The vital nature gets excited by things that seem to be “occult” or that promise some kind of interaction with the “dearly departed” loved ones who have passed away. An entire industry has arisen to cater to people who are seeking solace, contact or information from the deceased. Some of this, as was shown by the debunking done by Harry Houdini in the 1920’s was purely fraud. Very little of this actually relates to real experiences between people living in this world and those in the “other side camp”. In between, we find a broad segment of people who advertise psychic services, but who are really performing a type of psychological counseling for people who are distraught. They are invoking memories, past experiences, emotions and thoughts and using the procedure as a way to deaden the grief and thereby aid people in moving on from their attachments.

The Mother observes: “But those who indulge in this exercise, an exercise of unhealthy curiosity, get what they deserve; for the atmosphere we live in is filled with a great number of small vital entities which are born of unsatisfied desires, vital movements of a very low type, also the decomposition of larger beings of the vital world; indeed, itis swarming with them, you see. It is surely a protection that most people do not see what is going on in this vital atmosphere, for it is not especially pleasant; but if they have the presumption to want to come into contact with it and set about trying automatic writing or table-turning or… indeed, anything of this kind, out of an unhealthy curiosity, well, what happens is that one of these small entities or several of them have fun at their expense and collect all the necessary indications from their subconscious mind and then furnish these things to them as clear proofs that they are the person who has been called!”

“I could write a book for you with all the examples I have known of these stories, for people are very proud of doing things like this and immediately write them down, giving ‘proofs’ of the truth of the experience which are so ridiculous that they should be enough to show them that someone was making fun of them! I had another instance, very recently, of somebody who fancied that he had entered into contact with Sri Aurobindo and was receiving sensational revelations from him — that was comical in the extreme.”

“But anyway, as a rule, it is — oh! most often — it is your own forces, your subconscious mental and vital forces which you put into the planchette — and you make sensational revelations to yourself! One can do many things in this way…. Once I wanted to prove to people that what they were evoking was nothing but themselves; so I had a little fun, simply with a concentration of the will, tapping the furniture, making tables walk and, well!… As for automatic writing, you only have to withdraw your conscious will into yourself, to let your hand go — just like this (gesture) — and leave it free, and then the hand will begin to make movements; but there is a little part in you which is interested and would like these movements to make sense and this little part appeals to the subconscious mind which begins to make sensational revelations. Indeed, it is a booby-trap, all this business, unless one does it scientifically — but then, scientifically, one realises that it leads to nothing, nothing at all except just passing your time in what you consider an interesting way.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 5 Occult Forces, pp. 129-130

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