The 25 States of Existence


The Brahmanic scheme of the 25 states of existence elaborates on and helps clarify these six spiritual realms, the threefold realm of sensory desire, form & formlessness and the realms of heaven.

The 25 States of Existence are divided as follows:


A. #1-#4 The four lower destinies

B. #5-#8 Humans of the four continents - The four continents or 'quarters under heaven' surround Mt. Sumeru, the great central mountain that reaches up into the realm of heaven. Mt. Sumeru was of course the Himalayas which were, to the Aryans of the Vedas and the brahmanic period, literally in heaven. The four different races of humans, as understood by ancient India, resided in the four continents below:

C.  #9-#14 The Six Heavens in the Realm of Desire, where the gods with sensory desire reside above Mt. Sumeru:

D. #15-#21 The Seven Heavens of Form  - This realm is purified of sensory desire. There is still material form, the six  sense faculties and the six sensations, but being pure of sensory desire one enters into progressively deeper meditative states known as the four basic meditations.

E. #22 - #25 The Four Heavens in the Realm of Formlessness: The next four realms are formless, where the limitations of the body and the plurality or multiplicity of physical objects is transcended. One is emancipated from the limitations of the senses and the physical realm and enters into:

                 #1 The boundlessness of empty space

                 #2 The boundlessness of consciousness

                 #3 The boundlessness of nothingness

                 #4 The boundlessness of that which is neither with nor without perception


Next, the Vehicles of Enlightenment


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