There is a tendency of the Western mind to think in terms of objective existence, even when life apart from the objective is being considered. The average Western religionist insists upon thinking of heaven as a place situated somewhere in space. The Western mind finds it hard to form the abstract concept, and naturally falls back on the old idea of a heaven in space.
The Oriental mind, on the contrary, finds it quite easy to grasp the idea of the several planes of existence. Centuries of familiar thought on the subject has rendered the concept as clear and definite as that of place. A Plane is a state, not a place in any sense of the word. And we must learn to eliminate the idea of place from that of plane.
A plane is a condition or state of activity in the eternal energy of spirit in which the Cosmos lives, and moves and has its being. In any given point of space there may be many planes of activity. Taking our examples from the physical world, let us use the ordinary vibration of sound as an illustration. The air may be filled with many notes of the musical scale. Each note is simply a certain degree of vibration of the air. The notes occupy the same position in space, and yet do not conflict with each other so far as space-filling qualities are concerned. It is an axiom of physics that no two bodies of matter can occupy the same space at the same time. But thousands of these vibratory notes may occupy the same space at the same time. This is borne upon one when he listens to some great orchestral rendering a musical composition. Many instruments are playing at the same time, and the air is filled with countless vibrations, and yet one may pick out any particular instrument if he chooses, and even particular notes may be distinguished. No note is lost, and yet the entire volume is manifested in the small space of the ear drum.
Each plane represents a different degree of vibratory energy—but not of matter. Matter is merely a very low form of vibratory energy—even the Finest form of matter. There are forms of matter as much higher than the finest of which the ordinary physical scientist has knowledge, as his finest matter is higher than the hardest rock. And beyond the plane of matter rise plane upon plane of supermaterial energy, of which the mind of physical science does not even dare to dream.
The Life Beyond Death, Yogi Ramachraka, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, 1912