Purusha

पुरुष - puruṣa

The positive principle of the universe. (1)

Purusha refers to transcendent God or father or supreme Spirit beyond all creation. (2) While the term may convey the abstract and immaterial laws that govern the universe, the word purusha also means the omnipresent and indestructible cosmic person. In the Vedic period, purusha referred to a cosmic man who was sacrificed by the gods to create all life. (3)

In contrast to the complementary feminine force of prakritipurusha is described as a masculine force. Purusha is also the observer of the perceptible universe. Both purusha and prakriti are caught in the eternal divine play of the universe known as lila; nevertheless, the aspects of masculine spirit and feminine nature are unified in the same essential reality. (4) Realization of both aspects is essential to the path of self-realization. (3)

Although purusha as the creator God stands beyond all creation, he is not beyond love for his creation. The feeling of love, however, is impersonal. For example, God does not love any individual more than another. But the pull of divine spirit on the sincere spiritual seek is stronger than on other people. (4) God loves infinitely and eternally such that delusion and outward manifestation can only temporarily distract any person from the spiritual path. (5)

While purusha refers to the transcendent God beyond universal creation, he may also be conceived of as the human soul. In contrast to the external causes and effects of prakritipurusha is the internal experience of joy, sorrow, and other stages of being. The soul provides a person with the consciousness of being human and enables the person to observe, enjoy, and grieve. As a witness in the human being, the purusha offers guidance to the ego through intuition, which may be received in meditation. It is an individualized parcel of supreme Spirit and therefore ever perfect. (4)

References

  1. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, by Swami Kriyananda. Step 12, “I. Philosophy: The Anatomy of Yoga, Part I.”
  2. Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Glossary.
  3. a b “What Is Purusha? (2017)” Yogapedia.com. https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5336/purusha.
  4. a b c Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 26, “The Field of Battle.”
  5. Demystifying Patanjali, by Swami Kriyananda. Book 1, Sutra 16, “When one ceases to thirst for outward manifestation, having realized the Purusha, one attains supreme non-attachment.”