Purusha and Prakriti are the manifestation of the single self in the same Universe. In Indian Philosophy, majorly in Sankhya, Purusha is regarded as Masculine (Shiva), and Prakriti is regarded as Power (Shakti). This is a dualistic view, however, unites to the singularity. It is in such a way that Purusha and Prakriti are incomplete without each other. On, deductive reasoning we find that there can exist a certain counterpart for each item that is single.
However, this is not in the sense of coupling of male beings-female beings but a union between the consciousness and the counterpart power. In a later phase, there is the development of the concept between male-female beings also through the Tantra. We will explore this later.
Let’s understand in a simple way. To understand consciousness, you can click here to read our previous article. Otherwise, you can follow the article to get a view on Purusha and Prakriti.
Assume that you are hungry. At the same time, you see the food in the nearby restaurant. What do you do? Isn’t it obvious that you go to that restaurant and buy that food? From here you can say that money contains power.
Here Money is the Purusha and its power to buy is the Prakriti. Isn’t it simple, so what is the relation between Purusha and Prakriti? The concept of Trinity in Hinduism has this philosophy. In the sacred symbolism from the Puranas, Lord Shiva is the Time and his consort Parvati is the Nature. Can you imagine the value of time without Nature? We have earth, that revolves and rotates, this is the main reason why time exists. In the case of Brahma, the creator, the power is Saraswati or the Knowledge. Now, can you imagine getting new creativity without the knowledge?
Note: It is advised to take symbolic meanings, not in the sense of the stories for literal understanding of Purusha and Prakriti.
The relationship between Purusha and Prakriti.
The Prakriti is the feminine counterpart of the Purusha or the consciousness. In all of the cases, Purusha is metaphorically masculine only. This forms a divine union between Purusha and Prakriti in natural conditions.
Let’s see how.
In the whole era of human civilization, the Natural Resources has been exploited by the humans. But why?
It is all because we get power from natural resources. This has been studied in the modern academic framework also. We call this as Nature-Culture, where we explore the relationship between civilizations and natural resources. Again, can Natural Resources and Civilizations exist without each other? Obviously, no here also we have a union of Purusha and Prakriti. This is the unity of the forces.
No matter what, there always exists counterpart power for something. And, before moving further for better understanding kindly remember that almost all of the inferences made in Indian Philosophy are derived from the life lessons themselves. We will see examples from the life lessons below in regards to the Union between Purusha and Prakriti in the Sankhya Yoga.
Why Purusha is considered as male and Prakriti as female?
We might need to explore a bit of Tantra before understanding this. In some Hindu Tantra practices, a physical union is considered as a method to acquire knowledge about the union of Purusha and Prakriti. In maximum cases, the male force gives pleasure to the female force. But what about the work in this physical union? It is done mostly by masculine force, only right? Let’s call this work Karma from now onwards.
Also, let’s not go deep into the Tantra because, without the guidance of a proper guru, you cannot move ahead in a positive direction.
In our above examples the unifications of Shiva and Parvati, the forces are Nature and Time. Basically, time does all the Karma for Nature. It helps nature in maintaining life and death. In the case of money, Karma is done by money only. In the case of knowledge, Karma is done by creativity.
These are just examples of smaller processes in the union of Purusha and Prakriti. We need to look for a holistic union considering everything as a Whole.
Does it mean the Karma is to be done by male beings only?
This is a complete misconception; the inferences are made from the physical union of male-female, not the whole processes happening in male or female or higher Purusha and Prakriti. Physical union is just a matter of hormonal play, in the Kundalini Tantra, hormones are called Chakras. You must all be aware of it. In the male-female, masculinity and femininity play only in the physical union just like in the whole Universe it plays with the overall union.
Sometimes this is also represented by the Yin-Yan. The major idea here is no being is complete without a counterpart.
To avoid the confusion arising because of the beings, we have another branch in Indian philosophy called Sankhya. You can click here to have an introduction to Sankhya Philosophy. In this book, everything is broken into the tattvas or what we call elements.
Importance of Tattvas in the union of the whole Purusha and Prakriti.
In Vedas, there are four major mahavakyas or the supreme sentences/statements. They are Tatvam Asi, Pranjanam Brahma, Ayam Atman Brahma, Aham Brahmashmi. These four statements are just stating that there is no difference between what I do and what the universe does. Assume, the question below.
