Consciousness is the sign of the living entity, or the soul. The existence of the soul is manifest in the form of consciousness, called jñāna-śakti. The total consciousness is that of the gigantic virāṭ-rūpa, and the same consciousness is exhibited in individual persons. The activity of consciousness is performed through the air of life, which is of ten divisions. The airs of life are called prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vyāna and samāna and are also differently qualified as nāga, kūrma, kṛkara, devadatta and dhanañjaya. The consciousness of the soul becomes polluted by the material atmosphere, and thus various activities are exhibited in the false ego of bodily identification. These various activities are described in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 2.41) as bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca buddhayo 'vyavasāyinām. The conditioned soul is bewildered into various activities for want of pure consciousness. In pure consciousness the activity is one. The consciousness of the individual soul becomes one with the supreme consciousness when there is complete synthesis between the two.
The monist believes that there is only one consciousness, whereas the sātvatas, or the devotees, believe that although there is undoubtedly one consciousness, they are one because there is agreement. The individual consciousness is advised to dovetail with the supreme consciousness, as instructed by the Lord in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. The individual consciousness (Arjuna) is advised to dovetail with the supreme consciousness and thus maintain his conscious purity. It is foolish to try to stop the activities of consciousness, but they can be purified when they are dovetailed with the Supreme. This consciousness is divided into three modes of self-identification according to the proportion of purity: ādhyātmika, or self-identification with the body and mind, ādhibhautika, or self-identification with the material products, and ādhidaivika, or self-identification as a servant of the Lord. Of the three, ādhidaivika self-identification is the beginning of purity of consciousness in pursuance of the desire of the Lord.