By Swami Harshananda
Puruṣa literally means ‘one who sleeps in the city of nine gates or the body’.
In common use, the word ‘puruṣa’ means a man. A good man should have these five qualities:
- Giving gifts to deserving persons
- Appreciating the good in others
- Feeling happy in the company of relatives and friends
- Erudition in the scriptures
- Capacity to fight for a righteous cause
He should also have great self-control. In the Upaniṣads, the word has often been used to indicate the jīva and also the Paramātman. The Sāñkhya philosophy uses it as a technical term indicating the individual soul. In Sanskrit grammar, it is used to denote the first, the second and the third persons.
- Jīva means the Self.
- Paramātman means the Supreme Soul or God.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore