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'Agni-Soma' functioning- Level 2 ( inter personal level)

------- © Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary

Interpersonal level of Agni “The strength of one who attacks has in the opposition he needs a kind of gauge; every growth reveals itself in the seeking out of a potential opponent -- or problem: for a philosopher who is warlike also challenges problems to a duel.”

Level 2 Agni takes the uniquely expressed individual ego consciousness (intrapersonal agni) into a larger interpersonal interaction with others where the separateness of the individual is not only maintained but further refined through competitive interplay. In every competition, every combat and every struggle with another, at some level one is needed to exhibit, refine and further differentiate one's skills and powers. Interpersonal Agni bestows the ability to extend the will, in a forceful, aggressive, and desirous manner. Thus level 2 agni aids in experiences that further discrimination through acts of separation. Through combats and competitions, which confirm our ability and strength, and also determine the elasticity and extent of our inherent prowess and fighting spirit, interpersonal agni guarantees that the intrapersonal self-identity is further steeled, matured, and developed within the interpersonal dimension of every daily life. Interpersonal agni allows for the maintenance of distinctive self-borders (as well as territoriality), a function that is of special importance when one's identity is threatened physically or psychologically by another person or thing. Interpersonal assertiveness must be utilized not only to protect oneself from physical intrusion but also from the mesh of psychological projections that others may attempt to impose upon us. This level of Agni determines one's ability to define, maintain, protect, and defend one's distinctive self-borders from intrusion or invasion by others. This includes both physical and psychological threats such as being controlled by another person's will. The capacity to energize, and extend one's own will, power, and independence is accomplished through the conscious integration and progressive evolution of interpersonal agni energy in one's life. A certain level of interpersonal agni functioning is required to take the necessary steps when confronting life's challenges. The urge to expand self-identity drives one to actively overcome obstacles and to obtain the object of one's desire. In this process we extend the boundary of the individual self, especially by experiencing the empowering radiance of success and the fulfilling expansion of interpersonal power. The importance of Agni's role in defining, maintaining, protecting, and defending the distinctive individual borders from intrusion, invasion by others works at all levels including the cellular. Interpersonal Agni is the intelligence at work in the immune system that serves the same function of identifying self from non-self based on the principle of ligand/receptor binding. In a competitive and deadly world, self is usually good and non-self is usually bad. This basic guiding principle of agni defines both the strengths and the weaknesses of all agni processes (including the immune system) and foreshadows its inherent problems. 

Summary of ‘interpersonal' Agni functions: 

  • Indomitable strength
  • Healthy aggression as a natural mechanism for survival
  • Ability to draw and defend boundaries, territoriality
  • Ability to form fraternal bonds especially with same gender members in a group
  • Competitiveness, challenge and combat as a means to growth

  • Ability to assert the self on an interpersonal basis, especially in one-to-one or small group situations.

  • The ability to forcefully grasp and possess the object of one's desires if required

  • Ambition and the effort to realise the ambition

  • Properly channelises our energy for work, competitive drive, ambition, and desire to acquire and possess

  • Courage, fortitude, endurance, valour, stamina, the dynamic will to push forward even in the face of hardship and uncertainty, are all manifestations of a fully developed level 2 agni

  • At a process level corresponds to enneagram type 1, though not necessarily as a fixed personality type

  • Planetary Archetype- Mars

 

Fully developed and well integrated ‘interpersonal' agni results in the following:
  • Tremendous confidence, courage, endurance, strength, strong determination, combativeness, sharp intellect, organisational ability,

  • Bold, contentious, challenging, competitive,

  • Immediacy of action, ability to take risks,

  • Goal oriented, the tendency to fight all things in comparison of victory,
Un-integrated or immaturely developed ‘interpersonal' Agni results in:
  • Rashness and impulsivity, acting before thinking, (Agni rules desire. Desire roots us in the present; it demands life, life lived now. Improperly developed Agni forces us to act without thinking, leading to impulsive acts of aggression, acts that one may have to regret later)

  • An aggressively assertive self that extends itself into the environment and others' lives in a ruthless, unforgiving manner that it incurs severe damage upon the self, psyche and life of others.

  • In maintaining separateness of self-identity, interpersonal agni may in extreme form sever rather than merely separate. This extreme manifestation of Agni's energies brings about ego-inflation by, or over-identification with, power, drive, and dominance over others. The creative and productive experience of interacting with other self-identities is now replaced by the dominating abuse of oneself against another.

