“Before there was time” was how I once read all the Celtic Bards of old began their tales. This is interesting because it seems they had a different view of reality where time didn’t always exist. I often tried to imagine how they might have continued after this intro. Did it go something like “the Great Mother goddess was floating in the sea of eternal bliss and fell to sleep and began to dream the dream of the universe.” An artist friend of mine, Shereen Miller , carved a nude sculpture of a woman’s torso out of a huge piece of mahogany she got when she lived in Africa. The deep, rich, golden wood tones gave the effect of the warm skin tones of of a figure that resembled a Polynesian woman tossing her head back as she runs her fingers of both hands through her hair as she steps out of the water. In the middle of the statue, was a large perfectly round hole where one would imagine her womb should be. To me she seemed to represent the goddess out of which the universe was born from the great Void of eternity.
“The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything withing it as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire culture…a classic Hindu representation of the ultimate dreamer as Vishnu flating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is ‘Unending’.” (Joseph Campbell, “The Mythic Image”, MJF Books, New York, 1974, page 7)
The Void is often used to symbolize that which is beyond time and space, beyond word, thought or description, the ultimate source of the enternal formless transcendent reality. Roy Eugene Davis‘ translation and commentary on Adi Shankaracharya’s Self-Knowledge treatise on the philosophy of non-dualism outlines the sequential process of cosmic manifestation. The Transcendent, Absolute (Pure) Reality is described as infinite (without boundaries), devoid of attributes; hence the Void. Emanating out of the Absolute Reality is the Radiant Field with its three attribute ‘sattwa’ (luminosity), ‘rajas’ (transformative influence) and ‘rajas’ (inertia). From the Radiant Field the Primordial Field is projected as Cosmic vibration (Om) with attributes of time, space and find cosmic forces. Here is where time and the universe begins. Perhaps this is the result of the “Big Bang” or the honk emitted from the Great Goose (‘Paramahamsa’) just before laying the cosmic egg in Indian creation myths that hatched our multi-verse.
It is from the blending of the Radiant Field (over soul or Godhead) with the Field of Primordial Nature that the Field of Cosmic Mind is produced having Souls of individualized units or pure consciousness, self-awareness, intellect, mind and ego or a confined sense of self-identity. So, out of the formless, timeless, infinite transcendent reality that the Godhead was projected joining with space and time to form individual units of God consciousness or souls as Cosmic Mind. Cosmic Mind embraces all consciousness and unconsciousness or collective unconscious, the term Carl Jung used to describe the deeper layer of the unconscious that is not individual but universal: “it has contents and modes of behaviour that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals. It is, in other words, identical in all men and thus constitutes a common psychic substrate of supra-personal nature which is present in everyone of us.” (C (Carl) G Jung, “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious”, Bollingen Foundation Inc., New York, Princeton University Press, 1990, pages 3-4)
They lower physical realms: Causal, Astral and Physical move from subtle to more dense and grosser projections of Cosmic Mind. The Causal Realm is the abode of souls that have transcended the Astral realm. The Astral realm is the abode of “unenlightened” souls after physical death where they retain the senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing and seeing, as well as physical dexterity with the ability to move, speak, generate and excrete in with their astral bodies that then take on a physical body at birth into the Physical Realm.
Everything above the Field of Primordial Nature contains higher and higher Soul Fields. There is general agreement in all schools of non-dual reality on the five lower realms. However, some espouse up to 11 fields or realms and others only seven in total.