Chapter 10: Maya: The Hypnosis of the World
It is also possible with hypnosis that if you want to, you can speed up or slow your pulse rate very easily. You can count your pulse rate, then keep thinking for few minutes that it is speeding up, and then you will find when you count again that it has gone up. Now you have the clue, because if you want to, you can also slow it down. With practice, one day you can come to a point where there will be no pulse and yet you are still alive. Then you can also experiment with the heartbeat, you can speed up or slow down your heartbeat. Then, by slowing it, you can bring it to a point where the heartbeat will completely stop. It may take about six months of experimenting to come to the point where your heartbeat will not be there, and you will still be alive.
Your body functions in obedience to the commands of your mind. Even now, in this very moment, when the body becomes sick it is only because it is obeying the mind, and when it is healthy it is only obeying the mind. When it becomes old it is only obeying the mind. Inliving and even in dying, it has your deep agreement and command. When old people die, the deep reason behind it is that the moment they start getting old, they start wishing for death. Young people don’t usually die, and the basic reason behind it is not their youth: the reason is that they don’t think about dying. Death is less of a physical phenomenon and more of a psychological one.
Hindu scriptures have called this hypnosis “maya.” Whatsoever you are doing, whatsoever you are, whatsoever your mental state, is all your hypnosis. If you are happy, if you are unhappy, it is all your hypnosis, but your unawareness of it makes it very difficult for you to change it. It becomes very difficult for you to change it. If someone is unhappy and you tell him that he is only hypnotized about being unhappy, he will not agree with you because he cannot change it. But if you try some experiments with hypnosis, you will be amazed: if you hypnotize a person and then put an onion in his hand and tell him that it is an apple, he will eat it and say that it is an apple. Then if you give him some rubbish and say that it is a candy, he will eat it like candy and even the expressions on his face will confirm it. He will enjoy it like a candy and will say that it is sweet and delicious.
What is happening to this man? - nothing special, only that his body is behaving according to what his mind believes. Mohammedan fakirs, Sufis and many others, walk on fire - it is only hypnosis. It is just that this idea is strong in them that their feet cannot be burned, that the divine is with them and their feet cannot be burned. Now the divine is not doing anything; it is just their own idea, an intense idea that their feet cannot be burned and that even glowing embers will not burn them - because even for the burning embers to affect your feet, the cooperation of your mind is needed. Without the cooperation of your mind, even fire will have no effect. So a man can pass through fire and his feet won’t be burned. And if you think it is a farfetched idea, try it out: hypnotize someone and put a pebble in his palm and tell him that it is a glowing ember, and blisters from a burn will appear on his palm.
According to this sutra, this ability of the mind is called maya, hypnosis. In this hypnosis, the world that people create together is almost magical. The world that we are living in is our own magic. We are crying and weeping and screaming in pain; this happiness is happening, and that joy is happening, and this trouble and that difficulty.. It is all your own magic, and the key to it is in your own hands.