|Letters on Yoga - I
PDF (12 pages)
|Questions and Answers 1954|
March 3, 1954
PDF (8 pages)
“Occultism is a special use of the consciousness, that’s all. That is, at the moment, as it is practised by human beings, it is a direct and conscious perception of the forces behind appearances and the play of these forces, and because one has the direct perception of them, one has the power to act on them, and one makes some higher will intervene in the play of these forces in order to obtain a required result.
- In the supramental world one will have these powers spontaneously.
Spontaneously!... But everybody practises occultism without knowing that he does. Everybody has this power spontaneously but doesn’t know he has it. It may be a very slight one, like a pin-head; it may be as vast as the Earth or even the universe. But you cannot live without practising occultism, only you don’t know it. So the only difference you can make is that when one has the supramental consciousness one will know it. That is all. So, your question automatically vanishes.
When you think — I have explained this to you I don’t know how many times — when you think, you are practising occultism. Only, you don’t know it. When you are thinking of someone, some part of you is automatically in contact with this person, and if to your thought is added a will that this person may be like this or like that or do this or that or understand this or that — whatever it may be — well, you are practising occultism, only you don’t know it.... There are people who do this with power, and when they have a strong thought it manifests and is realised. There are people in whom it is very feeble and they do not obtain many results. It depends on the power of your thought and also on your power of concentration. But this kind of occultism everybody practises without even knowing it. So the difference from someone who really practises occultism is that he knows he is doing it and perhaps how he does it.”
“In all ages, there have been isolated individuals or small groups on earth who were the guardians of a very ancient tradition, corroborated by their own experiences, and who practised this type of science. They sought out especially gifted individuals and gave them the necessary training. Usually these groups lived more or less in secret or in hiding, because ordinary men are very intolerant of this kind of capacity and activity, which is beyond them and frightens them. But there have been great periods in human history when recognised schools of initiation were established and were highly esteemed and respected, as in ancient Egypt, ancient Chaldea, ancient India, and even to some extent in Greece and Rome. Even in Europe, in the Middle Ages, there were institutions that taught occult science, but they had to conceal themselves very carefully, for they were pursued and persecuted by the official Christian religion. And if by chance it was discovered that a man or a woman practised this occult science, they were burnt alive at the stake as sorcerers. Now this knowledge is almost lost; very few people possess it. But with the knowledge, the intolerance has gone too. In our times, it is true, most educated people prefer to deny the existence of this science or to dub it imagination or even fraud in order to hide from themselves their own ignorance and the uneasiness they would feel if they had to recognise the reality of a power over which they have no control.”
“In every domain of human activity, there are charlatans and imposters, but we should not allow their tricks to throw discredit upon a true science which they falsely claim to possess. That is why, during the great periods when this science was flourishing, when there were recognised schools where it could be practised, before anyone was allowed to undertake this study, he had to undergo for a very long time, sometimes for many years, a very strict twofold discipline of self-development and self-mastery. On one hand, the sincerity and disinterestedness of the aspirant’s intentions, the purity of his motives, of his capacity for self-forgetfulness and self-abnegation, his sense of sacrifice and unselfishness were ascertained, as far as possible. In this way the loftiness and nobility of the candidate’s aspiration were proved, while on the other hand he was subjected to a series of ordeals intended to show that his capacities were adequate and that he could without danger practise the science to which he wished to devote himself. These ordeals laid a special emphasis on the mastery of passions and desires, on the establishment of an unshakable calm, and above all on the absence of all fear, for in this endeavour an unflinching fearlessness is an essential condition of safety.”