Learning the Art of Maya

You have learned of the methods of developing the powers of the magicians. I will now show you how to use these powers in performance. In this chapter, you will learn how to produce Maya, which is the magician's way of influencing the minds of others.

The Hindu magicians are past masters in the art of psychic influencing. They have studied this art for hundreds of years, and skill in maya is handed down from teacher to pupil; the initiate faithfully practicing the art throughout his life. It is little wonder that the Hindu magicians become remarkably skilled in the performance of maya, and are able to produce results in mentally influencing people which seems to be miraculous to persons unfamiliar with the natural laws underlying the phenomena.

Maya has been called Oriental Hypnotism. It is related most closely to what western psychologists refer to as "waking suggestion" or "waking hypnosis," as it does not require the formal induction of the special mental state of hypnosis. The Yogis refer to it as the direct psychic control of the imagination and will of other persons. This is the power claimed to be used by the intermediate magicians of India for the performance of their spectacular illusions; illusions of mystery that occur within the minds of the observers.

Before proceeding to the explanation of the principles and methods used in performing maya, it is well that you observe how this form of psychic influencing differs from that known in the West as mesmerism and hypnotism respectively.

Mesmerism was the forerunner of hypnotism as it is known in western countries. It was the term employed to designate the teaching and methods of Dr. Anton Frederick Mesmer, who lived in Vienna in 1775. His practices bear his name. He threw people into a sleeplike condition, and produced effects upon them by means of what he called "animal magnetism," which he described as a sort of universal fluid claiming it to flow from himself to other people with curative effects. In action, it was akin to physical magnetism. He was a sensation in Europe, and attracted great attention during his lifetime. Mesmer is regarded as one of the early pioneers in psychotherapy.

Hypnotism is a term created by Dr. James Braid, a surgeon of Manchester, England. He coined it from the Greek word, "hypnos," meaning sleep, and used it to differentiate his work. Dr. Braid achieved much prominence during the early part of the last century, and he is regarded as "the father of modern hypnotism." He consider his method of practice as different from Mesmer's, and introduced it as a new discovery.

Braid's method was to produce an unusual physiological condition by the staring at an object; the object being held before the center of the forehead, the two eyes being turned upward to a central point of fixation, thus producing a condition of strain. After tiring out the patient in this way, Dr. Braid put him into a sleep-like condition (which has subsequently become known as hypnosis), and then caused him to perform certain actions as the result of verbal commands or suggestions.

Braid, himself, regarded his induced state as a purely physiological one and did not attach particular importance to the psychological factor of suggestion. It was for the celebrated French Schools of Hypnotic Suggestion to advance the idea that the real manifesting force in the phenomena consisted of the suggestions, or "induced imagination," produced in or upon the patient by the statements and commands of the hypnotist. Even the "sleep condition," itself, was finally seen to result from the psychological factor of suggestion rather than a physiological one, as Braid proposed. Still his name for the state persisted, so the idea of "hypnotic sleep" became inseparable from hypnosis.

Only in relatively recent years has psychology gradually worked away from the idea of the complete necessity of the "sleep condition" to achieve effective results from suggestion. Suggestion in definition is stated as being a subconscious realization of an idea. In other words, one might say that suggestion is the» impressing of a thought, idea, or feeling (usually verbalized) upon the mind of a' person so that it is responded to unconsciously (automatically). Hypnosis is still regarded as a mental condition in which suggestions produce their greatest effects, but it is now appreciated that even without hypnosis suggestions possess potent power.

The Oriental magicians based their practice of hypnotism (which they term, Maya, or psychic influencing) upon the principle that "the will follows the imagination, and the imagination is susceptible to psychic influence." They proceed with their work of direct psychic influencing as follows:

1 The magician (call him oriental hypnotist, if you wish) first forms in his mind a clear, strong, positive visualization, mental-picture, idea, or thought of what he intends the other person shall do; in this, of course, he has the benefit of long training in the practices in which you have been instructed.

2 The magician also employs "the spoken word" in the form of verbal commands (suggestions) to amplify his visualizations, and in this way accomplishes projection. That is all there is to it, but that "all" is much—for it contains the essence of East Indian Magic. Back of this straight forward procedure is found the power acquired by years of training and development along the lines of concentrate visualization, projection, and affirmation or Mantra-power.

While, naturally, the more startling phenomena along the line of this form of psychic influencing can come only after mastering the powers of the Yogi, and

Preparations for the "Pongal Festival," which is celebrated in Southern India January. It is a three-day harvest festival. In Tamil Nadu the sun is worshipped as moves from Cancer to Capricorn.

one becomes an Adept, yet there are many wonderful manifestations of this kind possible which are elemental enough to be accomplished immediately. I will instruct you in this practice as through the mastery of such more simple phenomena, one may gradually acquire sufficient power and ability to proceed to the practice of more difficult performances.

In such practice, the first thing you should impress upon yourself is this rule: In psychic influencing, of this kind, the imagination is to be appealed to rather than the will. The will follows the imagination naturally, and does not need to be driven. The imagination may be "coaxed" or "led" gently, quietly, and subtly in the desired direction. The imagination must be allured, charmed, seduced, to accept the mental-picture that you desire to place within it, so that it will accept the same as being of its own creation.

