What is a Ghost?

The ghost is of course not the soul. It is either the man appearing in his vital body or it is a fragment of his vital that is seized on by some vital force or being.  The vital part of us normally exists after the dissolution of the body for some time and passes away into the vital plane where it remains till the vital sheath dissolves.
                                                                                                                      [SABCL, 22-23-24:91]

What is meant by “This ghost, which is mistakenly called the spirit, is …sometimes a subtle-physical prolongation of the surface form of the mind-shell”? [quote by Sri Aurobindo]

It means that the ghost one sees and wrongly takes for the departed being itself, is only an image of it, an imprint (like a photographic imprint) left in the subtle physical by the superficial mental form, an image that can become visible under certain conditions. These images can move about (like cinema images), but they have no substantial reality. It is the fear or emotion of those who see these images that sometimes gives them the appearance of a power or an action they do not possess in themselves. Hence the necessity of never being afraid and of recognising them for what they are—a deceptive appearance.
                                                                                                                                [CWM2, 16:223]
A few days ago X told me some stories about vital beings and ghosts. Since then I feel afraid in the dark.
Why do you listen to these stories? They are very stupid. Most often ghosts exist only in people’s imaginations. As for vital beings, if we do not fear them they can do us no harm. And with the divine protection what fear can one have? None.
                                                                                                                                [CWM2, 17:109]
There are ghosts who try to lead us astray, but aren’t there also ghosts who help us in our sadhana?
I thought you were using the word “ghosts” to mean vital entities. Those beings are certainly not the ones who can help you in your sadhana.
I would like to know how to conquer these anti-divine ghosts.
By willing to do so, and by always refusing to believe in their suggestions.
                                                                                                                                  [CWM2, 17:48]
Yes, Mother, these vital entities lead us astray; but aren’t there beings who can help us, lead us back to the right path?
Yes, they do exist, but since they do not belong to the vital world that is nearest to the physical, it is more difficult for them to enter into contact with human beings. Their action is sometimes perceptible in the mind, and in the psychic it is very clear.
                                                                                                                                  [CWM2, 17:48]

[to a disciple who was afraid to go to a place…]

When people who have left their body appear in front of you, you must not fear—it is generally because they are restless and lack peace— give them a good thought and wish them to be in peace and it will be over.
In any case you can tell them to go to Mother and they will not bother you any more.
Go to Siddhapur and avoid unpleasant company if there is any, but always remember that it is only fear which harms and that with confident faith in the Divine’s Grace you are safe.
                                                                                                                                [CWM2, 14:243]
Sweet Mother,
What could be the explanation of the following kind of phenomena?
1)     A child is dressed up nicely and sent on a promenade. Someone looks at him and says, “How beautiful!” The same night the child develops fever. But if, when the child returns home, a small ritual is done, such as waving a pinch of salt thrice before the child, things are all right.
2)     Food is being cooked. Just at the moment of adding some fragrant leaves, somebody passes by; as a result the preparation does not give off any fragrance at all. Or things are made ready; the dough, etc., are seasoned; then someone comes and looks at it; subsequently everything turns out dismal.
In such cases, is it some evil spirits that act through the human intermediary, or is the person himself the origin of the mischief?
It can be anything and in fact is in different cases very different things, from simply a wrong mental formation to the action of an adverse force, entity or being, through all the scale of human bad will.
                                                                                                                                [CWM2, 17:386]
There are some human beings who are like vampires. What are they and why are they like that?
They are not human; there is only a human form or appearance. They are incarnations of beings from the world that is just next to the physical, beings who live on the plane which we call the vital world. It is a world of all the desires and impulses and passions and of movements of violence and greed and cunning and every kind of ignorance; but all the dynamisms too are there, all the life-energies and all the powers. The beings of this world have by their nature a strange grip over the material world and can exercise upon it a sinister influence. Some of them are formed out of the remains of the human being that persist after death in the vital atmosphere near to the earth-plane. His desires and hungers still float there and remain in form even after the dissolution of the body; often they are moved to go on manifesting and satisfying themselves and the birth of these creatures of the vital world is the consequence. But these are minor beings and, if they can be very troublesome, it is yet not impossible to deal with them. There are others, far more dangerous, who have never been in human form; never were they born into a human body upon earth, for most often they refuse to accept this way of birth because it is slavery to matter and they prefer to remain in their own world, powerful and mischievous, and to control earthly beings from there. For, if they do not want to be born on earth, they do want to be in contact with the physical nature, but without being bound by it. Their method is to try first to cast their influence upon a man; then they enter slowly into his atmosphere and in the endmay get complete possession of him, driving out entirely the real human soul and personality. These creatures, when in possession of an earthly body, may have the human appearance but they have not a human nature. Their habit is to draw upon the life-force of human beings; they attack and capture vital power wherever they can and feed upon it. If they come into your atmosphere, you suddenly feel depressed and exhausted; if you are near them for some time you fall sick; if you live with one of them, it may kill you.
                                                                                                                              [CWM2, 3:42-43]


