Purity of essence is a concept first pioneered by the xel'naga, and is defined as the capability for great change within a species, or rather, to embody evolutionary potential. Standing in contrast to purity of form, the xel'naga applied this concept when choosing a species to uplift to merge with another with purity of form, in order to rejuvenate their race in their cycle of reproduction. In the case of the Milky Way, it was the zerg that were deemed to have this trait and over the course of their evolution on Zerus, were deemed to retain it.
The quest for 'purity' was retained in the zerg psyche, becoming a pseudo-religious concept to them. Through the quest for 'perfection' (at first by the Overmind and then the Queen of Blades), the zerg were set on a steady state of evolution and conflict. The core idea of this 'religion' was that there was a state that the zerg could reach where they no longer needed to evolve, that their evolutionary form would never have to change again because they could already adapt to any situation. Abathur, an evolution master, doubted that this was possible, but reasoned that chasing perfection was tactically sound regardless.
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- Overmind: "My children, the hour of our victory is at hand. For upon this world of Aiur shall we incorporate the strongest known species into our fold. Then shall we be the greatest of creation's children. We shall be... Perfect." StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Level/area: The Invasion of Aiur (in English). 1998.
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- 2011-11-08, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm interview—Blizzard breaks down Zerg lore. PC Gamer, accessed on 2011-11-19