The eminent Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe what he called “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events“. A disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Nirodbaran, once experienced this type of uncanny acausal coincidence. In this brief post, we read Sri Aurobindo’s explanation of synchronicity. Synchronous events occur because, unbeknownst to us, we are eternally in communion with the people around us through the inner sheaths of our consciousness, and sometimes those hidden perceptions float to the surface, making us respond in some striking fortuitous manner which our plodding reasoning mind would not have otherwise exhibited.
Nirodbaran: A strange incident occurred today. Dr. Becharlal and I worked as usual in the dispensary. After the day’s work we shut the doors and went out — Dr. Becharlal to the pier for his habitual walk, and I to X’s place. J also went to the pier at this time. But he somehow did not enjoy his stroll and instead had, what he called, “a very repulsive feeling” when he arrived at the pier, and distinctly felt that he should go back to the dispensary. When he went there, he found a number of people collected near the entrance, knocking at the door; they were waiting for me. J inquired what had happened, and was told that B. P. had been stung by a scorpion and required immediate medical help. He at once hastened to fetch me. I asked him to find Dr. Becharlal, and bring him also to the dispensary. He went towards the pier looking for the doctor. After going a little distance he met Dr. Becharlal, who was returning without finishing his walk; he said that somehow he did not feel like going to the pier that day. I am a little baffled by the whole incident. Are these just accidents?
Sri Aurobindo: No, of course not. But they seem so to all who live in the outward vision only. “Coincidence the scientists do them call.” But anyone with some intelligence and power of observation who lives more in an inward consciousness can see the play of invisible forces at every step which act on men and bring about events without their knowing about the instrumentation. The difference created by Yoga or by an inner consciousness — for there are people like Socrates who develop or have some inner awareness without Yoga — is that one becomes conscious of these invisible forces and can also consciously profit by them or use and direct them. That is all.
These things manifest differently, in a different form or transcription, in different people. If it had been Socrates and not Becharlal who was there,— which would have been useless as he was no doctor and highly inconvenient to you as he would certainly have turned the tables on you and avenged me by cross-examining you every day and passing you through a mill of philosophical conundrums and unanswerable questions — but still if he had been there, he would have felt it as an intimation from his daemon, “Turn back, Socrates; it is at the Ashram that you ought to be now“. Another might have felt an intuition that something was up at the Ashram. Yet another would have heard a voice or suggestion saying “If you went back at once it would be useful“— or simply “Go back, back; quick, quick!” without any reason. A fourth would have seen a scorpion wriggling about with its sting ready. A fifth would have seen the agonised face of B. P. and wondered whether he had a toothache or a stomachache. In Becharlal’ s case it was simply an unfelt force that changed his mind in a way that seemed casual but was purposeful, and this obscure way is the one in which it acts most often with most people. So that’s thus. 
The capricious spark of intuition which is briefly flashed during occurrences of synchronicity ripens in self-realized sages into the highly refined powers (Siddhis) called Prakamya and Vyapti . It is through Prakamya that one gains knowledge of “the present states of mind, feeling, sensation etc of others” and it is with Vyapti that we “communicate anything we have in our systems, thought, feeling, power, etc, to another”. As Sri Aurobindo explained, “every thought, feeling, sensation or other movement of consciousness in us creates a wave or current which carries it out into the world-consciousness around and there it enters into any person who is able and allowed to receive it. Half at least of our habitual thoughts and feelings are such unconscious borrowings.”
- Nirodbaran. Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, page 306.
- Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 20.
- All thoughts come from outside
- How to develop intuition
- Four Powers of Intuition
- The action of subliminal memory
- Explaining out-of-body and near-death experiences
- Towards more conscious sleep and dreaming
- The greater Powers of the Sense-mind (Manas)
- Gita Chapter 18, Verse 60-61: The illusion of free-will
- Four Epistemic Methods of Consciousness
- Messages are also exchanged on the subtle planes