Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Early Miracles

B Premanand

The early miracles were performed by shamans acting as oracles. Through incantations they brought the spirit of god on themselves, swaying and dancing, and making fearful sounds to prove to their followers that punishment meted out by the clan leader of the rulers could not harm them.

Among self-inflicted punishments were ship lashes, cutting the body with knives and swords, standing on swords, putting hooks on their backs to haul weights, piercing the head with nail through the nostrils, live burial, stitching lemons and fruits on their body with fire, walking on red hot coals, piercing the tongue and cheeks with a trident (Trishul), piercing the neck, hear and body with swords, sleeping on a bed of nails or thorns, putting their hands in boiling oil, drinking poison, acids, etc, and much else. These punishments performed by the oracle proved to the followers that if they also believed in their gods they would come to no harm and would escape punishment

There are countless legends in the Holy Scriptures to prove that their beliefs brought them no harm when they were punished. In the Ramayana, Sita is made to walk on red hot coals to prove her chastity through “Agni Pariksha”, which anybody can perform without even being chaste!

Narendra Nayak demonstrating the Fire Act (Exp.No.16)
The ruling class and the priests alone could acquire knowledge. Others were never allowed access to learning. In Ramayana there is the story of Sambuka being slain by Rama because he did penance which was forbidden to shudras. In Mahabharatha, when Ekalavya, a low caste youth, learnt archery by watching boys of the ruling class being taught, and when the guru came to know of his skill he demanded Ekalavya’s thumb. Thus Ekalavya’s thumb was cut of as guru dakshina so that he could never practise archery again or excel in it.

Whatever knowledge the ruling class and the priests gained through experience and experiments were misused to perform miracles to exploit the credulous populace.

The question is: Does an all powerful god need human help to get himself manifested on the priest to demonstrate his powers? And is god a lunatic to behave the way his oracle sways, dances and shrieks?

Fifty years ago, when I way young, we played a trick to find out if a priest was really possessed by the spirit of god.

We had to do Sandhya Vandana Puja daily, where we awakened the sleeping god, washed him and applied perfumes and sandal paste and flowers after which food was served to him. We then asked him favours to solve our problem. At the end of the puja, he was again put to bed. We wondered why the god was never taken to the toilet. As children I believed that god did not do this dirty job.

Behind our house there was temple. During the Navaratri festival the priest would get possessed by the goddess. We wondered whether a goddess would behave the way the priest behaved when possessed by the goddess. We could not imagine a woman, the mother goddess, could be cruel, blood-thirsty, and mad. To us a woman stood for beauty and lover.

We found that early in the morning the priest had to consume three or four bottles of country liquor. We purchased four packet of Epsom salts (Purgative) and mixed it in his morning potion. The purpose was to see whether he would begin purging. Within a short time the purgative started working, but it was not possible for him to stop acting as an oracle of the mother goddess. He was a clever fellow and so he asked for one of wooden barrels used for making Prasad with beater rice (rice flakers).He sat on the wooden barrel swaying his head and body, and evacuated in the hole of the barrel. Out came the excreta and a few minutes later he swooned and fell down and had to be hospitalized. Luckily he survived, and we concluded that it was not the spirit of the goddess but the devil which had possessed him!

The only spirit which I have come across in my search for spirits of the dead, ghost, devils, angel and gods, is bottled spirit and no other spirit. With out consuming this spirit priests cannot act the way they do, when they claim to be possessed by a particular god or goddess.

Fire on the Body

Is it a supernatural feat to move fire along one’s body without getting burnt?

Experiment: 16

Effect: The body does not get burnt when you move fire over it.

Props: 12” wooden stick, old cotton cloth, preferably knitted cloth, thread, kerosene oil, match box.

Method: Wrap one end of the wooden stick with a 1” strip of cloth and make a 3” wide swab. Wrap a thread around it and knot it to keep it tight. Dip it in kerosene oil and after shaking off extra kerosene, light the swab and move the flame over your hands and body. Though the hair on the skin’s surface will singe, the skin itself does not burn. Do not keep the fire at the same place for more than three seconds. Keep moving it over the body.

If you take a pot filled with water and place it on the fire, it takes some time for the pot to absorb heat and get burnt. Three oracles do no hold the flame three seconds to absorb heat and et burnt. The oracles do not hold the flame against the same place for more than three seconds. If they are asked to keep the fire at the same place without moving it, they refuse because the trick would be exposed.


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