is carried through vegetation, worms, fishes, birds, and animals, ending with the human form (H), corresponding with Atman (8).
It should be borne in mind that Atman (1), in the gross form (A), as stated above, although in reality one with the limitless Ocean, i.e., the Paramatman, has lost consciousness of its Real Self, having identified itself with its gross form (A), and is thus finitely conscious of the gross world only. Similar with Atmans 2, 3, 4, etc., which are lost to their Real Self, having identified themselves with their respective gross form B, C, D, etc., and are increasingly gross-conscious only, experiencing nothing but the gross world.
In the human form (H), the evolution of form and consciousness is complete, and the Atman (8), which, up to now may be said to have evolved mediums of consciousness involuntarily, henceforth enters the stage of conscious effort in the direction of self-realization. This marks the return journey of the Atman leading to the knowledge of its Real Self, i.e., the Paramatman. Unlike the progress up to the human form, wherein the Atman was identifying itself with its gross forms, and through them as mediums was experiencing the gross worlds only, the return journey has special features, which should be carefully followed.
On the first stage of the journey, the Atman which we designate (9), still unconscious of its Real Self, identifies itself with subtle body, utilizing it to experience the subtle world only, oblivious to its Real Self, the gross world, and the mental world.
The second stage denotes Atman (10) identifying itself with the mental body and through it experiencing the mental world. Here, the Atman is completely forgetful of its Real Self, and also, of the gross and subtle worlds. On this plane the wayfarer is termed Vali in Sufi language, and, because of the immediate proximity of this stage to the Infinite Ocean of Divinity, the wayfarer may be said to have seen Paramatman or God, while he experiences the relative existence of the gross, subtle, and mental worlds as emanating from God or as having their being in God. With all that, the Vali or the individual Atman (10) is unaware of his original Self, the Paramatman.
The last stage of the journey is that of Atman (11), which has fully realized its Real Self, is drowned in the Infinite Ocean of Knowledge, Power, and Bliss, and, being identified with the Infinite Paramatman, is totally unconscious of the gross, subtle, and mental worlds. Thus, persons in this stage are unaware of their physical existence, hence their frequently observed nude condition and utter disregard of bodily requirements.
The most exalted state of the Atman is that of Atman (12), the Sadguru state, which not only ends with the realization of Self, but results in the experience of Paramatman, manifesting itself as many. Here, in the Sadguru or Perfect Master state, the Atman, besides realizing its Real Self, is able to experience the gross, subtle, and mental bodies.
In this state the individual Atman (12), with the Infinite Knowledge as its command, is able to know and judge the needs and requirements of the innumerable Atmans struggling through the different stages of evolution, and with the help of the Infinite Power, pulls them towards higher spheres or categories for which they seem fitted in the light of their previous experience or existence. For instance, Atman in (A) is pushed forward to (B), and Atman in (B) is pushed forward to (C), and so on. Up to the human form (H), side by side with organic and inorganic evolution there is a gradual awakening or unfoldment of consciousness, which gets perfected in human form. Hereafter, the Sadguru, or Perfect Master, merely changes the direction or outlook of the consciousness of human beings from gross to subtle, from subtle to mental, and from mental to Divine.
The method of working described above obtains when the Sadguru or Perfect Master is working universally in Maya, and a general spiritual push to mankind is required; but, in some exceptional instances, the Sadguru is capable of enabling Atman to slip over intermediate stages. Particularly with members of his Circle the Sadguru or Perfect Master pulls them up from the human state; and transforms them into the likeness of Himself. Here the Sadguru, or Perfect Master, utilizes his Infinite Knowledge and Power for the progress and upliftment of struggling Atmans, simultaneously enjoying the state of