258th Birth Anniversary

31st May, 2014




© Dom Martin







     Dr. Abhijit Nadkarni & (Mrs) Maryann Lobo D’Mello



     Isabel de Santa Rita Vás



     Dr. Harish Shetty



     Prof. C.G. Deshpande



     Shitika Chowdhary and Jini K. Gopinath



     Dr. N.N. Wig



     Dr. Ajit V Bhide


ABBÉ DE FARIA (First to Explain Hypnotism)

     Dr. Shridhar Sharma



     General François Joseph Noizet


RAMCHANDRA PANDURANG KAMAT  — a remarkable Goan sculptor

     Isabel de Santa Rita Vás


ABBÉ FARIA:  Mr. Requiem, who cured all the dead?

     Dr. Teotonio R. de Souza


ABBÉ DE FARIA - Father of Hypnotism

     Dr. Nandkumar Kamat



     Dr. Maria-Suzette Fernandes-Dias



     Dr. Mikhail Buyanov



     Alfredo de Mello



     Luis S. R. Vas



     Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues



     Ibonio D’Souza



     Dr. Dilip V. Jeste



     Melvin Gravitz

     Dr. Vivek Kirpekar



     Luis S. R. Vas



     Luis S. R. Vas









Father of Hypnotism

Souvenir of the commemoration of the 258th Birth Anniversary of Abbe Faria




Abbé  José Custódio de Faria, a Goan Catholic priest, was one of the pioneers of the scientific study of hypnotism, and introduced the Western world to oriental hypnosis. By the sheer strength of his work he should be granted a special place in the pantheon of Goan greats. However, while his work has been heralded in the West, to many Goans his name does not go beyond evoking associations with the Rua Abade Faria road in Margao, or with his monument in the capital city of Panjim. What we, as Goans, have failed to acknowledge and celebrate, is the legacy that he has left behind in the form of his pioneering work. It is our humble effort, through this souvenir, to pay our homage to this great son of Goa. Indeed, it has been a privilege for us to put together these writings about Abbé Faria and other related topics. 

Through the articles, we’d like to whet the readers’ interest in knowing more about Abbé Faria. Our objective is to network with like-minded persons and those interested in the monumental work of this son of Goa. The material will serve as a preliminary guide for research students. And the Souvenir is to serve as an impetus for those concerned with working towards a fitting memorial to Abbé  Faria – the great Indian hero.

As editors, this has been a great learning experience for us. We have had great opportunities to interact and engage with a range of people from across the world who have researched and written about the life and works of Abbé Faria. The task of collating the various articles has been a challenging yet satisfying process. As a result of all this hard work, we have been able to assemble an array of articles from distinguished people who share their insights into the pioneering work of Abbé Faria and other related topics. The contents remain the views of the authors and we hope that further research is encouraged and pursued. Just as our school and college students are familiar with the life and work of some great Indian heroes, the younger generation needs to know about Abbé Faria, Indian pioneer, scientist and our very own national hero. 

The efforts that have been taken in putting this publication together will become apparent as the reader turns the pages. We have been particularly enthused by the interest that our collaborators have shown in this publication and hope that it will serve as a reference work for future generations who would want to learn more about Abbé Faria and his work.

We thank Mr. Luis S. R. Vas and Prof. Isabel Santa Rita Vas for all their help in this endeavour. We also thank Mr. M. M. Jain, Dr. Rajendra Hegde and Mr. Gerard D’Mello for the tremendous help they have rendered. We take this opportunity also to thank all our contributors, sponsors, advertisers and well-wishers. Without your sustained efforts, this venture would not be possible.

May each one carry forward the Abbé Faria movement in whatever capacity they can so that he receives his rightful due in the country of his birth, and the places of his work and mission.

 Dr. Abhijit Nadkarni & (Mrs) Maryann Lobo D’Mello

GOA – 31st  May 2014



On the Trail of Abbé Faria

Isabel de Santa Rita Vás




As a resident of Panjim, I could not escape Abbé Faria. His striking statue in a central city square was often a talking point in our family. Oral tradition told us of the pithy advice by Caetano Vitorino de Faria to his son as the young man struggled with issues of self-confidence: “Kator re Bhaji!” or freely translated, “You can do it, it’s easy!” But it was not until the year 2004 that my own interest focused on this man who later came to be a confident proponent of auto-suggestion and a Pioneer of Hypnotism.  The late Mathany Saldanha, a respected  Minister in the Goa Government, initiated a discussion with some possible collaborators, on possible strategies to honour the great Goan. I agreed to do my bit and began researching someone who was for me, a rather shadowy figure, someone who had travelled as a child from Goa to Europe, been fascinated by the mysteries of the mind, and had made a significant contribution to human knowledge. To my delight I discovered that my brother Luis had a long-time interest in the life and personality of Faria and had published an article about him in the 1970s. We both began delving into archival and other material, and found ourselves engrossed in an odyssey that we wished more and more enthusiastically to document. Mathany Saldanha put up a file for the consideration of his government to restore and preserve the maternal home of José Custódio de Faria as a museum that would provide information to local people and visitors; this was to be the first of a series of projects to honour fellow Goans of great stature. Artist Dom Martin had been making a similar suggestion for many years. Sadly, Saldanha’s dream was not to be realized, since he was no longer in the Cabinet. But the bug had bitten me hard, and with Luis’ unswerving assistance, the research proceeded.

My friend Cecil Pinto and I had attended a course in film-making. It struck us that we could put together a documentary on the life of Abbé Faria, based on a format of interviews and a collage of old photographs and videos of locations associated with our subject. We went back to Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo that has fictionalized the Abbé. In the course of this study we discovered other persons here, there and elsewhere, who shared our interest. In Goa we met Dr. Rajendra Hegde who, as a psychiatrist, had already prevailed upon his friend, the scholarly professor and poet Manohar Sardesai to translate Faria’s book On the Cause of Lucid Sleep from French into English. We found Mr. Percival Noronha’s  love of history and memories of countless local anecdotes a rich treasure-trove.  Historian Dr. Fatima Gracias walked us through the Goa and Europe of Faria’s day. We were enormously fortunate to be able to record the reminiscences and views of William Faria, a descendant of Faria’s family, Manohar Sardesai and Mathany Saldanha. We were edified to come across Prof. Laurent Carrer, a hypnotherapist in the USA, himself involved in translating and annotating Faria’s book. We read and re-read the comments of Dr. Mikhail Buyanov, a Russian professor of psychiatrist who had visited Goa and  had made arresting observations about the achievements of Faria in Child Psychiatry and You. Luciana Stegagno Picchio, a noted Italian author, had stated that both she and her novelist husband had collected unpublished material on Abbé Faria.  Luis and I entered into correspondence with each of these researchers and felt reassured that our hypnotist’s work had made a lasting impression on diverse minds.  When our documentary film was ready, the Commissioner and the Mayor of the Panjim municipal corporation (CCP) were gracious enough to arrange for it to be screened on the 20th of September 2005 the anniversary of the installation of the statue in Panjim in the year 1945; Dhempe College of Arts and Science collaborated in the project. Thus, the sculptor of the familiar statue, Pandurang Ramchandra Kamat, of Madkai, also received some well-deserved recognition. It was a charming evening out there at the Largo Abade Faria, as a small crowd of curious Panjimites refused to disperse despite a sudden cloud-burst that decided to celebrate the occasion too.

