Occult Science in India, by Louis Jacoilliot, , at sacred-texts.com
Covindasamy was punctual in the performance of his engagement.
Gazing at the extraordinary flood of light which the sun poured upon the surface of the Ganges as it rolled by, I stood absorbed in silent contemplation of the magnificent spectacle before me, when the Fakir, lifting one of the curtains which hung before the door leading into the verandah, walked in and sat upon the floor with his legs bent under him after the Hindu manner.
"Salam béré" (good day, sahib), said he, using his mother tongue.
"Salam tambi" (good day, friend), replied I, in the same idiom, "is the Bengal rice equal to the rice of Tandjaor?"
"The rice served to me in the Peishwa's palace at Benares is not equal to that which I gather about my hut at Trivanderam."
"What is the matter with it? is not the curry seed as pure upon the banks of the Ganges as upon the Malabar coast?"
"Listen! the cocoa-tree does not grow here and the water of the sacred river cannot take the place of the salt water. I am a man of the coast, as there is a tree of the coast, and we both of us die when we are separated from the ocean."
Just then a slight southern breeze like escaping steam swept in warm gusts over the drowsy city slumbering in the noon-day heat. The Fakir's eyes glistened.
"It comes from my old home," said he, "do you not feel it? it brings to my mind so many recollections."
He sat a long while, thinking, no doubt, of the wide, gloomy forests on the Malabar coast, where the had passed his childhood, and of the mysterious caves of the pagoda at Trivanderam, where the Brahmins had instructed him in the art of evocation.
Suddenly he arose and walked toward the bronze vase which he had used the day before for the purpose of exhibiting his power. He imposed his hands upon the surface of the water which filled it to the very edge, but he did not touch it, however, and stood motionless in that position. As yet I had no idea of the phenomena that the intended to perform.
I do not know that he experienced any unusual difficulty on that day, but an hour had elapsed before either the water or the vase exhibited any evidence whatever of action on his part.
I had begun to despair of obtaining any result on that occasion, when the water began to be gently agitated. It looked as though its surface were ruffled by a slight breeze. Placing my hands upon the edge of the vase I experienced a slight feeling of coolness, which apparently arose from the same cause. A rose-leaf, thrown into the water, soon was blown or drifted against the other edge.
Meanwhile the Fakir stood motionless. His mouth was closed, and, strange to say, though it effectually disposed of any idea of trickery on his part, the waves were formed on the opposite side from that of the performer and gently broke against the edge of the vase on his side.
Gradually the motion of the waves became more violent. They made their appearance in every direction, as though the water were in a state of intense ebullition under the influence of a great heat. It soon rose higher than the Fakir's hands, and several waves rose to a height of one or two feet from the surface.
I asked Covindasamy to take his hands away. Upon their removal the motion of the water gradually abated, without ceasing altogether, as in the case of boiling water from which the fire has been removed. On the other hand, whenever he placed his hands in their former position, the motion of the water was as great as ever.
The last portion of the séance was still more extraordinary.
The Hindu asked me to lend him a small stick. I handed him a wooden lead-pencil that had never been sharpened. He placed it in the water, and in a few minutes, by the imposition of his hands, the made it move in every direction, like a magnet in contact with an iron bar.
Placing his forefinger gently upon the middle of the pencil, so as not to affect its position upon the water, in a few minutes I saw the small piece of wood slowly descend beneath the surface, until it had reached the bottom of the vase.
Laying aside the question of skill or deception on the performer's part, without doing which it is impossible for me to make any positive statement either one way or the other, although under the circumstances it would have been extremely difficult for any attempt at imposture to have escaped my attention, it occurred to me that the Fakir, upon charging the small piece of wood with fluid, might perhaps have increased its weight, so as to make it heavier than water.
Though deeply sceptical with regard to spirits, I often wondered, whenever I saw an experiment of this kind, whether or not some natural force had not been brought into play, with which we were totally unacquainted.
I merely state the facts without further comment.