Osho on German Physician Franz Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer was a German physician and public figure in the 18th century. He developed one of the earliest theories of hypnotism by studying the human body in relation to astronomy. He believed that the gravitational attraction of planets affected the human body and inanimate objects through a natural energy transference that could be manipulated for general healing and recovery. This process sometime later came to be known as ‘mesmerism’.
Mesmer’s theory and process of healing inevitably attracted criticism and speculation from the medical community and his work was discredited in both Vienna and Paris by the late 18th century. Nevertheless, his influence persisted and subsequently inspired justifiable applications of hypnotism during the mid-19th century. Whether his theories were legitimate or not, he succeeded in building a viable connection with his patients and in rehabilitating certain nervous disorders. Mesmer’s odyssey was adapted to the silver screen in 1994 by the title of ‘Mesmer’.
Osho talks about Mesmer and hypnosis, “All that you are doing is repeating a certain word again and again and falling into a deliberate kind of sleep. That’s exactly the meaning of hypnosis, a deliberately created sleep. And because it is deliberately created you are not totally asleep; you will go on listening to the music, to the sound around, so you will feel that you were not asleep at all.
In English the only word that comes close to the Sanskrit word “tandra” is “hypnosis”. But it has got very wrong associations; because of Mesmer and other people who worked on hypnosis it has become something of a black art, black magic. It is nothing like that. It is simply a deliberate way of creating sleep. But when you create sleep it can’t be a natural sleep. You are somewhere in between, half asleep, half awake, so you can go on listening to the sounds outside — the birds chirping — and still you are very tranquil; and after it you will feel refreshed. It is good for the head. It gives the head a little rest, a little sleep, and you come out of it a little refreshed. I am not saying that it is useless, it has its use. But it is not meditation, it is simply hypnosis. And one should call things by their proper names, otherwise confusion is created.
Meditation means dropping from the head to the heart. It is the greatest drop. You cannot conceive a bigger drop.”
WHEN I HEARD YOU SAY THAT YOU WANTED A HUNDRED OF US ENLIGHTENED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, I WONDERED WHY A HUNDRED?
A FEW MONTHS AGO I SAW ON SPANISH TELEVISION A PROGRAM WHERE IT SHOWED A DISCOVERY MADE BY AN ANTHROPOLOGIST AND A SCIENTIST ON SOME ISLAND. THEY HAD BEEN WATCHING SOME MONKEYS FOR YEARS AND THEY HAD OBSERVED THAT WHEN ONE OF THEM ACCIDENTALLY DROPPED A SWEET POTATO — WHICH WAS THEIR MAIN DIET — INTO THE WATER, THEREBY WASHING IT CLEAN OF THE EARTH THEY WERE USED TO DEVOURING ALONG WITH THE POTATO, HE DISCOVERED IT TASTED MUCH BETTER AND TRIED TO TEACH THE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.
SOME YOUNG ONES FOLLOWED HIS IDEA; OTHERS REJECTED IT. BUT THE EXTRAORDINARY THING WAS THAT WHEN THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY HAD ACCEPTED AND STARTED FOLLOWING THIS ROUTINE, SIMULTANEOUSLY ALL THE MONKEYS ON OTHER ISLANDS STARTED TO DO THE SAME. CAN YOU COMMENT?
We are living in a network of invisible forces, connecting us to each other. So whenever something happens to one person, it vibrates in many other people. They may be far away, but if it happens to many people then the vibration is very strong. It can go from one island to another island, from one continent to another continent, without any visible means of communication.
