The Soul’s Focus Through Life and Death

The Purusha, taking the form of the Soul in the manifestation of Nature, Prakriti, is not a victim of, nor controlled by Nature; rather, the Soul, through its persistent determination and focus, creates the energy and forms within which it experiences the creation. This process is known as the chain of causality, or Karma. Sri Aurobindo explains: Man, born into the world, revolves between world and world in the action of Prakriti and Karma. Purusha in Prakriti is his formula: what the soul in him thinks, contemplates and acts, that always he becomes. All that he had been, determined his present birth; and all that he is, thinks, does in this life up to the moment of his death, determines what he will become in the worlds beyond and in lives yet to be. If birth is a becoming, death also is a becoming, not by any means a cessation. The body is abandoned, but the soul goes on its way….”

Of critical importance is the focus and impulsion that the Soul has at the time of death. Because of the trauma, and in many cases extreme pain that may accompany various forms of death, the ability to focus and direct the Soul onwards consciously can be severely compromised, and it is for this reason that spiritual traditions lay a lot of emphasis on preparing the soul, through a lifetime of dedication and focus, so that whether death comes suddenly, or if it comes with the distractions of trauma or suffering, the soul may have the opportunity to nevertheless direct its attention and focus toward the Supreme, and thereby achieve liberation and true freedom at that time.

Such a soul “…is united with the original being of the Divine and that is the ultimate becoming of the soul,…the last result of Karma in its return upon itself and towards its source. The soul which has followed the play of cosmic evolution that veils here its essential spiritual nature, its original form of becoming, svabhava, and has passed through all these other ways of becoming of its consciousness which are only its phenomena…, returns to that essential nature and, finding through this return its true self and spirit, comes to the original status of being which is from the point of view of the return a highest becoming…. In a certain sense we may say that it becomes God, since it unites itself with the nature of the Divine in a last transformation of its own phenomenal nature and existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 3, The Supreme Divine, pp. 280-281