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Sri Aurobindo, The Integral Yoga,2007, Lotus Press, (280-286): DIFFICULTIES DUE TO HOSTILE FORCES It is a fact always known

to all yogis and occultists since the beginning of time, in Europe and Africa as in India, that wherever yoga or Yajna is done, there the hostile Forces gather together to stop it by any means. lt is known that there is a lower nature and a higher spiritual nature - it is known that they pull different ways and the lower is strongest at rst and the higher afterwards. It is known that the hostile Forces take advantage of the movements of the lower nature and try to spoil through them, smash or retard the siddhi. lt has been said as long ago as the Upanishads (hard is the path to tread, sharp like a razors edge); it was said later by Christ hard is the way and narrow the gate by which one enters into the kingdom of heaven and also many are called, few chosen because of these difculties. But it has also always been known that those who are sincere and faithful in heart and remain so and those who rely on the Divine will arrive in spite of all difculties, stumbles or falls. The mere intensity of the force does not show that it is a bad power; the Divine Force often works with a great intensity. Everything depends on the nature of the force and its working: what does it do, what seems to be its purpose? If it works to purify or open the system, or brings with it light or peace, or prepares the change of the thought, ideas, feelings, character in the sense of a turning towards a higher consciousness, then it is the right force. If it is dark or obscure or perturbs the being with rajasic or egoistic suggestions or excites the lower nature, then it is an adverse force. -

The lower nature is ignorant and undivine, not in itself hostile but shut to the Light and Truth. The hostile forces are anti-divine, not merely undivine; they make use of the lower nature, pervert it, ll it with distorted movements and by that means inuence man and even try to enter and possess or at least entirely control him. The normal resistance of the lower Nature in human beings and the action of the Hostiles are two quite different things. The former is natural and occurs in everybody; the latter is an intervention from the non-human world. But this intervention can come in two forms. (1) They use and press on the lower Nature forces making them resist where they would otherwise be quiescent, making the resistance strong or violent where it would be otherwise slight or moderate, exaggerating its violence when it is violent. There is besides a malignant cleverness, a conscious plan and combination when the Hostiles act on these forces which is not evident in the normal resistance of the forces. (2) They sometimes invade with their own forces. When this happens there is often a temporary possession or at least an irresistible inuence which makes the thoughts, feelings, actions of the person abnormal- a black clouding of the brain, a whirl in the vital, all acts as if the person could not help himself and were drawn by an overmastering force. On the other hand instead of a possession there may be only a strong Inuence; then the symptoms are less marked, but it is easy for anyone acquainted with the ways of these forces to see what has happened. Finally it may be only an attack, not possession or inuence; the person then is separate, is not overcome, resists. There are some who are never touched by the hostile forces.

ATTACK BY THE HOSTILE FORCES The hostile forces have a certain self-chosen function: it is to test the condition of the individual, of the work, of the earth itself and their readiness for the spiritual descent and fulllment. At every step of the journey, they are there attacking furiously, criticizing, suggesting, imposing despondency or inciting to revolt, raising unbelief, amassing difculties. No doubt, they put a very exaggerated interpretation on the rights given them by their function, making mountains even out of what seems to us a mole-hill. A little triing false step or mistake and they appear on the road and clap a whole Himalaya as a barrier across it. But this opposition has been permitted from of old not merely as a test or ordeal, but as a compulsion on us to seek a greater strength, a more perfect self-knowledge, an intenser purity and force of aspiration, a faith that nothing can crush, a more powerful descent of the Divine Grace. This yoga is a spiritual battle; its very attempt raises all sorts of adverse forces and one must be ready to face difculties. sufferings, reverses of all sorts in a calm uninching spirit. The difculties that come are ordeals and test and if one meets them in the right spirit, one comes out stronger and spiritually purer and greater. No misfortune can come, the adverse forces cannot touch or be victorious unless there is some defect in oneself, some impurity, weakness or, at the very least, ignorance. One should then seek out this weakness in oneself and correct it. When there is an attack from the human instruments of adverse forces, one should try to overcome it not in a spirit of personal hatred or anger or wounded egoism, but with a calm spirit of strength and equanimity and a call to the Divine Force to act. Success or failure lies with the Divine.

