NAMAH Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Contact us
Publication Ethics
Other Publications

Print version

Namah Journal

Inner approach to health

Develop your own immunity

James Anderson


Developing one’s own immunity is important for everyone in current life. It is imperative in Integral Yoga. The author outlines the various gradations of self-immunity.

You are not born to only die. You have a greater destiny and if you have been beckoned, you are here to discover your immortal Self. You yearn to transcend your mortal limitations, the boundaries of your very own humanity. This implies growing and the process is termed yoga. Your continuing dissatisfaction is an indicator that something higher, more wide, and luminous is possible. You must break free of your ties and conditionings and exceed yourself continuously. If you want to progress you have to simply stand apart from the herd and find your own unique individuality. You are faced with a choice to either go with the flow or swim against the tide; either you conform or you stretch every sinew to exceed yourself. What we choose for our immunity is one case in point.

In the modern world, we are surrounded by many negative and harmful influences. Even the environment we live in is toxic to the core. Pandemics are on the rise. Human behaviour is more anti-social than ever. You have endured a constant barrage from the time that you were born and will continue enduring it until the day you die. In the course of your life, many riddles have to be processed and solved, not least how to consciously expand in the face of this onslaught! Each must discover his or her complete means to immunity yet never has there been so much pressure to compromise and conform.

Virtually all of humanity looks for material solutions to protect itself from the harm from outside. This is hardly surprising, because it is in the material domain that man derives the greatest pleasure. Society is largely content with its standardised and convenient solutions. But if we are to expand and grow, we have to be responsible for our own immunity. We are not inert matter; we embody a living soul. To a degree, we have to defy all accepted social logic and we are answerable only to ourselves. We need to uncover our unique Warrior to move forward with impunity.

If one wants to develop oneself integrally, there are no shortcuts. We find that we also need to work with our body in order to enhance its capacities and refine its consciousness. We have been called upon to prepare for the next unfolding episode of evolution. The implications of our collaboration are immense. Matter and Spirit need to be joined and so we start with basics to marry earth with sky. But always we stay grounded because the aim of Integral Yoga is to open all our nature to the Force of Transformation and the body is the final, last essential link in the process. The body has to develop of its own volition and not be moulded by outside material fixes: least of all should it be propped up by drugs. It needs educating from a more integral source. The intelligent mind and converted vital can help in introducing a greater discipline and vigour to its activities. However the greatest catalyst to this emerging consciousness is the body’s own relationship with the evolving soul, the psychic being. It is only this entity that can offer the fullest immunity and lead it to the threshold of transformation.

Through considerable effort and with a growing contact with the psychic presence, a faint voice starts to whisper in the body itself. It begins to express what it truly needs. The first shoots of aspiration appear from the surface being. It is a painstaking and intricate process and can, without a state of attentiveness, be easily crowded out by outside influences. The body needs to find its own way to develop its immunity. Not many are ready for this but if our consciousness is to grow in an integral way it needs to look inside as well as outside to enlarge its capacity. The ultimate answer always lies inside.

Three levels of immunity

If we are to achieve our unique immunity, there are various levels that need to be mastered and attained. Each of these gradations has its own utility and purpose. We find each overlaps and enriches the others. But they all come from a different source and each has its own unique purpose and efficacy.

Our natural immunity

This type of immunity exerts a great deal of influence on the effectiveness of the next and bases itself on simple common sense. It comes from respecting and heeding the body’s needs in a careful and measured way. Right diet, right exercise and right rest and sleep all fit into this category. This lifestyle-approach imparts a greater balance to our physical nature, which removes the principal cause behind all illness and disease: disequilibrium. The body itself needs a state of equilibrium to resist the impacts it receives from outside. In this context, a material solution responds appropriately to the needs of our material vessel.

The chief characteristic of this approach is balance. However, it is not only the body which needs this. All our nature secretly yearns for it. I say ‘secretly’, because their surface resists and might at times even reject it. The surface nature, our ego-nature, only understands resolution through conflict. So many woes, both physical and mental, are caused by this never-ending friction.

But our secret nature, its inner domains, understand and embrace the word ‘balance’ very well and seek resolution through the force of harmony, the most evolved state of balance. To enhance our immunity, this sense of harmony needs permeating throughout the whole being but there are stepping-stones to this yogic shift. The attitude of stoicism and moderation provide a strong indication of what has yet to unfold. It is a posture which relies heavily on mental reason. It is far from failsafe but it fulfils a temporary purpose. This kind of attitude comes through an inner discipline and can be raised up to greater heights for a greater immunity.

Perhaps this level of immunity can only go ‘so far’. A Greater immunity is now certainly required as the old parameters are ceasing to apply. Many of us cannot trust the food we eat any more. Is this tier of protection becoming obsolete? If humanity is to survive as a species, it probably needs to evolve to a higher level of immunity. With aspiration, we shall move from our existing mental frameworks to a greater state of openness and surrender. Always we seek to grow: from balance we shift to equilibrium and from equilibrium we transmute into a state of overall harmony.

Subtle immunity

We have to look into more subtle domains if one aims to become aware of the next tier of protection. This line of defence is almost completely overlooked by humanity. However, it has been proven by experience. In truth, this defence is always present, in varying degrees, regardless of the level of awareness. It is not just exceptional or ‘abnormal’ people who benefit from this protection. Actually it is a very normal state to be in. It is a natural consequence of alignment, not necessarily just a facet of spirituality.

