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Spiritual & Other Hierarchies

Rene Guenon’s chapter ‘The Spiritual Hierarchies’ in his book entitled “The Multiple States of Being” written in 1932, begins by stating that ‘the existence of extra- or super-human beings in itself is fundamentally of little importance to us.’ However there is most assuredly ‘an indefinite variety of them’ and inevitably we wonder how universal metaphysics would view them. The Myriad Realms also reflect the totality of the eternal imperishable immutable One.

For example the ‘angelic’ states are according to Guenon purely intuitive and what we consider as reason is exclusively a characteristic of our human individuality. The various ‘heavens and hells’ that are described in the later Sanskrit texts, specifically in the Puranas, represent ‘the initiatic degrees to which their realization corresponds.’ In my words, the phantasmal hierarchies perfectly correlate to the consciousness of those who are magnetized to dwell within them for a time – for all these realms are temporal illusory holograms created in consciousness throughout the Cycles of Time.

As Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says: Those who are devoted to the gods [devan], go to the gods; those who are devoted to the ancestors, go to the ancestors; and those who are devoted to the spirits, go to the spirits [BhG.IX.25]. Thus for example, Christian fundamentalists will find themselves in a holographic realm that correlates to and expresses their belief systems appropriately; just as the other religions will be attracted to the realms their beliefs have generated as temporal holograms. The word ‘temporal’ here is key, for none of these realms are eternal and once our merit (punye in Sanskrit) is used up, we find our selves back in Samsara, the ocean of death & birth, again seeking union with the eternal One.

Having enjoyed the vast world of heaven, they enter the world of mortals when their merit is exhausted.  - Bhagavad Gita IX.21

Therefore we need not focus on these myriad and temporal realms, in fact devoting our time to them and worshipping them will only ensnare us. These realms are of no more or less importance than the variety of forms we find in our own material world, animal vegetable and mineral. All are expressions of the vast spectrum of creativity manifested by the One. However it is ignorance to deny their existence and reflects our current state of diminished consciousness.


Non-form or supra-individual states

Guenon defines spiritual hierarchies as the ‘ensemble of the states of being which are superior to the human individuality, and more especially to the non-formal or supra-individual states’ — and we may come to realize these supra-states of consciousness in our human state. Such Realization is indeed a natural consequence of Moksha or Mukti, meaning the Liberation that comes as we approach God-Consciousness and find ourselves freed from Samsara and the ‘ties of every special condition of existence’ — ties that are bondage in the webs of Prakriti’s Maya-Shakti, the Matrix we have created to play in.

Once we have achieved this state of Liberation, there can be ‘no spiritual degree superior to that of the Yogi, meaning one who has reached Union, for he having attained this Deliverance, which is at the same time Union [Yoga simply means union] and the Supreme Identity, has nothing further to attain.’ As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita VII.2, once the royal secret of all secrets, the eternal Wisdom-Knowledge has been understood and fully realized, nothing further remains to be known here in the world.

Guenon points out that each of us achieves Union and Realization in our own unique way depending on our individual gunas. Some prefer the One as unmanifest abstraction (avyaktam), while others find comfort and results in a more personal expression through devotion in Bhakti yoga. The One pervades All, indeed God is ubiquitous, all pervading, omnipresent (sarvatragam). Whatever we love with a pure heart, we are in truth loving the One. Experiences will vary accordingly with each of us — and in the course of our realization, there are many stages which some will pass through successively, while others experience them simultaneously.

Of no metaphysical importance in themselves…

Guenon emphasizes the idea that the degrees of spiritual hierarchies representing ‘states which are still contingent and conditioned, are of no metaphysical importance in themselves…for they constitute merely a preparation…One should never lose sight of the fact that, from the standpoint of the Infinite, the entirety of manifestation and consequently the differences between its component states are strictly nil…’ The Oneness views all its creation equally. So no matter how awesome are beautiful rainbow-wings or how amazing the wonders of hyper-luminal technology, we do not tarry long in their glory — for we have come here to seek our final Union in the One, to return Home.


Mahar an ‘extraplanetary world’

Alain Danielou refers to the existence of extraterrestrial beings in ‘While the Gods Play’ and suggests that the ETs may reside in Mahar, which he says is an ‘extraplanetary world’ that has a duration longer than that of our terrestrial world. Danielou: ‘The world where the human species live is formed by four spheres called Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, and Mahar. Bhur is the earth. Bhuvar the atmosphere, Svar the planetary world, and Mahar an extraplanetary world…[where] some men will find refuge at the time of the catastrophe that will destroy the entire species at the end of the Kali Yuga.’

There is a balance, a fine subtle line of balance to be found in both the awareness that there are thousands of other beings and varieties of life forms throughout the universe — while simultaneously realizing that we are not to bow-down-and-worship these entities, no matter how much more advanced their technology may be. We will not be served by worshipping beings with bodies of light who come in inter-dimensional space-craft, or even on magnificent golden wings. We are best served by loving and finding our sole refuge in the God-within our own Heart.