Once Albert Einstein was asked, that if he had not discovered the theory of relativity, did he think it would have ever been discovered? The answer Einstein gave astonished the man who had asked it. He said, “If I had not discovered it, then within months somebody else was going to discover it. I was just quick enough.”And later on it was found that one German physicist had already reached the conclusion in his notebooks; it is just that he was late in publishing them. Einstein published his research first; otherwise, somebody else had already discovered it, he was just late in publishing it… just the lazy type. And one man in Japan was coming near the end of his research and he had no idea… he did not understand English or German, so he had no idea what was happening in other parts of the world. He knew only Japanese. But he had almost come to the same conclusion, just a few days’ work more…
It seems that whenever there is something happening, it is not only happening in one person, it is a certain wave. Whoever can catch that wave, whoever is capable, intelligent, trained to catch that wave, will also get the same idea. No discovery is such that it depends on the individual. It becomes attached to the name of the individual because he is the first. Because it is a very specialized subject, not everybody will be able to discover it, but there are many people who are working in the same fields, with the same specialization. And if a certain wave is surrounding the earth, it will be caught by many minds.
You can try a few experiments that will help you to understand why it is so. Again, remember that thirty-three percent: for no apparent reason, everything that has happened in the world in science, in art, in religion, in any direction, in any dimension, has happened through a certain section of humanity. That is the thirty-three percent. And these are the most intelligent people. These are the people who can be easily hypnotized. These are perfect mediums.
We have a primitive educational system; otherwise each child should be hypnotized first, before he enters any school, to explore his potential. Does he belong to the thirty-three percent, or does he belong to the remaining two-thirds? If he belongs to the remaining two-thirds, he should be sent to a school for the common people, and if he belongs to the one-third, then he should be sent to a more specialized school, where geniuses can be produced in thousands. Right now it is all mixed up, and in this mixture the genius suffers. Because if there is a genius in a class… the teacher has to teach in such a way that the most mediocre of the students can understand him. Do you see the implication of it? The implication is that the lowest common denominator prevails over the higher, more intelligent person with more potential. Now, for a genius what the teacher is teaching is useless. He needs something better, something deeper, something higher. His time is wasted being with the mediocre students. It is an unnecessary mixture. There is no need; they can be sorted out.
And this experiment that I am going to tell you about will be more successful with the thirty-three percent. You can sit in another room separate from someone with whom you have a loving relationship, a deep friendship, a trust, something that is of the heart. And you both sit for ten minutes in silence. Then you decide that one person should take out one card from a pack of playing cards and make some signal — maybe a knock on the door — that “the first card has been taken; now you can take the first card.” And the other person has to find one card from among all the cards. He has to be just silent and in tune, open only to what is happening in the other room, and take one card. This way, take ten cards one by one. And you will be surprised to know that if both persons are intelligent enough, then around seven cards will be the same. That is the minimum; even all ten cards can be the same. But if even three cards are the same, then all that is needed is a few more experiments and your percentage will grow. And once you can do it with cards, then you can do it with things. You can draw a picture, and the other person will also be drawing a picture — no visible communication, but something invisible reaches from one person to another. And you can change partners, and you can see with whom it functions better. That means your minds function on the same wavelength.
In my opinion, before any two persons decide to live together they should be checked by experts to see whether their minds are in tune or not. They should be given exercises: “First you tune your minds. Your minds should be at least seventy percent in tune, only then is it worth living together; otherwise don’t create hell for each other. You love each other — forgive each other.” But you can try to improve your attunement before you decide to live together. You need not go to a court really, because what can a magistrate do? This is something that should be a part of a university — there should be a department which helps people to find out their percentage of attunement, and which helps people increase their attunement. And if they are so far apart that it seems impossible, then it should be suggested to them that, “You will be getting into trouble, and if you love each other… Don’t get into trouble. It is better to say goodbye now rather than after you have messed everything up and disturbed each other.”
This small experiment can be extended to reach around the earth. For example, you can make arrangements: first try it in one house with ten people, and if you find that there is a certain common wavelength with these ten people then these ten people can spread out around the world. At a fixed time they should start the same experiment — and the result will be the same. The percentage will be the same because the distance makes no difference; it is not a physical phenomenon. And this phenomenon is possible particularly in animals because they are so innocent. Gurdjieff remembers about his childhood… He lived in a very different kind of world in the Caucasus. It is a tribal world made up of small and mostly ancient tribes who have not yet settled. They are still moving; they live in tents — they are vagabonds, gypsies. Gurdjieff’s parents died early — he was only nine years of age — so he was moving with any gypsy tribe where he found someone friendly. And people loved the boy. He was so intelligent that he learned the many languages of all those tribes — they all spoke different languages. And he learned many things which came in very handy for his work in the future.
