Recap Chapter 17 – 19 & Chapter XXI Paragraph 4

Study Notes

                                                          Chapter 17 to 19 – Recap

Chapter XVII – The Divine Soul

  • The divine soul (in the supermind) has not descended into the ignorance by the fall of Spirit into Matter. In its consciousness it lives in the original Truth of things in inalienable unity like the Divine Existence itself. But by the play of Divine Maya, by the distinction of the comprehending and apprehending Truth-consciousness it enjoys both difference and unity with God and with other divine souls.
  • The divine soul would be self-contained in the conscious play of Sachchidananda. In its being it would be a pure and infinite self-existence. In its becoming it would be a free play of immortal life, not involved in the darkness of our material being and ignorance. In its consciousness it is a part of the infinite truth. It would not be limited by any poise it assumes in its relations with others.
  • The presence of the Absolute would be the very foundation of its being both in unity and the differentiation. It would be present both in its timeless self and in all moments of Time and in its spaceless being and in its extension in space. The Divine soul would live simultaneously in the One (self-concentration) and the Many (self-extension), the two terms of the eternal Sachchidananda, not bound by duality.
  • The divine soul in its view of things is the mould of the Truth-Consciousness. The divine soul will be aware of all variation of being, consciousness, will and delight (Sachchidananda) as the extension of that self-concentrated unity, developing itself not into division but into an extended form of infinite oneness.
  • We regard the three poises as three grades of Supermind based on our mental perception. But the divine soul would embrace these three poises in one and the same comprehensive self-realisation simultaneously. It is the defect of our mentality which compels us to focus on any one of these aspects of self-knowledge to the exclusion of others.
  • Comprehensive self-knowledge will be the basis of all relations of the divine soul with its supreme Self and with other selves in other forms. These relations will be relations of Existence, Consciousness, Knowledge, will and force and love and delight – all aspects of Sachchidananda. Such a relation will have the nature of preserving the inalienable sense of unity in spite of the apparent difference.
  • In its relations with others in its aspects of being, knowledge and will it is guided by the rule of unity – will cannot be in conflict with knowledge nor the will nor the knowledge can be in conflict with delight. Knowledge, will and delight of one soul will not be in conflict with that of another soul.
  • As mind uses judgement, observation, memory, sympathy proper to its own being, Supermind would effect the relations of soul with soul by forces, faculties, functionings proper to supramental being. Otherwise, there would be no play of differentiation. The essential condition of divine Life is the absence of separate egoism and of division in consciousness.

Chapter XVIII – Mind and Supermind

  • Supramental life seems to be a state of consciousness, a state of active relation and mutual enjoyment possessed by the souls without body, experienced in a world without physical forms. Living in a world of mind, life and body we may doubt whether divine life would be possible on earth.
  • We have not studied the connections of the four divine terms – Existence, Consciousness-Force, Bliss (Sat-chit-ananda) and the divine Maya- the Truth-consciousness with our body, mind and life. Till we tie the missing knots of connection, the world will remain unexplained to us and we may think we cannot attain to the Divine Life. In fact, what we call undivine in our world can only be an action of the four divine principles.
  • Mind is a consciousness which measures, limits, cuts out forms of things from the indivisible whole. Mind deals with the parts separately; not as aspects of a whole and subjects them to its own characteristic activity – division and analysis. It deals with the whole that form part of a greater whole. Mind again breaks this subordinate whole into further parts and so on.
  • If mind goes beyond and tries to conceive a real whole it will lose itself in a foreign element, into the ocean of the intangible. Mind cannot possess the infinite. The role of the Mind is always to translate infinite in terms of the finite; to measure off, to limit and to depiece. It is the centre of the great Ignorance.
  • There is a subordinate process of delimitation without that the world would not have been created. This subordinate process may be called the divine Mind which is subordinate of the Supermind. The apprehending consciousness is called the Prajnana. Avidya is the self-ignoring faculty that separates the action of the mind from the action of the supermind.
  • Mind being an action of the Infinite depieces as well as aggregates endlessly. Mind cuts the being into wholes, into smaller wholes, into atoms and into primal atoms. But the Mind cannot end up in creating nothingness because of the saving action of Supermind.
  • The fall of mind starts from the individual soul viewing everything from its own stand point by an exclusive concentration of consciousness in one particular moment of time, in one particular point in space, in one particular form. Rigidity and fixity mark the operations of the Mind. It bases everything on the apparent stabilities of force and consciousness. In reality there are no fixed forms.
  • Identification with our body further contributes to the ignorance of mind. All the time we are concerned with what the physical senses tell us. Yet there is a life mind which does not end with the death of the body.
  • The corporeal mind, which is our surface mind in the front, undergoes all physical experience. Behind our surface mind there is subconscious or subliminal part which knows itself as more than the body. This part is responsible for our larger, deeper and more forceful dynamic action of our surface mind and for our first realisation of a soul or inner being, Pranamaya Purusha.
  • Behind the life mind there is a pure mind, the clearer and reflective mentality. It is free from absorption into life. It is the source of the pure thinker, the mental being, the manomaya purusha. Still this pure mind is not free from the original error of mind because it is still its separate mental self.
  • When the veil that is separating the mind from the supermind is removed and is made passive and silent to a supramental action and then the mind becomes instrumental to the divine Real-Idea. We perceive the Truth behind all distortions. We still perceive the division yet we do not lose sight of the Oneness.
  • Either the knowledge of the whole or the knowledge of the essence is essential for the right knowledge of the part. Hence there is an element of error in human knowledge which knows only the part. Self-ignorance is the root of all the perversity of our existence which is strengthened in the self-limitation, the egoism. The ignorance and the perversity we see in this world are not the play of an absolute falsehood but only the distortion of the truth and right of things. It is the result of Mind viewing things in the division it makes. Mind must return to the Truth-consciousness from which it fell.

Chapter XIX – Life

  • Life manifests itself upon earth with Matter as its basis. It is essentially a form of the one cosmic Energy and its dynamic movement. It maintains the forms by an unceasing process of disintegration and renewal of their substance. This process shows that the natural opposition we make between death and life is an error of our mentality.
  • Disintegration of substance and its renewal, maintenance and change of form are the constant process of life. Even in the death only the material of one form of life is broken up to serve as material for other forms of life. There is one all-pervading Life which is imperishable and eternal.
  • We do not consider Life as a Force which creates, maintains and destroys forms. What we mean by Life is a particular result of universal force with which we are familiar, manifesting itself only in the animal and the plant but not in other material forms like metal, stone, gas. Movement, breathing, eating, feeling and desires are only processes of life and not life itself.
  • It is proven that human life can remain in the body when the breathing and the beating of the heart, thought to be essential for life, are temporarily suspended, yet the body can remain in full consciousness. It was discovered by an Indian Scientist that response to stimulus is observed in plants and in metals as well.
  • There is a constant dynamic energy in movement in the universe. In each physical body or object, plant or animal or metal, the same dynamic force is stored and active. A certain interchange of these two forces gives us the phenomena which we associate with the idea of life. It is this action that we recognise as the action of Life-Energy.
  • Life-Force maintains dynamic energy of life in the body. Even when a form appears to us to be dead or its outer activities are suspended this force exists in its potentiality and can be revived within certain limits.
  • When the Life-force in the body becomes entirely inert, not responding to the pressure of the environing forces, the process of disintegration of life begins. In this case, there is Life in the body which is busy with the process of disintegration of the formed substance in order to escape in its elements and constitute with them new forms. The Will in the universal force that held the form together, now withdraws from the constitution, supporting a process of dispersion. Real death of the body happens now only.
  • The interchange of Life-Force takes place between different forms it has built up. Each form constantly takes into itself and gives out again the breath and energy of the common Force and nourishes itself with it by various means.
  • We admit the presence of life in the plant but not in the metal, the earth and the chemical atom because the phenomena of life are obvious in the plant. When a sensitive plant shrinks from a contact it appears that there is a nervous reaction. It means there is a subconscious sensation in the plant as we have subconscious operations of similar nature in ourselves. In human beings these subconscious perceptions and sensations can be brought to the surface long after they have happened. It is quite possible that there is a more rudimentary life operation of the subconscious sense-mind in the metal.
  • The Force which builds up the atom is basically the Chit-Tapas or Chit-Shakti of the Vedanta, the consciousness-force. It manifests itself as nervous energy full of submental sensation in the plant, as desire-sense and desire-will in the primary animal forms, as mental will and knowledge in man. The Life in the plant is differently organised than in animal. Yet it is the same power characterised by birth, growth and death.
  • There is an involution of life with all these powers in Matter for a later evolution and emergence. We cannot think that Life is a new creation magically introduced into the Nature in an inexplicable manner.
  • Life is essentially the same everywhere from atom to man. Life is a universal operation of Conscious-Force in three stages. In the lowest, the vibration is still in the sleep of Matter; it is entirely subconscious and wholly mechanical. In the middle stage the vibration becomes capable of a response which is still submental but on the verge of consciousness. The highest is that in which life develops conscious mentality.

                                                                      Chapter XXI
                                                                The Ascent of Life


     When Life reaches its second status, that which we recognise as vitality, the contrary phenomenon takes the lead and the physical basis of the vital ego is obliged to consent to dissolution. Its constituents are broken up so that the elements of one life can be used to enter into the elemental formation of other lives. The extent to which this law reigns in Nature has not yet been fully recognised and indeed cannot be until we have a science of mental life and spiritual existence as sound as our present science of physical life and the existence of Matter. Still we can see broadly that not only the elements of our physical body, but those of our subtler vital being, our life-energy, our desire-energy, our powers, strivings, passions enter both during our life and after our death into the life-existence of others.


     We have seen in the previous paragraph that in the first status, Life is characterised by division and rigidity of matter. There is self-assertion of physical separateness. In the second stage comes the Life principle, the vitality. The physical type of separate ego is obliged to undergo dissolution. The constituents of the form are broken up. The elements of one life are used to form the elements of other lives.
     We have not recognised the full extent to which this law (of dissolution of one form and constitution in another form) operates in Nature. Because we have not yet developed the science of mental life and spiritual life as we have developed the science of physical life and material existence.
     It is also a fact that besides the elements of our physical body, the elements of our subtler vital being, our life-energy, our desire-energy, our powers, our passions enter both during our life and after our death into the life-existence of others.

An ancient occult knowledge tells us that we have a vital frame as well as a physical and this too is after death dissolved and lends itself to the constitution of other vital bodies; our life energies while we live are continually mixing with the energies of other beings. A similar law governs the mutual relations of our mental life with the mental life of other thinking creatures. There is a constant dissolution and dispersion and a reconstruction effected by the shock of mind upon mind with a constant interchange and fusion of elements. Interchange, intermixture and fusion of being with
being, is the very process of life, a law of its existence.


     We have a vital body as well as a physical body. Our vital body is dissolved after death and its constituents are used to form other vital bodies. During our life time also, our vital energies are in constant exchange with the energies of other beings.
     The same law applies to the relations of our mental life with the mental life of other thinking creatures. There is shock of mind upon mind with a constant interchange and fusion of elements. This creates a constant dissolution and dispersion and a reconstruction.
     Interchange, intermixture and fusion among beings is the very process of life.