It is a fact always known to all yogis and occultists since the
beginning of time, in Europe and Africa as in India, that
wherever yoga or Yajna is done, there the hostile Forces
gather together to stop it by any means. lt is known that
there is a lower nature and a higher spiritual nature - it is
known that they pull different ways and the lower is strongest
at first and the higher afterwards. It is known that the
hostile Forces take advantage of the movements of the lower
nature and try to spoil through them, smash or retard the
siddhi. lt has been said as long ago as the Upanishads (hard
is the path to tread, sharp like a razorʻs edge); it was said
later by Christ ʻhard is the way and narrow the gate by which
one enters into the kingdom of heavenʼ and also ʻmany are
called, few chosenʼ — because of these difficulties. But it has
also always been known that those who are sincere and
faithful in heart and remain so and those who rely on the
Divine will arrive in spite of all difficulties, stumbles or falls.
The mere intensity of the force does not show that it is a bad
power; the Divine Force often works with a great intensity.
Everything depends on the nature of the force and its
working: what does it do, what seems to be its purpose? If it
works to purify or open the system, or brings with it light or
peace, or prepares the change of the thought, ideas, feelings,
character in the sense of a turning towards a higher
consciousness, then it is the right force. If it is dark or
obscure or perturbs the being with rajasic or egoistic suggestions
or excites the lower nature, then it is an adverse
The lower nature is ignorant and undivine, not in itself
hostile but shut to the Light and Truth. The hostile forces
are anti-divine, not merely undivine; they make use of the
lower nature, pervert it, fill it with distorted movements and
by that means influence man and even try to enter and
possess or at least entirely control him.
The normal resistance of the lower Nature in human beings
and the action of the Hostiles are two quite different things.
The former is natural and occurs in everybody; the latter is
an intervention from the non-human world. But this intervention
can come in two forms. (1) They use and press on
the lower Nature forces making them resist where they
would otherwise be quiescent, making the resistance strong
or violent where it would be otherwise slight or moderate,
exaggerating its violence when it is violent. There is besides
a malignant cleverness, a conscious plan and combination
when the Hostiles act on these forces which is not evident in
the normal resistance of the forces. (2) They sometimes
invade with their own forces. When this happens there is
often a temporary possession or at least an irresistible influence
which makes the thoughts, feelings, actions of the
person abnormal- a black clouding of the brain, a whirl in
the vital, all acts as if the person could not help himself and
were drawn by an overmastering force. On the other hand
instead of a possession there may be only a strong Influence;
then the symptoms are less marked, but it is easy for anyone
acquainted with the ways of these forces to see what has
happened. Finally it may be only an attack, not possession
or influence; the person then is separate, is not overcome,
There are some who are never touched by the hostile
ATTACK BY THE HOSTILE FORCES
The hostile forces have a certain self-chosen function: it is to
test the condition of the individual, of the work, of the earth
itself and their readiness for the spiritual descent and fulfillment.
At every step of the journey, they are there attacking
furiously, criticizing, suggesting, imposing despondency
or inciting to revolt, raising unbelief, amassing difficulties.
No doubt, they put a very exaggerated interpretation on the
rights given them by their function, making mountains even
out of what seems to us a mole-hill. A little trifling false step
or mistake and they appear on the road and clap a whole
Himalaya as a barrier across it. But this opposition has been
permitted from of old not merely as a test or ordeal, but as a
compulsion on us to seek a greater strength, a more perfect
self-knowledge, an intenser purity and force of aspiration, a
faith that nothing can crush, a more powerful descent of the
This yoga is a spiritual battle; its very attempt raises all sorts
of adverse forces and one must be ready to face difficulties.
sufferings, reverses of all sorts in a calm unflinching spirit.
The difficulties that come are ordeals and test and if one
meets them in the right spirit, one comes out stronger and
spiritually purer and greater.
No misfortune can come, the adverse forces cannot touch
or be victorious unless there is some defect in oneself, some
impurity, weakness or, at the very least, ignorance. One
should then seek out this weakness in oneself and correct it.
When there is an attack from the human instruments of
adverse forces, one should try to overcome it not in a spirit
of personal hatred or anger or wounded egoism, but with a
calm spirit of strength and equanimity and a call to the
Divine Force to act. Success or failure lies with the Divine.
