The Hierarchical Structure of Man as the Basis
for the Seven Stages of Life

The seven stages of life are in no way randomly chosen. The seven stage schema was not simply created for the sake of discussion. What Avatar Adi Da describes is the actual structure that is present in each man and woman. As the Revealer of the seventh stage of life, Avatar Adi Da’s Realization transcends every structure in the body-mind, and He has been able to clearly and directly observe and describe these structures and the “structures” of Consciousness, which are outlined through the seven stages of life.

In 1987, Avatar Adi Da described the seven stages to His devotees as follows:

I could not reshuffle the seven stages and put them in another order. It is not just an idea, something I drummed up arbitrarily. It is a specific representation of how the process itself inevitably works.

The process itself is the background of the entire Great Tradition. Whether that process was thoroughly understood by any particular tradition or not, the process is the governor. The process is the root. It is the form or structure that determines the expression of all the exotericism and esotericism. The seven stage tool is a way of seeing how that structure gets mapped out in the Great Tradition. But you must understand what is the basis for these seven stages.

You must examine the structure of the body-mind and how it determines the process of Realization. It creates the stages. And when any portion of the structure is understood and transcended, then another stage of life is revealed. And in the context of the Great Tradition historically, there was not this understanding of this structure, nor was there the structure of the seven stages of life. Nonetheless, it all happens without that basic understanding.

The Great Tradition is not a tradition except on the basis of this right comprehension of everything that has been happening—exoterically and esoterically. Then you can view it as a Great Tradition. But there is no institution out there that comprehends the Great Tradition, except Adidam. That is that Institution.

The Great Tradition is made up of many institutions, many traditions. And they did not comprehend themselves together. They did not even come together until about the last hundred years or so. And even now are hardly together. But there is of course a lot of conversation, a lot of literature. Worldwide communication is necessarily putting all these traditions in touch with one another, but even so they do not necessarily understand one another.

You need a great tool to understand it. And that tool is the process itself—an understanding of the process itself, the process of Realization. And that process is associated with the structure of the body-mind—the structure of the conditionally manifested personality. If you understand that, then you understand how Realization develops on the basis of that structure. And if you understand that, then you can understand the map of the seven stages of life. And if you understand the map of the seven stages of life, then you can understand the Great Tradition.

This hierarchical structural anatomy goes far beyond the merely physical aspects of the body that are usually referred to with the ordinary uses of the word anatomy. This anatomy describes functions that in most men and women are present merely as “potentials”, that are not in actual use in the present. However, many people have intuitions or experiences which temporarily activate or make use of these otherwise “potential” aspects of our anatomy.

Read more on the seven stages of life: