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The Sanskrit term, Punaana is used to refer to the Purifier, the Almighty Lord or Brahman who through grant of knowledge purifies our mind and body for our achieving the highest goal, emancipation.


Punaana (Sanskrit: पुनान) or Punāna is an adjective derived from the root पू () meaning cleansing or purifying as in पूत (pūta) meaning cleaned, purified, pure, clear or bright, in पूतदक्ष (pūtadaksha) meaning pure-minded, in पूनीत (pūnīta) meaning cleaned or purified or पुनीहि (punīhi) meaning purify;[1] it means – destroying (sin), pouring forth or showing (brightness), being clear or bright or purified, washing off (sin),[2]


The word Punīhi (purify) appears at several places in the Rig Veda, for example, in mantra IX.67.23 -

यत्ते पवित्रमर्चिवदग्ने विततमन्तरा |
ब्रह्म तेन पुनीहि नः ||

when Rishi Vashishtho Vobhau prays for his own purification - नः पुनीहि through various purifying rays of ब्रह्म (Brahman) i.e. Paramatman or the supreme Reality. In the Vedas, which teach the aspirant how to rise in moral and spiritual stature in preparation of attainment of liberation through a combination of works and knowledge, the supreme Reality is referred to as – परम् (parama) which means beyond, सत्यम् (satyama) which means truth, ऋतम् (ritama) which means right or righteousness, and बृहत् (brihata) which means vast or great. Praying to the Ashwins, a Rishi (Rig Veda X.24.6) hopefully asks -

मधुमन्मे परायणं मधुमत्पुनरायनम् |
ता नो देवा देवतया युवं मधुमतस्कृतम् ||

"Both of you are divine, with your divinity purify us so that our efforts to gain emancipation and emancipation itself are both pleasant, and pleasant also is our return from the beyond."

Therefore, a Rishi also prays (Rig Veda X.105.9)

ऊधर्वा यत्ते त्रेतिनी भूद्ययज्ञस्य धूर्षु सद्मन् |
सजूर्नावं स्वयशसं सचायो ||

"May we attain in the form of a boat that which is the glorious power generated by His actions, that power which fills up and thrills the entire three worlds, the power that lifts upwards the created objects, that power which is at once the very basis of life and the impelling force." [3]


Rishi Vashishta (Rig Veda IX.67.21) asks the Great Purifier (पवमान) to destroy for all times (विजहि) all obstacles that are near and far, and all fears that are within us.[4] Rishi Medhatithi (Rig Veda I.15.11) tells us that the intelligent and learned persons must know the Sun shining on its own and the Moon shining brightly in the light of the Sun, both associated with light, and with Agni which purifies and partakes the oblations offered to it. Prasna Upanishad (I.7) explains that Agni which in its material form is identified with the gross self is the Taijasa when in meditation the mind settles inwards, projects impressions and remaining unconnected with the senses is not conscious of the gross body, it then becomes identified as Vaishvanara, the subtle self identified with the mind, the subtle instrument which shines as well as reflects. The mind is the seat of the Intelect, and it is Agni that purifies the mind; a pure mind protects itself, becomes truly invulnerable, and develops super-consciousness and vision which is Samadhi in which state one sees the inner brightness also shining without everywhere.[5]


The bright entity at the centre of the yajna of creation is the self-effulgent immortal single Reality who is the light of all lights; the sun signifies Agni and Agni signifies the Almighty Creator. Therefore, a Rishi (Rig Veda X.35.5) prays – स्वस्त्यग्निं समिधानमीमहे – "May we know Agni in the form of the brightly shining Sun for our own benefits". Rishi Kavi (Rig Veda IX.77.2) declares – स पूर्ण्यः पवते – that the Eternal Being, the Creator, purifies all beings. The Eternal Being purifies by eliminating Rajoguna from our systems, eliminating the same Rajoguna from which all matter was made. Prakṛti is a mixture of three gunas but the Atman, which is naturally and eternally liberated, is devoid of association with the gunas because of which fact bliss is not moksha and not the dharma of the Atman. Prana, the vital force and the body of the mind and having the power of manifesting itself and becoming active in its own spheres, is Agni, and also the principle of consciousness as the ultimate reality – प्राणो ह्येवैतानि सर्वाणि भवति (Chandogya Upanishad V.1.15) the purification of the mind is dependent upon the Pranas. It is only when the mind is purified after an initial control of the Pranas that the Atman reveals itself (Mundaka Upanishad III.1.9).[6] Thus, the Rishis of the Rig Veda (IX.24.1-2) tell us -

प्र सोमासो अधन्विषुः पवमानास इन्दवः |
श्रीणाना अप्सु मृञ्जत ||
अभि गावो अधन्विषुरापो न प्रवता यति |
पुनाना इन्द्रमाशत ||

that the pleasing (सोमासः) gunas of the Pramatman purify (पवमानासः) men who with the aid of (श्रीणानाः) the body, mind and speech attain purification (मृञ्जत), and that the senses and the sense-organs (गावः) once purified certainly come to the aid of the karma-yogis in realizing Brahman (इन्दम् आशत).[7]


  1. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 
  2. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary". Spokensanskrit.de. 
  3. ^ Rig Veda Bhasha Bhashya Mandala 9-10 Vol.5 Ed.1976. Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. pp. 213, 537, 996. 
  4. ^ Rig Veda Bhasha Bhashya Mandala 9-10 (Vol.5) Ed.1976. Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. p. 218. 
  5. ^ Ravinder Kumar Soni. The Illumination of Knowledge. GBD Books. pp. 140, 77. 
  6. ^ Ravinder Kumar Soni. The Illumination of Knowledge. GBD Books. pp. 121, 130. 
  7. ^ Rig Veda Bhasha Bhashya Mandala 9-10 (Vol.5) Ed.1976. Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. pp. 77–78.