Purusha and Prakriti

In our practice of Yoga we start to have an awareness that we are not separate from anything. According to Yoga, the illusion of separateness is where all of our suffering comes from. In Samkhya and many other Eastern philosophies, there are two basic elements that make up the world. At the most basic level, there is Purusha, which may be known as the Spirit, the Self, the Witness, the Source, or whatever you know it to be. The other most basic element is Prakriti, which is nature, or the physical part of our world. When these two elements join it is called jiva, a living being.

“Panjab Hills, Bilaspur. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, ca. 1740.”  Public Domain

With jiva, other things come about. There is buddhi, known to be the intellect, and there is ahamkara, which is the ego. Ahamkara is the cause of our feeling of separateness; it is the “I,” and when we think on this level, we find ourselves alone. We think that we are different than others because we have these sentences that come about in our minds. Here are some sentences I had from my day at work yesterday: “Only I care about what happens here.” “Why can’t I be respected here at work?” Soon after, I made an effort to bring something from my buddhi: “We all want the same thing; we may not all know what it is, but deep at our core we want to remember that we are the same and that we are not separate.”

Prakriti is the container for Purusha. Purusha is your True Self. Becoming acquainted with your True Self is blissful. The Source, or your True Self, never changes; it is always the same, and it is always there inside of you, and inside every creature you know.

“They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego cage of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine’” Quote taken from Bhagavad Gita.

Proofread by Leona B. Hunt, BA, proofreader