THE ATMAN – SRI AUROBINDO
Atman, our true self, is Brahman;
it is pure indivisible Being, self- luminous, self-concentrated in consciousness, self-concentrated in force, self-delighted. Its existence is light
and bliss. It is timeless, spaceless and free.
Atman represents itself to the consciousness of the creature in three states, dependent on the relations between Purusha and Prakriti, the Soul and Nature.
The Atman is the Self or Spirit that remains above, pure and stainless,
unaffected by the stains of life, by desire and ego and ignorance.
It is realised as the true being of the individual,
but also more widely as the same being in all and as the Self in the cosmos; it has also a self-existence above the individual and cosmos and it is then called the Paramatma, the supreme Divine Being.
Atman, the Self, represents itself differently in the sevenfold movement of Nature according to the dominant principle of the consciousness in the individual being.
– In the physical consciousness
Atman becomes the material being, annamaya purusha.
– In the vital or nervous consciousness
Atman becomes the vital or dynamic being, pranamaya purusha.
– In the mental consciousness
Atman becomes the mental being, manomaya purusha.
– In the consciousness proper to the universal Beatitude,
Atman becomes the all-blissful being or all-enjoying and all- productive Soul, anandamaya purusha.
– In the consciousness proper to the inﬁnite divine self- awareness which is also the inﬁnite all-effective Will (Chit- Tapas), Atman is the all-conscious Soul that is source and lord of the universe, chaitanya purusha.
– In the consciousness proper to the state of pure divine existence Atman is sat purusha, the pure divine Self.
Man, being one in his true Self with the Lord who inhabits all forms,
can live in any of these states of the Self in the world
and partake of its experiences.
He can be anything he wills from the material to the all-blissful being. Through the Anandamaya he can enter into the Chaitanya and Sat Purusha.
From His epic Savitri:
As a mother feels and shares her children’s lives,
She puts forth a small portion of herself,
A being no bigger than the thumb of man
Into a hidden region of the heart
To face the pang and to forget the bliss,
To share the suffering and endure earth’s wounds
And labour mid the labour of the stars.
This in us laughs and weeps, suffers the stroke,
Exults in victory, struggles for the crown;
Identiﬁed with the mind and body and life,
It takes on itself their anguish and defeat,
Bleeds with Fate’s whips and hangs upon the cross,
Yet is the unwounded and immortal self
Supporting the actor in the human scene.