What Are Ghosts?


Do ghosts and evil spirits exist? If they do, are they also souls? If they are, in what ways do they end up as evil spirits? Then aren't they too on the road to the Ultimate Union? This seems quite contradictory to what an ordinary human like me can imagine of ghosts! :D But if my question is eligible to be answered, please do.

Thank You!

—Kailash, India


Dear Kailash,

Yes, ghosts and evil spirits exist, and yes, they too are souls on the journey toward Ultimate Union.

There is a instructive article by Yogananda in Man’s Eternal Quest, “What Are Ghosts?” He explains that at death we leave the physical body, and then all of us become “ghosts,” meaning disincarnate astral beings, living in the astral world.

Some souls, however, due to strong attachment, don’t cross over there, but remain bound to this physical world. He calls them “tramp souls.” Occasionally they even succeed in possessing someone’s human body and mind, taking a “free ride.” Such possession can only happen, Yogananda explains, when a persons mind is mentally unstable or blank.

These disincarnate spirits can sometimes make themselves felt, they can make noises or move objects. In the book Conversations With Yogananda you can read this intriguing story:

“One night, those living near the Master’s apartment at Mount Washington heard a loud sound of clanking metal. The following morning they learned the cause of that tumult… The noise that previous night had been caused by a Spanish soldier… He had materialized in full armor to ask for the Master’s blessing that he be released-in what way, I’ve no idea. From what I understand, the Master gave him the release he sought.”

It seems that the world of spirits and “ghosts” is very vast, containing all kinds of beings.

Yogananda writes in his Autobiography: “The ordinary astral universe… is peopled… also with myriads of fairies, mermaids, fishes, animals, goblins, gnomes, demigods and spirits, all residing on different astral planets in accordance with karmic qualifications.”

Apart from God and true Masters, it seems best to concentrate on angels, not on all the rest, as we attract and magnetize what we concentrate on. “Angels roam the streets of man,” Swami Kriyananda writes.

In a talk Yogananda once said: “A million angels are passing here right now and you don’t see them.” Good to know, isn’t it? And he also says, very importantly: “Angels are made on earth, not in heaven!” Good to know too!

May you become an angel,