Hypnos is a deliberate kind of sleep – not natural sleep, but a deliberate kind, a special kind of sleep. In ordinary sleep you lose all contact with the outside world. In hypnos – hypnos, the word, means sleep, but I am using it just to keep ordinary sleep separate. Ordinary sleep is when you are disconnected from all the outside world – the world of objects. Hypnosis is when you are disconnected from all outside objects except the one person who has created the sleep in you, with whom you remain in contact. You will not hear anything else. If somebody speaks, you will not hear, but if it is the person who has put you into hypnosis, you will hear it. If he orders you, you will follow. If he tells you to do something, you will do it. And this unconscious mind, in the state of hypnosis, can do things which look like miracles.
For example, you can walk on fire. There are many people around the world – Mohammedan Sufis walk on fire, Buddhist monks walk on fire in Sri Lanka, in India, in China, in Java, in Sumatra. Every year, in many places, in many temples it happens. And thousands of people are eyewitnesses. You can also walk on fire. All that you need is to be told in hypnosis, by the person who has hypnotized you, that you can walk and you will not be burned.
The unconscious mind is so powerful that it transforms your very physiology. You walk in fire, and you are not burned. The other way is also possible. You are in a hypnotic sleep; just a cold stone is put in your hand, and you are told that this stone is red-hot, just pure fire – and your hand will be burned. No, the stone cannot burn your hand. What has happened? Your unconscious mind is so powerful that the body simply follows it. Religions have used this capacity of the mind tremendously.
In India, you can see in almost every village people putting spears in their mouths through one side and taking out the spear from the other side. Two holes – in both cheeks – and not a single drop of blood. And for hours they will move around in that state, with the spear in their mouth. When the spear is taken out, no blood appears and the wounds heal immediately. No scar is left behind. But it needs the same faculty to function – hypnosis.
Now in Russia they are using hypnosis for education. The child is sleeping with earphones, and in a very, very slow and almost silent voice that does not disturb his sleep, he is being taught things. He will remember them in the morning, and he will remember them far better than if he had tried to remember them while he was conscious…because while you are conscious, your mind is doing a thousand and one other things too. But when you are in a hypnotic sleep your mind is not doing anything. It is simply absorbing whatsoever is being poured into it.
Now they are using it for indoctrination, for teaching communism. They are using it on prisoners, prisoners of war. In China it has been used so widely that when the people who were caught in the Korean war came back to their countries, they were totally different people – they were communists. And they had gone to fight communism. They had gone with a very anti-communist attitude, and when they came back from a prison camp they were communist, absolutely for communism. And nobody had told them anything, everything was done in their sleep. But the sleep has to be managed; it has to be hypnotic, not ordinary sleep.