REAL power is inner power. This concept seems to have been a living concept in our sub-continent in ancient times. Our contemporary scientific temper makes it imperative for us to analyse reality in logical and empirical terms. We are therefore forced to disregard all that does not fit into this framework. Inner power also cannot be easily analysed and comprehended in logical terms. What can easily be done to the concept (which is by now quite clouded in myths and legends) is to relegate it to the realm of fiction.
In this context, I recall a book I came upon years ago. It was entitled Mindreach and dealt with issues related to the power of the mind over matter. Topics like telepathy, remote viewing, telekinesis, etc. were discussed at length, based on some findings derived from the scientific investigations conducted by Stanford University in the USA. The University had carried out experiments using persons endowed with certain faculties of the mind which enabled them to get connected to thoughts in other minds (telepathy), or see happenings or objects far removed from their physical surroundings (remote viewing), or to move objects without touching them (telekinesis) and so on.
Definite theories were not put forward by the book but it did attempt to indicate somewhat successfully that there are dimensions to the human mind which defy normal, known patterns of experience. This kind of experience has come to be called the extra-sensory or the paranormal phenomenon. The common factor to be noted in all such experiences is that it involves a certain kind of knowing which is not dependent on senses. In Indian lore, a person who has developed that kind of knowing to a high degree is called a jnani. Many of our rishis were believed to have been trikaala jnanis?sages who knew past, present and future.
Likewise, people of such knowing can be noted in other traditions as well. An interesting anecdote from the life of Greek philosopher Socrates would serve as an example. Socrates was imprisoned by the authorities for being the ?arch corrupter of Athenian youth?. The Athenian court decided to administer hemlock, a poison that affects the nervous system. The date of executing this sentence was fixed as the day after the arrival of a certain ship from a place called Delos. Critto, a friend of Socrates visited him one day early in the morning to say that the ship from Delos was scheduled to arrive on that day. Socrates responded:
?But I do not think that the ship will be here until tomorrow; this I infer from a vision I had last night…? Critto: ?And what was the nature of the vision?? Socrates: ?There appeared the likeness of a woman, fair and comely, clothed in bright raiment, who called me and said, O Socrates, ?The third day hence to fertile Phthia shalt thou go?!? As Socrates construed from the vision, so it came to pass. Socrates was known to be a rational man but he did believe in the intuitive in human experience.
Single-mindedness or one-pointedness of the mind that enhances concentration appears to activate the intuitive faculty. The term we equate this concentration to is dhyana, a term that denotes a stage of consciousness as also a meditational technique practised in yoga. The term dhyana travelled to China and became chen and formed part of Buddhism. Chen became Zen when it moved to Japan. Buddhism in Japan became popularly and widely known as Zen Buddhism. ?Zen? could be applied to a whole gamut of activities including even motorcycling and flower arrangement.
It is this aspect of dhyana that opens doors of perception to its practitioner. Arjuna’sarchery (even Eklavya’sfor that matter) would be an example of such dhyana from our lore.
It is said that Indian women also had scaled great heights in this direction even in their capacity as mere housewives. Some of the women of the Vedic period were supposed to have so evolved as to receive cosmic revelations. A woman of that category was called brahmavaadini-the medium of the Absolute for communicating to the human mind.
How endowed with inner power some of our women were in the past is indicated in the story of Anasuya, wife of Sage Atri. The Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) wanted to put her to a test. They visited Atri’shermitage in the guise of mendicants seeking alms, at a time when the sage was away. Anasuya had no clothes on her for Atri had gone out wearing the single cloth they had in their possession. The three gods were well aware of the situation. Anasuya in her turn came to know who the mendicants were and why they were there. She took a little of the water with which she had washed her husband’sfeet, put her hand out through the door and sprinkled on the visitors who turned at once into infants. Anasuya came out and picked them up and gave them ?alms? by suckling them.
Anasuya’sstory may be pure fiction. Nevertheless, it does enshrine great truths. It illustrates how devotion to a spiritual master empowers a mortal to such an extent that gods turn infants before them. Secondly, it shows women are capable of such excellence in devotion. The mind can indeed become a supermind through such concentration and grace; and the secret of its triumph over matter lies there.