Romance Of India

It is a legendary fact that India is the home of magic and it is generally referred to as the "mystic East".

At a recent congress of Eastern countries, called to consider the advance of education and the individual, it was emphasised that, so far as magic and mysticism are concerned, the Occident merely copied the Orient.

I was born in India, and my young life was spent out there. At an early age I wanted to investigate this "magic of the East " and though many things puzzled me, most things had a solution in my childish mind. You see, the Orientals are far more advanced than the Westerners in certain fields of thought. They have been cradled in psychology and mysticism—and their experience is wider.

Admittedly, the average Oriental is illiterate and unable to write his own name; but a knowledge of modern science does not necessarily make an intellectual There is a fundamental difference between wisdom and knowledge. The qualities of the psychic in the East are inborn. The average person in the East is not superstitious; yet he believes in the supernatural since his mind works on the line of " a thing with no solution is an act super to the natural".

Let me be quite frank. In things magical, that is in things necessitating trickery to effect a miracle, the Westerner is far more advanced. The general body of Eastern magicians is 20 years behind the times. Even so. they offer an example. What happens is this. The street magician or Fakir has a stock bag of tricks which has been handed down from father to son. Rehearsals take place at a very early age. The young ones practice and practice and, as they get older, they are perfect in a set routine. Not until they reach that stage, do they set out and go from town to town, city to city and village to village to earn their livelihood.

These people belong to a sect or clan and are masters of applied psychology and misdirection. Surely here is a lesson worth learning. They don't just get a trick and do it the next day as so many Western magicians are apt to do. It is long and careful training that makes the street magician so "finished" that he can deceive great magicians like Dante, Blackstone and Carter. Certainly, these Great Ones know how most of the tricks are done; but they never saw through them whi'r* they were being done! The cups and balls is a favourite of the Orientals, yet their misdirection is such an art that they leave cleverer magicians completely beaten.

So much for the somewhat mundane art of sleight of hand. Let's branch out for a few moments into deeper waters so that eventually we may discover the link between magic and mysticism.

In the West, the science of Yoga is coming into more and more homes. Much has been written on this subject by Western visitors who have been out East gleaned the outside shell of the truth hastened home to write about it. Because of their cursory glance they have naturally elaborated it to the point of exaggeration.

As I have already explained in my booklet "Indian Mysteri es", the truth is that Yoga in its basic form is not magical or mystical at all. "Yog" means breath. "Yoga" means the science of rhythmic breathing. "Yogi" is the individual who puts his science into practice. Rhythmic breathing is an expression used to denote a state of harmony brought about betwixt body and mind. In music, for example we call it the study of harmonies. Once a state of harmony is achieved, the possibility of controlling thought and action is greatly enhanced. It is at that junction that the Yogi branches out into the realm of mysticism.

I will not at present ask you to travel with me along this fascinating line since the booklet mentioned is obtainable if you are interested. Yet it is a subject that cannot be ignored, especially when we consider the many Oriental mysteries that seem to exclude a purely materialistic explanation. Such cases, for example, as Levitation, the decapitated bird, the Conch shell and snake charming. All these will be covered in future articles. Till you read again.

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