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Manifest vs unmanifest demonic possession

1. Introduction to manifestation of demonic possession

A person can be fully possessed by a ghost (demon, devil, negative energy, etc.) and yet both the person and people around him could be completely unaware about it. This is because of the fact that the possessing ghost does not reveal its presence as it serves its purpose to keep the possession undisclosed. Once a possession is disclosed, there is a possibility that the possessed person will make active efforts to rid himself of the possessing ghost.

1.1 Definition of unmanifest demonic possession

When we say the possessing ghost is unmanifest, we mean that the ghost has not revealed its presence. Here the consciousness of the person is to the fore but it can be manipulated and controlled by the ghost whenever it wants.

1.2 Definition of manifest demonic possession

By saying that a possessing ghost is manifest, we mean that it has surfaced and its consciousness is to the fore. Here the behaviour of the person may or may not be altered. During this time the person’s consciousness takes a backseat. The person is either conscious or not conscious of what is happening but has no control over his motor organs. In cases where the possession has been over the person’s lifetime the personality of the ghost is so fused with that of the person that even when it manifests fully it will seem as if the person’s consciousness is to the fore, i.e. it is the person himself as there is no noticeable change in behaviour.

Note: Here we have used the term manifest and unmanifest in association with ghosts that possess a person. However the word manifest and unmanifest can also be used with positive energies.

2. Reasons behind manifestation of demonic possession

2.1 Manifestations of ghosts on their own accord

As a general rule a ghost (demon, devil, negative energy, etc.) never likes to manifest unless it is of its own accord. Ghosts manifest on their own accord when:

  • They are in a comfortable environment which is entrenched in Raja-Tama. Raja-Tama situations include places where people indulge in plotting against society in any form, alcohol, drugs, cigarette smoking, promiscuous sexual behaviour, dimly lit places, Raja-Tama music etc. In such venues we see people behaving quite different from their normal behaviour. Quite often what we see as people letting their hair down is in actuality the consciousness of the ghost manifesting either partially or fully. In most cases the possessed person may not have a clue that the ghost is manifesting as it is so merged with his consciousness. Sometimes when a ghost manifests in these types of venues, the possessed person loses time, i.e. is not aware of the passage of time which also means loses consciousness, i.e. is not conscious about the course of events. The ghost makes decisions on their behalf while they lose time. In such cases the manifested person may end up in unfavourable situations where he does not have a clue how he got there.
  • A ghost manifests many a time to intimidate, scare or disrupt family life by causing fights etc. Higher level ghosts also manifest when they want to create wider scale destruction through the person that they possess.
  • Sometimes they manifest wilfully for attention seeking, to intimidate or to disrupt the spiritual practice of the affected person or seekers of God in the vicinity – either by distracting them or frightening them by manifesting, for example in the course of a satsang.

When they manifest on their own accord, it is unlikely that the manifestation will get noticed unless the ghost wants it to be noticed.

In some Indian villages and temples people talk about a Dev or Devi (God) entering some person’s body. The person whose body the ‘Dev’ or ‘Devi’ enters often behaves unlike their usual selves and may dance or move erratically. We have received a number of questions from our readers asking about the phenomenon.

When the spiritual research team looked into the reason behind this, we found that in 70% of the cases the reason is due to a lower level Deity (positive energy/Deity) entering the person. In the other 30% of cases, it is due to a negative energy manifesting in the person with the intent of masquerading as positive energies to mislead people.


2.2 Manifestations of ghosts due to being forced out

Sometimes, ghosts possessing a person are forced into manifesting and exposing themselves. The reasons for these types of manifestations include:

  • The ghost is overpowered by a sāttvik influence such as in the case of a spiritual healing session.
  • The spiritual strength of the ghost is depleted.
  • The time has come for the ghost to leave the person because of completion of the give-and-take account between the affected person and itself.
  • The time has come for the ghost to be destroyed.

2.2.1 Why does a possessed person manifest when in contact with a higher sattvik influence?

When the ghost possessing a person comes in contact with someone or something that is sattvik such as a spiritually evolved person, shrine or Holy water, it feels uncomfortable and distressed. This is because the sattvik influence being contrary to its very Raja-Tama nature, saps its energy. This can be understood as akin to the effect of heat on ice. If the spiritual strength of the sattvik influence is more than that of the ghost, it will be forced to surface, otherwise it may be able to tolerate it without manifesting.

Please refer to the article on the subtle basic components of Sattva, Raja and Tama.

The ghost (demon, devil, negative energy, etc.) therefore avoids sattvik places and people by:

  • putting thoughts into the person that it is possessing to stay away from anything sattvik such as a satsang
  • going out of the body and vicinity while the person is in a sattvik environment or
  • hiding in the physical, mental or intellectual body of the person by surrounding itself with a thick covering of its black energy to fend off the sāttviktā. Here it goes into a meditative mode to gain additional spiritual energy.

A ghost who has a lot of spiritual strength very rarely manifests, unless it suits its purpose or it is necessary to achieve its objective. They can withstand a sattvik environment or stimulus without coming out into the open.

2.3 A note on the alarming nature of the manifestation of demonic possession

The exposing or surfacing of a ghost is known as a full manifestation. It can look quite scary to an onlooker as the behaviour of the possessed person alters radically (see below). At times the person displays super-human strength. It has been observed that a frail possessed woman when fully manifest may need up to six people to restrain her. However this full manifestation is temporary.

