Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
Second Series : Chapter 1
The Two Natures
The five elemental conditions of matter are the quantitative or material element in the lower nature and are the basis of ma- terial forms. The five Tanmatras — taste, touch, scent, and the others — are the qualitative element. These Tanmatras are the subtle energies whose action puts the sensory consciousness in relation to the gross forms of matter, — they are the basis of all phenomenal knowledge. From the material point of view matter is the reality and the sensory relations are derivative; but from the spiritual point of view the truth is the opposite. Matter and the material media are themselves derivative powers and at bottom are only concrete ways or conditions in which the workings of the quality of Nature in things manifest themselves to the sensory consciousness of the Jiva. The one original and eternal fact is the energy of Nature, the power and quality of being which so manifests itself to the soul through the senses. And what is essential in the senses, most spiritual, most subtle is itself stuff of that eternal quality and power. But energy or power of being in Nature is the Divine himself in his Prakriti; each sense in its purity is therefore that Prakriti, each sense is the Divine in his dynamic conscious force.
This we gather better from the other terms of the series. “I am the light of sun and moon, the manhood in man, the intelli- gence of the intelligent, the energy of the energetic, the strength of the strong, the ascetic force of those who do askesis, tapasya .” “I am life in all existences.” In each case it is the energy of the essential quality on which each of these becomings depends for what it has become, that is given as the characteristic sign indicating the presence of the divine Power in their nature.