 Was Abbé Faria now out of my system? I discovered that he was not. Since I am a theatre-person, here I had fertile material for a dramatic story. The form that the play was to take eluded me for a long while, but when it did arrive, I was pleased: a number of different points of view could be dramatized, and Kator Re Bhaji, the play, weaves stories within stories, and shifts focus between hypnotism and family relationships, from the story of a migrant in eighteen century Europe to the fallout of the Pinto Revolution in Goa as well as the French Revolution, and called forth many layers of feeling. Our theatre group, the Mustard  Seed Art Company staged the play as part of a Festival of the Visual Arts and Theatre organized by Kala Academy and Fundação Oriente, Goa (Dec 2005). Yet again were we re-living the mystery and lonely achievements of a path-finder.

A few years later, film-maker Nalini de Souza took the initiative of fashioning an episode on the life of Abbé Faria on her programme Contacto Goa, on the Portuguese TV Channel RTP. The programme was viewed and enjoyed by Goans world-wide.

A non-resident Goan artist Dom Martin, deserves credit for many worthy initiatives. Martin took the step of writing to the Portuguese government to have a stamp struck in Faria’s honour, since Faria had lived in Portugal. To the credit of that government, their postal services did launch a first-day-cover on Faria, a milestone. Martin put together with great effort and enthusiasm a website that is today the authoritative website for Abbé Faria ( Not content with all this, the philanthropic painter conferred a posthumous award on Faria (2005) from the Vicente Xavier Verodiano Foundation of which he is a trustee.

And when Faria seemed to have quietly gone his own way, the Psychiatry Association of India, at the instance of Dr. Rajendra Hegde has published Manohar Sardessai’s translation of Faria’s book.

Faria seems to have intrigued many writers beyond the community of psychiatrists: the most prominent of these is Alexandre Dumas; one of Faria’s contemporaries wrote a play ridiculing him in Paris; Fred Waschsmann wrote another play Os Padres Faria; in India, playwright Asif Currimbhoy published another play entitled Abbé Faria. Derek Antao’s unpublished play is titled ‘Faria’. My brother Luis S. R. Vás has written and published numerous articles on the subject. Dr. Nandakumar Kamat, Dr. Bailon de Sá, Mário Cabral e Sá, Vivek Menezes (as VM de Malar) Alexandre Moniz Barbosa, Prajal Sakhardande and many others, have explored themes surrounding the pioneer.  But the greatest credit is owing to Dr. D.G. Dalgado, who faithfully documented José Custódio’s life and times, and who provides the basis for much of the subsequent writing on Faria, including the essay by the Nobel Laureate Dr. Egas Moniz.

No, Goa has not really ignored Abbé Faria. But perhaps it is time for a more sizeable tribute to his memory. A small museum in his ancestral villages of Colvale or Candolim would be a fitting start.



Mind, Moods and Magic

Dr Harish Shetty




                                                                                 Contemplation by Dom Martin 


‘Mental Health/Illness is too important to be left to Mental Health Professionals alone’ shared Dr N.N.Wig some years ago. A statement that has been ringing in my mind and has far reaching repercussions clearly makes a clarion call for a people- based, ‘Mental Health Movement’ across the country. As the nation is caught in a web of cross currents: ideological, cultural, industrial, sociological and political, the mental health scenario has deteriorated with individual and family mental health has become a great casualty. Suicide among the youth has increased manifold and the World Health Organization has raised a red flag recently. Inflation, crumbling institutional edifices, rapid pace, and anonymity has added to the mental health burden in India and its different states.

A malnourished body is a place where bacteria and viruses flourish and similarly an emotionally fragile society provides the right milieu for violence, abuse and human right violations against the mentally disabled - a reality. This already adds to the existing mental health burden. Goa is a unique state with one of the highest women enrolment in higher education 61.2% [2011] and yet is a society in turmoil similar to different parts of the country. The need of the hour is to weave traditional wisdom and modern science and launch a ‘Mental Health Movement’ of the people, by the people and for the people’. The thrust areas can be as follows:


Building Emotional Wealth & Emotional Equity

A nation in lucid sleep for centuries as a consequence of foreign rule is awakening through a series of historical events and milestones. ‘Memory can exist without imagination but imagination can never exist without memory’ writes Abbe Faria in his book. This maxim is so apt for today where creative imagination needs to stem from collective memories and the consciousness of our populace. Resilience building and  Preventing depression needs to be the pillars of our Health Posts apart from preventing Malaria, Polio, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.  A health worker/teacher or an anganwadi teacher can be easily trained to screen for suicide and mental illness.  Mental Health Science is not rocket science that needs to be archived, frozen and put in captivity. Building Emotional Wealth is the same as building resilience.  Educational institutions should be mandated to have full- fledged Counseling Centers that work towards building resilience and identifying students at high risk for mental illness. The investment in mental health may appear invisible but will help increase productivity, mood, self-esteem and wealth both fiscal and emotional of the state and the country. It goes to the credit of the Chief Minister of Goa for investing in the appointment of school counselors this year. Many educational institutions are wealthy enough to support such an initiative for themselves and the other under-privileged schools.  Building a sense of equity where every student is viewed with equal compassion and affection irrespective of his caste, religion or economic status needs to be interwoven in the processes.


Bare foot mental health worker

India is a developing country where we have to work with numbers. Training bare foot mental health workers can be a reality. A top -heavy Mental Health Framework is neither feasible nor necessary in the country. Experiments of training lay workers in mental health have been conducted in different parts of India more so in the disaster affected areas for e.g. Kandla Cyclone, communal riots etc.  Formal education may not be a pre-requisite for choosing a barefoot mental health worker. Such Community workers may work under supervision of a trained Mental Health personnel. Their functions would be to assist early identification of emotional disorders, provide simple psycho-education /counseling, help the ill to access services at the earliest, shattering myths/stigma of mental illness and  prevention of suicide. The State and the Private sector can join hands in the endeavour. The barefoot mental health worker is a volunteer who is interested in the welfare of the community and emotionally fit to be involved in this activity. They can be drawn from villagers, farmers, teachers and students etc. Building capacities of these workers across time will help improve the Peace Index of the people.


Harnessing indigenous wisdom

Today there is evidence to suggest that Yoga, Meditation and Exercise help treat depression and stress. Yoga is a very cheap and easy method to strengthen, heal and enhance mental faculties apart from helping various diseases. Vipassana is also a method mandated to be compulsory for many groups; religious, ideological and Government officers in different parts of the country. These methods are not based on religious texts and are fiercely secular. At an early age Yoga may be introduced as an activity in schools.  Making it ‘cool’ and fashionable is the need of the hour. At the same time one needs to maintain the balance and understand that these practices may not help major mental illness just as boiled drinking water does not cure gastroenteritis. Shedding the attitude of being excessively apologetic, there is a need to incorporate literary pieces such as the Bhagwad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Parables from the Bible, Koran etc. Every revered text is a piece of rich literature and can be used in Mental Health Practices judiciously. Cultural literacy and cultural competencies need to be enmeshed in the educative practices of mental health professionals. While interviewing approximately 85 psychologists in Goa recently I was surprised to discover that except for one, none knew anything about Patanjali. Making mental health training relevant, contemporary, useful and culturally relevant is the need of the hour.


