The Mental Plane - The Fifth Heaven
Last revised: 6 August 2008.
The Fifth Heaven - The First of the Three Subplanes of Formlessness
At Last The Veils Fall Away
Let us now take one step farther, and turn our attention to the upper part of the mental plane, which is inhabited by the ego in his causal body. Now at last the veils have fallen away, and for the first time we meet man to man without possibility of misunderstanding. Even in the astral world the consciousness is already so different from that which we know down here, that it is practically impossible to give any coherent idea of it, and this difficulty increases as we attempt to deal with higher planes. Here thoughts no longer take form and float about as they do at lower levels, but pass like lightning-flashes from one soul to another. Here we have no newly-acquired vehicles, gradually coming under control and learning by degrees more or less feebly to express the soul within; but we are face to face with one body older than the hills, an actual expression of the Divine Glory which ever rests behind it, and shines through it more and more in the gradual unfolding of its powers. Here we deal no longer with outer forms, but we see the things in themselves - the reality which lies behind the imperfect expression. Here cause and effect are one, clearly visible in their unity, like two sides of the same coin. Here we have left the concrete for the abstract; we have no longer the multiplicity of forms, but the idea which lies behind all those forms.
Here the essence of everything is available; we no longer study details; we no longer talk round a subject or endeavour to explain it; we take up the essence or the idea of the subject and move it as / a whole, as one moves a piece when playing chess. This is a world of realities, where not only is deception impossible but also unthinkable; we deal no longer with any emotions, ideas or conceptions, but with the thing in itself. It is impossible to express in words the ordinary traffic of ideas between men in fully-developed causal bodies. What down here would be a system of philosophy, needing many volumes to explain it, is there a single definite object - a thought which can be thrown down as one throws a card upon a table. An opera or an oratorio, which here would occupy a full orchestra for many hours in the rendering, is there a single mighty chord; the methods of a whole school of painting are condensed into one magnificent idea; and ideas such as these are the intellectual counters which are used by egos in their converse one with another. (Charles Leadbeater, MON, 49-50.)
A vast number of souls touch the lowest level of the formless world as it were but for a moment, taking brief refuge there, since all lower vehicles have fallen away. But so embryonic are they that they have as yet no active powers that there can function independently, and they become unconscious as the mental body slips away into disintegration. Then, for a moment, they are aroused to consciousness, and a flash of memory illumines their past and they see its pregnant causes; and a flash of foreknowledge illumines their future, and they see such effects as will work out in the coming life. This is all that very many are as yet able to experience of the formless world. For, here again, as ever, the harvest is according to the sowing, and how should they who have sowed nothing for that lofty region expect to reap any harvest therein?
But many souls have during their earth-life, by deep thinking and noble living, sown much seed, the harvest of which belongs to this fifth devachanic region, the lowest of the three heavens of the formless world. Great is now their reward for having so risen above the bondage of the flesh and of passion, and they begin to experience the real life of man, the lofty existence of the soul itself, unfettered by vestures belonging to the lower worlds. They learn truths by direct vision, and see the fundamental causes of which all concrete objects are the results; they study the underlying unities, whose presence is marked in the lower worlds by the variety of irrelevant details.
Thus they gain a deep knowledge of law, and learn to recognise its changeless workings below results apparently the most incongruous, thus building into the body that endures firm unshakable convictions, that will reveal themselves in earth-life as deep intuitive certainties of the soul, above and beyond all reasoning. Here also the man studies his own past, and carefully disentangles the causes he has set going; he marks their interaction, the resultants accruing from them, and sees something of their working out in the lives yet in the future. (Annie Besant, AW, 169-71.)
The habitat of the Thinker, of the Eternal Man, is on the fifth subplane, the lowest level of the "formless" region of the mental plane. The great masses of mankind are here, scarce yet awake, still in the infancy of their life. The Thinker develops consciousness slowly, as his energies, playing on the lower planes, there gather experience, which is indrawn with these energies as they return to him treasure-laden with the harvest of life. This eternal Man, the individualised Self, is the actor in every body that he wears; it is his presence that gives the feeling of " I " alike to body and mind, the " I " being that which is self-conscious and which, by illusion, identifies itself with that vehicle in which it is most actively energising. (Annie Besant, AW, 146.)
The Causal Body
The causal body is the permanent vehicle of the ego in the higher mental world. It consists of matter of the first, second and third subdivisions of that world. In ordinary people it is not yet fully active, only that matter which belongs to the third subdivision being vivified. As the ego unfolds his latent possibilities through the long course of his evolution, the higher matter is gradually brought into action, but it is only in the perfected man whom we call the Adept that it is developed to its fullest extent. Such matter can be discerned by clairvoyant sight, but only by a seer who knows how to use the sight of the ego.
It is difficult to describe a causal body fully, because the senses belonging to its world are altogether different from and higher than ours at this level. Such memory of the appearance of a causal body as it is possible for a clairvoyant to bring into his physical brain represents it as ovoid, and as surrounding the / physical body of the man, extending to a distance of about eighteen inches from the normal surface of that body. In the case of primitive man it resembles a bubble, and gives the impression of being empty. It is in reality filled with higher mental matter, but as this is not yet brought into activity it remains colorless and transparent. As advancement continues it is gradually stirred into alertness by vibrations which reach it from the lower bodies. This comes but slowly, because the activities of man in the earlier stages of his evolution are not of a character to obtain expression in matter so fine as that of the higher mental body; but when a man reaches the stage where he is capable either of abstract thought or of unselfish emotion the matter of the causal body is aroused into response.
When these rates of undulation are awakened within him they show themselves in his causal body as colors, so that instead of being a mere transparent bubble it gradually becomes a sphere filled with matter of the most lovely and delicate hues - an object beautiful beyond all conception. It is found by experience that these colors are significant. The vibration which denotes the power of unselfish affection shows itself as a pale rose-color; that which indicates high intellectual power is yellow; that which expresses sympathy is green, while blue betokens devotional feeling, and a luminous lilac-blue typifies the higher spirituality. The same scheme of color significance applies to the bodies which are built of denser matter, but as we approach the physical world the hues are in every case by comparison grosser - not only less delicate but also less living. (Charles Leadbeater, TT, 46-6.)
We Now Know Our Lives as a Whole and the Great Scheme of Evolution
There for the first time we have fully unrolled before us all the stories of all the lives which have been lived upon our globe, the actual living records of the past; for this is the lowest plane on which the Divine Memory reflects itself. Here for the first time we see our lives as one vast whole, of which our descents into incarnation have been but the passing days. Here the great scheme of evolution is unfolded before us, so that we can see what is the Divine will for us. (Charles Leadbeater, MON, 50.)
We are Separate but Aware of Our Unity
An ego who is awakened and is truly alive upon his own plane is indeed a glorious object, and gives us for the first time some idea of what God means man to be. The egos are still separate, yet intellectually they fully realise their inner unity, for they see one another as they are and can no longer blunder or fail to comprehend. (Charles Leadbeater, MON, 52.)