When I talk to my Indian friends I avoid the subject of Prakrti. In Indian culture Prakrti is not just a philosophical term. It has layers and layers of emotional connotations. There is a tendency to interpret Prakrti in anthropomorphic terms as in “sacred feminine.”
In Tantra Yoga which is the system that was updated and reformulated by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti the term Prakrti has a purely philosophical meaning.
In the monistic view of Tantra Yoga, everything is a form of Consciousness. Remember, Consciousness (“C” is capitalized) is synonymous with Absolute Being or Godhead. In Tantra Yoga the Sanskrit term for Godhead is Nirguna Brahma.
My understanding of Prakrti is that it is a special function of Consciousness that is responsible for the transformation of Consciousness. Prakrti is the cosmic operative principle of Consciousness. In its Liila (Cosmic Drama), Consciousness allows itself to be confined by its own immanent creative principle (Prakrti) thereby manifesting the cognitive and operative aspects of its being.
The fundamental interaction which is sometimes symbolized by the ying/yang symbol is the binding action of Prakrti on Consciousness. Without this fundamental interaction the Divine Center (Cosmic Soul) would not have been formed and replicated as an infinite number of souls. Without this fundamental interaction Cosmos would not have existed.
When we say “Prakrti” we are referring to the operative aspect of Consciousness only. Since the cognitive and operative aspects of Consciousness can never be separated, it makes sense to use the term ‘Cosmic Mind,’ which is a combination of cognitive and operative aspects.
This is why I always use the term ‘Cosmic Mind’ instead of Prakrti. Cosmic Mind is the mind of Parama Purusha (Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Consciousness, God)
According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti mind without conscience is a blind force and similarly Prakrti is a blind force without Parama Purusha. He always reminded us that Parama Purusha should be the only object of ideation (strong feelings of love and devotion) not Prakrti.
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti made clear that Prakrti is not a separate entity. Prakrti is the creative principle of Godhead. He also gave detailed explanations such as Maya being the name for the non-equilibrium phase of Prakrti. He said that it is wrong to identify Prakrti as Nature. He explained that “Nature is the functional style of Prakrti, Prakrti is not Nature.”
If Prakrti is not the same as Nature, can we say that Prakrti is the collective name of all the binding actions? That would be an accurate statement in my opinion. The appearances of forms and shapes are due to binding actions. Forms and shapes include curvatures in the most general sense. Binding actions result in curvatures which ultimately manifest as physical and mental phenomena.
A common misconception is that Prakrti is external to the human mind or that it has no part in the functioning of the human mind. Humans perform physics experiments and manufacture devices using technology where physical objects are manipulated. This is binding action too. Our technology and science is nothing but various binding actions. We create various forms as in physical devices and experiments. We are then acting as Prakrti, are we not?
The key to my understanding of Prakrti is the concept of confinement (binding action). As soon as the confinement (binding action) takes place a center manifests. The formation of the center as a result of the binding action is called subjectivation in Anandamurti’s writings. He also wrote about objectivation. Based on my understanding of Anandamurti’s hints on these subjects I wrote the “A Fundamental Principle.” My conclusion was that the formation of a center always results in objectivation. The objectivation flow which is transformed Consciousness appears different (orthogonal) because it is less sentient compared to the previous stage. So, as the term objectivation implies, after each stage of objectivation (orthogonal flow), the transformed Consciousness becomes more and more dense. In the final stage of objectivation the Consciousness appears as matter. There is a limit to the crudification of Consciousness. At the crudest (most condensed) state of objectivation (Planck scale space-time-matter) the analytic process ends and the synthetic process begins. The synthetic process can be described as the process of the liberation of Consciousness from the bondage that was created by its own Prakrti aspect. Such is the Cosmic Drama.