Summary of the Multiple Statuses of the Soul and Nature

Before proceeding to the detail level of interaction between the soul and nature, Sri Aurobindo provides us a quick summary of the Gita’s view on the triple status of the soul and the dual status of nature and the primary aspects of their interaction with one another. While this is ground previously covered, given the immediate relevancy to understand the granular level of detail that is about to begin, it is very useful to summarize this information once more before proceeding:

“The Soul which finds itself here embodied in Nature has a triple reality to its own self-experience. First, it is a spiritual being apparently subjected by ignorance to the outward workings of Prakriti and represented in her mobility as an acting, thinking, mutable personality, a creature of Nature, an ego.”

“Next when it gets behind all this action and motion, it finds its own higher reality to be an eternal and impersonal self and immutable spirit which has no other share in the action and movement than to support it by its presence and regard it as an undisturbed equal witness.”

“And, last, when it looks beyond these two opposite selves, it discovers a greater ineffable Reality from which both proceed, the Eternal who is Self of the self and the Master of all Nature and all action, and not only the Master, but the origin and the spiritual support and scene of these workings of his own energy in cosmos, and not only the origin and spiritual container, but the spiritual inhabitant in all forces, in all things and in all beings, and not only the inhabitant but, by the developments of this eternal energy of his being which we call Nature, himself all energies and forces, all things and all beings.”

Thus, the triple status of the soul. Turning then to the dual status of Nature: “This Nature itself is of two kinds, one derived and inferior, another original and supreme. There is a lower nature of the cosmic mechanism by association with which the soul in Prakriti lives in a certain ignorance born of Maya…, conceives of itself as an ego of embodied mind and life, works under the power of the modes of Nature, thinks itself bound, suffering, limited by personality, chained to the obligation of birth and the wheel of action, a thing of desires, transient, mortal, a slave of its own nature.”

“Above this inferior power of existence there is a higher divine and spiritual nature of its own true being in which this soul is for ever a conscious portion of the Eternal and Divine, blissful, free, superior to its mask of becoming, immortal, imperishable, a power of the Godhead.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 13, The Field and Its Knower, pp. 396-397

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