The Inner Psychic and Vital Realms: Distinguishing Their Action, Dangers, Limitations and Uses

With the opening of the being to the larger vital plane and the subliminal realms within us that are connected to the vital, comes also the development of experiences and powers that fall under the general rubric of “psychic” phenomena.  Much of what passes for psychic powers in today’s society is due to the first opening to the subliminal vital consciousness and it is interwoven with the force of desire that operates on the vital plane.  It is a temptation for anyone who begins to experience the power and wideness of action of the vital, released from the limits of the ego-personality and the physical frame, to exploit these newly awakened powers for personal satisfaction, aggrandisement, and achievement of ambitions or desires in the world.

At the same time, there is a true psychic being within the individual, usually covered up by this vital turmoil, but nevertheless accessible for the seeker.  The prescription to avoid running after these vital powers and their results is of long-standing nature for the seeker of spiritual development, and it certainly must be taken into account as one enters this realm.

Sri Aurobindo advises:  “There are, however, two different kinds of action of these inner ranges of the consciousness.  The first is a more outer and confused activity of the awakening subliminal mind and life which is clogged with and subject to the grosser desires and illusions of the mind and vital being and vitiated in spite of its wider range of experience and power and capacities by an enormous mass of error and deformations of the will and knowledge, full of false suggestions and images, false and distorted intuitions and inspirations and impulses, the latter often even depraved and perverse, and vitiated too by the interference of the physical mind and its obscurities.  This is an inferior activity to which clairvoyants, psychists, spiritists, occultists, seekers of powers and Siddhis are very liable and to which all the warnings against the dangers and errors of this kind of seeking are more especially applicable.  The seeker of spiritual perfection has to pass as quickly as possible, if he cannot altogether avoid, this zone of danger, and the safe rule here is to be attached to none of these things, but to make spiritual progress one’s sole real objective and to put no sure confidence in other things until the mind and life soul are purified and the light of the spirit and supermind or at least of the spiritually illumined mind and soul are shed on these inner ranges of experience.”

It is with the opening of the pure and tranquil mind and psyche that the danger of this realm can be mitigated:  “For there is then a pure action of the true psychical consciousness and its powers, a reception of psychical experience pure in itself of the worse deformations, although subject to the limitations of the representing mind, and capable of a high spiritualisation and light.  The complete power and truth, however, can only come by the opening of the supermind and the supramentalising of the mental and psychical experience.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 843-844