To control others by the exercise of will power is mental assault, and even more reprehensible than assault on the physical plane of action. It is this mental assault which is called "hypnotism" and it is graded in its effect just as physical assault is. A strong man may administer a playful slap to get another to do his bidding, or he may beat him to unconsciousness. The hypnotist salesman administers just enough force to make the customer buy something he does not want or cannot afford, and then deludes himself by calling it legitimate business.
Bad and widespread as this is, it is at least not attended by any of the after-effects incident to the practice of putting "subjects" into a hypnotic sleep. The enormity of this crime can only be appreciated when the effect upon the invisible bodies of the subject is noted
It is characteristic of the invisible bodies of man that they are acted upon by Will. Every impulse to action that come from within originates in the will of the man himself, while incentives to action arising from outside sources, commonly called "circumstances," originate in the will of others, and the difference between the man of strong character, good or bad, and the weak man, is that the former is impelled by his own will, acting from within, which enables him, regardless of circumstances, to make his way as he determines. On the other hand, the weakling who has no will is the helpless sport of circumstance, dominated by the will of others, driftwood on the shoreless seas of life.
No strong willed person can be dominated by a hypnotist to the extent of being put to sleep, and no one who keeps a positive mental attitude can be dominated. Hence the unsuspecting victim is first told to be perfectly negative and willing to be put to sleep. The passes of the hypnotist are then directed to the head and impinge upon the head of the vital body, squeezing it through the physical head, so that it lies around the neck in thick rolls, something like the collar of a sweater.
Thus the connection between the Ego and the dense body is severed, as in sleep, and the higher vehicles withdrawn. However, there is now a different condition than in sleep. The head of the vital body is not in its proper place, enveloping and permeating the dense physical head of the victim. That is now pervaded by ether from the vital body of the hypnotist, and thus he obtains power over his victim.
If we know what "wire-tapping" means, we have the key to the relation between the hypnotist and his victim, at least in a measure. If a man has a private telephone connection from his home to his office, and someone makes a connection in between, he will be able to intercept messages, impersonate the business man, issue orders, etc. The hypnotist does something like that. He taps the lines of communication between the Ego and body of his victim by interposing part of himself in the line, and by virtue of that hold he may force the Ego to go out in the invisible world and get whatever information he desires, as far as it is possible; or he may make the dense body do foolish or criminal acts according to his pleasure.
But by far the greatest danger to the victim arises from the fact that, once a part of the hypnotist's vital body has been introduced into his own, it cannot be entirely withdrawn at the awakening. A small part remains in the medulla oblongata and forms a nucleus by which the hypnotist may gain ingress and subdue his victim more easily next time, and each succeeding time something is added to this nucleus. Thus by degrees the poor victim becomes perfectly helpless, amenable to the will of his master independent of distance, until the death of one or the other breaks the connection.
This remnant of the hypnotist's vital body is also the storehouse for commands to be carried out at a future time, involving the performance of a certain act, on a certain day, at a certain hour. When the time arrives the impulse is released like a spring of an alarm clock, and the victim must carry out the command, even to murder, yet has no idea that he is influenced by someone else. At the death of a hypnotist all his victims are released, and no suggestion for a subsequent date will compel them.
It is sometimes contended that hypnotism may be used benevolently for the cure of drunkenness and other vices, and it is readily admitted that, viewed solely from the material standpoint, that appears to be true. From the viewpoint of occult science, however, it is far otherwise. Like all other desires, the craving for liquor is in the desire body, and it is the duty of the Ego to master it by will power. That is why he is in the school of experience called life, and no man can do his moral growing for him, any more than he can digest another's dinner for him. Nature is not to be cheated. Each must solve his own problems, overcome his own faults by his own will. If, therefore, a hypnotist overpowers the desire body of a drunkard, the Ego in the drunkard will have to learn his lesson in a future life, if he dies before the hypnotist. If the hypnotist does first the man will inevitably turn to drink again, for then the part of the hypnotist's vital body which held the evil desire in check gravitates back to its source, and the cure is nil. The only way to master a vice permanently is by one's own will.
The man who uses his mental powers unworthily is the worst as well as the most dangerous kind of criminal. The most insidious of all wrong is that done upon the mental plane of action, where a man under the guise of perfect respectability, often under the cloak of benevolence, can blight the lives of others, bend their will to their own ends, yet seemingly remain irreproachable himself, and even be looked upon as a friend and benefactor by his victim.
His transgression is seldom punished in the same life in which committed, but often in later lives finds its expiation in congenital idiocy. The crime of the determined hypnotist is in fact a phase of what the Bible describes as "sin against the Holy Spirit," spiritual evil, and hypnotism may well be said to be the greatest crime on earth and the greatest danger to society.