As the seeker begins to enter and experience the inner and higher realms of consciousness, he comes into contact with beings, forces, planes and worlds that transcribe experiences into his awareness, yet do not generally function under the same methods and laws that are operative in the normal mind-life-body complex and the world of Matter which we inhabit. This leads to considerable attempts by the mental understanding to apply its normal rules to what it experiences elsewhere, and additional, to the “filling in’ of data that is missing through the mind’s habitual pattern recognition process. This can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion, misapplication and misidentification of what is actually occurring and being communicated to the seeker. This issue gets accentuated through intervention of the ego and the vital desire which tries to appropriate the experience to enhance the self-aggrandisement of the individual.

It is essential therefore that the seeker not jump to conclusions about what the significance of any experience, whether it be colour, sound, or touch, may be, but rather, withhold judgment, collect a body of facts over time, and allow the new pattern to form to allow correct identification of what is actually occurring. Sri Aurobindo describes the complexity of the process in discussing the different ways these varying experiences can manifest.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “In interpreting these phenomena [colours seen in vision] you must remember that all depends on the order of things which the colours indicate in any particular case. There is an order of significances in which they indicate various psychological dynamisms, e.g., faith, love, protection, etc. There is another order of significances in which they indicate the aura or the activity of divine beings, Krishna, Mahakali, Radha or else of other superhuman beings; there is another in which they indicate the aura around objects or living persons — and that does not exhaust the list of possibilities. A certain knowledge, experiences, growing intuition are necessary to perceive in each case the true signficance. Observation and exact description are also very necessary; for sometimes people say, for instance, yellow when they mean god or vice versa; there are besides different possible meanings for different shades of the same colour. Again, if you see colour near or round a person or by looking at him or her, it does not necessarily indicate that person’s aura; it may be something else near him or around him. In some cases it may have nothing to do with the person or object you look at, which may serve merely the purpose of a background or a point of concentration — as when you see colours on a wall or by looking at a bright object.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 7, Experiences and Realisations, Symbols, Lights, Colours, Sounds, pp. 193-196

Author's Bio: 

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