Hinduism and Tribal Religions

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


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



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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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Religious StudiesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA