What is an evil womb? How to know Prakriti-Purusha? || Acharya Prashant, on Bhagavad Gita (2020)

November 5, 2020 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): What does it mean to take birth in a good or an evil womb? Also, it is said here that the one who knows Purusha and Prakriti together with the guṇas is not born again. Please explain what does it really mean to know Purusha and Prakriti.

Acharya Prashant (AP): We are talking of chapter 13 Kṣetra-Kṣetragya Vibhāga Yoga. It's important to put a few things in perspective.

That which is referred to as ‘Purusha’ here is actually Parā Prakriti. That which is referred to as ‘Prakriti’ is Aparā Prakriti. The gross elements of Prakriti are all called Aparā Prakriti. The subtle elements are called Parā Prakriti, or Purusha.

Corresponding to these two are the Kṣetra and the Kṣetragya. Aparā Prakriti is the Kṣetra; Parā Prakriti is Kṣetragya. So, the Kṣetra and the Kṣetragya both actually belong in the domain of Prakriti itself. Kṣetra is the seen, the object; Kṣetragya is the seer, the subject. And then there is Ātmān or Krishna or Truth, the witness.

So, there is the seen, there is the seer, and then there is the witness. The seen and the seer both belong in the dimension of Prakriti; Dṛśya(seen) and Dṛṣṭa(seer). Dṛśya is Aparā Prakriti; Dṛṣṭa is Parā Prakriti. Dṛśya is Kṣetra; Dṛṣṭa, the observer, the subject is Kṣetragya. So there must be no confusion on this count.

“What does it mean to take birth in a good or an evil womb?”

You see, we are conditioned since birth, aren't we? So, as we are born, then relative to the situations of the time, our conditioning decides whether we would be more susceptive, more receptive rather to the influences that lead to liberation, or to the influences that lead to further bondage.

The child is very susceptible, no? That susceptibility has taken birth. But each child, even at the moment of birth, is different from the other. We know that; that's our experience. And each child is born in a particular age, in a particular home, in a particular milieu, in a particular context. So it's not as if the womb is good or evil, as if the newly born child is good or evil; it's just that the particular personal conditioning of the child might be such that with respect to the prevailing familial and social conditions, he might be more vulnerable to evil influences. So it's not that the womb is evil; it's just that the child is born more vulnerable to evil influences.

Influences of all kinds exist in the society, and every child, each child is born in the society, right? Influencers of all kinds are there, and the child is a vulnerable bundle with very little consciousness. The child is going to be influenced. The structure of the child's biological conditioning determines whether the child will receive the evil influences more readily, or the liberating influences more readily. So let's not blame the womb, and let's not blame the child. Right?

It's just a question of match and mismatch, it's a question of accidental alignment. A child born in a particular époque, in a particular country, in a particular environment might find the situations around him or her to be very helpful in terms of his inner development. The same child, if hypothetically were to be born in another age, or another place, might find the conditions quite adverse to his inner development. So it's a question of the child's relative compatibility with the various influences around him. That's what.

Share this article:


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More