Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Prakṛti

  • Caleb Simmons
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_105-1

Synonyms

Definition

The active and invigorating feminine aspect that with puruṣa forms the cosmogonic basis within Sāṃkhya philosophy

The Feminine Principle

Prakṛti is the active and invigorating feminine aspect that along with puruṣa (the male aspect) forms the cosmogonic basis within Sāṃkhya philosophy. Within this dualist philosophical system, prakṛti is the basis for all materiality. Prakṛti can be translated in many different ways, usually as “nature” or “matter”; however, both of these are ultimately lacking as a direct translation. It is perhaps best understood through a comparison to the Neo-Confucian concept of qi, which enlivens the principle essences (li) providing manifestation and invigorating both. Prakṛti is simultaneously a cosmic source of energetic activity and the source of all material existence [1].

In order to understand prakṛti, a brief overview of Sāṃkhyan philosophy is helpful See [5].

Sāṃkhya is nontheistic and provides an explanation of cosmogony...

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References

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    Bhattacharyya NN (1996) History of the Śākta religion. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Limited, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Coburn TB (1991) Encountering the Goddess: a translation of the Devi-Mahatmya and a study of its interpretation. SUNY Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
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    Erndl KM (1993) Victory to the mother: the Hindu goddess of Northwest India in myth, ritual, and symbol. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
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    Foulston L, Abbott S (2009) Hindu goddesses: beliefs and practices. Sussex Academic Press, SussexGoogle Scholar
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    Larson GJ, Bhattacharya R (2010) Encyclopedia of Indian philosophies: volume IV: Sāṃkhya. Motilal Benarsidass, DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Pintchman T (1994) Rise of the goddess in the Hindu tradition. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Religious StudiesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA