Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 7

Are Ghosts Hallucinations?

19 minutes  • 3904 words

Hallucinations occur when sight is influenced by different thought-waves.

Hallucinations are of 2 types:

  1. positive

There is no physical defect in the ocular vision. Rather, one’s vision is affected by the thought-waves which want to see something different.

  1. negative.

Here, the excessive pressure of the thought-waves – we say “auto-suggestion” – makes the ocular vision negative. The thought-waves do not want to see something which is actually present in the ocular vision.

Many scholars think that so-called ghosts are positive hallucinations.

Sometimes people are also misguided by negative hallucinations. They say that in this case the ocular vision – the optic nerves – is deceiving them, but actually the main role here is played by the thought-waves, not by any physical organ, or psychic cells, or psycho-physical cells (ectoplasm).

It is said, Abhibhávańát cittáńusrśt́apretadarshanam [“The sight of ghosts is created by the cittáńu (mind-stuff) in concentrated thought”]. Abhibhávańa means “cellular suggestion” – that which affects not only the mind but also the nerve cells, so that due to the defective functioning of the nerve cells one sees something which is not present, or does not see something which is actually physically present.

Cellular suggestion is of 2 types:

  1. auto-suggestion

This takes place within the jurisdiction of one’s own mind, in the individual mind, whereas

  1. outer-suggestion.

this is the transmission of suggestion from another’s mind, from another, stronger, mind.

When a weaker mind is greatly influenced by a stronger mind, as a result something is not seen or nothing is seen.

Whatever we see in this universe is a positive hallucination created by the Supreme Consciousness.

Whatever He thinks is seen by the nerve cells of the individual mind. The difference between this practical world and ghosts is that in the case of ghosts the suggestion comes from the individual mind; one’s own thought is projected outside.

But when people see so-called ghosts and apparitions, are they always positive hallucinations?

No, they are not.

Whatever we observe in this physical world is made of the five fundamental factors (solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal), created in such a way that it automatically functions. Its inherent capacity for action is derived from this physical world under the inspiration of the Supreme Consciousness.

There may be some entities that do not require food and drink. Any entity composed of solid and liquid factors will certainly require food and drink, because food is mainly composed of the solid factor, and drink is mainly composed of the liquid factor. But if any entity is composed only of the other three factors – luminous, aerial, and ethereal – without any solid or liquid, then that entity is called a “luminous body”. By means of nerve cells, the mind operates the physical body: by creating vibrations such as smell, form, touch, taste, etc., the nerve cells either receive tanmátras (inferential essences) or projects them externally. But luminous bodies have no nerves, because nerve cells and nerve fibres are all physical; thus they cannot function properly. Only, as in auto-suggestion, they may create a vibration within, and experience some type of feeling.

These luminous bodies are not ghosts or apparitions; they have nothing to do with them. Neither are they related to auto-suggestion or outer-suggestion. Under some circumstances, if someone happens to see this kind of luminous body, one may think one is seeing a ghost. But actually there is no ghost at all – it is only a luminous body. It is not possible to see luminous bodies in broad daylight; it may be possible during the darkness of night, but then not everywhere.

There are 7 kinds of luminous bodies categorized according to their respective psychologies:

  1. yakśa
  2. siddha gandharva kinnara vidyádhara Prakrtiliina and videhaliina.

Suppose there is a very elevated person who often ideates on the Supreme Consciousness, but who has some greed for wealth. He or she does not, however, express it openly to the Supreme, nor does he or she even think of it directly. He or she thinks indirectly, “Oh, since I am a devotee of the Supreme Consciousness, He will certainly give me enormous wealth and make me immensely rich.”

Those who harbour this sort of covert desire are reborn as yakśas. Thus sometimes we refer to “the wealth of the yakśas”.

The third is vidyádhara. Those who have vanity of knowledge, although they do not expressly beseech this from the Supreme, but rather think inwardly that the Supreme should bestow an enormous wealth of knowledge upon them – this type of person is reborn as vidyádhara. Vidyádhara is also a luminous body.

The next is gandharva. Those who have a great talent for higher music (people should cultivate music to the maximum to give pleasure to the Supreme Consciousness) and mentally think, “Oh, Parama Puruśa, I want knowledge of the science of music, not You” – they are reborn as gandharvas. (In Sanskrit the science of music is called gándharva vidyá.) They are also luminous bodies; they are not ghosts at all. They are also not visible in daylight, just as other luminous bodies are invisible.

