We have no difficulty seeing and understanding that an individual can create a legacy in the physical world we inhabit, as we see the evidence everywhere around us in the form of buildings, enterprises, religious movements, mental developments and conceptualization, and artistic creations, not to speak of the children that carry on much of our physical development and in many cases, our enterprises into future generations. These things continue to exist even when the individual who represented the driving force for their creation has left the scene.

We have a much more difficult time, however, appreciating that a highly developed formation, such as a mental framework or vital activity or an advanced physical capacity, can be so solidly formed that they can actually survive the normal process of death and dissolution and continue as fixed formations on their own, and potentially adhere themselves to another individual who has affinity with these formations.

It would of course take an extraordinary concentration to build a physical, vital or mental formation that can hold together upon the death of the body and, indeed, the separate direction taken by the psychic being as it continues its evolutionary growth in other lifetimes. Such a formation need not stay with the particular psychic entity that created it, but could in theory become available to whichever individual or individuals have affinity for it in terms of receptivity to the vibration and the willingness to receive and integrate that formation into his or their own lives. It is not impossible to consider this as possible, and there are likely instances that can be pointed to which seem to validate this idea. This does not represent the normal case where these formations found in an individual lifetime will simply dissolve, quickly or slowly as the case may be, once the framework of the physical body which holds them together, and the psychic being that formulated them depart.

The Mother writes: “In artists, as for instance in certain musicians who have used their hands in a particularly conscious way, the vital and mental substance is preserved in the form of hands, and these hands remain fully conscious, they can even use the body of living people if there is a special affinity — and so on.”

“Otherwise, in ordinary people in whom the psychic form is not fully developed and organised, when the psychic leaves the body, the mental and vital forms may persist for a certain time if the death has been particularly peaceful and concentrated, but if a man dies suddenly and in a state of passion, with numerous attachments, well, the different parts of the being are dispersed and live for a shorter or longer time their own life in their own domain, then disappear.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VIII The Psychic Being and Inner Growth, pp. 158-159

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 17 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.