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Nine Levels

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For an introduction to the Nine Levels, please refer to the Physical-Vital-Mental Levels of Human Consciousness and Evolution.

Human consciousness consists of three levels or planes – the physical body, the vital plane of life energy and the mental plane of conscious awareness. The physical is the plane of form. The vital is the plane of energy. The mental is the plane of thought. Each of these three planes can be further subdivided into physical, vital and mental components, because each of these elements exists in all planes. This article describes the predominant attributes and characteristics of each of the nine levels.

Level 1

  1. Number Level 1 is the pure mind, the mental part of mind, the pure thinker.
  2. It is here that the concepts are formed and understanding rises to its purity.
  3. Mother refers to it as speculative mind, the seat of mental light.
  4. Level 1 represents the philosopher.
  5. Level 1 becomes most powerful when detached from the sentiment of two and the decision of three of the same plane.
  6. The essential faculty of Level 1 is organization, the organization of ideas.
  7. This is the seat of mental ego deriving its strength from the organization.
  8. Ideas arise from the body. The body’s motion that becomes skill, energized by the vital attitudes, having decided in Level 1 fashion and developing sentiments for it, finally let go the essence of these exercises as Ideas which find their proper seat in Level 1.
  9. In the process of development, Level 1 conceives and level 2 to level 9 execute.
  10. The knowledge of the process of external social development being really the knowledge of the process that moves from level 9 to Level 1, Level 1 is capable of acquiring that knowledge.
  11. Level 1 has light, but no energy or power, even mental energy or mental power.
  12. Mind itself has no power of concrete accomplishment, except the mental power of decision in the consciousness and determination in the substance.
  13. Level 1 has the power in the measure other parts willingly accept Level 1.
  14. Intrinsically, Level 1 has the power over all the parts of level 2 to level 9 if its clarity, organization and strength of idea attain to the required perfection.
  15. As Level 1 is connected with four and seven, Level 1 can dominate seven since, in truth; Level 1 is the extracted essence of seven.
  16. Level 1 moving seven is Mind dominating Matter whereas in practice it is Matter that dominates Mind.
  17. The subconscious substance of seven can be moved by Level 1, if the spirit in Level 1 is awake and reaches the spirit in seven.
  18. All conscious social development is Level 1 directing and dominating the parts of level 2 to level 9.

Level 2

  1. Level 2 is the vital of the mental plane.
  2. As concept and idea belong to the consciousness and substance of Level 1, feeling and sentiment belong to Level 2.
  3. Level 2 is that which generates the poet.
  4. Poetry belongs to the sphere of ideas that are idolized and it is Level 2 that does it.
  5. As Level 1 deprives the idea of sentiment to become a pure idea, level 3 refuses to mature into sentiment which will prevent its decision from being effective.
  6. But Level 2 overcomes the practicality of decision and before maturing into pure idea, creates poetry.
  7. Level 2 is in direct relation with level 5 and level 7.
  8. Seven produces the rustic folklore.
  9. Five produces the hero, the artist and the vital poetry whose thought content is not rich. Maybe the bard of ballads comes out of level 5.
  10. Idea before becoming the action matures into sentiment.
  11. Decisive action before becoming essential idea acquires the feeling and sentiment.
  12. The language of decision and determination is matter of fact.
  13. The language of concept is precise, well-defined, leaving no room for sentiment.
  14. Physical action before becoming mental idea stops at the destination of poetry.
  15. Not only poetry, but idealism belongs to this seat of Level 2.
  16. An idea becomes an ideal when the emotions espouse it.
  17. Philosophers are doctrinaire; men of action act and do not speak. Idealists who exhort the population cannot resort to doctrines nor will mere action inspire the people. Emotion of patriotism, metaphor of poetry, inspiration of music and passion for a goal belong to Level 2.
  18. Passion without ideas or energy is that of a worker who prides himself on his servility to the master.
  19. Passion with energy is un-idealistic ambition for wealth or status.
  20. Passion informed of an ideal or led by an ideal is no longer passion, but can become devotion to an ideal or dedication to a cause.


