Prakruti, Purusha and Purushottama

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Prakruti, Purusha and Purushottama

The Gita introduces two types of classifications. In the first classification, the two categories are prakruti and Purusha. In the second classification, three categories are mentioned, which are prakruti, purusha and Purushottama. The first classification was favored by Shankara and the second classification was favored by Ramanuja. Infact, both are not mutually contradicting each other.

There are only two items. The first item is the unimaginable creator and the second item is the imaginable creation. This is very clear classification. But, the problem is that the unimaginable God enters the creation. He enters a human being. The human being (the human being into which God entered, known as ‘Son of God’) is a part of creation only. This part of creation charged by God is called as Purusha. Infact, this Purusha is also the creation itself, being the part of the creation. Thus, in the real classification, only one category is leftover, which is creation since the creator is counted in the creation itself through human incarnation, being identified as the part of creation. The unimaginable God can now be indicated by the finger as a human being or Purusha.

Otherwise, the creator as unimaginable God cannot be even mentioned since He is indicated by silence. In the first classification, such super human being or human incarnation representing the unimaginable God stands for the word ‘Purusha’ denoting the creator. In this first classification, the word Prakruti indicates the creation in which the inert creation along with all the living beings including all the ordinary human beings exists. Therefore, in the first classification, the word purusha stands for God in human form only and never indicates an ordinary human being.

The reason for this logic is that the ordinary human being is already included in prakruti. The three faculties of the human being (mind, intelligence and feeling of I) are included in apara prakruti and the fourth faculty (chittam) constitutes the para prakruti. These four parts constitute the four faculties (antahkaranams), which are the human being. The body of the human being constitutes the five elements mentioned in apara prakruti, which are inert matter and inert energy.

The human being or awareness is only a special work form of inert energy in the functioning nervous system, which is inert matter. Thus, the human being and the human body are strongly inter-related and are inter-convertible forms only as work, energy and matter. Hence, there is no problem in including the human being in the inert creation. The entire creation is just the various modifications of the basic cosmic energy only. Therefore, you need not call the ordinary human being as Purusha and try to separate from the prakruti. When you are using the purusha as a separate word differing from prakruti, the purusha stands for the creator only since the unimaginable creator is clearly different from the imaginable creation. Even though, the word purusha stands for an ordinary human being also, here in this context, the word purusha should not indicate ordinary human being due to the above said reason.

However, the usage of purusha meaning ordinary human being is justified in this context also since the creator is visible through the ordinary human being only as the medium charged by Him. Hence, the conclusion is that in this context, the separate word purusha does not mean every ordinary human being but means only that specific human being charged by God. Based on this context, the purusha suktam in the Veda explains about the process of creation from purusha, who is any specified human being charged by God like Rama, Krishna etc. Hence, purusha suktam is establishing human incarnation as the creator of this universe, who is the absolute God. Hence, the human incarnation, Krishna, stated that He is the creator (Aham sarvasya jagatah …). In purusha suktam, it is said that purusha is this creation (purusha evedam sarvam …).

You need not doubt that the ordinary human being is this creation as a mini model since the human being consisting of four faculties of awareness and the human body consisting of five elements, represent the entire nine constituents of the universe. The human being along with the human body is a mini cosmos. This interpretation is also possible and in such case, the word purusha is limited to ordinary human being. In such case, the necessity of third category comes and therefore, the creator is mentioned as Purushottama. The word Purushottama contains the word purusha, which means that the absolute God is in a specific human being or purusha. However, the above statement in purusha suktam can also be interpreted in a different way, so that, there also the word purusha stands for creator only. In this different way, the creation controlled by purusha can be said as purusha in the above statement. The state controlled by the king Kalinga itself is called as Kalinga.

This interpretation is given by Ramanuja and surprisingly such interpretation supports the first classification favored by Shankara thereby indicating that Ramanuja and Shankara are supporting each other only. The interpretation of Ramanuja indicates the real world controlled by the real God. In the view of the soul, the world is real. Since Ramanuja is Adisesha, a soul only, he has given the interpretation in view of the soul. The world is unreal in the view of God and Shankara interprets this in His view since He is the human incarnation of Lord Shiva, the God. In this interpretation, this world is God because the unreal world does not exist and the real God only exists. The unreal snake is told as the real rope.