Question: Can you tell me the difference between spiritual power and occult power?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual power is very vast and luminous. It is constantly expanding both the finite and the Infinite. If something is little, the spiritual life will make it bigger. If it is already very big, spirituality will make it bigger still. Occult power is of a different kind. You can say it is a direct, pointed, immediate power — very sharp, like the edge of a sword.

When spiritual power is used, it is all peace, all harmony. If somebody is applying spiritual power to you, you will feel that there is dynamic power, but at the same time there is no aggression in it. It is like seeing the sea when it is calm and quiet. When it is turbulent with waves, you are frightened. But when the sea is in silence, at that time you are not afraid. In both cases, however, the same power is there. When you enter into the consciousness of the sea, you see that it has tremendous, boundless power. Spiritual power is a quiet, infinite expanse, like a calm sea with no aggressive motion in it. But it has solid power, dynamic solid strength.

In occult power, on the other hand, there is a kind of movement which is almost always restless. A child has strength; an adult also has strength. A child’s power is always revealing or manifesting; the child is constantly wanting to express this power. But a grown-up person knows that he has power and can use it at his command, so he does not feel the need to express it constantly. A possessor of occult power rarely has peace, whereas the possessor of spiritual power is inundated with peace. A possessor of occult power makes a tremendous outer show of his occultism; a Yogi with spiritual power tries inwardly to change the face of the world.

Occult power is used in a negative way very often. In occultism you will see that the power is practically like that of a ferocious animal. When unwise people use occult power, it is only for destruction. It can be positive only if it is guided by a spiritual Master. Possessing occult power is like walking on a rope — very dangerous and risky. Having spiritual power is like walking along a solid road, where there is no danger. And if one has both spiritual power and occult power, then, too, there is no difficulty or danger. With spiritual power we will be able to succeed — slowly, steadily and unfalteringly. Infallibly we will be able to do what we set out to do. With occult power, if we use it correctly, we may do what we want to do immediately and directly. If this tremendous speed of occultism feels the necessity of surrendering to the wisdom-light of spiritual power, then occultism is a veritable blessing for humanity. It is a veritable boon from God, for humanity has no patience; it wants to get everything done sooner than at once. But if occultism stands against spiritual power, then it is negating truth itself. And when it negates truth, it is creating destruction in humanity and for humanity.

If one wants to practise occultism in order to awaken the consciousness of humanity, then he first has to conquer fear: physical, vital, mental and psychic fear. If occultism is to be practised to serve the Supreme, the divinity in humanity, one has to conquer the lower vital, which we will call sex. This impure, unlit urge in our human nature must be totally conquered. Then if one can have the realisation that one is living the Eternal Life in the fleeting life, the Infinity, Eternity and Immortality that he has achieved in his own inner being or consciousness can be used to serve humanity in a divine way. At that time, occult power will be a real blessing.

I wish my dedicated disciples who are interested in occult power to bear this in mind: first spirituality and then occultism, first divinity and then humanity. When one knows divinity and can remain in divinity, only then can one serve humanity. Manifestation without realisation is no manifestation at all. It is like a body without life. Once I reach the Goal and become the Goal, then everything is inside me. Nothing can disturb me; nothing can destroy me; nothing can harm me in any way. Everything in God’s creation can be seen, felt and accepted. The realised person is in a position to handle both spiritual power and occult power. After realising the Truth, while manifesting it on earth, one has to take help from all planes, including the occult.

Spirituality is far superior to occultism. The occult region and occult practice are also part of God’s creation. But we do not have to go through the occult regions if what we want is God-realisation. If one wants God and God alone, then I must say that occultism cannot help even an iota in one’s God-realisation. But spirituality is absolutely necessary to realise God.

A real spiritual aspirant does not care for occultism at all. But on his way toward the Highest, occult power sometimes automatically comes to him as a test, to see whether he is going to be impressed by it and show the world his capacity to perform miracles or whether he is going to use it properly and divinely. Sometimes, when an aspirant is on the verge of realisation, the occult powers from various planes of consciousness come and touch his feet. They say, “Master, use us. We will be at your service; we will make no mischief. Only use us for the fulfilment of your realisation.” In the case of quite a few spiritual Masters this has happened. And your Master is one of them.