Level 3

  1. This is the physical mind, seated in the brain, centre of intellectuality, decision and determination above and below.
  2. Being physical, it is in direct relation with 6 & 9; being mind, it is in direct relation with level 7. Juxtaposed between level 2 & level 4, both influence it.
  3. This -- level 3 -- is the organizer in Man. All the civilized ways have been built up only by level 3.
  4. Level 7 organizes physical movements, level 1 organizes pure ideas and level 3 organizes thought, the sensational facts that interpret themselves in the brain as thoughts.
  5. Its organization consists in creating systems for action by coordination. The facts fed by the level 5 senses are converted here into thought and then are coordinated. That coordination is thinking. To create a system out of those thoughts is intellectuality.
  6. For this reason, it rarely fails as its facts are empirical, not hypothetical. For the same reason, it cannot be creative as level 1.
  7. Level 4 offers emotionally energized ‘facts’ to level 3. level 3 accepts the facts and rejects the emotional colouring. Action -- decision for action -- is born when emotion is shed. At a further stage, emotion can energize action.
  8. Level 7 organises physical movements, while level 3 organizes sensational movements.
  9. Level 9 is physical existence or awareness. Similarly, level 3 is the existence of thought or mental awareness.
  10. Level 3 offers the physical basis for the poet and the philosopher.
  11. Level 3 is unemotional.
  12. As level 7 generates skill out of movements, level 3 creates thought out of sensational facts.
  13. Great administrators belong to level 3.
  14. Henry Ford had pragmatic intelligence. Level 3 is its seat.
  15. Executives of all types are those, who have a developed No. level 3.
  16. It loses its effectivity when sentiment colors it.
  17. Thought is the product of sensation in the physical part of the mind.
  18. It is said that mind is the function of brain. The function of brain produces not mind but thought.
  19. Level 4 is cunning. Level 3 takes its feed without that cunning.
  20. It is the seat of action because it moves level 7, which acts.

Level 4

  1. The mind of the vital plane is level 4.
  2. If organization is not considered at all, vital mind is the most efficient in man.
  3. Vital mind often penetrates the organizer level 3 and claims success occasionally. This is so because the organization takes a long time to perfect itself. Vital mind can spot the chinks and attacks with its subtle knowledge. Perfect organization is always invulnerable, especially an established one.
  4. Vital mind accepts nothing less than victory and seeks it at all costs. Therefore it is not moral.
  5. Famous generals who came under the civilian authority before the advent of democracy, were of level 4. Their courage issued from level 5 even as their strategies emanated from level 4.
  6. Shivaji was a vibhuti but had no compunction to kill his opponent by a fraternal embrace, a heinous crime for a leader of that stature in a country where Rama had set standards.
  7. The enormous courage of level 5 refines itself into enormous cunning that is cleverness at level 4.
  8. It is level 4 which despises the organizer level 3 and his systems of action because level 4 knows level 3’s systems can have chinks while its own insight is flawless.
  9. It is again level 4 that ridicules level 1, the philosopher and his ethereal conceptions.
  10. But level 4 is in direct relationship with level 1 above and level 7 below as they too are mental parts.
  11. Sandwiched between level 3 and level 5, it is the prerogative of 4 to process the emotions of level 5 into emotional thought of level 4 and feed it to level 3.
  12. Foresters, rustic community leaders, mafia chieftains are of this cut or cult.
  13. Level 4 is the seat of superstitions when the person lacks courage.
  14. In the ascent level 4 receives the emotions of level 5 to process it into thought. In the descent, level 4 receives the decision of level 3 and infuses it with emotion to charge the decision with emotional ideas. By itself, level 4 is the preserver of social security, fashions social norms, lays down public conduct and plays the role of the social conscience.
  15. In times of social degeneration, the strength of level 4 determines the length of psychological social survival.
  16. In times of social upward movement, one does not approve of the changes if level 4 sulks.
  17. Shrewdness, insight, penetration, alertness, resourcefulness are its endowments.
  18. Athletes, film artists, public figures, commercial executives, if endowed with a strong level 4, will move from success to greater success successively.
  19. Public speakers with linguistic ability can be made into public leaders if level 4 is strong.
  20. Strong level 4 makes fiction writers popular in the beginning because of a penchant for sensationalism. They degenerate into obscene writers, as fiction does not thrive on sensationalism.
  21. Strong level 4 in the head of a family will make the family a victim of tyranny, but the family will become a success, though a success shrouded in fear and tension.
  22. A weak level 4 will make the person a victim of all circumstances. The victimization will be intensified by his own imagined fears without number.
  23. It is not for level 4 to be ethical. In case it espouses any ethic that will be followed religiously like Gandhiji’s goat’s milk.
  24. Level 4 is the monitor of attitudes and motives in consciousness and substance.
  25. Gita advocated the surrender of motives to reach Satchidananda and the Supreme as those were days of the vital man.

