More than seventy percent of all cases of paralysis are psychological in nature. Actually it is not that a man is struck with paralysis; only his legs, for instance, go beyond the control of his willpower. Even this is not right to say. How can legs manage to get out of one’s control? Truly speaking, the range, or the scope of his willpower becomes narrow. What it means is the will of such a person has shrunk. It is as though as one’s feet are sticking out from underneath a shrunken blanket. The feet remain beyond the reach of the blanket. Similarly, the willpower of a paralytic person shrinks, and loses its control over the limbs.
It has occurred many times; for example, once a house caught fire at night and the people inside came running out. But they suddenly remembered that the old man who had been paralyzed and sick for years had been left behind. Before they could figure out how to rescue the man, they saw him come running out of the house. They were shocked and frightened. They forgot all about the fire and asked him, “How did you come out? How did you manage to walk?” The moment they asked how he managed to walk, the man said, “Are you joking? How can I walk?” And he fell down.
In the stress and fear caused by the fire, the circumference of the man’s willpower grew larger – the feet came within reach of the blanket – and the man walked out. Having come out, he suddenly realized: how could he really have walked out? And the scope of his willpower once again became narrow, the feet once again were out from under the blanket!
The pulse rate can be brought under voluntary control. This is not a feat that only yogis can perform – you can too. It’s a very small experiment. Check your pulse rate for a minute. Then close your eyes and simply feel that your pulse is beating faster. Open your eyes after ten minutes and check. You’ll rarely come across a man whose pulse rate will not increase if he does this experiment. That’s why when the doctor checks your pulse, it is never the same. The moment he touches you, you become a bit anxious, and that causes the pulse rate to increase. This is even more true if you are being checked by a lady doctor!
The heartbeat can be controlled too – almost to the point of stopping it. Scientific experiments have been carried out to this effect and the fact has been accepted. About forty years ago, a man by the name of Brahmayogi astounded doctors at the Bombay Medical College by stopping his heartbeat completely. He repeated the same act at Oxford, and later at Calcutta University.
This man could do three things. Firstly, he could stop the blood circulation completely – not only could he stop it, but he could control its flow as well. He could let it run or withhold its movement at will. When he would stop the circulation, not a drop of blood would come out even when the vein was cut. The third thing he could do was to take in any kind of poison and retain it in his stomach for half an hour, after which he would throw it out of his system. However, this experiment finally caused his death later on.