The thing seen or experienced may be fundamentally the same, but it is formulated differently according to the different make-up of the apprehending mind. It is only those that can go beyond beliefs and faiths and myths and traditions who are able to say what it really is; but these are few, very few. You must be free from every mental construction, you must divest yourself of all that is merely local or temporal, before you can know what you have seen.
When one sees, one projects the forms of one’s mind. To what you see, you give the form of that which you expect to see.
This power of vision is sometimes inborn and habitual even without any effort of development, sometimes it wakes up of itself and becomes abundant or needs only a little practice to develop; it is not necessarily a sign of spiritual attainment, but usually when by practice of yoga one begins to go inside or live within, the power of subtle vision awakes to a greater or less extent; but this does not always happen easily, especially if one has been habituated to live much in the intellect or in an outward vital consciousness.
It is through aspiration, through an increasing opening that these visions and perceptions begin to come — the realisation comes afterwards.
Nothing has to be done to develop the images seen in the vision. They develop of themselves by the growing practice of seeing, — what was faint becomes clear, what was incomplete becomes complete.
Almost anyone, if he wants, can with a little concentration and training develop the faculty of supraphysical vision. When one starts Yoga, this power is often,though not invariably — for some find it difficult — one of the first to come out from its latent condition and manifest itself, most often without any effort, intention or previous knowledge on the part of the sadhak. It comes more easily with the eyes shut than with the eyes open, but it does come in both ways.
But is it not extremely difficult to see the fully flaming resplendent Divine Mother? I don’t believe X or anybody would have that at first view. That can come only if one has already developed the faculty of vision in the occult planes. What is of more importance is the clear perception or intimate inner feeling or direct sense, “This is She.” With many people the faculty of this kind of occult vision is the first to develop when they begin sadhana. With others it is there naturally or comes on occasions without any practice of Yoga. But with people who live mainly in the intellect (a few excepted) this faculty is not usually there by nature and most have much difficulty in developing it. It was so even with me.
It would be something of a miracle to see things without the faculty of seeing. We don’t deal much in miracles of that kind.
It (the inner vision) does not come as easily to intellectuals as it does to men with a strong life-power or the emotional and the imaginative.
At this early stage of sadhana most of the things seen are formations of the mental plane and it is not always possible to put on them a precise significance, for they depend on the individual mind of the sadhak. At a later stage the power of vision becomes important for the sadhana, but at first one has to go on without attaching excessive importance to the details — until the consciousness develops more. The opening of consciousness to the Divine Light and Truth and Presence is always the one important thing in the yoga.
Visions come from all planes and are of all kinds and different values. Some are of very great value and importance, others are a play of the mind or vital and are good only for their own special purpose, others are formations of the mind and vital plane some of which may have truth, while others are false and misleading, or they may be a sort of artistry of that plane.
Visions do not come from the spiritual plane — they come from the subtle physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic or from the planes above the Mind. What comes from the spiritual plane are experiences of the Divine, e.g. the experience of self everywhere, of the Divine in all, etc.
There is a whole range or many inexhaustible ranges of sensory phenomena other than the outward physical which one can become conscious of, see, hear, feel, smell, touch, mentally contact either in trance or sleep or an inward state miscalled sleep or simply and easily in the waking state. This faculty of sensing supraphysical things internally or externalising them, so to speak, so that they become visible, audible, sensible to the outward eye, ear, even touch, just as are gross physical objects, this power or gift is not a freak or an abnormality; it is a universal faculty present in all human beings, but latent in most, in some rarely or intermittently active, occurring as if by accident in others, frequent or normally active in a few.
Develop the power, get more and more experience, develop the consciousness by which these things come; as the consciousness develops, you will begin to understand and get the intuition of the significance. Or if you want their science too, then learn and apply the occult science which can alone deal with supraphysical phenomena.
There is, besides the outer physical sight which sees external objects, an inner sight in us which can see things yet unseen and unknown, things at a distance, things belonging to another place or time or other worlds…. It is the working of the Mother’s force which is opening it… Remember the Mother always, call on her and aspire to feel her presence and her power working in you ….
The frequent seeing of lights… is usually a sign that the seer is not limited by his outward surface or a waking consciousness but has a latent capacity (which can be perfected by training and practice) for entering into the experiences of the inner consciousness of which most people are unaware but which opens by the practice of yoga. By this opening one becomes aware of subtle planes of experience and worlds of existence other than the material. For the spiritual life a still further opening is required into an inmost consciousness by which one becomes aware of the self and spirit, the Eternal and the Divine.
These lights and visions are not hallucinations. They indicate an opening of the inner vision whose centre is in the forehead between the eyebrows. Lights are very often the first thing seen. Lights indicate the action or movement of subtle forces belonging to the different planes of being — the nature of the force depending on the colour and shade of the light.
The first sign of its opening in the externalised way is very often that seeing of “sparkles” or small luminous dots, shapes, etc., which was your first introduction to the matter; a second is, often enough, most easily, round luminous objects like a star; seeing of colours is a third initial experience — but they do not always come in that order. The yogis in India very often in order to develop the power use the method of tratak, concentrating the vision on a single point or object — preferably a luminous object.
The seeing of colours is the beginning of inner vision, what is called sūkṣmadṛṣṭi. Afterwards this vision opens and one begins to see figures and scenes and people.