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Gross and Subtle Planes

  • The physical, material plane in which we live is called the gross plane.
  • The subtle plane is invisible. It is an extension of all the three - physical, vital, mental planes.
  • If the flower is the physical reality, its smell is subtle physical. Around the physical body of a man exists the invisible subtle physical body.
  • The vital energy itself is subtle. How to conceive of a subtle extension to it? Thought is subtle. What is subtle mental? It is only a further degree of subtlety.
  • Thought may be subtle. But compared with the speech, its subtlety is clearer. Speech is more gross.
  • Thoughts touching the brain are tangible, palpable to the brain. The brain does not sense the thoughts that occur in the mind. They are subtle thoughts. The thoughts of the pure thinker are subtle.
  • To our senses - our gross thought - the sun goes around the earth. It is incontrovertible. Copernicus moved away from the gross thoughts to subtle thoughts. To his understanding, the earth goes around the sun. All of us who understand his explanation understand in our subtle thoughts.
  • Sri Aurobindo says neither the sun nor the earth move. It is only changes in our consciousness that give the appearance of movement.
  • No man can become a thinker of any significance without entering the subtle thought. All subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, history, literature, economics, etc. in their higher reaches belong to the subtle mind and thinking. Physical people are incapable of subtlety. For a scientific idea or any idea to reach them, it must be converted by technology into a product or converted by custom into a social usage. Otherwise, the physical man is alien to it. That is the rationale of worship. To him, worship, rituals, ceremonies are real, not philosophy, theory or Idea.
  • As it is essential to think in subtle thoughts to become a thinker, it is essential to enter the causal plane to fully realise Supermind.
  • The physical mind sees the sun going around the earth; the subtle mind understands the earth going around the sun; Supermind in the causal plane sees no movement.
  • To appreciate the idea of Heraclitus subtle thought is called for.  War is abhorrent to the physical mind. In the subtle mind, war reveals as a process that hastens human progress. The killings, sufferings, devastations of the physical mind are not so to the subtle thought which understands them as a necessary beneficial process of swift movement. To understand similar tragedies in one's own life or body as Grace of God, one needs to be in the causal plane.
  • Life Response is seen as a result in the gross plane. It is understood as a process by subtle thinking. It is a reality to the mind in the causal plane. Let me trace the path from the subtle to the causal.
  • Brain is in the physical plane. Mind is in the subtle plane. Higher mind is in Silence. Illumined mind is in Light. Intuitive Mind has the faculty for knowledge. Overmind has the knowledge. Beyond is Nirvana. Supermind, in the causal plane, is next.
  • The very first step of moving from brain to mind is to disregard senses and think. Reliance on empirical data of sense is a bar to knowledge. There is a higher truth hidden here. The highest supramental reality must reveal itself in the gross, physical, material plane for that to be fully real, really real. But, it is another kind of reality which the physical mind can fully respond to, but cannot see with naked eyes. When a dacoit declared to Buddha that he would kill him, Buddha smiled and asked him to go ahead. The man fell at his feet and became his prime disciple. When a corrupt officer responds positively to the honesty of a devotee, we see the same reality at work. Every devotee can see that. If his own sincerity is in the causal plane of purity, he can earn a million dollars and THEN can see the reality of this argument in his own life. Money moving to work is that reality.
  • Are you prepared NOT to demand empirical, measurable, physical data supplied by the senses? Then you can move to the subtle mind.
  • Next comes Silence. Mind has innumerable faculties such as observation, memory, thinking, understanding, imagination, etc., etc. There is a Silence behind each of these faculties when they fall silent.  The Silence of Jnana yoga is the silence of thought. Nirvanic Silence is attained by the dissolution of thought arrived at by analysis. Raja yoga demands the silence of the entire mind. Silence of any part can take one to the Higher Mind but only the entire silence of the whole mind can take one to the Supermind.  To move to the Supermind, Silence however powerful will not do. It must be the psychic silence, the silence of the evolving soul. That does not come by concentration. It demands consecration. The concentration is a process of dwelling on itself to attain the maximum power of MIND. Consecration is a realisation of one's - Mind's - uselessness and giving up the entire Mind. Without moving to the Psychic Silence, one cannot ascend in evolution. Ascent by concentration acquires higher powers for the Mind or Ego.
  • Having reached the Higher Mind, one must emerge as the Psychic of the Higher Mind. Thus begins the process of spiritual transformation. Such a silence - mental silence - attained in the Higher Mind must again be given up to let the Psychic Being of the Higher Mind emerge.
  • Silence surrendered yields light. It is the beginning of the self-existing light. That too must be the light of the Psychic Being of the Illumined Mind.
  • Light surrendered is intuition. Intuition matured is knowledge; knowledge can be either upgraded into supramental knowledge or dissolved into Nirvana to rise into Supermind. The above is a brief explanation of spiritual transformation. The Spirit is in the subtle plane. Supermind is in the causal plane. The devotee or sadhak moves into the causal plane when his prayer is answered. He sees only the result. Beyond the result is the process. Essence lies beyond the process. The process and essence belong to the Supermind.

story | by Dr. Radut