Look Inside

Prakrti in Samkhya-Yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience, Ethical Implications

FREE Delivery
Delivery Usually ships in 3 days
Item Code: UBI189
Author: Knut A. Jacobsen
Language: English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 9788120818279
Pages: 442
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 620 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About The Book

This book is the first monographic study of prakyti. It traces the history of the word prakrti, the word chosen by the modern North Indian Languages to translate the English word 'nature, 'through the texts of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain systems of religious thought. Prakrti is one of the central metaphysical principles in the religious tradition fo Hinduism, especially in the very influential Samkhya and Yoga traditions. The second part of the book gives a systematic analysis of this important principle in the Proto-Samkhya and Yoga traditions. The second part of the book gives a systematic analysis of this important principle in the Proto-Simkhya, Samkhya and Samkhya-Yoga texts. Prakyti in the Samkhya and Yoga systems in the ultimate material principle and thus the substratum (dharmin) from which manifest, in the presence of the self (purusa), the gross to the powerful gods. Everything that becomes manifest is held together as causes and effects within this immense power. This ultimate material principle has also been an object of religious realization. The book investigates a religious experience called 'merging with prakrti( prakṛtilaya), which has been neglected in previous studies, but is described in the Samkhya and Yoga texts and constitutes and important aspect of the religious understanding of the material principle. Finally, this book shows the important implications for issues of interspecies or environmental ethics of the understanding of the material principle in the Simkhya and Yoga systems of religious thought.

About the Author

KNUT A. JACOBSEN is Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies form the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published articles in journals of religion and philosophy.


The word prakrti is used in the modem North Indian languages to translate the English word 'nature. It also refers to a metaphysical principle of great importance in the Hindu religious traditions, the principle of matter in the Samkhya-Yoga systems of religious thought. My interest in prakrti arose from an interest in the conceptualizations of nature and environmental ethics in South Asia combined with an interest in Sämkhya-Yoga. I was interested in the history of the word in the South Asian traditions which those living there felt were closest to the English word 'nature. Second, I was interested in the conceptualizations of the principle of matter in Samkhya-Yoga. How did they conceptualize the ultimate principle of matter? How was it characterized? What properties did it possess? Third, I was interested in the ethical implications of this conceptualization of matter, especially with respect to human interaction with non-human living beings, what these days is called environmental ethics. Because of my interest in these three aspects of prakṛti the book has a tripartite structure, each part dealing with one of the aspects.

Part 1, Prakyti in the Textual Traditions of South Asia, is a philological treatment of the different meanings of the word prakṛti in the Sanskrit, Päli and Jain traditions of South Asia. The word prakrti has both technical and non-technical meanings and far too often scholars have understood it uniformly to refer to the ultimate principle of Samkhya-Yoga, even when prakrti is used in the plural as it is in Yogasutra 4.3. The later use of prakrti in mythology as an epithet of the various goddesses has caused scholars too easily to identify prakrti as a female principle even in technical philosophical texts. Theological systems which adopted the Samkhya principles (tattva-s) often distinguish between prakrti as the twenty-forth principle and the principle called 'power' (Sakti). In mythological texts these terms are often confused or consciously connected. A further misunderstanding is caused by historians of religions from too often trying to explain early material by later developments.

The long chapter two, Prakyti in the Sanskrit Sources, deals with several textual traditions of knowledge. The thorough documentation might seem redundant to some. Readers less interested in the documentation or interested in only some of the traditions of knowl- edge should feel free to skip parts of this chapter using the table of content, reading the parts that interest them the most. Readers in- terested only in the use of prakyti in for instance the Bhagavadgita or in the Yogasutra and the Vyasabhäşya may if they wish deal more lightly with the other parts. Even if the presentation is organized according to the different traditions, it is also loosely chronological. Given the problem of dating in ancient India, the chronology can only be approximate. For example, the ritual. linguistic and medical speculations seem to be early, speculations about prakni as an epithet of the goddess and with a clear feminine identity seem to be late. The use of prakyti in mythology, in which it becomes an epithet of the goddesses, seems to presuppose philosophical developments in which an ultimate material principle had been conceptualized. In the Pali Scripture I have not found pakati, the Pali form of prakṛti. used as a technical term for the ultimate material principle of the Samkhya system. This leads me to believe that the Pāli Scripture preceded the technical Samkhya use. The specific use of prakrti in the Jain sources and the many other similarities between Jainism and Samkhya do suggest that these systems influenced each other stronger than usually recognized.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at help@exoticindia.com
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through help@exoticindia.com.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories