Letters of Sri Aurobindo
2. Integral Yoga and Other Paths
Fragment ID: 94
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Sri Aurobindo — Unknown addressee
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There is no difference between such a description1 and what is meant by soul, except that it is called “impersonal” – but evidently here impersonal is used as opposed to the thing dependent on name, body and form, what is called personality. Europeans especially, but also people without philosophic ideas would easily mistake this outward personality for the soul and then they would deny the name of soul to the unborn and endless entity. Do they then consider it as spirit or self – ātman? But the difficulty is that the old Buddhists rejected the conception of ātman also. So we are left entirely at sea. The Nihilistic Buddhistic teaching is plain and comprehensible that there is no soul, only a bundle of Sanskaras continuing or a stream of them renewing themselves without dissolution (Nirvana). But this Mahayanist affair seems a sort of loose and curt compromise with Vedanta.
1 “An impersonal principle, this microcosmic representation of the macrocosmic persists throughout all existences, or states of conditioned being within the Sangsara.... But the impersonal consciousness principle is not to be in any way identified with the personality represented by a name, or bodily form or a Sangsaric mind... it is itself non-Sangsaric, being uncreated, unborn, unshaped, beyond human concept or definition, and therefore transcending time and space... it is beginningless and endless.” Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines by Dr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz.
2 CWSA, volume 35: which
3 CWSA, volume 35: covert