Are superstitions mental rules?
No, not rules but mental formations. Generally a superstition originates in an experience. For instance, there is a certain superstition in Europe, and you are told: “Never walk under a ladder, it will bring you ill-luck.” It is probable that someone walked under a ladder and the ladder slipped and fell upon him, and the story starts off like that. It can happen that this is a repeated experience, for, in fact, if a ladder is badly placed and you pass underneath it could fall at that very moment, and that would bring ill-luck! There are innumerable superstitions of this kind. They depend upon the countries, besides; these things are quite local and one may even find contradictory superstitions in different countries. In certain countries if you see a black cat, it is a sign that a catastrophe will come. In others if you see a black cat, it means that something very fine will happen! If you put things together you will come to the conclusion that nothing at all will happen to you! It is like that. Almost all superstitions are the result of an experience that is quite local, occasional, exceptional, which has been raised into a mental principle. It is a mental formation, it is not a rule.
Now, there are other instances, as for example a large number of religious rules which are founded solely on hygienic principles, on medical knowledge, and have been raised into religious principles, for that was the only way to make people observe them. If you are not told that “God wants” that you should do this or that, you would not do it, the majority of men ordinarily do not do it. For instance, that very simple thing—washing your hands before eating; in countries where the civilisation is not quite scientific, some people discovered that in truth it was probably more hygienic to wash the hands first! If they had not made a religious rule, if they hadn’t said that “God wanted” that a man wash his hands before eating, otherwise it would be an offence against Him, people would have said: “Oh, why? No, not today, tomorrow. I have no time, I am in a hurry!” But in this way there is that constant fear at the back of their minds that something bad will happen to them due to God’s anger. This too is a superstition, a big superstition.
They do things because they are told to do them. There is an entire class of religion—for instance the Chaldean religion—which forbids the eating of pork. They say it is altogether impure and that you will become impure if you eat it. The truth is that in these countries (for they are hot countries), pig’s flesh is full of little worms which one takes in with the meat, even if it is cooked. It has to be cooked over an extremely long time to kill the worms. And so the little worms resist ordinary cooking and settle in your stomach or intestines, and then there they flourish and at times even end up by killing you or, in any case, bymaking you ill. These worms breed specially in this kind of meat. Now, if all this is explained to people, they do not understand; they haven’t any medical, scientific or hygienic ideas and this does not at all interest them: “Ah, but this meat is not expensive, it is sold cheap! We’ll see what happens.” What will happen is that after a while they will have terrible pains in their intestines, and then they will grow thinner and thinner and eat more and more, quite uselessly; they will not know what has happened; they will be simply eaten up by the worms. But if they are told: “Don’t do this, God will be furious and will punish you”, that is enough. They won’t do it.
                                                                                                                            [CWM2, 5:153-55]

Black Magic

There is a misguided, perverted occultism which is called black magic, it is a thing one must never touch. But unfortunately, there are people who touch it through pure wickedness. You must not believe it is an illusion, a superstition; it is real. There are people who know how to do magic and do it, and with their magic they obtain altogether detestable results…. It is understood of course that when you have no fear and remain under protection, you are sheltered. But there is a “when”, there is a condition, and then if the condition is not always fulfilled, very unpleasant things may happen. So long as you are in a state full of strength, full of purity—that is, in a state of invincibility, if anybody does anything against you, that falls back upon him automatically, as when you throw a tennis-ball against the wall, it comes back to you; the thing comes back to them exactly in the same way, sometimes with a greater force, and they are punished by their own wickedness. But naturally it all depends on the person against whom the magic is done, on his inner force and purity…. I have come across such things, many cases like this. And in such cases, in order to resist, one must be, as I said, a warrior in the vital, that is, a spiritual fighter in the vital. All who do yoga sincerely must become that, and when they do become that, they are altogether sheltered. But one of the conditions for becoming it is never to have bad will or a bad thought towards others. For if you have a bad feeling or bad will or a bad thought, you come down to their level and when you are on the same level with them, well, you may receive blows from them.
Now, without going to that extreme, there are in the physical atmosphere, the earth-atmosphere, numerous small entities which you do not see, for your sight is too limited, but which move about in your atmosphere. Some of them are quite nice, others very wicked. Generally these little entities are produced by the disintegration of vital beings—they pullulate—and these form quite an unpleasant mass. There are some which do very fine things. I believe I narrated to you the story of the little beings who tugged at my sari to tell me that the milk was about to boil and that I had to go and see that it did not boil over. But all of them are not so good. Some of them like to play ugly little tricks, wicked little pranks. And so most often it is they who are behind an accident. They like little accidents, they like the whole whirl of forces that gather round an accident: a mass of people, you know, it is very amusing! And then that gives them their food, because, in reality, they feed upon human vitality thrown out of the body by emotions and excitements. So they say: just a small accident, it is quite nice, many accidents!…
And then if there is a group of such small entities, they may clash with one another, because among themselves they do not have a very peaceful life: clashing with one another, fighting, destroying, demolishing each other. And that is the origin of microbes. They are forces of disintegration. But they continue to be alive even in their divided forms and this is the origin of germs and microbes. Therefore most microbes have behind them a bad will and that is what makes them so dangerous. And unless one knows the quality and kind of bad will and is capable of acting upon it, there is a ninety-nine per cent chance of not finding the true and complete remedy. The microbe is a very material expression of something living in a subtle physical world and that is why these very microbes …that are always around you, within you, for years together do not make you ill and then suddenly they make you fall ill.
There is another reason. The origin of the microbes and their support lie in a disharmony, in the being’s receptivity to the adverse force.
                                                                                                                            [CWM2, 5:178-80]
…this is one of the commonest laws in occultism—if you make a formation, for instance a mental formation that an accident or something unpleasant should happen to a certain person and you send out this formation, if it so happens that this person is in a very high state of consciousness, does not at all wish anything bad, is quite indifferent and disinterested in the affair, the formation will come up against his atmosphere and instead of entering will rebound upon the one who has made it. In this way serious accidents have taken place. There were certain people who practised that low deformation of occultism which is called magic and they had made formations through magic against someone. But this person happened to be far above this and could not be touched by those formations. So they returned upon those people, fatally. If they had made a formation of death, it would have been they who died.
                                                                                                                                    [CWM2, 6:42]