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Rebirth and Other Worlds: PartII, Chapter XXII - Rebirth Track 07

In answering these three questions the whole chapter has been written.

But it is a detailed discussion on this. Once again there are various possibilities which Sri Aurobindo puts forward.

“If the physical universe were the sole manifested world, or if it were a quite separate world, rebirth as a part of the evolutionary process would be confined to a constant succession of direct transmigrations from one body to another; death would be immediately followed by a new birth without any possibility of an interval, – the passage of the soul would be a spiritual circumstance in the uninterrupted series of a compulsory, mechanical, material procedure.”

The physical universe is the only universe. Once the soul comes out of the body there is nowhere else it has to go, so it goes into another body immediately. So, transmigration to some other world, heaven or hell or other worlds does not arise at all. This is true if the physical world is the only reality. If the physical universal is not the only reality then other possibilities arise.

We have found:

“The soul would have no freedom from Matter; it would be perpetually bound to its instrument, the body, and dependent on it for the continuity of its manifested existence. But we have found that there is a life on other planes after death and before the subsequent rebirth, a life consequent on the old and preparatory of the new stage of terrestrial existence. Other planes coexist with ours, are part of one complex system and act constantly upon the physical which is their own final and lowest term, receives its reactions, admit a secret communication and commerce. Man can become conscious of these planes, can even in certain states project his conscious being into them, partly in life, presumably therefore with a full completeness after the dissolution of the body.”

This is the second alternative for which we have already given evidence in the previous chapter.

Physical universe is not the only universe. In fact in one of the important articles of Vedic knowledge there is a discovery of other worlds other than the physical universe. The Vedic seers were able to find out that there are worlds other than the physical world of which we have physical experience. And therefore he described the whole world in a very symbolic manner. He said the world is like an animal which has two heads, 4 horns and 3 feet – it is like a riddle – dveshirasa, chaturshringa, tripada. Three feet consist of 3 worlds, the lower worlds, the world of matter, the world of life and the world of mind tripada. Even in the world there are 3 earths, the Veda speaks of 3 earths. Even in the earth principle there are two other earth principles of which we are not normally aware. The earth principle is called prithvi. The second is antariksha and the third is dhyao or heaven that is the mind. When the Vedic Rishis prayed they prayed that first shanti may be dhyao shanti, antariksha shanti, prithvi shanti; tripada, the three worlds. Then comes another world, which is called the world of Truth and Vast, – the world of Satyam, Ritam, Brihad, the Truth, the Right and the Vast. This is called the higher heaven. Dhyao is the lower heaven sometimes also referred to as Swaha.

In the Gayatri mantra we speak of Bhur is prithvi, Bhuva is antariksha and dhyao together and swaha is this swaha, higher than that is the triple world which is spiritual – Satchitananda. So Satchitananda and Swaha, Truth and vast these are the four horns. The 3 feet are the feet of matter, life and mind. The four horns are Satchitananda and truth and vast. These are the 7 Realities, 7 worlds. 4 higher worlds and three lower. The 4 horns are the higher worlds and the tripada, 3 feet the lower worlds, – 4 higher and 3 lower worlds. All this is the manifestation of a reality which is dual in character, which has 2 heads, which is Ardhanareshwar; which is supreme, at once the Lord and Divine Mother; which is the ultimate justification of the sex principle in the world. Aditi is called the Divine Feminine principle, the first Divine Mother from whom all creatures are born. And the lord is often the image of Rishabha, the Supreme Bull, the image of the Veda. The knowledge of the existence of these worlds was a precious possession of the Vedic Rishis.

This was not just a belief. It was as if the Rishis were able to move into these worlds at will. They could enter into any world as they willed. It was a kind of personal experience. Just as we can say that I have seen the world and have no doubt of its existence, at least so far as my senses go. Similarly, one can say I have entered into the world of the truth and vast. I have entered the world of life, or of mind. In the world of mind there will be only the world of ideas and no matter as we see it. In the world of life there will be world desires, impulses. When you enter into the higher world of the Supermind, when you go to the higher level, Truth and Right and Vast, you will see only the manifestation which is luminous, the world of light, the world of delight, world of consciousness and the world of existence. These worlds were known to the Upanishads also, before Upanishads accepted this whole theory, not a theory according to them, but knowledge.

There is a very interesting sentence of Yama to Nachiketas. It says – those who believe that this world alone is and there are no other worlds they constantly remain as a victim of death. They cannot be liberated at all. Those who believe that there is only this world and no other world at all for them there is no liberation. They remain in this world of death, madhyaloka. So the knowledge of these worlds is necessary for liberation. This is one of the secrets that Nachiketas is told by Yama. He is made to realise that there are many other worlds.