For most people, there is a tremendous barrier of skepticism about things that they cannot see or experience for themselves, There is also a good deal of ignorance about how things actually work in the world, which can lead to misconceptions and a tendency toward gullibility when someone appears to speak with authority, particularly when it concerns things that otherwise are unable to be verified by the external senses. The role of ‘miracles’ is to bolster the credibility and acceptance of specific religious groups or leaders. The concept is that if one can perform various miracles, one has knowledge and powers that people can see, and experience, and thus, a level of trust and reliance is built up. The lack of knowledge about the mechanisms involved can lead people to believe that these things represent direct divine intervention, through the chosen intermediary, and thus, establishes the primacy of that particular path, teaching, religion or religious leader.

Another factor which enters in nowadays is the ability to mislead through sleight of hand, misdirection and through the use of tools of modern computer science, including Artificial Intelligence (AI). Seeming miracles are created and disseminated when in fact, they are not miracles at all, but rather carefully staged events. Motion pictures, magician tricks, internet reports or videos, and the advent of careful editing or manipulation to create things like ‘fake news’ all may fall into this category, thus confusing the subject even more.

Add to this the factor of vanity and the factor of ambition by an individual desirous of gaining fame, adherents, fortune, etc. and we have a recipe for even more confusion. The reality is that spirituality is not connected to the ability to perform miracles. While new powers may develop as the result of spiritual practice, these are more general developments available not just to create belief or adherence to a specific religious leader, but become natural developments of the evolution of consciousness, such that as humanity reaches a general point of readiness, these powers will begin to appear across larger numbers of people. Further, it should be noted that these powers are not ‘miracles’ in the sense of violating the laws of Nature, but are developments adhering to the logic of Nature’s progression.

In her Questions and Answers, 1929 (14 April), the Mother wrote: “Ambition has been the undoing of many Yogis…. ‘A story is told of a Yogi who had attained wonderful powers. He was invited by his disciples to a great dinner. It was served on a big low table. The disciples asked their Master to show his power in some way. He knew he should not, but the seed of ambition was there in him and he thought, ‘After all, it is a very innocent thing and it may prove to them that such things are possible and teach them the greatness of God.’ So he said, ‘Take away the table, but only the table, let the table-cloth remain as it is with all the dishes upon it.’ The disciples cried out, ‘Oh, that cannot be done, everything will fall down.’ But he insisted and they removed the table from under the cloth. Lo, the miracle! The cloth and all that was upon it remained there just as though the table was underneath. The disciples wondered. But all on a sudden the Master jumped up and rushed out screaming and crying, ‘Nevermore shall I have a disciple, nevermore! Woe is me! I have betrayed my God.’ “

The Mother explains further: “This is a temptation that every teacher meets at each step, for the very simple reason that ordinary humanity, in a general way, not being in personal contact with the divine powers, understands nothing of what an illumined consciousness may be and asks for material proofs. It is on this demand that most religions are established and, for reasons which I may very frankly call ‘political’, they have put at the origin of their religion a more or less considerable number of miracles as having been performed by the founders, and they have thus more or less crudely encouraged among ignorant people the taste, the necessity for seeing what they call ‘miracles’ in order to believe in the divine power of a person. This is an extraordinary ignorance, because it is not at all necessary to have a divine power or consciousness to perform miracles. It is infinitely more easy to perform miracles with the help of small entities of the vital world who are material enough to be in touch with the physical world and act upon it than to live in the consciousness of the higher regions and to work upon Nature only through the intermediary of all the other domains. It has been repeated over and over again to all human intellects that the proof of a being’s divinity is that he can raise the de

ad, cure maladies, and do many other things of the same kind (except making a fool wise). [Mother added later: ‘This is a Mohammedan story, I believe. As it was said that Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, made the dumb speak, gave sight to the blind, one day an idiot was brought to him, to be made intelligent and Jesus ran away! ‘Why did you run away?’ he was asked. ‘I can do everything,’ he answered, ‘except give intelligence to an idiot.’ “]

“Well, I guarantee that this is not a proof; it proves only one thing, that these ‘Masters’ are in contact with the powers of the vital world and that with the help of those beings they can perform these miracles, that’s all.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 5 Occult Forces, pp. 125-127

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
He is author of 20 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.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press