Conversion of the Asura and the Adverse forces (HH 189)


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Like all beings, the Asura too has his destiny. It is to be either annihilated or else undergo conversion and transformation. But they can do this only through a human body because of the presence of the psychic being. Man has a role to play in this conflict between the Devas and the Asuras. His soul is the battlefield where the powers of Light and Darkness meet and wrestle. He has to make a choice, a decisive choice so to say. It is man who lends the power to the action of the Adversary and it is man who can make them flee.

Words of the Mother

….In the end, only the Supramental will have the power to destroy it. When the hour comes, all this will disappear, without any need to do anything.

March 26, 1959


What can make them yield?

Divine Love.

It’s the only thing.

Sri Aurobindo has explained it in Savitri. Only when Divine Love has manifested in all its purity will everything yield, will it all yield – it will then be done.

It’s the only thing that can do it.

It will be the great Victory.

On a small scale, in very small details, I feel that of all the forces, this is the strongest. And it’s the only one with a power over hostile wills. Only … for the world to change, it must manifest here in all its fullness. We have to be up to it …

Sri Aurobindo had also written to the effect, ‘If Divine Love were to manifest now in all its fullness and totality, not a single material organism would but burst.’ So we must learn to widen, widen, widen not only the inner consciousness (that is relatively easy – at least feasible), but even this conglomeration of cells…..

November 12, 1960


I have a sort of memory – the memory of a very ancient story no one ever told me … in which the first Asura challenged the supreme Lord and told him, “I am as great as You!” And the answer was, “I wish you would become greater than I, because then there will be no more Asura.”

This memory is very living, somewhere…. If you become the Whole, it’s finished – you see, the Asura’s ambition is to be greater than the supreme Lord: “Become greater than I, then there will be no more Asura.”

On a very small scale, it’s the same thing on the earth.

In a certain state of consciousness, it becomes absolutely impossible to worry about what may happen; everything becomes visibly, obviously, the work of one and the same Force, one and the same Consciousness, one and the same Power. So that sense and will and ambition to be “more” – more powerful, greater – is again the SAME Force which pushes you to expand to the Limitless. As soon as you cross the limit, it’s finished.

Those are old ideas – the old ideas of two powers opposing each other: the power of Good and the power of Evil, the battle between the two, which of the two will have the last word…. There was a time when children were entertained with such stories. They’re just children’s stories.

Some people (or if you like, some beings, or forces, or consciousnesses) in order to progress need to give themselves, to merge, and in total self-annihilation, they attain Realization; for others the path is diametrically opposite: it’s a growth, a domination, an expansion which assumes fantastic proportions … until the separation disappears – it can no longer exist.

Some prefer this path, others prefer that one – but when we reach the end, it will all meet.

Ultimately, the one thing necessary is to abolish limits…. There are many ways to abolish limits. And maybe they are all equally difficult.


But up above, “one” really isn’t in favor of havoc.

One isn’t in favor of havoc?

(Mother makes a gesture of vigorous denial) It’s a waste of time. All the more so as men have perfected such means of destruction that it could mean centuries lost, not just a few years. Entire civilizations to rebuild.

No, “one” isn’t in favor of that.

It’s a seething of something very dark, very dark.

It reminds me of the words of the “Lord of Nations,” the great Asura, when he told me, “I know that my power is drawing to its close, but you may be sure that before disappearing I will destroy everything I can.”

That’s it, that’s exactly it.

And unfortunately, people give him the opportunity to do so: it’s stupidity, ignorance, a sort of blindness.

What’s lamentable above all is the way men confuse power with violence. That sort of ignorant feeling that thinks power must manifest as violence.

Violence is an asuric deformation. True power acts in peace – a peace like this (gesture of massive descent), which nothing can disturb.

March 19, 1966


He (Sri Aurobindo) had this conviction so strongly, “It’s the Supreme Lord who does everything.” So … it must be like that.

But in my small consciousness, I find it astounding that such a ridiculous, insignificant being as this piddling woman could have had such power!

But there was a great Asura behind her! There were the adverse forces behind. The woman herself was nothing, but she was very receptive to those forces.

And he didn’t want to break her?

Oh, he didn’t want to. He was all compassion, goodness, patience ….

….The small human individualities act as instruments, that’s nothing.

But by yielding (because in a way he yielded), did he win a greater victory over that Asura?

Oh, yes, infinitely greater.

Infinitely greater. And he didn’t leave the work, you understand; he has never left me, never left the work. The amount of supramental force he had accumulated in his body he passed on to me – and I received it. The rest went into the subtle physical, where he has done the whole work. And he said, I will take on a body again only when it is a supramental body.”

