An old and poor cripple listening to this story decided to go to the miraculous lake himself. When he got there he saw a man with one leg jump into the lake and come out the other side crying in disbelief, “I can walk! I have two legs!”
The cripple could not wait any longer, so he jumped into his old wheelchair and pushed himself into the lake.
The townspeople pulled him out the other side, dead. But his wheelchair came out with brand new tires!
It seems the wheelchair knew Patanjali’s art and the secrets of doing miracles!
Patanjali’s Sutras certainly mention miracles, but for a totally different reason, not for the reason, Guenter, that you think. Patanjali has written a separate chapter about siddhis, miracles, for the specific purpose that nobody should get involved in such things. It is to debar, prohibit. It is not his purpose that you should become interested in miracles. His purpose is very clear.
He says those who get lost in miracles are lost in a jungle. Certainly there are powers within you, hidden powers within you, which you are not aware of. And when you start going deeper into meditation those hidden powers start manifesting themselves, and there is every possibility you will be tempted by those powers. There is nothing miraculous about them; they are as natural as any other law. We just don’t understand the law underlying them, hence we call them miracles.
For example, if you meditate, soon you will realize the fact that you can read other people’s thoughts. Now it will look like a miracle: before the person has asked the question you can answer him. And he will be surprised, and you will be worshipped as a great saint. But you are being very stupid, because somehow you have got rid of your own ideas, now you are becoming interested in other people’s ideas. Your ideas were useless; do you think other people’s ideas are very significant? It took a long, arduous journey to somehow get rid of your mind, and now you have got into more trouble. Millions of minds around you, and as each person passes by you will read his thoughts. You have missed the point!
This is not intelligence. It is a very stupid act on your part, very mediocre, to get involved in other people’s ideas and start reading them. Of course, they will be impressed and they will worship you, but all their worship will simply strengthen your ego. And soon you will see that as the ego becomes strong again, your mind comes back and you stop reading other people’s ideas.
Then people have to invent strategies so that they can go on claiming the power that once was there and is no more there. It is very difficult to accept defeat. Then a person becomes a charlatan, a cheater. In the beginning it may have been some inner power that became manifest in him; now he has lost it. But how to say to people that “I have lost it”? The moment he says he has lost it, all the worshippers and the followers will disappear.