The next is kinnara. Those who are vain about their physical beauty, or those who pray to the Supreme to give them more and more physical charm, are reborn as kinnaras. They are also luminous bodies. Then siddha. Those human beings who are doing sádhaná, who have great love for Parama Puruśa, but in their heart of hearts are proud of their occult powers or pray to Parama Puruśa to grant them still more occult powers – these people after death are reborn as siddhas. Of all the categories of luminous bodies, the siddhas are the most elevated. They often help sádhakas in their sádhaná. All these luminous bodies are collectively called devayoni. Besides the above, there are videhaliina and Prakrtiliina. Those who wrongly worship Parama Puruśa in the form of clay, iron or other material substances, are ultimately transformed into Prakrtiliina. The next is videhaliina: those who run after occult powers and think, “I will attain such great occult power that with it, I will move from place to place.” These are all luminous bodies; they are not ghosts, nor are they positive or negative hallucinations. Thus ghosts are not positive hallucinations, or negative hallucinations, or siddhas or devayonis. Then is there any such things as ghosts? Not exactly ghosts, but there is something like that. After death, when the mind dissociates from the body, the accumulation of unfulfilled saḿskáras or reactive momenta remains, although the body with the five fundamental factors no longer exists. Thus, the mind cannot function, but it remains in potential form. Now, in some circumstances, if the ectoplasm of a living person is associated with that disembodied potential mind, then that disembodied mind gets a mental body temporarily, for a very short time. Then that mental body can start functioning with the help of the nerve cells and nerve fibres of that living person, but only for a few minutes.

What is this called? It is neither a positive hallucination or a negative hallucination, nor is it a luminous body (devayoni). Then what is it? A living person’s ectoplasmic cells become the mental body of a dead person for a few minutes until – after a few minutes – that mental body again dies. This mental body I will call preśitamánas – “recreated mind.” Some people may do good works or get good works done with the help of these preśitamánas, but only those who have perfect control over their minds and over the nerve cells and nerve fibres of their bodies can do this. Those who are bad people can do evil deeds with the help of these preśitamánas. They can hurl stones into others’ houses, throw bones, or overturn tables and cots – all these things can be done for only a few minutes. So we see that what we call a “ghost” is not always a positive or a negative hallucination, nor is it always a siddha or a preśitamánas. In fact, we cannot prove the existence of a preśitamánas or siddha, and insofar as positive hallucination is concerned, it does not have any actual existence at all.

If you see a positive hallucination, it is a mental disease.

If anything of this sort (preśitamánas or luminous body) comes before you, there is only one remedy to remove it: that is, do kiirtana or devotional chanting. Do kiirtana for one minute or repeat your guru mantra, and that “ghost” will instantly vanish into thin air. So under no circumstances should you be afraid.

15 May 1982 Ru, Calcutta

Ghosts and Evil Spirits

When a person dies, their physical body, along with the nerve cells and nerve fibres, remains in the earth and finally becomes one with the earth. When death takes place, the mind, along with the reactive momenta and the non-cerebral memory, leaves the body and moves here in the universe, with the help of rajoguńa [the mutative principle], till it gets another body, a suitable body to quench its thirst and satisfy its reactive momenta. Those reactive momenta, in the second body, are known as saḿskárá. The mind, along with the reactive momenta and non-cerebral memory, is not visible. One cannot see it. And when it is not visible, it is not possible for anybody to say, “I have seen that mind, that videhii átmá [disembodied spirit].” But we should remember that the dissociated mind is not alone. In that mind there are the reactive momenta and also the non-cerebral memory. (That mind moving in the universe with the mutative power of the Cosmic Operative Principle is not visible, and at the same time, for want of a nucleus, a seat for the mind, and nerve cells, the mind cannot function properly. For proper functioning it requires ectoplasmic stuff, a body of ectoplasm. So even for ectoplasmic expression it requires a new body. In proper time, due to the mixture of ova and spermatozoa, what happens? The mind becomes associated with a new structure, and the original minds and lives of both the ova and the spermatozoa cease to exist. But those ova and spermatozoa are selected to suit the purpose of this detached mind with its reactive momenta.) Now during this period, this transitional period, when the mind has left the previous body, before it gets the new body, what happens? It moves in the universe, invisible and inaudible. But you know, by dint of Tantric practice, anybody can develop their ectoplasmic structure. They may be a Vidyá Tantric, they may be an Avidyá Tantric, but the ectoplasmic development is there. So such Tantrics can, with the help of their own ectoplasmic stuff, help the detached mind to get a temporary ectoplasmic body. And for the time being that detached mind, with the help of the ectoplasmic stuff of that Tantric – Vidyá Tantric or Avidyá Tantric – gets that ectoplasmic structure, and when that ectoplasmic structure is a bit solidified it becomes visible, and due to its vibrational frequency it may become audible too, but only for a short span of time. You have heard stories about bones being thrown into a particular house, bricks being thrown into a particular house, a cot moving upwards, etc. You have heard these ghost stories about certain haunted houses. What are these things? A Tantric, certainly not a Vidyá Tantric, but an Avidyá Tantric, with the help of a certain portion of their own ectoplasmic stuff, sits tight in an ásana [meditation posture], and, with the help of their ectoplasmic stuff, creates an ectoplasmic body for a detached mind (known as preta in Sanskrit). And with the help of their ectoplasmic stuff, attached to the detached mind, they do all these things. But at the time their body remains motionless. So these things are actually not done by ghosts. They are actually done by that Avidyá Tantric with the help of that detached mind. One may say that these things have been done by ghosts, but they were not actually.

