The Atman or the Universal Divine puts out many projections of itself in order to support manifestation. The portion of the Divine which supports the individual Self is called the Central Being or Jivatman.
This Central Being can be called the unborn individual self – it is neither born nor evolves but is immutable and remains one with the Divine. It presides over the individual manifestation by putting forth a mental, vital and physical Purusha (Being) which support the evolving man.
Sri Aurobindo in a conversation with Pavitra
Pavitra: What is the difference between the psychic being behind the heart-centre and the central being above the head? Are they two beings or one single being ?
Sri Aurobindo: Naturally, from one point of view, they are one. But your being, though one, is composed of many distinct beings. Just as your mental being is different from your physical or vital beings, so the psychic being, the soul, is different from the central being.
The psychic being is the transmitter which receives the light and transmits it to the lower personality. It is that which remains at the back and governs the personality. The psychic being is in direct communication with the truth, which it organises and transmits to the outer being. The central being cannot organise the truth: it is above all evolution. It is the psychic being which develops spiritually through the different personalities
Pavitra: You spoke of two ways. One direct to the the supermind through the mind, the other by the opening of the psychic being. Are they really two different paths ? And what are their characteristics ?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, there are two movements. Sometimes the mind opens first to the light and the supermind works then through the mind and uses the machinery of mind. Sometimes the psychic being, which is always behind — without a psychic aspiration nothing in this Yoga is possible — comes forward. There is then no mental illumination, but a burning fire which turns the whole being upwards. It makes then the progress easy. Afterwards of course the whole machinery of nature is also directed from above, but the mental movement is not the chief one.
[Pavitra. Conversations with Sri Aurobindo]
Jivatman, Spark—Soul and Psychic Being
The Jivatman, spark-soul and psychic being are three different forms of the same reality and they must not be mixed up together, as that confuses the clearness of the inner experience.
The Jivatman or spirit, as it is usually called in English, is self-existent above the manifested or instrumental being—it is superior to birth and death, always the same, the individual Self or Atman. It is the eternal true being of the individual.
The soul is a spark of the Divine which is not seated above the manifested being, but comes down into the manifestation to support its evolution in the material world. It is at first an undifferentiated power of the divine consciousness containing all possibilities which have not yet taken form, but to which it is the function of evolution to give form. This spark is there in all living beings from the lowest to the highest.
The psychic being is formed by the soul in its evolution. It supports the mind, vital, body, grows by their experiences, carries the nature from life to life. It is the psychic or chaitya purusha. At first it is veiled by mind, vital and body, but as it grows, it becomes capable of coming forward and dominating the mind, life and body; in the ordinary man it depends on them for expression and is not able to take them up and freely use them. The life of the being is animal or human and not divine. When the psychic being can by sadhana become dominant and freely use its instruments, then the impulse towards the Divine becomes complete and the transformation of mind, vital and body, not merely their liberation, becomes possible.
The Self or Atman being free and superior to birth and death the experience of the Jivatman and its unity with the supreme or universal Self brings the sense of liberation, it is this which is necessary for the supreme spiritual deliverance: but for the transformation of the life and nature the awakening of the psychic being and and its rule over the nature are indispensable.
The psychic being realises its oneness with the true being, the Jivatman, but it does not change into it.
The bindu seen above may be a symbolic way of seeing the Jivatman, the portion of the Divine; the aspiration there would naturally be for the opening of the higher consciousness so that the being may dwell there and not in the ignorance. The Jivatman is already one with the Divine in reality, but what is needed is that the rest of the consciousness should realise it.
The aspiration of the psychic being is for the opening of the whole lower nature, mind, vital, body to the Divine, for the love and union with the Divine, for its presence and power within the heart, for the transformation of the mind, life and body by the descent of the higher consciousness into this instrumental being and nature.
Both aspirations are essential and indispensable for the fullness of this Yoga. When the psychic imposes its aspiration on the mind, vital and body, then they too aspire and this is what was felt as the aspiration from the level of the lower being. The aspiration felt above is that of the Jivatman for the higher consciousness with its realisation of the One to manifest in the being. Therefore both aspirations help each other. The seeking of the lower being is necessarily at first intermittent and oppressed by the ordinary consciousness. It has, by sadhana, to become clear, constant, strong and enduring.
The sense of peace, purity and calm is brought about by the union of the lower with the higher consciousness. It is usually either intermittent or else remains in a deeper consciousness, veiled often by the storms and agitations of the surface, it is seldom permanent at first, but it can become permanent by increased frequency and endurance of the calm and peace and finally by the full descent of the eternal peace and calm and silence of the higher conscious- ness into the lower nature.
(Letters of Sri Aurobindo, 1947, The Central Being and the Soul)