Purusa is the male aspect of the creation of the universe. This is the original pure consciousness of the universe, which contemplates the female aspect – Prakriti. Purusa, in interaction with Prakriti and under the influence of the Guna, begins to create a material universe. Purusa, in its original state, is not influenced by the Guna. This state is called “Nirguna.”
“Purusa” in Sanskrit means ‘spirit.’ In “Yoga Sutras,” Patanjali Purusa is presented as the original pure consciousness of a living being, the achievement of which is the goal of yoga. This initial state of consciousness is already present in everyone. Only under the Guna’s influence and the individual karma of each living being is the illusion of Ego created.
In the first chapter, Patanjali reveals yoga’s essence and describes what happens after all the Vritti of mind is eliminated. It is described in the third sutra of the first chapter. The translation of this sutra by Swami Vivekananda says: “At this time (during the concentration period), the observer (Purusa) is in his own (unchanged) state.” Krishnamacharya offers an interesting interpretation of this sutra: “Then the ability to fully and correctly understand the object becomes evident.
If we compare both versions of the translation, we can conclude that when a yogi reaches the initial state of consciousness, he can see reality as it is. That is, he learns his true self. The difference between this state and the ignorance of a living being is written in sutra 4 of this chapter.
In the translation version of A. Bailey, it sounds as follows: “Before that, an inner man identified with his forms and their active modifications. Thus Purusha identifies himself with the accumulated Samskaras and the Vritti of Mind generated by them.
Mind and Purusa
How the mind and Purusa interact is described in detail in the sutra 35 of Chapter Three. The Krishnamacharya translation version sounds as follows: “The mind that changes and the Perceptive that does not change is similar, but have a different and distinguishable character. When the mind is directed outward and reacts to objects automatically, either pleasure or pain occurs. However, when at a certain point, an individual begins to explore the very nature of the connection between the Perceptive and perception, the mind detaches itself from external objects, and then the understanding of the Perceptive increases.
Thus, the mind, conditioned by previously accumulated karma, reacts to objects with a sense of either attachment or dislike. And when the mind is attached to external objects, attachments or dislikes arise constantly. But if a person starts to track these projections, only then the nature of Purusa appears and the possibility to find a pure perception without projections of the mind.
The translation of this sutra says: “When thinking about the difference between pure consciousness and intellect, which are quite different, there will come an understanding of the state of infinity.
What gives Purusa
On the fruit of this state is described in sutra 3.35 and sutra 36 of the same chapter. The translation version of A. Bailey says: “As a result of this experience and meditation, higher hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell are developed, producing intuitive knowledge. In this sutra, we are talking about the so-called Siddhas – mystical superpowers that are often acquired by yogis as they practice. However, these are very dangerous manifestations and are a temptation on the way to Samadhi. It is said in the sutra 37 of the same chapter.
Thus, Purusa is the spirit, the original consciousness of the universe, which is also manifested in every living being. Purusa is an observer, contemplative, perceptive, and so on. The state of yoga – the connection with the higher – based on the mind’s unidirectionality, allows us to identify Chitta and Purusa.
About their different nature said in the translation version of Swami Satyananda Saraswati sutra 3.35: “Chitta and Purusa fundamentally different …”. But this is not enough theoretical understanding. To gain this knowledge in practice, one should, as it is said in sutra 3.35, investigate the nature of the relationship between Purusa and perception itself.
This makes it possible to learn Purusa’s nature and perceive the world without projections of mind due to accumulated karma. This state leads to Samadhi if the yogi is not seduced by appearing Siddhas.