And there is another type of being also. I say “being” because it is difficult for me to say that they are living beings or that they are dead beings. What happens? There are seven recognized devayonis, divine entities. They are called “divine”, though actually they are not divine, because they are better, or higher, than ordinary human beings. Suppose a person is practising spiritual sádhaná regularly, properly, and with proper inspiration and sincerity, but some other desires, some other longings, remain coverted in the person’s mind. The person is a good person, he or she is sincerely doing sádhaná, but in his mind he thinks, “If Bábá gives me ten lakhs – or five lakhs – or only two lakhs – everything will be managed properly. Oh, no! I won’t ask for these things. No, no, no, it is bad, it is bad.” That desire, that longing for money, remains in him, although he or she is a developed soul, not a bad person, not at all a bad person. So what happens? Because of his piety, after death he gives up the physical structure, the solid body, and gives up the aquatic structure, that is, apatattva, also; but the other three factors – tejas [luminous factor], marut [aerial factor], vyoma [ethereal factor] – remain with him, with his detached mind.

These beings are called devayonis. They are of seven types – yakśa, rakśa, kinnara, gandharva, vidyádhara, siddha and Prakrtiliina. In the example I gave, the person had a longing for money, but was a developed soul. Unknowingly or unconsciously the desire came into his or her mind, and that desire was the cause of his or her downfall, degradation, depravation. This type of being is called yakśa. In Bihar, particularly in the northern portion of Bihar, in most but not all of the villages, you will find a place just outside the village, known as the Brahmasthána. That Brahmasthána is the place where the villagers used to assemble to worship the yakśa. In the images of Paoráńika [Puranic] gods and goddesses you will find the yakśa and yakśinii standing just to the right and left of the deity; a yakśa and yakśinii with cámaras [ceremonial whisks] in their hands. What is a yakśa? It has a body, but not a quinquelemental body; a body with three factors, tejas, marut and vyoma. That luminous body cannot be touched, but it can be seen sometimes. Rakśa. People with fighting spirit, with proper dedication and proper spiritual aspiration, but who sometimes think, “If I get the blessing I will kill those antisocial elements – No, no, no, during pújá [worship, meditation] I should not think like this.” You have understood, I think? Those thoughts coming in the mind during pújá become the cause of degradation. After death the person won’t have a physical body or aquatic body, but tejas, marut and vyoma will be there. This type is called rakśa. Kinnara. “Bábá has given me everything, but I am not good-looking. I want to be very good-looking, so that people will say – No, no, no, it is very bad.” Such good persons, good souls (and they are good people, not ordinary people) after death also acquire this type of three-elemented body. They are called kinnara.

Vidyádhara. “I am a good sádhaka, but haven’t any vocal power. I can’t dance properly, I can’t sing properly, my vocal cord doesn’t function well. I require more attributions, more qualifications – and if I get more qualifications I will get promotion in the service also. Oh, no, no, no. These are all bad things. These are all bad desires. A person should not have any desires.” When such a person dies, they also get that type of body, luminous, gaseous and ethereal. These three bhútas are there. These people are called vidyádhara. Next – a person is doing sádhaná, there is no longing. Then, “I sing bhajanas, but my sound is not good. My vocal cords don’t function properly. My vocal expression should be a bit more sweet and rhythmic – No, no, no, these are all bad things, bad things.” This type of good person, in the body they take in their next life (not “next life”, but “post-physical life”), is known as gandharva. They have a longing for music. And that is why music is called gandharva vidyá in Sanskrit.

The sixth is the siddha. What is a siddha? Suppose there is a good soul, a good person who has no physical desire. But during sádhaná – “Yes, love for God has been created. Yes, people love me, Bábá loves me. But I should have some occult power, so that people will say, ‘This person has power, and is not an ordinary person. This person has occult power – alaokika shakti – aeshvarya – vibhúti’ – No, no, no, these are bad thoughts, bad thoughts.” When this type of person dies, their post-physical body is known as siddha. They are the best among the devayonis. I will say something regarding these siddhas later on.

