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Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 446
Volume 18, New Series, July 17, 1852

written by "Chambers, William, 1800-1883"
...biological experiments, we observed that the eyes were partially turned upward. It is curious to notice that this mode of acting on the brain is of very ancient date, at least among the Hindoos. In their old poem, the Bhagavad-Gita, it is recommended as a religious exercise, superior to prayer, almsgiving, attendance at temples, &c.; for the god Crishna, admitting that these actions are good, so far as they go, says: 'but he who, sitting apart, gazes fixedly upon one object until he forgets home and kindred, himself, and all created things—he attains perfection.' Not having at hand any version of the Bhagavad-Gita, we cannot now give an exact translation of the passage; but we are quite sure that it recommends a state of stupefaction of the brain, induced by a long-continued fixed gaze upon one object. We have now stated, 1st, That such an act of long-fixed attention upon one object, has a very remarkable effect on the brain; 2d, That in the cerebral condition thus induced, the mental powers are not free to maintain their normal relations to each other; especially, will, comparison, and judgment, appear to lose their requisite power and promptitude of action, and are thus made liable to be overruled by the suggestions of imagination or the commands of the experimenter. To this explanation we can only add, that all who doubt it may easily put it to an experimental test. If it is thought that the mere 'fixed gaze,' without electric or galvanic agency, is not sufficient to produce the phenomena in question, then the only way of[pg 48] determining our dispute must be by fair experiment. But here we would add a word of serious caution, as we regard the process as decidedly dangerous, especially if frequently repeated on one subject. To conclude: we regard the exhibitions now so common under the name of electro-biology as delusions, so far as they are understood to have any connection with the facts of electricity; so far as th...

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