In the ancient text of India, it is said that a human birth is essential for progress, and that even the Gods, if they desire to attain some new development, need to take birth in a human form. It is clear that generally the physical body, the vital nature and the mental development dissolve sequentially upon the death and dissolution of the body. It becomes obvious therefore that the development, the evolutionary progression that takes place, is not based in the body-life-mind complex or the ego-personality that attaches to them in any particular lifetime. It is at this point that the role of the psychic being, the soul, comes into play. It is the psychic being that survives death and takes a new form and enters a new life once it is ready to do so, having assimilated the essence of the experience of the completed life. This is not a particular individuality, not a particular ego, not a particular personality, but a spark of the Divine which carries out the mechanism of the universal creation in its unfolding of the increasing powers of consciousness being manifested.

Depending on the development and maturity of the specific psychic entity, it may actually play a role in the formation of a specific life experience and set of capacities in the body, the life-force and the mind it takes on. Yet for most, it is a matter of being drawn more or less automatically through affinity based on the level and stage of growth it has previously achieved, so as to have the appropriate set of experiences for its level of development.

The Mother observes: “The centre of organisation and transformation is always the presence of the psychic in the body. Therefore, it is a very big mistake to believe that the progress continues or even, as some believe, that it is more complete and rapid in the periods of transition between two physical lives; in general, there is no progress at all, for the psychic enters into a state of rest and the other parts, after a more or less ephemeral life in their own domain, are dissolved.”

“Earthly life is the place for progress. It is here, on earth, that progress is possible, during the period of earthly existence. And it is the psychic which carries the progress over from one life to another, by organising its own evolution and development itself.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VIII The Psychic Being and Inner Growth, pp. 158-159

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 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.