(2/5/02 3:37 am)
From her book, “Hell-Bent for Heaven”, Copyright 1990, by Golden Quest, p. 96-7
When I heard that Swami Yogananda was to give a lecture in Oakland, I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. The lecture hall was packed with his disciples and admirers, as well as the curious. As he came on stage, we instantly felt that he was in total command of the situation. His bright orange silk robe stood out in beauty, with his black hair falling over his shoulders. He began his talk on the importance of body control. I overheard someone in back of me whisper: “Swamiji hasn’t been here for twenty-five years, and he hasn’t changed a bit. He looks exactly the same.”
He interrupted his talk to ask if there were a doctor in the audience. A man stood up and Swamiji asked him to come on the stage. He requested the doctor, “Take my pulse and tell me what you feel.” The doctor felt his wrist, looking perplexed at first and then amazed. “There is no pulse,” he answered. Swamiji then hold him to take the pulse on the other wrist. The doctor’s facial expression turned from amazement to incredulity. He said, “Swami Yogananda, this is impossible. Your pulse is pounding at an incredible speed.” He quickly tried the other side again and said, “This side is normal.” He came down from the stage into the audience shaking his head and mumbling, “Impossible, impossible.”
Swami Yogananda continued his lecture on the untapped powers latent in our bodies and minds. He suddenly stopped and asked six men to come up. Six people quickly ran up, anxious to be of service and to take the opportunity to get closer to him. Swami was well-built, with a large stomach that some erroneously thought to be fat. He asked the six men to line up with their hands on each other’s backs, making a line across the platform. Swamiji said, “Now you are lined up. The first one, put your hands on my stomach.” With just a tiny straightening of his body and a quick flick of his stomach, Swamiji sent the six men catapulting across the stage, hitting the wings. They literally flew in the air. The audience sat speechless. Swami stood in his serene dignity. There was no feeling of a power trip or of showing off. Swamiji was immersed in his message of the untapped power within and he merely wanted to demonstrate the truth of his message to us.
His dynamic talk began to take the theme of Christ Consciousness. At this point a couple got up to leave. He looked at them with a penetrating look and said, “Sit down. This opportunity will never come for you again.” They sat. It was not said rudely or authoritatively. One could feel the order coming from the Source.
He continued the talk on Christ Consciousness where he had left off, without faltering for even a second. He started on the same sentence with complete concentration: “Learn to be sympathetic. Then and only then will you know Christ Consciousness. Become free from criticism of others. By developing sympathy, you will be able to hear the whisper of your own intuition as the still small voice within and you shall fulfill your eternal quest.”
He had us Om and chant, and he kept us spellbound for three hours. When the lecture was finished, I queued up to receive his blessing. I was at the beginning of the line. He was in an ecstatic state and started talking about God and forgot everything for over forty-five minutes as he spoke to me, while the queue waited. He was not aware of anything except that which he was speaking about – God-realization. The subject exuded from his eyes, from the movements of his hands, and from his smile. As he dismissed me, I could overhear one of his secretaries saying, “Swamiji is always like this. He does not know time – and all these people are waiting.” She shook her head.
I floated out humming his song: “Oh God beautiful, Oh God beautiful, at Your feet I do bow....” I went back to my studio completely oblivious to the world and to all my surroundings. I went off to sleep still humming the song, “Oh God beautiful, Oh God beautiful....”
(3/28/06 3:01 am)
| Re: Another
Hilda Charlton's story
Extract from "Hell-Bent for Heaven: The Autobiography of Hilda Charlton". Publisher: Golden Quest; (December 1990), and posted above:
He [Yogananda] interrupted his talk to ask if there were a doctor in the audience. A man stood up and Swamiji asked him to come on the stage. He requested the doctor, “Take my pulse and tell me what you feel.” The doctor felt his wrist, looking perplexed at first and then amazed. “There is no pulse,” he answered. Swamiji then told him to take the pulse on the other wrist. The doctor’s facial expression turned from amazement to incredulity. He said, “Swami Yogananda, this is impossible. Your pulse is pounding at an incredible speed.” He quickly tried the other side again and said, “This side is normal.” He came down from the stage into the audience shaking his head and mumbling, “Impossible, impossible.”
This trick is actually the first on the list from "An Indian Skeptic's Explanation of Miracles" by B. Premanand. This trick may have been clever back when Yogananda was on his lecture tours, but it's out in the open now; just like some of the old magic tricks that have been protected for generations finally get revealed in time. Here's the excerpt on this from the article:
a) Short-Time Death, Stopping Heartbeat: One can stop the heartbeat for short periods by breathing air inside fully and trying to exhale the air without actually exhaling. What is generally done by god-men is only to stop the pulse at the wrist. This is done by stopping the flow of blood to the hands by keeping a lemon, or a small ball or a rolled handkerchief in the armpits and pressing down on the object when they wish to temporarily cut-off the blood flow. Doctors do not, in the confusion, check the heartbeat, but check the pulse and confirm that the pulse is stopped. The god-men show this trick to make people believe that by practising yoga and pranayama, a person can stop the breath and heartbeats and still be alive. This is to prove to the people that they are above normal human beings.
And here's another article that speaks on the same trick:
As we can see, this describes *exactly* what Yogananda did on stage. The force Yogananda used to press against the object in his armpit caused his heart-rate to accelerate, which the doctor detected in the other arm. When Yogananda released this pressure, his heart-rate returned to normal, which the doctor then reported on on the arm where there was no pulse.
From an interview with the author of the above article:
At first I believed all that I read about gods and gurus. I wanted to possess all the siddhis available. At the age of 19, I set out to find myself a guru. I went to Aurobindo and Tagore was father's friend. Like Swami, who in his book 'In Search of God' writes about his tour around India without money and claimed that God took care of him, I set out on a trip around India penniless. But I didn't see any god helping me, only human beings. I met a lot of swamis who told me they'll teach me all this kundalini stuff. ... I found all the yogis and rishis to be tricksters. Then I grew interested in the tricks. I can make a lot of money as a godmen if I want. I know about 1500 miracles as opposed to 50/60 that an average godmen knows. Dr. Kovoor used to come from Sri Lanka and hold miracle exposure campaigns from 1969 onwards. I wrote a book called 'Lure of Miracles' on Satya Sai Baba. Publishers refused to touch it, so I published it myself and Kovoor released it for me. I was with him in that tour as he was ill and there were also a lot of people who wanted to kill him. I became a member of the Rationalists Association. We used to go to village interiors where first I used to burn my body to attract attention. Then we used to give our lectures.