This is part III of the series ‘the supreme creation’. PRAKRITI: The soul or purusha can manifest only if it interacts with prakriti, which is also known as the nature or creative self-unfolding act. This interpretation itself will explain the nature of prakriti. It is only the prakriti that unfolds the act of creation. When the soul is associated with prakriti, the latter unfolds first into the subtle non-materialistic form and later into the gross form. The gross form can be identified under three broad classifications such as sthula (gross), sukshma (subtle) and karana (casual). A comparison can be drawn between an automobile tyre and the three types of bodies. An automobile tyre has an outer portion made up of rubber, beneath that lies the tube that holds the air inside. A car cannot run without the effective and coordinated functions of all the three. The outer tyre is the gross body, the tube holding the air is the subtle body and the air that is inner most and invisible is the casual body. Similarly, without these three forms, our existence is impossible. These bodies, in reality, are the reflections of the levels of consciousness.

The respective bodies can be recognized only if the consciousness level is modified, refined and purified. Purer is the level of consciousness higher is the level of spirituality and finer is the type of body. These three types of bodies are the reflections of the prakriti and this reflection is known as maya or illusion. The gross body reflects the materialistic world, the subtle body reflects the world of vitality and the casual body reflects the casual world. These three stages are realized in the three states of awake, dream and deep sleep. The gross and subtle bodies are the effects of the casual body. The basis of these types of bodies is the casual body, or the casual manifestation of consciousness. In certain schools of thoughts, a reference to another state called the fourth state or turiya state is mentioned. In fact, this turiya state is to be accepted by everybody. Only in this state, where the consciousness transcends all bodily afflictions and gets purified and becomes fit to be called ‘cit’. Mandukya Upanishad I.7 authoritatively describes this turiya state. “Turiya is not consciousness of what is happening within. It is also not the consciousness of what is going on without. It is not consciousness of anything in between. It is not the consciousness of all objects simultaneously. It is not unconsciousness either. It is invisible, not susceptible to any kind of usage, not within the reach of any organ of action. It is beyond perception of any organ, beyond thought and not to be indicated by any sound. In it there is only consciousness of the Self and there is a cessation of the world as such. It is the embodiment of peach and all that is good. It is one without a second.

The fourth state is turiya. Wise people consider this to be the Self. This Self is to be realised”. The Self in turiya state is the purest form of consciousness. In this stage, the consciousness remains all alone, without any affiliations and afflictions. The prakriti is potentially a powerful tool that binds the soul to manifest in the form of bodies discussed above, just to manifest and unfold the karmas embedded in the soul. When the soul is under the lustful embrace of prakriti, the soul that was part of the Supreme Brahman forgets its own nature, and identifies itself with ego. The deceptive and illusionary nature of prakriti engulfs the soul with all sorts of addiction, affliction and confusion and makes the soul totally confused. This particular stage of the soul is said to be ignorant or the state of avidya contrary to vidya or knowledge. The pure soul now stands veiled by the effects of prakriti called maya or illusion. (to be continued)