In the ignorance of my mind, I ask of these steps of the Gods that are set within. The all-knowing Gods have taken the Infant of a year and they have woven about him seven threads to make this weft.
Rig Veda. I. 164. 5.
All cosmic existence is organised around seven great principles. These seven truths, placings, dhamani, Cows, dhenavah, are to be found all through this creation. Indeed not all of them are patent to the eye at the same time and on the same level of existence; any one Power or Principle maybe in the forefront, but all the rest are there, involved or included or subordinated to it. Three of these are Sat – Existence, Chit-Consciounsess-Force, Ananda-Bliss constituting the upper hemisphere; parardha; Anna-Matter, Prana- Life, Manas-Mind constituting the lower hemisphere, aparardha. Linking both is Vijnana, Supermind.
These seven principles are the threads with which is woven about man, the evolving being, who is just an ‘infant’ of a year. Man, as he is, is hardly an adult of evolving Nature. In this individual existence all these seven strands of the Truth in manifestation are ever present, some in the forefront, some in the background. They are the steps that the Gods have set for him to scale on his path to his Godhead.
As with the individual so with the cosmic existence. The creation comprises seven planes of self-extension based upon the seven principles as described. Each is connected with the others, all together constitute the manifestation with a septuple (consisting of seven) Name which the Gods ever know but man has to realise with the growth of his consciousness.
(Source: Shri M.P.Pandit: Legends in The Life Divine, p.87)
WE HAVE now, by our scrutiny of the seven great terms of existence which the ancient seers fixed on as the foundation and sevenfold mode of all cosmic existence, discerned the gradations of evolution and involution and arrived at the basis of knowledge towards which we were striving. We have laid down that the origin, the continent, the initial and the ultimate reality of all that is in the cosmos is the triune principle of transcendent and infinite Existence, Consciousness and Bliss which is the nature of divine being. Consciousness has two aspects, illuminating and effective, state and power of self-awareness and state and power of self-force, by which Being possesses itself whether in its static condition or in its dynamic movement; for in its creative action it knows by omnipotent self-consciousness all that is latent within it and produces and governs the universe of its potentialities by an omniscient self-energy.
We have seen that the cosmic existence is founded on the seven-fold principles of Sat, Chit and Ananda, Supermind, Mind, Life and Matter. The descending and ascending gradations of involution and evolution correspond to these seven principles.
We have arrived at the knowledge that the origin, the continent, the initial and the ultimate reality of all that is in the universe is the triune(three-in-one) principle of transcendent (beyond the universe) and infinite Sat-chit-ananda, Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. That is the nature of divine being.
Consciousness has two aspects, illuminating (aspect of light) and effective (aspect of power). One is the state and power of self-awareness (awareness from within). The other is the state and power of self-force (force from within). By these two aspects the Being (Sat) possesses itself whether in its static condition or in its dynamic movement.
The creative action is originated by the Being. By its omnipotent self-consciousness It knows all that is latent (hidden) within it. It produces and governs the universe of its potentialities by an omniscient self-energy.
This creative action of the All-existent has its nodus in the fourth, the intermediate principle of Supermind or Real-Idea, in which a divine Knowledge one with self-existence and self-awareness and a substantial Will which is in perfect unison with that knowledge, because it is itself in its substance and nature that self-conscious self-existence dynamic in illumined action, develop infallibly the movement and form and law of things in right accordance with their self-existent Truth and in harmony with the significances of its manifestation.
The infinite Principles of Sachchidananda can only form infinite formations, infinite worlds. A defined movement, an intermediate principle is required. Therefore, the creative action of the Sat-chit-ananda has its centre of operation in the fourth principle. That is the intermediate principle of Supermind or Real-Idea. It is through Supermind the manifestation takes place. In Supermind is present a divine knowledge one with self-existence(sat) and self-awareness (chit) and a substantial Will which is in perfect unison with that knowledge (Knowledge-Will). It is unlike at our level where knowledge and will are not always unified. Because Supermind is itself, in its nature, the divine Knowledge and the dynamic and illumined action of its Will, is in perfect unison with the divine Knowledge.
This divine Knowledge and Will in Supermind develop infallibly (without mistake) the movement and form and law of things in right accordance (Ritam) with their self-existent Truth (Satyam) and in harmony with the significances of its manifestation.
The creation depends on and moves between the biune principle of unity and multiplicity; it is a manifoldness of idea and force and form which is the expression of an original unity, and it is an eternal oneness which is the foundation and reality of the multiple worlds and makes their play possible. Supermind therefore proceeds by a double faculty of comprehensive and apprehensive knowledge; proceeding from the essential oneness to the resultant multiplicity, it comprehends all things in itself as itself the One in its manifold aspects and it apprehends separately all things in itself as objects of its will and knowledge.
The creation takes place between the two-in-one principle of unity and multiplicity. The idea and force and form contained in the Supermind are expressed through creation in many ways. It is the One that expresses itself as Many. An eternal oneness is the foundation and reality of the multiple worlds which makes their play possible.
Supermind proceeds by a double faculty of comprehensive and apprehensive knowledge. Supermind in its creative action proceeds from the essential oneness to the resultant multiplicity (physical world). In its comprehensive knowledge it sees all things in itself as itself; the Many in One. In its apprehensive knowledge it sees all things separately in itself as objects of its will and knowledge.
