The word Prakriti means 'nature'. In Hinduism it is the mental plane with the corresponding five elements and the poles Budddhi (intellect) and Manas (mind).
Prakriti is a central part of Samkhya philosophy. It arises through the interplay of the primordial atma-Anu with the quasi - static forces of the Purusha, and of the lower buddhic Pranava and the Atman (kashmir. sadvidya-Tattwa). Therefore Brahma's goddess Gayatri is regarded as a bright creator - goddess.
In the Samkhya, Prakriti exposes the (mental) forces of the Mahar Lokas. They exist in two states: 1. non-deployed (avyakta) and 2. unfolded (vyakta).
Kashmiri Shivaism classifies them similarly below the Shudda Ashudda Tattwas.
Know that nature (Prakriti) is Maya, and that the great God is the God of Maya. The whole world is filled with beings who form his parts. (Svetasvataropanisad, chapter 4, verse 10)
Prakriti is as a subproduct of the Maya an active, unconscious "primordial matter" or "nature" .
It includes Buddhi, Manas, Mahat, Ahamkara (I) and Chitta (memory consciousness), as well as the 5 mental elements (Panchatattvas) of the Mahar Loka.
From the Prakriti the astral world, the Prana and the Mahabhutas are formed as five cohesive elements: Akasha, Vayu, Tejas, Apas and Prithivi,
== Gunas ==
The primordial matter Prakriti has three Properties(Gunas) as part of the saguna-brahman and Maya:
In Ayurveda, Prakriti designates the individual constitution of man, i. his constitutional type together with the three Doshas.
A Purusha is already mentioned in the Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta) - Hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda as a cosmic entity.
According to Rigveda (10/81, 10/90 - Purusha-Sukta ) and Yajurveda (17/19/20, 25), he is the self that penetrates the universe.
The individual Purusha (Sansk. puruṣa, man, man, mankind, person, primordial soul) emerges from the clash of the Maya Tattvas and the Sadvidya Tattwas - or the Atman of Jnana-Loka.
According to Sri Aurobindo the Purusha consists of the elements of chaitya (chetna) and the angustha purusha is a being of the psyche (Chetas).
Purusha is an individualized Atman and therefore pure consciousness. The lower worlds are already formed from Prakriti through his presence. The Purusha experiences the fruits of karma (dvau suparna sayuja sakhaya).
"He who sees, sees that all actions are carried out by nature alone, and that the self is without action." (Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 13, verse 29).
The Katha Upanishade (1.12-13) speaks of a puruṣa of the size of a thumb (aṅgúṣṭha) in the interior of the cave of the heart (hridaye guhaayaam) of man.
Behind the chakra of the heart region, in a cave (nihite guhayam) as described in the Upanishads, is the center of the divine spark. The angustha purusha is the jivaatma.
The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 5.6.1 and the Chandogya Upanishade 3.14.3 give him the size of a seed.
The Shatapata Brahmana 10.6.3 says about the self: Inside the heart as small as rice or barley or millet and golden as a smokeless light.
In the Bhagavata-Purana (1.3.1) the Purusha is considered the first form of Narayana. Sadashiva is also regarded as the highest Sat - Purusha.
There are other forms of Purusha, such as the Virat Purusha (Universal Self) and the Paramatma Purusha, who stands for the highest enlightenment.