This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Prakriti, mother of forms

From the metaphysical point of view, Purusha is determinant, the active principle, while Prakriti is the determined, the passive principle. And we also said that from the point of view of Vedanta, which is pure metaphysic, that their opposition is only apparent, due to Pure Being polarizing itself with respect to manifestation, of which it is the principle. This should not be forgotten when, in order to examine Prakriti, we adopt the point of view of Sankhya, which is not ‘dualist,’ but which adopts the point of view at which this duality has its relative reality. We find then that Prakriti is the first of the twenty-four tattvas enumerated by Sankhya. Prakriti is the ‘substantial principle’ of manifestation, capable of every kind of determination (although unable to determine itself apart from the influence of Purusha). All things are therefore produced by Prakriti, as modifications of it, taking into account the fact that, in Sankhya, ‘production’ takes place from the standpoint of substance. The erroneous view of Prakriti as self-sufficient is also perhaps due to the place of Purusha in this darshana, which is given last, as a ‘twenty-fifth tattva,’ but the fact that it is in a way ‘superadded’ to the first twenty-four is significant. Mula-Prakriti is the Arabic al-Fitrah, or ‘primordial Nature.’ In the Puranas it is further identified with Maya, or ‘mother of forms,’ which is appropriate since the womb does weave together of itself a ‘production’ made possible by the fact of an implantation from without. Prakriti is also said to be Pradhana, ‘that which is laid down before all other things,’ which contains all determinations potentially. Here mula means ‘root’: ‘Root, it is without root, since it would not be a root if it had a root itself.’[1]

Prakriti, root of all, is not a production. Seven principles, the great [Mahat, the intellectual principle, or Buddhi] and the others [ahankara, or the individual consciousness, which generates the notion of the ‘ego’, and the five tanmatras or essential determinations of things] are at the same time productions [of Prakriti] and productive [in relation to those which follow]. Sixteen [the eleven indriyas or factulties of sensation and action, including manas or the metnal faculty among them, and the five bhutas or substantial and sensible elements] are productions [but unproductive]. Purusha is neither produced nor productive [in itself].[2]

That is to say, to Purusha belongs the ‘actionless activity’ that is the highest form of action, and which determines all of Prakriti’s productions. We again note an almost precise correspondence within the Christian tradition, found in Scotus Erigena’s De Divisione Naturae:

It seems to me that the division of Nature must be established according to four different kinds, the first of which is that which creates but is not created; the second, that which is created and itself creates; the third, that which is created and does not create; and lastly the fourth, that which is neither created nor creating.[3]

But the first and fourth kind [assimilable to Prakriti and Purusha, respectively] coincide in the Divine Nature, for it can be called creative and uncreate, as it is in itself, but also neither creating nor created, since, being infinite, it cannot produce anything outside itself and likewise there is no possibility of it not being in itself and by itself.[4]

We note the correspondence, but also must point out that here the idea of ‘creation,’ which as we said above is a conception specific to religious traditions, is substituted for ‘production’; also, where Erigena speaks of Divine Nature, we must understand this as Universal Being, since it is only there that Prakriti and Purusha are united.

[1] Sankhya-Sutras, 1.67.

[2] Sankhya-Karika, shloka 3.

[3] Book I.

[4] Book. III.

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