Purushu and Prakriti in Samkhya Hinduism

Samkhya is one of the six āstika schools of Indian philosophy. A highly dualistic philosophy, it sees Purusha as a divine clockmaker that exists outside of spacetime, understood as a soul, self or pure consciousness, and the fundamental source of all consciousness. Our own human consciousness is the result of this pre-existing consciousness. Prakriti, on the other hand, refers to the created world of spacetime. It is understood as creative, feminine energy. Purusha is not the creator of prakriti but is responsible for the animation of prakriti with life.

Samkhya philosophy teaches that there are innumerable individual purushas, each of which is eternal, omniscient, infinite and invariant. They are all equal and neither has dominance over the others. Purusha is nondual, and therefore, beyond subject and object, as opposed to prakriti, which is bound out in the endlessly changing nature of spacetime. Purusha becomes attracted to prakriti and approaches it irresistibly, resulting in the former becoming trapped in the latter. Eventually, the struggle ceases as Purusha loses memory of its true nature. The remedy for this is to unstick from prakriti. It is this separation that is the purpose of yoga, and this ideally eventually results in freedom of the individual purusha from reincarnation.