Shivabalayogi looked bored almost to the point of fidget. He sat, his legs under him casually not in an asana with his attendants watchful of the audience. There wasn’t many of us that day at the Bannerghata Rd. Bangalore, Ashram which was out near the Banglore Dairy I think, not that the taxis and the auto-rickshaws didn’t know about him because of the crowds that flocked there every Sunday for bajans or devotional chanting. During the bajan many of the crowd would go into bhava samadhi or divine trance in which they would see visions of gods and goddesses. I visited him a few times but not on those days as I didn’t want to complicate my sadhana and in India one gets blasé about phenomena. My father used to tell the story of a man he worked with that all you had to do was mention the name of a lake or river and he would exclaim - fished it. Life isn’t long enough to fish in all the spiritual streams of India still being in the neighbourhood it seemed rude to pass.
These collective phenomena are world wide and give great entertainment to the rationalist and the sceptical. I recall a great ebulliance of devotion and spiritual experience that centred round a statue of the Blessed Virgin at Ballinaspittle, Co.Cork, Ireland.
Pace Yeats, The Statues‘it moved or seemed to move’.
Pythagoras planned it. Why did the people stare?
His numbers, though they moved or seemed to move
In marble or in bronze, lacked character.
But boys and girls, pale from the imagined love
Of solitary beds, knew what they were,
That passion could bring character enough,
And pressed at midnight in some public place
Live lips upon a plummet-measured face.
Reading the banal Freudian type explanation from an initiate of the Golden Dawn and the psychopomp McGregor Mathers incidentally a relation by marriage to Henri Bergson, one is disappointed. There was an opportunity here for a disquisition on participation mystique or at least the induced Great Mind of A Vision.
I believe in the practice and philosophy of what we have agreed to call magic, in what I must call the evocation of spirits, though I do not know what they are, in the power of creating magical illusions, in the visions of truth in the depths of the mind when the eyes are closed; and I believe in three doctrines, which have, as I think, been handed down from early times, and been the foundations of nearly all magical practices. These doctrines are—
(1) That the borders of our minds are ever shifting, and that many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy.
(2) That the borders of our memories are as shifting, and that our memories are a part of one great memory, the memory of Nature herself.
(3) That this great mind and great memory can be evoked by symbols.
I often think I would put this belief in magic from me if I could, for I have come to see or to imagine, in men and women, in houses, in handicrafts, in nearly all sights and sounds, a certain evil, a certain ugliness, that comes from the slow perishing through the centuries of a quality of mind that made this belief and its evidences common over the world.