There is an interesting contradiction in the way humanity deals with unseen, or invisible forces at work. We believe wholeheartedly nowadays in gravity, electricity, wireless communications, magnetic transportation vehicles, and, despite the fact that all of these represent invisible forces, we recognise that they both exist and have their effect and can be manipulated according to our need or intention. On the other hand, when it comes to the development of further applications of unseen forces, forces of the vital plane, forces of the mind, or powers of intuition, inspiration, hypnotic suggestion or even advances such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy or telekinesis, we tend to look askance at these powers and doubt their existence. Part of this is due to a healthy skepticism that needs must sort out the true from the false as people set up elaborate scams to pretend to these forces in order to fleece ignorant people of their money, or to acquire a form of power over others.

When we research the matter, however, we find that there is a real substance to these powers, and others that arise during the practice of Yoga or other forms of spiritual seeking, and that their effect cannot be denied. Even in the mental realm, when we ask inventors, artists or creators of various sorts where their ideas came from, or how they create something new, we find they respond with statements that imply that some external force entered into them and presented them with the direction or the idea.

The practice of Yoga, taken up by the sadhak over a number of years, will clearly yield results when looked at across the course of the practice through time. People find that they are not the same person they were when they started. They may find their diet changing, their way of looking at their lives and their action in the world taking on a new direction, and their reactions to events becoming radically different than they were at a much younger stage of life prior to the advent of their conscious yogic practice. This signals clearly that forces are at work to work on the inner psychology of the being.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The invisible Force producing tangible results both inward and outward is the whole meaning of the Yogic consciousness. Your question about Yoga bringing merely a feeling of Power without any result was really very strange. Who would be satisfied with such a meaningless hallucination and call it Power? If we had not had thousands of experiences showing that the Power within could alter the mind, develop its powers, add new ones, bring in new ranges of knowledge, master the vital movements, change the character, influence men and things, control the conditions and functionings of the body, work as a concrete dynamic Force on other forces, modify events, etc., etc., we would not speak of it as we do. Moreover, it is not only in its results but in its movements that the Force is tangible and concrete. When I speak of feeling Force of Power, I do not mean simply having a vague sense of it, but feeling it concretely and consequently being able to direct it, manipulate it, watch its movement, be conscious of its mass and intensity and in the same way of that of other, perhaps opposing forces; all these things are possible and usual by the development of Yoga.”

“It is not, unless it is supramental Force, a Power that acts without conditions and limits. The conditions and limits under which Yoga or Sadhana has to be worked out are not arbitrary or capricious; they arise from the nature of things. These including the will, receptivity, assent, self-opening and surrender of the Sadhak have to be respected by the Yoga-force, unless it receives a sanction from the Supreme to override everything and get something done, but that sanction is sparingly given. It is only if the supramental Power came fully down, not merely sent its influences through the Overmind, that things could be very radically directed towards that object — for then the sanction would not be rare. For the Law of the Truth would be at work, not constantly balanced by the law of the Ignorance.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 4 Invisible Forces and the Divine Force, The Gods pp. 85-87

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 books and is editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.