Yoga and Occultism
An integral knowledge demands an exploration, an unveiling
of all the possible domains of consciousness and experience.
For there are subjective domains of our being which lie
behind the obvious surface; these have to be fathomed
and whatever is ascertained must be admitted within the
scope of the total reality. An inner range of spiritual
experience is one very great domain of human consciousness;
it has to be entered into up to its deepest depths and
its vastest reaches. The supraphysical is as real as the
physical; to know it is part of a complete knowledge.
The knowledge of the supraphysical has been associated
with mysticism and occultism, and occultism has been banned
as a superstition and a fantastic error. But the occult
is a part of existence; a true occultism means no more
than a research into supraphysical realities and an unveiling
of the hidden laws of being and Nature, of all that is
not obvious on the surface. It attempts the discovery
of the secret laws of mind and mental energy, the secret
laws of life and life-energy, the secret laws of the subtle-physical
and its energies,all that Nature has not put into
visible operation on the surface; it pursues also the
application of these hidden truths and powers of Nature
so as to extend the mastery of the human spirit beyond
the ordinary operations of mind, the ordinary operations
of life, the ordinary operations of our physical existence.
In the spiritual domain which is occult to the surface
mind in so far as it passes beyond normal and enters into
supernormal experience, there is possible not only the
discovery of the self and spirit, but the discovery of
the uplifting, informing and guiding light of spiritual
consciousness and the power of the spirit, the spiritual
way of knowledge, the spiritual way of action. To know
these things and to bring their truths and forces into
the life of humanity is a necessary part of its evolution.
Science itself is in its own way an occultism; for it
brings to light the formulas which Nature has hidden and
it uses its knowledge to set free operations of her energies
which she has not included in her ordinary operations
and to organise and place at the service of man her occult
powers and processes, a vast system of physical magic,for
there is and can be no other magic than the utilisation
of secret truths of being, secret powers and processes
of Nature. It may even be found that a supraphysical knowledge
is necessary for the completion of physical knowledge,
because the processes of physical Nature have behind them
a supraphysical factor, a power and action mental, vital
or spiritual which is not tangible to any outer means
and Vedanta are one side of the One Truth; Tantra with its
emphasis on Shakti is another; in this yoga all sides of the
Truth are taken up, not in the systematic forms given them
formerly but in their essence, and carried to the fullest
and highest significance. But Vedanta deals more with the
principles and essentials of the divine knowledge and therefore
much of its spiritual knowledge and experience has been taken
bodily into the Arya. Tantra deals more with forms
and processes and organised powersall these could not
be taken as they were, for the integral yoga needs to develop
its own forms and processes; but the ascent of the consciousness
through the centres and other Tantric knowledge are there
behind the process of transformation to which so much importance
is given by mealso the truth that nothing can be done
except through the force of the Mother.
process of the Kundalini awakened rising through the centres
as also the purification of the centres is a Tantric knowledge.
In our yoga there is no willed process of the purification
and opening of the centres, no raising up of the Kundalini
by a set process either. Another method is used, but still
there is the ascent of the consciousness from and through
the different levels to join the higher consciousness above;
there is the opening of the centres and of the planes (mental,
vital, physical) which these centres command; there is also
the descent which is the main key of the spiritual transformation.
Therefore, there is, I have said, a Tantric knowledge behind
the process of transformation in this yoga.
our yoga there is no willed opening of the chakras, they open
of themselves by the descent of the Force. In the Tantric
discipline they open from down upwards, the Muladhar first;
in our yoga, they open from up downward. But the ascent of
the force from the Muladhar does take place.
the Tantra the centres are opened and Kundalini is awakened
by a special process, its action of ascent is felt through
the spine. Here it is a pressure of the Force from above that
awakens it and opens the centres. There is an ascension of
the consciousness going up till it joins the higher consciousness
above. This repeats itself (sometimes a descent also is felt)
until all the centres are open and the consciousness rises
above the body. At a later stage it remains above and widens
out into the cosmic consciousness and the universal self.
