We have been discussing the question of sin and hell. Not a very interesting subject but it can be very important from many points of view. There were two remarks which were made here when we spoke last time on this subject. Hell and heaven are here, not elsewhere. The second remark was that there is no idea of hell except in those scriptures where people are motivated to work on the right lines under the threat of a hell: “If you don’t work properly you will go to hell.”
It is true that both hell and heaven are here but not merely here. If you maintain that this world is the only world and there is nothing else in the world, then such a statement requires to be enlarged. There is a series of worlds, not only this world but also a series of worlds.
I appreciate that you have researched and found the place where Sri Aurobindo speaks of the different planes. He speaks of the terrestrial, the supra-terrestrial and the supra-cosmic. These three words are very important.
There is cosmic which consists of two: the terrestrial and the supra-terrestrial. If you take this entire cosmos it can be divided in two distinct parts: first, the terrestrial -- that means earthly existence. What we see around us is the terrestrial existence. But this terrestrial existence is not the only existence. There is also supra-terrestrial -- something that is above terrestrial. The entire cosmos is not merely the earth but also that which transcends the earth. The terrestrial is, we might say, the physical existence -- all that is physical. That would mean also the galaxies, not only this earth as we see it but also the galaxies because they are also physical. Everything that is physical is terrestrial. Apart from this entire physical universe that we see, there are many other worlds. In a certain sense you might say that if you want to be perfect in the physical you cannot be perfect without knowing the supra terrestrial. Many people say: “Why to bother about others, let us confine ourselves to the problems that we face here on the earth.” If it was possible to resolve the problems of the earth by remaining confined to the earth it would be quite alright. But the trouble is that you cannot resolve the problems of the physical without entering into the supra-terrestrial. The reason is that from the supra terrestrial a number of forces are constantly vibrating and migrating.
This supra-terrestrial itself has many planes. There is at least the life plane, and there is the mind plane, and then there is the supramental plane. Between mind plane and supramental plane there are many other planes. There is the plane of the higher mind, then there is illumined mind, there is intuitive mind, and then there is overmind. These planes occupy the intermediate space between mind plane and supramental plane: the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind and then the supermind. Between the purely physical and the life plane there is also an intermediate plane, which is called subtle physical plane.
And then when you go above the supra terrestrial, when you go beyond all this you come to the supra cosmic. In the supra cosmic there are two aspects. One is called Acosmic and the other is Transcendental. If you enter into acosmic no cosmos exists in that consciousness. It is a state of consciousness in which neither this world nor other worlds are seen to be real. There is a small Gujarati poem, which says: “When I awake the world disappears.” It is the exactly opposite of what we do in our ordinary waking consciousness. When you awake the whole world appears. But if you awake in the acosmic consciousness the world disappears.
The transcendental includes acosmic; all the supra terrestrial planes and the terrestrial planes; but it is above all of them. Such is the nature of the transcendental. You might experience transcendental here and now because everywhere transcendental is present. But normally it is very difficult to experience transcendental unless we attain to cosmic. It is a step towards transcendental. It is only when we become conscious of the entire universe at the same time that Divine consciousness is understood or known. What we called God is this transcendental, and because many people are not aware of this whole scheme that the word god is defined differently by different people. When you ask the question: “Do you believe in the existence of God?” The question is: “What kind of God?” There are many kinds of conceptions of God. This is the concept that you get in Sri Aurobindo: the transcendental is God. If you like to call Him God. Some people have an allergy to the word god. It does not matter you can call it: Transcendental Consciousness, or Divine Consciousness. It is this God of which Sri Aurobindo speaks whenever he speaks of God. It is not God living in the seventh heaven looking at the world and amusing Himself with the world as if it were moving on like a cinema show. That is not God. This Divine consciousness is everywhere and above. He Himself is all and He is above. In Sanskrit this word transcendental is called Purushottama.
Purushottama consists of two words: purusha and uttama. It is said that purushottama has a double status: mobile and immobile. It at once moves and does not move. This is the one supreme mystery of His consciousness. Even when He moves He remains stable. Even when He is stable He is not incapacitated from moving. In Sanskrit these two words are called: mobile kshara and immobile akshara. Now you have a complete picture of all that is. When you ask the question: “What is it that exist?” “This IS that exist.” It takes into account everything that is here: in the world as it is understood by us, in other worlds -- supra-terrestrial worlds -- in the immobile and that which is above the immobile. All these planes that we see are part of the mobile because in all this world there is a movement. All the terrestrial and supra terrestrial planes are all part of mobile, because there is a continuous dynamism. Behind that dynamism there is the acosmic that which is immobile, but also transcendental. Acosmic does not remain by itself any time, it does not exist alone. The acosmic exists because of the transcendental. And wherever there is transcendental all that is there is present.