I often say that there are peculiar forces at work in the world that are harmful to humans. People ask me if I really believe these are actual demonic forces or if I am speaking metaphorically.
Well, the truth is that demons are real – they just aren’t exactly what the average person thinks they are.
Angels, Demons, spirits, elementals and other phantasms in general are supernatural beings that exist in almost all religious and mythical narratives. For the most part they are non-corporeal and operate within specific rules and guidelines peculiar to their narrative structure. There are also other types of entities that have a more physical aspect and may be seen as simply unusual life forms operating on the fringes of human society – elves, faeries, leprechauns, trolls, dragons, mermaids and so on. Such beings, whether corporeal or purely spiritual, are part of the lore of most cultures around the world and have been since humans first became story-tellers. But how do such beings enter the realm of human consciousness? What makes us tell stories about these entities?
From a purely theological perspective, demons, like angels, are spiritual beings created by Divinity for specific purposes. Their interaction with humans is a function of the particular theological structure in use.
Demons can also be simply the gods of a previous cult that are now cast in a negative light by a new dominant cult. The Greek word, Daemon, just refers to a lesser deity that is neither good nor bad.
In a more psychological sense, demons can be personifications of any unknown, frightening force encountered by humans. All those mysterious things that go bump in the night need to be explained and giving them supernatural attributes is a handy way of managing the experience. You can keep your children safe by telling them not to wander into the woods at night because they might meet the devil – as proof, that scratching sound on the roof isn’t the wind or a tree branch it’s a demon trying to get into the house.
However, there is a more metaphysical explanation for belief in demonic forces. There is an ancient energy field in the universe that masks the actual appearance of and nature of the world. This field is called variously the Veil of Illusion, Maya, World Glamour, or Magic. It is something that clouds the senses, interferes with perception and generally deceives people into believing the world is one way when it is really another. The field is a power or a principle of concealment that obstructs spiritual actuality, distorting the conscious awareness of the phenomenal world.
Most mystical philosophies speak of this Veil of Illusion. Many people who have heard about it, however, believe falsely that it is a negative force – something set up by some arch deceiver or universal enemy of humanity. This is not the case. The Veil is not evil. According to Vedic scholars, God in his absolute form is Complete Unity, thus, the only way Divinity can appear as the separate and diverse manifestations of creation we observe is under this Veil of Illusion, or Maya principle.
The Veil, distinct from Divinity, could be thought of as a natural function of our universe much like gravity or reincarnation. It simply exists and we must work with it. If it has any moral attribute it is good, for it protects us psychologically from discovering more of the mysteries of the world than we can emotionally, and intellectually accept. Also, for those on the Path, it offers a way to strengthen us as we evolve spiritually.
The problem is not the Veil. The problem is that other intelligences in the universe – physical beings though, perhaps with alternate biological bases and with quite different appearances and psychologies – use the Veil against us. They take advantage of our perceptual difficulties and pretend to be divine or demonic personalities in order to exploit us. They are NOT superior beings, gods, angels or demons as such – they are just other life forms that want to use us for their own purposes.
How can this be? Take an example from recent, human history. When the Europeans first encountered the inhabitants of the Americas and the pacific islands, were they not thought of as deities? And did those Europeans not shamelessly take advantage of the natives to gratify their own desires?
The natives eventually learned the truth and we also must learn the truth.
Freeing ourselves from the Veil of Illusion is the essence of the spiritual path, regardless of one’s religious background. This can be done through perfect stillness and concentration, attained by prayer, non-attachment, devotional practices and especially through ongoing meditation motivated by love, and stripped of all negative thought. Breaking through the Veil of Illusion gives us greater insight into the nature of the universe and its various inhabitants, no matter how strange or wonderful they may seem to us.
When pursuing a spiritual path, or following some need to acquire power in the world, you may encounter some THING that appears intelligent and attempts to communicate with you. You may even deliberately seek out such contact after reading books or hearing stories about such entities. Here is a test to help you determine whether the being you have made contact with accidentally, as through prayer and meditation, or more direct, voluntary means is really spiritually divine or just a fraud. God, whatever you perceive God to be, is NOT a wish granting genie. God works for your spiritual evolution not your material comforts. Anything that offers you material goods in exchange for your service is a false god – a Demon.
Recently, a whole pack of celebrities led by the likes of Oprah Winfrey have made it seem that god will give you money and fame if you only learn to pray properly. The book called The Secret is a big advocate of this. In many interviews Oprah has stated that she prayed to her god and received jobs in movies and television and as a result has become rich and famous.
What god is she praying to?
The 6 million people who died in the Holocaust prayed to their god for life and it was not granted to them. The untold millions of people around the world who have been kidnapped, enslaved, tortured and murdered also prayed for life and it was denied them. Were they all just bad people? Should they have read The Secret before commencing their trials and tribulations? Were they all just praying to the wrong god? Or are people like Oprah and other celebrities just so much more worthy than everyone else that their genie-god will grant them their wishes.
Oprah’s god gave her money, fame and power. But what did she have to give in exchange?
There are demonic forces in the world. They pretend to be spirits, angels, demons and even Jesus or Satan if it gets them what they want. They might make it possible for you to get money and glory but they will expect you to pay for it – and their price is your humanity and your future development.
When the Master Jesus was in the wilderness someone offered him all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow to that being. Jesus rightly turned him down. “For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Don’t fall victim to deception. Learn to pierce through the Veil of Illusion and become aware of what is actually going on in the world.