What is the difference between a process happening in one human being another being?
Let’s say another human being here is your friend.
You breathe, your friend too breathes. You eat your friend too eats. You walk your friend too walks. But there are many differences, too right? You guys might have different thinking capabilities. One may like football one may live cricket.
Why these all happens if there is a union?
The answer to this question is proportion of the tattvas and the laws of the nature.
To understand this let’s accept the modern scientific argument. In a male and female, there are both the presence of testosterone and estrogen (male and female hormones) however, in males the proportion of testosterone is higher than the female and in females, the presence of estrogen is higher than the male. But wait? Aren’t they in equal proportion when united?
As per the Shaivism symbolisms, the universe is formed because of the separation between Shiva and Shakti (time and energy). Isn’t it obvious that they would want to get united? Metaphorically, everything in nature is a product of separation but how this separation happens?
The answer is Karma.
Karma means, indirectly in an action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or whatever you give returns back to you. Think of it as elastic law. Stretch an elastic, it separates, leave it again! it returns and it unites again. A similar kind of thing happens in each of the tattvas. However, all happens through a distinct set of processes. These processes in a collective manner are called the Rta. In beings, this is Dharma.
Dharma balances Karma in an individual. It is personified in Indian Philosophy as Yamaraja, the supreme judge of the Karmas of an individual. Do good, you get good in return, do bad you get bad in return. If practiced perfectly, the balance between Purusha and Prakriti is achieved.
Concept of Purusha and Prakriti in Bhagavat Gita
In chapter 13 of the Gita, Lord Krishna answers the question of Arjuna on Purusha and Prakriti. Here the concept of Kshetra and Kshetrajna comes into the picture. Krishna says, that the physical form is the Kshetra and one who has the knowledge of this physical form is the Kshetrajna. In another verse, he says, in his field, he is the knower of the field. This implies, Krishna knew exactly how the mortal body functions.
Krishna also explains, in each of the objects formed there is a development of Prakriti(its primordial nature). This primordial nature is the identity often called Ahamkara.
Ahamkara doesn’t imply, it is just for living beings. It is for every object that has formed as a whole. Every object has its own identity but that object can play only in its own identity field through the primordial nature (intrinsic property). Let’s take an example of the magnet. The magnet only can attract on its own field. Why? It is because only the magnet has the knowledge (information) about its field. What about the Nucleus in an atom?
In case of human beings too, a being can attract only in his/her own field. Why? It is because of the knowledge. The person knows, that’s why he/she does.
The case of attraction is given because in Sankhya Philosophy. It is one of the major components of the Primordial Nature of anything. It is in saying that, the senses bond an object to its field. It doesn’t let anyone understands the higher level of consciousness because you can sense only in your own field. Sensing is powerful so it is regarded as the king of the gods (Indra).
You can take your time and read about consciousness and senses from Scientific Monk.
The implication of separation and union of Purusha and Prakriti for the Universe.
As per cosmological physics, the universe is expanding, will it contract in the future. To solve this question, civilization will probably not be in the future. However, we have a model of the universe called Big Bounce. In this model, the universe expands thus supporting the idea of acceleration of the Universe and Big Bang but contracts to zero mass in the future (Big Crunch) later on creating another universe. Doesn’t it remind you of something?
What about your heart? Doesn’t it expand and contracts continuously. Every beat gives you new energy. In the first section of the article, we had mentioned that almost all of the inferences made in Indian Philosophy are derived from the life lessons themselves.
More interestingly, in recent developments, modern scientists have discovered gravitational waves. Now, an object can contract and expand based on the ripples of the curvature of the spacetime. Is the earth too expanding and contracting in its own time and space ( Kshetra)? Think and explore. Are you similar to the Universe? Feeling and experience this is one form of enlightenment as per Hindu Philosophy.
A complete Explanation of Purusha and Prakriti cannot be made in one article or book or two books or even the books written by every individual in the Universe. However, leaving you behind a verse by the poet Kabir to accept it and move ahead in life by uniting your own Purusha and Prakriti.
पोथी पढ़ी-पढ़ी जग मुआ पंडित भया ना कोय /
ढाई आखर प्रेम का पढ़े सो पंडित होय ।Kabir
You will not be a perfect scholar by reading tons and tons of books unless you know about the meaning of the word with 2 and a half alphabet ( प्रेम ) i.e. love.