souls get into the mental world. But if they get there during the interval between incarnations they spend a much longer time there than the soul who spends his interval in the subtle world. However, even those who get into the mental world have to come back to the gross world. But when they thus come, they bring with them the powers of the mental world.
The soul dwells alternately in the gross and the subtle worlds and in rare cases, in the gross and the mental worlds. There is no special spiritual advancement in merely going from the gross world to the subtle world or even to the mental world. It amounts to going back to the place from which the soul has descended on earth. Instead of trying to go to some other worlds, the souls should go from the gross world into the planes of advancing consciousness. The subtle or the mental world is not to be regarded as situated at a considerable distance from the gross world. It is possible to dwell in them consciously even during the stay in the gross world. They are, as it were, worlds within worlds instead of being worlds separated from each other by distance.
The spiritual planes are connected with the subtle and mental worlds. One has to start his journey in the gross body and also realize the highest Truth in the gross body. The planes correspond to the inner changes of the states of consciousness. It is possible to pass through these planes in darkness. (i.e. without knowing it), or with knowledge. Ceaseless rounds between the gross and the subtle or between the gross and mental worlds do not necessarily mean spiritual progress. Nor is spiritual progress ensured by them.
Spiritual progress is much more than mere change of surrounding environment. It is a radical transformation in the very structure and attitude of the functioning consciousness. If the spiritual pilgrim is being taken onwards with his eyes open, he may, while crossing the inner planes, get experiences and powers of the subtle worlds (even while remaining in the gross body), according to the plane in which he is stationed. This is the state of many Yogis. But if he is taken blindfolded, he passes by them by often without registering even their very existence and certainly without getting involved in them. The seven planes are directly connected with the spiritually advancing states of consciousness and indirectly connected with the subtle and mental worlds.
For actually crossing the planes, what is necessary is true spirituality. True spirituality requires the real love for God. A person cannot be said to love God, if he cannot accept His will without discontent or resentment. There was one real devotee of God. He was a multi-millionaire, enjoyed good health and reputation and had a happy family life. But as luck would have it, he came to be deprived of all his wealth. His friends asked him "What is your God doing? Why do you not