Defeat Depression Campaign for the youth

In Mumbai we are looking at launching ‘Support groups for Adolescents’ across the city. This will help them to connect with each other, support mental health professionals and others live and through digital media/social media. This is aimed at building a sense of belonging, provide forums to bring down distress, providing coping skills and help those ill to access treatment services early and at low cost. Such groups across Goa may be stimulated and coordinated by the Association of Principals and the Goa Psychiatric Society. This will address scholastic issues, addiction, self-esteem problems, depression and others. If a young boy/girl is befriended in trouble by a support professional self -harm and downward descent in confidence and career can also be thwarted.  This will have a ripple effect in the family and snowball into improving family health. Defeat Depression campaigns can drastically bring down the incidence of suicides in the state.


Emotional Empowerment of Families.

Emotional Contact Time and Family Contact time is a casualty in a fast paced world. Marriage as an institution is under great duress. Intra- family conflicts are on the rise. Many religious groups have activities to enhance mental health of couples and families. ‘Couples for Christ’ is one such activity by the Catholic Church. Many such experiments and emotional arbitration processes do exist but the compliance on the same is poor and the respectability / authority of such structures have gone down in the past few years. Christian retreats and similar activities among other religions also focus on improving family mental health. The need is to give this activity a great fillip and impetus by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women & Health and others.


Mental Health Minister

Every state needs a Mental Health Minister. Well, mental health problems have multiplied many folds. More than 3 people commit suicide in Mumbai every day. Though the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has put posters against dengue and malaria in residential areas, no such activity has been seen for prevention of suicide. Mumbai has a Nodal Officer for tuberculosis and we are pitching for a Mental Health Commissioner. Every state needs a Mental Health Minister. Critics will always jump and say that every illness cannot be represented by a minister but the fact is that mental health problems are on the rise and need sincere and urgent attention. A separate minister will help build existing mental health institutions, increase man power, work towards reducing the mental health burden and increase the Happiness Quotient of the given state.  


Happy days are here again. The country is on the thresh hold of a great tomorrow. We need to kindle the spirit of the renowned scientist Abbe Faria who thought far ahead of his times more than 250 years ago. Lighting the mental health lamp for a great sunshine on the horizon of Goa, a state that has shown compassion and love as its greatest gifts to mankind would be the best tribute to Abbe Faria who bestowed on mankind the beautiful  jewel  of Modern Hypnosis.


[Dr Harish Shetty may be contacted at  or]



Psychology and Mind

 - Prof  C.G. Deshpande


                             Self-contemplation by Dom Martin


1 . Introduction :

No one questioned about the mind until psychology started with scientific orientation. The mind-body problem is not defined in contemporary psychology, though it is a genuine one. F.A. Lange coined the term “psychology without a soul” but the problem of mind still persists. We cannot deny dualism. Wellek has defined an empirical dualism. He states that monism is theory, dualism is an experience. The existence of conflicts in the personality tends to support this theory. For example, the conflict between hunger and a desire to fast. The duality is also supported by terminology concerning the mind-body problem – psychophysics, psychophysically neutral, psychosomatic, somatopsychic, mind-body unit, etc.


2. Ancient views about the concept of Mind:

Plato was a rationalist and strongly believed in the functioning of reason. He took dualistic position and asserted that mind and body are two separate entities. He was more interested in the nature of mind than body and considered that mind is permanent as ideas live on for generations, while body perishes. Rene Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician, symbolizes a transition in human thought from the Renaissance to the Modern Period. He was interactionist dualist, that is, he believed not only that mind and body are separate but also emphasized that mind and body interact in the pineal gland, located at the base of the cerebrum. Spinoza was a bilateral theorist and considered body and mind as separate. Leibniz referred to unity in the substance and duality in the function as two clocks keep time with one another. Indian scriptures also considered the problem of mind and body. In Yogavasistha, Seer Vasistha defined mind as Chaitanya- manaao ih pushya: and emphasized mind and body as separate entities. In Bhagwat Gita ( 10th Adhyaya -22) it is stated that amongst senses Lord Krishna functions as mind. It is the psychic energy or Chaitanya in a human body.


3. Mind-Body problem and brain:

All our conscious processes and states are dependent on the brain, if the brain does not function properly due to chemical or mechanical influences or if there is any failure in the specific area of the brain, psychological processes are affected immediately. It means brain processes are indispensable prerequisites for psychological processes.  The mind-body problem can therefore be reduced to two questions:-

  1. What happens in the brain when we experience something? And
  2. What is the casual relationship between psychological and cerebral processes?


The answer to the first question is that during all conscious experiences an enormous number of electrical and chemical processes take place in the ganglionic cells and fibers of the cerebral cortex - that is - nervous system. The resulting “excitation constellation” must be “specific”, corresponding to each individual content of our conscious experience.

Therefore, it follows that there are contents of experience. The second question concerns the casual relationship between psychological and cerebral processes. Psychological processes are non-physical while cerebral processes belong to the organic-material sphere. Old theories held that there could be an interaction  between the two processes. New theories have tried to explain the dependence of psychological processes on cerebral activity and assumed that conscious experience is an effect of the brain processes but itself cannot act on the latter.

For natural-scientific psychology, the conscious experiences are biological phenomena; they help to maintain life and individuality. The mental processes can be considered as the highest expression of natural development and as the ultimate effect of the organic process as the transcendental experience.


4. Jolt to the concept of mind and mental processes:

Scientific psychology began with schools. The first school was “Structuralism” founded by E.B. Titchener. He embraced a dualistic position on the mind-body problem in the form of psychophysical parallelism. He defined psychophysical as the science of consciousness and “introspection” as a method for studying consciousness. William James and Harvey Carr established the school known as “Functionalism”. According to them psychology is the study of Mental Activity. Mental Activity, in turn is concerned with the acquisition, fixation, retention, organization and evaluation of experiences, and their subsequent utilization in the guidance of conduct, Carr had stated that there are two aspects of every individual, namely, mind and body, and both must be taken into account in any analysis of behavior. He was also of the view that all mental activity is psychophysical in the sense that both mind and body are involved in any task. The other school was Gestalt School. The word “gestalt” means ‘whole’ or ‘organization’. Instead of trying to break consciousness into its elements, Gestalt psychologists argued that our perceptions are organized so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. This school stimulated interest in cognitive topics such as perception and problem solving.

The other important school was “Behaviorism” founded by J. B. Watson. He gave a severe jolt to the concept of mind and mental activities. He considered overt and covert behaviors as the subject matter of psychology. Because of this school, the study of mind was relegated to the back burner. He totally excluded the method of introspection. He believed that mentalistic concept such as “mind”, “consciousness”, “image” and the like, have no place in the scientific, objective science; they are the carry overs from the days of mental philosophy. The aim of behaviorism as stated by Watson, is characteristically forthright and objective; given the stimulus to be able to predict the response and given the response, to be able to predict the antecedent stimulus. For behaviorists research he proposed following four methods-

  1. Observation with or without instrumental control
  2. The condition reflex method
  3. The verbal report method
  4. Testing method.

Here, then, is the new psychology - a real science free from mentalistic concept and subjective method.


5.   Renewed interest in the mind:

During the hay day of behaviorism, cognitive psychology was almost forgotten. The study in psychology was confined to overt-covert behavior or molecular-molar behavior. In the 1950s several factors contributed to a renowned interest in studying cognitive processes. Computer technology provided new information processing concepts and terminology that psychologist began to adapt to the study of memory and attention. A new metaphor was developed. The mind was considered as a system that processes, stores and retrieves information. The information-processing approach to study the mind continues to be influential.

In the 1950s, a heated debate arose between behaviorists and linguists about how children acquire language. The behaviorist led by B.F. Skinner, claimed that language is acquired through basic principles of learning. The linguists led by Noam Chomsky, argued that humans are biologically “pre-programmed” to acquire language, and that children come to understand language as a set of “mental rules”.  Many psychologists agreed to examine it from a more cognitive perspective. Even the definition of psychology has changed. Passer, Michael and Smith, Ronald published a book entitled “Psychology- the Science of Mind and Behaviour”. They have defined psychology as “the scientific study of behavior and the mind”. The term behavior refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe, whereas the term mind refers to internal states and processes – such as thought and feelings that cannot be seen directly and must be inferred from observable, measurable responses. The cognitive perspective examines the nature of the mind and how mental processes influence behavior. In this view humans are information processors whose actions are governed by thoughts.


6.   Theory of mind: Understanding mental states: 

The term ‘theory of mind’ as proposed by Passer and Smith refers to persons beliefs about the “mind” and the ability to understand other people’s mental states. Different people have different mental states which means the  functioning of their minds is different. Piaget believed that children younger than 6 or 7 years have trouble recognizing what other people are thinking. It means their mind is not yet developed.

Lying and deception also provide evidence of theory of mind. They imply an ability to recognize that one person can have information that another does not  and therefore we can influence what other people think by withholding the truth.


7.    Mind skills:

Richard Nelson - Jones have propagated the term “mind skills” in their book        entitled “Practical Counseling and Helping Skills. They consider mental processes as mind skills. We can train the individuals for these skills so that they can properly understand and control their behavior as well as of others. Mind skills can influence the communication. The major mind skills are given as under.

     i. Creating Rules Skills:

        Rules are “dos” and don’ts by which people lead their lives. They accept certain rules and reject some other ones.


     ii. Creating Perception Skills:

         Preferential thinking and propositional thinking are useful mind skills. Individuals perceive themselves, others, their

         clients and events with varying degrees of accuracy. A principal skill of learning to perceive  more accurately is being

         able to distinguish fact from inference.


    iii  Creating Self-Talks Skills: 


        We must learn coping self-talk and not negative self-talk. With coping self-talk a person calms himself down, becomes

        clear regarding his goals and coaches himself in an appropriate communication.


    iv. Creating Visual Images Skills:

         When experiencing any significant feeling or sensation, people are likely to think in pictures as well as words. Those

          whose most highly valued representational system is visual, tend to respond to the world and organize it in terms of

          mental images.


     v. Creating Explanations Skills:

         Explanations of course are the reasons that people give to  them selves for what happens. These explanations can

         influence how they think about their past, present and future.


    vi. Creating  Expectations Skills:

         Humans seek to predict their future so that they can influence and control them. Consequential thinking entails

         creating expectations about the consequences of human behavior. For good or ill, people can create and influence

         their consequences including their own and other’s feelings, physical reactions, thoughts and communications.


         The other two minds skills are:

               i)  Creating realistic goal skills and  

              ii)  creating realistic decision-making skills. Goals are important in life and decision-making, if well developed,

                   makes life more effective and useful.



8.  Concluding remarks - How do we view the concepts of mind today in Psychology?

Mind is considered in terms of mental processes and not as an entity. Different mental processes combine together to constitute the mind. We cannot do away with the concept of mind. Our thoughts and feelings affect out behavior and

thoughts consist of various mental processes like thinking, reasoning and imagining.

Methodical dualism would probably be a description of the attitude to the mind-body problem in contemporary psychology. Every psychologically relevant process or state must be described, analyzed and interpreted through its physical, neuro-physiological and psychological coordinates.



1. Bhagwat Gita

2. Chaplin, James and Krawiec, T.S.(1968), Second Edition.

Systems and theories of Psychology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

3. Eysenck, H.J.; Arnold,W.J. and Meili, R.(1975).

 Encyclopedia of Psychology,Vol.Two. Fontana/Collins.

4. Passer, Michael,W; Smith, Ronald, E.(2007).Third Edition.

Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior. Tata-McGraw Hill, New Delhi.

5. Richard Nelson - Jones. (2005).Fifth edition. Practcal Counselling and Helping Skills, Sage.

6. The Yogavasistha. Nimays Sagar Press.



(Courtesy: Souvenir of the ANCIPS Conference 2014)





Clinical hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras

Shitika Chowdhary and Jini K. Gopinath

Additional article information



                                                                                 Siesta by Dom Martin



The trance states in yoga and hypnosis are associated with similar phenomena like relaxation, disinclination to talk, unreality, misrepresentation, alterations in perception, increased concentration, suspension of normal reality testing, and the temporary nature of the phenomena. While some researchers consider yoga to be a form of hypnosis, others note that there are many similarities between the trance in yoga and the hypnotic trance.

The present study aimed to find similarities between the trance states of hypnosis and Patanjali's yoga sutras. The trance states were compared with the understanding of the phenomena of trance, and the therapeutic techniques and benefits of both. An understanding of the concept of trance in Patanjali's yoga sutras was gained through a thematic analysis of the book Four Chapters on Freedom by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. This led to an understanding of the concept of trance in the yoga sutras.

The obtained concepts were compared to the concepts of trance in hypnosis (obtained through the literature on hypnosis) to investigate whether or not there exist similarities. The findings of the study show that there are similarities between the trance in hypnosis and the trance in Patanjali's yoga sutras in the induction and deepening of the trance states in hypnosis and that of Samadhi, the phenomena present in hypnosis and the kinds of siddhis that are obtained through Samadhi, and the therapeutic techniques and the therapeutic process in Patanjali's yoga sutra and hypnosis.

Keywords: Consciousness, hypnosis, trance, yoga


Consciousness and Altered States of Consciousness

Consciousness can be defined as the subjective awareness of the momentary experience interpreted in the context of personal memory and present state.[1] Altered state of consciousness is also defined in terms of a change in the subjective experience. One popular definition is the one given by Tart in 1990. He defines the altered state of consciousness as one in which the individual feels a qualitative shift in his pattern of mental functioning; there is a change in the qualities of mental processes. It is not just defined as a quantitative shift, in terms of more or less alert, more or less visual imagery, etc.[2]

This definition highlights that primary phenomenal consciousness; which is awareness of a changed pattern of subjective experience; and reflective consciousness, in which a cognitive judgment must be passed so as to recognize that the experience is different from normal; are both involved in the altered state of consciousness.

Altered states of consciousness or trance state have also been understood as a deviation from the normal states of consciousness. It has been understood as a state in which the world or the self tend to be misrepresented. This is caused by an internal or external change in the organism's biological makeup and it alters the representational relations and hence is not a functional, original or permanent state of the organisms’ consciousness. An altered state of consciousness is thus, due to a change in the representational state of consciousness and is not restricted to any specific cognitive, affective of sensory modality, but is a combination of them, and it is a temporary phenomenon.[2]

According to this understanding of altered states of consciousness or trance state, hypnosis can be considered as one, because it changes the background mechanisms of consciousness, as strong and multiple changes in conscious experiences are experienced as hypnotic suggestions.


