The lure of occult powers and experiences can be a considerable obstacle for the spiritual seeker who becomes enmeshed in the idea of developing these capacities. There is a reason why traditional paths of spiritual development eschew the use of the occult powers that arise naturally as one goes deeper into the inner levels of awareness. These are not magical or even, in most cases, very extraordinary powers, but to the normal surface consciousness they seem to be so. The main issue that the seeker needs to face is how to gain the spiritual standpoint without the kind of distractions that occult powers can create. That said, there is certainly a need, and an expectation, that capacities currently dormant or not fully evolved will eventually surface and become part of the human repertoire on a consistent and regular basis, and that these capacities will be helpful, possibly even instrumental, in implementing changes that the spiritual awareness wants to bring about in the external life.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The spiritual realisation is of primary importance and indispensable. I would consider it best to have the spiritual and psychic development first and have it with the same fullness before entering the occult regions. Those who enter the latter first may find their spiritual realisation much delayed — others fall into the mazy traps of the occult and do not come out in this life. Some no doubt can carry on both together, the occult and the spiritual, and make them help each other; but the process I suggest is the safer.”

“The governing factors for us must be the spirit and the psychic being united with the Divine — the occult laws and phenomena have to be known but only as an instrumentation, not as the governing principles. The occult is a vast field and complicated and not without its dangers. It need not be abandoned but it should not be given the first place.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 7, Experiences and Realisations, Supraphysical Vision, Audition, Sensation, pp. 189-193

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 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.