The universe is larger than the physical world as explained in the section on Cosmology. There are many occult worlds peopled by conscious beings which exert an influence on earth and man. There is some element of truth in the fairy tales of yore which talk of elfins, genii, fairies and Titans. The majority of men are ignorant puppets in the hands of these forces and it only when the Yogin has progressed to a stage where his/her subliminal consciousness has opened to a greater cosmic consciousness that he/she begins to directly perceive the influence of these occult forces. One may find oneself succumbing to sudden depressions, violent outbursts and other dreadful thought formations which are the handiwork of these beings of various occult worlds. This post covers the characteristics of some of these nefarious activities against which one must guard.
In this passage, Satprem relates the manner in which these adverse forces cloud our consciousness.
They are highly conscious forces whose sole aim, apparently, is to discourage the (spiritual) seeker and divert him from the path he has chosen. The first sign of their presence is easily perceptible: joy is clouded, consciousness is clouded, everything becomes shrouded in an atmosphere of melodrama and gloom. Personal distress is a sure sign of the enemy’s presence. Melodrama is a favorite haunt of these forces; that is how they are able to create the greatest havoc, because they play with a very old teammate within us, who cannot help loving melodrama even as he cries out for relief. First, they generally make a point of forcing us into sudden, extreme, and irrevocable decisions in order to take us as far away as possible from our path–a pressing, exacting vibration that demands immediate compliance; or else, they take apart, with remarkable skill, the whole system of our quest to prove that we are deluding ourselves and that our efforts will come to nothing; more often, they bring about a state of depression, playing with another well-known teammate within us whom Sri Aurobindo calls the man of sorrows: a fellow . . . covering himself with a sevenfold overcoat of tragedy and gloom, and he would not feel his existence justified if he couldn’t be colossally miserable [1, p 65]
This is an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri, where he details the variety of beings which exist out there
A trepidant and motley multitude,
A strange pell-mell of magic artisans,
Was seen moulding the plastic clay of life,
An elfin brood, an elemental kind.
Astonished by the unaccustomed glow,
As if immanent in the shadows started up
Imps with wry limbs and carved beast visages,
Sprite-prompters goblin-wizened or faery-small,
And genii fairer but unsouled and poor
And fallen beings, their heavenly portion lost,
And errant divinities trapped in Time’s dust.
Ignorant and dangerous wills but armed with power,
Half-animal, half-god their mood, their shape.
Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Godheads of the Little Life
Here, the Mother Mira Alfassa , using her occult insight, gives a more graphic illustration of the immense power these beings wield and the formations they put out to gain control over the unsuspecting and unwashed masses.
In this swarming mass, I noticed the presence of some slightly more conscious wills – wills of the vital plane – and I saw how they try to awaken a reaction in the consciousness of human beings to make them think or want, or if possible, do certain things.
For example, I saw one of them trying to incite anger in someone so that this person would deliver a blow – a spiritual blow. And this formation had a dagger in his hand (a vital dagger, you see, it was a vital being: gray and slimy, horrible), he was holding a very sharp dagger which he was flaunting, saying, ‘When a person has done something like that (pretending that someone had done an unforgivable thing), this is what he deserves …’ and the scenario was complete: the being rushed forward, vitally, with his dagger.
And it is ALWAYS like that! They are always pestered by HORDES of little formations that are absolutely swarming and disgusting, each one making its … nasty little suggestion. Take these movements of anger, for example, when someone is carried away by his passion and does things which, in his normal state, he would never do: he is not doing it, it is done by these little formations which are there, swarming in the atmosphere, just waiting for an occasion … to rush in.
And yet people CONSTANTLY live in that atmosphere! They live in it. Only when they rise above are they NOT in it. Or else there are those who are entirely below; but those are the toys of these things, and their reactions are sometimes not only unexpected but absolutely dreadful – because they are puppets in the hands of these things.
Those who rise above, who enter into a slightly intellectual region, can see all this from above; they can look down at it all, keep their heads above and breathe; but those who live in this realm …
If you are annoyed, for example, if someone says something unpleasant to you and you react … It always happens in the same way; these little entities are there waiting, and when they feel it’s the right moment, they introduce their influence and their suggestions. This is what is vitally symbolized by the being with his dagger rushing forward to stab you – and in the back, at that! Not even face to face! This then expresses itself in the human consciousness by a movement of anger or rage or indignation: ‘How intolerable! How … !‘ And the other fellow says, ‘Yes! We shall put an end to it!’
The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: March 10, 1959
Sri Aurobindo outlines how weak human beings (i.e. soulless minds) fall prey to the action of what he calls the “crooked fashioners“.
Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives
And in a small body self is all that counts,
Wherever love and light and largeness lack,
These crooked fashioners take up their task.
To all half-conscious worlds they extend their reign.
Here too these godlings drive our human hearts,
Our nature’s twilight is their lurking-place:
Here too the darkened primitive heart obeys
The veiled suggestions of a hidden Mind
That dogs our knowledge with misleading light
And stands between us and the Truth that saves.
It speaks to us with the voices of the Night:
Our darkened lives to greater darkness move;
Our seekings listen to calamitous hopes.
A structure of unseeing thoughts is built
And reason used by an irrational Force.
This earth is not alone our teacher and nurse;
The powers of all the worlds have entrance here.
In their own fields they follow the wheel of law
And cherish the safety of a settled type;
On earth out of their changeless orbit thrown
Their law is kept, lost their fixed form of things.
Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Godheads of the Little Life
How to deal with adverse forces
The first method for dealing with these forces is constant consecration to the Guru for only a greater being who has established a benevolent presence in the occult worlds can protect and guide the semi-conscious neophyte safely through them. A good Mantra can be chanted to shield oneself from adverse forces. In the following passage, Satprem explicates on the merits of complete inner stillness (the state of a Witness) to dissolve the harmful vibrations.
The method for dealing with these adverse forces is the same as for the other vibrations: silence, inner stillness that lets the storm blow over. We may not succeed the first time in dissolving these attacks, but more and more they will seem to take place on the surface of our being; we may be shaken, upset, yet deep down we will feel the “Witness” in us, unscathed and unaffected–he is never affected. We fall and get back up again, each time becoming stronger. The only sin is discouragement. In practice, the seeker of the integral yoga will be far more exposed than others (Sri Aurobindo often said his yoga was a battle), because he seeks to embrace everything in his consciousness, without rejecting anything, and because there is not just one passage to open up to the bliss above, not just one guardian of the treasure to subdue, but many passages, to the right and the left and below, at every level of our being, and more than one treasure to discover. [1, p 68]
- Satprem. Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness. (2nd edition 2000)