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Bagavath Geetha and several other scriptures contain details about 'Prakriti'.

In simple words, Prakriti is the unmanifested seed state of a Jiva that is present in para brahman. I want to know all the components of Prakriti. It is known to me that it contains three Gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Based on the proportions, the Jiva gets experiences in her life after the manifestation in some creation.

Is Prakriti just a combination of three Gunas or are there any other components in Prakriti? Note that I am asking for components of Prakriti only and not asking about the implications or aftermath entities of Prakriti. Note that the word components I'm referring to here mayn't be physical. I am using the word for the entities that do present in Prakriti.

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Prakriti is used in a variety of ways in Sanskrit literature.

prakṛti

(‘the natural or original principle,’ ‘that which produces effects’)

This is one of the most widely used words in Sanskrit literature as also in the Hindu scriptures.

In the most basic sense, it means nature or a natural quality.

In Vedic sacrifices, it means a model yāga—like the Darśa or the Pūrṇamāsa—others based on it being called ‘vikṛtis’.

In grammar it represents the basic form of a word.

In the Sāṅkhya Darśana, it represents pradhāna, the basic material cause of the universe, comprising the three guṇas—sattva, rajas and tamas. This concept has generally been accepted by almost all the schools of Vedānta.

In Advaita Vedānta it stands for māyā at the cosmic level and avidyā (ignorance) at the individual level.

In Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta it is called ‘acit’ (the unconscious principle) and accepted as a permanent reality, but under the control of Īśvara or God.

The Dvaita Vedānta considers it as having two aspects: the citprakṛti (conscious entity same as Lakṣmī, the divine consort of Viṣṇu) and the acitprakṛti or the unconscious basic material cause of the world.

In the Śāktatantras prakṛti is the Divine Mother who appears in five forms. They are: Durgā, Rādhā, Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and Sāvitrī. These five goddesses are responsible for creation.

In the Āyurveda (health sciences) it stands for the general condition of the body.

The Bhagavadgītā (7.4, 5) describes prakṛti as representing two aspects of the Lord’s power, the aparā (lower) and the parā (the higher). The former comprises eight unconscious material objects and the latter, the conscious jīva (individual soul).

In political science (vide Yājñavalkya Smṛti 1.353; Kauṭilya’s Arthaśāstra 6.1) the word stands for the seven rājyāṅgas or constituents of the state.

In Sanskrit poetry, it is the name of a particular metre with 21 letters or syllables per line.

A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Swami Harshananda

Prakrit consists of 3 gunas from the point of view of Sankhya Darsana. Then again Gita says the following:

My Nature (prakrtih) is divided into eight categories: earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, understanding, and I-sense.

Gita 7.4

This, O mighty armed, is My lower nature. Know that, as different from it, is My higher nature forming the source of all Jivas and the support of the whole universe.

Gita 7.5

From the Guna point of view Prakrti has only three components. From Gita point of view lower Prakriti has 8 components while there is also higher Prakriti which is Maya Shakti of Brahman.

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  • Thanks for the detailed answer. I asked only about the Prakriti related to the Jiva mostly in advaitic sense.
    – hanugm
    May 20 at 16:35
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    From the advaitic sense there is no jiva since jiva is Brahman. Jiva is a dualistic concept. The 8 components of Jiva described in the Gita is made up of 3 Gunas. May 21 at 3:42
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There are no "components" of Prakriti, at-least not in the Vedanta.

If at all, it maybe called to be of manifest (when "disturbed") and unmanifest (when in equilibrium) forms. Beyond that, I don't think we have some "components".

For instance, this is how Vishnu Mahā-Purāṇa defines Prakriti -

Chapter 4, Book 6, Vishnu Purāṇa

उदकावरणं यत्तु ज्योतिषा पीयते तु तत् । ज्योतिर्वायौ ल्यं याति यात्याकाशे समीरणः ।। ६-४-३२ ।। आकाशञ्चैव भूतादिर्ग्रसते तं तदा महान् । महान्तमेबिः सहितं प्रकृतिर्ग्रसते द्रिज ।। ६-४-३३ ।। गुणसाम्यमनुद्रिक्तमन्यूनञ्च महामुने! प्रोच्यते प्रकृतिर्हेतुः प्रधानं काराण परम् ।। ६-४-३४ ।। इत्येषा प्रकृतिः सर्व्वा व्यक्ताव्यक्तस्वरूपिणी । व्यक्तस्वरूपमव्यक्ते तस्मिन् मैत्रेय!लीयते ।। ६-४-३५ ।। एकः शुद्धोऽक्षरो नित्यः सर्वव्यापी तथा पुमान् । सोऽप्यंशः सर्वभूतस्य मैत्रेय!परमात्मनः ।। ६-४-३६ ।।

The investure of water is drunk up by fire: the stratum of fire is absorbed by that of air: air blends itself with ether: the primary element of egotism devours the ether, and is itself taken up by intellect, which, along with all these, is seized upon by nature (Prakriti). Equilibrium of the three properties (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas), without excess or deficiency, is called nature (Prakriti), origin (Hetu), the chief principle (Pradhaṇa), cause (Kāraṇa), supreme (Param). This Prakriti is essentially the same, whether discrete (manifest) or indiscrete (unmanifest); only that which is discrete is finally lost or absorbed in the indiscrete. Spirit also, which is one, pure, imperishable, eternal, all-pervading, is a portion of that supreme spirit which is all things.


English Translation by M.N. Dutt

So, there are no "components" of Prakriti. It's the equilibrium of the the three-gunas, which is both in manifest form (vyakta) &, unmanifest form (avayakta), depending upon the creation and destruction cycles. At the time of final dissolution, the Manifest dissolves into Unmanifest, which ultimately along with Purusha, merges into the Supreme Brahman.

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    The components I'm referring to are entities. I do not mean physical...
    – hanugm
    May 20 at 4:27
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    And what you are referring to is 'Mula Prakriti I think. Prakriti for different jivas contains different proportions of gunas.
    – hanugm
    May 20 at 4:29
  • Then, you have cited and perhaps interpreted the Bhagavada Gita in wrong way. Please edit it. The references you seek using BG are for Mula-Prakariti (Manifest & Unmanifest). In the Manifest, it has what you're citing as jivas with gunas.
    – Vivikta
    May 20 at 7:49
  • Also, you say you're asking for components of Prakritis only Then the jivas are a result of Prakritis evolute, which in your question means - implications or aftermath entities of Prakriti. The question is confusing and cannot be answered because it contradicts what you're presenting as argument and what you're seeking as an answer. @hanugm
    – Vivikta
    May 20 at 7:55
  • I do mean the prakritis related to Jivas.
    – hanugm
    May 20 at 14:11

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