AKĀL-PURAKH stands in Sikh religious literature for the Divine Being, i. e. God. Like Akāl, Mūrati, it is composed of two units, viz. akāl (non-temporal) and purakh (person). The latter figures in Mūl-Mantra, the preamble to Gurū Nānak's Japu, in conjunction with Kartā (Creator), the whole expression implying the Creator Divine Person. In the Sikh tradition, the expression Akāl-Purakh has gained common currency like the terms Vāhigurū and Satinām, equivalently used
Purakh' as a linguistic symbol derives from the Sanskrit puruṣa (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 Sāṅkhya and Yoga, Puruṣa, 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 make-up. The core of puruṣa, therefore, is consciousness, denoted by chit in the Sat-Chit-Anand conception of the Absolute. This connotation of the term invests 'Purakh' with spirituality, signifying the Divine Person. In conjunction with akāl, the expression as a whole means the Everlasting Divine Person (God), in the Sikh tradition and literature.
'Akāl Purakhu' as a single composite term appears only once in the Gurū Granth Sāhib (GG, 1038). We also come across the term in Gurū Rām Dās, Gauṛī-Pūrabī, Karhale (GG, 235), but in the inverse form as Purakhu-Akāli. However, the Dasam Granth compositions of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh often employ Akāl-Purakh as a substitute for God, the Eternal Being. Akāl being a cardinal and central concept in Sikhism, its use alongside of Purakh, accords it a distinct theological status.