That apprehending consciousness, the Prajnana, places, as we have seen, the working of the indivisible All, active and formative, as a process and object of creative knowledge before the consciousness of the same All, originative and cognisant as the possessor and witness of its own working,—somewhat as a poet views the creations of his own consciousness placed before him in it as if they were things other than the creator and his creative force, yet all the time they are really no more than the play of self-formation of his own being in itself and are indivisible there from their creator. Thus Prajnana makes the fundamental division which leads to all the rest, the division of the Purusha, the conscious soul who knows and sees and by his vision creates and ordains, and the Prakriti, the Force-Soul or Nature-Soul which is his knowledge and his vision, his creation and his all-ordaining power.
The apprehending consciousness is called the Prajnana. It places the object of creative knowledge before the consciousness of the same All, from which everything originates. This originating consciousness is aware of itself as a possessor and witness of its own working. It is like a poet who views his own creations placed before him. He sees it as a third person, different than its creator. At the same time it is nothing but self-formation of his own being in itself. In reality it is indivisible from him as its creator.
Thus the Prajnana makes the fundamental division which leads to all the rest. It makes the division between the Purusha and the Prakriti. Purusha is the conscious soul who knows and sees and by his vision creates and determines how a thing should be. Prakriti is the Force-soul or Nature-Soul. It is the knowledge of the vision of the Purusha. It is the creation and the all-determining power of the Purusha.
Both are one Being, one existence, and the forms seen and created are multiple forms of that Being which are placed by Him as knowledge before Himself as knower, by Himself as Force before Himself as Creator. The last action of this apprehending consciousness takes place when the Purusha pervading the conscious extension of his being, present at every point of himself as well as in his totality, inhabiting every form, regards the whole as if separately, from each of the standpoints he has taken; he views and governs the relations of each soul-form of himself with other soul-forms from the standpoint of will and knowledge appropriate to each particular form.
Both Purusha and Prakriti are one Being, one Existence. The forms created are multiple forms of that Being. They are placed by Him as knowledge before Himself as knower, as Force before Himself as Creator.
The Purusha pervades (spreads) as the conscious extension of his being. He is present at every point of himself. Also He is present in his totality. He is present in every form. From each of the standpoints he has taken, he regards the whole as if separately. The various soul-forms are nothing but Himself. He views and governs relations of each soul-form with other soul-form from the will and knowledge appropriate to each soul-form.This conscious extension of Purusha is the last action of the apprehending consciousness.
Thus the elements of division have come into being. First, the infinity of the One has translated itself into an extension in conceptual Time and Space; secondly, the omnipresence of the One in that self-conscious extension translates itself into a multiplicity of the conscious soul, the many Purushas of the Sankhya; thirdly, the multiplicity of soul-forms has translated itself into a divided habitation of the extended unity. This divided habitation is inevitable the moment these multiple Purushas do not each inhabit a separate world of its own, do not each possess a separate Prakriti building a separate universe, but rather all enjoy the same Prakriti, —as they must do, being only soul-forms of the One presiding over the multiple creations of His power,—yet have relations with each other in the one world of being created by the one Prakriti.
This is how the elements of division have come into existence. First the infinity of the One has become an extension in conceptual Time and Space. The omnipresence of the One in its self-conscious extension has become the multiplicity of the conscious soul. They are described as many Purushas in Sankhya philosophy. Thirdly, the multiplicity of soul-forms has become divided habitation (living place) of extended unity.
The multiple Purushas do not each inhabit a separate world of its own. They do not each possess a separate Prakriti building a separate universe. But all Purushas enjoy the same Prakriti. Because all Purushas are only soul forms of the One. The One presides over the multiple creations of His power. Yet all the Purushas have relations with each other in the one world of being created by the one Prakriti. Hence the divided inhabitation of multiple Purushas become inevitable.
The Purusha in each form actively identifies himself with each; he delimits himself in that and sets off his other forms against it in his consciousness as containing his other selves which are identical with him in being but different in relation, different in the various extent, various range of movement and various view of the one substance, force, consciousness, delight which each is actually deploying at any given moment of Time or in any given field of Space.
The Purusha present in each form identifies himself with each form in which he is present. He delimits (limits) himself in each form. In his consciousness he contains his other selves. They are identical with him in being. But they are different in relation. They vary in extent, range of movement, view of one substance, force, consciousness and delight at any given moment and in any given field of space.
Granted that in the divine Existence, perfectly aware of itself, this is not a binding limitation, not an identification to which the soul becomes enslaved and which it cannot exceed as we are enslaved to our self-identification with the body and unable to exceed the limitation of our conscious ego, unable to escape from a particular movement of our consciousness in Time determining our particular field in Space; granted all this, still there is a free identification from moment to moment which only the inalienable self-knowledge of the divine soul prevents from fixing itself in an apparently rigid chain of separation and Time succession such as that in which our consciousness seems to be fixed and chained.
The Purushas delimit themselves in each soul-form. However, in the divine Existence this is not a binding limitation. It is not an identification of soul with a form in which the soul becomes enslaved and cannot free itself.
Whereas, we are enslaved to our self-identification with our body. We are unable to break free from the limitation of our ego. We are unable to escape from a particular movement of our consciousness in Time which determines our particular field in space.
Our consciousness is fixed and chained in the rigidity of separation and Time succession. Whereas the inalienable (inseparable) self-knowledge of the divine soul prevents such a fixation and rigidity. There is a free identification from moment to moment.
Thus the depiecing is already there; the relation of form with form as if they were separate beings, of will-of-being with will-of-being as if they were separate forces, of knowledge-of-being with knowledge-of-being as if they were separate consciousnesses has already been founded. It is as yet only “as if”; for the divine soul is not deluded, it is aware of all as phenomenon of being and keeps hold of its existence in the reality of being; it does not forfeit its unity: it uses mind as a subordinate action of the infinite knowledge, a definition of things subordinate to its awareness of infinity, a delimitation dependent on its awareness of essential totality—not that apparent and pluralistic totality of sum and collective aggregation which is only another phenomenon of Mind. Thus there is no real limitation; the soul uses its defining power for the play of well-distinguished forms and forces and is not used by that power.
The limiting of infinite into finite ‘depiecing’ is already there in this phenomenal world. The relation of form with form has been founded as if they were separate beings (sat aspect). The relation of will-of-being with will-of-being has been founded as if they were separate forces (chit-shakti aspect). The relation of knowledge-of-being with knowledge-of-being has been founded as if they were separate consciousnesses (chit aspect).
This separation is not real. It is only ‘as if’. Because even in the appearance of separation, the divine soul which is in each form is not deceived. It is aware of all as phenomenon (outward action) of being. It keeps hold of its existence in the reality of being.
The divine soul does not give up the unity. It uses the mind as subordinate action of the infinite knowledge. It uses the mind as a subordinate tool for defining its infinite awareness in finite terms. The divine soul is aware of essential totality. The delimitation of mind is dependent of this essential totality. Here the totality means Oneness. It is not a collective summing up of individual forms which is the phenomenon of Mind.
Sri Aurobindo says there is no real limitation. The soul uses its defining power for the play of well-distinguished forms and forces. The soul is not used by that power. It is above it.