Consciousness is awareness and has four states – unconscious (dreamless sleep), subconscious (dream-filled sleep), conscious (waking state) and superconscious (Turya, Samadhi). In normal daily life, consciousness helps the senses to see the objects of the world with thoughts of acquisition, rejection and resignation. Dhyana purifies consciousness. Samadhi leads consciousness towards the soul.
Consciousness, though single, directs multiple thoughts, sometimes creating disparities between words and deeds. It is indirectly responsible for numerous activities, and becomes the source of desires and their fulfilment. If it stops directing thoughts, the need to culture the consciousness towards transformation does not arise.
Consciousness is the veil between body and soul. It can be pulled in two directions; outward toward its mother, prakriti or inward towards its father, purusa. If consciousness is sea, its movements (vrittis) are the ripples. Composition of body, soul and consciousness are explained as under:
Composition of body:
The body is composed of seven different sheaths viz. skeletal (structure), physiological (energy), emotional (mind), intellectual (intellect), blissful, consciousness and soul (annamya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijanamaya, anandamaya, citta and atman respectively). Blissful sheath is called as causal body (Karana sarrira). Physiological, emotional and intellectual sheaths form the subtle body (suksma sarrira), and the skeletal sheath is the gross body (karya sarrira).
As per Kapil’s Samhya darshan, Prakriti is the root material, from this consciousness (Mahat) is produced. From consciousness, springs ego, intelligence, mind, five subtle elements (tanamtras), five senses of perception, five organs of action and five gross elements.
Soul (purusa, atman, seer):
The soul is absolute pure knowledge, eternal, changeless, formless and has no particular location. Universal soul or Parmataman is seed of all individual souls and free from influence of nature (Prakriti). It is unalloyed.
Consciousness is the fluid enveloping the mind, intellect and ego. The fluid tends to become opaque due to its contact with the external world via these three components which receive sensory impressions. The result is that the soul is obscured.