Is Purusha (mentioned in Purusha suktam) same as Brahman (Parabrahman) ?

  • 3
    Excellent question! Concept of brahman as attributeless Absolute principle is closer to the nAsadIya sUkta of Rig veda, rather than the purusha sUkta. Purusha is closer to a deity endowed with attributes, while brahman has both attrubuteless as well as "endowed with attributes" aspects.
    – user16581
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


Is Purusha (mentioned in Purusha suktam) same as Brahman (Parabrahman)?

Yes, he is.

The Purusha is described as the origin of the universe, the elements, all the Devas, all the worlds, and everything in creation:

tasmAt virAd ajAyata

From the Purusha was born the universe.

He is also described as the being whom if a person knows, that person attains moksha:

vedAhametam purusham mahAntam Aditya varNam tamasaH parastAt | tam evam vidvAn amRta iha bhavati na anyaH panthA vidyate 'yanaaya ||

I know this great Purusha who is brilliant like the sun and beyond all darkness. He who knows him thus, attains immortality in this very birth. I know of no other way to salvation.

And according to the Brahma Sutras, which are a summary of the teachings of the Upanishads, Brahman is the origin of the world:

2. (Brahman is that) from which the origin, &c., of this (world proceed).

Brahman is also the object of meditation for moksha:

7. Because release is taught of him who takes his stand on it.

So based on the Purusha in the suktam having the same characteristics as Brahman, it is concluded that the Purusha is none other than Brahman.


Purusha Sukta appears in 10th Mandala.

Many scholars inferred that both 1st and 10th Mandalas of Rig Veda, compared to 2nd to 7th Mandalas - the oldest part of the Rigveda, are younger.

So the content in those 1st and 10th Mandalas is large (2006 and 1754 mantras respectively), compared to 2 to 7 Mandalas. Further, the expression of ideas also changes, in my view, from 2 to 7 Mandalas to 1st and 10th Mandalas.

Let us examine Rig Veda 2.1.2 and subsequent mantras in the same Hymn, dedicated to Agni and wherein the expression of Brahman was used.

तवाग्ने होत्रं तव पोत्रं रत्वियं तव नेष्ट्रं तवमग्निद रतायतः | तव परशास्त्रं तवमध्वरीयसि बरह्मा चासि गर्हपतिश्च नो दमे ||

Thine is the Herald's task and Cleanser's duly timed; Leader art thou, and Kindler for the pious man. Thou art Director, thou the ministering Priest: thou art the Brahman, Lord and Master in our home.

(Even H.H. Wilson translated the word बरह्मा as BRAHMAN.)

Here, Agni was eulogised as BRAHMAN. In the subsequent mantras, Agni was declared to be Indra/Vishnu/Brahmaṇaspati/Varuna/Mitra/Rudra, etc. However, Yama and Garuda/Garutman were not mentioned.

In Rig Veda 2.1.4, Varuna was eulogised as Law protector - *Agni, thou art King Varuṇa whose laws stand fast; which was in later period attributed to Yama - dharma devata, protector of Dharma.

In Rig Veda I.164/46, dedicated to Viśvedevas, mention was made about Yama and Garuda/Garutman.

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān. To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.

Yama is mentioned roughly fifty times in the Rig Veda, almost exclusively in the first and (far more frequently) in the tenth book. Four hymns (10.10, 10.14, 10.135, and 10.154) are directly addressed to or about Yama.

So there was a definite shift in ideas from Madala 2, which was the Oldest, to Mandala 1 or 10, which was the younger one.

Coming to the question of Is Purusha (mentioned in Purusha suktam) same as Brahman (Parabrahman) ?, in my opinion, the ideas are different.

In Purusha Sukta, it was narrated as everything, including Indra, Agni, Vayu, etc, emanated from Purusha. Further, the division of humans into 4 Varnas was mentioned here. It closely resembles eulogisation of Vishnu/Shiva/Shakti, etc, in Puranas as SUPREME GOD, through which everything emanated.

So we can observe that a shift in ideas here compared to RV 2.1.2, wherein Agni was declared as BRAHMAN itself.

  • RV 2.1.2 uses the word brahmA. Please check here - sacred-texts.com/hin/rvsan/rv02001.htm तवाग्ने होत्रं तव पोत्रं रत्वियं तव नेष्ट्रं तवमग्निद रतायतः | तव परशास्त्रं तवमध्वरीयसि बरह्मा चासि गर्हपतिश्च नो दमे ||
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 7:22
  • 1
    Up-voted. By the way, good catch using the internal evidence of the Rig Veda.
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 7:46
  • 2
    There was no "shift in ideas", these are all Western Indologist beliefs because they believe the Vedas were authored over a period of time.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 16:12
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    @srimannarayanakv Alright, well the orthodox viewpoint is that the words of the Vedas are eternal, and they are revealed to Rishis at different times. And even though one Mandala comes contextually before another Mandala, it doesn't mean that it's older, and that's because the entire Veda is eternal. So, this means there was no "change in viewpoint", since the Vedas weren't authored and they were just revealed by Brahman, and Brahman who has infinite knowledge can't change his viewpoint.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:36
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    @srimannarayanakv Change in whose ideas? Rishis? Well it can't be because they didn't author the Vedas. Change in Brahman's ideas? Well that can't be either since he is omniscient.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:44

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