The Three Poises of the Purusha

The Purusha adopts a different poise in relation to Nature (Prakriti), depending on whether it is operating on the planes of Matter-Life-Mind, Gnosis (Vijnana) or Sat-Chit-Ananda. The normal poise of the soul for human beings is a sense of separation, division and opposition to the nature. The human individual creates thereby a dichotomy between “soul” and “nature” and the seeking for liberation tends to take the form of escaping the bonds of nature and “liberating” the soul. At the level of Vijnana, which mediates between the lower hemisphere of Mind-Life-Matter and the upper hemisphere of Sat-Chit-Ananda, the relation to Prakriti is balanced due to the inherent knowledge and oneness, yet there is still a sense of subjection to the divine play. When based in the upper hemisphere of Sat-Chit-Ananda, the Purusha is one with the Supreme and thus, there is no longer any sense of separation or division between the Soul and its Nature.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The Purusha in mind, life and body is divided from Nature and in conflict with her. He labours to control and coerce what he can embody of her by his masculine force and is yet subject to her afflicting dualities and in fact her plaything from top to bottom, beginning to end.”

With respect to the gnostic consciousness: “In the gnosis he is biune with her, finds as master of his own nature their reconciliation and harmony by their essential oneness even while he accepts an infinite blissful subjection, the condition of his mastery and his liberties, to the Supreme in his sovereign divine Nature.”

The third, highest poise: “In the tops of the gnosis and in the Ananda he is one with the Prakriti and no longer solely biune with her. There is no longer the baffling play of Nature with the soul in the Ignorance; all is the conscious play of the soul with itself and all its selves and the Supreme and the divine Shakti in its own and the infinite bliss nature.”

“This is the supreme mystery, the highest secret, simple to our experience, however difficult and complex to our mental conceptions and the effort of our limited intelligence to understand what is beyond it. In the free infinity of the self-delight of Sachchidananda there is a play of the divine Child, a rasa lila of the infinite Lover, and its mystic soul-symbols repeat themselves in characters of beauty and movements and harmonies of delight in a timeless forever.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 24, Gnosis and Ananda, pp. 488-489