There is a reverse of this experiment too, which is even more astonishing. You can place an ember in the hypnotized person’s hand and tell him it is just a cold pebble. The man will keep on holding the ember and yet no blisters will appear on his hand. Without the mind’s permission, the body is helpless to do anything.
That is why fakirs are able to dance barefoot on fire – there is no miracle in it. It’s just a little experiment in the science of mind. There are ten fakirs dancing on the fire, they openly invite anyone to join them, so there is no question of any fraud. You are welcome to dance with them. But that will be possible only when watching those ten people you become fully convinced the fire is not affecting them. Once you are convinced – that if they are not having burns, you won’t either – you reach the same state a hypnotized person does. In that state, when one part of your mind does not doubt and the other nine parts do, then you can jump into the fire and your feet won’t burn. One who has any doubts will not jump, but the one who has none will jump in. What this means is that even fire cannot burn you if the mind is not open to it, and even coldness can cause burns if the mind is ready for it.
Experiments in hypnosis reveal very profound truths about the mind. For example, I was once conducting experiments in hypnosis on a girl. I was a guest in her house. We were sitting in a room. Altogether we were ten people: the girl, myself, and eight other people including her mother, who was seated right across from her.
When I placed the girl under hypnosis, I told her that her mother had left the room. Then I asked her to open her eyes and count the number of people present in the room. She counted nine because for her, the mother who was sitting across on the sofa did not exist. I asked her several times who was sitting on the sofa and her answer was, “The sofa is empty.” Her mother called out to her. She looked all around the room – except at the sofa where her mother was sitting – to see where her voice came from. As far as she was concerned, the mother was not seated on the sofa.
Once again I asked her to close her eyes and told her that her father, who was not in the room, had come and was sitting across from her on the sofa. Then I asked her to open her eyes and count the number of people in the room. She counted ten. I asked, “You had said earlier the sofa across from you was empty; why are you counting it now?” She said, “The sofa is not empty, father is sitting on it.” Her mother, who was actually sitting on the sofa, did not exist for her. But her father who was not even in the room – she counted him. Her mind had totally accepted my word.