The seemingly impenetrable material world which we behold before our eyes is actually encased in the subtler worlds of the vital, the mind and other higher transcendental worlds right upto the highest triune world known as Sachchidananda (i.e. Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). The vital worlds are inhabited by vital beings, which can be benevolent or malevolent. The malevolent beings, which are keen on extending their influence in the larger Universe, can at times possess and victimize feeble or depraved human beings. These are some observations made by the Mother Mirra Alfassa on this theme.
Question: When a being is possessed by a hostile force, what becomes of his psychic ?
Mother: It depends on the degree of the possession. Usually it is something progressive. First there is an influence under which one comes, and comes in a fragmentary way, not even totally in his being, but in certain parts and for a time. This is the first stage. The second: the influence becomes permanent and there is one part of the being which deteriorates, which is constantly under this influence and expresses it. After this, the being which has cast this influence tries to enter that part. Then, usually, this produces a conflict, a kind of inner battle. People have fits, sometimes even nervous morbid fits. In trying to resist, the two parts of the being come constantly into conflict, and this produces great imbalance, even physical imbalance. But if one doesn’t know how to resist and doesn’t succeed in shaking off the hold, then gradually the being that has seized upon a part of the person acts like an octopus and spreads its tentacles like that, slowly and everywhere; and finally it is a total possession.
At the moment of the total possession, either the possessed person becomes completely unbalanced or he becomes a kind of monster and his psychic being leaves him. These cases are extremely rare, fortunately. Usually, in the human being the psychic is strong enough to be able to resist, and the most frequent case is that of constant conflict between the two parts, until the psychic being, if it is strong enough and knows how to lean on a greater strength than its own, is capable of rejecting this influence and freeing itself. It is only in an extreme case of a total possession that the psychic being goes away. But these are extremely rare cases, extremely rare. It sometimes happens that a child is still-born, that is, just at the moment of birth it dies or a few minutes later, or an hour or two later, you see, just at that time. In these cases it happens that it is the psychic being which has decided not to use this body. But if, for example, the doctor who is looking after the case is a clever man or the nurse a clever person and they can bring back life into the body by artificial respiration or such means, most often it is a hostile being which gets hold of this body. There have been cases like that, children who seemed to be dead, that is, the psychic being had left the body, and before it had died completely, a vital being had entered and taken its place. Such cases have been known. And these beings are demons. In life they become veritable demons. There are not many of them.
There are beings of the vital, but of a higher kind, emanations of Asuras, for example, who have decided for one reason or another that they would try to be converted, not to be antidivine, and manage to enter into relation with the Divine. They know that the best way is to identify themselves with a human body in order to be under the control of a psychic being. And they incarnate in human bodies, but not with the intention of driving out the psychic being, on the contrary, to try to submit to the influence of the psychic being and be converted by it. These cases also are not frequent, but still they have been known, and in these cases these human beings are gifted with very exceptional capacities, but usually they also have very exceptional difficulties, because the power which has incarnated in them is one which was, at least, if it is not still so, a hostile power; and, you see, it is difficult to get rid of all these movements of revolt immediately; sometimes it takes a whole lifetime to succeed in doing it. Some of these asuric beings have tried to convert themselves and not succeeded. They ought to have left the body they had chosen, because they could not convert themselves. It was too difficult a task for them, it demanded too great an effort. But all these cases about which I have just spoken to you are very rare ones, you see.We can’t say that such things happen and are met with at every turn: a gentleman who is the incarnation of an adverse force or another who is possessed. Such cases are very rare, very rare.
But the case of an influence—being under an influence and expressing it—this, unfortunately, is very frequent, especially with people who undertake yoga without being sufficiently purified beforehand, or otherwise with egoistic intentions; to people who begin to do yoga for reasons of ambition or vanity it happens very often that they put themselves under the influence of certain adverse forces.
And there are also many people who are under certain influences in a way… how to put it?… one can’t call it accidental, but… for example, there are psychic beings who choose a certain environment to incarnate in because they think that there they will have the experiences they want, and owing to some circumstances in this environment there is a hostile influence at work; so the body they put on is to a certain extent under this hostile influence and they have to fight against that terribly all their life. They can at a particular moment, as I said—if they know how to rely on greater forces than their own—they can conquer and gain a great victory. It is a great victory to get rid of the influence of an adverse force. It is truly a victory which goes beyond the individual’s own person and has a repercussion on the whole terrestrial state. Each victory gained like this by an individual over a hostile force influencing him, is a long step forward to the day when the earth will be completely free of the presence of hostile forces. It represents a great progress for the earth.
Question: Is mental imbalance due to the same cause?
Mother: Very often, but not always. Mental imbalance can be due to many different causes. One of them may be simply a physical structure which is defective, a cerebral insufficiency. Now, one may say that this cerebral insufficiency is probably the expression of an inner vital imbalance. But in the case of cerebral insufficiency it is usually hereditary or organic, still… that is, something produced at the time of conception. So one can’t say that it is due to an additional influence: it was an influence which acted before birth, and the one who suffers from this mental imbalance is not necessarily under a direct adverse influence. It can be a consequence of malformation.
