Part 1. Anisa: The soul forgetting itself in matter
The Soul and Nature are two poises of One Truth. Prakriti, quiescent, withdraws herself into the heart of the Purusha; the Purusha expresses itself through Prakriti. Indeed Prakriti is the power of the Purusha. She builds for the soul the instruments needed for their play and gives the experiences necessary for the growth and fullness of the evolving soul in creation. This evolving soul is a portion of the Jivatma sent down into the bounds of Time and Space for the replicating the truth of Iswara and Shakti here, in the conditions of matter and earthly life. But for that both must first accept the limiting conditions. This is the first poise of the soul in nature, a state of utter bondage to ignorance, a state of subjection and slavery to nature, anisa.
A part is seen, we take it for the whole
A phenomenon stands out significant
Against dim backgrounds of eternity;
We accept its face and pass by all it means;
A part is seen, we take it for the whole.
All our present knowledge and understanding is based on appearances. Not only do we take these appearances for the true reality but also forget that these appearances themselves are changing. We see a very small slice on the surface for a brief moment in Time and miss out the vast inner landscape and the complex play of forces that are working within. It is therefore, at best a partial and limited knowledge and at worst, a crass ignorance wearing the illusion of knowing.
He moves there as the Soul, as Nature she.
Thus have they made their play with us for roles:
Author and actor with himself as scene,
He moves there as the Soul, as Nature she.
This world is not the result of a mechanical force of nature creating objects out of Nothing and moving them randomly. Nor is the sense of self within us a figment of imagination in an ambiguous play of Chance. In truth it is the Lord and His Shakti who have become this play. It is the Lord who has become the finite individual Soul, even as it is the Divine Shakti that has become this inferior and limited Nature.
The dense veil of Ignorance
Here on the earth where we must fill our parts,
We know not how shall run the drama’s course; (p 62 begins)
Our uttered sentences veil in their thought.
Each of us has a part to fulfill, a role to play, a role decided by the Lord. However, due to the dense veil of Ignorance that hangs around our soul, we know not our role or the course that the earthly drama will take towards the eventual fulfillment of our destiny.
Only a darkened little we can feel
Her mighty plan she holds back from our sight:
She has concealed her glory and her bliss
And disguised the Love and Wisdom in her heart;
Of all the marvel and beauty that are hers,
Only a darkened little we can feel.
Darkness and Ignorance are the self-disguise of the Divine Shakti. It is this deliberate self-limitation and self-concealment that is the secret cause of this lower Nature with its attendant darkness and unconsciousness. If we could pierce through this veil we would become conscious and privy of the wonders of the Spirit that are hidden behind the veil. We shall then discover the very Source and fount of all the love and wisdom and bliss and beauty that we struggle to seek outside but hardly find.
A diminished godhead
He too wears a diminished godhead here;
He has forsaken his omnipotence,
His calm he has foregone and infinity.
Just as the Divine Shakti limits Herself and becomes an ignorant lower Nature, so too the Lord, the Ishwara, becomes a soul struggling in Ignorance forgetful of its essential divinity, forgetful of his limitless Power and Wisdom.
He has forgotten himself
He knows her only, he has forgotten himself;
To her he abandons all to make her great.
Identified completely with this inferior nature, the soul, the individual psychic being completely forgets itself and its divinity. Through this complete self-forgetfulness, the soul seeks to be able to redeem nature too one day. It accepts bondage out of its free-will so that nature too can be uplifted one day to her truth and share the liberty and glory of the Spirit.
He hopes to find himself anew
He hopes in her to find himself anew,
Incarnate, wedding his infinity’s peace
To her creative passion’s ecstasy.
This plunge into Ignorance was necessary to bring out endless possibilities and richness of the play as an ignorant nature struggles and strives to discover the Lord who is hidden within her. At the same time, through this process of self-forgetfulness the soul rediscovers its own full potential through the creative process of Nature. The bliss of oneness becomes the bliss of a myriad, many-sided One.
