prakritim svaamavashtabhya visrijaami punaha punaha |
bhootagraamimam kritsnamavasham prakritervashaat || 8 ||

 
Commanding my Prakriti, I repeatedly project this entire world of beings, which is helpless under the control of Prakriti.
 
prakritim : Prakriti
svaam : my
avashtabhya : commanding
visrijaami : I project
punaha : repeatedly
bhootagraam : world of beings
imam : this
kritsnam : entire
avasham : helplessly
prakritehe : of Prakriti
vashaat : controlled by
 
Shri Krishna describes the workings of Prakriti in this shloka. Prakriti is Ishvara’s projector. It projects an entire universe of names and forms at the beginning of a cycle, withdraws them at the end of the cycle, only to start it all over again. We saw this in the previous shlokas. Here, we investigate the relationship between Prakriti, Ishvara and the individual.
 
Let’s first look at the relationship between Ishvara and Prakriti. Shri Krishna says that Ishvara fully controls Prakriti. He is the commander of Prakriti. Prakriti cannot do anything without the command of Ishvara. However, Ishvara is not a micro-manager. He does not tell Prakriti how to do its job. He just sets the rules in motion. Prakriti is a system that follows the rules, just like a computer program or the autopilot in an aircraft.
 
How does this work? We know that Prakriti, which is a synonym for maaya, comprises the three gunaas or modes. Each guna will deliver results based on its inherent property. For example, if our personality is predominantly comprised of rajas, we will always be in an agitated state, which will result in haphazard work. But if our personality is saatvic, it will result in perfect work. Notice that there is no need for Ishvara to “do” anything since Prakriti is an automatic system.
 
Next, let us look at the nature of Prakriti and the individual. Shri Krishna says that the individual is under the complete control of Prakriti. He helplessly goes through infinite cycles of birth and death due to the influence of Prakriti. In our own lives, we know so many people that are hale and hearty one moment, and are killed by an accident in the next moment. They have no say in the matter whatsoever. The only way one can get out of Prakriti’s influence is to put forth effort towards achieving liberation.
 
Now, we know that Ishvara commands Prakriti to perform creation, sustenance and dissolution. In the chapter on karma yoga, we have seen that actions have a tendency to bind us, to make us get attached to them. Does Ishvara get attached to the actions of creation, sustenance and dissolution? We shall see in the next shloka.

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