Hypnosis through the ages

Hypnosis is derived from the Greek root hypnos, which means to sleep. Even the origins of the word means to sleep, hypnosis is not a state of sleeping. The trance in hypnosis resembles sleep, but this trance is different from the other states of consciousness (awake, sleep, and dream states).

Although it is Anton Mesmer, who is credited for the origin of hypnosis, it is not true.[3] Two-thousand years before Mesmer, techniques of induction were being used by ancient Egyptian and Greek priests. There is evidence of Egyptian priests performing death and rebirth rituals in what they called as “Temples of Sleep.” Drugs and psychedelics were used to assist the process. Those who lived through the experience were said to “have experienced other levels of reality while being out of the physical body.”[3] Hypnosis is as old as time and has been employed in all parts of the world in some form or the other.[4]

James Braid used the term hypnosis derived from the word hypnos, as he thought that hypnosis was similar to sleep. He developed the eye fixation technique of inducing relaxation and called it hypnosis. Abbe Faria, a Catholic priest, was a pioneer in the scientific study of hypnosis. It was him who stated that it was not animal magnetism that was involved in the cure, but suggestion. Later, Braid recognized that hypnosis is similar to meditation in both, the psychological and physiological aspects. He defined hypnotism as a state of focussed attention upon a single idea or mental image. In his view, since hypnosis was the state of focused attention, it was fundamentally the opposite of normal sleep. After he recognized his error (of believing that hypnosis was similar to sleep), he tried to change the name to monoedisimo, which means a concentration on one side. The term hypnosis, even though a misnomer, still persists.[5]

In 1854, James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon, was working in India with the East India Company. While here, he performed hundreds of minor and major surgical procedures on Indians under Mesmeric anesthesia. His book describes hundreds of operations that he performed under this technique, including amputations of the legs, removal of tumors, and other comparable surgeries. He even noted the dwindling of surgical shock in his patients. In his book, Hypnosis in Medicine and Surgery, 1957, he describes that he or his assistants would induce hypnosis (mesmerized) the patients in the morning, and would leave them in a cataleptic state. He would then return later and operate. When Esdaile returned to England and shared his experiences, he was, unfortunately ridiculed and ostracized by his colleagues.[6]

The first scientific text on hypnosis, Suggestive Therapeutics was published in 1886 by Bernheim. Bernheim observed the work of Dr. Ambroise-Auguste Liebault, a French physician. Liebault became interested in hypnosis after reading Braid's work, but in order to avoid being discredited, he worked pro bono. Bernhiem and Liebault then began to work together, treating patients.

Ernst Simmel, a German psychoanalyst began using hypnosis for the treatment of war neurosis or shell shock. He called his technique hypnoanalysis. In hypnoanalysis, hypnosis was combined with the psychodynamic techniques. During World War II Grinker and Spiegel used barbiturates to induce a state of drug hypnosis in order to bring traumatic material to the surface. Hypnosis has since been playing an important part in the treatment of combat fatigue and other neuroses. The most important development to come out of the world wars was the merger of hypnotic techniques with psychoanalysis.

This development revived a great deal of interest in hypnosis and led to the publication of various books with hypnosis and suggestibility as the subject matter.[4] Hypnosis has since been recognized as a treatment method by the American Medical Association (in 1958). There are now several journals devoted exclusively to the experimental and clinical applications of hypnosis. These include, but are not limited to The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, The British Journal of Medical Hypnotism, The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.


Theories of hypnosis

The phenomena associated with hypnosis are explained through two main types of theories. These are referred to as state and non-state theories. A key debate in hypnosis had been between the state and non-state theorists. According to the state theorists, hypnotic inductions produce an altered state of consciousness, which is associated with an altered state of brain function. The response to suggestion is also due to special processes such as dissociation or other altered states of consciousness. The non-state theorists however, are of the view that participants respond to suggestion without hypnosis and that suggestibility can be modified by drugs and psychological procedures; and the participants in hypnosis are actively engaged to be in a trance state. They also hold the belief that responses to suggestions are a product of normal psychological processes such as attitudes, expectancies, and motivations.

Hilgard's neodissociation theory of hypnosis is a classic state theory. It proposes that hypnotic phenomena are produced through dissociation within high level control systems. This means that the hypnotic suggestion is said to split the functioning of the executive control system into different streams. Part of the executive control system functions normally, but is unable to represent itself in conscious awareness due to the presence of an amnesic barrier. The hypnotic suggestions act on the dissociated part of the executive control system and the subject is aware of the result of the suggestion and not the process by which they came about.[7]

Neuro-physiological theories of hypnosis propose that high hypnotisable people have better executive function than low hypnotisable people. Since they have better executive functioning, they are able to deploy their attention in different ways. One model of hypnosis characterizes it as a change in bran function.[8] This neurophysiological account emphasizes that the changes in the way the attentional control system operates in hypnosis makes the subject more suggestible. Social cognitive theory of hypnosis argues that the experience of effortlessness in hypnosis results from participant's motivated tendencies to interpret hypnotic suggestions as not requiring active planning and effort (i.e. the experience of effortlessness stems from an attributional error).

The attribution of volition depends on the kind of response-set which has been put into place, and if a hypnotic response-set is in place then volition is attributed externally. This means that the effortlessness in hypnosis comes about when individuals expect things to be effortless, and “decide” (more or less consciously) to respond along with suggestions.

One important factor to note when considering socio-cognitive hypnosis theories of this sort is that they do not imply that subjects are always “faking,” or not really experiencing an involuntary hypnotic response. Although these models use terms such as “role enactment” or “self-presentation” they are still entirely consistent with the notion that hypnotised participants have unusual experiences.

The ecological theory of hypnosis is based on Shor's idea that the depth of hypnotic trance is related to the degree to which the participant loses awareness of the distinction between imagination and reality. This distinction is termed as the generalized reality orientation. Ego-psychological theory distinguishes between primary processes (emotional, holistic, illogical, unconscious, developmentally immature) and secondary processes (affect-free, analytical, logical, conscious, developmentally mature). Whereas normal adult functioning is biased toward secondary processing the induction of hypnosis makes the subject “let go” of some secondary process activity. Critically, this theory is not as well-specified as some other cognitive theories, and is thus not as easily testable or falsifiable.

