The Individual Soul Does Not Create the Universal Manifestation

The issue of the existence of other “worlds” or “planes” than the material world within which we exist is more or less dependent on the reality of how the individual soul comes into being. Clearly we must accept the existence of an ultimate spiritual plane or world that acts as the origin and creator of the universal manifestation, the Absolute realm of Consciousness; and at the same time we see the world of the Inconscience of Matter out of which arises Life and Mind. At the very least therefore, we see two worlds. The question the arises as to what causes the arising of Life and Mind. Those who hold that there is some divine creative fiat that manifests life and mind out of matter need not accept the existence of additional worlds or planes. But as we have concluded in earlier chapters, there is a systematic development or evolution of consciousness out of the inconscience, and there are intervening stages or levels of consciousness which represent gradations of consciousness that have their own different formulation and principles of action than the purely material plane. This supports the concept that there are planes of Life and planes of Mind where these principles can manifest and work themselves out in a pure, unalloyed fashion not hindered by the limitations of material Nescience.

Sri Aurobindo points out that the individual soul cannot create or cause the universal manifestation, and that while its desire for existence and growth of consciousness may fuel a process within that universal action, there must be an explanation that does not rely solely on the individual soul for its rationale and underlying cause. “but the world cannot be a craetion of the individual mind or a theatre erected by it for its own play of consciousness; nor can it have been created solely for the play and the satisfaction or frustration of the ego. As we awake to a sense of the premier importance of the universal and the dependence of the individual upon it, a theory of this kind becomes an impossibility to our intelligence. The world is too vast in its movement for such an account of its working to be credible; only a cosmic Power or a cosmic Being can be the creator and the upholder of the cosmos and it must have too a cosmic and not only an individual reality, significance or purpose.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds

Importance of Understanding the Planes or Worlds of Existence

Once we accept the fact that powers of the Absolute have involved themselves into Matter and from there, evolve out to create the manifested Becoming, it becomes self-evident that there are planes or worlds which embody these principles in their pure state. As described in the immediately preceding post, these represent essentially seven principles which can be called planes, worlds or levels of consciousness, starting at the highest level of Sat, Chit and Ananda (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss), transformed into principles that can work in the material world through the Gnosis or Supermind, and finally, manifesting here as the reflected powers of Matter, Life and Mind.

Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “If a spiritual evolution of consciousness in the material world and a constant or repeated rebirth of the individual into an earthly body are admitted, the next question that arises is whether this evolutionary movement is something separate and complete in itself or part of a larger universal totality of which the material world is only one province. This question has already its answer implied in the gradations of the involution which precede the evolution and make it possible; for, if that precedence is a fact, there must be worlds or at least planes of higher being and they must have some connection with the evolution which has been made possible by their existence. It may be that all they do for us is by their effective presence or pressure on the earth-consciousness to liberate the involved principles of life and mind and spirit and enable them to manifest and assert their reign in material Nature. But it would be in the highest degree improbable that the connection and intervention should cease there; there is likely to be a sustained, if veiled, commerce between material life and the life of the other planes of existence. It is necessary now to look more closely into this problem, regard it in itself and determine the nature and limits of this connection and intercommunication, in so far as it affects the theory of evolution and rebirth in material Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds