On the Nature of the Causal Body and Causal Plane

The "stairway to heaven" suggests the path of spiritual evolution up through the various planes of existence

One of the matters that Archangel Michael touched on in his message for April 2011 (1) was the causal body. I’d like to take a look at it and some subjects which arise out of that examination.

In this article, I’m not intending to be exhaustive. I’m simply wishing to arouse  interest in the subject of the various planes of existence and the bodies associated with them.

We could think of our exit from the astral body, followed later by our exit from the mental body, as each being an “Ascension.”

In the spirit planes, movement from one subplane to another does not involve an exit from a body. But movement from the Astral Plane to the Mental Plane, or from the Mental Plane to the Causal Plane does involve an exit from a body: first from the astral body to the mental, then from the mental body to the causal.

In our Ascension we will rise from the Physical Plane (Third Density) in stages to the Mental Plane (Fifth Density), but we will not leave our body behind. This is different from what happens on the spirit planes.

Instead our physical body will change from a carbon base to a crystalline base.

As we look at subjects like this, we’ll probably be obliged to compensate for the extreme variability of opinion that exists among scholars on the nomenclature of the planes and bodies.

At one point in my brief career as an afterlife cartographer, I issued a call to scholars to get together and arrive at  a common typology for the heavens and a standard nomenclature for the bodies. I’m not kidding myself that anyone listened to that call necessarily. But I actually do expect that a common typology and nomenclature will be arrived at either before 2012 or perhaps shortly after.

AA Michael said that the Causal Body stored the data we accumulate from all incarnations.

“All of the positive experiences, successes and wisdom gained during all your lifetimes within this universal experience are stored within your Causal Mind. When your Energetic Signature reaches a certain frequency level, you automatically begin to tap into the gifts/information/wisdom that are stored within your Sacred Mind and also within the mind of your Higher Self residing on the Mental-Causal Plane”

This point of view is shared by terrestrial incarnated scholars, like Theosophist Annie Besant.

Another depcition of the stairway to heaven, sometimes called Jacob's ladder of consciousness

“No effort, not even the smallest, is lost, but is followed by its full effect, and every contribution gathered and handed inwards is stored in the treasure-house of the causal body for future use.” (2)

A tremendous download of information  comes when one’s vibrations rise to the Causal level. It results in an incredible transformation in the individual. Theosophist Charles Leadbeater refers to the need to develop the vision associated with the Causal Plane for this download and transformation to occur.

“Still higher and infinitely more beautiful, where at all clearly developed, is the living light of the causal body, the vehicle of the higher self, which shows the stage of development of the real ego in  its passage from birth to birth. But to see these the pupil must, of course, have developed the vision of the levels to which they belong.” (3)

Let’s look at some of the information available on the causal body.

Sri Ramakrishna considers the causal body to be  the Bhagavati Tanu (Divine Body) or Anandamaya Kosha (Sheath of Bliss). Through it one enjoys the bliss of God. (4)

Just to show you how widely scholars disagree about these matters, Theosophical scholars distinguish between the buddhic and causal bodies and say that the buddhic body, rather than the causal body, is called the Anandamaya Kosha and the causal body is called the Vinjanamayakosha. (5)

According to Leadbeater, the causal body is formless. By that I assert that he does not mean “formless” as in the “formless God,” “Void” or “Transcendental.” That would be the last word in spiritual evolution and there are many planes above the Causal and also many levels of enlightenment higher.

Rather I think he means that the causal body is amorphous compared to the mental body. My recollection is that the causal body appears like diffuse light. I would have to do more research to confirm that. Leadbeater continues:

“So long as the reincarnating ego remains upon the plane which is his true home in the formless levels [the Causal Plane], the vehicle which he inhabits is the causal body, but when he descends into the form-level [the Mental Plane – he descends when journeying into his new incarnational, physical body] he must, in order to be able to function upon them, clothe himself in their matter; and the matter that he thus attracts to himself furnishes his mind-body.” (6)

Now let’s turn away from the causal body and consider the Causal Plane.

Theosophists say that the Mental Plane consists of seven subplanes, also popularly referred to as the “seven heavens.” Of these the last three are known as the Causal Plane. I’m going to depart from Theosophical practice and refer to the first four subplanes only as the Mental Plane and the last three as the Causal Plane because I find that less confusing.

Another depiction

Leadbeater calls the Causal Plane our “true home” during our reincarnational cycles:

“Let us now pass into the ‘formless’ divisions of the mental plane [i.e., the Causal Plane], the region which is man’s true home during the cycle of his reincarnations, into which he is born, a baby soul, an infant Ego, an embryonic individuality, when he begins his purely human evolution.” (7)

Just to clarify: The reincarnational cycle Leadbeater refers to is the cycle in which human beings need to be born and reborn into what is loosely called “physical matter.”

I say “physical matter” because all planes in the realm of form over which the Divine Mother, Shakti, or the Holy Spirit presides are material. The higher planes are simply subtler material. Of these planes, only the Earth plane is considered physical.

When we stop needing to be reborn, we are said to be “liberated” from birth and death.

The level of enlightenment that puts an end to the need to be reborn is called “sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.” (8) What characterizes it is a permanent opening of the heart (not the fourth or heart chakra but the hridayam or spiritual heart).

In my view, this is the stage of enlightenment that Jesus was referring to when he said that “him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” (9)

It’s my understanding that sahaja samadhi would not occur when we enter the Causal Plane but when we leave them and enter the Buddhic Plane. But I could be wrong on that.

Perhaps I should stop here. I just meant this to be an introduction to some of these matters. If I have more time I’ll write more organized pieces on these topics because that may help us orient to what will be occurring with Ascension.

My sense is that Ascension (rather than liberation from birth and death) refers to our entry into the Mental Plane, rather than the Causal Plane.  And I certainly don’t believe that it represents our entry into the Buddhic Plane, where I think we become liberated.

The trick will be to find what level of enlightenment our “Ascension” represents and I don’t claim at this moment to know what it is. My suspicion, which I’ll record here simply to see later whether I was accurate or not, is that it corresponds to what is variously called seventh-chakra enlightenment, Brahmajnana or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.


(1) See

(2) Annie Besant, Annie Besant, The Ancient Wisdom. An Outline of Theosophical Teachings. Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972; c1897, 148-50.

(3) Charles W. Leadbeater, The Astral Plane. Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973; c1895, 22-3. (Hereafter AP.)

(4) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 902; Brahmacharini Usha,  A Ramakrishna-Vedanta Wordbook. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1971; c1962, 42.

(5) “Vijnana” refers to the “buddhi” or “intellect” but it also has the meaning, in my recollection, of “perfect wisdom” when used to refer to a level of enlightenment.

(6) Charles Leadbeater, AP, 22-3.

(7) Charles Leadbeater, A Textbook of Theosophy at, 46-7.

(8) To read about “sahaja samadhi,” go here and search on “sahaja”:

(9) Jesus in Revelation 3:12.

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