Gist: Understanding the Purusha or chetana aspect of Brahman and reason for overlap between Brahman and Purusha as also the reason for personification of Purusha as only the male god.
An answer to What is Purusha Tattva? states that Purusha means the sentient (chetana) manifestation of Brahman. The same is also supported in a conversation where Brahman in the form of Shri Hari explains:
प्रकृतिः पुरुषश्चोभे मम रूपे दुरत्यये। ज्ञा॰ ५।९ पू॰।
Prakriti and Purusha are both my forms that are uncrossable. Entering both, I activate them with my will. Prakriti is of 3 gunas without beginning or end. Under the Purusha (residing with/ being authorised by), she gives birth to the moveable and immovable (sthāvara jangama)...[description of a tattvas]... At the beginning of creation, this entire world emerges from Prakriti and during Pralaya everything merges back into her.
From this what I understand is Brahman has two aspects, Prakriti and Purusha. When the Purusha aspect (chetana) combines with the Prakriti (jada) aspect, the entire world is created. This means that even rocks and wood would have an ounce of Purusha tattva or sentience as supported by this informal site.
Usually, the Purusha aspect is personified as the male god (for which I ask Q4) and Prakriti as the female goddess. For example, the Devi Bhagavata says:
There is oneness always between me and the Puruṣa; there is difference whatsoever at any time between me and the Purusha (Male, the Supreme Self). Who is I, that is Puruṣa; who is Puruṣa, that is I. (DB 3.6)
However very often, Purusha is also thought of as Brahman and the male god. An answer to my question on Prakriti, gives two Upanishadic quotes wherein ‘Purusha (i.e. Brahman)’ is mentioned as the most Supreme, greater than Maya (or Prakriti). Furthermore, the deity, Purusha, of the Purusha Suktam is to be thought of as Brahman. The same also maybe inferred from the following quote of the Ramcharitmanas, where Ramaji, the male god is Brahman and Purusha:
आगें रामु लखनु बने पाछें। तापस बेष बिराजत काछें॥ उभय बीच सिय सोहति कैसें। ब्रह्म जीव बिच माया जैसें॥१॥
In front was Ramaji and behind was Lakshmana. In the guise of ascetics they had lustre. Between both, Sita looked charming like Maya in the middle of Brahman (Ramaji) and Jiva (Lakshmana). Ayodhyakanda Doha 123.1
Thus there are two contradictory views; one of considering Purusha as only sentient and the second considering Purusha as Brahman.
(I understand that God is above jada chetana both but there is a lot of confusion with often calling him only as Purusha. Hence I ask the below questions)
Questions: (Note some questions may sound stupid, please don’t downvote trying to understand something here)
- Is Purusha to be conceived as the Supreme Brahman or only the sentient tattva? If not conceived as Brahman, then what’s the difference between the two? Also which of the two would be synonymous to Paramatma (the biggest sentient atma or Brahman)? [similar to Q1]
- If there’s a difference between Purusha and Brahman (answer to 1 is negative), then why do the Upanishadic verses and Purusha Suktam, linked, mention Purusha as the ultimate and not Brahman? And when we read the word Purusha, then when do we infer it as Purusha and when as Brahman?
- If Purusha is thought of as Brahman (answer to 1 is affirmative) in line with the linked Upanishadic verses, then does Brahman (or Purusha) have only the sentient aspect or does he have jadata like Prakriti? (Refer Note). Also since he’s only sentient, does that mean, only life forms are Brahman (Purusha), and not non living things? (Brahman should be both sentient and insentient) [similar to Q2]
- Since Purusha is only sentient, why is an ‘only sentient thing’ (or how can he be/whats the logic for being) personified as the supreme male god in scriptures (god should be both jada and chetana)? (Is it logic to explain something?) [Similar to Q3].
(Basically why are Purusha and Prakriti personified as male and female in Puranas when actually both male and female are Brahman and above jada chetana).
Notes: I would prefer not to have an answer with something like Purusha is equal to Prakriti. Plese explain in baby language. Would like to gain as much insight into the confusion between Purusha and Brahman. Vedantic explanation is preferable. Extremely related but not duplicate.
Note for Q1: See as stated above, Purusha and Prakriti are both Brahman indeed but as Prakriti or Maya is described elaborately and separately, I’d like a similar description for the Purusha aspect clearly differentiating between Purusha and Brahman. Please elaborate on Purusha tattva I’m not satisfied with this description, while also mentioning the job of Purusha tattva, since it is Prakriti who makes everything i.e. the Mahat and everything dissolves into her?
Note for Q3: Technically if you say Brahman has jada too, you are talking about his Maya/ Prakriti aspect and when you say Brahman has chetana you’re talking about his Purusha aspect. However if you say Purusha = Brahman, then Purusha can’t be the only sentient thing it would be Brahman/ Purusha=sentient tatva+Prakriti (jada)