This is a usual course, but sometimes the process is more
rapid and there is a sudden and definite opening above.
ascension and descent of the Force in this yoga accomplishes
itself in its own way without any necessary reproduction of
the details laid down in the Tantric books. Many become conscious
of the centres, but others simply feel the ascent or descent
in a general way or from level to level rather than from centre
to centre, that is, they feel the Force descending first to
the head, then to the heart, then to the navel and still below.
It is not at all necessary to become aware of the deities
in the centres according to the Tantric description, but some
feel the Mother in the different centres. In these things
our sadhana does not cleave to the knowledge given in the
books, but only keeps to the central truth behind and realises
it independently without any subjection to the old forms and
symbols. The centres themselves have a different interpretation
here from that given in the books of the Tantriks.
Yes, the object of our yoga is to establish direct contact
with the Divine above and bring down the divine Consciousness
from above into all the centres. Occult powers belonging to
the mental, vital and subtle physical planes are not our object.
One can have contact with various Divine Forces and Personalities
on the way, but there is no need to establish them in the
centres, though sometimes that happens automatically (as with
the four Personalities of the Mother) for a time in the course
of the sadhana. But it is not a rule to do so. Our yoga is
meant to be plastic and to allow all necessary workings of
the Divine Power according to the nature, but these in their
details may vary with each individual.
is the knowledge and right use of the hidden forces of Nature.
Occult forces are the forces that can only be known by going
behind the veil of apparent phenomenaespecially the
forces of the subtle physical and supraphysical planes.
activity of the astral plane in contact with the astral forces
attended by a leaving of the body is not a spiritual aim but
belongs to the province of occultism. It is not a part of
the aim of yoga. Also fasting is not permissible in the Ashram,
as its practice is more often harmful than helpful to the
aim suggested to you seems to be part of a seeking for occult
powers; such a seeking is looked on with disfavour for the
most part by spiritual teachers in India, because it belongs
to the inferior planes and usually pushes the seeker on a
path which may lead him very far from the Divine. Especially,
a contact with the forces and beings of the astral (or, as
we term it, the vital) plane is attended with great dangers.
The beings of this plane are often hostile to the true aim
of spiritual life and establish contact with the seeker and
offer him powers and occult experiences only in order that
they may lead him away from the spiritual path or else that
they may establish their own control over him or take possession
of him for their own purpose. Often representing themselves
as divine powers, they mislead, give erring suggestions and
impulsions and pervert the inner life. Many are those who,
attracted by these powers and beings of the vital plane, have
ended in a definitive spiritual fall or in mental and physical
perversion and disorder. One comes inevitably into contact
with the vital plane and enters into it in the expansion of
consciousness which results from an inner opening, but one
ought never to put oneself into the hands of these beings
and forces or allow oneself to be led by their suggestions
and impulsions. This is one of the chief dangers of the spiritual
life and to be on one's guard against it is a necessity for
the seeker if he wishes to arrive at his goal. It is true
that many supraphysical or supernormal powers come with the
expansion of the consciousness in yoga; to rise out of the
body consciousness, to act by subtle means on the supraphysical
planes, etc. are natural activities for the yogi. But these
powers are not sought after, they come naturally, and they
have not the astral character. Also, they have to be used
on purely spiritual lines, that is by the Divine Will and
the Divine Force, as an instrument, but never as an instrumentation
of the forces and beings of the vital plane. To seek their
aid for such powers is a great error.
fasting may lead to an excitation of the nervous being which
often brings vivid imaginations and hallucinations that are
taken for true experiences; such fasting is frequently suggested
by the vital Entities, because it puts the consciousness into
an unbalanced state which favours their designs. It is therefore
discouraged here. The rule to be followed is that laid down
by the Gita which says that Yoga is not for one who
eats too much or who does not eata moderate use
of food sufficient for the maintenance of health and strength
of the body.
regards secrecy, a certain discretion or silence about the
instructions of the Guru and one's own experiences is always
advisable, but an absolute secrecy or making a mystery of
these things is not. Once a Guru is chosen, nothing must be
concealed from him. The suggestion of absolute secrecy is
often a trick of the astral powers to prevent the seeking
for enlightenment and succour.
black magic is meant the occultism of the adverse powersthe
occultism of the divine Powers is quite different. One is
based on unity, the other on division.