aparā-prakṛti

(‘the lower prakṛti or nature’)

Creation of the world is a favourite topic discussed in the Hindu scriptures. Most of the schools mentioned in these works are inclined to accept three basic realities from which the world has been created or evolved. They are: Īśvara or God, jīvas (the individual souls) and prakṛti (nature, the insentient matrix of the inanimate creation).

The Bhagavadgītā, though not a treatise on philosophy, in its wide sweep of discussing all relevant topics, touches upon the subject of creation also. God creates the world out of his twofold prakṛti or nature: the parā-prakṛti or higher nature and the aparā-prakṛti or lower nature. The former comprises the jīvas whereas the latter consists of the three guṇas, sattva, rajas and tamas. Thus the aparā-prakṛti forms the material base from which all non-living creation emerges. (vide Bhagavadgītā 7.4-14)

See also GUṆAS, KṢARAPURUṢA, MĀYĀ and PRAKṚTI.