Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita defines prakriti as twofold: both manifested and divine. Manifested prakriti is the phenomenal world, composed of earth, air, water, fire, and akash, plus mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and ego (ahamkara). This prakriti is eightfold and gross. The Divine prakriti is Maya Shakti. Krishna says to Arjuna, after mentioning the eightfold manifested prakriti, “Know my other prakriti, the higher, the life of all existence by which the universe is upheld.” This is the imperishable prakriti, the will of the Supreme, everlasting and ever passing. This prakriti is beyond the seven lokas, beyond akash. The element predominant here is mahat. which is the source of all other elements: mind, intellect, and ego. Maha is “great,” and stands for tattva (element), so mahat is maha tattva—the great element—from which the eight lesser elements emerge.
So therefore, gross, phenomenal existence comes from the divine prakriti. After the process of manifestation is complete, with the evolution of the individual self or man, a counter evolution starts—the self wants to reach back to the source. In this process the player starts from the physical plane (which he has reached in his journey from subtle to gross) and through karma and spiritual disciplines crosses the seven lokas. When he is able to overcome tamas he reaches prakriti-loka.
Up to the seventh level of the game the player confronts manifestations of prakriti. But after crossing through these seven planes he has gained experience and perspective. He is able to see what lies behind the world of sense-objects, and that is prakriti. Every percept has a concept. Concept without percept is empty; percept without concept is blind. Now the player draws near the concept, equipped with the percepts of his experience. Now he understands the fountainhead of phenomenal existence.
In Sanskrit prakriti means the original form of a thing, origin or source, material cause, the matter out of which anything is formed, a pattern, a woman, a mother. Prakriti is energy in its primordial form. It is energized consciousness, conscious energy in undifferentiated vibration. From this state develops the phase of consolidation of energy, of differentiation, of manifestation. Out of this state consolidated energy manifests itself in three primary dimensions:
1. The material content (which is also inertia, latent potential) that forms the body of the phenomenon.
2. Action and interaction in the process of evolution.
3. The purpose inherent within the phenomenon: the noumenon.
When the player lands in prakriti-loka after passing through the plane of reality, he is able to apprehend the three gunas and the five elements in their most essential form.