“According to Napier, Osborne, Major Lawes, Quenouillet, Nikiforovitch, and many other modern witnesses, fakirs are now proved to be able, by a long course of diet, preparation, and repose, to bring their bodies into a condition which enables them to be buried six feet under ground for an indefinite period. Sir Claude Wade was present at the court of Rundjit Singh, when the fakir, mentioned by the Honorable Captain Osborne, was buried alive for six weeks, in a box placed in a cell three feet below the floor of the room.
To prevent the chance of deception, a guard comprising two companies of soldiers had been detailed, and four sentries “were furnished and relieved every two hours, night and day, to guard the building from intrusion. On opening it”, says Sir Claude, “we saw a figure enclosed in a bag of white linen fastened by a string over the head…the servant then began pouring warm water over the figure…the legs and arms of the body were shriveled and stiff, the face full, the head reclining on the shoulder like that of a corpse. I then called to the medical gentleman who was attending me, to come down and inspect the body, which he did, but could discover no pulsation in the heart, the temples, or the arm. There was, however, a heat about the region of the brain, which no other part of the body exhibited.”
Regretting that the limits of our space forbid the quotation of the details of this interesting story, we will only add, that the process of resuscitation included bathing with hot water, friction, the removal of wax and cotton pledgets from the nostrils and ears, the rubbing of the eyelids with ghee or clarified butter, and, what will appear the most curious to many, the application of hot wheaten cake, about an inch thick “to the top of the head.” After the cake had been applied for the third time, the body was violently convulsed, the nostrils became inflated, the respiration ensued, and the limbs assumed a natural fullness; but the pulsation was still faintly perceptible. “The tongue was then anointed with ghee; the eyeballs became dilated and recovered their natural color, and the fakir recognized those present and spoke.”
It should be noticed that not only had the nostrils and ears been plugged, but the tongue had been thrust back so as to close the gullet, thus effectually stopping the orifices against the admission of atmospheric air. While in India, a fakir told us that this was done not only to prevent the action of the air upon the organic tissues, but also to guard against the deposit of the germs of decay, which in case of suspended animation would cause decomposition exactly as they do in any other meat exposed to air.
There are also localities in which a fakir would refuse to be buried; such as the many spots in Southern India infested with the white ants, which annoying termites are considered among the most dangerous enemies of man and his property. They are so voracious as to devour everything they find except perhaps metals. As to wood, there is no kind through which they would not burrow; and even bricks and mortar offer but little impediment to their formidable armies. They will patiently work through mortar, destroying it particle by particle; and a fakir, however holy himself, and strong his temporary coffin, would not risk finding his body devoured when it was time for his resuscitation.
Then, here is a case, only one of many, substantiated by the testimony of two English noblemen, one of them an army officer, and a Hindu Prince, who was as great a skeptic as themselves. It places science in this embarrassing dilemma: it must either give the lie to many unimpeachable witnesses, or admit that if one fakir can resuscitate after six weeks, any other fakir can also; and if a fakir, why not a Lazarus, a Shunamite boy, or the daughter of Jairus?”
H. P. Blavatsky