We tend to attract those energies, beings and forces to us that respond to the vibratory pattern of our thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires and physical state. Keeping this in mind, we can review our relationship to places of worship, whether a temple, mosque, church or other. Some individuals, and on some occasions, bring true devotion to the place of worship. Yet, we also see many other drives, desires and motives operating as people visit their local shrine. A major motive is desire. We pray to God to give us something we want, whether it is money, family, children, a better job, a better relationship with someone, etc. In some cases we attend out of a sense of fear that we will not achieve heaven after our death, or will endure suffering for sins we have committed. In some cases we come under the influence or control of a charismatic leader and subordinate ourselves to that individual’s dictates.

Whatever the motive that brings us to the place of worship, we create thereby an opening to and action of corresponding beings and forces that represent the vibrational patterns of our own energies. Thus, to the extent we bring our desires, fears and wishes into the place of worship, we attract those beings and entities that act on the vital plane. They may take a brilliant form that can mislead us into believing they are divine beings answering our prayers. In reality, they are harvesting and feeding off of our energies and do what they need to do to elicit more of those energies from us.

For those who come with a sincere sense of devotion, without desire, without fear, without any personal demands, but with a sense of consecration and dedication, they of course attract those forces that aid their devotional feelings, and in such cases they are not misled by vital forces residing in the place of worship due to the collective force of the people who come with desire or fear.

Sometimes the simplest, humblest and least ostentatious shrine is the one that holds the deepest and truest devotional energies.

The Mother observes: “In all religious monuments, in monuments considered the most… well, as belonging to the highest religion, whether in France or any other country or Japan — it was never the same temples or churches nor the same gods, and yet my experience was everywhere almost the same, with very small differences — I saw that whatever concentrated force there was in the church depended exclusively upon the faithful, the faith of the devotees. And there was still a difference between the force as it really was and the force as they felt it. For instance, I saw in one of the most beautiful cathedrals of France, which, from the artistic point of view, is one of the most magnificent monuments imaginable — in the most sacred spot I saw an enormous black, vital spider which had made its web and spread it over the whole place, and was catching in it and then absorbing all the forces emanating from people’s devotion, their prayers and all that. It was not a very cheering sight, the people who were there and were praying, felt a divine touch, they received all kinds of boons from their prayers, and yet what was there was this, this thing. But they had their faith which could change that evil thing into something good in them; they had their faith. So, truly, if I had gone and told them ‘Do you think you are praying to God? It is an enormous vital spider that’s feeding upon all your forces!’, that would really not have been very charitable. And that’s how it is most of the time, almost everywhere; it is a vital force which is there, for these vital entities feed upon the vibration of human emotions, and very few people, very few, an insignificant number, go to church or temple with a true religious feeling, that is, not to pray and beg for something from God but to offer themselves, give thanks, aspire, give themselves. There is hardly one in a mission who does that. So they do not have the power of changing the atmosphere. Perhaps when they are there, they manage to get across, break through and go somewhere and touch something divine. But the large majority of people who go only because of superstition, egoism and self-interest, create an atmosphere of this kind, and that is what you breathe in when you go to a church or temple. Only, as you go there with a very good feeling, you tell yourself, ‘Oh, what a quiet place for meditation!’ “

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 5 Occult Forces, pp. 117-118

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 located at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky
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 https://www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press www.lotuspress.com