One thing he remembers is that in all those tribes they used to hypnotize animals. Their animals were never tied down, there was no need. They would just look into the animal’s eyes for a few seconds and his head would fall down, and then he would remain in that posture, frozen as long as you wanted. He would not move unless he was awakened again by the same person looking into his eyes and waking him up. And Gurdjieff said that it was the simplest way… their horses, their cows, were never lost and they were never tied up. They were always free. Small children were simply hypnotized, so that they wouldn’t go out of the camp. Just a circle would be drawn around them and they would never go out of the circle. Whatever you did, they would never go out of the circle. And this had become so deep in their unconscious that even after a person became adult, young or old, if a circle was made around him along with a certain chanting, he would be frozen; he could not get out of it.
Gurdjieff could not believe it — what kind of thing is happening! This man is completely free; that line which has been drawn around him cannot prevent him, but really he is prevented. He talked to a few people to try to get them to come out of it: they tried hard but, as if an invisible wall was preventing them, they could not get out of it. And all these tribes used hypnosis in different kinds of teachings. For example, they wanted a certain boy to become a great wrestler — he would learn wrestling, but that would be secondary. The primary part would be hypnosis. He would be hypnotized and told, “You are a great wrestler,” and this would be repeated continuously. And Gurdjieff said, “I saw with my own eyes that the person was changing. His muscles were changing, his body was changing; his fighting was becoming very refined.”
Each year there used to be a fair of all these tribes where champions would be declared in different arts; wrestling would be one of them. And all those wrestlers were trained through hypnosis, which was the easiest way. The same can be done for any teaching, but hypnosis is condemned. For example, I told you that two persons can try with cards. The best will be that first they are hypnotized, attuned in hypnosis; then the results will be a far higher percentage — nine or ten out of ten cards.
We are going to use hypnosis for many things — for meditation too. If you are finding difficulty in meditation, then first go through hypnosis so that it gets deep into your unconscious that meditation is a simple thing and you are perfectly capable of it. Hypnosis can create that conviction in you. And then sitting you will simply go into meditation without any difficulty, because your whole unconscious will be supporting it; there will be no opposition, no objection.
In Australia, there are tribes which use a very strange method of sending letters — even today. The chief of one tribe goes to a certain tree — and every tribe’s camp has a certain tree which has been hypnotized. Trees can be hypnotized; they are very sensitive beings. He goes to the tree and he tells the tree to connect to the tree of another tribe, maybe fifty miles away: “I have a message for a certain man there. Call the chief so he can find the man.” The other tribe’s chief will receive the message and will deliver the message to the man. He goes into a hypnotic trance. Something happens at the other end — the chief of the other tribe goes into a hypnotic trance by the side of his tree, and the person to whom the message is given is sitting there, and the chief starts repeating the message. And this is the way they send messages, letters, and they are absolutely accurate. “Your mother is sick, come back home” — simple telegrams, but with a strange method. The trees are used to connect them.
It was because of Mesmer that hypnotism became known as mesmerism in the West — it was the same thing as hypnotism, but because he was the first to use it in the West it got his name. He had a beautiful tree in his garden which he had mesmerized — and this is recent; this is not a very ancient thing. He had given the tree the idea that it could cure any kind of disease. That was his work every morning, first thing, to hypnotize the tree and tell it, “People will be coming and you are capable of curing them.”And then people would start coming. They had just to hold a branch of the tree, and many would go into a trance and their state would be almost hypnotic. Many would be cured.
Only those who would not go into a trance would not be cured. These were the adamant people, stubborn people, egoistic people — people who think they cannot be hypnotized. The reality is that they are stupid, and stupid people cannot be hypnotized. Idiots cannot be hypnotized at all; there is no way, because an idiot has not even the intelligence to understand what suggestions the hypnotist is giving him. Trees are far better than idiots — they are not idiots. Birds are far better, animals are far better. But those who would go into a trance would tremble or dance or sing, and their hands would remain on the branch of the tree almost as if they were glued to it, and their diseases would disappear.