About the attacks and the action of the cosmic forces these attacks very ordinarily become violent when the progress is becoming rapid and on the way to be denite especially if they nd they cannot carry out an effective aggression into the inner being, they try to shake by outside assaults. One must take it as a trial of strength, a call for gathering all ones capacities of calm and openness to the Light and Power, so as to make oneself an instrument for the victory of the Divine over the undivine, of the Light over the darkness in the world-tangle. It is in this spirit that you must face these difculties till the higher things are so conrmed in you that these forces can attack no longer. The hostiles when they cannot break the yoga by positive means, by positive temptations or vital outbreaks, are quite willing to do it negatively; rst by depression, then by refusal at once of ordinary life and of sadhana. One must not get into the habit of a state in which one is always in a struggle with suggestions and forces. People very easily fall into this and make it a habitthe vital part takes a sort of glowing satisfaction in crying out "I am attacked, overborne, suffering, miserable! How tragic is my fate! Why do you not help, O Divine? There is no help, nor Divine Grace? I am left to my misery and downfall etc. etc. etc." I do not want one more sadhak to fall into this condition that is why I am calling Halt! before you get entangled into this kind of habit of constant struggle. It is what these forces want - to make you feel helpless, defeated, overcome. You must not allow it. How can you have peace and quiet when you are always thinking of "lower forces" and "attacks" and "possessions"

etc.? If you can look at things naturally and quietly, then only you can have quiet and peace. There are two things that make it impossible for them [the hostile forces] to succeed even temporarily in any attack on the mind or the vital rst, an entire love, devotion and condence that nothing can shake, secondly, a calm and equality in the vital as well as in the mind which has become the fundamental character of the inner nature. Suggestions then may still come, things go wrong outside, but the being remains invulnerable. Either of these two things is sufcient in itself and in proportion as they grow, even the existence of the hostile forces becomes less and less of a phenomenon of the inner life though they may still be there in the outer atmosphere. POSSESSION BY THE HOSTILE FORCES The Asuras and Rakshasas etc. do not belong to the earth, but to supraphysical worlds; but they act upon the earth-life and dispute the control of human life and character and action with the Gods. They are the Powers of Darkness combating the Powers of Light. Sometimes they possess men in order to act through them, sometimes they take birth in a human body. When their use in the play is over, they will either change or disappear or no longer seek to intervene in the earth-play. Epilepsy is not possession it is an attack or at most a temporary seizure. Insanity always indicates possession. The hereditary conditions create a predisposition. It is not possible for a vital Force or Being to invade or take possession unless there are doors open for it to enter. The door may be a vital consent or afnity or a physical defect in the being.

Those who fall into insanity have lost the true touch and got into the wrong contact. It is due either to some impurity and unspiritual desire with which the seeker enters into the way or some insincerity, egoism and false attitude or to some weakness in the brain or nervous system which cannot bear the Power it has called down into it. I must say however that it is not the push for union with the Divine nor is it the Divine Force that leads to madness it is the way in which people themselves act with regard to their claim for these things. To be more precise, l have never known a case of collapse in yoga as opposed to mere difculty or negative failure, a case of dramatic disaster in which there was not one of three causes or more than one of the three at work. First, some sexual aberration l am not speaking of mere sexuality which can be very strong in the nature without leading to collapse or an attempt to sexualise spiritual experience on an animal or gross material basis; second, an exaggerated ambition, pride or vanity trying to seize on spiritual force or experience and turn it to ones own glorication ending in megalomania; third, an unbalanced vital and a weak nervous system apt to follow its own imaginations and unruly impulses without any true mental will or strong mental will to steady or restrain it, and so at the mercy of the imaginations and suggestions of the adverse vital world when carried over the border into the intermediate zone of which I spoke in a recent message. . . . to feel sympathy or any emotion of the weak philanthropic kind with those possessed by vital forces is most dangerous as it may bring an attack upon oneself which may take any form. One must do what is to be done but abstain from all such weakness.