From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Parāprakṛti literally means ‘the higher prakṛti or nature’.

Creation as per Saḍdarśanas[edit]

Generally most of the systems of philosophy known as the Saḍdarśanas or the six schools, accept three basic factors as involved in the process of creation:

  1. The prakṛti - material matrix
  2. The jīvas - individual souls, un-redeemed as yet
  3. Īśvara - God

Classification of Prakṛtis[edit]

Īśvara creates the world out of prakṛti and involves the jīvas in the bodies made out of that prakṛti, in accordance with their karma or deserts of previous lives. It is only in the Bhagavadgītā[1] that we find a classification of prakṛti as aparā[2] and parā.[3] Both these prakṛtis are of the Lord. They belong to him.


The aparāprakṛti is jaḍa[4] and is eightfold:

  1. Bhumi - earth
  2. Āpas - water
  3. Anala - fire
  4. Vāyu - air
  5. Kham - ether or space or sky
  6. Manas - mind
  7. Buddhi - intellect
  8. Ahaṅkāra - egoity


The material universe is made out of this. The jīva[5] is different from this aparāprakṛti and is termed ‘parāprakṛti.’ It is ‘prakṛti’ since it is also involved as a part of creation, as a basic factor. It is ‘parā’ or ‘superior’, since it is conscious and is full of life as opposite to the other which is insentient. The whole universe is a product of these two prakṛtis and īśvara. The Lord is responsible for its evolution or creation, sustenance and involution or destruction.


  1. Bhagavadgītā 7.4,5
  2. Aparā means lower.
  3. Parā means higher.
  4. Jaḍa means lifeless, non-conscious.
  5. Jīva means individual soul.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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