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(Mother:) “I believe Sri Aurobindo has written something very amusing about this, the number of Caesars one knew, the number of all the great beings, the Napoleons and all the important personages, the Shakespeares, all the people whose names have survived in history! How many are there! There are hundreds of them! And you hear their stories: “I was this, I was that, I did this”, or in séances the so-called spirits come and speak to you. A large number of people indulge in this playing with ‘spirits’, practising automatic writing and particularly in communicating with spirits. Now, there are garrulous spirits. They come to many places at the same time, especially people like Napoleon (I do not know why they have a partiality for Napoleon), everywhere Napoleon arrives and tells you extraordinary stories of his life and usually very contradictory stories and perhaps all at the same time! These are really very active people. Well, it is extremely comic — and it is impossible.
         The truth is that these are small vital entities, a class of beings formed by the decomposition of desires that have persisted after a man’s death and retained their form; of imaginations that have remained coagulated and try to manifest and reappear. Sometimes they are small beings of the vital world, not very well-disposed; as soon as they see people playing at such things — automatic writing, spirit-communication — they come and play. And as they are in a domain from where it is easy to read human thought, they tell you very well what you have in your head. They respond to what you expect. You wish to have a particular answer: they give you the answer even before you have put the question! They can give you precise details, they can tell you that such and such a thing happened to you, that such and such a member of your family... They know quite well. They do excellent thought-reading and tell you things altogether convincingly. “I did not say that I was married and had three sons and four daughters, how did he know all that?” — Because it was in your head.”[1]

(Nirodbaran:) “Dr. Amiya Sankar in his planchette sittings was told by Vivekananda's spirit that he wouldn't have his realisation in this life, that he would die about twenty-two years later, and that one year afterwards he would be born again with Vivekananda. Sri Aurobindo would still be alive and in that life Amiya Sankar would have his realisation. “Is that true?” he asks. (There was a burst of laughter as the information was conveyed.)

(Sri Aurobindo:) Has he any justification for belief in these things?

(Nirodbaran:) He says he got two things right – one about the possibility of a sea-voyage. The spirit said “Yes” and it was correct.

Anyone could say that. Our Baroda instances are more striking than that.

(Satyendra:) How does he know it was Vivekananda's spirit?

Quite so. Vivekananda's spirit must have other things to do by now.

(Nirodbaran:) He said also that Amiya Sankar had been Sri Chaitanya's playmate. (Laughter)

Was it found true? (Laughter)

(Satyendra:) Why should great souls come to such sittings?

What people wonder at is they should come and talk all sorts of rubbish. These things, as far as they are not communications from the subconscient mind, are communications of lower forces, even vital-physical ones. I remember one instance. In Calcutta I went to attend a sitting. The spirit violently objected to my presence and said that it was painful to him. In another instance the spirit was asked to prove his presence by eating a sandesh which was there. Somebody took hold of the sandesh and asked it to take it from him by force. His hand got so twisted that he cried out in pain. Evidently something was there apart from the communication of his subconscient mind.”[2]

  1. Questions and Answers 1953, p.34
  2. Talks with Sri Aurobindo (Vol. 2), p.859, 20 August 1940

See also