About the attacks and the action of the cosmic forces —
these attacks very ordinarily become violent when the progress
is becoming rapid and on the way to be definite —
especially if they find they cannot carry out an effective
aggression into the inner being, they try to shake by outside
assaults. One must take it as a trial of strength, a call for
gathering all oneʼs capacities of calm and openness to the
Light and Power, so as to make oneself an instrument for
the victory of the Divine over the undivine, of the Light over
the darkness in the world-tangle. It is in this spirit that you
must face these difficulties till the higher things are so
confirmed in you that these forces can attack no longer.
The hostiles when they cannot break the yoga by positive
means, by positive temptations or vital outbreaks, are quite
willing to do it negatively; first by depression, then by
refusal at once of ordinary life and of sadhana.
One must not get into the habit of a state in which one is
always in a struggle with suggestions and forces. People very
easily fall into this and make it a habit—the vital part takes a
sort of glowing satisfaction in crying out "I am attacked,
overborne, suffering, miserable! How tragic is my fate! Why
do you not help, O Divine? There is no help, nor Divine
Grace? I am left to my misery and downfall etc. etc. etc." I
do not want one more sadhak to fall into this condition —
that is why I am calling Halt! before you get entangled into
this kind of habit of constant struggle. It is what these forces
want - to make you feel helpless, defeated, overcome. You
must not allow it.
How can you have peace and quiet when you are always
thinking of "lower forces" and "attacks" and "possessions"
etc.? If you can look at things naturally and quietly, then
only you can have quiet and peace.
There are two things that make it impossible for them [the
hostile forces] to succeed even temporarily in any attack on
the mind or the vital — first, an entire love, devotion and
confidence that nothing can shake, secondly, a calm and
equality in the vital as well as in the mind which has become
the fundamental character of the inner nature. Suggestions
then may still come, things go wrong outside, but the being
remains invulnerable. Either of these two things is sufficient
in itself — and in proportion as they grow, even the existence
of the hostile forces becomes less and less of a phenomenon
of the inner life — though they may still be there in the outer
POSSESSION BY THE HOSTILE FORCES
The Asuras and Rakshasas etc. do not belong to the earth,
but to supraphysical worlds; but they act upon the earth-life
and dispute the control of human life and character and
action with the Gods. They are the Powers of Darkness
combating the Powers of Light.
Sometimes they possess men in order to act through them,
sometimes they take birth in a human body. When their use
in the play is over, they will either change or disappear or no
longer seek to intervene in the earth-play.
Epilepsy is not possession — it is an attack or at most a
temporary seizure. Insanity always indicates possession. The
hereditary conditions create a predisposition. It is not possible
for a vital Force or Being to invade or take possession
unless there are doors open for it to enter. The door may be
a vital consent or affinity or a physical defect in the being.
Those who fall into insanity have lost the true touch and got
into the wrong contact. It is due either to some impurity and
unspiritual desire with which the seeker enters into the way
or some insincerity, egoism and false attitude or to some
weakness in the brain or nervous system which cannot bear
the Power it has called down into it.
I must say however that it is not the push for union with the
Divine nor is it the Divine Force that leads to madness — it is
the way in which people themselves act with regard to their
claim for these things. To be more precise, l have never
known a case of collapse in yoga as opposed to mere
difficulty or negative failure, — a case of dramatic disaster in
which there was not one of three causes — or more than one
of the three at work. First, some sexual aberration — l am
not speaking of mere sexuality which can be very strong in
the nature without leading to collapse — or an attempt to
sexualise spiritual experience on an animal or gross material
basis; second, an exaggerated ambition, pride or vanity
trying to seize on spiritual force or experience and turn it to
oneʼs own glorification ending in megalomania; third, an
unbalanced vital and a weak nervous system apt to follow its
own imaginations and unruly impulses without any true
mental will or strong mental will to steady or restrain it, and
so at the mercy of the imaginations and suggestions of the
adverse vital world when carried over the border into the
intermediate zone of which I spoke in a recent message.
. . . to feel sympathy or any emotion of the weak philanthropic
kind with those possessed by vital forces is most
dangerous as it may bring an attack upon oneself which may
take any form. One must do what is to be done but abstain
from all such weakness.
- Sri Aurobindo
- Sri Aurobindo
The Integral Yoga, 2007, Lotus Press, (280-286)