स्वभृत्यसंसारतरो: कुठारम् ।
जिज्ञासयाहं प्रकृते: पूरुषस्य
नमामि सद्धर्मविदां वरिष्ठम् ॥ ११ ॥
jijñāsayāhaṁ prakṛteḥ pūruṣasya
namāmi sad-dharma-vidāṁ variṣṭham
tam — that person; tvā — unto You; gatā — have gone; aham — I; śaraṇam — shelter; śaraṇyam — worth taking shelter of; sva-bhṛtya — for Your dependents; saṁsāra — of material existence; taroḥ — of the tree; kuṭhāram — the ax; jijñāsayā — with the desire to know; aham — I; prakṛteḥ — of matter (woman); pūruṣasya — of spirit (man); namāmi — I offer obeisances; sat-dharma — of the eternal occupation; vidām — of the knowers; variṣṭham — unto the greatest.
Devahūti continued: I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet because You are the only person of whom to take shelter. You are the ax which can cut the tree of material existence. I therefore offer my obeisances unto You, who are the greatest of all transcendentalists, and I inquire from You as to the relationship between man and woman and between spirit and matter.
Sāṅkhya philosophy, as is well known, deals with prakṛti and puruṣa. Puruṣa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead or anyone who imitates the Supreme Personality of Godhead as an enjoyer, and prakṛti means “nature.” In this material world, material nature is being exploited by the puruṣas, or the living entities. The intricacies in the material world of the relationship of the prakṛti and puruṣa, or the enjoyed and the enjoyer, is called saṁsāra, or material entanglement. Devahūti wanted to cut the tree of material entanglement, and she found the suitable weapon in Kapila Muni. The tree of material existence is explained in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā as an aśvattha tree whose root is upwards and whose branches are downwards. It is recommended there that one has to cut the root of this material existential tree with the ax of detachment. What is the attachment? The attachment involves prakṛti and puruṣa. The living entities are trying to lord it over material nature. Since the conditioned soul takes material nature to be the object of his enjoyment and he takes the position of the enjoyer, he is therefore called puruṣa.
Devahūti questioned Kapila Muni, for she knew that only He could cut her attachment to this material world. The living entities, in the guises of men and women, are trying to enjoy the material energy; therefore in one sense everyone is puruṣa because puruṣa means “enjoyer” and prakṛti means “enjoyed.” In this material world both the so-called man and so-called woman are imitating the real puruṣa; the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually the enjoyer in the transcendental sense, whereas all others are prakṛti. The living entities are considered prakṛti. In Bhagavad-gītā, matter is analyzed as aparā, or inferior nature, whereas beyond this inferior nature there is another, superior nature — the living entities. Living entities are also prakṛti, or enjoyed, but under the spell of māyā, the living entities are falsely trying to take the position of enjoyers. That is the cause of saṁsāra-bandha, or conditional life. Devahūti wanted to get out of conditional life and place herself in full surrender. The Lord is śaraṇya, which means “the only worthy personality to whom one can fully surrender,” because He is full of all opulences. If anyone actually wants relief, the best course is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is also described here as sad-dharma-vidāṁ variṣṭham. This indicates that of all transcendental occupations the best occupation is eternal loving service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Dharma is sometimes translated as “religion,” but that is not exactly the meaning. Dharma actually means “that which one cannot give up, that which is inseparable from oneself.” The warmth of fire is inseparable from fire; therefore warmth is called the dharma, or nature, of fire. Similarly, sad-dharma means “eternal occupation.” That eternal occupation is engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The purpose of Kapiladeva’s Sāṅkhya philosophy is to propagate pure, uncontaminated devotional service, and therefore He is addressed here as the most important personality amongst those who know the transcendental occupation of the living entity.