Impenetrable protecting Veils

I do not believe that the ETs are all evil, neither are they all good. Some definitely appear to have self-serving unpleasant toxic agendas. However if they wanted to destroy us, they could have done so long ago. I do feel these secret black projects that were formed to build useless weapons to defend earth from these entities, have had unintended consequences and caused real pain, confusion and suffering to the very humans I assume they were initially meant to protect.

The need to accumulate incredible sums of money to fund these projects has resulted in a loss of trust, a proliferation of the worst kind of greed and malfeasance in economics, and perhaps the breakdown of western civilisation itself. In seeking to save us, have our misguided short-sighted leaders led us to the edge of the Abyss — and in the process, perhaps proving that we earthlings do not deserve this jewel of a planet after all?

We need not concern ourselves that any group will ever be able to master a technology that could disturb the Creator’s Divine Plan, the warp & weave of this universe. For God’s ultimate Secrets are eternally sealed and protected in Veils that repel all lower states of fear, tyranny and greed consciousness. Only those who have evolved to embrace the understanding that ‘All are the One’ can lift the timeless layers of Veils, the impenetrable Wall that keeps secret and safe ultimate Truth.


“Far from being contained in any of them…”

Guenon continues his chapter on the Spiritual Hierarchies with his clear clean understanding of my favourite quote from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, which for many years has remained at the very top of my website Metaphysical Musing.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I.iv.10: And to this day, [those] who...know the self as I am Brahman [the One], become all this universe.
Even the gods [any other dimensional beings] cannot prevent his becoming this, for he has become their Self.

...if a man worships another deity thinking: He is one and I am another, he  does not know.
He [who does not know] is like a sacrificial animal to the gods. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. Even if one animal is taken away, it causes anguish to the owner; how much more so when many are taken away!
Therefore it is not pleasing to the gods that men should know this [that they are the One].


"Beyond all the states" meaning the Myriad Realms, spiritual hierarchies, angelic, astral plane entities, ETs, etc.

Guenon explains: The being who has become Liberated from the bonds of temporal illusion, possesses all states of the Absolute [the One] in all their degrees ‘because they are integral elements of his totalization.’ In reality those who have reached Union and are Liberated are really ‘beyond all the states and far from being contained in any of them, contains them all within himself’ and in no way is affected by their conditions.

This is precisely what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita IX.4 & 5, in his rather puzzling riddle-like statement:

“This whole universe is strung on Me [the One] and pervaded by Me in My Unimanifest aspect. All beings abide in Me; I do not abide in them. And yet beings do not abide in Me. Behold my divine supernal power of yoga! While sustaining the creatures and giving them being, my Self is not confined to any of them.”

Swami Muni Narayana Prasad translates these two mysterious verses as: “This changeful world is pervaded by Me; I am the one reality that is here described as ‘indistinct’ (avyakta). However, though all has come into being exists in Me, my being is not found in them. Yet beings have no existence in Me. This all-reigning yoga-state of Mine, you will have to perceive intuitively. Though reigning over all-apparent forms causing their emergence, My self-being is not in them.”


Guenon concludes his reflections on the Spiritual Hierarchies by saying that the being who has achieved Liberation in life, jivan mukta, becomes essentially unconditioned, since all conditions exist for him in their illusory mode and have not effect on his consciousness, which is joined in God-Consciousness. The appearance of form may continue, in other words we may remain in our data-collecting vehicle for a time.

The Samkhya Karika of Ishvara Krishna compares this period to a potter’s wheel that continues ‘to rotate for a while even though the potter has ceased from action, owing to the momentum of past impulses of the action. When, however, in the course of time, the impulse is exhausted, it becomes inactive. …Because of the momentum of this impulse, the Spirit continues to inhabit the body for a while.’

Rene Guenon: “[The Liberated ones] remain equally ‘unaffected’ by all the other contingencies, to whatever state, individual or supra-individual, that is, formal [meaning in form] or nonformal, they refer in the order of manifestation, which in itself is fundamentally only the sum of all contingences.”

The Liberated become the Self of All!


V. Susan Ferguson




The Multiple Sates of Being, by Rene Guenon, 1932; Larson Publications, Inc, 1984.

The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata, A Bilingual Edition, translated by J.A.B. van Buitenen; The University of Chicago Press, 1981.

The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.

Life’s Pilgrimage Through The Gita, by Swami Muni Narayana Prasad; D.K. Printworld, New Delhi, 2005, 2008.

While the Gods Play, Shaiva Oracles on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind, by Alain Danielou; Inner Traditions International, Ltd., Vermont, 1987.

SAMKHYA KARIKA of Ishvara Krishna, translated by Swami Virupakshananda; Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras, 1995.










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