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In Hinduism, Purusha (Sanskrit puruṣa, पुरुष "man, Cosmic man", in Sutra literature also called puṃs "man") is the "self" which pervades the universe. The Vedic divinities are considered to be the human mind's interpretation of the many facets of Purusha. According to the Rigvedic Purusha sukta, Purusha was dismembered by the devas -- his mind is the Moon, his eyes are the Sun, and his breath is the wind.

In the Rigveda, Purusha is described as a primeval giant that is sacrificed by the gods (see Purushamedha) and from whose body the world and the varnas (castes) are built. He is described as having a thousand heads and a thousand feet. He emanated Virat, the female creative principle, from which he is reborn in turn before the world was made out of his parts.

In the sacrifice of Purusha, the Vedic chants were first created. The horses and cows were born, the Brahmins were made from Purusha's mouth, the Ksatriya from his arms, the Vaisyas from his thighs, and the Shudras from his feet. The Moon was born from his mind, the Sun from his eyes, the heavens from his skull. Indra and Agni emerged from his mouth.

The parallel to Norse Ymir is often[1] considered to reflect the myth's origin in Proto-Indo-European religion.


The Vedanta Sutras mention that : janmādy asya yatah, meaning that 'The Absolute Truth is that from which everything else emanates' Bhagavata Purana [S.1.1.1]. This Absolute Truth, which is personal in nature, is Purusha personified.

In Samkhya, a school of Hindu philosophy, Purusha is pure consciousness. It is thought to be our true identity, to be contrasted with Prakrti, or the material world, which contains all of our organs, senses, and intellectual faculties.

In Sanskrit grammar, Purush is indicated as person. e.g. "I" as in English is known as "Prathama Purusha", i.e. First Person. So Purush doesn't signify gender as male or female.

Varna System

Varna refers to the Hindu belief that human beings were created from different parts of the body of the divinity Purusha.

See also