The suggestionist might be likened to those special species of birds which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and make the latter hatch them. In psychic influence, you use your will, it is true, but you use it in influencing the imagination of the other person, not his will: his imagination once given the desired direction, his will, will follow that path. That is what Emile Coue, the famous French psychologist who was well known on the Continent and in America during the early part of this century, meant when he stated, "When the will and imagination are in conflict, the imagination will invariably gain the day." Coue recognized that imagination is stronger than will-—this, indeed, is an age-old Yoga teaching.

The psychological effect of the environment is important in all initial experiments along the line of this form of psychic influencing. As you become a master of the art, you can be less particular about this matter. But for your first experimenting, a general atmosphere of calm and quiet, peace and harmony is helpful, and the reverse is hindering. Outside noises or sights tend to distract the mind of the "subject"—that being the name generally given to persons upon whom the psychic experiments are made. A dim light is helpful. Finally, all such experimenting must be conducted in a serious mental attitude.

The degree of "suggestibility" of various persons may be determined in advance of the formal experiments by means of a simple "test" which embodies all the essential elements and principles of the more elaborate experiments. It is an ancient Hindu test, and has proved efficacious in India for countless years of experiment and demonstration. In your beginning work in psychic influencing, you will find this test of great advantage to you as through it you will be able to eliminate lightly suggestible subjects and concentrate your attention upon the highly suggestible ones, thus obtaining striking results. This East Indian test for suggestibility is as follows:

Have the person to be tested stand in front of you, extending his left arm and hand outward from his body in a comfortable position. Have him hold his palm downward, and then raise or elevate his little finger while holding the other fingers down and steady, on a level with his palm. Then tell him that you will proceed to cause his raised finger to experience a tingling sensation, beginning at the tip of the finger, then including all the finger, and then gradually extending up his hand and arm clear to the shoulder. Tell him that the tingling sensation will be but faint at first, but will increase markedly until it becomes decidedly perceptible.

Then, while standing before him, concentrate your visualized thought on that lifted finger, "seeing and feeling" within yourself that it is actually tingling as described. As you do this, say to yourself mentally, "It is tingling, tingling, tingling. Now, it is tingling more and more all the time. He feels it now. He feels it. He feels it now." Manifest conviction and certainty in your thought, mental-picture, and verbal statement; be earnest about it as you visualize, affirm, and project the thought and visualization of the tingling into his finger. If you have practiced the Yoga methods previously given you, you will be able to do this effectively.

After a few moments of such practice, ask the subject if he can feel the tingling sensations sent to him by your thoughts, even though it be ever so faintly experienced. Be sure you ask the question in a positive way; never in the negative. For example, do not say, "Do you feel it? in a doubting, uncertain manner, as such is the negative way. Instead, confidently say, "You feel it tingling now, don't you?" That is the positive way. Emphasize the "don't" sharply and forcibly, for that word is the keynote to what is known as "a leading question," i.e., a question suggesting its own answer. There is the greatest of difference between asking questions of this kind in the negative form and in the positive one; each is a suggestion, one a negative suggestion and one a positive suggestion. Make a note of this principle as it is important to your performance of magic.

You will find that a decided tingling sensation is induced in many subjects in this way. Some feel a very strong tingling; others, only a faint one; and others still will feel none at all. The latter you may dismiss, telling them that they are not sufficiently sensitive to a thought impulse for successful psychic experimenting. Conversely, praise the successful ones by complimenting them on their psychic perceptive power. Always conclude the experiment by grasping the subject's hand and telling him, "The influence is all gone now; the tingling is all gone!"

By using this Hindu test, you will know immediately just how receptive or unreceptive the subjects are, and can then govern yourself accordingly. An entire roomful of persons may be tested in this manner, then selecting only the most responsive ones for further experiments. The Yogis frequently use this test in dealing with individual persons as it tells them quickly the degree of "psychic receptivity" the person possesses.

Having selected a suitable subject or subjects, using persons who have shown a good degree of suggestibility, you may proceed to conduct further experiments, graduating from the simplest on to the more complex by degrees. It is well to prepare the subject's mind in a general way for the experiments, thus securing a favorable and harmonious mental attitude on his part. Instruct him along these lines:

"Now, in these experiments, you must give me your entire attention. Clear your mind of everything else, and attend to my voice and sense my thoughts. Make yourself receptive to my words and thoughts."

Next, secure the relaxation of the subject. Request the subject to relax all the muscles of his body as much as he can. Then direct him specifically to relax his arms. Lift his hand, and let it drop back limply to his side. Suggest that he establish the idea of "limbering up" in his mind, as this physical condition is important to these experiements. Use the words "relax" and "limber" frequently in your instructions, as these have a very suggestive effect. Now gradually have the subject mentally go over the muscles of his body, i.e., the muscles of his head and face, shoulders and chest, thighs and legs. This not only serve to induce the desired physical condition for the experiments, but also puts the subject at ease mentally, and increases receptivity to your suggestions.

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