“It is highly probable that Pythagoras possessed hypnotic power, not only over man but also over animals. He caused a bird to change the course of its flight. A bear to cease its ravages upon a community, and a bull to change its diet, by the exercise of mental influence. He was also gifted with second sight, being able to see things at a distance and accurately describe incidents that had not yet come to pass.” ~Manly P Hall
“Assist a man in raising a burden; but do not assist him in laying it down.” ~Pythagoras
“Having departed from your house, turn not back, for the furies will be your attendants.” ~Pythagoras
Pythagoras and Hypnosis
While I agree with most of what Manly Hall wrote, I think he has this one wrong. Either he is using hypnosis in a different sense than most of us do today, or he lacks understanding in this area of spiritual development.
Hypnosis is generally defined as a trance like state in which one is easily controlled or susceptible to suggestion. If you have seen a comedy hypnosis event on stage, you know that the hypnotist gets people to do things they would not normally do. However, the hypnotists say they cannot get a person to do something that is completely against their nature. And while animals can be hypnotized, I have never heard of this being used to change their behavior.
Power Over Nature and Animals
As a highly developed spiritual Master, Pythagoras did not force any animal or person to behave in a certain way. He simply spoke to them, in the language of symbols that all beings understand. He explained to them why their behavior was wrong and how they should behave instead. The person or animal choose then to listen to him, or not. While there may have been remarkable incidents like that of the bear stopped from ravaging a village there were probably failures as well. Just as a spiritual teacher, no matter how good he is, fails with some students, Pythagoras undoubtedly failed to get some animals to behave.
This power Pythagoras had is the same as that demonstrated by St. Francis of Assisi. He too had a reputation for getting violent animals to calm down and behave. He also was not using hypnosis.
Even a beginning student can see a mild form of this. If you have a pet, try sending them a simple command mentally such as “come in now,” or “Turn around and look at me.” Practice that a few times, and you will start to see it happen.
Or you can sit on a park bench and try to fill yourself with positive thoughts of love and peace. If you do that successfully, you may start to see birds and squirrels coming much closer to you than they normally would.
Assist a Man
When Pythagoras said we should assist a man in lifting his burden, but not in putting it down, he is advising us to help each other do difficult tasks, but not to help the one trying to avoid work. As a spiritual teacher, Pythagoras especially meant this in regard to spiritual development. He was saying that we can help lead other to the truth, they they must learn it for themselves. And if they are too lazy to do the spiritual practices necessary to awaken the soul, no one else can do it for them. We can only encourage them to do it, then move on to someone else. Don’t waste a lot of time trying to help someone who isn’t willing to help himself.
Don’t Turn Back
When Pythagoras warned his students to not turn back once they had left their homes, He was again talking about spiritual matters. He was telling them that once they have made the choice to learn spiritual truth, to turn back to materialism can be a disaster. The Furies wont literally show up to attack you. Instead, you will be unhappy in the false world you had turned away from because you can never again convince yourself that it is real. You have been, to some degree, awakened from the hypnosis of materialism.
A World of Hypnosis
In the material world, we are exposed to forms of hypnosis all the time, and are not aware of it. When we hear a new product on a television commercial, we may not accept what it says the first time. But after we have heard it fifty or sixty times, we are convinced that we should try the product. That is hypnosis.
When those in power and in positions of respect like teachers and scientists tell us there is no spiritual worlds, only the material, we may not agree at first. After many of them have repeated the same lie hundreds of times over, many of us are convinced. That too is hypnosis.
To a large degree, spiritual studies especially in the beginning, are designed to wake us from that hypnosis so we are ready to accept truth.