There is a subtle sheath surrounding our body. The Mother referred to it as the nervous envelope, “To whatever cause an illness may be due, material or mental, external or internal, it must, before it can affect the physical body, touch another layer of the being that surrounds and protects it (1).”

This layer is much more flexible and adaptive than our material substance, which is bound to fixity and habit. It is an entirely natural state and depends on the level of equilibrium we attain inside and out. Think of those children, graced to float trustfully through life without a care in the world! As adulthood approaches, we lose touch with our spontaneous self and a sense of trepidation and agitation invades our being. We look for safeguards and become fixated by the tramlines laid down for us. There is also a feeling of restlessness and boredom, which is very harmful to this protection. We will find that any moment of unconsciousness can easily puncture this nervous envelope. A single fissure is sufficient to allow illness or even accidents to intervene and cause havoc. But this envelope can be strengthened and “developed methodically by the will (2).” The key is our consciousness and here we pass into the next level.

Conscious immunity

Most are not truly aware of this subtle sheath; at best, it is something we take for granted. However, as we emerge into deeper and higher conscious states, the immunity we receive solidifies and expands. The protection becomes more dynamic. There is an actual substance of which we can become conscious. There is a palpable presence to this vibration which can be felt and nurtured by our inner senses. The Mother describes it as “almost visible” with a density, “like the vibrations that you see around a very hot and steaming object... (3)” Truly, our consciousness always holds the key once it embeds itself within the psychic influence. At that point, the solutions start appearing.

Simply by being staying present with this vibration it becomes more compact and expands in scale. It will spread outwards with practice. We need to realise it as a reality and work with it accordingly. Try to stay with this force-field by being present with it throughout your daily life. It is not really the mind that can do it; it requires a deeper presence. Once we invoke the divine presence into this substance during the day, it becomes a mighty shield against any physical harm or attack. The physical consciousness yearns for peace, so try infusing that into every cell of the body. Too often the body becomes a battlefield for conflict but with consciousness, the roles can be reversed. This is the inner work that we have been called to do. For good reason, the body is the crucible of our transformation.

The time for artificial solutions has passed. All these props are getting invalidated and collapsing before our eyes! We can no longer afford to rely so much on the material domain. We only tread endless cycles if we rely on boosters and other pharmaceutical props. We have to depend rather on what is inside us in order to truly flourish and grow. We are responsible for our own well-being. Nothing else is required to validate it. We have to shift our consciousness according to the template of the times. We need to consciously evolve. We must learn to integrate ourselves to acquire the necessary immunity and use our consciousness to negotiate and protect us through everyday life. It is the necessary agenda for our growth.

Psychic immunity

We have to be watchful of negative states which damage this protection. Most of all we need to be vigilant against fear. Fear will render any subtle protection totally obsolete. Vigilance is a very necessary attribute, particularly in the early stages of our sādhanā and we find that, after time and practice, this attribute assumes a more psychic quality. The psychic attuning is a hard-won state. With this connection, we can spontaneously become conscious of any disruptive inner movements which don’t fit.

The Mother describes a circumstance where an illness breaches the subtle defence. If our consciousness can be activated as quickly as possible after the intrusion, damage can be averted. Truly the consciousness needs to be poised as immunising ourselves from the threat of illness is truly a round-the-clock experience!

“If you are not conscious at that moment, the next minute or a few minutes later you get a queer sick feeling inside, a cold in the back, a little uneasiness, the beginning of some disharmony; you feel a maladjustment somewhere, as though the general harmony had been disturbed. Then you must concentrate all the more and with a great strength of will keep the faith that nothing can do you harm, nothing can touch you. This suffices, you can throw off the illness at that moment (4).”

When we move beyond the subtle domains, our immunity becomes more whole and complete. We are moving beyond barriers which solely protect us from physical hurt and harm. We are learning to immunise ourselves from every wrong movement inside; we also discover a new space of greater psychological immunity.

We can take the onset of desire as an example. Any number of afflictions could be cited. This definitive immunity, which comes from, “a constant inner relation with the inner Divine Presence”, where one is “enveloped in an atmosphere of knowledge, light, beauty, purity, which is the best of all protections against desire”. When the contagion of desire presents itself, it, “loses its force and instead of coming like a movement which evokes a blind and immediate response, one perceives what is happening, becomes aware of the force which wants to enter and one can quietly want it — or when it is not wanted — make an inner movement and reject the incoming desire. This is the only true defence: a wakeful consciousness, pure and alert, so to say, which does not sleep, does not let things enter without being aware of them (5).”

There is no greater safeguard in Integral Yoga than to live inside the Mother. She says, “I am constantly enveloping you, as it were, in a cocoon of peace (6).” What a Boon She is to our struggling humanity! This kind of immunity, to live inside this cocoon, necessitates a complete faith and surrender. It defines you as one of her children and faith is what should define our immunity. With faith, we don’t crave immunity. We crave nothing except the Divine. We might even almost disregard our immunity, because we are leaving our entire destiny to the divine Will. There are no further demands. We just know that the best possible outcome will come to us whatever, regardless of the circumstance. This is why faith and trust are the foundation to all immunity.


1. The Mother. The Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 3. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2003 p.89.

2. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 4; 2003, p. 268.

3. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 3, p. 89.

4. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 4, pp. 268-69.

5. Ibid., p. 324.

6. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 6. Paris. Institut des Recherches EEvolutives; English Translation, 1993, p. 21.

James Anderson is a member of SAIIIHR and coordinating editor of NAMAH.

Share with us (Comments,contributions,opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH,and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.


Material solutions


Physical equilibrium



Immunity and consciousness


The Mother


Faith and trust