The definition of occult ranges from “mystical” to “hidden from view” in the English language. In the first of a series of posts, Sadhguru demystifies and helps us understand a much misunderstood term.


The English word “occult” isn’t very clear and specific. Occult simply means a certain capability, but because certain people used this capability in irresponsible and negative ways, the word “occult” has come to mean something negative.

Occult is just technology. Today, you can pick up your cellphone in India and talk to someone in the United States. Occult is just like this – you can talk to someone in the United States without the cellphone. It is a slightly more advanced technology. This will happen with modern technology after some time as it evolves. Already, I have a Bluetooth mechanism where if I just say the person’s name, the phone dials for me. A day will come when even this is not needed. Just a small implant will do.

Occult is when you manage to talk even without Bluetooth. It is just technology on a different level, but it is physical. You are using your body, mind and energy to do these things. Ultimately, no matter what the technology, you are only using your body, mind and energy. Usually you use the other material to serve you, but the fundamental material that you use to manufacture a cellphone or any piece of technology is just your body, mind and energy.

Modern science and occult are bound to meet

Initially, you had to use a lot of material if you wanted to manufacture a phone. Now we are continuously trying to reduce that. A day will come when we don’t need any material – that will be occult. Modern science and occult are bound to meet somewhere if some small changes happen in the understanding of what is what. The physical can be used in many ways. For example if you take information technology, what started as a stone tablet has now come to a tiny chip. What would take a whole mountain to be carved upon, is today stored on a tiny chip. The physical has become subtler. When you use the subtlest dimension of physical, we call it occult.

In many parts of the world, occult is passing off as a spiritual process, which is not good. When we say spiritual, we are talking about going beyond the physical, to bring an experience within you which is not of the physical. Occult is using the subtlest phenomena of the physical, but still it is physical.

As modern technology becomes subtler, the need for occult will come down. Let’s say a thousand years ago, I was in Coimbatore and you were in Delhi, and I wanted to give you an instruction. You traveling all the way and walking down to Coimbatore or me walking up to Delhi would have been an impractical thing, so I spent time mastering my occult so that I could deliver this to you. But now that I have a cellphone, I don’t have to do it. I can still do it but to prepare you to be receptive enough – to be clear enough to receive it and not doubt it – will take an unnecessarily long time. I would rather just call you. So, occult is becoming more irrelevant by the day because modern technology is advancing at a great pace.

occult is also of the highest order. Shiva is an occultist.

So, when we say occult, because people have heard of some lousy occultist who tried to destroy someone’s lives or cause disease or death, they think occult is always a negative thing. Socially, you may have been exposed to only that kind of people. But occult is also of the highest order. Shiva is an occultist. Not all occult is necessarily negative. Occult can be a positive force. It all depends on who is using it and for what purpose.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned next week, for upcoming posts on occult.