Worlds of Mind and Life Are Independent of the Physical World

Contrary to the sense provided by the physical mind, which seeks to base everything that exists upon its narrow foundation of Matter, the worlds of Spirit, Mind and Life are not simply evolutionary developments starting from Matter and Inconscience, but are created from a higher plane and manifest powers and capacities of consciousness far exceeding those that are at play in the Material World. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “…there stands the fact that we find these higher worlds in our vision and experience of them to be in no way based upon the material universe, in no way its results, but rather greater terms of being, larger and freer ranges of consciousness, and all the action of the material plane looks more like the result and not the origin of these greater terms, derivatory from them, even partly dependent on them in its evolutionary endeavor. Immense ranges of powers, influences, phenomena descend covertly upon us from the Overmind and the higher mental and vital ranges, but of these only a part, a selection, as it were, or restricted number can stage and realise themselves in the order of the physical world; the rest await their time and proper circumstance for revelation in physical term and form, for their part in the terrestrial evolution which is at the same time an evolution of all the powers of the Spirit.”

It is axiomatic that something cannot evolve that was not previously involved, and thus, if we see a power of Mind or Life developing in the material world, we must look for how the involved capability got there and where it came from. It is useful to remember that the history of humanity frequently starts from the viewpoint that the physical world, the human awareness are at the center of creation, only to later determine as we expand our vision and insight, that the universal manifestation is far larger, more complex and more powerful than our physical consciousness; and that there are forces and powers that predominate and take a far more central role…the earth rotates around the sun rather than vice versa…

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

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The Reality of the Supraphysical Planes and Worlds

To the physical mind bound to the world of matter, the existence and reality of the planes of life and mind is either something illusory, or at the very least, if it is afforded a sense of reality, it is a development from the foundation and basis of the material consciousness. Sri Aurobindo explains: “It is possible to suppose that these higher planes and worlds have been created subsequently to the manifestation of the material cosmos, to aid the evolution or in some sense as a result of it. This is a notion which the physical mind, starting in all its ideas from the material universe as the one thing which it knows, has analysed and can deal with in a beginning of mastery, might easily tend to accept, if obliged to admit a supraphysical existence; it could then keep the material, the Inconscience, as the starting-point and support of all being, as it is undoubtedly the starting point for us of the evolutionary movement of which the material world is the scene. Our mind could still keep matter and material force as the first existence,–so accepted and cherished by it because it is the first thing that it knows, the one thing that is always securely present and knowable,–and maintain the spiritual and supraphysical in a dependence upon the assured foundation of Matter.”

This explanation, however comforting to the physical mind, does not explain how the powers of Life and Mind came about from a purely physical basis. We may find that we can experience the existence and reality of these planes and worlds as our capacity to expand our perception develops, but this does not imply that these worlds were created out of matter; rather, that they can be only experienced as we achieve a certain widening and enhancing of the power of consciousness active within us. In the end, we are forced to accept “Consciousness as the real creative Power or agent and all things as formations of consciousness.” This implies that the worlds of Mind and Life have the same essential and fundamental reality as the world of Matter.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds