The Human Being and the Worlds and Planes of Existence

One of the limitations of Western psychology is the restriction to study of the individual human being as if he is separate and divided from the rest of existence. This fiction is addressed by Sri Aurobindo’s observations about the manifestation of the different aspects of consciousness-force in different worlds and planes. The human being is actually constituted to have all these planes and aspects of consciousness active, not solely in an individual formation, but as part of a wider expression of those forces both in the material universe we inhabit and in worlds constituted specifically on one principle or another, i.e. worlds of Mind, worlds of Life, worlds of Matter.

The powers of Sat-Chit-Ananda when they manifest do not limit themselves to organizing within the human being. The entire universal manifestation, with all its various worlds, levels and complex detail of interactive activity, is an expression of the will of the divine carried out through the Gnosis or Supermind, in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The universal Purusha dwells in all these planes in a certain simultaneity and builds upon each of these principles a world or series of worlds with its beings who live in the nature of that principle. Man, the microcosm, has all these planes in his own being, ranged from his subconscient to his superconscient existence. By a developing power of Yoga he can become aware of these concealed worlds hidden from his physical, materialised mind and senses which know only the material world, and then he becomes aware that his material existence is not a thing apart and self-existent, as the material universe in which he lives is also not a thing apart and self-existent, but is in constant relation to the higher planes and acted on by their powers and beings.”

Once there is an awareness of these higher planes and powers of being, it becomes possible for the seeker to begin to interact consciously with them and “He can open up and increase the action of these higher planes in himself and enjoy some sort of participation in the life of the other worlds….”

It is these other worlds and planes that represent the experiences of those who speak of the existence after death or between births, for instance. “But his most important capacity is that of developing the powers of the higher principles in himself, a greater power of life, a purer light of mind, the illumination of supermind, the infinite being, consciousness and delight of spirit. By an ascending movement he can develop his human imperfection towards that greater perfection.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 3, The Psychology of Self-Perfection, pg. 604

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