Supraphysical Powers of Darkness and the Earthly Life

The great religious traditions of the world virtually all relate a battle between Powers of Darkness and the Powers of Light. Regardless of the specific names and forms each tradition adopts, the similarities speak to a human experience of a supraphysical reality that impacts life on earth.

Science, working from the mental intelligence, is unable to validate the existence of these powers, and thus, tends to deny their reality; yet, science cannot explain either the consistent and repeated experience of humanity throughout history across all major traditions and cultures, nor events and actions that occur on the earth that are so far beyond the pale of what we consider to be human that they remain unexplained and inexplicable.

When we peer into the eyes of pure evil, and see the fanaticism and even the signs of possession by some other force or being that lurks there, it is impossible to deny that there can be, and are, forces and beings that exist on other planes, outside of our normal range of sense perceptions, that can nevertheless act upon and impact life within our earthly scope.

Just as every living being fits somewhere in the “food chain” of the earthly life, so also we can understand that there may be beings that feed upon our energies, whether they are fear, hatred, lust, etc. and which act to harvest these feelings and emotions through persistent efforts at influencing human beings in their lives. Plants convert sunlight into material energy. Animals convert material energy into sensations and action, and human beings convert plant and animal substance into mental and emotional energy. So also, supraphysical beings may act to convert human mental and emotional energy into their food.

In his Paradise Lost, John Milton describes the motivations and actions of the fallen angels who seek to gain control over mankind for their own purposes of spite and retribution to the powers of Light which reign in heaven. In Faust, Goethe posits a wager between God and Mephistopheles for the control of the human soul. The Puranas in India describe extensive wars over many ages of human civilisation between the Devas, the Gods and the Asuras, the Demons. The battle takes place frequently upon earth and humanity becomes collateral damage to the warfare. The Ramayana recounts the ascension of the Demon Ravana who attempts to devour and control humanity and who is confronted by Sri Rama who embodies the Avatarhood of Vishnu, who is charged with maintaining the balance of the creation. Other traditions similarly recount beings of Light or Darkness who are fighting for domination over the earthly life.

Spiritual seekers are not always brought into these battles, but as they advance the powers of Light in the world, they may be subject to attack or pressure, and in intense cases, world conflagrations, such as the Holocaust and World War II may erupt to try to set back the progress of civilisation as a whole if it seems like progress towards the Light will overwhelm the control, or even the existence of, the powers of Darkness.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “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.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Difficulties Due to the Hostile Forces, pp. 280-286