The Soul-Force and the Nature

The ancient psychological system of Yoga developed an insight and understanding into the constitution of our human nature as a marriage of the Purusha, or soul, and the Prakriti, or nature. Western psychology has not clearly understood the concept of the soul, because it has limited its view primarily to the body-life-mind complex of the lower, or animal nature, and has not fully grasped the need and the reality of the soul-nature as a necessary, in fact, essential element in what makes up the significance of each human life. Whether the individual believes in the soul or not, there is no escaping the unique psychological force that plays through that individual, to a greater or a lesser extent. The soul works through the nature and for the most part expresses itself along the lines developed in the particular nature; yet, one can see in certain individuals a strong and movingly powerful force of wisdom, action, compassion that represents a stronger, more prevalent influence of the soul than we see in the ordinary character or temperament of most individuals.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The soul flows into whatever moulds of intellectual, ethical, aesthetic, dynamic, vital and physical mind and type the developing nature takes and can act only in the way this formed Prakriti lays on it and move in its narrow groove or relatively wider circle. The man is then sattwic, rajasic or tamasic or a mixture of these qualities and his temperament is only a sort of subtler soul-colour which has been given to the major prominent operation of these fixed modes of his nature. Men of a stronger force get more of the soul-power to the surface and develop what we call a strong or great personality, they have in them something of the Vibhuti as described by the Gita,…, a higher power of being often touched with or sometimes full of some divine afflatus or more than ordinary manifestation of the Godhead which is indeed present in all, even in the weakest or most clouded living being, but here some special force of it begins to come out from behind the veil of the average humanity, and there is something beautiful, attractive, splendid or powerful in these exceptional persons which shines out in their personality, character, life and work. These men too work int he type of their nature-force according to its gunas, but there is something evident in them and yet not easily analysable which is in reality a direct power of the Self and spirit using to strong purpose the mould and direction of the nature.”

This working need not be what one would characterise as sattwic or saintly! There can be even Asuric or other forms to accomplish some great work or project to which that soul has been dedicated.

“A still more developed power of the being will bring out the real character of this spiritual presence and it will then be seen as something impersonal and self-existent and self-empowered, a sheer soul-force which is other than the mind-force, life-force, force of intelligence, but drives them and, even while following to a certain extent their mould of working, Guna, type of nature, yet puts its stamp of an initial transcendence, impersonality, pure fire of spirit, a something beyond the gunas of our normal nature. When the spirit in us is free, then what was behind this soul-force comes out in all its light, beauty and greatness, the Spirit, the Godhead who makes the nature an soul of man his foundation and living representative in cosmic being and mind, action and life.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 15, Soul-Force and the Fourfold Personality, pp. 712-714

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