Whenever the discussion turns to unseen powers and forces, the rational intellect of the mind tends to shut down. That is one reason why there has been an argument, in the West, between Science and Religion. Yet, at some point, even the reasoning intellect needs to begin to reflect upon and accept that, as Hamlet tells Horatio ‘There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy [science].’ Science has continually had to expand its ability to deal with unseen, unknown and heretofore not accepted ‘facts’ once they become visible to the tools that expand human perception. The existence of bacteria and viruses, the existence of cosmic radiation, dark matter, black holes, all speak to powers that are active outside the normal human realm. The entire universal creation obviously consists of powers of consciousness and action, and an intention far beyond anything that humanity can grasp. Thus, it is not far-fetched to accept that there are conscious powers that are not actively perceptible to our material senses, but which nevertheless can act upon, influence and control, for better or for worse, actions in the human arena, just as cosmic radiation, bacteria and viruses, unseen though they may be, act upon human beings!

Not every human being is in a position to personally observe and identify unseen powers and forces, yet those who can are able to communicate their experience, and in many cases show a direct cause and effect process. Thus we can identify a disease vector or the influence of UV radiation on the skin. Similarly, unseen powers of consciousness are able to be observed and identified by people who have either developed the capacity or the focus, or who enter into another plane of consciousness by some means, whether through psycho-physical techniques, or just an act of ‘grace’. The fact that these powers are reported across many cultures, across millennia, and across many different traditions and backgrounds, and in many cases arise through similar processes of opening of the awareness, should help us to validate what our mind cannot know or experience directly in most cases. Just as we can accept the conclusions of scientists, we can accept the results of yogic practitioners, religious devotees and occultists who have opened to these realms of awareness beyond our current normal human range of perception.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “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, resists.”

“There are some who are never touched by the hostile forces.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Difficulties Due to the Hostile Forces, pp. 280-286

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky 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.