While to its original self-awareness all things are one being, one consciousness, one will, one self-delight and the whole movement of things a movement one and indivisible, it proceeds in its action from the unity to the multiplicity and from multiplicity to unity, creating an ordered relation between them and an appearance but not a binding reality of division, a subtle unseparating division, or rather a demarcation and determination within the indivisible. The Supermind is the divine Gnosis which creates, governs and upholds the worlds: it is the secret Wisdom which upholds both our Knowledge and our Ignorance.
To the original self-awareness of Supermind all things are one being, one consciousness, one will, one self-delight (Sat-chit-ananda); the whole movement of things is a movement of one and indivisible. Because Supermind in its original poise is one with Sachchidananda – the Oneness. In its action, Supermind proceeds from the unity to the multiplicity and from multiplicity to unity. Though there is unity and multiplicity there is an ordered relation created between them. The division is only in appearance; it is not a binding reality. It is a subtle unseparating division. What appears as division is only a demarcation and determination within the indivisible.
The Supermind is the divine Knowledge which creates, governs and upholds the worlds. Both our Knowledge and Ignorance are upheld by the secret Wisdom which is the Supermind.
We have discovered also that Mind, Life and Matter are a triple aspect of these higher principles working, so far as our universe is concerned, in subjection to the principle of Ignorance, to the superficial and apparent self-forgetfulness of the One in its play of division and multiplicity. Really, these three are only subordinate powers of the divine quaternary: Mind is a subordinate power of Supermind which takes its stand in the standpoint of division, actually forgetful here of the oneness behind though able to return to it by reillumination from the supramental; Life is similarly a subordinate power of the energy aspect of Sachchidananda, it is Force working out form and the play of conscious energy from the standpoint of division created by Mind; Matter is the form of substance of being which the existence of Sachchidananda assumes when it subjects itself to this phenomenal action of its own consciousness and force.
Mind, Life and Matter are a triple aspect of the higher principles of Sat, Chit, Ananda and Supermind. However, these three principles work in subjection to the principle of Ignorance as far as our universe is concerned. They are subjected to the superficial and apparent self-forgetfulness of the One in its play of division and multiplicity.
Really, Mind, Life and Matter are only subordinate powers of the divine quarternary (Sat-Chit-Ananda-Supermind). Mind is the subordinate power of Supermind. It works in division and Ignorance (of Oneness). Only by reillumination by Supermind it can return to the truth of Oneness.
Similarly, Life is the subordinate power of Consciousness-Force, Chit-shakti. It is Force working out material forms and the play of conscious energy. However, it works from the standpoint of division created by Mind.
Matter is the form of substance assumed by the Sat or existence of Sat-chit-ananda when it is subjected to the action of its own consciousness and force in this physical world.
In addition, there is a fourth principle which comes into manifestation at the nodus of mind, life and body, that which we call the soul; but this has a double appearance, in front the desire-soul which strives for the possession and delight of things, and, behind and either largely or entirely concealed by the desire-soul, the true psychic entity which is the real repository of the experiences of the spirit. And we have concluded that this fourth human principle is a projection and an action of the third divine principle of infinite Bliss, but an action in the terms of our consciousness and under the conditions of soul-evolution in this world.
The fourth principle is the soul which comes into manifestation veiled by mind, life and body. The soul has the double appearance of desire-soul in the front and the true psychic entity behind. The desire soul strives for the possession and delight of things. The true psychic entity concealed by the desire soul stores all the experiences of the spirit (the essence of experiences) gathered through so many lives.
The fourth human principle, the soul- the true psychic entity is a projection and an action of the third divine principle of infinite Bliss (Ananda). The action of the divine principle, Ananda takes place in the terms of our human consciousness under the conditions of soul-evolution (ignorance, division, darkness and the dualities) in the world.
As the existence of the Divine is in its nature an infinite consciousness and the self-power of that consciousness, so the nature of its infinite consciousness is pure and infinite Bliss; self-possession and self-awareness are the essence of its self-delight. The cosmos also is a play of this divine self-delight and the delight of that play is entirely possessed by the Universal; but in the individual owing to the action of ignorance and division it is held back in the subliminal and the superconscient being; on our surface it lacks and has to be sought for, found and possessed by the development of the individual consciousness towards universality and transcendence.
The Nature of the Divine existence is an infinite consciousness and the self-power of that consciousness (Chit-shakti). So is the nature of its infinite consciousness pure and infinite Bliss. Self-possession and self-awareness are the essence of its self-delight.
The universe is a play of this divine self-delight. The delight of the play is entirely possessed by the Universal. This delight is held back in the subliminal and the superconscient being in the individual because of the action of ignorance and division.
We lack this delight in our surface being. We have to seek for it, find it and possess it by the development of the individual consciousness towards the universality and the transcendence. We miss the delight of existence because we limit ourselves within divisions, egoism and physical senses.
We may, therefore, if we will, pose eight*2 principles instead of seven, and then we perceive that our existence is a sort of refraction of the divine existence, in inverted order of ascent and descent, thus ranged, —
*2 The Vedic Seers speak of the seven Rays, but also of eight, nine, ten or twelve.