The following seven states of mind, produced through the experience of the man upon the Wheel of Life is to bring him to the point where he feels that physical plane living, sentiency and mental processes have nothing to give and utterly fail to satisfy him. He reaches the stage which Paul refers to when he says, "I count all things but loss that I may win Christ."
The seven stages of illumination have been described by a Hindu teacher as follows:
1. The stage wherein the chela realizes that he has run the whole gamut of life experience in the three worlds and can say "I have known all that was to be known. Nothing further remains to know." His place on the ladder is revealed to him. He knows what he has to do. This relates to the first modification of the thinking principle, desire for knowledge.
2. The stage wherein he frees himself from every known limitation and can say "I have freed myself from my fetters." This stage is long but results in the attainment of freedom and relates to the second of the modifications dealt with above.
3. The stage wherein the consciousness shifts completely out of the lower personality and becomes the true spiritual consciousness, centered in the real man, the ego or soul. This brings in the consciousness of the Christ nature, which is love, peace, and truth. He can say now "I have reached my goal. Nothing remains to attract me in the three worlds." Desire for happiness is satisfied. The third modification is transcended.
4. The stage wherein he can say with truth "I have fulfilled my dharma and accomplished my whole duty." He has worked off karma and fulfilled the law. Thus, he becomes a Master and a wielder of the law. This stage has relation to the fourth modification.
5. The stage wherein complete control of the mind is achieved, and the peer can say "My mind is at rest." Then and only then, when complete rest is known, can the true contemplation and samadhi of the highest kind be known. Sorrow, the fifth modification, is dispelled by the glory of the illumination received. The pairs of opposites are no longer at war.
6. The stage wherein the chela realizes that matter or form have no longer any power over him. He can then say "The gunas or qualities of matter in the three worlds no longer attract me; they call forth no response from me." Fear therefore is eliminated for there is nothing in the disciple which can attract to him evil, death or pain. Thus, equally the sixth modification is overcome, and realization of the true nature of divinity and utter bliss takes its place.
7. Full self-realization is the next and final stage. The initiate can now say, with full conscious knowledge, "I am that I am" and he knows himself as one with the All-Self. Doubt no longer controls. The full light of day or completed illumination takes place and floods the whole being of the seer.
These are the seven stages upon the Path, the seven stations of the cross as the Christian puts it, the seven great initiations and the seven ways to bliss. Now the "Path of the just shineth ever more and more until the perfect day."