Soul Manifestation and the Surface Personality

Because of the complex and systematic development of the various gradations of consciousness to manifest the personality, the influence and appearance of the soul is not usually seen in all its purity and direct force; rather, the surface personality is a mixture of the action of body, life, mind and whatever influence the psychic being can exert upon the other parts of the being. Sri Aurobindo describes this process: “But this psychic influence or action does not come up to the surface quite pure or does not remain distinct in its purity; if it did, we would be able to distinguish clearly the soul element in us and follow consciously and fully its dictates. An occult mental and vital and subtle-physical action intervenes, mixes with it, tries to use it and turn it to its own profit, dwarfs its divinity, distorts or diminishes its self-expression, even causes it to deviate and stumble or stains it with the impurity, smallness and error of mind and life and body.”

This admixture and deviation can lead to incorrect interpretation and wrong action, even when the mind, life and body are fully positively inclined to the effort and not totally immersed in their normal goals and methods. In such cases, the action of mind, emotions, vital reactions and physical body can essentially hijack the soul’s intended result and bring about a very mixed formation “which is frequently taken as the soul and its mixed and confused action for the soul-stir, for a psychic development and action or a realised inner influence. The psychic entity is itself free from stain or mixture, but what comes up from it is not protected by that immunity; therefore this confusion becomes possible.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 25, “The Triple Transformation”