The Supreme Status of the Soul

The Gita, while echoing or quoting the Upanishads as to the qualities of the Supreme, still ensures that there is no confusion between the immutable, unmoving Spirit which has been the goal of so many seekers through the ages, and the Supreme, called by the Gita the Purushottama, which is beyond and which contains the immmutable. This Supreme Divine is both outside and beyond the entire manifested universe, and at the same time, the Existent that constitutes all that is. The descriptions are intended, not to specifically “define” the Supreme, but to ensure that our mental framework is able to expand and recognize that there is a Being and a Consciousness beyond our capacity of limitation. The Upanishads say that it is “neti, neti” meaning “not this, not that”. They indicate that the Supreme is “One unmoving that is swifter than Mind, That the gods reach not, for it progresses ever in front. That, standing, passes beyond others as they run….That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near; That is within all this and That also is outside all this. But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness?” (Isha Upanishad, IV-VII)

The Gita wants us to understand the Supreme is not some kind of philosophical abstraction, but a real, existent Being. Sri Aurobindo explains: “This supreme Soul and Self is the Seer, the Ancient of Days and in his eternal self-vision and wisdom the Master and Ruler of all existence who sets in their place in his being all things that are…. This supreme Soul is the immutable self-existent Brahman of whom the Veda-knowers speak, and this is that into which the doers of askesis enter when they have passed beyond the affections of the mind of mortality and for the desire of which they practice the control of the bodily passions. That eternal reality is the highest step, place, foothold of being…; therefore is it the supreme goal o the soul’s movement in Time, itself no movement but a status original, sempiternal and supreme….”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 3, The Supreme Divine, pg. 282


Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, pages 20-21