Now, when people are divided in their mind, and in one part of their mind aspire for the truth and transformation and in another don’t want them, and not only resist but revolt— which happens often—this indeed creates a terrible inner cerebral struggle, first mental and then cerebral, and this may bring about a serious mental imbalance.
There are cases in which it is precisely the opening to a suggestion, an adverse influence, an opening which is the result of a wrong movement—a movement of revolt or of hatred or of violent desire. One can, in a wrong movement, open oneself —in a rage, for example—one can open to an adverse force and bring in an influence which could end up by a possession.
At the beginning these things are relatively easy to cure if there is a conscious part of the being and a very strong will to get rid of this bad movement and this influence. One succeeds easily enough, relatively speaking, if the aspiration is sincere; but if one looks on the thing with complacency and tells oneself, “Ah, it is like that, it can’t be otherwise”, then this becomes dangerous. One must not tolerate the enemy in the place. As soon as one notices his presence, one must throw him out very far, as far as one can, pitilessly 
Another discussion on the topic of vital beings, possession and mental illness:
Question: Have these vital beings a psychic being?
Mother: No, I said that the first thing they have to do to incarnate is to drive away the psychic being of the person whom they possess. That may happen from the very birth. There are children who are almost stillborn; they are taken to be dead and suddenly they revive—this means that a vital being has incarnated in them. I have known such cases. This may happen also in the course of an illness: someone is very ill and gradually he begins to lose contact with the psychic being, then, in a swoon or some other similar state, he cuts the contact entirely and the vital being rushes into the body. I have known cases of this kind also. Or it may be a slow action: the vital being enters into the atmosphere of the person, goes on influencing him and finally brings about illness, attacks, especially mental illness; then a time comes when the connection with the psychic being is entirely cut and the vital being takes possession of the body. There are cases of people falling very ill and coming out of the illness altogether different from what they were. Very often it is this that happens .
Question: Are mentally deranged people possessed?
Mother: Yes, unless there is a physical lesion, a defect in the formation or an accident, a congestion. In all other cases it is always a possession. The proof of it is that if a person is brought to you who is altogether mentally deranged, if he has a lesion, he cannot be cured, while if there is no physical lesion, if it is a possession, then one can cure him. Unfortunately these things happen only to people who like them; there must be in the being much ambition, vanity, combined with much stupidity and a terrible pride—it is on such things that those beings play. I have known cases like that, of persons who were partially possessed, and I succeeded in freeing them from the beings who possessed them. Naturally they felt some relief, a kind of ease for a time, but it did not last long; almost immediately it wore off and they thought: “Now I have become quite an ordinary creature, whereas before I was an exceptional being!” They used to feel within them an exceptional power, even if it was a power to do evil, and they were satisfied with it. So what did they do? They called back with all their force the power they had lost! Of course, the being that had been destroyed could not come back, but as these beings exist in thousands it was replaced by another. I have seen this happen three times consecutively in a case, so much so that in the end I had to tell the person: “I am tired, get rid of it yourself, I am no longer interested!”
Question: In these cases what happens to the psychic being?
Mother: Generally, it goes away.
I must tell you that the beings of the vital world are immortal – they cannot die. They can be destroyed, but it is only the pure spiritual force which can destroy them. For example, in a vital battle (there are people who have a vital fighting power), the experience is always the same: if you fight in the vital world with a vital being, you can crush it, kill it, but it will be reborn always – always they form themselves again. I think herein lies the origin of the legends of hydras or monsters with many heads.
There is only one force in the world which can destroy them categorically, that is, without any chance of return, and it is a force which belongs to the supreme creative Power. It is a force that comes from beyond the supramental world – it is not at the disposal of everybody. It is a luminous force, of a dazzling whiteness, so brilliant that if ordinary eyes looked at it, they would turn blind. A being of the vital world has just to be touched by this light to get dissolved immediately – it is liquefied, like those slugs which melt in water if a little salt is put on them .
Word of caution: These are general remarks. Please do not automatically assume in the absence of any original occult insight or psychiatric consultation that someone who matches the circumstances described above is possessed!
- Collected Works of the Mother. vol. 6, pp 434-437.
- Collected Works of the Mother. vol.4, pp 184-187
- Why do we feel afraid and how to overcome it
- Physical marks appearing after injuries sustained in dreams
- Sleep disorders : somnambulism and somniloquy
- Somnambulists who do creative work in their sleep
- When does the soul enter the body?
- The occult forces behind artistic movements
- The existence of vital signs during sleep or coma
- On death, burials, cremations, funerals and resurrection
- On suicide, euthanasia, and capital punishment
- Ghosts explained
- Mental formations: powers and perils
- Messages are also exchanged on the subtle planes