It was … monstrous, you understand …. I didn’t say anything, I never said anything …. Yes, once, she was so awful that I made her leave Sri Aurobindo’s room, and she was so dreadful that I gave her a slap. And when I came back, Sri Aurobindo told me, “You ought not to have done it … …

It was … It is the highest, the most-the most sublime way, one might almost say, of exhausting the hostile force.
(long silence)

August 27, 1969


Sometimes when an adverse force attacks us and we come out successful, why are we attacked once again by the same force?

Because something was left inside. We have said that the force can attack only when there is something which responds in the nature—however slight it may be. There is a kind of affinity, something corresponding, there is a disorder or an imperfection which attracts the adverse force by responding to it. So, if the attack comes, you must keep perfectly quiet and send it back, but it does not necessarily follow that you have got rid of that small part in you which allows the attack to come. You have something in you which attracts this force; take, for example (it is one of the most frequent things), the force of depression, that kind of attack of a wave of depression that falls upon you: you lose confidence, you lose hope, you have the feeling you will never be able to do anything, you are cast down. It means there is in your vital being something which is naturally egoistic, surely a little vain, which needs encouragement to remain in a good state. So it is like a little signal for those forces which intimates to them: “You can come, the door is open.” But there is another part in the being that was watching when these forces arrived; instead of allowing them to enter, the part which sees clearly, which knows, which has power, which resists, says: “No, I do not want that, it is not true, I do not want it”, and sends them back. But you have not necessarily been cured of the little thing within you which permitted them to come. You must go very deep within, work within you persistently to be able to efface all possibility of calling. And so long as you have not completely effaced it, the attack will recur almost unexpectedly. You push it back—it is like a ball you throw against the wall, back it returns; you push it back once again and again it returns —until the moment there is no longer anything to attract it. Then it does not return again. Therefore, the most important thing to do when you are attacked by an adverse force, is to say to yourself: “Yes, the force comes from outside and the attack is there, but there must certainly be a correspondence in my nature, otherwise it could not have attacked me. Well, I am going to look and find within me what allows this force to come and I am going to send it back or transform it or put the light of consciousness upon it so that it may be converted, or drive it away so that it remains no longer within me….” There is a way, you see? When the force comes, the adverse force, when it attacks, the part which corresponds rushes out to meet it, it goes forward. A kind of meeting takes place. If at that time, instead of being altogether overwhelmed or taken by surprise and off your guard, you observe very closely what it was within you that vibrated (it makes the sound tat, tat, tat: another thing has entered), then you can catch it. At that moment, you catch it and say to it: “Get out with your friends, I don’t want you any longer!” You send away the two together, the part that attracted and the thing it attracted; they are sent away and you are absolutely clear.

For that, you must be very vigilant and have a little courage, in the sense that at times you have to grip it hard and then pull it out—it hurts a little—and then you throw it out along with the forces you send away. After that, it is finished. And so long as this is not done, it comes back and back again; and then if one is not in oneself sufficiently courageous or vigilant or persevering, the fourth or fifth time one falls flat and says: “That’s too much, I have had enough!” So the force installs itself, contented, satisfied with its work; and then you can see it laughing, it enjoys itself immensely, it got what it wanted. Now to send it back again means a very considerable work. But if you follow the other method, if you look closely this way: “Well, I am going to catch the thing that has allowed it to come”, you see somewhere within you something rising, wriggling, coming up in response to the evil force which is approaching. That is the moment to seize it and throw it out with all the rest…..

But when we throw it out, it does not die. Then it can go elsewhere once more, for it remains in the world.

Exactly. It remains in the world and it will surely go elsewhere —until it meets someone who has sufficient spiritual and occult power to dissolve it, and that is very difficult…. One must be very strong, possess a very great knowledge and power to dissolve a movement that has (this can be said at least) its reason for existence in the world—I do not say it is legitimate, but still it has its reason for existence. There are things which can be dissolved; but if somewhere in the world it exists in someone, he can reconstitute it. It is the same thing when people are attacked by small beings of the vital world, hostile beings who attack them, install themselves in their atmosphere, trying to possess them, that is, enter into them and use their body and all the rest. These beings—it is very difficult for the individual to get rid of them: that needs a very, very hard yoga. But one who has the knowledge and the power and who sees them can very well get them out of the atmosphere and destroy them. But if one who is attacked keeps within himself this little affinity which allowed the thing to enter, then he will recall it. I have had several examples of the kind, several…..

