No matter how old you are, have you ever felt that something within you is not changing, it feels like the same, just body is changing. If you answered yes or had this realization. You just came to know the two faces of one reality. One face which is un-manifested and never changes, that is our spirit, and other face which manifests as our body and mind, that is matter which is changing every moment in our life. In Yoga, they are called Purusha and Prakriti respectively.
As per Sankhya philosophy, each of us and everything in this universe is made up of an Union of two poles – Purusha and Prakriti. In Bhagavad Gita, together the two represented as Brahman.
In Yoga tradition, Purusha is the knower and represented as masculine and Prakriti is the field represented as feminine. From the union of these two all things are born. Both Prakriti and Purusha are essential to the world: nothing could exits without spiritual basis of Purusha, and nothing could develop in a manifest form without the mind and matter of Prakriti. These two eternal principles are represented as Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the divine Father, the eternal Spirit, the Absolute. Shakti is divine Mother, creative partner, and without her, Shiva could never have created the world. Thus it is in the union of Shiva and Shakti that all things are born.
Purusha is the subject, our true self, un-manifested, never changing, neither produced or produces, pure consciousness. He is also seer and witness of everything. Prakriti is everything else which is manifested as an object and seen, mind, matter or body, which is ever eternal, always changing dynamically.
In Bhagavad Gita Krishna says - Prakriti is the agent, cause, and effect of every action, but it is Purusha that seems to experience pleasure and pain. Purusha, resting in Prakriti, witnesses the play of the gunas born of prakriti. But attachment to the gunas leads a person to be born for good or evil. Within the body the supreme Purusha is called the witness, approver, supporter, enjoyer, the highest self [13.20-22].
For simple understanding, the following characteristics can be associated for Purusha and Prakriti
|Purusha ||Prakriti |
|Masculine ||Feminine |
|Spirit (Soul) ||Matter (Mind & Body)|
|Conscious being – Which feels ||Stimulating environment – which is felt|
|Observer - Seer ||Observation - Seen|
|Inner Reality ||Outer Reality|
|Unchanging, unaffected by Time & Space ||Restless and ever-changing, a product of history & geography|
|Perfect - Hence not of this world ||Never Perfect - Everything in this world|
|Right – Silent Side of the Body ||Left – Heart Beat Side of the Body|
|North – Pole star to represent the soul ||South – Represents matter|
|White Color ||Red Color|
|Rigid Parts - Nerves, Bones etc. ||Fluid Parts - Flesh, Blood etc.|
Last four characteristics are presented as per Tantric Prospective to readers for general understanding.