Level 5

  1. Level 5 is the pure vital, the vital of the vital plane.
  2. Being vital, it is in touch with level 2 and level 8.
  3. Naturally it is between level 4 and level 6 and therefore in powerful touch with both.
  4. Level 5 is the seat of the courage of the heroic warrior, the artists, the poet of the second level or the middle level, the pure emotion untouched by the minds of either the vital plane or of the mental plane.
  5. Level 5 energizes the physical vital of level 6 and gives it the greatest force of the person.
  6. Level 5 is sensation in consciousness and sensitivity in substance.
  7. Sensation is an organization of responses of the five senses co-ordinated.
  8. Sensation has energy but no power. Sensitivity has power of substance.
  9. Six vitalizes the physical energy of the person while level 5 vitalizes that energy of level 6.
  10. Its force and power come from its being pure energy.
  11. As it is untouched by mind, so it is untouched by the faculties of mind such as memory or judgement or even imagination.
  12. One is oblivious of the entire surroundings while at level 5, because the surroundings come to one through observation or its memory.
  13. Senses do not think through memory or observe through mind; they only sense.
  14. When level 5 was the highest height man had ever reached, he was in complete tune with nature.
  15. His faculties at that time were the faculties of senses, i.e. pugnacity, gregariousness, survival, self-preservation etc.
  16. The movement from the physical plane to the vital plane is vastly expansive in energy. A further movement of greater expansiveness is that of level 5 over level 6. Hence the greatest power of man is at level 5, made possible by expansiveness of two levels.
  17. Music is the form of sound; painting is the form of lines; courage is the force of form of pure energy in action. Hence level 5 is their seat.
  18. Level 8 energizes level 5 from below; level 2 elevates it from above. From below, it gets force, from above, it gets direction.
  19. Negatively level 5 is the seat of fear, phobia, possession, especially obsessive possession, total lack of understanding and energy of superstition.
  20. Sensation of level 5 energizes the natural physiological functions with energy, such as running in fear.

Level 6

  1. Level is the physical part of the vital.
  2. Level 3 is the physical part of the mental plane, seated in the brain.
  3. Level 9 is the physical part of the physical, seated in the body, the pure physical.
  4. Level 3, level 6 and level 9 are in direct touch with each other being the physical parts of various planes.
  5. Also, level 6 is in touch with level 5 above and level 7 below.
  6. Six is the nerves, the central nervous system, even as level 3 is brain and level 9 is body.
  7. Six is the point at which the physical plane emerges into the vital plane.
  8. That we know releases enormous energy but is still of the physical character.
  9. Ideas, opinions lodged here in level 6 cannot be removed by a mental effort. It may succeed to some extent even at level 4 since level 4 is a mental part. It rarely passes on to level 5, never to level 6, as there is nothing of mind to receive or respond.
  10. At times of riots, flood havoc etc., man puts aside his mind for all intents and purposes. At such times, he acts mostly from level 7 or level 6.
  11. Emotion and devotion are seated here in the consciousness and substance.
  12. Devotion is strongest vitally at level 5, but physically devotion reaches its maximum power only here.
  13. Emotion at level 4 will be colored by emotional knowledge, but here will be pure untouched by mind of any description.
  14. In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Jean Valjean with his emotional sense of duty to his sister's kids lived centered in level 6.
  15. As level 6 is the point where physical plane enters the vital plane and the only mental touch it so far has seen is the mental ability of level 7 to learn the primary skills for existence, level 6 remains pristine pure unspoiled by the crooked mind.
  16. In the descent, level 6 is to offer physical stability to the vital power of level 5.
  17. The warrior who is thus supported feels like a rock, as it is the support of the physical.
  18. All the power of organization of level 3, in spite of its relationship with six does not reach level 6 essentially as it knows not what organization is.
  19. It is open to the raw physical influence of level 9 as it is of its type.
  20. It is here, vital sensation and physical sensation interchange in the descent and ascent.