The third way research in hypnosis understands the phenomena in hypnosis as both a state of cognitive change that involves basic mechanisms of cognition and consciousness, and as a product of social interaction as the hypnotist and the subject come together for a specific purpose within a wider socio-cultural context.[9] The third way theories include the integrative cognitive theory which makes a distinction between being in a mental state and being aware of being in that state. An emphasis is placed on perception and consciousness. It includes the dissociated control theory concept which suggests that responses are facilitated by an inhibition of high-level attention and the response set idea that suggested that involuntariness is an attribution about the causes of behavior.[10]


The trance in hypnosis

It is difficult to define a hypnotic trance state, but it can be inferred from hypersuggestibility, passivity, disinclination to talk, and fixed facial expressions, feelings of relaxation, unreality, automaticity and compulsion, alterations in body image, and unusual sensations have been reported to accompany hypnotic trance.[4] The hypnotic state has been described as one in which there is focused attention, concentration in which learning is maximized, alterations in self-awareness, a state of internally focused absorption and the suspension of normal reality testing, alterations in perceptions.[11–15]

The trance in hypnosis is characterized by a quiet, calm and peaceful mind. There exists a general sense of wellbeing. They describe it as a state of alert restfulness as the person is awake but the state is more like sleep than awake. The subjective time moves slowly, and the distinction between the present, past, and future is lost. There is a shift of space location and one can experience oneself at several different locations in space. The depth of trance may be mild, moderate, or intense in depth.[6]

Initially, the pulse rate and blood pressure rise, but they soon go below the resting levels. The respiratory rate also first rises and then falls below the resting level. The metabolic rate falls steeply and it may fall below the level of sleep. The body and face seem flushed as the peripheral flow of blood increases. There is also a decline in the plasma cortisol levels and there is increased functioning in both the hemispheres of the brain.[4,6]

Lethargy is present in a light hypnosis state. It is characteristic in this state that muscles contract at the slightest touch, friction, pressure, or massage. This contraction can be restricted, by the by, the repetition of the stimuli that caused it. In this state of light trance, the subject appears to be in deep sleep, the eyes are closed or half closed and the face is expressionless. The body appears to be in a state of complete collapse with the head thrown back, and the arms and legs hang loose, dropping heavily down.[4,6]

Catalepsy characterizes a deeper level of trance and in this the subject becomes rigidly fixed in the position in which they were in while they were entering catalepsy. Whether it is standing, or sitting, or kneeling. Arms or legs can be raised and will remain in that position.

Since a trance state is also described as one in which there is a “heightened focus of attention or concentration on internal or external cues” one can say that hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness or a trance state.[16]

In this trance state, perception is clarified. What an individual perceives is colored by various projections of the mind. They refuse to accept perceptual clarity and the perception of reality is through these projections, in the hypnotic trance state however, reality is perceived free of the projections.



Consciousness in yoga can be conceptualized as William James’ idea of consciousness. William James compared consciousness to a stream that was unbroken and continuous. This stream however, goes through constant changes and shifts and Patanjali yoga sutra states that there are seven states of consciousness or Saptadha prantabhumihi pragyana. These seven states are as follows:

1. Awake

2. Sleep

3. Dream

4. Turya

5. The fifth state is defined as “abiding in mere non-duality, with all distinction and

    division extinguished, he is seen as one asleep”

6. The sixth state is described as where he dwells “without knot,” liberated while

    living and without conception or ideation

7. The seventh state is the state of enlightenment, which is the state of liberation

    without the body.


The turya state has been described as a tranquil settlement in the state of liberation and the state of witness in action.[6] The state of turya has been explained in the Mandukya Upanishad as: “…that which has no parts, soundless, the incomprehensible, beyond all senses, the cessation of all phenomena, all blissful and non-dual AUM, is the Fourth, and verily it is the same as Atman. He who knows this, merges his self in the supreme self – the individual in the total.”[6]

Since there is a distorted sense of self in this state, which is a misrepresentation, this state can be considered as an altered state of consciousness. The altered state of consciousness or trance state of yoga is that of Samadhi. It is described by the phrase sat-chit-ananda, which translates to truth-consciousness-bliss. This relates to a different realm of experience which is possible to describe only by metaphors and paradoxes.[12]

According to Patanjali yoga sutras, Samadhi is the goal of yoga. It can be defined as the pointless point of consciousness beyond which nothing else remains. It is the deepest level of consciousness where even the sense of individuality does not remain. From the literature reviewed it can be seen that the trance states of yoga and hypnosis have certain similarities. Trance in both the states is associated with relaxation, disinclination to talk, unreality, misrepresentation, alterations in perception, increased concentration, suspension of normal reality testing, and the temporary nature of the phenomena. Yoga can be considered to be a form of hypnosis and many similarities between the trance state of hypnosis and yoga have been noted.[4,12] While yogis are credited with performing difficult tasks like walking over burning coal, or being able to lie on nails, individuals under the hypnotic trance are reported to have “heavy weights on their abdomen while lying stretched in midair with supports only at his heads or ankles.”

Apart from this, not much research has been carried out, which investigates the similarities if any in the trance of yoga and hypnosis. In this study, I aim to aim to fill this gap literature by comparing the trance state in hypnosis and yoga. Along with this I will also focus on the therapeutic techniques of yoga and hypnosis.


Research design

In this study, whose aim is to investigate the similarities between hypnosis and yoga in terms of the altered states of consciousness, regression and therapeutic value, a qualitative design is used.

A qualitative study is one that provides an in-depth understanding and interpretation of phenomena by learning about the social and material circumstances, and histories.[17] A qualitative design is suited for this study as it helps to investigate whether or not there are  similarities between the trance states of yoga and that of hypnosis. The qualitative methodology also helps to explore the historical, philosophical, and scientific roots of yoga and hypnosis and the conceptualization of the trance states in them. The study uses a pragmatic approach as methods and procedures that work best for answering the research question have been employed.


Research questions

Broad Research Question: To investigate the similarities between yoga and hypnosis.

Specific Research Question: To investigate the similarities between Patanjali yoga sutras and hypnosis in terms of the altered states of consciousness, and their therapeutic value.



The sample consists of a text on Patanjali yoga sutra: Four Chapters on Freedom: A Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Swami Satyananda. The book is published by the Bihar School of Yoga, which is the world's first yoga university. The Bihar School of Yoga was founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the year 1964.

The book, Four Chapters on Freedom is a text used for the courses in the university, and is a widely accepted text on Patanjali yoga sutras. This is the reason this text is selected for analysis.


Data collection

The following serve as data for the study:

           1.      The text on Patanjali yoga sutra. (Four Chapters on Freedom: A Commentary on the

                Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananda Saraswati)

            2.      Discussion of findings with expert: Findings obtained from the thematic analysis are communicated

                     to an expert and discussed with her. This discussion provides insights, which are incorporated into the study.


The study is conducted in two phases. In the first phase, analysis of the book Four Chapters on Freedom: A Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is carried out. In the second phase, the concepts obtained through the analysis are compared to the concepts of hypnosis to uncover the similarities between the two.


Data analysis

Thematic analysis is the method of analysis for the first phase of the study. Thematic analysis is defined as a general method of analysis of text. It is a method for “identifying, analyzing and reporting patterns within data.” There are six steps in the through which thematic analysis progresses.[18] In the first phase the familiarization with the data is achieved, followed by generation of initial codes, following, which there is the search for themes, which are then reviewed, defined and named and then the report is written.

Following the same process, in the first phase Four Chapters on Freedom: A Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is read to become familiar with the text. This is followed by an initial coding which leads to the formation of themes. The themes are then reviewed and then defined and named. Through this process meaning units are created, which describe and explain each of the phenomena under study. These are then used to form themes, which illustrate each of the phenomena.

In the second phase of the study, the themes generated through the thematic analysis of the text are compared with the concepts in hypnosis to investigate whether or not there are similarities between the phenomena in Patanjali yoga sutras and phenomena in hypnosis.


