Tuesday, March 25, 2014

125. The Most Famous Fakir Of Egypt

The name of the most famous fakir of Egypt was Tahra Bey. He had piercing eyes. He had a medical degree and could speak many languages. He had been received by many kings and Signor Benito Mussolini. He was well known for stabbing his body with arrows and knives, and be buried alive. Once he permitted himself to be buried for twenty eight days. He was comfortable in European or Arab dress. Many scientists and doctors had investigated his claims and found them to be genuine. Here is what Brunton has to say about him:
I, who have seen several of his feats done by half a dozen fakirs in different parts of India and Africa, find no difficulty in believing them possible; whereas knowing the man, I know also, that he actually does possess the powers which he claims
Brunton gathered a small group of doctors and other professionals to watch his performance.
On the floor were various articles to be used in his demonstrations. Every article was carefully examined by the group.
Tahra Bey touched and pressed certain parts of his temple and the nape of his neck. He seemed to suck air in his mouth. In a minute he was entranced. At the same time he uttered a peculiar sudden cry. He went into cataplexy.  His body became rigid like a board. He would have fallen to the floor, like a dead man, if his assistants had not caught him.
His body was placed on scythe-like blades. A doctor checked his pulse, it was 130.
A large block of stone weighing 90 kilogrammes (approximately 198 pounds) was placed on his bare stomach. The assistant showered blows upon the block with a hammer. Tahra Bey’s body remained rigid and taut, never yielding an inch, as if he was made of iron. Eventually the stone broke.
Tahra was then lifted up into a standing position, still apparently unconscious. The doctors examined his body and did not find the slightest mark from the scythe-like blades. He was then placed on a plank studded with sharp nails. An assistant jumped over his body. When reexamined there was no mark on his skin by the spikes!
Tahra Bey slowly came back to life. His eyes were fixed. He inhaled air violently. He opened his mouth so wide that one could see his tongue curled backwards. He brought the tongue forward with his hand.
Next, Tahra Bey allowed his cheeks to be pierced by hat pins. They also ran thick skewers through his jaws. Tahra Bey was fully awake, and did not elicit any sign of painfulness.
A doctor was allowed to plunge a large dagger into his throat in front of the larynx.
Some of the doctors, who were skeptical, repeatedly checked his pupils, in order to note whether they contracted or dilated. It was thus possible to determine whether he had taken any drug which made him insensible to pain. His eyes were quite normal.
When all these weapons were withdrawn there was not a single drop of blood on his skin!
Doctors were so astonished that they jabbed more needles and arrows in his face, shoulders and chest.

Tahra Bey then showed another power that he possessed. He allowed to be stuck by a sharp knife in the chest. When knife was withdrawn there was no blood. A doctor expressed a wish to see the blood flow to assure himself that the fakir was really wounded. Tahra Bey then allowed the blood to flow. It inundated his chest. When the doctor was satisfied, Tahra Bey stopped all flow of blood by mere will power!
 An assistant passed a flaming torch along the entire length of the fakir’s leg. The audience heard crackling of skin, but Tahra Bey’s face remained calm and composed!
The fakir announced, that this insensitivity to pain lasts for twenty-five minutes

He also showed his power over a hen and a rabbit. He touched some nerves and they became paralyzed, yet conscious. He then reversed the condition to normal

The most important test of the evening came next. Resurrection.
The test conditions were such that there was no chance of fraud.
Tahra Bey announced that he would be buried alive for exactly one and a half hours.
A coffin was brought. It was carefully examined. The floor of the apartment was checked for trap-doors. Still a rug was placed as a precaution.
Tahra Bey induced auto-cataplexy in him, just as he had done before.
He was examined by doctors. No breathing, no heartbeat!. He was like a dead man. There were no signs of life. It would have been hard to tell the difference between him and a dead body!
His assistants covered him completely with soft red sand.
After the allotted time, the sand was removed. He was put in a chair. Slowly, he became normal.
He had no memory of what happened to him during the time he was in the coffin.

What was the explanation of these amazing demonstrations?

Tricks, illusion and conjuring?

Magic? Just as the Egyptian who had thirty disembodied spirits under his command, or the old magician of Egypt who made the white fowl be killed by genii (blog 122)? Also the bombardment of the haunted house by bones and stones by spirits.(blog 109)

Hypnotism. Like the French woman who could read while her eyes were heavily taped (blog123) and did not show pain when stuck by a needle. The wound was bloodless

Yoga? Like the three tricks performed by the Indian sadhu; being buried alive, rope trick, and levitation. (Blog 124)

Miracles? There are twenty five miracles (supernatural events) described in blog 104-7, performed by men and women of God.

The answer is none of the above!

Tahra Bey claimed himself to be a man of science. There was nothing supernatural. He knew of certain laws of nature by which he could perform these feats. They were little known psychic laws, but nonetheless, laws. He had command over two secrets which enabled him to perform all his feats:
               1. Pressure on certain nerve centers of the body
               2. Ability to enter into cataleptic coma
When one is in cataleptic coma, heart and breathing, both, stop. There is no flow of blood. Body becomes insensitive to pain (similar to a modern operation under general anesthesia). To accelerate the healing of wounds he did two things: he temporarily accelerated the blood flow and he raised the temperature of the blood (which killed the microorganisms).
If a reader wants more details he can read it in the book (‘a search in secret Egypt’, by Paul Brunton)

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