Now the description that follows gives you the right relationship between Purusha and Prakriti without contradiction. That, in Sankhyan philosophy would be a contradiction. Then, since Purusha and Prakriti are one, but interrelated, now this proposition will stand much more rational:
kārya-karaṇa-kartṛtve hetuḥ prakṛtir ucyate |
“All the movements in which cause and effect are produced is called Prakriti.”
puruṣaḥ sukha-duḥkhānaṁ bhoktṛtve hetur ucyate ||20|| (XIII)
“Purusha is that which experiences the happiness and misery and therefore He is called the enjoyer.”
So, actually Purusha is the enjoyer: the sukha-duḥkha arises only at a later stage when the Para Prakriti becomes Apara Prakriti.
puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho, “Purusha stands in Prakriti”, Purusha is existent; Prakriti is Conscious-Force, so in this Conscious-Force, it is in that Conscious-Force that Purusha stands, He is stable even in movement, He does not become shaken even in movement, He remains the same in all movement.
puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho bhuṅkte, He enjoys; prakṛtijān guṇān, all the movements, all the properties and qualities which are born from Prakriti are enjoyed by Purusha.
Now, comes the question: how does then that Purusha get bound to Prakriti?
The answer that Arjuna gets from Sri Krishna is:
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu ||21|| (XIII)
What is the kāraṇa? What is the reason? guṇasaṅg yoga, “It is by attachment, by identification with the Gunas”. Now on this question, the Bhagavad Gita, not being a philosophical work, does not dilate. How does Purusha which is fully conscious, how does He fall into attachment with the Gunas? The only short answer is “saṅga”, it is by attachment, but how does He come to be attached? Why should it get attached? These are philosophical questions which Bhagavad Gita, not being a philosophical work does not enter into.
When I studied the Bhagavad Gita for the first time, I got dissatisfied with the Bhagavad Gita because of this sentence where it does not explain “guṇasaṅgaḥ”. How does Purusha get attached to Prakriti? By what? By what process? And I read Gita again and again to find out the answer to this question. I never got it because Bhagavad Gita is not a philosophical work. It is a work of Yoga. It is stated as an answer to a question and many things are assumed in the Bhagavad Gita. If it is a philosophical work then all these questions have to be expounded fully.
Question: Is the multiple Purusha – Purushottama?
That’s right. Purushottama is multiple.
So, here only one word is given: guṇasaṅgo ’sya kāraṇaṁ sad-asad-yoni-janmasu ||, “That is the reason why so many births are taken by Purusha because of the attachment to the Gunas.”
Now, comes the most important statement which brings out the speciality of Bhagavad Gita’s philosophy, as distinguished from Sankhya:
upadraṣṭānumantā ca bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ |
paramātmeti cāpy ukto dehe ’smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ ||22|| (XIII)
“This Purusha which gets entangled with Prakriti, beyond that there is puruṣaḥ paraḥ, beyond that there is a Para Purusha. And the nature of Para Purusha is upadraṣṭa, He oversees; anumantā, He gives a sanction; He is bhartā, He is the Lord; He is bhoktā, He is the enjoyer; He is maheśvaraḥ, He is the supreme Lord; paramātma, He is the highest soul; eti ukto dehe ’smin, He is also in the body.
Now, you have a concept of Purusha which gets attached to Prakriti, but here there is puruṣaḥ paraḥ, there is also Para Purusha; this idea is not in the Sankhya philosophy: paraḥ puruṣaḥ. There is no Para Purusha in the Sankhya. It is in the Gita that we have this Para Purusha.
ya evaṁ vetti puruṣaṁ prakṛtiṁ ca guṇaiḥ saha |
sarvathā vartamāno ’pi nasa bhūyo ’bhijāyate ||23|| (XIII)
“One who knows Purusha in this fashion…,” that is to say ‘Para Purusha and the Purusha that gets bound’, there are 2 states of Purusha: Purusha which is parameśvaraḥ, paramātmā, the same Purusha is also one which gets attached.
Now, this also is a mystery: how the one Purusha which is above, who is the bhartā, who is maheśvaraḥ, how is that same Purusha becomes attached to Prakriti? This is the question which is answered only in the 15th chapter when Sri Krishna says that Purusha is three fold: Purushottama, the same Purusha is Purushottama, is Akshara Purusha and is Kshara Purusha. It is Kshara Purusha which gets attached to Prakriti. The Akshara, the same Purusha has got three states as it were; Purushottama, the same Purusha is complex in nature, He is inactive and active; it is the active Purusha which gets entangled into Prakriti; that comes in the 15th chapter.
So, one who knows this Purusha and this Prakriti with all its modifications and qualities, that one becomes liberated: “One who knows Purusha and Prakriti in all the entirety, it is he, vartamāno ’pi, even though he exists, he does not take birth again.”
So, in short the whole thing is described here and now Sri Krishna says: how do you come to realise this knowledge: Para Purusha, Purusha, Prakriti, attachment, the entire gamut of all our experience, which is described in three lines.
Now, Sri Krishna says how one comes to know it.
dhyānenātmani paśyanti kecid ātmānam ātmanā |
anye sāṅkhyena yogena karma-yogena cāpare ||24|| (XIII)
“Different people come to learn of this in different ways; some see the self, ātmani…if you meditate upon the self, dhyānena, by meditation upon the self some people see it; kecid ātmānam ātmanā, some people realise the self through the self; anye sāṅkhyena, some of them learn through Sankhya; yogena karma-yogena cāpare, and others see it through Karmayoga, Yoga which is Karmayoga. These are the different ways by which the Supreme is seen.”