Hiraṇyagarbha (Sanskrit: हिरण्यगर्भः ; literally the ‘golden womb’, poetically translated as ‘universal womb’) is the source of the creation of universe or the manifested cosmos in Vedic philosophy, as well as an avatar of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana

It finds mention in one hymn of the Rigveda (RV 10.121), known as the Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta, suggesting a single creator deity (verse 8: yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt, Griffith: “He is the God of gods, and none beside him

“), identified in the hymn as Prajāpati

The concept of the “golden womb” is first mentioned in the Vishvakarma Sūkta (RV 10 82 5,6) which picturized the “primeval womb” as being rested set upon the navel of Vishvakarman the Supreme cosmic creator, that One wherein abide all things existing

This imagery was later transferred to Vishnu and Surya

The Upanishad calls it the Soul of the Universe or Brahman, and elaborates that Hiraṇyagarbha floated around in emptiness and the darkness of the non-existence for about a year, and then broke into two halves which formed the Svarga and the Pṛthvi

In classical Purāṇic Hinduism, Hiraṇyagarbha is the term used in the Vedanta for the “creator”

Hiraṇyagarbha is also Brahmā, so called because it is said he was born from a golden egg (Manu Smṛti 1.9), while the Mahābhārata calls it the Manifest

Some classical yoga traditions consider a person named Hiraṇyagarbha as the originator of yoga, though this may also be a name for Rishi Kapila