I have used occult power many, many times, but only when I have been asked to by the Supreme in me. And I use it only to help inwardly. Outwardly I am reluctant to use my occult power because I will be misunderstood. And never will I use it to punish or torture anyone. Occult power is very dynamic, but often people do not take dynamism from it. They take aggression from it instead and use this aggressive power to harm others or to attain their personal desires.

Occult power is not bad in itself. Some people say that when a person gets occult power he will misguide others and ruin himself. In India some spiritual figures do not care for occult power at all. But this power itself is not bad; rather, it is how you use it. If you have fire, you can burn yourself, or you can cook food. If you have a knife, you can use it to stab someone or you can use it to carve a beautiful statue. To some extent it is true that if you don’t have a knife, then of course you cannot do anything bad. But there are many good things which you may not be able to do, either. It is we who must use occult power wisely if and when we get it.

Some spiritual Masters in India advise their students not to deal at all with the occult forces, but to practise the spiritual life first. Then one will attain spiritual power, which can never create problems. This is what they say. By nature spiritual power does not have that aggressive or destructive quality which occult power has, but even spiritual power can be misused, if one does not listen to the dictates of his inner being or to the Supreme.

There are also spiritual aspirants who practise spirituality and occultism together. They say that during the day you should practise spirituality and during the night you should practise occultism. Let spirituality and occultism walk side by side. This path is a bit dangerous. Many have tried, and most of them have failed to combine the two properly. The safest and most effective way is to launch into the spiritual path and widen one’s own consciousness into Infinity and Eternity. At that time you will have full mastery in the occult world.

If a spiritual Master has the capacity to use spiritual power, you may ask whether he is able to use occult power as well, without making any mistakes. The answer is no. When a spiritual Master uses spiritual power, usually he uses it well. But when it comes to occult power, he does not actually misuse it; rather, he simply may not know how to handle it. There is a tremendous conflict between spiritual power and occult power when the Master is not of the highest calibre. If this happens what should he do? He should totally discard his occult power. He should say, “I don’t want it. It is too dangerous. Let me use only spiritual power which is an infinite sea of Light and Bliss. This Light and Bliss is Power enough for me.”

If you practise Kundalini Yoga even a very little — say only fifteen minutes a day — along with your real aspiration and meditation, you will see that your psychic or occult centres are being opened. But if you enter into the inner life just to get occult power so you can show the world your capacity, then real spirituality will never dawn in your life. If you want to open your heart centre and show miracles so people will appreciate and admire you, and if you think that you will get more inspiration from their appreciation and admiration, I must say here that you are making a mistake. In other cases, when you do something and are extolled to the skies, you may get more inspiration to do it better. But in this case it is not like that. If you display some of your occult power and others appreciate you, you can rest assured that this is your downfall. You will not be inspired; on the contrary, instead of going deep within to get the real realisation, you will go on increasing your occult power. Occult power is all temptation.

The more you display occult power, the quicker you will lose it, because you have not been able to become one with the source. The source of occult power is Light — quite limited, but still most pure Light. Therefore I always say that if you are going to deal with Light, then you should deal with spiritual Light. If it is limited, no harm, for it will not cause any danger. You may get a headache if you invoke too much, but it will not destroy you. Even if you bring down spiritual power beyond your capacity, it will not totally destroy you. But if you draw occult power into your system beyond your capacity, you will end up in a mental asylum. It is that dangerous, that destructive.

Our first wish should be to please the Supreme. In order to please Him, we have to give Him all our aspiration, and lay everything at His feet. Once we have pleased Him, it is up to Him whether He will give us spiritual power or occult power, or both. If He wants to give us spiritual power, well and good. If He wants to give us occult power, well and good. If we have surrendered to His Will and He gives us occult power, rest assured that He will also give us the capacity to use it properly for Him.

If you want to please the Supreme in your own way, you will do many insincere things to please Him. You will try to please Him by hook or by crook. You will even go to the length of trying to flatter or bribe Him if your nature is not pure. But if your nature is pure, absolutely pure, snow-white, then you will try to please Him the way He wants to be pleased. If you can do that, if you can please God in His own way, all occult power, all spiritual power will be at your feet, serving you.

What the world needs is to please God. By pleasing Him, it will become ready for illumination. But the world is doomed to disappointment, because it cries for power. If the world wanted God’s Love, then by this time the world would have been saved, illumined, perfected and immortalised.