1. What is sixth sense?
Sixth sense, or subtle perception ability, is our ability to perceive the subtle-dimension or the unseen world of angels, ghosts, Heaven (Swarga), etc. It also includes our ability to understand the subtle cause and effect relationship behind many events, which is beyond the understanding of the intellect. Extrasensory perception (ESP), clairvoyance, premonition, intuition are synonymous with sixth sense or subtle perception ability. Throughout this website we use the words sixth sense, ESP and subtle perception ability interchangeably.
2. How do we perceive and understand the unseen world?
We perceive the gross or seen world through the five physical senses (i.e. smell, taste, sight, touch and sound), our mind (our feelings), and our intellect (decision making capacity). When it comes to the unseen world or the subtle-world, we perceive it through the five subtle-senses, the subtle-mind and the subtle-intellect – more popularly known as our sixth sense. When the sixth sense is developed or activated, it helps us to experience the subtle-world or subtle-dimension. This experience of the subtle-world is also known as a ‘spiritual experience’.
In the above picture, we see a lady who smells a bunch of roses. This would constitute an experience as there is a definite source to the fragrance of roses i.e. the bunch of roses. In the other picture, we see a lady not smelling roses, pondering over the start of her working day. All of a sudden and with no apparent cause, she gets a strong fragrance of sandalwood. She initially dismisses it, as she cannot see where it is coming from and goes on to ponder her work day. However, the fragrance follows her to her work place and lingers with her throughout the morning. She asks other people if they can smell the fragrance, but no one does. This would constitute a spiritual experience. In this case, the lady actually perceived a fragrance emanating from the subtle-dimension and experienced the fragrance through the medium of her subtle sense organ of smell. The ability to perceive or experience the subtle-dimension through the five subtle-senses, subtle-mind and subtle-intellect is known as one’s sixth sense.
3. Sixth sense perception through the five subtle sense organs
The world is made from the five Absolute Cosmic Principles (Panchatattva). These Cosmic Principles cannot be seen but make up all of creation. When our sixth sense gets activated, we begin to perceive these Absolute Cosmic Principles progressively, beginning from the most gross to the most subtle. Thus, we are able to perceive them in the order of the Absolute Earth (Pruthvī), Water (Āpa), Fire (Tēj), Air (Vāyu) and Ether (Ākāsh) elements through our subtle-sense of smell, taste, vision, touch and sound respectively.
The following table provides examples of positive and negative spiritual experiences that we may perceive through our sixth sense, that is, through the medium of the five subtle-senses.
4. How does one develop the sixth sense?
The subtle-world is all around us, however, we cannot perceive this world. Even though we cannot perceive the subtle-world, it impacts our lives to a great extent. In order to tune into this world we need a ‘spiritual antenna’, i.e. our sixth sense needs to be awakened. Our sixth sense grows when we do spiritual practice. With regular spiritual practice done according to the six basic principles of Spirituality, we increase our spiritual level and are able to perceive and experience the subtle-world to greater degrees.
This is akin to a television set that gives a black and white speckled blur when it is not connected to an antenna. Even if the television station is transmitting signals, the television set cannot catch them until it is connected to an antenna. In the same way, the subtle-world and God's presence is constantly around us, but we do not perceive it until we start doing spiritual practice, which in turn enables our sixth sense.
Please refer to our section on spiritual practice for developing sixth sense or subtle perception ability.
Sometimes we see people who have the ability to perceive the subtle world from a very young age even though they have not done any spiritual practice. The reason for this is that they have attained the requisite spiritual level from spiritual practice done in a past birth (previous life). Another reason this may happen is because they have been possessed by a ghost such as a subtle-sorcerer (māntrik) since childhood. In this case, it is actually the subtle-sorcerer’s sixth sense that is displayed.
5. Sixth sense and spiritual level
As our spiritual level goes on increasing, we are able to progressively perceive a greater extent of the subtle-world through our subtle perception ability, that is, our sixth sense. The following table shows how our sixth sense grows with increasing spiritual level.
From the above table, we can see that the maximum that can be perceived by the subtle sense organs is achieved at the 70% spiritual level. Hence, with further increase in spiritual level, there is no further increment in the subtle-perception through the five subtle sense organs. However, the subtle-mind and subtle-intellect continue to increasingly tune into the Universal Mind and Universal Intellect until the 100% spiritual level is achieved. The table below shows the minimum spiritual level necessary to be able to perceive each of the individual five subtle-senses if one’s sixth sense was purely a function of the spiritual level. For example, one can perceive the subtle-sense of smell at the 40% spiritual level.
While this bar graph serves as a guide to explain the direct relationship between the spiritual level and sixth sense, it is important to note the following:
When somebody acquires a spiritual experience of subtle-smell, it does not necessarily mean that he or she has attained the spiritual level of 40%. More often than not, it is a case of momentary or transient rise in spiritual level or ability either because of intense spiritual practice like chanting the Name of God, or being in the company of Saints, etc.