Level 7

  1. The mental part of the physical is level 7. This is the very first appearance of Mind in Man.
  2. Level 7 is the conscious mental part even though it is seated in the subconscious physical.
  3. The subconscious has its mental part in what Mother calls Material mind which is the mental part of level 9 when it is subdivided into mental, vital and physical parts. It is this mind that controls our involuntary organs and the reflex action.
  4. That Material mind emerges into conscious existence in level 7.
  5. Thus, level 7 is the seat of all conscious learning of our physical such as walking, talking, eating etc.
  6. When Level 7 understands, the body immediately starts doing.
  7. Its efficiency is thus total and for the very same reason it does not respond till it fully learns.
  8. Mind means turning sensations into ideas and organizing them.
  9. Level 7 turns the physical sensations of eight into physical ideas of skills of acting.
  10. The mere undirected movements of level 9 become skilled movements in level 7 through the sensations of level 8.
  11. Level 7 is vitally reinforced by level 4 and conceptually educated by level 1.
  12. Level 7 is in touch with level 3 and gets the benefits of its organization, decision and determination.
  13. There is no emotion of any kind in neither level 7 nor any thought of any description, since it is incapable of both.
  14. Level 7 is the foundation for level 3 directly.
  15. Skill and capacity are seated here in the consciousness and substance.
  16. This is the raw human individual which rises in times of utter crisis to act as beast even as the sailors in the stranded ship started eating human flesh before they perished.
  17. Its greatest function is the formation of skills and extraction of their essence into capacity to be stored in its substance.
  18. Skill formation is a process where each unit is to be originally fashioned and co-ordinated by an original process of trial and error. As bricks are to be molded one by one and laid one by one to erect a wall, skills need their psychological bricks of movements brought under an order. The writer writes each letter, not each word separately to form a word, which forms a sentence. Skill formation is a basic fundamental biological process.
  19. The trials and errors have given a resultant knowledge to level 7 that it has arrived on its own. That is its mental functioning. The physical memory of acts repeats those skills ad infinitum.
  20. What level 7 does with primary physical movements, level 3 does with primary thought movements.
  21. We can say level 7 is the mind emerging from the physical while level 3 is the physical base that helps the thought mind to emerge.
  22. In level 7, the thought emerges from the physical sensation, which the mind there organises.
  23. In level 3, the physical organizes itself as a suitable right basis for thought mind to emerge.
  24. In the relationship of level 7 with level 3, one supports the other from below and from above in this fashion.
  25. Thought in level 3 becomes coarse by the physicality of level 7 while the physical in level 7 becomes bright with the light of level 3.
  26. Thought in level 7 is a physical movement, which the scientist is trying to measure and track.
  27. Function of brain, the physical movement in level 3 is a thought in level 3.
  28. Level 7 does not respond to a vital sensation and rejects it.
  29. A concept of level 1 does not reach level 7 and when it does reach, it has no faculty to respond with and therefore ignores it.
  30. Level 7 is the seat of the physical psychic as it is the mental part of the physical.

