Isha Upanishad: the Methods of Realisation, Part 4, the Human Standpoint and the Link to the Divine Standpoint

The description of seven ‘worlds’ or states of consciousness, in the Vedic terminology includes 3 in a higher hemisphere, and 3 in a lower hemisphere, and one that straddles the two and integrates them into a unified awareness.  The three higher ones are known as Sat-Chit-Ananda and have absolute consciousness of unity.  The three in the lower creation, Matter, Life and Mind represent the consciousness of the human standpoint from which we start.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “In the lower creation also there are three principles, Matter, Life and Mind.  Sat or pure existence appears there as extended substance or Matter; Will or Force appears as Life which is in its nature creative or manifesting Force and that Force is in its nature a self-conscient will involved and obscure in the forms of its creation.  It is liberated from the involution and obscurity by delight of being struggling to become conscious of itself in desire and sensation; the result is the emergence of Mind.”

“In the organisation of consciousness to which we belong, Tapas dwells upon Matter as its basis.  Our consciousness is determined by the divisibility of extended substance in its apparent forms.  This is Bhurloka, the material world…”

“But we may conceive of a world in which dynamic Life-force with sensation emergent in it is the basis and determines without the gross obstacle of Matter the forms that it shall take.  This organisation of consciousness has for its field Bhuvarloka, the world of free vital becoming in form.”

“We may conceive also of an organised state of consciousness in which Mind liberates itself from subjection to material sensation and becoming dominant determines its own forms instead of being itself determined by the forms in which it finds itself as a result of life-evolution.  This formation is Swarloka or world of free, pure and luminous mentality.”

“In these lower worlds consciousness is normally broken up and divided.  The light of Surya, the Truth, is imprisoned in the night of the subconscient or appears only reflected in limited centres or with its rays received by those centres and utilised according to their individual nature.”

“Between these two creations, linking them together, is the world or organisation of consciousness of which the infinite Truth of things is the foundation.  There dominant individualisation no longer usurps the all-pervading soul and the foundation of consciousness is its own vast totality arranging in itself individualised movements which never lose the consciousness of their integrality and total oneness with all others. … This world is therefore called Maharloka or world of large consciousness.”

It is in this intermediate state of consciousness, or ‘world’, that the divine standpoint of the higher unified consciousness of Sat-Chit-Ananda is unified with the human standpoint of the lower divided consciousness of Matter-Life-Mind.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Isha Upanishad and analysis, pg. 23, 28 & 74-83

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