Interpersonal level of Soma

Level 2 soma takes the original soma principle of ‘union and merging distinctions' to a different dimension. The emotional foundation of intrapersonal soma is further expanded and refined in the interpersonal dimension. Unlike the maternal merging of the intrapersonal, level 2 is about interpersonal experiences of intimacy including the romantic. Level 2 soma energies diminish the sense of separateness and isolation of the individual by the powerfully felt Soma principle of ‘union' that serves to increase interpersonal harmony. Interpersonal unions draw us out, toward the “other” touching us deep within in a profound manner. But the ‘other' person is only a guise as we actually encounter ourselves in the ‘other'. We encounter an image of our own emotional self in the form of another person. Such experiences actually lead us further into ourselves by reflecting our own self in the mirror of relationships. Interpersonal soma's function of empathising with others softens the harsh defensive stance of interpersonal agni. Both the ability to define and defend one's boundaries (interpersonal agni) and the ability to empathise with another and merge distinctions (interpersonal soma) are equally important in the interpersonal realm. Ideally corresponding levels of agni and soma counterbalance each other in an ideal person.  Level 2 soma functioning is indicated by a loving and affectionate nature, and a peaceful and sociable personality. This level of Soma instincts could lead to an urge to beautify oneself in an attempt to be attractive to others. The urge to live in beautiful surroundings is only an externalization of the inner need to see harmony and beauty. Unsightly surroundings can provoke or strengthen an already existing inner emotional discord. Through the interpersonal exchange of our feelings and emotions, through the act of intimate sharing, we are awakened to the finer feelings of grace, elegance, harmony, proportion, and beauty, all of which stir a feeling of awe and appreciation for life, of an appreciation of a meaning and purpose to seemingly ordinary things. Emotion, Love and Beauty, the three main energies of the second level of soma are all inter-related. One's appreciation for art and beauty is awakened in the initial wake of a romantic relationship. The inclination to watch a beautiful sun set or the starry night or the dance of the waves, an appreciation for life, a love for all that is good in life, all arise simultaneously with the initial flow of romantic love. Deep and profound Soma experiences facilitate the union of previously separate elements within the self restoring a sense of unity between the discordant elements. Thus outer harmony can trigger or aid inner harmony. Outer harmony resonates internally as well for the external is merely a reflection of the internal. Any experience that triggers an expansive sense of interpersonal harmony and well-being can awaken a sense of beauty. Through the guise of a lover, or an artwork of beauty, the soul reaches beyond the personal sphere as it encounters a broader, interpersonal realm. Through such interpersonal experiences the soul tries to lose its sense of separateness, its identity, its sense of meaningless separation (even if only for a brief moment) and attain union with the Cosmic. According to the ancients, harmony and symmetry, in their highest aspect, are a quality of the Supreme. The yogi sees divinity in beauty. Harmony, Symmetry and Beauty are the closest to wholeness. The seers had captured this in extolling Divinity as ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram' meaning ‘Truth Auspiciousness Beauty'. Note: the following paragraph is more relevant to the transpersonal level than the interpersonal level Evolution of the transpersonal from intrapersonal and interpersonal Soma impulses  In adoring divinity in beauty, the yogi takes the second level of soma to a transpersonal level. This is not the ordinary beauty of form, but the beauty beyond form, the internal beauty, the beauty of the light of consciousness, awareness and perception. This occurs only when the mind is free of routine concerns and spontaneously rests in pure awareness. When unbounded awareness arises, the mind finds perception delightful, rather blissful. Even the most ordinary thing is transformed into the most beautiful and evokes bliss from within. We realize that our sorrow and suffering is a delusion, born of ignorance and false identification with the separate self. The world of illusion merges into the absolute and we realize our ‘ oneness ' with cosmic consciousness. Once this happens, life is no more a burden but a joy. Life is no more a struggle, but a play- the play of consciousness, a beautiful phenomenon. 

Summary of ‘interpersonal' Soma functions:

  • Merging distinctions by extending ‘feeling and emotion' into an interpersonal realm

  • Expression of the intrapersonal individual through intimate relationships as a friend or ‘lover'

  • In the religiously inclined the same impulse may drive them towards the path of religious devotion- the culmination of merging the individual with the Cosmic

  • Outer harmony as a reflection of Inner harmony

  • Inner harmony and tranquility arising from well integrated intrapersonal soma will now manifest in the interpersonal realm as an identification with outer harmony and tranquility, leading to an appreciation for beauty, harmony, and fulfilling relationships ( Satyam Shivam Sundaram - Truth Auspiciousness Beauty )

  • Interpersonal soma cannot be overcome by wisdom or strength. It yields only to charm and grace, harmony and symmetry, feeling and faith

  • Graceful and inclined towards the finer in life including fine arts

  • Generous to a fault and hence makes one popular with others

  • Expressive in affections,

  • Easily believe in people, trusting

  • Ability to empathise

  • At a process level corresponds to enneagram type 4, though not necessarily as a fixed personality type

  • Planetary Archetype- Venus

 

Un-integrated or immaturely developed ‘interpersonal' Soma results in:
  • If interpersonal soma is not sufficiently matured, the person spends money extravagantly, gives too much, never says “no”, and goes by appearances

  • It can also make one lazy and careless in one to one interactions

  • At its worst it can lure a person with sensual and erotic temptations, enticing one into a darkness that is self-destructive in the long run

  • Lack of stability in romantic relationships

  • Loose alliances and friendships that are not laid on a proper foundation

  • Lack of harmony and orderliness in one's surroundings and attire

  • The unconscious attempt to compensate by resorting to accumulation of many things (retail therapy)

  • Eating or drinking as an unconscious compensation for the feeling of isolation or lack of interpersonal connection