|The Noetic Universe||Highest Noetic Plane(Divine-Archangelic)|
|Higher Noetic Plane (Arch-Archangelic / Archai)|
|Higher Middle Noetic Plane (Archangelic)|
|Middle Noetic Plane (Angelic)|
|Mental Plane (Abstract Mind)|
This region is described by Blavatsky in her oral teachings as the Buddic region or Vitala:
"Here are the Hierarchies of the celestial Buddhas, or Bodhisattvas....It is related on earth to Samadhi, to the Buddhic consciousness in man...,"
this latter being defined as the sense of being one with the universe ["Notes on Some Oral Teachings, in The Secret Doctrine, Adyar Edition, vol V, pp.539-540]. The equivalent to this in Kashmir Shaivism would be the Vidyeshwara or "Lord of Knowledge" state, which represents the highest plane of individual existence. Anything above this (e.g. Sadvidya-proper and beyond) constitutes existence that is totally cosmic and transpersonal.
In Sufism this is the Presence or Divine Emanation of Pure Spirits (ruhiya) totally distinct from matter, equivalent also to the world of Jabarut. In the cosmology of Suhrawardi this is the second of the "latitudinal" order of emanated Lights, the "regent lights" or "lordly lights" that oversee both the material and the celestial creation [Nasr, Three Muslim Sages, p.73]. These are very reminiscent of Rudolf Steiner's conception of creative angelic Spiritual Hierarchies, which he associated with the celestial spheres as well as human evolution and the kingdoms of nature. Steiner, following the Christian Neoplatonist Dionysius, refers to three triads of angelic hierarchies between human consciousness and the Godhead. Unfortunately, there is some discrepancy in the discriptions he gave of these hierarchies in his many lectures. But if we define the human "Ego" (in the Anthroposophical sense of the term) as equivalent to the pure mental consciousness, Steiner's hierarchies can in various ways be equated with the planes from the Higher Mental to the Divine-Archangelic.
It should be emphasised that these angelic hierarchies do not act directly upon the outer lower planes. If we take just the kingdoms of nature ("animal", "plant", and "mineral" - a symbolic rather than a literal classification) in the physical plane as an illustration, we would observe that the spiritual hierarchies of Higher Mental to Archangelic planes manifest first in the Angelic and Archangelic octaves of the subtle physical (the Causal and Higher Causal Physical) - the regions Steiner described in his lectures (calling them "Devachan", "Spirit", "Buddhi", etc) - and from there are mediated by subordinate forces and emanations in the Subtle Physical, through which they work through and in the gross physical kingdoms of nature. Similarly, their activity in human consciousness works the same way.
Psychologically, the Archangelic plane of existence would be equivalent to the Post-Plotinian Neoplatonic hypostasis of Nous or Divine Intellect (and the corresponding Noeric Gods), which overshadows the human intellect (psyche) and may illumine it from above. This seems similar to Sri Aurobindo's description of the state of higher Intuition beyond the ordinary and even beyond the Higher Mind, but beneath the Overmind (= the Divine Ontocosm) [Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, pp.946-950].
Blavatsky's sixth or Alaya plane, and the post-Blavatsky fifth or Atmic plane (the first of the sub-Divine or sub-Logoic or evolutionary planes [Powell, The Causal Body, pp.4-5]), might also be placed here.
Again, this would be the same as the Universe of Beriah in Kabbalah, so-called because it is outside the Godhead or world of Atzilut [Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, pp.118-119] (or at least, Hokmah and Binah of Beriah, and the origin of the soul (neshamah) proper.
In Kashmir Shaivism this would constitute the Apara-Mahamaya ("Lower Supreme Maya") principle, where dwell the Vijnanakalas or "Units of Consciousness". This is below the pure (= Divine) tattwas such as Sadvidya-tattwa, but above maya and the limitations of form. Here we see the development of sense of seperate self (anava-mala) proper. However, the vijnanakalas that dwell on this plane are still beyond birth and death, maya and karma.
The Divine-Archangelic plane is the region of archangelic archetypes, of which everything in the universe is a manifestation, embodying its influence. In Suhrawardi's cosmology this is the first of the "latitudinal" order of emanation; the archetypes known as the "masters of species" or "masters of theurgies", corresponding to the celestial Platonic ideas [Nasr, Three Muslim Sages, p.72]. These are the highest of the angelic hierarchies, still far beyond the manifest and visible cosmos.
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