Spiritual seekers have long been warned against seeking after or utilizing powers that arise through the spiritual effort, as constituting dangers or distractions from the primary goal of the effort. Powers are said to tie one to the life of the world, and for the dedicated seeker this has generally been held as a bondage that must be removed to achieve liberation. Patanjali in his Yoga Aphorisms outlines quite a number of powers that can arise through the practice of Yoga. These are described, and then warnings provided.
Sri Aurobindo’s focus on a transformation of life through the manifestation of a next evolutionary stage implies that powers that accompany that next stage are to be naturally employed, just as the mental powers have been put to work with the development of mind in the world. With the shift of standpoint to the universal, and the removal of the attachment to the individual ego-personality, the dangers of the self-aggrandisement of the ego would be mitigated.
Sri Aurobindo notes in The Life Divine: “In mystic experience, — when there is an opening of the inner centres, or in other ways, spontaneously or by will or endeavour or in the very course of the spiritual growth, — new powers of consciousness have been known to develop; they present themselves as if an automatic consequence of ome inner opening or in answer to a call in the being, so much so that it has been found necessary to recommend to the seeker not to hunt after these powers, not to accept or use them. This rejection is logical for those who seek to withdraw from life; for all acceptance of greater power would bind to life or be a burden on the bare and pure urge towards liberation. An indifference to all other aims and issues is natural for the God-lover who seeks God for His own sake and not for power or any other inferior attraction; the pursuit of these alluring but often dangerous forces would be a deviation from his purpose. A similar rejection is a necessary self-restraint and a spiritual discipline for the immature seeker, since such powers may be a great, even a deadly peril; for their supernormality may easily feed in him an abnormal exaggeration of the ego. Power in itself may be dreaded as a temptation by the aspirant to perfection, because power can abase as well as elevate; nothing is more liable to misuse. But when new capacities come as an inevitable result of the growth into a greater consciousness and a greater life and that growth is part of the very aim of the spiritual being within us, this bar does not operate; for a growth of the being into Supernature and its life in Supernature cannot take place or cannot be complete without bringing with it a greater power of consciousness and a greater power of life and the spontaneous development of an instrumentation of knowledge and force normal to that supernature. There is nothing in this future evolution of the being which could be regarded as irrational or incredible; there is nothing in it abnormal or miraculous: it would be the necessary course of the evolution of consciousness and its forces int he passage from the mental to the gnostic or supramental formulation of our existence. This action of the forces of Supernature would be a natural, normal and spontaneously simple working of the new higher or greater consciousness into which the being enters in the course of his self-evolution; the gnostic being accepting the gnostic life would develop and use the powers of this greater consciousness, even as man develops and uses the powers of his mental nature.”