I understood from past discourses when you have talked on hypnosis, that one becomes, to all intents and purposes, totally unconscious, aware only of the hypnotist’s voice.
I have not experienced this state, but something more akin to what I feel in discourse, except more so: I feel mentally and physically transfixed, without any volition to move, talk or think; but I am definitely present and aware of everything going on around me.
Have I not got the hang of hypnosis yet, or are there different levels of trance?
Maneesha, hypnosis – the very science of hypnosis – has passed through very disastrous times. It is one of the most beautiful arts and it has been used for centuries in the East. It is referred to by Pythagoras, who said that it was even used in Atlantis, the continent which has drowned in the ocean.
Its purpose was to help you, from the outside, to come to a peace, tranquility, silence. In Sanskrit we have a special name for it, tandra. In this state of tandra, or hypnosis, you are very close to the consciousness of the awakened one; just a very thin layer, almost transparent, divides you from the awakened. And that can be broken very easily.
If you are working under a master, that requires immense trust. You are going into deep sleep, to such an extent that you will not be able to hear any other voice or noise. Only the master remains a very fragile thread between you and the world, between you and existence. If the master is authentic, this is the moment he will give you a post-hypnotic suggestion that, “When you will wake up you will really wake up. Whatever you have known up to now as wakefulness was only so-called. It was not true awakening.”
He will also give you the post-hypnotic suggestion that, “When you come back to your consciousness, become aware of all that is around you. You will be always able to reach this deepest point of silence within you just by closing your eyes.”
A few sessions of hypnosis in the right hands can help you to grow into consciousness. It is a very strange experience that through deliberately creating a deeper sleep, your ordinary sleep – which you call being awake – can be removed. You can actually become awakened. You can know reality as it is and you can know yourself, the being.
But this is true only if the master is authentic. There lies the whole danger. If the master is not authentic, he can exploit you to any extent, because in the deep state of trance you will hear only him. And you are so deep in your being that if he puts some ideas in you, you are bound to do them, howsoever they may go against your ordinary morality, ordinary consciousness. Even if consciously you know this is not right, you will have to do it. Because the unconscious is so forceful, once it gets some idea…and it is not argumentative. It does not doubt.
So in the hands of a wrong person, hypnosis can be a very dangerous phenomenon. He can convert you into anything he wants: into a murderer, into a thief, into a rapist; it does not have any limits.