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From Sri Aurobindo - Letters on Yoga - Vol II

The extracts below are taken from letters that Sri Aurobindo dictated as replies to student's questions. In the 'Letters on Yoga' they are grouped under "The Intermediate Zone". A fuller version of parts of this section can be found here

I have taken only the most relevant and interesting snippets from the letters.

From page 1039, 1042, 1050, 1051, 1053, 1055, 1056, 1057, 1059

Sri Aurobindo uses the word "Vital" this is what we call the "Doppelganger", "The Double", or even the "Monkey Soul". The exact definition of the word is difficult, as different terms are used by various authors to refer to the same concept.

Sri Aurobindo cautions his student about the dangers of the Intermediate zone - which in other places he calls the "Vital's World" and Steiner and his associates call the 8th Sphere. He suggests ways that an individual on the path of self development can avoid the dangers that lurk in this region.

... It is always necessary to keep the inner perceptions and will clear, conscious and in perfect balance. Never allow any force or impulsion (no matter how it presents itself) to sweep the Vital or the body into action.

Students overwhelmed by the first rush and sense of power of supernormal conditions believe they are receiving entirely illuminated consciousness when in reality they are receiving imperfect things from the Intermediate Zone.

The Intermediate places are full of little Gods, strong Daityas or smaller Beings who want to influence the Vital formation of the earthly life and are eager to use the student to fulfil their purpose. This is quite apart from actually hostile Beings whose sole purpose is to create confusion, falsehood, unspiritual error and corruption of the student.

When X broke the veils that divide the physical from the Vital and psychic worlds his mind was unable to understand his experiences. His Vital aspect - full of destructive and egotistical energy rushed up to use these new fields to empower its own ends. This gave the opportunity for a hostile power from the Vital world to break in and take partial possession. The result was disorganisation of the nervous and physical systems of the same brain centres.

The right condition will come when instead of Vital forces trying to push upwards the Prana becomes calm and waits for the decent of light into the lower centres. In this way light will also transform the Vital and Physical Beings.

These other worlds are actually working upon us. If you know this you can consciously deal with them, you will be able to control and use them.

The Intermediate Zone, the Vital world needs to be passed through when in my Yoga training one works towards the 'Supermental' - the truth at its own levels. The dangers of attracting things from the Intermediate zone while one is passing through occurs when there is vanity, egotism, ambition or it - the Vital - rather than the 'Psychic' (i.e. Spiritual) is infront.

On the whole aspire for the growth of the Psychic and its greater control of the rest of your Being and do not try to open to the Vital consciousness but to the higher consciousness above.

This kind of manifestation (Adesh) often comes from Beings of the Intermediate plain who want to use the student for their own work. Or it comes from Beings who are hostile to the student and wish to bring his work to nothing by exciting ambition, the illusion of importance or other forms of egotism. So each manifestation can either be a mission or a temptation - at this level it is often hard to decide.

The first result of the down flow of the overmind forces is often to exaggerate the ego which feels itself strong, divinised, luminous. The mind and theVital - especially the Vital - receiving these forces tends to seize on them and use them for their ego objects; or to mix ego demands with the service of a higher object.

To have true intuition one must get rid of the mind's and the Vital's preferences, fancies, and fantasises etc. And eliminate the Vital's ego pressure which set the consciousness to work in the service of its own claims and desires.

There are forces that want to realise themselves and try to use men as their instruments of realisation. These forces need not be hostile, but they play for their own hand, they want to rule, use, justify themselves, create their own results.

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original content and selection by Steven Guth,
page uploaded 14 September 2003