from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prakriti ( Sanskrit , f., प्रकृति, prakṛti , nature) is in the Indian Samkhya philosophy the primordial matter of which the universe is made. Prakriti is the cosmic substance , the original, uncaused cause of phenomenal existence, which is formless, limitless, immobile, eternal and all-pervading ( pra , before, first + kri , make). The Prakriti comes in two states: the "unfolded" (ie, non-manifested) state ( Avyakta ) and the "unfolded" (ie, manifested) state ( Vyakta ). It is composed of the following three Gunas (qualities): Tamas (indolence, darkness and chaos), Rajas (restlessness, movement and energy) and Sattva (balance, harmony and happiness).

According to the ideas of the (dualistic) Samkhya philosophy, the world is made up of two principles: Purusha (mind) and Prakriti (primordial matter). Purusha is pure consciousness ( chit ). What can be named and manifest itself, on the other hand, is Prakriti (primordial matter). The human organ of thought ( Manas ) also comes from Prakriti. The Prakriti is the basis of everything material and dynamic in the universe. Although forever separated, Purusha and Prakriti influence one another. The Prakriti was perceived as feminine and could be understood as the creative principle. Purusha, on the other hand, is the knowing principle and masculine.

The Samkyha philosopher Pancashikha developed the idea that the primordial matter, which is eternal and omnipresent, is infinitely fine ( sukshma ) and therefore cannot be perceived. But it is still there and the visible world emerges from it and returns to it. However, it is unspiritual and therefore matter. In addition, she is active and creative.

Pancashika assumed that three different properties ( Gunas ) of the Prakriti combine in various forms. As soon as the primordial matter starts to move in the creation of the world, the original balance of properties is disturbed. The properties mix and combine (at that time the properties were still imagined as substantial). Sometimes this quality predominates, sometimes that. The infinite variety of the mixture enables the diversity of things. The primordial matter and its creations result in the number of 24 beings ( Tattvani ), to which the soul joins as the twenty-fifth. Knowledge ( Buddhi ) emerges from Prakriti and self-awareness ( Ahamkara ) emerges from knowledge . On the one hand, this is the origin of thinking ( Manas ) and the ten sense organs ( Indriyani ). It also gives rise to the five elements ( Mahabhutani ).

In Kashmiri Shaivism, Prakriti is one of the 24 impure Tattvas where Maya predominates.

Sri Aurobindo assumes in his ideas that the individual soul can either identify with the active Prakriti and is then caught in the mechanical modes of action typical for the Prakriti or not. Furthermore, he is of the opinion that the soul can submerge completely in Prakriti and eventually become completely unconscious and subconscious. It is then in the form of earth, metal or plant completely subject to darkness and indolence ( tamas ). The higher principles of Raja and Sattva are still present but hidden. In the animal, the principle of the rajas with its modes of action and passion, desire and instinct comes to fruition. In the end, sattva, the mode of being of light with its relative freedom, knowledge and joy is expressed in man. Sri Aurobindo also distinguishes a lower and a higher Prakriti. The higher Prakriti, also known as Prakriti-sakti, is the only and only effective power.

See also



  1. Prakriti and Purusha