Daniélou, Alain – The Way to the Labyrinth – Magic
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Daniélou, Alain – The Way to the Labyrinth [translated by Marie-Claire Cournand]
Certain yoga practices can develop "magic" powers: hypnosis, mindreading, long-distance vision, levitation, and the temporary suspension of heartbeat and breathing. The power of hypnosis can be so great that it is often difficult to tell whether what one sees is really happening. Yogis who truly seek spiritual fulfillment never use these tools, which are considered temptations put in their way to prevent further progress in their conquest of Heaven.
Often, while witnessing melas, l saw yogis fall into a cataleptic state and become as stiff as boards. They were laid upon two sharp-bladed swords, one under the neck, the other under the ankles. Rocks were placed on their stomachs and broken to pieces with enormous hammers, but their bodies did not even bend. Then they were buried and left underground for several hours. They would reemerge somewhat flushed, but apparently unhurt.
Sometimes, when we had visitors, we would put on magic shows. When Cecil Beaton, who loved this kind of thing, came to stay with us, we organized a particularly successful evening. The magician threw a rope in the air, where it remained suspended, though nothing held it from above, and sent an acolyte shinnying up it; the child disappeared into the sky.
Then he placed a gold paper crown on the head of a little girl and lit a fire that seemed to come out of the child's head. He cooked fritters on a frying pan on the flames, and we ate them.
After this, he made a mango tree grow before our eyes. It was wonderful to watch the plant growing little by little, the leaves opening up, finally the fruit budding and ripening. In less than fifteen minutes, the magician was able to pick the fruit off his miniature tree and offer it to the audience.