Possession & Influence By Forces of Good & Evil

Sri Aurobindo notes that the forces we have now identified as originating on the planes of Life and Mind which can act upon and influence the physical material world, are also capable of an action that we may call “possession” whether partially or completely of a human individual who becomes open to their action. He describes the action of these forces: “…these Forces in their action seem often to surpass the measures of human relativity; they are in their larger action superhuman, divine, titanic or demoniac, but they may create their formations in him in large or in little, in his greatness or his smallness, they may seize and drive him at moments or for periods, they may influence his impulses or his acts or possess his whole nature. If that possession happens, he may himself be pushed to an excess of the normal humanity of good or evil; especially the evil takes forms which shock the sense of human measure, exceed the bounds of human personality, approach the gigantic, the inordinate, the immeasurable.”

It is important to note that when Sri Aurobindo wrote the above, during the period of the first world war, we had not yet seen the rise of perhaps one of the most vivid examples of this principle in Adolph Hitler. Clearly the description here was amply fulfilled in the demonic, almost hypnotic influence that manifested itself in and through him and drove the world into extremes of suffering and depravity that remains a traumatic example of the kinds of things that may result from such possession.

It is also important to note that people in some cases try to excuse weaknesses or purely human levels of action by suggesting the influence of this type of force acting upon or possessing the individual and thus tend to “demonize” that action. While Sri Aurobindo notes the possibility of this phenomenon, he clearly does not attribute to it the motive spring of daily actions or results within the normal framework of human life and capability. A certain amount of balance and insight is needed to distinguish the human action from the forces of the Life-plane or Mind-plane acting for their fulfillment through human individuals or societies.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 14, The Origin and Remedy of Falsehood, Error, Wrong and Evil, pp. 604-605

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