Sunday, March 9, 2014

121. Brunton, and control over snakes and scorpions

During his travels in Egypt, Paul Brunton met Sheikh Moussa, who had power over snakes and scorpions. Sheikh Moussa could smell a hidden snake or scorpion. He could then command them to come out of their hiding places. He would pick them, and make them docile. They would not bite him. The snakes could not bite him with their poisonous fangs, but would, sometime, bite him superficially on the skin. One species of scorpion (and some snakes) were immune to his power. 
Sheikh Moussa had multiple layers of protection against these creatures. First, he had a mystic power, transmitted from master to disciple at initiation. Second, a public and secret invocation, which consisted of certain phrases from Quran and magical incantations, uttered forcefully, with adjurations. It was the main power, which was given to the pupil by his teacher that forced these creatures to submit. Thirdly, he had a talisman which he wore around his upper arm. The talisman had a piece of paper which had certain Quranic verses and some magical spells written on it.

Sheikh Moussa told him that he belonged to an old Dervish order, which specialized in handling poisonous snakes and scorpions.

Sheikh Moussa gave a demonstration of his power. He offered to catch a snake. To obviate the possibility that the Sheikh had secretly hidden a snake in some area, the area was selected by Brunton. They (thirty or so villagers) all marched to that area. To show that he was not carrying a snake on his person, Sheikh Moussa removed all his clothes, except the shirt and socks. He stopped at a stone and said there was a scorpion underneath that stone.
He started, loudly and continuously, a magical incantation which also had Quranic verses in it. He emphatically ordered the scorpion to come out. None came. He started the incantation and adjurations, again, in a louder voice. Finally a big scorpion came out. He picked it in his unprotected hands. Brunton examined it. Its sting was intact. Several times it will move its sting, as if by a force of habit, but stopped, as if by a barrier, and did not complete its motion of stinging. To further demonstrate his control over the creature, he put the scorpion on the ground. He started walking towards the debris as if to escape, when Sheikh Moussa ordered him to stop, and it stopped at once.

Next, Sheikh Moussa declared that there was a snake under the roots of a tree. He started again his magical incantation and exhortations. After some minutes, no snake emerged. Sheikh Moussa got frustrated. He declared that there really was a snake there. Finally, he kneeled, by the roots of the tree, and still reciting his spells, thrust his hand in a hole, and brought out a five foot long squirming cobra. After some tussle, he completed tamed the snake. Then he released him in the dust and pointing his forefinger at him, ordered him to lay his head in the palm of his hand.
The cobra stopped its hissing and laid his head in his palm, like a child might rest its tired head upon its mother’s lap!
It was a sight Brunton had never witnessed before. Not even in India where he had seen plenty of snakes and snake charmers

Brunton obtained a large table spoon and thrust it in the serpent’s mouth. After repeated bites, he obtained a quantity of poison in the spoon, one or two drops of which would have been sufficient to kill a man.
Soon, Brunton became the first European pupil (and second ever pupil) of Sheikh Moussa. After a week of fasting and prayers, he was given the “Word of power” (which was to be used mentally), and the magical incantation. He was also given the talisman. After receiving all three, he had immunity, against these creatures for two years.
Both master and pupil went over several field trips in the desert and handled snakes and scorpions. Gradually, over weeks, Brunton became quite proficient. He could grasp a poisonous snake and will it to go to sleep, by giving it a mental command of “go to sleep”. He would also hold the talisman in one hand at that time.

Brunton handled deadly cobras and poisonous vipers several times, and even put them around his neck, yet they never once attacked him.

Once, in the old temple of Edfu, Brunton was crawling along an extremely narrow, pitch dark tunnel, which had undisturbed dust of many centuries. Suddenly, a monstrous yellow scorpion emerged from a crevice and moved towards him. There was not enough room for Brunton to maneuver. He pointed his forefinger towards the creature, and uttered the word of power, loudly, and peremptorily ordered him to stop, with the utmost mental concentration and strength he could muster.
The scorpion stopped dead still.
It remained in the same spot, transfixed, till Brunton crawled back to safety with the light of his electric torch. For all he could tell, the unfortunate scorpion may still be on the same spot, awaiting the command of release.
The magical incantation is given in the book.

Despite all the powers, the immunity against snakes is not absolute. Sheikh Moussa’s first pupil was his son. He died of a snake bite, on his first solo field trip. His grandfather, died by a viper bite, after a life time of immunity against snakes.

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