Issues of trustworthiness and process of validation

The themes obtained from the analysis were finalized after discussion with a student pursuing her Masters in Psychological Research Methodology who went through relevant passages from the text independently • The findings were discussed with the supervisor and an expert in the field of yoga which provided further insight. This served as a method of triangulation • Peer debriefing: A competent peer was given regular progress reports of the research • A paper trail of the documents used for analysis, and the different stages of analysis is maintained and is available on request.



The text which was analyzed, Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananda Sarswati was published in 1976. This book is a commentary on the yoga sutras written by the sage Patanjali. Sutra means thread and it is implied, by the use of this word, that the written verses carry and underlying, continuous and unbroken thought. The various ideas in the sutras connect with each other and one thought leads to the next resulting in a complete philosophy.


The yoga sutras of Patanjali consist of 196 sutras, which are organized into four chapters. These are:

• Samadhi Pada: This consists of 51 verses and is the chapter on Samadhi.

• Sadhana Pada: This consists of 55 verses and is the chapter on practice.

• Vibhooti Pada: This chapter discusses various psychic powers and consists of 56


• Kaivalya Pada: It the chapter on isolation or aloneness. It consists of 34 verses.

   From the thematic analysis, it was found that there are similarities between the trance

   state in hypnosis and yoga. These similarities are found in terms of:

• The induction and deepening of the trance states in hypnosis and that of Samadhi

• The phenomena present in hypnosis and the siddhis obtained through Samadhi

• The therapeutic techniques and the therapeutic process in Patanjali's yoga sutra

   and hypnosis.


Along with the similarities between the two, there were many ideas in Patanjali yoga sutras which were found to be similar to psychological concepts.


Psychological concepts in Patanjali yoga sutras

There are many ideas in Patanjali yoga sutras that are parallel to and resemble concepts that are present in psychology. The mind or chitta as described in Patanjali yoga sutras is said to be comprised of the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious. Patanjali yoga sutras also believe that self-realization can take place only when the chitta vrittis cease their activity or when the chitta is no longer affected by the three gunas. Only when there is a cessation of identification with the outside objective world, the mind is able to see things as they are. This is similar to the idea in psychology of the presence of schemas through which we make sense of the world. Schemas can be conceptualized as organized patterns of thought and behaviors or structures that organize our knowledge and assumptions about something that is used for interpreting and processing information.

They influence our attention to a situation and also influence what we look for in situations. It is the schemas that guide our thinking and information processing. All the information that is received from the external world is interpreted through the schemas we hold.[19] In order to gain an objective understanding, one must look at this information outside of the schemas. This is essentially the same idea that is present in Patanjali yoga sutras as well. The mind, Patanjali explains, is colored and conditioned by its likes, dislikes, and false beliefs. It further explains that the external reality is superimposed with the modifications of the mind. This can result in misidentification leading to feelings of joy, sadness, fear, like, dislike, etc., Suffering is a result of the identification of the modification of the mind with the external object. In order to overcome suffering this association has to be broken.

Patanjali yoga sutras also hold that memory is made up of past impressions. Smriti, it describes as an independent awareness on which impressions are embedded. It also believes that even if the past clears up, the smriti remains. Thus we see that smriti is analogous to schemas as schemas too, are mental structures that help us organize information regarding the external world. They are cognitive representations of the self which guide the kind of attention paid to external events and the meaning that they convey.[19]

The modifications of the mind, according to the yoga sutras are of five kinds (depending on the sense that is responsible for the perception) and are either painful or pleasurable (there is a liking of the pleasurable and a disliking of the painful). This holds that an object or event in itself is not painful or pleasurable, but it is the mind that makes it so. It is the attachment that one has toward objects that causes attraction and repulsion toward them. Abandonment of this attachment or the process of detachment gives rise to freedom from this attraction or repulsion, thereby helping in controlling the pleasure and pain one experiences. This is the same as the concept of cognitive theory and cognitive hypnotherapy. Cognitive theory posits that people tend to perceive and interpret situations in characteristic ways that color their feelings and shape their behaviors. People often have spontaneous, automatic thoughts about their past, current or future situations.

People are not conscious of the automatic thoughts but of the emotions arising from them. These arise from the beliefs and ideas that are embedded in the mental structures of the mind. These are called schemas. These schemas have the ability to bias processing of information and external events are colored by the schemas which guide the individual. This makes the individual infer an external event as positive or negative, pleasurable, or painful.[20]

The yoga sutras also explain the yogic theory of perception. This holds that even though the object is one, it is perceived differently at different times and by different people depending on the difference in mental conditions. It is this difference in perception that makes object capable of inducing pleasure and pain and suffering. Once the perception is cleansed of one's mental modifications external events fail to evoke pain and suffering in the in the individual. This is similar to the principle of cognitive behavior therapy.[20]

The yoga sutras also hold the concept of conscious and subconscious memory. Conscious memory involves the recollection of things already experienced. This is different from  subconscious memory that refers to the memory that one does not consciously remember. This may present itself in dreams and the memories that are revealed there are memories of actual events that are not distorted. The sutras thus, are of the opinion that conscious memories are distorted due to our impressions are remembered as such and not as what the reality was. This is in line with the idea of memory being a reconstructive process.[21]

The yoga sutras also discuss pain and its cause. They explain that pain is not in the present but is rooted in the past. Klesha is the agony that is present in our very being. According to them, everyone feels pain but everyone is not aware of it. Pain is thought to be at the bottom of everything and Patanjali also talks of three different types of pain.

• The first pain is change, life changes to death

• The second is acute anxiety, achievement, success and love give rise to anxiety at

   some time or the other;

• The third pain is habit, we become used to things and are then afraid of losing



Similarities in the induction and deepening of trance in hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras

The process of attaining the trance state in hypnosis is referred to as the induction process. One of them is the eye fixation method. In the eye, fixation method is a type of hypnotic induction method that people associate most with hypnosis. In this method, the client is instructed to maintain a fixed gaze on an object. This could be any object, a spot on the wall, the hand of the hypnotist, a finger held in front of the client's eyes, or even, the flame of a lamp.[22] This method is similar to the technique described in the yoga sutras, wherein the aspirant concentrates on an object, internal or external, which could be the image of a deity, a flame, the tip of the nose or even concentrating between the eyebrows to attain Samadhi.


Similarities in the phenomena of trance in hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras

In the trance of hypnosis, there is a shift in the perception of the external world and the internal environment.[11] Some of these changes can be compared to the siddhis described in the Patanjali yoga sutras. Subjective time appears to move slowly and an hour may appear to have been only a few minutes. Memories of remote events of the past are recalled with uncanny accuracy. During hypnosis, the power of selected groups of muscles can be increased, which is the same as the attainment of strength. This increase in strength can be maintained after the trance state through the use of post-hypnotic suggestion. The body temperature can be made to increase in the trance of hypnosis; this is found in the yoga sutras as well. The action of the organs can be changed, and this is a siddhi too. Hearing is said, can be made more acute in the trance of hypnosis, this is analogous to the siddhi of divine hearing.[11] Thus we see that there are indeed similarities in the phenomena of hypnosis with the siddhis described in the Patanjali yoga sutras.


