Akal Purakh

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Akal Purakh (Literally "timeless being that never dies) a Sikh name for God stands in Sikh religious literature for the Divine Being, i.e. God. Like Akal, Murati, it is composed of three units, (a=not/never; kal=dies/death/mortal/time; and purakh=person). The latter figures in the Mool Mantar or Mul Mantra, the preamble to Guru Nanak`s Japu, in conjunction with Karta (Creator), the whole expression implying the Creator Divine Person.

In the Sikh tradition, the expression Akal Purakh has gained common currency like the terms Vahiguru and Satinam, equivalently used. `Purakh` as a linguistic symbol derives from the Sanskrit purusa (man), invariably employed in the masculine gender. In the Vedic literature, the term also stands for the world, indicating the entirety of universal existence. In the Indian systems of Sarikhya and Yoga, Purusa, as one of the two cardinal metaphysical principles, stands for spirituality or simply consciousness, which exerts influence on Prakriti (Nature) that is physical in its makeup.

The core of purusa, therefore, is consciousness, denoted by chit in the SatChitAnand conception of the Absolute. This connotation of the term invests `Purakh` with spirituality, signifying the Divine Person. In conjunction with akal, the expression as a whole means the Everlasting Divine Person (God), in the Sikh tradition and literature. 'AkalPurakhu' as a single composite term appears only once in the Guru Granth Sahib (GG, 1038). We also come across the term in Guru Ram Das, GauriPurabi, Karhale (GG, 235), but in the inverse form as PurakhuAkali. However, the Dasam Granth compositions of Guru Gobind Singh often employ AkalPurakh as a substitute for God, the Eternal Being. Akal being a cardinal and central concept in Sikhism, its use alongside of Purakh, accords it a distinct theological status.


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2. Trilochan Singh, "Theological Concepts of Sikhism" in Sikhism. Patiala, 1969

3. Sher oSingh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944

4. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990

5. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Gurmati Nirnaya. Ludhiana, 1932

6. Tara Singh Narotam, Vahi`g-uru Sabdarth. Patiala, 1862

7. Sadhu Singh, Guru Sikhya Prabhakar. Lucknow, 1893 W.S.