The planes of consciousness are created as the Superconscience descends to Matter to create the physical universe. Therefore the potentialities of all the planes are involved in Matter and remain dormant till the evolutionary nisus presses for their unfolding in the matrix of Matter itself. This unfolding is not a haphazard process but has to proceed in a graded and sequential manner. At each step of the unfolding, the evolutionary nisus is supplemented by a pressure from the corresponding plane above that wants to manifest. As evolution proceeds, the pressure from the superior planes increase in power and effectiveness. Initially the unfolding of dormant potentialities occur in a restricted and qualified manner but as more and more superior planes of consciousness manifest in the matrix of Matter, Matter also has to expand its repertoire, broaden its scope, qualify its subtlety so as to be a “fit receptacle, medium, instrument”. (Ibid, pg.273) This qualitative change in Matter must be reflected in the structure of the body, life and consciousness of the human being.
Dealing with subtleties
Matter has therefore not to remain contented with the stuff of physics and chemistry for it has to deal with progressively subtler stuff which would not only support biological life but also emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, spiritual life and one day a Supramental life. A mere biological body with a material foundation would not suffice. Our being must accommodate different potentialities of different qualities and it can do so if it can hold within itself simultaneously different dimensions of consciousness. Indian seers recognized this : “The oldest Vedantic knowledge tells us of five degrees of our being, the material, the vital, the mental, the ideal, the spiritual or beatific and to each of these grades of our soul there corresponds a grade of our substance, a sheath as it was called in the ancient figurative language. A later psychology found that these five sheaths of our substance were the material of three bodies, gross physical, subtle and causal, in all of which the soul actually and simultaneously dwells, although here and now we are superficially conscious only of our material vehicle”. (Ibid)
In other words, besides our surface being which is studied as personality in psychology, we have other subtle beings in our structure of which we are not ordinarily aware. There is an inner being connected to the cosmic consciousness. There is an inmost being which holds the soul-space. How do the different beings within the structure of a single individual communicate with each other? The old Hathayogins and Tantriks of India solved this problem of communication by discovering the chakras which were the channels between the outer and the inner being and thus got connected with the cosmic consciousness through the inner being. The chakras are usually dormant and need to be activated. They found techniques to activate the chakras --“the six nervous centres of life in the dense body corresponding to six centres of life and mind faculty in the subtle” (Ibid, pg.274) and thus achieved greater power to deal with the bodily mechanisms and life-force than was ordinarily possible.
Thus the being has a unique structure. One is classically poised in the hierarchy of a vertical perspective that spans from the Inconscience to the Superconscience. Simultaneously one is poised too in a horizontal perspective that shifts from the gross outer being to progressively subtler inner beings. As there is a subtle mind behind the outer mind which can have a horizonless expansion in inner spaces, so there is a subtle body behind the gross body which has a more refined and subtle substance than the rather gross substance of the outer physical body. The subtle planes can all be activated to influence the outer planes for an increasing refinement that leads to transmutational changes. The body that is basically impure can then have a possibility of being pure; the body that is instinctively undivine with its animal past, lusts and desires, habits and biases, disease and mortality can offer itself to be the pedestal of a divine body. “If that be so, then the evolution of a nobler physical existence not limited by the ordinary conditions of animal birth and life and death, of difficult alimentation and facility of disorder and disease and subjection to poor and unsatisfied vital cravings ceases to have the appearance of a dream and chimera and becomes a possibility founded upon a rational and philosophical truth which is in accordance with all the rest that we have hitherto known, experienced or been able to think out about the overt and secret truth of our existence.” (Ibid, pg.275)
That nobler physical existence can grow in consciousness to manifest the Supramental consciousness. “The ascent of man from the physical to the supramental must open out the possibility of a corresponding ascent in the grades of substance to that ideal or causal body which is proper to our supramental being, and the conquest of the lower principles by Supermind and its liberation of them into a divine life and a divine mentality must also render possible a conquest of our physical limitations by the power and principle of supramental substance.” (Ibid) This would mean that not only one can have access to overhead planes of consciousness that surpass ordinary cognition, one could also have access to a life-power that would be free from restrictions of the physical plane to exceed the law of physical body to eventually bring about the conquest of death – a physical immortality.
“For from the divine Bliss, the original Delight of existence, the Lord of Immortality comes pouring the wine of that Bliss, the mystic Soma, into these jars of mentalised living matter; eternal and beautiful, he enters into these sheaths of substance for the integral transformation of the being and nature”. (Ibid)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu