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Observations placeholder

Jacolliot, Louis - Occult Science in India - 08 Fakirs Sand drawing



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Jacolliot, Louis - Occult Science in India



Covindasamy had promised me that before he left to return to Trivanderam he would employ all the power at his command, or, to use an expression for which he alone is responsible, he would appeal to all the Pitris who assisted him, and would show me something wonderful that I would never forget.

On the day in question we were to have two sittings, one in the broad light of day, like those which I have previously described, and one at night, but I was to be free to illuminate the place in which the experiments were to be held as much as I pleased.

The gath of Siva was hardly gilded by the first rays of the rising sun when the Hindu, whose mission was now at an end, sent in his name by my cansama. He was afraid that he would find me asleep.

"Saranai-aya" (greeting, sahib), said he, upon entering. To-morrow is the day of the Fakir's return to the land of his ancestors.

"My best wishes will accompany you," answered I. "I hope that you will find that your abode has been respected by the evil spirits during your absence."

As usual, the Fakir made no attempt to continue the conversation. He immediately sat down upon the ground, after the ordinary salutation, and lost no time in beginning his performances.

He had brought with him a small bag of the finest sand, which he proceeded to empty upon the floor and level with his hand, in such a way as to form a surface of about half a square yard.

When he had done this, he asked me to sit at a table opposite him, with a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Having asked for a small piece of wood, I threw him the handle of a penholder, which he gently placed upon the bed of sand.

"Listen!" said he. "I am about to evoke the Pitris. When you see the article which you have just given me stand upright, one end only being in contact with the ground, you are at liberty to trace upon the paper any figures you please, and you will see an exact copy of them in the sand."

He then extended both hands before him horizontally, and proceeded to repeat the sacred formulas of evocation.

In a few minutes the wooden rod gradually rose as he had said, and at the same moment I proceeded to move my pencil over the sheet of paper before me, tracing the strangest figures in the world entirely at random. The piece of wood at once imitated every motion, and I saw the whimsical figures that I had been tracing appear successively in the sand.

When I stopped, the improvised pencil stopped—when I went on, it followed me.

The Fakir had not changed his position, and there was no apparent contact between him and the piece of wood.

Wishing to know whether he could see, from his position, the movements of the pencil, as I drew it over the sheet of paper, which however would not have explained how he could transfer the figures without being in contact with the sand upon which they appeared, I left the table, and placing myself in an identically similar position to that of Covindasamy, I was able to satisfy myself that it was totally impossible for him to ascertain what I was doing.

I then compared the figures with each other, and I found that they were exactly alike.

Having levelled the sand again, the Fakir said to me:

"Think of a word in the language of the gods"—the Sanscrit.

"Why that language particularly?" I answered.

"Because the Pitris use that immortal medium of speech more easily than any other. The impure are not allowed to use it."

I was not in the habit of disputing his religious convictions, and therefore said nothing.

The Hindu then extended his hands as before. The magic pencil began to move, and, gradually rising, wrote unhesitatingly the following word:


(The celestial generator).

That was actually the word that I had thought of.

"Think of a whole phrase," continued the Fakir.

I have done so," I answered.

The pencil then wrote upon the sand the following words:

Adicêtê Veikountam Haris!

(Vischnou sleeps upon Mount Eikonta).

"Can the spirit by whom you are inspired give me the 243d sloca of the fourth book of Manu?" inquired I of Covindasamy.

I had hardly expressed the wish, when the pencil proceeded to gratify it, and wrote the following words one after the other, letter by letter, before my eyes:

Darmaprâdânam pouroucham tapasa’ hatakilvisam
paralôkam nayaty âçou bâsouantam Kaçarîrinam.

The following is a translation of this remarkable stanza, which was correctly given as indicated:

"The man, the end of all whose actions is virtue, and all whose sins are wiped out by acts of piety and sacrifices, reaches the celestial mansions, radiant with light and clothed with a spiritual form."


Finally, as a last experiment, placing my hands upon a closed book containing extracts from hymns in the Rig-Veda, I asked for the first word of the fifth line of the twenty-first page. I received the following answer:


(Given by a god.)

Upon comparison I found it to be correct.

"Will you now put a mental question?" said the Fakir. I acquiesced by a simple movement of the head, and the following word was written upon the sand:


(The Earth.)

I had asked, "Who is our common mother?"

I have no explanation or statement to make with regard to these facts.

Whether it is purely a matter of skill or whether the performers are really inspired—that is a question which I do not undertake to decide. I only describe what I have seen and assert that the circumstances under which the facts occurred are accurately related. Materially speaking, I do not think it possible that any fraud could have been committed.

The first part of this sitting was somewhat long. I asked the Fakir to discontinue his performances for a few minutes, during which I walked to the end of the terrace, whither he followed me.

It might have been ten o'clock in the forenoon.

The waters of the Ganges shone like a mirror in the bright light of a hot day. Upon our left lay a large garden, in the midst of which there stood a well, from which a metor was unconcernedly drawing water, which he poured into a bamboo pipe, which in its turn supplied a bathing-room.

Covindasamy imposed his hands in the direction of the well, and the result was that, though the poor metor pulled upon the rope with all his might, it would no longer slip through the pulley.

When a Hindu meets with any impediment in his work, he at once attributes any obstacle that he cannot overcome to evil spirits, and immediately proceeds to chant all the magical incantations with which he is acquainted, for the knowledge of which he has often paid a high price.

The poor metor, of course, could not let slip so favorable an opportunity to use the knowledge he had obtained; but he had hardly chanted a few words in that sharp nasal tone which is so lacerating to the European ear, but which is inflicted upon it everywhere in the East, and particularly in the far East, in the name of music, when his voice died away in his throat and he found it impossible, though he made the strangest contortions, to articulate a single word.

After looking at this curious sight for a few moments, the Fakir dropped his hands and the metor recovered the use of his speech, while the rope performed its office as before.

Upon returning to the scene of our late experiments, I found the heat to be overpowering and so remarked to the Fakir, who did not seem to hear me, absorbed as he was, apparently, in his own reflections. I had forgotten the remark that I had incidentally let drop, when one of those palm-leaf fans that Hindu servants use to cool the air in rooms where there is no punkah, flew up from the table, where it had been lying, and gently fanned my face.

I observed that, although it moved very slowly, the air was unusually cool and refreshing. At the same time, the atmosphere seemed to be filled with the melodious sounds of a human voice, which had nothing Hindu about it, which I thought I heard, like those faint songs that huntsmen on the mountains often hear rising from the valleys at twilight.

The palm leaf finally returned to the table and the sounds ceased. I wondered whether there had not been some illusion of my senses. As the Fakir was about to leave me, to go to his breakfast and obtain a few hours rest, of which he stood in urgent need, having had no food nor sleep for the last twenty-four hours, he stopped in the embrasure of the door leading from the terrace to the outside stairs, and, crossing his arms upon his chest, lifted himself up gradually, without any apparent support or assistance, to the height of about ten to twelve inches.

I was able to determine the distance exactly by means of a point of comparison which I had fixed upon during the continuance of the phenomenon. Behind the Fakir's back there was a silken hanging, which was used as a portière, striped in gold and white bands of equal width. I noticed that the Fakir's feet were on a level with the sixth band. At the commencement of his ascension I had seized my chronometer; the entire time from the moment when the Fakir commenced to rise until he touched the ground again, was more than eight minutes. He remained perfectly still, at the highest point of elevation for nearly five minutes.

As Covindasamy was waking his parting salaam, I asked if he could repeat the last phenomenon whenever he pleased.

"The Fakir," answered he, emphatically, "can lift himself up as high as the clouds."

"What is the source of his power?" I do not know why I asked him the question, as he had already told me, more than twenty times, that he did not regard himself as anything more than an instrument in the hands of the Pitris.

He answered me with the following lines:

Swâdyâyê nityayoukta’ syât
Ambarâd avatarati dêva’.

"He should be in constant communication with heaven, and a superior spirit should descend therefrom."


The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items


Activities and commonsteps