3 September 1926 (Evening)
(X raised the topic of table-tapping. Sri Aurobindo said that generally no spirit comes from the outside. The will of the medium and the men participating creates a force which makes those manifestations. The answers are from the minds of the men – they may come from the subconscious mind or from the subliminal which knows many more things than men are aware of. The concentration of the men produces an atmosphere, a change in the (universal?) consciousness– which calls forth the manifestations.)
Sometimes small spirits of the lower vital plane and the physical plane may take part in it and help in the manifestations simply for the sake of amusement. Genuine cases of intervention are very rare. Dead persons can communicate with the living if they feel interested and are sufficiently near.
Sri Aurobindo described the experiments made by Mirra [the Mother] in these matters. She, simply by the exertion of her will could create such a force as would make a table to jump across a room and come to her bed where she was lying.
The idea that all sorts of departed persons are hanging about for centuries and respond to the table-rappers is ridiculously absurd.
Persons when dying may create thought-forms which appear before distant relatives. Dying persons may leave behind influences which may be taken up by vital beings and worked – this explains the genuine cases of oppression by the ghosts of departed persons.
Devils may appear in human bodies which they take possession of at the time of birth.
4 September 1926 (Evening)
Disciple: As regards the table-moving experiments by Mirra – was that done by will-force?
Sri Aurobindo: No, it is not the force of will which moves the table – some vital dynamic force is called forth, which compels the movement of the table.
Disciple: Moves the table?
Sri Aurobindo: No, compels the table to move.
Disciple: Is it done by suggestion?
Sri Aurobindo: No, suggestion is something mental. Those who have the power, by their concentration create an atmosphere in which the force is manifested; the force acts directly on the material body, similarly as electricity acts. There are men, who without the medium of an atmosphere can directly cause the force to act on matter.
Disciple: What is done in Mesmerism?
Sri Aurobindo: In Mesmerism the action is not on a material body but on a human being with a mind and acts through the mind. Some force in the vital physical being of the performer acts on the physical mind of the subject; this in its turn acts on the material body.
Disciple: Is the force used, something created or is it only some force utilized?
Sri Aurobindo: How can a force be created? It is a force of nature, as electricity is a force and it is simply utilized.
Disciple: It has been seen that when a flower vase is moved from one place to another, in the transit it remains invisible, nothing appears on snapshot photo. Does the thing disappear temporarily and appear again in a new place?
Sri Aurobindo: It is difficult to say what actually happens, but such disappearance is quite possible. The being which moves it may take the thing into its own atmosphere – its own plane – and it thus disappears and is then again brought forth. Material bodies are only gross formations of subtle physical forces. Even in the material plane there are various degrees of subtlety – but this line may be crossed and the thing may take another form in a higher plane – thus it is said that in the physical world there are seven planes and ordinarily we are cognizant of the 7th plane – the gross material. The different manifestations in different planes are continuous.
Disciple: Is the human body sevenfold?
Sri Aurobindo: At least there are five gradations of the physical body and three of them can be easily known – e.g. the material physical, the vital physical, the mental physical; but the supramental physical and the Ananda physical are very difficult to know. Thus when one can break the material barrier, the first thing he knows is the vital physical body. The vital physical is outside the material body – in the material body it acts through the nervous system. Thus, when there is disease in the body, it is first the vital physical that is attacked and afterwards it is manifested in the physical body. One can see any disease as it touches the vital physical and it can be thrown away, then there will be no disease of the body. At one time I used to get fever. I threw it away from the material body; then I felt fever not in the body, but around me in the vital physical; then I threw it away even from there.
Disciple: What is meant by having the inner eye opened by which these different bodies are distinguished?
Sri Aurobindo: That is only a way of speaking – one becomes conscious of the different bodies.
Disciple: That is, one knows the different bodies?
Sri Aurobindo: One becomes conscious; knowledge is not the same thing as consciousness – it is the result of consciousness. Thus, without knowing the physical body one is conscious of it – one has the sense, one feels – that is as much as we can say.
Disciple: When one has great sensibility, one is agitated by touches from the external – is it a weakness?
Sri Aurobindo: All agitation is weakness. But as one’s consciousness is awakened, he becomes sensitive. Those who are stolid have no such sensibility. But to have sensibility without disturbance or agitation is real awakening.
Disciple: What is the life of atoms?
Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by the life of atoms?
Disciple: There is the activity of the electrons, chemical affinities, and so forth.
Sri Aurobindo: These are mechanical. We do not see in the atoms anything which we call life. But there is a sort of life and even consciousness in atoms that is very involved and mechanical, not at all individualized. One cannot ordinarily perceive these signs in atoms. But the life and consciousness that is there is outside the atom hovering about it. The universal being supports the atom with some form of consciousness and life and anyone who can enter into this universal being and consciousness can feel the life that is in atoms. Thus when a blow is struck on a table, the vibrations are purely mechanical but outside the table there is a consciousness, which disturbed by the vibrations gives response. Even metals have some sort of life. J. C. Bose left the metals and began investigating with plants because that was easier – if he had continued his experiments with the metals, he could have found many characteristics of life and consciousness there.
Men are individuals in comparison with the lower beings – atoms and material bodies. But they may also be said to be not yet fully individualized. When the group soul will be fully developed then only men will become real individuals.
Disciple: A material body like an iron-rod under some experiments shows that the particles there try to keep the body intact.
Sri Aurobindo: That is certainly a sign of life – tendency to self-preservation and conservation. Then the phenomena of fatigue also are phenomena of life.
17 August 1926 (Evening)
(There was some talk about life in physical atoms.)
Sri Aurobindo: Do you believe that there is life in a watch?
Disciple: The children believe that.
Sri Aurobindo: I agree with the children. It is well known that watches behave differently with different persons. They even respond to the thought and will in man.
Disciple: Watches have life!
Sri Aurobindo: I knew you would be astounded.
Disciple: Motor cars have been said to have life.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, and railway engines.
Disciple: It was observed that railway engines when given rest can develop greater speed.
Sri Aurobindo: That is well known.
Disciple: That is only a case of fatigue which is seen in material bodies.
Disciple: But is not fatigue a sign of life?
Disciple: It is only a characteristic of matter. Had there been life, there would have been a feeling and a consciousness of fatigue.
Disciple: There you go further and demand mind and consciousness in material bodies.
Sri Aurobindo: If you go deep you will find that the fatigue shown by material bodies is a sign of life in them. That life may not have ordinary vital and mental characteristics. These ideas of the vital and the mental prevent us from seeing the life that is characteristic of material bodies. There is nothing purely material – there is life everywhere. Material atoms have choice and will peculiar to themselves.
18 August 1926 (Evening)
Disciple: You said yesterday that watches have life. We did not quite understand it.
Sri Aurobindo: They respond to your suggestions.
Disciple: What kind of suggestions – mental?
Sri Aurobindo: Your suggestions must be of the right kind and strong enough.
Disciple: What sort of response do they make?
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, they would not jump up if you ask them.
Disciple: Will they go faster or slower?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes; and they may stop or start according to your suggestion.
Disciple: If the watch is out of repair, will it start if I give the suggestion?
Sri Aurobindo: No, there must be the mechanical basis.
Disciple: Can fire be lighted by the exertion of will power?
Sri Aurobindo: That is a different matter.
Disciple: Will the trigger of a gun go off if we can give the proper suggestion?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It may take some time before the response comes, but if it is strong enough there will be a response.