The Worlds and Liberation from the Worlds

We reside in the material world and perceive things from that perspective.  The essential characteristic of this world, or of any other, is not, however, its material existence, but rather its relationship to the status of consciousness which we inhabit.  Those who have experienced out of body events report experiencing and interacting with other worlds where the principles of action are different than in the material world, where vital forces are at play and have a fluidity and power of motion not present in the world encumbered by materiality.  Spiritual seekers frequently have reported being met and taught by teachers while in the dream-state, and experiencing coherent, coordinated relationships not bound by meeting on the material plane.  If we understand the worlds from the psychological perspective, rather than from a limited material viewpoint, we find that they are representative of states of consciousness more than specific physical locations.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The worlds of which the Upanishad speaks are essentially soul-conditions and not geographical divisions of the cosmos.  This material universe is itself only existence as we see it when the soul dwells on the plane of material movement and experience in which the spirit involves itself in form, and therefore all the framework of things in which it moves by the life and which it embraces by the consciousness is determined by the principle of infinite division and aggregation proper to Matter, to substance of form.  This becomes then its world or vision of things.  And to whatever soul-condition it climbs, its vision of things will change from the material vision and correspond to that other condition, and in that other framework it will move in its living and embrace it in its consciousness.  These are the worlds of the ancient tradition.”

“But the soul that has entirely realised immortality passes beyond all worlds and is free from frameworks.  It enters into the being of the Lord; like this supreme superconscient Self and Brahman, it is not subdued to life and death.  It is no longer subject to the necessity of entering into the cycle of rebirth, of travelling continually between the imprisoning dualities of death and birth, affirmation and negation; for it has transcended name and form.  This victory, this supreme immortality it must achieve here as an embodied soul in the mortal framework of things.  Afterwards, like the Brahman, it transcends and yet embraces the cosmic existence without being subject to it.  Personal freedom, personal fulfilment is then achieved by the liberation of the soul from imprisonment in the form of this changing personality and by its ascent to the One that is the All.  If afterwards there is any assumption of the figure of mortality, it is an assumption and not a subjection, a help brought to the world and not a help to be derived from it, a descent of the ensouled superconscient existence not from any personal necessity, but from the universal need of the cosmic labour for those yet unfree and unfulfilled to be helped and strengthened by the force that has already described the path up to the goal in its experience and achieved under the same conditions the Work and the Sacrifice.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Kena Upanishad and analysis, pg. 102, 161-164

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