The Purusha In Various Gradations of Existence

The separation of Purusha and Prakriti which we have been examining is a practical tool for the manifestation, not an ultimate reality to duality. This operative duality allows each to develop independently and allows the Self to either associate or disassociate itself with any particular development or manifestation in Nature. Sri Aurobindo clarifies this point as follows: “This duality is also necessary that the Spirit may be at any time at liberty to draw back from any formation of its Nature and dissolve all formation or accept or enforce a new or a higher formation.”

Nevertheless, “The Purusha aspect and the Prakriti aspect go always together and whatever status Nature or Consciousness-Force in action assumes, manifests or develops, there is a corresponding status of the Spirit. In its supreme status the Spirit is the supreme Conscious Being, Purushottama, and the Consciousness-Force is his supreme Nature, Para-Prakriti.”

Not only in an ultimate sense, but also at each level or gradation of the manifestation, there is a corresponding relationship between Purusha and Prakriti consistent with that level. So there is a mental being at the level of Mind-Nature, a vital being at the level of Life-Nature and a physical being at the level of Material-Nature. In each one, we can see the possibility of a separation of the awareness of the Self and the action of nature at that level. Similarly, in the individual being, the Purusha takes the position of the Soul or psychic being, the inner Self, which stands in counterpoise to the being composed of mind, life and body that carries out action as a unifed being. The Purusha is transcendent Existence, Cosmic Self, and individual Self, depending on which standpoint one wants to adopt at any point in time. It is both impersonal and personal, again depending on the circumstances. The impersonal quality makes it free of any specific individual form or characteristic, while the personal means it infuses each and every manifestation, again reconciling the apparent opposites within which our minds tend to get caught.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pg. 350

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