The Word Prakriti means Cosmic Energy
The concept of Prakriti
The nearest English translation of the word Prakriti is Cosmic Energy, though the innocuous word 'Nature' is very often used by scholars and laymen alike. The difference between the connotation of Prakriti as used in Vedanta and the meaning of the word Energy as used in Science is actually at the root of the matter. In Science, Matter is fundamental and self-existent; its motive-power is Energy. In Vedanta, Energy is self-existent, and Matter is the product of this ever-present Energy. It is the qualities ( gunas) inherent in Cosmic Energy, not as something separate but as the constitutents which make up the Cosmic Energy, that gives matter its substance. The qualities are something like strands of the twisted rope of Prakriti. There are, as it were, two Prakritis, both emanating as the power of Brahman, the Absolute Reality. The Superior Prakriti (paraa-prakriti) contributes to the spark of the spiritual undercurrent vibrating in each living being.
The inferior Prakriti (aparaa-prakriti)is the Energy that gives rise to Matter. This is also called in the literature by its various names:
because it deceptively hides the spirit behind matter and projects falsity;
pradhaana, the most fundamental, because under the will of God, it produces the five elements and then the universe;
avyakta, the unmanifest, because it is not perceptible to the senses;
jada, the insentient;
avidya, cosmic ignorance;
kshara, the perishable, because it alternates between manifestation and non-manifestation; and
kshetra, the field, because it is the base of all action.
Paraa-prakriti also called paraa-sakti, the supreme power of Brahman, also known as cit-sakthi, the power of cognition, or pure consciousness or pure spirit, is the source of all energy. It is the abstract form of Brahman to be known and realised by intuition. A tiny fragment of it appears as the individual soul, on the one side and God, on the other side.
- The individual Soul is Matter in association with spirit
= God is spirit viewed in relation to Matter
- The Soul is spirit under a material envelope
= God is Brahman conditioned by our Intellect.
- The Soul is under the constant spell of Maya.
= God is in complete control of Maya or Avidyaa.