Puruṣa

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Puruṣa (Skt., ‘man’, ‘person’). A spiritual concept variously understood in Hindu religion and philosophy. The famous Puruṣa-sūkta (Ṛg Veda 10. 90) celebrates puruṣa as a cosmic demiurge, the material and efficient cause of the universe, whose sacrifice and division gave rise to the Veda and all of creation. The early Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad-gītā use the term to mean an individual's spirit, psychic essence, or immortal Self. In Sāṃkhya philosophy, puruṣa is the first principle (tattva), pure contentless consciousness, passive, unchanging, and witness to the unconscious dynamism of Prakṛti, primordial materiality.