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Isvara, Maya and Prakriti Are the Same but Different
Samuel: Dear Sundari, forgive me for emailing again so soon, but this is more of a short follow-up request for clarification. After having read through your detailed reply a few times, I wish to ask the following…
Sundari: No problem, Samuel.
Samuel: You mention that when maya appears, prakriti, or nature, appears. Is prakriti in maya or is prakriti the same as maya?Some texts I’ve seen use the terms interchangeably.
Sundari: First, there is pure consciousness. Secondly maya appears, and awareness plus maya is called Isvara in the role of Creator. Lastly, matter appears.
So maya comes first; prakriti is nature – or the substance, subtle and gross matter – and does not exist without maya. There is no point in talking about the difference between them, because prakriti does not mean anything without maya. They are the same, but they are not.
Samuel: And is prakriti independent of Isvara? That is, does prakriti appear/exist independently of Isvara?
Sundari: No; how is that possible? How can there be a creation without consciousness plus maya, the Creator?
Isvara associated with maya is independent of prakriti because is Isvara is trigunatita, beyond the gunas. Prakriti depends on Isvara, not the other way around. And Isvara as pure consciousness gives rise to creation, but is always free of the creation.
These terms are all synonyms, but they are slightly different. Isvara is awareness associated with maya in the role of Creator; maya is that which deludes awareness into identifying with objects. Prakriti is the substance, the creation. Therefore maya and Isvara are also different but the same.
Samuel: Thank you very much for your reply. So you are saying prakriti as nature or matter is the creation, the product of Isvara?
Sundari: Yes. The creation appears when maya appears and awareness in association with maya “assumes” the role of Creator, i.e. Isvara.