prakritim purusham chaiva viddhyanaadi ubhaavapi |
vikaaraanshcha gunaanshchaiva viddhi prakritisambhavaan | | 19 ||

Know that surely, both Prakriti and Purusha are without beginning. Also, know that in fact, all modifications and qualities are born of Prakriti.
prakritim : prakriti
purusham : purusha
cha : and
eva : surely
viddhi : know
anaadi : without beginning
ubhau : both
api : also
vikaaraan : modifications
cha : and
gunaan : qualities
cha : and
eva : in fact
viddhi : know
prakritisambhavaan : born of prakriti
Shri Krishna now describes how we fall into the trap of samsaara, the cycle of birth and death. In many respects, this topic is a continuation of the discussion of higher and lower prakriti from the seventh chapter. Let us quickly recap what we saw there. We learnt about two aspects of Ishvara, the lower and the higher. The lower nature comprises the five elements plus the mind, ego and intellect. The higher nature comprises the life-giving force which is also the experiencer, the subject. In this manner, Ishvara is established as the ultimate cause of the universe.
Here, the lower nature is termed “Prakriti” and the higher nature is termed “Purusha”. First, Shri Krishna says that both these aspects of Ishvara are without beginning, they are eternal. This is because Ishvara himself is eternal, so it logically follows that his aspects must also be eternal. But we also have to note that something which has no beginning can have an end. We will come back to this point later in the discussion.
The second statement here states that all modifications and qualities are born out of Prakriti. Maaya and prakriti refer to the same thing. Prakriti is a power wielded by Ishvara. It is beyond the comprehension of our intellect since our intellect itself is a product of Prakriti. The only way to understand Prakriti is to think of it as a magician’s illusion. This Prakriti gives rise to five elements that produce the entire visible universe. These combinations or modifications of Prakriti are termed as “vikaaraas”. Prakriti also comprises the three “gunaas” or qualities which are sattva, rajas and tamas. These qualities manifest as mental states such as happiness, sorrow and attachment.
In other words, if we go back in time, if we press the rewind button, we will see that everything merges back into Prakriti, everything has come from Prakriti. Now, let us get practical. Whenever we experience emotions such as sorrow, grief, anger and so on, it is Prakriti that creates it, not the self, not the “I”. This is what was explained in the shloka. But, when anger arises in our mind, for instance, we always say “I am angry”. How do we come to the conclusion that the “I” is angry when it is Prakriti that created the anger? This is taken up next.