Well, here it is truly not worth the trouble. One has only to leave them to their fate. This has happened many a time. In such people, you know, it is a kind of vanity which generally opens the door to those forces; they wished to be big, powerful, to play an important role, to be somebody; that attracts the force and so they become like that, possessed. The thing is taken away from them: all their remarkable capacity disappears at the same time and their self-satisfied vanity as well. They have the feeling they have become something quite ordinary and a tiny little thing within them says: “Oh! it was better before….” For one that is destroyed, there are always ten ready to come in. That’s how it is, it is a strange task! You know the story of Durga, don’t you? Durga who every year has to destroy her asura; and always she is compelled to begin again. It goes on in this way till the end of the reign allotted to the titans. When they will be banished from this world, it will not be thus any longer. But till then, that is as long as they are useful (as I have said in this book) for intensifying the aspiration, clarifying the consciousness, for putting to the test the sincerity of people, they will be there. The day the test will not be needed, the day the sincerity will be pure and self existent they will disappear. Then that day, Durga will no longer need to begin her battle over again every year.

Would it not be better to change them?

Ah! my child, certainly it would be better, much better. But then… It is a domain of which I have a thorough experience. After forty years of sustained effort I have found out that it is absolutely impossible to change anyone unless in truth he wants it sincerely. If he does not set himself to the task with an absolute sincerity, well—I have tried for forty years, one can try it for a hundred and forty years, it will be the same thing—he won’t stir. It is the very character of these beings to be perfectly satisfied with themselves, and they do not desire, they have not the least intention to change! Even now, among the beings who are concerned with the earth, the asuric beings, the greatest of the asuras who is still busy with the earth at present, who is the asura of falsehood and calls himself the “Lord of the Nations” —he has taken a beautiful name, he is Lord of the Nations— it is he, wherever there is something going wrong, you may be sure it is he or a representative of his who is there. It is also perfectly sure that very soon his hour will come and all will be over for him, that he will have to disappear. And he absolutely refuses to change. He has no intention to do it, for immediately he will lose all his power. It is impossible. And he knows that he will disappear. But he proclaims categorically that before disappearing he will destroy all he can…. At heart, he would not consent to disappear unless everything disappeared at the same time as he. Unfortunately for him, this is not possible. But he will do all that lies in his power to destroy, demolish, ruin, corrupt as many things as he can. That is certain. Afterwards it is the downfall. He accepts the downfall on this condition. It has never crossed his mind that he might be converted. It would no longer be he, don’t you see, he would no longer be himself. There is a great difference between a human being and these beings of the vital plane. I have told you this many times, I am going to repeat it: In a human being, there is the divine Presence and the psychic being—at the beginning embryonic, but in the end a being wholly formed, conscious, independent, individualised. That does not exist in the vital world. It is a special grace given to human beings dwelling in matter and upon earth. And because of this, there is no human being who cannot be converted, if he wants it; that is, there is a possibility of his wanting it and the moment he wants it, he can do it. He is sure to succeed the moment he wants it, whereas those beings of the vital do not have a psychic being in them, they do not have the direct divine Presence (naturally, at the Origin, they descended directly from the Divine, but that was at the Origin, that is very far away). They are not in direct contact with the Divine within them, they have no psychic being. And if they were converted, there would remain nothing of them! For they are made up entirely of the opposite movement: they are entirely made up of personal self assertion, despotic authority, separation from the Origin, and, of a great disdain for all that is pure, beautiful and noble. They do not have within them this psychic element which in man, even in the most debased, makes him respect what is beautiful and pure; even the basest man, in spite of himself, against his own will, respects what is pure, noble and beautiful. But those beings do not have that. They are wholly on the other side, totally on the other side. It disgusts them in every way. It is for them something which should not be touched, because it destroys; it is the thing that makes them disappear. Goodwill, sincerity, purity and beauty are things which make them disappear. So they hate these things. Now I do not know on what grounds one could convert them. What would be the point of support? I do not find it. Even in the greatest. That is, some of these beings will not disappear until hatred disappears from the earth…. One might put it the other way round. One might say that hatred will disappear from the earth when those beings disappear; but, for the reason I have just given, the power to make light spring forth in the place of darkness, beauty in the place of ugliness, goodness instead of evil, that power man possesses, the Asura does not. Therefore it is man who will do that work, it is he who will change, it is he who will transform his earth and it is he who will compel the Asura to flee into other worlds or to dissolve. After that, all will be quiet. There you are.

10 June 1953


(Regarding an old Playground Talk of June 10, 1953.)
What is it about?

Attacks by adverse forces and Asuras.

Oh! … (Laughing) That’s a convenient way of putting the blame on others!
Do you think we should publish it?

Certainly. It’s helpful.

When now people tell me about attacks by adverse forces, I always feel like saying to them, “The adversity is within you!”

I think it’s a very convenient way to get impunity…. Because if you are perfect, they can’t do anything against you. It’s absolutely obvious. It’s imperfections that give them power. So if we shift our standpoint as Sri Aurobindo did, we’ll see, as he said, that the so-called adverse forces are tolerated because they are useful to awaken people to the need for transformation, to the urgency of purification.

May 25, 1968