An Overview of the Seven Stages of Life

Page 5 of 7

Stage Five—Higher Spiritual Development: The fifth stage of life could be described as the domain of accomplished Yogis—individuals involved in the pursuit of Enlightenment through mystical experience, such as the vision of the “blue pearl” and through the attainment of psychic powers. But it is important to note that just as exceedingly few religious practitioners fully Awaken to the Spiritual Reality in the fourth stage of life, exceedingly few would-be Yogis become fifth stage Realizers.

The important difference between the fifth stage of life and all the stages of life that precede it is that awareness on the gross physical plane is no longer the normal mode of existence. Rather, attention is constantly attracted into subtle realms—dreamlike or visionary regions of mind.

The phenomena of the fifth stage of life arise as a result of the further movement of the Spirit-Current, now in the higher regions of the brain. In the fifth stage of life the Spirit-Current moves from the ajna chakra through and beyond the crown of the head. At its point of highest ascent, the Spirit-Current triggers the Yogic meditative state traditionally called “Nirvikalpa Samadhi” (“formless ecstasy”) in which all awareness of body and mind is temporarily dissolved in the absolute Love-Bliss of the Divine Self-Condition. This profoundly ecstatic state is regarded as the summit of Realization in the Hindu schools of Yoga, as well as in certain branches of Buddhism and Taoism. (It is precisely defined by Avatar Adi Da as “fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi”.) This dissolution of body and mind is a direct demonstration that the apparently separate self has no eternal existence or significance, and that only the Divine Condition of absolute Freedom and Happiness truly exists.

Even so, a limit remains. This great Samadhi, the culminating achievement of the fifth stage of life, is fleeting. At some point bodily consciousness returns, and so does the ache to renew that boundless, disembodied Bliss. Fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi, for all its profundity, is achieved on the basis of a subtle stress. It is the ultimate fruit of the Yogic strategy to escape the body by directing one’s awareness upward into infinite Light.

In His description of the Way of Adidam, Avatar Adi Da Reveals that higher mystical experience and the achievement of profound trance states in the maturity of the fourth stage of life and in the fifth stage of life are not prerequisites for most ultimate Divine Enlightenment. In the Way of the Adidam, the whole tour of the subtle planes can be bypassed, because of Avatar Adi Da’s unique Transmission of the Love-Blissful Power of the Divine Itself. When, in the fourth stage of life, the devotee in the Way of Adidam is mature enough to be responsible for constantly receiving and “conducting” Avatar Adi Da’s Spirit-Current, a body-mind in every cell from the crown of the head to the very toes. Every knot in the body-mind is opened up in this ecstatic reception of Him.

When this Sublime Infusion has completed its Work, a great conversion has occurred in the body-mind. One is not susceptible to the fascinations of visionary experience, even when such experiences arise. Neither is one moved to direct one’s attention up and out of the body into the infinitely ascended state of “formless ecstasy”. Rather, the “tour” of mystical experience is revealed to be simply more of the futile search to be completely Happy and fulfilled. And so that whole pursuit of mystical satisfaction relaxes, and the devotee may be easily drawn beyond all habits of identification with bodily states and even beyond the subtle mind states of the fifth stage of life into a pristine understanding of Reality as Consciousness Itself.