And the seventh is Prakrtiliina – those who worship idols, ascribing Brahma-hood to that idol, thinking that the very idol is God, the very image is God; worshipping stone, worshipping wood, worshipping metal. Tantra says, Mrcchiládhátudárvádimúrttáviishvaro buddhayo… [“Those who think that Parama Puruśa is confined within idols made of clay, stone, metal or wood…”] Mrt means “earthen image”; shilá means “made of stone”; dhátu means “made of metal”; and dáru means “made of wood”. And they ascribe Godhood to that wood or to that metal or to that stone. Then what happens? The person is ideating on that stone, or wood, or metal, and what happens? Yadrshii bhávaná yasya siddhir bhavati tádrshii – “A person adopts a body according to their object of ideation.” Their own self is transformed into that entity, the entity which was their object of meditation. Now such people worshipping different forms of Prakrti finally take the form of those entities, and become stone, become wood, become metal. They are called Prakrtiliina. They become one with Prakrti and remain there for an indefinite period. What a durdaeva, I will say! What a painful state of existence! Now, among these seven types of devayoni, the siddha is the best. Siddhas perform their sádhaná, but sádhaná remaining just at the half-way point. And whenever there is an assemblage of singers or dancers, what happens? Gandharvas, with their mental bodies, their reactive momenta and non-cerebral memories, assemble. Wherever there is any programme of music, there they assemble, but invisible. Sometimes, though, they become visible. I will explain.

Wherever there is any spiritual gathering, siddhas come. And during a musical function, whenever the mind of a particular artist becomes concentrated, they will see the luminous bodies of gandharvas. Similarly, during meditation, or particularly during kiirtana, when a spiritual aspirant’s mind becomes concentrated, they will feel the existence of those siddhas. In Jamalpur, in the area of the tiger’s grave, there were assemblages of large numbers of siddhas. One of our senior grhii ácáryas [married spiritual teachers] used to see them. I will narrate a very short story. A few years back, two of our kápálika sádhakas(1) came to a river. That river is not a big one, but the depth is there. They were at a loss to decide how to cross the river. Just on the other side of the river there was a burial ground, a cremation ground. They were thinking hard, at midnight.

All of a sudden, they saw a luminous body just in front of them. The luminous body began moving, and these two boys followed it. Coming to a particular point, that luminous body started crossing the river, and these two boys followed him. And that particular portion of the river was very shallow, knee-deep. They easily crossed the river and reached the other side. Just on the other bank there was a tree. From there they went two different ways to do their night practice. And after night practice they came back to the tree. They again saw that luminous body and again followed it and crossed the river.

After coming to the original bank, the junior boy addressed the senior man, “Oh Dádá, let us request that luminous body to bless us.” As soon as he said this, the luminous body disappeared. What was that luminous body? A siddha. Now what happens when a person sees some unnatural picture or unnatural image or unnatural being? One possibility I have already explained – it may be that a Tantric, with the help of his or her ectoplasmic structure, has created a body for a disembodied mind just to terrorize others. A Vidyá Tantric will not do these things, but an Avidyá Tantric may do so just to terrorize others, as they used to do in the past. After getting some money they would stop the practice. And suppose that some time you go to a particular house which people say is haunted. There are some haunted houses in every town, and I have already told you that if you find any haunted house, you just purchase it and use it. Ghosts won’t terrorize Ananda Margis, because every Ananda Margi is a ghost. [laughter] “They are the followers of Shiva.”(2) Ghosts will not terrorize ghosts. What happens there? Due to terror, due to pre-imposed terror, a person’s mind gets concentrated. Due to fear the mind gets concentrated, and due to concentration, what happens? A certain portion of the person’s own ectoplasmic stuff goes to help a detached mind in creating a body, an ectoplasmic body. So you see your own creation; the creation has been made out of your own ectoplasmic stuff. But that detached mind was also there. It was not a ghost. And those Brahmapisháca, or several kinds of “ghosts”, are all of your creation. Your ectoplasmic stuff is transferred to that detached mind due to your mental concentration, temporary concentration. And this type of concentration takes place under five types of circumstance – kśipta, múd́ha, vikśipta, ekágra and nirodha. Kśipta is when the mind is very perturbed, full of worries and anxieties. At that time, due to sudden, short concentration, such a thing may happen. Múd́ha is when your brain fails to decide what to do or what not to do – you are at a loss for what to do. This is called múd́ha – múh plus kta. Vikśipta – you are not concentrating on a particular point, but finally your mind becomes tired and, in that state, you see those things. You know by lullabies we make the minds of children vikśipta and they fall asleep. (Lullabies, you know? – poems recited in the ears to put children into deep slumber, not ordinary sleep.) Ekágra is when your mind gets pointed. And the fifth is nirodha, when you suspend all the expressions of your propensities. In these five conditions you may see those things and you may, knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, transfer certain portions of your ectoplasmic body to a detached mind and create a positive hallucination of this kind. 19 October 1978, Patna Footnotes

(1) Practitioners of kápálika sádhaná, a form of spiritual practice which causes the aspirant to confront and overcome all the inherent fetters and enemies of the human mind. –Eds.

(2) The Shivagańa, “Shiva’s people”, included ghosts, according to mythology. –Eds.

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