This concept is completely absent with the Sankhya as we know it. It is in the Bhagavad Gita that this concept of Para Prakriti is greatly enunciated, very clearly brought out. This concept of Para Prakriti is also to be found present in the Upanishad; it is also to be found in the Veda, but not so clearly laid out, as in the Bhagavad Gita. That is the great contribution of the Bhagavad Gita in the whole movement of Indian thought.
In the Veda, there is the concept of Aditi. Aditi is the supreme Mother of the world. In the Upanishad also there is a concept. In Kena Upanishad for example, there is a story (Kena Upn. 3rd part): gods had conquered in a battle; and all the gods became extremely gratified, and they became proud. Their victory was theirs. They had become victorious by their own power. Vayu, Agni, Indra, these three were the principal gods, and all the three were rejoicing in their prime. Then, the supreme Lord comes forth as a small straw and challenges them to disturb it. But none of them is able to disturb. Vayu tries his best by the blow, wind, to move it, and Vayu returns. Agni is very proud that anything in the world, which has come into existence; it cannot be without his knowledge. Agni is called jātaveda, in the Veda: one who is born with knowledge and anything that is born is known to it: that is why it is called jātaveda. But even Agni is not able to make out what is ‘this’! Indra also is not able to find out. But then Indra goes forward in search; he admits he cannot find out, and then he is in search. Then he meets “The Woman”, this is the word in the Kena Upanishad, he meets “The Woman”, that is umā haimavatī; and then it is Uma who reveals to him the supreme Lord, and then says it is by the Supreme Lord’s power that you conquered: it is not ‘your’ power. And that is why Indra became full of knowledge of the supreme Lord.
Uma therefore, represents the Para Prakriti who is even above these gods: gods are children of Uma. According to the Veda, Aditi is the Mother of all the gods, of all the things in the world. So, this concept of Aditi, this concept of Uma, it is the same as Para Prakriti in the Bhagavad Gita. In other words, in the Bhagavad Gita there is a synthesis of Sankhya and Vedanta: Vedanta is ‘monistic’, and this theory is monistic because Reality is only one. Even Prakriti is nothing but a power of the One. Yet it accepts the distinction between Purusha and Prakriti, a subordinate distinction: Reality is one, but one that is two. It is at once Purusha and Prakriti, therefore the truth of Sankhya is also accepted. It also reconciles Sankhya with Yoga. It is ‘that’, which I want to concentrate upon today.