पुरुषं प्रकृतिर्ब्रह्मन्न विमुञ्चति कर्हिचित् ।
अन्योन्यापाश्रयत्वाच्च नित्यत्वादनयो: प्रभो ॥ १७ ॥
puruṣaṁ prakṛtir brahman
na vimuñcati karhicit
nityatvād anayoḥ prabho
devahūtiḥ uvāca — Devahūti said; puruṣam — the spirit soul; prakṛtiḥ — material nature; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; na — not; vimuñcati — does release; karhicit — at any time; anyonya — to one another; apāśrayatvāt — from attraction; ca — and; nityatvāt — from eternality; anayoḥ — of them both; prabho — O my Lord.
Śrī Devahūti inquired: My dear brāhmaṇa, does material nature ever give release to the spirit soul? Since one is attracted to the other eternally, how is their separation possible?
Devahūti, the mother of Kapiladeva, here makes her first inquiry. Although one may understand that spirit soul and matter are different, their actual separation is not possible, either by philosophical speculation or by proper understanding. The spirit soul is the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord, and matter is the external potency of the Lord. The two eternal potencies have somehow or other been combined, and since it is so difficult to separate one from the other, how is it possible for the individual soul to become liberated? By practical experience one can see that when the soul is separated from the body, the body has no real existence, and when the body is separated from the soul one cannot perceive the existence of the soul. As long as the soul and the body are combined, we can understand that there is life. But when they are separated, there is no manifested existence of the body or the soul. This question asked by Devahūti of Kapiladeva is more or less impelled by the philosophy of voidism. The voidists say that consciousness is a product of a combination of matter and that as soon as the consciousness is gone, the material combination dissolves, and therefore there is ultimately nothing but voidness. This absence of consciousness is called nirvāṇa in Māyāvāda philosophy.