Vital beings, by their very nature, take advantage of our ambitions, desires, greed, and fears to convince us to interact with them, and they then use these responses for their own enjoyment or nourishment. The more we are motivated by these vital drives, the easier it is for such beings to toy with us, as a cat will toy with a mouse before finally delivering it to its death.

Spiritual seekers are generally enjoined not to give in to these vital reactions so as to avoid distractions. The preliminary purification practices (yama and niyama) are intended, not primarily as some kind of code of morality or ethics, but as a training to help the seeker avoid the drives that can waylay him along the path. Such inner discipline and strength could be a huge benefit for people generally, not just those undertaking a spiritual discipline.

The Mother writes: “In some cases vital entities really get hold of you, and there it is dangerous. But fortunately these cases are not very frequent. Then it becomes very dangerous.”

“A very long time ago when I was in France, I knew the case of a man who, through practices of this kind, had put himself into contact with a vital entity. This man happened to be a gambler and he spent his time speculating and playing roulette. He spent part of the year at Monte Carlo playing roulette and the rest of the time he lived in the south of France and speculated on the Stock Exchange. And now, some being was really using him — it was through automatic writing — using him, and for years it gave him absolutely precise, exact indications. When he played roulette it used to tell him, ‘Bid on this number or this place’, and he would win. Naturally he just worshipped this ‘spirit’ which gave him such sensational revelations. And at the Exchange it also told him, ‘Speculate on this or on that’ and gave him all the indications. This man became colossally rich. He used to boast to all his friends about the method by which he had grown rich.”

“Someone put him on his guard, told him, ‘Be careful, this doesn’t look very honest, you should not trust this spirit.’ He fell out with this person. A few days later he was in Monte Carlo and… He always played for high stakes, you see; since, naturally, he always won and would break the bank, he was much feared. Then the spirit told him, ‘Stake everything, everything you have on this….’ He did, and at a single stroke lost everything! And yet, he still had some money left from his Stock Exchange speculations. He said to himself, ‘It is bad luck.’ Again he received a very precise indication, ‘Do this’, as usual. And he did it — he was completely cleaned out! And to finish the job, the spirit told him, just for the fun of it, ‘Now, you are going to commit suicide. Put a bullet through your head’. And he was so much under its influence, he did so…. That’s the end of the story. And this is an authentic story. So, the least one can say is that it is dangerous, it is much better not to indulge in occupations of this kind.”

“No! Either they are rather senseless amusements or else they are unwholesome occupations.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 5 Occult Forces, pp. 130-131

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