Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
First Series : Chapter 22
Beyond the Modes of Nature
For, beyond the soul manifest in Nature and bound up with its action, is another status of the Purusha, which is entirely a sta- tus and not at all an action; that is the silent, the immutable, the all-pervading, self-existent, motionless Self, sarvagatam acalam, immutable Being and not Becoming, the Akshara. In the Kshara the Soul is involved in the action of Nature, therefore it is con- centrated, loses itself, as it were, in the moments of Time, in the waves of the Becoming, not really, but only in appearance and by following the current; in the Akshara Nature falls to silence and rest in the Soul, therefore it becomes aware of its immutable Being. The Kshara is the Sankhya’s Purusha when it reflects the varied workings of the gunas of Nature, and it knows itself as the Saguna, the Personal; the Akshara is the Sankhya’s Purusha when these gunas have fallen into a state of equilibrium, and it knows itself as the Nirguna, the Impersonal. Therefore while the Kshara, associating itself with the work of Prakriti, seems to be the doer of works, karta ̄ , the Akshara dissociated from all the workings of the gunas is the inactive non-doer, akarta ̄, and witness. The soul of man, when it takes the poise of the Kshara, identifies itself with the play of personality and readily clouds its self-knowledge with the ego-sense in Nature, so that he thinks of himself as the ego-doer of works; when it takes its poise in the Akshara, it identifies itself with the Impersonal and is aware of Nature as the doer and itself as the inactive witnessing Self, akartaram. The mind of man has to tend to one of these poises, it takes them as alternatives; it is bound by Nature to action in the mutations of quality and personality or it is free from her workings in immutable impersonality.
But these two, the status and immutability of the Soul and the action of the Soul and its mutability in Nature, actually coexist. And this would be an anomaly irreconcilable except by some such theory as that of Maya or else of a double and divided being, if there were not a supreme reality of the Soul’s existence of which these are the two contrary aspects, but which is limited by neither of them. We have seen that the Gita finds this in the Pu- rushottama. The supreme Soul is the Ishwara, God, the Master of all being, sarvaloka-mahes vara. He puts forth his own active nature, his Prakriti, — svam ̇ prakr.tim, says the Gita, — manifest in the Jiva, worked out by the svabha ̄va, “own-becoming”, of each Jiva according to the law of the divine being in it, the great lines of which each Jiva must follow, but worked out too in the egoistic nature by the bewildering play of the three gunas upon each other, gun.a ̄ gunesu vartante.