Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 403

Chaitya Purusha and Jivatman

Q: Is the psychic being different from it?

Yes, the psychic entity or the soul is greater than the psychic being, it is greater than that. The source is always greater. So there is in us a soul which is the source of our body, life and mind and which contains the potentialities of further development of the body, life and mind, and also the direction in which the body, life and mind are to move. In other words the soul may also be regarded as the law of the development of being. Law is always something that gives you direction -- whenever you use the word law it has the sense of a direction in which we are always guarded. Law is the guard, it keeps you within limits. The law is that which corrects the flow. There is a flow of movement. That flow is kept in guard, in limits by the soul. That flow is kept in a direction. So, that which keeps you in the right direction is the soul.

Now this soul, this psychic entity, is the true individual of our individuality. Our normal understanding of individuality is what we think of as our ego, but beyond the ego there is an individuality -- the true individual -- and that is the soul. We had at one time the opportunity to discuss this question in detail but just to refresh ourselves we may say that this soul is itself directed by the Jivatman. Jivatman is what may be defined as the transcendental Lord Himself who can be unique. Transcendental that is unique. This uniqueness is individuality. Each one of us is the unique transcendental but he is himself the Lord, tat tvam asi, that is the great truth of the Upanishad, thou art That. You are that. So, as far as That is concerned there is only one. We are different from each other only in the uniqueness of the expression of That. That expresses itself in innumerable ways and each one of the innumerable ways is one individuality. But because He is transcendental in nature -- He is Himself the Lord -- the uniqueness has the potentiality of universalising fully, limitlessly, so the individual has the capacity of universalising. That is why we all can be as vast as the universe, We can continuously become vast even though we are limited now. The reason why we can always grow into vastness is because fundamentally our uniqueness is not a limitation, our uniqueness is simply a point of action you might say, a specificity behind which stands the whole of the Supreme Lord Himself, who is himself the creator of the universe. So this individual is what is called in the Veda, Upanishads and the Gita, the Jiva. In Katha Upanishad there is a special mention of Jiva who is described as madbvadaha, he is the eater of honey. This is the description given in the Upanishad by yama that this Jiva is the eater of honey. He is the unique centration of the transcendental who is Satchidananda, and full of Ananda, therefore the very nature of it is honey. He constantly eats the honey; that is the special character of this individual. Now this individual, the Jivatman, is actually behind or above you might say, above the psychic entity or the soul. So the psychic entity is only a kind of a delegate of the individual; delegate for whom? A delegate that guides the body, life and mind in evolution. Therefore this psychic entity contains the potentialities derived from the uniqueness of the individual. All the potentialities, all that you are supposed to do is as it were contained there, and our body, life and mind are actually flowing from there. Although body, life and mind are not aware of it, but actually they are flowing from there, and they are flowing according to the law which is an expression of the uniqueness of the individuality.

That is why we have a concept not only of dharma but also swadharma. Each one has a swadharma, has a law of his own growth and this swadharma is actually expressed by the Jivatman. The potentialities of the jivatman are all contained in the psychic entity -- and when this psychic entity flows it allows the body, life and mind to move from itself, it controls the movements of all this secretly. Actually the psychic entity becomes psychic being to the extent to which it begins to shape itself more and more. Now this shaping of the psychic entity into psychic being is called the formed psychic entity. The formation of the psychic entity is called the psychic being. When the psychic entity which is full of potentialities, becomes expressed, and when its formation takes place, that formation is called the psychic being. Now that formation depends upon two factors. The extent to which the original nature of the psychic entity is able to express itself more and more in the body, life and mind, we can say that the psychic being has now developed more and more. Secondly the more and more it can control the body, life and mind, we can say it has grown, it has shaped better and better.