The Soul Regards the Instrumentation of Nature

The poise of the Witness-Consciousness can lead to abandonment and liberation from the actions of the outer nature, but it need not stop there, as it is also possible to use this poise as the basis for gaining mastery and control over the nature. For the seeker of the integral Yoga, in fact, this step is inevitable. Sri Aurobindo observes: “But if our aim is to be not only free by self-detachment from Nature, but perfected in mastery, this type of insistence can no longer suffice. We have to regard our mental, vital and physical action of Nature, find out the knots of its bondage and the loosing-points of liberation, discover the keys of its imperfection and lay our finger on the key of perfection.”

The witness standpoint yields initially the sight of a vast and intricate machinery of nature which is coordinated and finely tuned to function in what appears to be a mechanical way. This view has led some Western philosophers to espouse the view that the entire universal creation is just some kind of soulless machine. The Bhagavad Gita describes it also as a type of machinery and the soul is bound and controlled by this machinery as long as it identifies with the outer nature. The ego-sense acts as the lynch-pin holding the awareness together as it is moved and manipulated by the machinery. “A complete mechanical determinism or a stream of determinations of Nature to which he lent the light of his consciousness, is the natural aspect of his mental, vital and physical personality once it is regarded from this stable detached standpoint and no longer by a soul caught up in the movement and imagining itself to be a part of the action.”

This first status of the witness eventually can be developed to show the soul his power of sanction and mastery, which is a further development envisioned by the integral Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 4, The Perfection of the Mental Being, pp. 609-610