There could be other factors contributing to the experience. For example, if a ghost (demon, devil, negative energy, etc.) wants a person to get the smell of urine around the house to frighten that person, it could use its spiritual energy to make it happen. This is without the necessary rise in spiritual level of the targeted person.
It does not mean that all persons at 40% spiritual level will necessarily perceive a subtle-smell. The spiritual level of a person is the net function of many attributes; sixth sense is just one of them. Refer to the article on spiritual level.
It also does not mean that these persons can perceive up to 100% of all the varieties of subtle-smells available or that they can perceive it all the time and at any time.
It also does not mean that a person at spiritual level of 40% or above will necessarily perceive a subtle-fragrance. A person may attain Sainthood (i.e. the 70% spiritual level) without once having perceived through the five subtle-senses. One of the reasons for not getting such an experience could be that this person has already had these experiences in the past life and does not need them now. All Saints however, have the sixth sense that pertains to the subtle-mind and intellect.
You can also see from the graph that the subtle-sense of touch and sound are only perceived at higher spiritual levels. The reason for this is that they are more subtle among the five subtle-senses.
6. Sixth sense (ESP) and gender
Females, in general, have a stronger sixth sense than men. An extrasensory perception (ESP) ability comes more naturally to women and women are more likely to be intuitive than men. One of the main reasons for this is that men are more intellectually oriented and tend more towards the rational side.
7. Spiritual experiences involving the subtle mind and subtle intellect
Sometimes one experiences a strange feeling of homecoming when seeing a totally unknown house, a premonition of impending disaster, or feels unending love for a person who is otherwise contrary to one’s liking. These are experiences through the subtle-mind. We cannot comprehend the reason behind these feelings. Sometimes we hear about people who get information from the subtle-dimension and who converse with beings in the subtle-regions. The following paragraphs will explain this phenomenon in more detail.
7.1 How do people perceive this information?
People who receive knowledge from the subtle-dimension generally receive it in three ways:
By letting a subtle-entity use one’s hand to write their message (known as automatic writing)
By a vision where they can actually see the words or passages in front of their eyes
Among the above methods, receiving the answer in thoughts is most subtle among the three ways.
7.2 Source of the knowledge
People who receive knowledge from the subtle-dimension receive it either:
Automatically due to their ability to tap into the Universal Mind and Intellect, or
As answers to questions specifically asked by them to subtle-entities. They are able to do this through their sixth sense through the medium of their subtle-mind and intellect.
In both cases, the person understands the subtle-dimension, but only a spiritually evolved person can differentiate whether the knowledge received is due to the first or second way. In most cases, the person converses with subtle-bodies from the various subtle-regions such as the Nether region (Bhuvarlok) and the Hell region (Pātāl), and very rarely from a deity or God, that is the Universal Mind and Intellect.
The type and grade or level of information received depends on the spiritual level of the person receiving it.
Information from lower sources:
The information received from subtle-bodies belonging to lower regions, i.e. from the Nether region or the Hell region, is mostly of a worldly nature and of importance only for a restricted part of the world and for a short time span. An example of this would be getting information about whether President Bush was going to declare war against Iran and if so when, or which political party would come to power in a certain country.
The information received by Nostradamus is an example of this category. Nostradamus, himself at the 50% spiritual level, received the information from a subtle-body at the 40% spiritual level. Many of the mediums fall in this category of receiving knowledge.
A subtle-body at the 40% spiritual level may receive knowledge that is beyond him from higher-level subtle bodies. Also, subtle-bodies of the same or slightly higher level having the requisite knowledge, may pass it on. This is like a mason asking for knowledge about architecture or carpentry from another person.
Knowledge from higher sources:
Knowledge received from subtle-bodies from higher regions like the Maharlok (beyond Heaven) and above, is of a spiritual nature. The knowledge obtained is progressively of more universal need and of lasting importance in terms of a time span of centuries. Receiving divine knowledge from the Universal Mind and Universal Intellect (i.e. the mind and intellect aspects of God) is of the highest kind. As shown in the picture above, it is only possible for Saints to receive this knowledge. An example of this is the receipt of the knowledge contained in the Holy Vēdās by the Sages of ancient India.
To correctly ascertain the source of the knowledge or its accuracy, one would need to be of a very high spiritual level i.e. a Saint of 90% or above.
For more information on all the subtle-realms and regions please read the article ‘Where does one go after physical death?’.
7.3 How does one know whether the knowledge received is from an external source or one’s own subconscious thoughts?
There are a few pointers which suggest that the knowledge is being received from an external source as opposed to one’s own imagination.
When the content of the knowledge is totally alien to the receiver’s field of knowledge. For example, there is a seeker of God who barely scraped through high school and yet receives complex diagrams of machines.
The quantity of knowledge amassed is another indicator. A seeker of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) has been receiving Divine Knowledge from the subtle-dimension since 28 October 2003. Each day she receives over 15 – 20 A4 size pages of knowledge. This spiritual knowledge is currently being analysed and categorised for the benefit of humanity.