Level 8

  1. Level 8 is the vital of the physical plane, the very first point where vitality is born in Man.
  2. This is the first stage where there is a part, absolutely untouched by mind.
  3. Level 8 is vital but is the vitality of the physical, not having any resemblance to vital energy, even as the wedding function in the poorest circumstances has the characteristic of the wedding without resembling any function.
  4. The vitality here is energy, not fully converted into sensation. If any sensation is there, it is the physical sensation.
  5. The sensations of level 8 will have the newness to the individual, which the neo-literate feels in the excitement of literacy.
  6. This is also the first seat that converts physicality into vital energy. The sense of wonder of the first recipient will characterize this conversion.
  7. What it receives from level 5 and from level 2 are of great interest to us. It is on a parallel to the effect on the bottom of the population by what the cream receives. It may be negligible but is significant.
  8. A study of these patterns is of great importance but we do not enter into these branches of expression here.
  9. Poetry even at this level is appealing to the population of that level. An old man composed a song on the spot and sang it at the thanksgiving function at Ramapuram.
  10. In the life of the warrior and the poet, either in his early life or in the previous generations, one can witness the presence of level 8 without fail.
  11. Level 8 is in indirect touch with level 2 and level 5, in direct touch with level 7 and level 9.
  12. Man at level 8 is the unskilled, energetic and physical worker.
  13. The only endowment he has, is the primitive physical energy, which does not condemn him as a bulk of dead flesh.
  14. Superstition will be his religion.
  15. He may not have evolved to the extent of either questioning his superstition or fearing to lose it. What he has is his possession.
  16. To him, emotions are objects, concepts are invisible.
  17. Even to be mercenary, he may not have faculties.
  18. Skills, emotions, ideas pass him as objects without his noticing them.
  19. Their sleep is unconscious; their dreams are of the subconscious.
  20. Even tree climbing is a skill that defies him.

Level 9

  1. Man begins his existence as physical existence at level 9.
  2. This part is exclusively and purely physical, even as 1 is exclusively and purely mental.
  3. Level 9 is untouched by vitality or mentality in the least.
  4. It is in direct touch only with 8 and in indirect touch with level 3 and level 6.
  5. Movement and sleep are its statuses in consciousness and substance.
  6. What appears to us as a clod from the point of view of developed man is really the culmination of Man’s evolution from the animal. The animal vitality having evolved to human mentality is born as Man whom we find at level 9.
  7. This man is only capable of movement and emotion or thought has not yet been born in him. Mentality is only in potential while Man is at level 9.
  8. According to Sri Aurobindo, the intelligence of the primitive man who fashioned the tools out of stones is the same as the modern scientist. When the species is born, its highest intelligence is also born with it. Only that, it is in potential while he is at level 9.
  9. For that intelligence to flower and reach either level 3 or even level 1, it has to evolve emotions and sensations.
  10. Man at level 9 is one, who is in a dazed mental condition, if it could be called ‘mental’ by any stretch of the imagination or linguistic usage.
  11. The only thing he is really capable of is movement.
  12. In the absence of those inherent movements, he lapses into sleep.
  13. As the newborn baby, he is representing the nascent conditions of the newly evolved member of the species.
  14. Level 9 can be compared to level 1 with respect to the higher mental silence. The conditions of level 9 with respect to Man are the same as level 1 with respect to the faculty of the higher Mind that understands through silence.
  15. Level 9 is to the physical as level 6 is to the vital and level 3 is to the mental.
  16. Level 3 is empirical and organizes its facts into system that is decision, but is at sea faced with the concepts of level 1. So does level 9 feel with respect to level 7.
  17. Level 6, which is the first member of the vital, is placed in a similar position with level 4.
  18. The one asset of level 9 is movement and that is all the source of its energy and later intelligence.
  19. The purity of level 9 as pure physical is so complete that it permits evolution of vitality by its movements.
  20. The Supra mental being will be born, if level 9 is supra mentalised in consciousness and substance.
  21. As its freshness permits it to evolve vitality, so too its pristine purity when reconditioned to its original status permits supramentalisation.
  22. By the time it is ready to be mentalised, the very flesh turns into the grey matter of brain.
  23. The influence of level 1 penetrates to level 9, to its substance.



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