From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Purvapaksa literally means ‘the prima face view’.

In philosophical disputations, when a scholar states his position, other scholars may raise objections against it. These and even to spiritual knowledge, as the sole means of mokṣa or liberation, it has not forgotten to stress the significance of performing one’s allotted duties in life. While declaring that the devas worshiped the Puruṣa through yajña or sacrifice, the Sukta has also proclaimed that these dharmas became the primary or the cardinal ones contributing to the sustenance of the world. This statement needs a little amplification.

The devas had been allotted the task of secondary creation by the Puruṣa, who had also supplied them the raw-material, in the form of the Virāṭ. They used this raw material, performed the mānasayajña or mental sacrifice and completed the task of creation as allotted to them. They found out their respective duties and performed them with single-minded devotion. This itself became their worship of the Puruṣa.

This has a great lesson for the human beings. God has given us a ready-made world. It is well-regulated by the cosmic laws. Even the gods worked and are still working within the ambit of these laws for the betterment of the whole world. A yajña means offering the individual good into the cosmic or the universal good, by performing one’s duties to the best of one’s ability and always keeping in mind the cosmic good.

The day the devas performed the first mānasa-yajña or mental sacrifice, that very day were born the ‘prathama-dharmas’ or the first karmas, which became a model to the human beings after creation. The Bhagavadgitā[1] describes the jagaccakra or the universal cycle in which all the beings and things are linked with one another, because of which the world runs smoothly. If each person performs his svadharma or allotted duties, not only does the world runs smoothly but also that the svadharma-karma becomes a worship of the Lord leading to siddhi or spiritual fulfillment.


  1. Bhagavadgitā 3.9-16
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

Contributors to this article

Explore Other Articles