Worlds, Planes, or Spheres (in Theosophy)

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Worlds, Planes, or Spheres (in Theosophy)

According to the teachings of Theosophy, deriving in part from esoteric Hinduism, the universe is divided into seven planes. Beginning with the one closest to God, they are referred to as the divine, adi; monadic, anutadaka; spiritual, nirvana; intuitional, buddhi; mental, manas; astral, kama; and physical, sthula. These worlds are not physically separate in the manner that planets appear to be, but interpenetrate, and their differences depend on the relative density of the matter that composes them and the consequent difference in the rates at which the matter of each world vibrates.

Except for the physical world (the densest), our knowledge of them, so far as it extends, is dependent on clairvoyance. The more exalted the vision of the clairvoyant, the higher the world his or her vision can pierce. Each world has its appropriate inhabitants, clothed in appropriate bodies, and possessing appropriate states of consciousness.

According to theosophical belief, the two highest worlds, the divine and the monadic, are at present incapable of attainment by human powers, and the remaining five are attainable in greater or lesser degree. The monad (soul), for the purpose of gathering experience, finds it necessary to pass downward into the material sphere. When it has taken possession of the spiritual, intuitional, and higher mental worlds, it may be looked on as a soul embodying will, intuition, and intellect, continuing eternally the same entity, never altering except by reason of increasing development, and hence being immortal.

These worlds, however, do not afford sufficient scope to the monad and it presses still further down into matter, through the lower mental, and into the astral and physical worlds. The bodies with which it is there clothed form its personality and this personality suffers death and is renewed at each fresh incarnation, a process generally called reincarnation. At the death of the physical body, the ego has merely cast aside a garment and continues to live in the next higher world, the astral.

At the death of the astral body another garment is cast aside, the ego is cleared of all appendages and is as it was before its descent into denser matter, having returned to the mental, the heavenly world. The ego finds itself somewhat strange in this situation, owing to insufficient development, and it again descends into matter as before. This round is completed again and again, and each time the ego returns with a fresh store of experience and knowledge, which strengthens and perfects the mental body.

When at last this process is complete, this body in turn is cast aside and the ego is clothed with its causal body. Again it finds itself strange and the cycle of descent into matter begins again and continues until the causal body has been fully developed. The two remaining worlds are imperfectly known, but the intuitional, as its name indicates, is that where the ego's vision is quickened to see things as they really are, and in the spiritual world the divine and the human become unified and the divine purpose is fulfilled.

(See also Evolution of Life ; Logos ; Spheres )

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Worlds, Planes, or Spheres (in Theosophy)

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