In this first stage of the soul’s infancy, nature is more like a womb for the soul to develop unconsciously. It knows not itself and knows not nature but simply moves to whatever experience nature takes it through as a slave tied to its master. It has no separate will of its own and simply follows nature’s moods and fancies thinking them to be himself and his will. It is a state of total self-forgetfulness for the soul.
Part 2. Sakshi: The soul involved in the Mind as Witness and student of Nature
Then comes the second stage of our soul-growth, when the individual soul is able to separate itself and stand apart from nature. Thence it becomes the witness of her scene, still without being able to master her, but one who observes her scene, studies her ways and yet remains tied to her. Yet the soul begins to become conscious of something other than nature and nature too begins to develop new modes and activities proper to the growing light of the Soul. He becomes the mental witness, the sakshi.
The Witness of her scene
Although possessor of the earth and heavens,
He leaves to her the cosmic management
And watches all, the Witness of her scene.
Though the secret Lord of Nature, who can claim the earth and heavens for its sport, yet the soul becomes a passive witness indifferently consenting to nature’s inferior play. He accepts to move in the limits and boundaries set up by nature while she manages his vast estate.
A supernumerary on her stage
A supernumerary on her stage,
He speaks no words or hides behind the wings.
Time and Space are the stage and the play is enacted by Nature at his behest. And yet he is just a Witness who watches the play without any active participation in it.
The mental purusha studies the ways of Nature
He takes birth in her world, waits on her will,
Divines her enigmatic gesture’s sense,
The fluctuating chance turns of her mood,
Works out her meanings she seems not to know
And serves her secret purpose in long Time.
As the Witness, the soul follows the course of nature to understand her ways and the deeper sense behind her many moods. It is the light of the witness self falling upon nature that makes her conscious and seek consciously what she is thus far seeking unconsciously.
Nature begins to reveal the hidden godhead within her
As one too great for him he worships her;
He adores her as his regent of desire,
He yields to her as the mover of his will,
He burns the incense of his nights and days
Offering his life, a splendour of sacrifice.
A student and pupil of Nature, as her lover and worshipper, as one who is the giver of boons and the power fulfilling our heart’s desires, The Soul begins to discover the touch divine in Nature. He sees in nature not just some unconscious energy but a conscious power that moves all things and therefore naturally draws the soul in a new relationship with her. The unconscious slave and the bonded labourer tied to nature now becomes her lover and worshipper.
The soul discovers the sense of the divine through nature
A rapt solicitor for her love and grace,
His bliss in her to him is his whole world:
He grows through her in all his being’s powers;
He reads by her God’s hidden aim in things.
The growing soul begins to feel the divinity hidden behind the play of nature. It comes in contact with the bliss of God through her. It begins to find ways and means to propitiate her and thereby harness her powers and energies for his use. Thus the soul grows and begins to discover a hidden meaning through the moods and movements of nature.
The soul delights in nature
Or, a courtier in her countless retinue,
Content to be with her and feel her near
He makes the most of the little that she gives (p 63 begins)
And all she does drapes with his own delight.
Knowing itself a part of nature, the soul involved in the mind of man feels his own delight in her and through her.
The growing harmony between the soul and nature
A glance can make his whole day wonderful,
A word from her lips with happiness wings the hours.
Slowly a new harmony begins to develop between the soul and nature and life is filled with wonder and joy.
The instrument of the soul
He leans on her for all he does and is:
He builds on her largesses his proud fortunate days
And trails his peacock-plumaged joy of life
And suns in the glory of her passing smile.
The soul in mind depends upon nature to express itself and it is through her that it begins to climb to its own greater heights and deeper possibilities and, as it thus ascends, a happier face of nature dawns upon his days.
All is their play
In a thousand ways he serves her royal needs;
He makes the hours pivot around her will,
Makes all reflect her whims; all is their play:
This whole wide world is only he and she.
The growing light of intelligence falling upon the fields and movements of Nature begin to glorify her and raise her to kingly heights. The soul entering into all the various mood of Nature touches them with its beauty and glory. Intrinsically tied to her the two together build this universe.
Thus the soul slowly learns to separate itself from nature as it ascends to the mind. It becomes the mental purusha so to say.