An example of demonic manifestation

Full manifestation is not an indication of the level of possession; it simply means that the ghost or entity is surfacing due to one of the various reasons mentioned above. Ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) in almost all cases prefer not to surface. The reason is that during manifestation they have to expend a lot of their spiritual energy and other people become aware that they possess that person. The affected person can then be taken for spiritual treatment or exorcism. So from this perspective, it is actually to our benefit when a ghost manifests.

Note: Also refer to – Why is there a protective border around the above picture?

2.4 The most dangerous aspect of demonic possession

It may seem that the scariest part is watching someone with a ghost fully manifesting as shown in the picture above. We sit at the edge of our seats when watching a movie like ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’. But in truth, at the point of full manifestation during a spiritual healing session, the ghost is generally at its weakest.

The real danger is when the ghost controls a person through stealth, with the person unaware of the possession. The ghost makes the person it possesses act according to its will. Even though a person is possessed, there is generally nothing dramatic or deviant in the behaviour of the person.

Addictions are just one example of insidious possession. Society thinks of addiction to cigarettes or alcohol as a psychological affliction, when actually it is a case of possession. At times, a person may show serious aberrations in behaviour due to the controlling ghost. Ghosts can make a person do things that are completely contrary to their personality, for example a conservative woman by nature starts behaving in a promiscuous manner.

3. Types of manifestations

Manifestations can happen in various forms, e.g.

  • Violent manifestations: In such manifestations the ghost consciousness takes over and acts in a violent manner, irrespective of the personality of the person or the situation. Sometimes the person can display super human strength. We have seen situations where people who are quite frail need many people to restrain them.

View video of violent manifestation caused due to demonic possession

  • Uncharacteristic behaviours: Sometimes the behaviour of a possessed person when manifest is apparently normal, but it is uncharacteristic for that person or for that situation. An example of this type of manifestation is when some seekers who are possessed and had become manifest after spiritual healing was done on them in the main hermitage (ashram) of SSRF, started dancing as in a discotheque when they heard some popular music tunes. Now, dancing in this manner in an ashram with many senior seekers looking on would be most uncharacteristic to them. 
  • Talking in a strange tongue or gibberish: Some possessed persons when manifest speak regularly in a particular tongue that is alien or they speak gibberish but a specific type peculiar to them, every time they become manifest.

View video of talking in a strange tongue caused due to demonic possession

  • Calm manifestation: In most cases of possession one cannot understand that the ghost has manifested. A calm manifestation is quite insidious as the person sitting next to you may well be fully manifest but you would not have a clue unless you have advanced sixth sense coupled with knowledge about the possibility of such a phenomenon.

View video of calm manifestation caused due to demonic possession

  • Unusual display of talent: A ghost may manifest and display various sorts of talents such as prowess at music, dance, speaking in an alien language etc. that the person possessed is not capable of. In fact some of the celebrated artists are examples of such possession by ghosts who want to fulfil their desire for fame etc. through these artists. They do this by amplifying the basic talent that the artists had. Thereby the possessing ghost whose consciousness is so merged with the artist, fulfils his craving for fame, etc.
  • Supernatural powers: Ghosts may manifest through psychics without the psychic being aware and give guidance to people about the future. It would seem that the psychic’s ability has increased wherein it is actually due to a higher level ghost. The person coming for guidance from the psychic wouldn’t have a clue that he is actually speaking to a ghost. The guidance given by a ghost generally turns out to be right. The ghost does this to lure unsuspecting people in the beginning but later uses the very psychic to lead people astray.
  • Miscellaneous:  Some possessed persons, when manifest, display contorted movements as in extreme pain or agony, while others display snake like writhing movements.

View video of contorted movements caused due to demonic possession

4. Note for Mental Health professionals

Due to ignorance about the spiritual root causes of these manifestations, there is a need for spiritual measures for their cure. Due to the lack of a scientifically tested, evolved and established system of spiritual diagnosis and treatment, most cases of such manifestations approach the Mental Health professionals for help. The Mental Health professionals traditionally tend to look at these manifestations of demonic possessions as purely psychological phenomena. They label it as Hysteria and other dissociative states, psychosis, etc. This is mainly because they do not look at the spiritual dimension when considering the root causes or management of these phenomena. The team of psychiatrists on our panel of doctors has been studying thousands of these manifestations for the last 7 years. They say that these are not psychological phenomena because:

  • There is no specific contributing stressor to the manifestations
  • Manifestations are cured by spiritual remedies

However spiritual remedies may take some time to cure the manifestations depending on the relative strength of the possessing ghost and the spiritual healing remedies applied. Here spiritual healing remedies include spiritual practice by the person who the ghost is manifesting in. In such cases the manifesting person may need urgent medical intervention like medication to at least stop the physical manifestations, especially if violent or harmful to self or others. They may also need to have physical restraints applied so as to not hurt themselves or the people around them.

Now, one may think, how come so called ‘manifestations of ghosts’ are cured by drugs?

As the spiritual problem has affected the person at a physical or psychological level as is apparent from the manifestion, treatment measures have to be directed at that the relevant level But limiting the ‘treatment’ only to physical and psychological dimension does not ‘cure’ the root cause, it only suppresses symptoms to some extent for the time being. This is amply evident from the low cure rates of psychiatric illnesses.

The last word is yet to be said about all so called ‘psychological’ disorders. The psychological sciences are still in their evolutionary stage and hence it is best to keep an open mind.

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