Man’s existence is always a mystery which is better lived than solved. Yet, man is such a perky being who always ask existential questions such as: “Why do I exist? What am I?” Without guidance, we often end up more confused than enlightened. Why? The answer is: “we have a very limited perspective, i.e., we only see reality from a limited standpoint.” The findings of Science can’t even help us in answering these existential questions. Instead Science has just set aside these questions, because they can’t be proven. Without the help of science, we have no option but to look around for answers somewhere else.
In the great religions and philosophy of Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, there are certain concepts which indirectly refer to the ‘seven planes of existence.’ Now, let us consider the Taoist concept of the ‘Tao’ which is the fundamental Being, the eternal being, which does not require anything to exist. The Tao has its corollary concepts in the omnipresent ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yahweh’ of Judaism, the great ‘Allah’ of the Islam, and the Christian ‘God the Father,’ which are all considered as the fundamental ‘Ground of all beings.’ The Tao (God, Yahweh, Jehovah or Allah) is known to his creation in varying planes of existence. These seven planes of existence are like steps in the ascent of man’s consciousness towards the Tao (God, Jehovah or Allah).
The planes of existence are not concrete strata with porous boundaries. The best physical comparison we can have of these planes is that of the different wavelengths of the spectrum of light. The boundaries between each color of the spectrum are not porous and are hardly identifiable. But remember, this is only a physical comparison, which could hardly be comparable to the spiritual planes of existence. In the same way, the planes of existence are like planes of awareness, in which we gradually ascend from one plane to another to reach a full awareness of the ‘Ground of Beings’ or ‘Tao’ (God).
Each Of The Seven Planes of Existence
Physical Plane Of Existence:
The first plane of existence is the Physical Plane. The physical plane consists of the physical world and all the organisms that inhabit it. In Hinduism it is called the ‘maya’ or illusion, which is also similar to the idea of Plato about the world of idols. At this level, we are only aware of the ‘self’ as an ‘ego.’ Here, we are seldom aware of the other planes of existence, or the existence of the ‘Tao’ or God. Most men live in this plane of existence, living only for the illusion of the ‘self’ or the ‘ego.’ We grab, we ache for wealth, and popularity, which we think could expand ‘ego’ further.
The more we strengthen the illusion of the ‘ego’, the farther we will be from the Tao. Let me use the classic example to point out the foolishness of believing so much in the illusion of the ‘self.’ When I say: “you are a X!” (You can insert any expletive of your choice) I know you’ll get mad at me, because I am attacking your very ‘ego’ which you love so much. But when I refer to your ‘ego’ as a ‘subconscious’ and remark: “your subconscious is X! Or this organism is X!” I bet you’ll just smile at me. This is because the ‘self’ or ‘ego’ which we call as John, Michael, or Mary, or any other name, is just a tag appended to an organism.
Now we go to the discussion of the Emotional Plane of existence. The emotional plane is higher than the physical plane. In this plane of existence, we are so aware of our emotions. We fall in love because we are attracted to the physical beauty of the ‘other self.’ We love but our love is still selfish, because it is tied to the ‘ego.’ At this plane of existence, we are partially, but not totally bound by physicality. Our very ‘ego,’ seeing its isolation, wants to get out of itself and unite with another ‘ego.’ At this point, astral projection can occur, when our emotion is so intense, and we suddenly jerked out of the physical body. Others, therefore, wrongly call this-the astral plane of existence. I guess the reason I mentioned this is based on the fact that other writers wrongly call the second plane of existence as astral plane. I looked for reasons why they gave it that name. I ended up reasoning out that maybe they associate it with astral projection which may be happening in this plane of existence, i.e., using an intense emotion to be able to project an astral image, but more on that later.
Casual Plane Of Existence:
The third plane of existence is the Causal plane of existence. This plane of existence is an intellectual existence in a physical body. At this plane, we are so aware of the power of our mind. We tend to mentally control our blind emotions. We can attain this plane of existence through constant reflection, purification of our thoughts, and control of emotions. At this plane, we see clearly the follies of human emotions and the illusion of the ‘self’. Here, we recognize that we are an ‘embodied consciousness’ which will someday be freed from the trappings of the body. Great minds inhabit this plane while they still lived in this world. Mahatma Gandhi, in his last years of earthly life, existed in this plane of existence. Rabindranath Tagore lived his last years in this frequency. Pope John Paul II entered this plane of existence. The Dalai Lama traverses this plane and many other great men, who recognized the follies the world and the illusions created by ‘self.’
The Akashic plane is the point of contact between the material and the spiritual world. This plane of existence is wrongly viewed, by those who are not conversant with philosophy, as a repository of distilled knowledge just like a library. No, this is the point wherein the mind gains wisdom by seeing clearly the follies of the ‘ego.’ It is like the gateway between truth and illusion. People who exist in the causal plane of existence have a glimpse of the spiritual planes of existence. At this plane, the spiritual world touches the embodied consciousness of men, who live in the causal plane. The causal mind beholds the beauty of the spiritual world by entering the Akashic plane of existence, and assents to its truth and then goes back to the casual plane to speak of it. In Hindu tradition, we have several mystics such as the great Lahiri Mahasaya and Paramahansa Yogananda, who have mastered the art of Kriya Yoga, who were always seen in trance, entering the Akashi plane, and going back, afterwards, to the causal plane. In Judaistic tradition, we have Moses, climbing up to Mount Sinai, and going down with a luminous face, and the Ten Commandments in his hands. In the Christian tradition, St. Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, and Mother Theresa of Avila and other great mystics, were often seen in mystical trance, entering the Akashi plane, while praying. Here, we quote a Hindu saying that ‘realized knowledge (gained by entering the Akashi plane) alone destroys ignorance.’
The fifth plane of existence is the pure mental Plane. This plane of existence is pure knowledge of truth. This is higher than the Akashi plane, the latter being the point of entry to the pure mental plane of existence. At this level of existence, we have greater awareness of the ‘Tao’ (God) as the only truth, though our awareness is purely intellectual. Great minds, such as Lao tzu, may have traversed this plane when they have died. Mystical philosophers such as Plato, Plotinus and St. Augustine of Hippo, may have inhabited this plane of existence. Lahiri Mahasaya, Paramahansa Yogananda, Moses, and Elijah and many other great souls may have touched this plane of existence after leaving their physical bondage, though we don’t know how spiritually deep they have plodded into this plane of existence.
Messianic Plane Of Existence:
The Messianic Plane is a plane of existence, wherein a great soul is almost perfectly attuned to the universal love of the Tao (God). Consciousness, at this plane of existence, has so much expanded itself to accommodate the whole of creation and humanity. Great souls exist in this plane. Babaji, the deathless Yogi, has perpetually existed in this plane, though every once in a while, he has come back to the world to call mankind to a way of love. Jesus pre-existed in this plane, before being born into the physical world of ‘maya’ to call mankind to the ‘Tao’ or God. That is why it is said in the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the word…and the word was with God (Tao)….”
Buddhaic Or Pure Love Plane Of Existence:
Lastly, we have the plane of pure love existence. Some call it the Buddhaic plane. I would call this plane the plane of the ‘Tao.’ Others call it the ‘beatific vision’ of God. But basically this is the fundamental existence of the Tao (God) who is the ‘ground of all beings.’ At this plane of existence, the only true reality is the ‘Tao’ or God, and all illusions are non-existent. Here we could quote Paul, saying in Cor.13:12, “Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face…and the greatest of these is love….”
I hope this article has helped you learn more about the seven planes of existence. I will be updating this article with more details so sign up below to stay updated.