Evolution of consciousness

The imaginative power of rajas and the elements of desire (raga) that this stimulates play a role in the initial germ of creation. The first evolute from prakrti is called mahat. This is universal intelligence. It is differentiated into Mind (buddhi) as individual consciousness. This intellect is determinative and discriminatory. Because of its close proximity to purus a in the evolutionary hierarchy Mind (buddhi) is sentient. Through this faculty we can discriminate between eternal and transient, real and unreal. In a state of sattva it is virtuous, wise, detached and powerful. In a state of tamas it holds to the opposite of these properties. Here the gunas show how the multiple variety in life manifests; sometimes ‘light’ and at others ‘dark’.

As nature differentiates further it creates ahamkara, the ‘I-maker’. This is individualised awareness that operates as a process whereby the ahamkara ‘owns’ different aspects of evolution as its own. It identifies with these aspects. We use the ‘I’ in language to refer to an individual identity that exists in its own right. This linguistic misnomer creates an intellectual and experiential inaccuracy as we identify with the ‘I’ and not the source. Ahamkara is a process necessary for the individuation that takes place in nature’s evolution. The fault of ignorance (avidya) arises on association of ahamkara as a ‘real’ and ‘separate’ entity. The ‘I-ness’ that perceives us as independent from consciousness and not interdependent is the aham kara. Through this individuation the gun a, as different aspects of nature, diversify and manifest with their own ego-identity.