The vital nature of the human being craves the type of excitement that comes with extraordinary experiences. True spiritual progress, however, requires that a balance be maintained between what the human instrument can hold effectively, and how much Force is brought to bear from the higher planes. The story of the unbaked jar not being able to hold the water cascading into it illustrates the issue. There are many instances of seekers who suddenly have an experience that completely imbalances them, in some cases causing delusion, disorientation, misapplication of what is coming into them, and even physical disruptions to their health and wellness, even up to and including death!

The ancient tales tell of extraordinary lengths to which teachers have gone to prepare their disciples for the spiritual experiences and energies they will need to be able to receive, hold and deploy in their lives. The Upanishadic story of the youth who was sent into the forest with two cattle and told to return for teaching when the herd reached 1000, certainly makes it clear that an enormous amount of effort goes into preparing the body, life and mind for the spiritual endeavour. Tibet’s great yogi, Milarepa, was subjected to years of hard manual labor of building (and taking apart and rebuilding) various structures at the behest of the Guru Marpa, before he was finally granted the direct teachings. The central thread here is the amount of preparedness and readiness that needs to be trained into the lower nature so that it can effectively contact, receive, sustain and utilize the higher energies.

Sri Aurobindo points out that the ability to reduce or dissolve the ego-centric focus, through the coming forward of the soul or psychic being, and creating the attitude of self-giving and devotion thereby, is a key secret to allowing this to occur with less danger of upset and imbalance.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Do not be over-eager for experiences; for experiences you can always get, having once broken the barrier between the physical mind and the subtle planes. What you have to aspire for most is the improved quality of the recipient consciousness in you, discrimination in the mind, the unattached impersonal Witness look on all that goes on in you and around you, purity in the vital, calm equanimity, enduring patience, absence of pride and the sense of greatness — and more especially, the development of the psychic being in you — surrender, self-giving, psychic humility, devotion. It is a consciousness made up of these things, cast in this mould, that can bear without breaking, stumbling or deviation into error the rush of lights, power and experiences from the supraphysical planes. An entire perfection in these respects is hardly possible until the whole nature from the higher mind to the subconscient physical is made one in the light that is greater than the mind, but a sufficient foundation and a consciousness always self-observant, vigilant and growing in these things is indispensable — for perfect purification is the basis of the perfect Siddhi.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 7, Experiences and Realisations, The Intermediate Zone, pp. 187-189

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.