7.4 Factors that decide which person receives knowledge through the subtle intellect
There is a combination of factors that goes into deciding which person receives knowledge from the subtle. The spiritual level of a person is one of the key factors in deciding which person receives knowledge from the subtle. Besides the spiritual level, the factors that decide the acquiring of higher spiritual experiences, like the receipt of knowledge are:
Motivation and intense yearning of the person
Necessity for God’s mission
Destiny of the person
It should be noted that if a person at a higher spiritual level is interested in acquiring knowledge of an inferior nature, for instance concerns about day-to-day happenings on Earth, even though he is capable of receiving knowledge from higher-level subtle-bodies, he would receive such knowledge through lower level subtle-bodies. In contrast, if a person at a comparatively lower spiritual level, e.g. 50%, has a deep motivation to learn the higher principles of spiritual sciences, he will receive knowledge from higher subtle-bodies or subtle-bodies from higher regions, especially if blessed by the Guru.
7.5 Sixth sense, premonitions and time and space
Sometimes people have premonitions about things to happen, or a gut feeling about events that have happened in the past. This is possible in two ways:
Through subtle-bodies: The premonition (information) has been put into their sub-conscious mind by subtle-bodies. In most cases, the subtle-bodies or entities are ghosts from the Nether Region or the Hell region. These subtle-bodies in some cases have the ability to see across time. If they themselves do not have this ability, they get the information from higher-level ghosts like subtle-sorcerers with this ability.
Accessing the Universal Mind and Intellect: There are seven layers to the Universal Mind and Intellect. Depending on one's grade of sixth sense, a person may be able to tap into a lower or higher layer of the Universal Mind and Intellect.
In almost all cases of premonition (a forewarning of the future), clairvoyance (information received from a distant place) and precognition (information received from a distant time), the information is received from subtle-bodies and not through one’s ability to access the Universal Mind and Intellect. The harm that subtle-bodies can cause is explained in the next section.
7.6 Accuracy of knowledge received from the subtle world
A person generally receives knowledge from subtle-bodies with a spiritual level that is the same as the person's, and the accuracy and grade of knowledge is also the same. To understand this concept, consider a scale of 0 to 100%, wherein no knowledge is 0%. The lowest knowledge understood by the intellect is 1% and that available from the Universal Intellect is 100%.
A person at the spiritual level of 40% generally receives knowledge from a subtle-body of a corresponding spiritual level i.e. 40%, however the accuracy is also 40% and the grade of the knowledge is also 40%.
Up to the spiritual level of 70%, the receipt of knowledge is more likely to be from ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) and hence it is accompanied by a proportion of black energy. Those unaware of the mechanisms of the receipt of knowledge may be ignorant of this aspect and hence blindly believe implicitly in all the knowledge received. If the knowledge is received through subtle-bodies, there is a strong possibility that it may be incorrect in part or in entirety. The subtle-bodies usually give some correct knowledge in the beginning to garner belief. Once this is established, they go on to give varied degrees of incorrect or misleading information.
Another important factor one has to consider is that the knowledge received from subtle-bodies is always cloaked in black energy. This affects the recipient adversely in various ways like failing health, psychological weakness, clouded intellect, etc. But this process is so gradual that it escapes the attention of the person and his family and friends. If this knowledge-receiving process continues for some time, slowly the person becomes a virtual puppet in the hands of the subtle-body to be used in various ways to further the interests of the subtle-body.
But after the spiritual level of 70%, the knowledge is given by positive subtle-bodies like Saints and Sages in the higher regions above Heaven, or is received through the media of the Universal Mind and Intellect, and there is no black energy accompanying the knowledge.
After attaining the spiritual level of 70%, one starts receiving Absolute Knowledge from the Universal Mind and Intellect.
There are various levels to understanding the negative aspect of the subtle-dimension such as ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.), demonic possession and an attack by a ghost. Quite often, what people are able to experience is just the tip of the iceberg. It is only at a spiritual level of over 90% that one is able to perceive the entire spectrum of the subtle-dimension.
Please refer to the article on the depth of ability to perceive paranormal activity with our sixth sense.
8. Misuse of the sixth sense (ESP)
Sixth sense is to be used only for spiritual growth towards God-realisation, the ultimate in spiritual growth. From a pure spiritual perspective, it is considered misuse when sixth sense is used for anything else, such as worldly matters. In other words, if a psychic uses his psychic ability to find out if a person is going to get married or get a job, it is considered misuse from a spiritual perspective.
When sixth sense (ESP) is misused by a person who is psychic, over time two things happen:
They lose their ability. This generally happens over a 30 year period.
They become targets for subtle-sorcerers of higher spiritual strength. Subtle-sorcerers initially give some genuine information, enough to gain the confidence of the person. However, they later mislead them and the people they are guiding. In such cases, their psychic ability lasts for longer periods and may in fact appear to have improved steadily. But this psychic ability is not by virtue of the person but because of the subtle-sorcerer who is guiding the psychic. In such cases, the rare gift of sixth sense available to the person that could have been utilised for God-realisation is wasted on lesser matters.