We have a physical being, we have a vital energy including nervous energy, moral force and emotional energy, and we have a mental nature which includes thought, reasoning powers, and formulation of thought into word or deed. The vital force acts on its own plane as well as utilizes the physical being to effectuate its results, but the character of that energy is based in the way the vital element within us responds. Similarly, the mental nature acts, not only within its own sphere of mental energy, but also through both the vital force and the physical being when it is trying to effectuate some result in those realms. In each case, the succeeding term, vital or mental, has its own characteristic energy and vibrational capability and is not limited to the physical action. Thus, a powerful thought form can act upon the external world, on other receptive beings, without requiring the mechanism of speech or writing or other external and visible methods. The vital force, too, can be effective without overt action on the part of the individual in the physical frame.

All of these different forms of energy, physical, vital, mental (and others beyond the mental), are part of one continuum and thus, can impact one another, and act most directly within their own sphere of action and energy. In every instance, the energy output of any individual on the physical, vital and / or mental level is modified in its end result by its interaction with other forces that may modify, accentuate, dilute or even eliminate the vibration created. The end result is thus most often some kind of “blended” or “mixed” result which we can see everywhere in the world in our physical lives, in our vital, moral and emotional lives and in our mental lives.

while most people conceive of ‘karma’ as some kind of moral force of consequences, it is actually much more complex than a simple retribution or payment for an action any individual undertakes, affecting the individual now and in the future, others who are impacted by the effect of the action, and the world manifestation to the extent the action involves serious interface with and interaction with any of those world-forces or forms. Karma is the field of ‘action’ and thus, is not limited by its moral impact or results.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “… if Karma be a universal truth or the universal truth of being, it must be equally true of the inly-born mental and moral worlds of our action as in our outward relations with the physical universe. It is the mental energy that we put forth which determines the mental effect, — but subject to all the impact of past, present and future surrounding circumstance, because we are not isolated powers in the world, but rather our energy a subordinate strain and thread of the universal energy. The moral energy of our action determines similarly the nature and effect of the moral consequence, but subject too, — though to this element the rigid moralist does not give sufficient consideration, — to the same incidence of past, present and future surrounding circumstance. That this is true of the output of physical energy, needs no saying nor any demonstration. We must recognise these different types and variously formulated motions of the one universal Force, and it will not do to say from the beginning that the measure and quality of my inner being is some result of the output of a physical energy translated into mental and moral energies, — for instance, that my doing a good or a bad action or yielding to good or to bad affections and motives is at the mercy of my liver, or contained in the physical germ of my birth, or is the effect of my chemical elements or determined essentially and ultimately by the disposition of the constituent electrons of my brain and nervous system. Whatever drafts my mental and moral being may make on the corporeal for its supporting physical energy and however it may be affected by its borrowings, yet it is very evident that it uses them for other and larger purposes, has a supraphysical method, evolves much greater motives and significances. The moral energy is in itself a distinct power, has its own plane of Karma, moves me even, and that characteristically, to override my vital and physical nature. Forms of one universal Force at bottom — or at top — these may be, but in practice they are different energies and have to be so dealt with — until we can find what that universal Force may be in its highest purest texture and initial power and whether that discovery can give us in the perplexities of our nature a unifying direction.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 1 Life Through the Eyes of the Yogin, pp.10-12

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at http://www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at http://www.lotuspress.com