Question: If Purusha withdraws its glance on Prakriti, then what happens to Prakriti?
Prakriti, as far as that Purusha is concerned does not bind Purusha, but for others it continues. For that Purusha, he is liberated. Now, Purusha does not get deluded, does not get identified, it has known what is this Prakriti, it has come out of it.
Question: According to Sankhya the Purushas are many, but are they identical or are they different?
They are all different, but in what the difference lies Sankhya does not tell us. They are different because even when I am liberated others may not be liberated therefore I must be different from the others.
Question: The stage of development of the Purusha could be different, but Purusha originally…
…are of the same kind. Each Purusha is inactive; each Purusha is luminous, conscious.
Question: Luminosity gets lost when it gets bound.
That’s right. Prakriti is just the opposite of Purusha. Purusha is many, Prakriti is one. Purusha is luminous, Prakriti is unconscious. Purusha is inactive, Prakriti is active. The easy way by which the two are contrasted is the blind man and the layman. Prakriti is compared to the blind man. And Purusha is compared to the layman. Layman cannot walk therefore he is inactive. The blind man can walk. The layman is not blind, but the one who walks is blind, Prakriti is blind; therefore layman can ask the blind to walk on this side or this side, so he has a commanding position. Although he cannot walk he can direct. This is the analogy which is very often given to explain the relationship between Purusha and Prakriti of Sankhya.
Now, according to the Bhagavad Gita, Purusha and Prakriti are not two different principles. According to Bhagavad Gita, Purusha is only one, and Prakriti is one with the Purusha, is not different from Prakriti, and Purusha is original, therefore Prakriti is also original, If Purusha and Prakriti are one. So although this statement may seem to be identical with the Sankhyan proposition, in the terms of the Gita this proposition also can stand, that both Purusha and Prakriti are anādī, are original because Purusha is one and original and Prakriti is one with Purusha, so Purusha and Prakriti both are one and both are original.
According to Bhagavad Gita, Prakriti is not unintelligent. According to Sankhya, Prakriti is unintelligent, unconscious, it’s jaḍa. According to Bhagavad Gita, Prakriti is intelligent, conscious; it is what is called in the Gita Para Prakriti, the divine nature, higher nature, because the lower nature is originated from the higher Prakriti. So, lower nature is not anādī, it is not original. So, when Sri Krishna says ‘it is anādī’, it does not refer to the Prakriti which is lower: lower Prakriti is derived Prakriti. So, that which is anādī, is one with Purusha.
Now, here one very important term is not used, but it should be utilised to explain this proposition. The Vedic conception, or Vedantic conception of the Divine is ‘saccidānanda’, sat–cit–ānanda. Now, if you examine the meaning of Sachchidananda you will find that sat is existent; cit is consciousness, but all consciousness is ‘Force’; there can be no action without consciousness behind it: this is the basic proposition of the Vedanta; all action is a result of consciousness. The greater the consciousness you have, the greater the potency of action.
We are all incapable of action to the highest level that is necessary of possible; it is because we are hardly conscious. The more conscious you become, the greater is the potency of action. All our incapacity of action can be traced to the fact that we are highly ignorant. If you become fully conscious, full of knowledge, then your action will spread out like thousand suns–rays. The rays can spread out only from the light. Where there is no light there can’t be rays; so action always proceeds from the sunlight, sunlight of knowledge.
Now, Sat and Chit: Sat is that which exists. It is this concept of Sat which is translated as the concept of Purusha: Sat is Purusha. And Chit which is consciousness and Force is Prakriti. The union of Sat and Chit is Ananda. The ultimate Reality is Sat, Chit, and Ananda. It is only one but its nature is complex and this complexity means that it is within itself, it is at once Purusha and Prakriti.
Therefore Sri Krishna says ‘Prakriti and Purusha are original’, Sachchidananda is original: Sat is Purusha, Chit is Prakriti. Chit–Shakti, Para Prakriti is the same word. We have the concept of ardhanariśvara, Ishwara is himself half male and half female, it is Sat and Chit at the same time. This identity of Sat and Chit that both are original, but both are one: this is the Gita’s view. Sat and Chit are identical and yet so identical that there can be a relationship between the two.
Question: Chit depends on Sat and Sat does not depend upon Chit?
…such is the relationship between the two. The Sat is a support, without it Prakriti cannot exist at all; but Sat cannot act without the Prakriti: such is the dependence of the two, interdependence. Without Sat Prakriti cannot exist, but without Prakriti Sat remains unmanifest. For manifestation Sat is necessary.
Therefore it is only by Purusha and Prakriti that the whole world moves. It is in this sense that Sri Krishna speaks of Purusha and Prakriti ‘both as original’, (not in the sense in which Sankhya philosophy regards it where both are different from each other and different from each other, both are original). Whereas here the two principles are original, but the two principles are one, although having inter relationship between the two.
That is why the concept of the Bhagavad Gita is of a substance of a Reality which is complex: it is one, but it is a complex reality. It is like one ray of light and you can see that ray of light which is white when you pass it through spectrum, you see that there are seven colours in it: so what is the original colour of that ray? It is very difficult to describe, seven colours combined together, it is one colour having seven colours. This is an example to show what is this oneness, – which is complex. Just as whiteness consists of seven colours, similarly this reality which is one is double…and actually triple because Sat and Chit combined together is Ananda and they are always together, Sat and Chit are always together therefore there is always Ananda: therefore the reality is Sachchidananda.
It is this concept which is behind the Bhagavad Gita, (the word is not in the Gita: Sachchidananda), but it is a very prevalent idea in the Vedantic philosophy that ultimately Reality is Satchitananda.
So this statement although it may seem to be confirming Sankhya’s view is actually Vedantic Sankhya: it is not purely Sankhya as we know it know, it’s a Vedantic Sankhya which says ‘The Prakriti and Purusha are both original’. Now, we can move forward.
Having said this now He says:
“All the modifications, all the qualities and properties are all produced by Prakriti.” (XIII, 19)