Question: Is it true that psychic powers do not develop or manifest spontaneously in Yogis, but have to be developed through exercises or other means?

Sri Chinmoy: There are seven major psychic centres in our body. These centres are not in the physical, but in the subtle body. At the crown of the head is one called Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus. Between the eyebrows, a little above, is the place of vision called Ajna chakra. At the base of the throat is the chakra for speech and externalisation; we call it Vishuddha. And in the centre of the chest we have Anahata, the heart chakra. Many people get their psychic power mostly from here. At the navel we have Manipura. At the spleen there is another centre, Svadhisthana. And below, at the base of the spine, we have one chakra called Muladhara. Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara: these are the seven chakras.

When a seeker consciously or unconsciously concentrates on these psychic centres, he develops psychic power. He may not know the actual name of the centre, but if he concentrates on the correct spot, automatically he acquires some intuitive power. To get the chakras to open and the Kundalini to start functioning, you have to concentrate on each chakra. That is one way to get psychic power — by means of spiritual discipline. Especially in the West, I hear many people saying that he has psychic power or she has psychic power, even though the person may not have even an iota of psychic power. Some people get a little intuitive feeling from the plane of intuition or from the physical mind, where there is subtle intuition, and they claim that they have psychic power. But it is not so easy to have psychic power. One has to work hard in order to attain it.

At the same time, if a Guru or spiritual Master wants to, he can infuse that power into you without your having to meditate or practise Kundalini Yoga. It is a spiritual Master’s privilege to give these powers, but it all depends on God’s Will. If God wants to give you psychic power, during your sleep you will get a kind of mantra which is meant for you. At that time the figure or being appearing in your dream will tell you how many thousands of times you have to repeat that particular mantra. It will not be necessary to concentrate on a particular centre. You just have to repeat that mantra a certain number of times and then you will get psychic power. This even happens in the case of realisation. Most people realise God by practising spirituality throughout their life, but there are some who need not practise the spiritual life at all. In a dream God enters into the person and illumines his consciousness, and anyone with spiritual vision will see that he is liberated and realised.

It is not always necessary to cry consciously for psychic power either. When one becomes a Yogi, his centres often open spontaneously, and psychic power automatically comes. Even if one does not care for psychic power, it usually comes when one is advancing fast, very fast, towards his goal. If occult power comes as a blessing and does not prevent one from manifesting his inner divinity, then there is no harm in it. But if it stands in one’s way as a curse or an obstacle, if it tempts the person and causes him to lose his speed or be diverted from his path, then he has to reject it bravely and concentrate on reaching his goal first.