Once we acknowledge the idea that forces, beings or entities from the vital planes can act upon and through human individuals, the question then arises as to how we can identify this action and distinguish it from what we might call normal actions of a human being under the impulsion of the action of the gunas and the attempt to achieve certain objectives either presented to him by desire, or created in him through fear.

It is difficult to judge this action when it is minimal, lightly applied or within a range that could be attributed to human behavioral patterns generally. Where we can begin to recognise such an influence is under circumstances where the action seems to far exceed normal human boundaries, and has an outsized impact, beyond what could otherwise be expected. There also arises the issue of an advanced soul taking birth to manifest something new, or various other births that do not represent possession, per se, but more of an intervention or implementation of a particular stage of development.

With this understanding, it becomes almost impossible to distinguish such a possession when looking backwards at historical reports from the past about individuals who, indeed, seem ‘larger than life’ but whose actual lives are outside our ken.

We do have one instance that is within our current historical setting that has widespread documentation with audio and video footage extensively available, along with the first hand reports of numerous observers or people who had interactions with him, and that is the case of Adolf Hitler. By all accounts he was possessed by a demonic force that had a world-wide impact, causing massive suffering, destruction and chaos, led to the annihilation of many millions of people, and took control of much of the European continent during the time of his ascendancy.

Anyone listening to Hitler’s speeches, actually harangues, or observing film of his actions and speeches, can feel the force and the demonic influence he is representing. He was able, expressing the demonic force that possessed him, to bend the will of masses of people to do his bidding, even overcoming their normal reservations about the actions being taken. The being that possessed him actually wound up overwhelming the human instrument and destroying his psychology, and, when his achievement was denied, he turned on his own people and tried to bring utter destruction on them at the end.

In this case, we have both the impact of his action in the world, and the audio and video documentation to determine that there was an extreme demonic action taking place that went beyond the normal human scope. Observers in real time in the 1930’s and 1940’s confirmed the possession.

Possession by a vital being is also possible on a much smaller level, although clearly much more difficult to distinguish. An instance was reported where several individuals observed a leader of a group angrily denouncing one individual who was leaving the group. During this diatribe, two separate individuals reported seeing a form of an entity expressing itself over the face of the speaker, projecting itself as a dark, foreboding and angry being into the atmosphere of the group.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The first thing that we have to note of importance to the problem preoccupying us is that these Forces in their action seem often to surpass the measure of human relativity; they are in their larger action superhuman, divine, titanic or demoniac, but they may create their formations in him in large or in little, in his greatness or his smallness, they may seize and drive him at moments or for periods, they may influence his impulses or his acts or possess his whole nature. If that possession happens, he may himself be pushed to an excess of the normal humanity of good or evil, especially the evil takes forms which shock the sense of human measure, exceed the bounds of human personality, approach the gigantic, the inordinate, the immeasurable.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 4 Cosmic and Universal Forces, pp. 89-90

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast located at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky
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 https://www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press www.lotuspress.com