The mental consciousness likes to make ‘black and white’ decisions. Thus, it tends to set up oppositions between reliance on the spiritual force for healing, and the use of physical means such as medicines or other medical interventions. When we recognise, however, the complexity of the human instrument, and the variable rate at which the different parts of the being open with receptivity to a higher spiritual force and are able to assimilate it, it becomes clear that taking a dogmatic approach is not productive.

There are times and moments when the receptivity brings a Force into action. There are other times and moments when the body is unable to assimilate and utilize the Force directly and needs some kind of physical symbol or substance to help it focus and achieve the energetic response to the healing force it needs to overcome the manifestation of illness or weakness. The persistent effort eventually can bring about a new relationship that allows the body to heal and maintain its health and balance without any longer requiring the physical support of medicine. Until that time, the practitioner needs to recognise both the complexity and the varying stages of readiness of the human instrument.

There are numerous examples of yogis who have exhiibited various powers of healing and control over the wellness of the body. Sri Aurobindo has related specific instances within his own experience, as have also Paramahamsa Yogananda and others. Energetic healing also shows the ability of the body to respond to forces other than physical medicines. Homeopathy works on a subtle physical level. Practices such as reiki also rely on channeling a divine force to facilitate healing. These represent some of the wide variety of approaches as we experiment with making the body receptive and opening it to healing forces that do not rely on physical means.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “It is very good if one can get rid of illness entirely by faith and yoga-power or the influx of the Divine Force. But very often this is not altogether possible, because the whole nature is not open or able to respond to the Force. The mind may have faith and respond, but the lower vital and the body may not follow. Or, if the mind and vital are ready, the body may not respond, or may respond only partially, because it has the habit of replying to the forces which produce a particular illness, and habit is a very obstinate force in the material part of the nature. In such cases the use of the physical means can be resorted to, — not as the main means, but as a help or material support to the action of the Force. Not strong and violent remedies, but those that are beneficial without disturbing the body.”

“Certainly, one can act from within on an illness and cure it. Only it is not always easy as there is much resistance in Matter, resistance of inertia. An untiring persistence is necessary; at first one may fail altogether or the symptoms increase, but gradually the control of the body or of a particular illness becomes stronger. Again, to cure an occasional attack of illness by inner means is comparatively easy, to make the body immune from it in future is more difficult. A chronic malady is harder to deal with, more reluctant to disappear entirely than an occasional disturbance of the body. So long as the control of the body is imperfect, there are all these and other imperfections and difficulties in the use of the inner force.”

“If you can succeed by the inner action in preventing increase, even that is something; you have then by abhyasa to strengthen the power till it becomes able to cure. Note that so long as the power is not entirely there, some aid of physical means need not be altogether rejected.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Faith and Suggestion, pp. 98-101

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.