प्रकृति, prakṛti

Prakriti – primary matter, nature, in Sankhya teaching, along with Purusha, one of the highest beginningless realities; the epithet of the Mother Goddess; in Ayurveda is inborn type of body constitution. 

The term consists of three elements: the prefix प्र / pra (primordial), the root कृ / kṛ (power of movement, action, creation) and the ending indicating the feminine gender ति / ti. Meaning it is a force that, upon contact with the Purusha, awakens and begins to create, becomes manifested, this awakened state is बुद्धि / buddhi from the root बुध् / budh (to awaken). 

In the philosophy of Hinduism, the concept of Prakriti first appears in the Upanishads, where it is often denoted by the word "avyakta". 

“The objects of the senses are above than the sense organs; manas is above the objects; buddhi is above manas; Mahat is above buddhi, avyakta is above Mahat; Purusha (infinite Self) is higher than avyakta. There is nothing above Purusha; He is the supreme goal.” (Katha, III. 10. 11; VI. 7. 8). 

In Prashna Upanishada IV is an explanation of how all things merge into an unbreakable whole, consisting of five elements with the corresponding tanmatras, or subtle elements. See Prashna. IV. 8. In Upanishadas is said that Prakriti comes from God. The word "Purusha" refers to Atman. In the later Upanishads, Prakriti is closer to the concept of "Maya". 

In the system of 25 Sankhya’s tattvas, which considers only the tangible spectrum of the universe, Prakriti is one of the two highest beginningless realities, which are matter and spirit – Prakriti and Purusha, feminine and masculine principles. Prakriti is the manifesting aspect, in contrast to the resting unmanifested Purusha. 

In Sankhya Prakriti is the unborn origin of all things. Not conditioned by any other cause, it, as the original cause of all objects, is eternal and omnipresent, because everything that is limited and not eternal cannot be the primary cause of the world. Being the basis of such subtle products of nature as mind and intellect, Prakriti is the most subtle, mysterious and tremendous force, periodically creating and destroying the world. 

In the ancient Indian epos "Mahabharata" the concept of Prakriti is basically identical to the Sankhya’s, but it is not an independent creative force – creation is carried out as the realization of the divine will. Mahabharata also recognizes the doctrine of the gunas developed in the Sankhya. Accordingly, Prakriti consists of three qualities: sattva, rajas, and tamas, the combinations of which form all the diversity of the world. 

In Shaiva and Shakta teachings is present more developed philosophical understanding of Prakriti as a part of Parapinda, the cosmic body of Shiva, which is not less divine than the spirit. In Kashmir Shaivism, for example, everything that exists is abhasa, a reflection of the free will of Shiva. There is even Shrikantha – the ruling deity of the Prakriti tattva (one of the forms of the god Shiva). 

In Nathism, this idea was further developed. Guru Yogi Matsyendranath Maharaj gives the following clarification, comparing the views of the Nathas with the Samkhya: 

“Prakriti is not just an independent creative nature, but a part of Shiva Ishvara himself, or rather, he himself. And in a sense, Prakriti is not the lowest part of God, but the highest. Shaktas are more focused on her. According to Gorakshanath, Prakriti is what makes God (in full) "Purnam", she is the source of his personal Shakti (Nija), which manifests his transcendental will (svatantriya). Unlike Samkhya, according to Gorakshanath, Prakriti is present not only in the Absolute, but also in those aspects of Absolute that are called "jiva" (separate living beings). According to the Naths, the individual bodies of people the vyashti-pinda or prakriti-pinda, being prepared, can become a reflection of God and the processes taking place in all of his creation. Therefore, the "lower" Prakriti is, in fact, a relative definition, it depends on the level from which to look at."