Is Magic Real and Does It Work?
The very first book of occult – (from the Latin word occultus “clandestine, hidden, secret”) magic is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras were compiled prior to 400 CE and is the oldest book describing how to obtain and use Siddhis or magical powers.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is divided into four chapters or books (Sanskrit pada), containing 196 aphorisms. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describes the scientific philosophy and practice of Raja-Yoga, also known as “Royal” Yoga. Raja-Yoga has eight limbs or steps that lead to a meditative state called Samādhi or a union with the whole.
Once a person has reached the meditative state of Samādhi they will eventually reach a meditative state called Samyama and gain Siddhis (powers). The third chapter or book in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, called Powers, describes the process to reach Samyama and how using Samyama in different ways gives the Yogi various Siddhis or magical powers.
The fourth chapter or book called, Independence, instructs the Yogi how they can gain liberation from the wheel of karma, death and re-birth by using self-control and not giving into or using the Siddhis or magical powers they have obtained for personal material and spiritual benefits.
Swami Vivekananda, talking about various extraordinary phenomena in the preface of his book on Raja-yoga states;
“For thousands of years such phenomena have been studied, investigated, and generalized, the whole ground of the religious faculties of man has been analyzed, and the practical result is the science of Raja-Yoga. Raja-Yoga does not, after the unpardonable manner of some modern scientists, deny the existence of facts which are difficult to explain; on the other hand, it gently yet in no uncertain terms tells the superstitious that miracles, and answers to prayers, and powers of faith, though true as facts, are not rendered comprehensible through the superstitious explanation of attributing them to the agency of a being, or beings, above the clouds. It declares that each man is only a conduit for the infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies behind mankind. It teaches that desires and wants are in man, that the power of supply is also in man; and that wherever and whenever a desire, a want, a prayer has been fulfilled, it was out of this infinite magazine that the supply came, and not from any supernatural being. The idea of supernatural beings may rouse to a certain extent the power of action in man, but it also brings spiritual decay. It brings dependence; it brings fear; it brings superstition. It degenerates into a horrible belief in the natural weakness of man. There is no supernatural, says the Yogi, but there are in nature gross manifestations and subtle manifestations. The subtle are the causes, the gross the effects. The gross can be easily perceived by the senses; not so the subtle. The practice of Raja – yoga will lead to the acquisition of the more subtle perceptions.” ~ Swami Vivekananda – Raja-Yoga
He is saying that each person is a conduit for an infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies beyond what we perceive as reality. The science of Raja-Yoga breaks the bondage and dependence and belief that a God, God’s or some supernatural being is responsible for a desire, want or prayer being fulfilled. He says this belief brings dependence, fear, superstition and it degenerates into a horrible weakness and spiritual decay in man.
We can define magic as the science of controlling nature (internal and external) through our ability to tap into the unlimited knowledge and power that lies within ourselves and to perceive the subtle perceptions that create our material reality.
Western ritual and ceremonial magic has always been about rituals, temples, magical clothing, ritual items and working with supernatural beings. As I have shown, real magic has very little to do with material objects and is more about tapping into the powerful resources within ourselves.
What about magic rituals and summoning supernatural beings?
Western ritual, ceremonial magic comes from the same source as religion, Bhakti Yoga. The Sanskrit word bhakti is derived from the verb root bhaj-, which means “to divide, to share, to partake, to participate, to belong to”.
Swami Vivekananda talking about Bhakti Yoga states;
“The idea of a Personal God has obtained in almost every religion, except a very few. With the exception of the Buddhist and the Jain, perhaps all the religions of the world have the idea of a Personal God, and with it comes the idea of devotion and worship. The Buddhists and the Jains, although they have no Personal God, worship the founders of their religions in precisely the same way as others worship a Personal God. This idea of devotion and worship to some higher being who can reflect back the love to man is universal. In various religions this love and devotion is manifested in various degrees, at different stages. The lowest stage is that of ritualism, when abstract ideas are almost impossible, and are dragged down to the lowest plane, and made concrete. Forms come into play, and, along with them, various symbols. Throughout the history of the world, we find that man is trying to grasp the abstract through thought-forms, or symbols. All the external manifestations of religion — bells, music, rituals, books, and images — come under that head. Anything that appeals to the senses, anything that helps man to form a concrete image of the abstract, is taken hold of, and worshipped.”
