The Synoptic Table is an extract from the book Know Thyself: Jnana Yoga (part 1) from the Complete Works Collection.
‘We all have a physical body, a will, a heart, a mind, a soul and a spirit with which we work every day to grow harmoniously. For you to have a clear idea, I will present a table that I called synoptic because it gives an overall view of the structure of a human being and the activities that correspond to each element of that structure.
This table is divided into five vertical columns. The first column shows the principles that constitute the human being: the physical body, the will, the heart, the intellect, the soul and the spirit. For each of these principles there is a level of consciousness.
The second column is headed Ideal, for each principle aspires to an ideal. The heart, the intellect and the soul, for instance; each strives to attain a different ideal.
In order to attain its ideal, and we must give to that principle what it needs so that it may continue to manifest itself. This is why the third column is headed Nourishment.
The fourth column is dedicated to Payment we have to pay for this nourishment.
And the fifth column is about the Activity, that is to say, the work we have to do in order to earn the currency with which to pay.
As you see, all these different notions are very clearly and logically related to each other. To make the whole thing easier to understand, we begin with the bottom of the table, the physical body, because everybody has some experience of it.'
'One could develop to infinity these few indications and show the multiple relationships that exist between all these elements. For the last decades I have been speaking to you, that is what I have done in my lectures. But in this painting I only wanted to adjust the notions of physical life and psychic life in order to show the unity that exists in man and how this unity can be reinforced by his different activities.'