Prakriti (Sanskrit, f, प्रकृति, prakṛti, nature) is in the Indian Samkhya philosophy, the primordial matter that makes up the universe. Prakriti is the cosmic substance, the original, otherwise than cause phenomenal existence that is formless, limitless, motionless, eternal and all-pervading ( pra, before, first critical, make ). The Prakriti exists in two states: in "non- unfolded " (ie non- manifestiertem ) State ( Avyakta ) and " unfolded " (ie manifestiertem ) State ( Vyakta ). It is composed of the following three gunas ( qualities ): Tamas ( inertia, darkness and chaos), rajas ( restlessness, movement and energy ) and sattva ( balance, harmony and joy ).

( Primordial matter ) Purusha (spirit) and Prakriti: the ideas of ( dualistic ) Samkhya philosophy according to which the world is made ​​up of two principles. Purusha is pure consciousness ( chit ). The Nameable to Manifesting however, is Prakriti ( primordial matter ). The human organ of thought ( Manas ) originates also the Prakriti. The Prakriti is the basis of everything material and dynamic in the universe. Although eternally separated, Purusha and Prakriti influence each other. The Prakriti was perceived as feminine and could be understood as the creative principle. Purusha, however, is the knowing principle and male.

The Samkyha philosopher Pancashikha developed the idea that the primordial matter that is eternal and omnipresent, infinitely fine ( sukshma ) and therefore can not be perceived. But she's still there and from it emerges the visible world and returns to it. However, it is unspiritual and therefore matter. Moreover, she has been working and creating.

Pancashika assumed that combine three different properties ( gunas ) of prakriti in number of different forms together. Once the primordial matter gets in the creation of the world in motion, the original balance of properties is disturbed. Mix the properties and combine (at this time you put the properties still substantially contained ago). Soon outweighs this, now that property. The infinite variety of the mixture allows the diversity of things. The primordial matter and their creations give the number of 24 entities ( Tattvani ), to which the soul enters as twenty-fifth. From Prakriti recognition ( Buddhi ) is clear and from recognizing the self-awareness ( Ahankara ). This is on the one hand, the origin of thought ( Manas ) and the ten sense organs ( Indriyani ). In addition, it created the five elements ( Mahabhutani ).

In Kashmiri Shaivism Prakriti is one of the 24 impure Tattvas where Maya predominates.

Aurobindo goes in to his ideas on the assumption that the individual soul can identify with either the active Prakriti and is then trapped in the typical for the Prakriti mechanical modes of action or not. Furthermore, he is of the opinion that the soul can completely submerge in Prakriti and finally entirely unconsciously and subconsciously. It is then subjected to in the form of earth, metal or plant entirely of darkness and inertia ( tamas ). The higher principles rajas and sattva are still there, but hidden. In animals, then the principle of Rajas comes with its modes of action of action and passion, desire and instinct to bear. In humans ultimately sattva, the mode of being of light with its relative freedom, knowledge and joy finds expression.