‘golden womb’ or ‘golden egg’. It is also called the universal germ of creation. Carl Jung likens Hiraṇyagarbha to the “phenomenology of the child’s birth” saying:

“The ‘child’s’ birth always points back to an original psychological state of non-recognition, i.e., of darkness or twilight, of non-differentiation between subject and object, of unconscious identity of man and the universe.” (CW 9i, para 290)

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The Egg as an Image of God and Self

 Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516) The Garden of Earthly, Museo del Prado, US Public Domain Delights,
Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516) The Garden of Earthly Delights, Museo del Prado, US Public Domain Wikimedia

In the above image by Hieronymus Bosch, we see human beings crawling out of the water into an egg. This is a wonderful image. One could say it depicts the primal creation, but backwards. The egg is an archetypal motif of the first-born. In the Vedas, the primordial egg is called Hiraṇyagarbha or Prajāpati, meaning the ‘golden egg’. The golden egg is the seed of creation, the first-born, or first cause in the act of creating the cosmos. The Ṛgveda, speaks of Hiraṇyagarbha:

yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt
He is the God of gods, and none beside him.

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