According to Sankhya, Prakriti is always found near Purusha, always. Both are independent of each other, but always found to be together, coexistent; not only that, but Prakriti for its manifestation from avyakta(unmanifest), if it is to become vyakta(manifest), it cannot become vyakta by itself: this is a total dependence. Not only that Purusha and Prakriti sit side by side, but Prakriti’s movement, although it exists by itself, but its movement is entirely dependent upon Purusha: such is the account given by Sankhya. If you find surprising the answer of Sankhya is, this is what it is! If you think that is not satisfying, Sankhya’s answer is that this is what it is: ‘Reality’ is like that: Sankhya’s concern is to describe Reality as it is, and if there are certain things which remain questionable, Sankhya’s answer is that this is the nature of reality. If you are dissatisfied with it, what can you do about it? The Reality is like this. That Prakriti, although independent, existing by itself, it finds itself always existent in juxtaposition to Purusha, always, it cannot be helped, it is like that. Secondly, even its movement is entirely dependent upon Purusha. Such is the nature of it, it cannot move except when Purusha ‘glances’ at it. There is something like a ‘glancing’ of Purusha; Purusha which is there, independent of Prakriti ‘glances’ at Prakriti. Now, this ‘glance’ is a very important element in Sankhyan philosophy. Let us develop it for a minute.
Prakriti to begin with is in a state of equilibrium; a state of equilibrium is one in which it is ‘unmanifest’: avyakta. If you ask the question: when it is filled with three forces of energy, of action, and inertia, and harmony, how does it reach a condition of avyakta, if there are three forces together? The answer is that Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas are constantly in different proportions: as long as the proportions are different, it remains ‘manifest’. This movement of Prakriti is unintelligent, unconscious, it has no control over the proportions in which they are constantly combining, it goes on unconsciously. Therefore, a moment can easily come or a difficulty can come when all the proportions are equal, that possibility always exists and the moment the proportions of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas become equal, it becomes ‘unmanifest’. The pulls are so equal that manifestation ceases. This can happen any time. Therefore, logically, you start with that moment and when it is in a state of complete proportions, it becomes avyakta, then, how can this kind of equilibrium be ever broken? Once this kind of equilibrium is reached, all the proportions are equal…if they are unequal they will go on moving out, but once they have become equal, and there is a complete equilibrium, avyakta, by what force can it become broken? Unequal distribution of proportions will always work itself out to make it more and more unequal or whatever, but once they become equal, and they reach a state of ‘unmanifest’, then they can continue to be like that, unless something else happens by which this can be broken. Sankhya’s answer is: when Purusha ‘glances’ at it, it is a kind of a movement that starts from somewhere else. When Purusha glances at it, then this disequilibrium arises, some new force has entered into it and Prakriti begins to manifest.
Therefore, Prakriti is dependent upon Purusha for its movement, not for its existence, but for its movement it is dependent upon Purusha. Again you have to remember that this is a statement inconsistent with a basic proposition that Prakriti is active by nature and Purusha is inactive by nature. If Purusha is inactive, how does He ‘glance’? Glancing is an act! And if in His very nature He is inactive, how does Purusha happens to glance at it? There is no answer to this question in Sankhya: it simply says there must be this glancing! Purusha is really, absolutely quiet. It has no principle of activity in it; then if you don’t grant that there is this capacity of glancing, then the whole Prakriti can never move, but Prakriti moves. How can we explain it? There are only two realities: inactive Purusha and active Prakriti. Prakriti at one time must be in equilibrium: therefore it must become quiet, in a state of unmanifest condition. But we find Prakriti moving, therefore there must have been a moment when it has been struck from outside; it cannot be struck from inside. There is only another reality namely Purusha; other than Prakriti there is only Purusha existing in the world. Therefore the starting point must come from somewhere else, not from Prakriti within itself, it must come from outside; it is of course inactive principle. But unless you grant this beginning, at least this starting point, you cannot explain the world, because world exists as we see it: it is moving. We are obliged to grant that there must be ‘one’ basic activity of Purusha although inactive, you may call itself contradictory so far, so good, all right, but such is the nature of reality, it is surprising but this is so!
We come to Purusha. It is inactive, devoid of three Gunas; it has no Gunas at all, always side by side with Prakriti. Purusha is never found alone, it is the speciality of Sankhya philosophy: Purusha always finds itself to be near Prakriti. It is conscious therefore it knows Prakriti; Prakriti does not know Purusha, but Purusha knows Prakriti because it is conscious. Although inactive, because it is conscious it is capable of taking cognisance. The power of consciousness is: “taking cognisance”. Of course, you may again say that, ‘taking cognisance’ is an activity and Purusha being inactive cannot take cognisance, but if there is any cognisance at all, it is possible only for Purusha and we are aware of all kinds of cognisance’s, therefore the only answer possible for us is that if there is cognisance, it can be only Purusha who can take cognisance: there is no other principle by which cognisance can be explained. Once again there is a mystery, a self contradiction is present but the answer is that ‘such is the nature of reality’: it is surprising, self contradictory to our mind, but it is so;