Question: Are psychic powers of benefit, or are they in a way a hindrance to self-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Psychic power does not help us in any way to realise God. But psychic power can be used, should be used and must be used if it is the Will of the Divine, after God has given us Self-realisation. One of the great Indian spiritual Masters, Sri Ramakrishna, used to say that to acquire psychic power is to destroy the possibility of Self-realisation. You will attain your psychic power, but God will be denied to you, he would say.

Who is the possessor of all powers? God. When we become one with the Possessor, all His possessions immediately become ours. But without caring for the Possessor, if we cry for the possession, its attainment will hinder us on our journey to the ultimate Goal. It is really a blessing not to have the psychic powers before major realisation. If we get them too soon, we shall be all the time in the world of showing off, in the world of miracles, in the world of magic, and not in the world of aspiration, dedication and realisation.

Ramakrishna’s greatest disciple, Swami Vivekananda — originally called Naren — was once asked by his Master, “Naren, I have practised austerities for many years; now look at me — I have all these high siddhis. Would you like to have them from me? You have not to meditate because I have done it for you. I will give you all my powers.” Naren’s immediate answer was, “Will they help me in my Self-realisation?” The Master replied, “My dear Naren, no. No, they won’t. For Self-realisation the psychic powers don’t count. But if you want to, you can use them after Self-realisation. And if you have these psychic powers, naturally people will flock to you, and you will be better able to serve God in humanity.” The disciple said, “No, thank you. Let me realise God first. Then I shall think of attaining these psychic powers.” Then Ramakrishna, in front of his other disciples, blessed his dearest disciple most profoundly and said, “I knew it. It is you who can pass my test. Had I asked the same question of anybody else, like a greedy person he would have said, ‘Yes, yes, please give me the powers. It is so kind of you,’ But I knew your heart is absolutely pure. You want God, God alone.”