“From time to time, there have been reformers in every religion who have stood against all symbols and rituals. But vain has been their opposition, for so long as man will remain as he is, the vast majority will always want something concrete to hold on to, something around which, as it were, to place their ideas, something which will be the center of all the thought-forms in their minds.”
“It is vain to preach against the use of symbols, and why should we preach against them? There is no reason why man should not use symbols. They have them in order to represent the ideas signified behind them. This universe is a symbol, in and through which we are trying to grasp the thing signified, which is beyond and behind. The spirit is the goal, and not matter. Forms, images, bells, candles, books, churches, temples, and all holy symbols are very good, very helpful to the growing plant of spirituality, but thus far and no farther. In the test majority of cases, we find that the plant does not grow. It is very good to be born in a church, but it is very bad to die in a church. It is very good to be born within the limits of certain forms that help the little plant of spirituality, but if a man dies within the bounds of these forms, it shows that he has not grown, that there has been no development of the soul.”
“If, therefore, any one says that symbols, rituals, and forms are to be kept forever, he is wrong; but if he says, that these symbols and rituals are a help to the growth of the soul, in its low and undeveloped state, he is right.” Swami Vivekananda – Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti or Devotion
“According to the Raja-Yogi, the external world is but the gross form of the internal, or subtle. The finer is always the cause, the grosser the effect. So the external world is the effect, the internal the cause. In the same way external forces are simply the grosser parts, of which the internal forces are the finer. The man who has discovered and learned how to manipulate the internal forces will get the whole of nature under his control. The Yogi proposes to himself no less a task than to master the whole universe, to control the whole of nature. He wants to arrive at the point where what we call “nature’s laws” will have no influence over him, where he will be able to get beyond them all. He will be master of the whole of nature, internal and external. The progress and civilization of the human race simply mean controlling this nature.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
Imagine being able to manipulate the internal forces or emotions with yourself and control your internal and also external nature; controlling the whole of nature and mastering the whole universe? This is real magic.
Is Magic Real?
Now let’s answer the question if magic is real.
First, what is reality?
Can we really know what reality is if we cannot perceive the internal, or subtle which creates that which is perceived as the material world?
If we are immersed emotionally into the material world, reacting to things around us unconsciously from our environmental programmed operating system; are we really in control of ourselves and the world around us?
Not all human knowledge is based up experience or empirical research. A lot of people believe things that they have never experienced for themselves or that cannot be proven. A great example is a faith based religion.
In 2017, it was exposed that most mainstream news media organizations were politically affiliated and many so called news stories were not based upon provable factual evidence, yet many people believed what they were being told.
Raja-Yoga is a science based upon knowledge gained from actual personal experience
“The teachers of the science of Yoga, therefore, declare that religion is not only based upon the experience of ancient times, but that no man can be religious until he has the same perceptions himself. Yoga is the science which teaches us how to get these perceptions. It is not much use to talk about religion until one has felt it. Why is there so much disturbance, so much fighting and quarrelling in the name of God? There has been more bloodshed in the name of God than for any other cause, because people never went to the fountain-head; they were content only to give a mental assent to the customs of their forefathers, and wanted others to do the same. What right has a man to say he has a soul if he does not feel it, or that there is a God if he does not see Him? If there is a God we must see Him, if there is a soul we must perceive it; otherwise it is better not to believe. It is better to be an outspoken atheist than a hypocrite.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
If magic is real, then it is proven to be real by the person experiencing it. Since each person’s individual experiences will be different, what is real or not real will most likely be subjective in nature.
Three things I learned that changed my whole perception of magic and how it works.
Once I discovered where magic came from, what it was and how it worked, my view of occult magic shifted in a more practical and natural direction.