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Purusa (or Purusha) – From cosmic man to universal self

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Purusa is a Sanskrit term that in the Hindu Vedas means “divine body” or “cosmic man.” According to a Vedic creation story, this primal man was sacrificed to create all life, a theme echoed in Norse myth, and arguably within the Christian story.

By the time of the Upanisads, purusa came to mean “an abstract essence of Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and all pervasive.”¹ And its precise meaning continues to be debated among scholars and believers today.


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