Each individual has his own unique types and levels of receptivity, and these too can vary over time. The universal forces are constantly there, but if an individual is closed off, unresponsive, then he does not gain the full benefit of that force. The ancient description of the energy centres in the subtle body, the chakras, holds that we receive energies through an ascending series of centres, and each one has its own characteristic action and expression. In other words, the universal force is converted into specific types of energy based on which chakra is able to open and receive it, and to what extent. Some paths of yoga actually work to move energy from the lower chakras that govern drives such as sex, desire, greed, power, etc. and channel those energy through the higher centres which govern things such as compassion, expression, will, intellect and spiritual focus. One can look at the chakras as representing different vibrational intensities and levels. People make use of the energy not simply based on the chakras, but also based on the predominance of a particular Guna, tamas, rajas or sattva, at the time the energy is received.

Chakras can also close off or shut down and this is particular true when there is trauma involved and the individual draws in as a form of protective device. Generally, there is some amount of energy flowing through various chakras at any point in time, although the higher chakras governing will, intellect and spiritual development may remain closed, or mostly closed, for people focused almost entirely on the external life and channeling energy thereby through the lower 3 chakras for the most part.

Spiritual aspirants have a special responsibility as the chakras open and they become receptive to forces that are working toward spiritual development. If they utilize the force to fulfil desires of various sorts, channeling the energy out through the lower chakras, they tend to suffer consequences. This includes individuals who, for instance, take up spiritual practices and then use the powers that result to exalt themselves through fame, acquire wealth or obtain sexual satisfactions. The force tends to withdraw eventually from such individuals and they wind up in many cases broken, physically, vitally and mentally. In some cases they see the effect of their misuse rebound upon them in very consequential ways.

On the other hand, those who become receptive to the forces that enhance spiritual progress, and who use those forces to continue to develop and grow spiritually, find that their capacity to receive them tends to expand, and there is an ever-increasing action that takes place as they tune themselves to the higher vibrational patterns that act through the higher chakras.

“The Mother writes: “Each person has a different receptivity. No two receptivities are the same in quality and quantity, but specially in quality. One enters into contact with very pure, very intense forces — what could be already called converted forces, that is, universal vital forces which are in contact with the Divine and not only receive the Divine but aspire to receive Him. So if you absorb these forces it gives you a great strength for progress. It is in this that the quality is much more important. And for the quality of the universal vital forces, it depends naturally a great deal on what one is, but also much on what one does.”

“If one uses these forces for a purely selfish action of a base kind, well, one makes it almost totally impossible for himself to receive any new ones of as fine a quality. All depends on the utilisation of the forces one receives. If, on the other hand, you use them to make progress, to perfect yourself, it gives you… it increases your capacity of receiving enormously, and the next time you can have a lot more. All depends (in any case, principally) on the use made of them. There are people, for instance, who are short-tempered by nature and haven’t succeeded in controlling their anger. Well, if with an aspiration or by some method or other they have managed to receive some higher vital forces, instead of this calming their irritation or anger… because they have no self-control it increases their anger, that is, their irritability, their movement of violence is full of a greater force, a greater energy, and becomes much more violent. So it is well said that to be in contact with universal forces does not make one progress. But this is because they make a bad use of them. Yet naturally in the long run, this bad use diminishes the capacity of receiving; but it takes time, it is not immediate. So it is very important to put yourself in a good condition to receive the higher forces and not the lower ones, and secondly, when you have received them use them for the best thing possible, in order to prepare yourself to receive those which are of a higher quality. But if you open yourself, receive the forces and afterwards, being satisfied with having received them you let yourself fall into all the ordinary movements, well, you close the door and the force no longer returns.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 4 Cosmic and Universal Forces, pp 96-97

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