Guiding Light of The Month

It is the harmony of boundless Love, Love victorious over all suffering and all obscurity. By this law of Love, Thy law, I want to live more and more integrally; to it unreservedly I give myself. And all my being exults in an inexpressible Peace. - The Mother

The Foundations of Psychological Theory in the Veda

System of the Worlds

Sri Aurobindo found the clue to this (the psychological significance of the Vedic mantras) in the Vedic conception of Vya̅hṛti’, mystical utterance of the names of the seven worlds. The first three symbolic words of the Gayatri mantra – Bhu (Earth), Antariksha (Middle region) and Dyau (Heaven) and in the connection of the fourth vyahrti ‘Mahas’ which is a greater Heaven (Brihat Dyau).

Above these, there are three higher worlds (making a total of seven), whose concepts have come down from the perception of the riṣhi̅s. They realised that the entire manifestation is like a multi-tiered hill constituting the seven planes of existence. The aim of life is to reach the higher planes step by step.   Corresponding to each step, there is a principle of consciousness and an associated world (lo̅ka). For every world here, there is a corresponding sheath of consciousness (ko̅sha) within every human being; thus reflecting the correspondence between the microcosm (the structure within a human being) and the macrocosm (the outside cosmos).

The following table gives the names of the ‘Seven worlds’ in English, their corresponding names in Veda, Upanishad or Pura̅ṇa  and the corresponding realm in a human being:

The Seven worlds are also naturally divided into three groups:

i. The upper triple (three worlds)
ii. The Fourth (Mahas)
iii. The bottom triple (three worlds)

The following graphic representation shows greater details

Note:   * Indicates respective symbolic connections between Outer and Inner worlds
Sri Aurobindo was convinced that the Vedantic and Puranic systems are identical and depend on the same idea of seven principles of subjective consciousness formulating themselves in seven objective worlds, thus giving him a total clarity on the symbolism.

It is essential to understand that these worlds are not the physical worlds but in reality are different states of consciousness. These are not reachable by physical means. If a human being is conscious only of matter, at this particular time he is living in the world of matter. If his consciousness is dwelling on desires, feelings, emotions etc., he is living in the vital world. When immersed in thought, he is in the mental world.

Though the Veda refers to all these seven principles, they constantly speak of the three outer worlds only. Relatively, they are of direct concern to us. This is the reason why more riks are devoted to Agni, who is nearest and presides over Earth. Many riks laud Indra as he is the lord of all the Gods of this triple. In contrast Savitr or Surya (Sun) , who is One God among all the Gods in the effulgent Upper half and worthy of being attained through strict austerity measures and sacrifices, the riks devoted are very few in number. Thus the Gods of our triple world are the main hosts in all our sacrifice.

(to be continued)
- C. Krishnamurthy (

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