The Wider Context of the Process of Rebirth

The surface personality is a limited formation that represents only a small fraction of the actual reality of our existence. Western psychologists, led by C.G. Jung, have opened up the realm of the Collective Unconscious and shown how our personality is to some degree shaped and developed based on archetypal formations in this collective reservoir of imagery and psychical history. Sri Aurobindo has added to this the understanding that there are not only subconscious realms, but also superconscious realms, and these superconscious realms are also essential reservoirs for the surface personality and its formation.

“It is only a small part of ourselves which lives and acts in the energies of our earthly existence. As behind the physical universe there are worlds of which ours is only a last result, so also within us there are worlds of our self-existence which throw out this external form of our being. The subconscient, the super-conscient are oceans from which and to which this river flows.”

Given the complexity of these various “layers” of existence and their impact and inter-relationship upon one another, it is not really accurate to speak about a specific soul being reborn. Sri Aurobindo’s commentary on this point: “There is not a definite psychic entity getting into a new case of flesh; there is a metempsychosis, a reinsouling, a rebirth of new psychic personality as well as a birth of a new body. And behind is the Person, the unchanging entity, the Master who manipulates this complex material, the Artificer of this wonderful artifice.”

In conclusion: “to view ourselves as such and such a personality getting into a new case of flesh is to stumble about in the ignorance, to confirm the error of the material mind and the senses. The body is a convenience, the personality is a constant formation for whose development action and experience are the instruments; but the Self by whose will and for whose delight all this is, is other than the body, other than the action and experience, other than the personality which they develop. To ignore it is to ignore the whole secret of our being.”

Sri Aurobindo,