The Ego-Self and the Soul

The Gita distinguishes between the illusory freedom experienced by the ego and the true freedom the soul attains when it achieves the new standpoint above the functioning of the modes of Nature. Sri Aurobindo provides us the Gita’s statement in this regard: “While the actions are being entirely done by the modes of Nature,” it says, “he whose self is bewildered by egoism thinks that it is his “I” which is doing them. But one who knows the true principles of the divisions of the modes and of works, realises that it is the modes which are acting and reacting on each other and is not caught in them by attachment.”

Sri Aurobindo discusses the implications: “Here there is the clear distinction between the two levels of consciousness, two standpoints of action, that of the soul caught in the web of its egoistic nature and doing works with the idea, but not the reality of free will, under the impulsion of Nature, and that of the soul delivered from its identification with the ego, observing, sanctioning and governing the works of Nature from above her.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 21, The Determinism of Nature, pg. 204