The medical profession was very much against Mesmer — obviously, because he was taking so much of their business and curing people for nothing. So he was brought into court. Now these are not things which can be proved. What can he prove? — what mesmerism is and what the tree does? He could not prove anything, and he lost the case because he had to prove that people were being cured on medical grounds; otherwise he was a charlatan. But the strange thing was, he was not doing any harm to anybody. He may have been a charlatan, granted. But if hundreds of people were being cured by him, what is the harm?
He may not have been scientific, but the people who were cured were not interested in science, they were interested in being cured. And in fact these patients were people who had been treated by doctors, by traditional medicines and were not cured; as a last resort they had come to Mesmer, because it was embarrassing — in the society it was thought embarrassing to go to Mesmer. And if he was curing these incurable persons, he was not doing any harm. And he was not charging anything; he was simply a student who was trying to revive a science which had completely lost its roots in the West.
Wherever we establish our school, I would like trees to be hypnotized for curing people. Trees can be hypnotized for other purposes too — for helping people, encouraging people. If people are learning music, they can help them so they learn fast, so they get better in their subject matter. If they are learning mathematics and they are stuck… or they feel that they cannot learn any subject.
Hypnosis can remove any obstacle without any trouble.
It is a very strange world. Here nobody bothers to see the beneficial effects of a certain thing. Everybody is concerned with his profession, his vested interest. Just the other day, Anando gave me the report that in Europe the Catholic church is almost on the warpath with the Hare Krishna people and the Witnesses of Jehovah. And the reason why they are on the warpath is because they are losing eighteen percent of their business to these people. It is a business. Eighteen percent of the business of the Catholic church is being taken by these people, so they are on the warpath. They cannot tolerate these competitors — they should be crushed. I am not saying they are right; they are as foolish as the Catholic church. But they are all in the same business. And what right does the Catholic church have to prevent other people from doing the same business?
It makes it absolutely clear that to these people religion is nothing but business; they don’t want any competition, they want a monopoly. These are the people who destroyed, burned, living women — thousands of them — in the Middle Ages, condemned them as witches. And those women were really using hypnotic methods and other ancient methods. Certainly they were more capable of helping people than the church. Those women were a danger to the church’s existence, so the church created a fiction that they were in conspiracy with the devil, that they were sexually related with the devil. And they tortured those women so much that they had to confess that they were in a sexual relationship with the devil, because until they confessed the torture continued. There was no way — they had to accept it. And once they accepted, confessed, then the church was able to punish them. The punishment was being burned alive — and not one, but thousands of women — in the name of religion! But it was really a question of business.
And why were women in that category? — because women can be more easily hypnotized, and can more easily hypnotize other people. They have a more hypnotic energy, so naturally they had developed in this way. And they were helping people, they were not destroying anybody. They were not creating any religion, any organization. And with them, all that had been developed for centuries was destroyed. We don’t know what else those poor women knew of the inner secrets of man’s mind and its working. All the religions of the world are against me for the same reason — it is not a religious issue at all. They are not religious, they are only business people with a certain religious name; behind the name of a certain religion, they are doing good business. Naturally I am dangerous to them — to all of them — because I am taking their youth, the cream, their intelligent people. If this fire spreads, then their future becomes dark. But it is a sad story that in the name of religion, in the name of science, many beautiful things have been destroyed. They have to be revived. They have not harmed anybody, and they could be of immense help and blessing.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.
Discourse Series: The Path of the Mystic
Chapter title: Fall into trust
15 May 1986 pm
Osho has spoken on scientists like Aristotle, Chamberlain, Copernicus, Darwin, Descartes, Eddington, Edison, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler, Newton, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Ramanujan, Rutherford and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t
- One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green
- Sufis: People on the Path Vol.1-2
- The Sun Rises in the Evening
- The Empty Boat
- Dang Dang Doko Dang
- Beyond Psychology
- Zarathustra, the laughing prophet
- From Personality to Individuality
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Golden Future
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1, 2