Some unusual phenomena are manifest in the fourth body. Hypnotism, telepathy, clairvoyance, all have their potential in the fourth body. People can have contact with one another without hindrance of time or place; they can read the thoughts of another without asking, or project thoughts into another. Without any external help one can instill a seed of thought into another. One can travel outside of the body; one can practice astral projection and know oneself to be apart from the physical body.
There are great possibilities in the fourth body, but we do not normally develop this body as there are many hazards as well as much deception. As things begin to get more and more subtle, the possibilities of illusion increase. Now it is difficult to find out whether a man has actually stepped out of his body or not. He can imagine that he has stepped out of his body and he can actually do so too, and in both the cases there is no witness other than himself. So there is every possibility of self-deception.
The world that starts from the fourth body is subjective, whereas the world before that is objective. If I have a rupee in my hand, I can see it, you can see it, fifty others can also see it. This is a common reality in which we can all take part, and it can be investigated whether the rupee exists or not. But in the realm of my thoughts you cannot be a partner, nor can I be a partner in the realm of your thoughts. From here on the personal world begins with all its hazards; none of our external rules of validity can be applied here. So the real world of illusion starts from the fourth body. All the deceptions of the preceding three can be easily recognized.
The greatest danger is that it is not necessarily the case that the deceiver is aware of the fact that he is deceiving himself. He can deceive unknowingly – himself as well as others. Things are so subtle, so rare and personal on this plane, that he has no means to test the validity of his experiences. So he cannot tell whether he is imagining things or whether they are really happening to him.
So we have always tried to save humanity from this fourth body, and those who made use of this body were always condemned and slandered. Hundreds of women were branded as witches and burnt in Europe because they used the faculties of the fourth body. Hundreds who practiced tantra were killed in India because of the fourth body. They knew some secrets that seemed dangerous to human beings. They knew what was taking place in your mind; they knew where things were placed in your house without ever having stepped into it. So the realm of the fourth body was looked upon as “black art” all over the world. One never knew what might happen. We have always tried our best to stop progress from going any further than the third body, because the fourth has always seemed very dangerous.
There are hazards, but there can be wonderful gains also. So instead of stopping, research is necessary. Then we could find ways of testing the validity of our experiences. Now there are scientific instruments, and man’s power of understanding has also increased. So ways can be found, just as many other new discoveries have been made in science.