The gross physical forms result from the subtler levels that are either the immediate, effective means, or the causal level that has formulated the result. If we look at the construction of a bridge, or a building, we see that first there is an idea that develops. The idea turns into a formulated mental process of design, then there is an organisational phase whereby the various designed elements are acquired, what happens next is a step-by-step process to bring the design into being. Eventually the building or bridge results. It is the same way with all things that humans create in the world.

Some things do not have specific physical forms such as described here, but have either mental or vital forms that never reach the stage of physical manifestation, yet impact things on these other planes or levels.

We find that frequently people create, in their minds, various images about what may happen in the future, what will happen to them after death, what results may occur as they proceed through their lives. Depending on how they formulate these images of the future, and how strongly they organize them, they set a direction, a trajectory and an impulsion in that direction, which then tend to attract the circumstances and forces to carry out that intention in their minds.

One of the things that people tend to dwell on is how they will experience life after death. Regardless of the actual reality of life and death, they imagine that they will attain to heaven, that they will rejoin their loved ones in heaven, or else, if they have done things that cause them to carry guilt and fear around with them, they will tend to see their future existence in a sort of hell. Some people actually create these ideas with so much intensity that they live in a heaven or a hell of their own making right here in their earthly life!

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, describes the process of the dissolution of the tie of the consciousness to the physical body, and the actual trajectory it follows as it traverses the intervening zone, which is called the bardo, subject to the direction set during the life and at the time of departure from life. Past causal energies propel them forward along the lines they previously created, and based on their spiritual development, their clarity of mind, their vital purity, they will wind up taking birth in either another body that is either destined to various forms of enjoyment or suffering as they work through all the past influences and achieve enlightenment.

The Mother observes: “In these invisible worlds there are also regions which are the result of human mental formations. One can find there all one wants. In fact, one very often finds there exactly what one expects to find. There are hells, there are paradises, there are purgatories. There are all sorts of things in accordance with the different religions and their conceptions. These things have only a very relative existence, but with a relativity similar to that of material things here; that is to say, for someone who finds himself there, they are entirely real and their effects quite tangible. One needs an inner liberation, a wideness of the consciousness and a contact with a deeper and higher truth to be able to escape from the illusion of their reality. But this is something almost similar to what happens here: human beings here are mostly convinced that the only reality is the physical reality — the reality of what one can touch, can see — and for them, all that cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be felt, is after all, problematical; well, what happens there is an identical phenomenon. People who at the moment of death are convinced, for one reason or another, that they are going to paradise or maybe to hell, do find themselves there after their death; and for them it is truly a paradise or a hell. And it is extremely difficult to make them come out of it and go to a place which is more true, more real.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 5 Occult Forces, pp. 110-111

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press