The vital envelope sends us signals if we are able to perceive them. Sometimes we begin to feel run down, tired, exhausted, or stressed out. We may begin to feel a little feverish or feel the beginning of what we might call a cold or sore throat occurring. This is prior to the full expression of an illness, and may just be the feeling or sense the individual receives. This is an early warning signal that something is trying to break through the first line of defense of the body and manifest an illness.

Recently it was reported that an individual started feeling specific intense itching along a band of the trunk of the body which corresponded to the appearance of shingles. No rash had broken out, by the symptomology followed that of the outbreak of shingles and the individual confirmed both that he had had a case of chicken pox as a child (precursor with the same virus that stays in the body) and that he had contacted a physician who reviewed the case and confirmed that it was a case of shingles and he should expect the rash to appear within 3-4 days of that time.

The interesting part of the story is that the physician prescribed a dietary supplement that he indicated had an anti-viral action, and within a few days, not only were the initial symptoms relieved, but the entire outbreak of the full-blown case of shingles was avoided The physician noted that the individual caught the symptoms early enough that apparently the disease condition was thrown out.

We see several things here: first, the observation at a subtle level of symptoms that foreshadow an attack upon the physical body. Second, the exercise of the will of rejection. Third, the use of a dietary supplement to support the mental, vital and physical belief in the rejection. Fourth, the power of belief to influence the course of disease under various circumstances. This last is actually supportive of the known ‘placebo effect’ where an individual is given a substance he “believes’ to be effective even if it is purely inert, and this belief effectuates a cure or remission in over 30% of the cases without use of any actual medicine. Whether one calls the mechanism the ‘placebo effect’ or faith healing, or auto-suggestion, one way or the other, if the mind and the will can bring a force directly to the body and the body accepts this force, it can overcome or throw off the advent of disease.

Additional means of rejection include the use of hypnotic suggestion or in the case of those who have strong devotion, an openness and receptivity to the force of the deity, guru or guide, who then can enhance the individual’s own force with their support.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Attacks of illness are attacks of the lower nature or of adverse forces taking advantage of some weakness, opening or response in the nature, — like all other things that come and have got to be thrown away, they come from outside. If one can feel them so coming and get the strength and the habit to throw them away before they can enter the body, then one can remain free from illness. Even when the attack seems to rise from within, that means only that it has not been detected before it entered the subconscient; once in the subconscient, the force that brought it rouses it from there sooner or later and it invades the system. When you feel it just after it has entered, it is because though it came direct and not through the subconscient, yet you could not detect it while it was still outside. Very often it arrives like that frontally or more often tangentially from the side direct, forcing its way through the subtle vital envelope which is our main armour of defence, but it can be stopped there in the envelope itself before it penetrates the material body. Then one may feel some effect, e.g., feverishness or a tendency to cold, but there is not the full invasion of the malady. If it can be stopped earlier or if the vital envelope of itself resists and remains strong, vigorous and intact, then there is no illness; the attack produces no physical effect and leaves no traces.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 3 Hidden Forces Around, pp. 74-75

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press