The Soul As the Upholder of the Action of Nature

The soul’s poise as “witness” of Nature, uninvolved, and observing, but not actively participating, is an important first step in the liberation of the soul from its apparent subjection to Nature. The next poise is that of the “upholder” of Nature. In this case, the soul does not look upon Nature purely as something separate and different, for which it need have no interaction or interest; rather, it recognizes that the soul is actually the consciousness that allows Nature to exist and manifest. This poise may be passive, whereby the soul still does not take an active interest or try to control Nature, or it may be active.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates: “the soul is the upholder also, it supports in its being the energy which unrolls the spectacle of the cosmos and which conducts its energies. When the Purusha accepts this upholding, it may do it still passively and without attachment, feeling that it contributes the energy but not that it controls and determines it. The control is another, God or Force or the very nature of Maya; the soul only upholds indifferently so long as it must, so long perhaps as the force of its past sanction and interest in the energy continues and refuses to be exhausted. But if the attitude of the upholder is fully accepted, an important step forward has been taken towards identification with the active Brahman and his joy of cosmic being. For the Purusha has become the active giver of the sanction.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 17, The Soul and Nature, pg. 414