Similarities in the therapeutic process and techniques in hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy is a paradigmatic phenomenon. It challenges fundamental assumptions of self and reality. An individual's perceptions and beliefs can be overturned through hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy also believes that schemas or cognitive structures regulate psychological functioning or adaptation and give meaning to contextual relationships. Assignment of meaning at the conscious and unconscious level activates behavioral, emotional, and other strategies of adaptation. One of the essential axioms of hypnotherapy is that meanings do not always represent reality but are a construction of a given context or goal and are subject to cognitive distortions. Some individuals are vulnerable to cognitive distortions.[23] This is the same as the mental modifications that influence the perception of reality as explained by the yoga sutras; and the techniques of Patanjali yoga sutra and hypnosis allow access to processes below the threshold of awareness, which helps in the restricting of non-conscious cognitions.

Like the techniques described in the yoga sutras for therapeutic benefits, hypnosis too induces relaxation, which is effective in reducing anxiety. It also promotes ego strengthening through the repetition of positive suggestions to oneself that get embedded in the unconscious mind. These then exert an automatic influence on feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This enhances one's self-confidence and self-worth.

Hypnosis and the techniques of yoga sutras facilitate divergent thinking, it maximizes awareness among several levels of brain functioning. They both have a direct impact on focus of attention and concentration.[24] They also help in directing attention to wider experiences such as feelings of warmth, feeling happy, feeling of contentment, and general feeling of wellbeing.[23] They serve to expand these experiences in the present, past, and future. These facilitate in the reconstruction of dysfunctional realities.

Even though modern psychotherapy adopts a curative paradigm and the yoga surtras of Patanjali operates through a preventive paradigm, there are similarities in the therapeutic techniques, and the therapeutic gain obtained from hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras. Since it has already been pointed out that ancient Indian paradigm of consciousness is holistic and is related to mental health, the trance in yoga can be used in modern psychotherapeutic processes.[25]

The above discussion highlights there are indeed hypnotic similarities in yoga with regard to the conceptualization of consciousness and altered state of consciousness, the phenomena in the altered states of consciousness and the therapeutic benefits and the therapy process. In India, the therapeutic process is closely linked to faith and hence it make sense to make use of the traditional therapeutic modalities in modern therapeutic paradigm.[26]



The trance states in yoga and hypnosis are associated with relaxation, disinclination to talk, unreality, misrepresentation, alterations in perception, increased concentration, suspension of normal reality testing, and the temporary nature of the phenomena. Yoga can be considered as a form of hypnosis and similarities between the trance of hypnosis and yoga has been noted.[4,12] While yogis are credited with performing difficult tasks like walking over burning coal, or being able to lie on nails, individuals under the hypnotic trance are reported to have “heavy weights on their abdomen while lying stretched in midair with supports only at his heads or ankles.”

This study aimed to find similarities between the trance states of hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras. The trance states were compared on the understanding of the phenomena of trance, the phenomena of trance, and the therapeutic techniques and benefits of both. The study was conducted in two phases. The first phase of the study dealt with gaining an understanding of the concept of trance in Patanjali yoga sutras, through a thematic analysis of the book Four Chapters on Freedom: A Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. The thematic analysis of the book led to an understanding of the concept of trance in the yoga sutras. In the second phase of the study, these concepts were compared to the concepts of trance in hypnosis (obtained through the literature on hypnosis) to investigate whether or not there exist similarities.

The findings of the study show that there are similarities between the trance in hypnosis and the trance in Patanjali yoga sutras. These similarities are present in the following areas:

The induction and deepening of the trance states in hypnosis and that of Samadhi

• The phenomena present in hypnosis and the kinds of siddhis that are obtained

   through Samadhi

• The therapeutic techniques and the therapeutic process in Patanjali yoga sutra and



These findings show that there are similarities in the two states and it needs to be explored further to incorporate the concepts of yoga in the modern therapeutic domain. These concepts can be used not only as preventative measures but as curative measures too.




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26. Manickam LS. Psychotherapy in India. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:S366-70.


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Clinical hypnosis and Patanjali yoga sutras.






As a schoolboy, I had read Alexander Dumas’ novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. I was fascinated by the strange and sad character of Abbé Faria, a ‘mad’ genius who is imprisoned in the neighboring cell with the hero, Edmund Dante – a poor sailor, sent to prison by his enemies and thrown into an underground dungeon of Chateau D’If for serious crimes which he never committed. How Abbé Faria before dying, passes on to the hero, the secret of hidden wealth in an island and how he escapes the dreadful dungeons and acquires the immense wealth from Monte Cristo Islands – that’s the fascinating story of the novel. Many movies from Hollywood (and at least one Hindi film from Bombay) have been made on the basis of this powerful, romantic story.

When I read this novel as a young boy, little did I know that in real life there is a historical person called Abbé Faria. He has contributed enormously to the growth of our knowledge about Hypnosis and thus indirectly, to the rise of the medical speciality of Psychiatry. In this I was destined to make my career. The most fascinating part was the information I learnt later: that Abbé Faria was from India, from (then Portuguese) Goa, and he was a Christian priest but he would often proudly refer to himself as a “Brahmin” from India.

It is sad to reflect how little we do know of the contribution of Indians in Modern Science. In Physics and Chemistry, perhaps, we may recall three or four outstanding Indian scientists in the twentieth century. But in Psychology and Psychiatry hardly any name comes to mind for any significant contribution. Abbé Faria was one such outstanding Indian in the 18th century who greatly influenced our understanding of the phenomenon of Hypnosis and the role of suggestion in the hypnotic state. The studies on hypnosis contributed greatly to the development of psychoanalysis and modern psychotherapy in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It is sad that most Indians outside Goa, including psychologists and psychiatrists, probably have never heard the name. They also do not have any clear ideas about his important contributions. Those who have visited Goa have probably seen the striking statue of Abbé Faria in Panjim, where he is depicted hypnotizing a young woman. I understand that the present Mental Hospital is now also named after him as Hospital Abbé Faria.

Who was this man from Goa, who so greatly influenced modern psychological thought in Europe nearly two hundred years ago? In spite of some very good biographical studies in the twentieth century, particularly that by the Nobel Prize winner Egas Moniz (written in Portuguese), and Dr. D.G. Dalgado (written in French), our knowledge about Abbé Faria still remains very sketchy. There are so many fictional stories about him that it is difficult to separate facts from fiction. An interesting incident is recorded by his biographer, that in the early 20th century when he visited the house in Paris where Abbé Faria used to live around the 1790s, he asked the lady concierge about Abbé Faria’s stay in the house. She laughed and said, “You must be pulling my leg. There was no Abbé Faria in real life. It was only a fictional character created by Alexander Dumas”!

Probably Abbé Faria would have been long forgotten in the pages of fiction and hardly known to students of psychology for his wise decision to write a book (in French) about his theories on Hypnosis. This he called at that time, “Sommeil Lucide” or “Lucid Sleep”. He was planning to write four volumes but he died soon after the first (and now the only) volume in 1819. In 1906, Dr. D.G. Dalgado of Goa, republished the Abbé Faria book in French with a fresh Preface and Introduction by himself. It is this book, which has been translated and reproduced now in English and for which I have been asked to write the Foreword. The English translation has been undertaken by the noted scholar and French teacher, Dr. Manoharrai Sardessai. It is now being published by the distinguished psychiatrist from Goa, Dr. Rajendra Prabhakar Hegde.


Brief Life Sketch of Abbé Faria

At this stage, it may be useful to briefly recapitulate the main events of the life of Abbé Faria. Abbé or Abade Faria (in English, Father Faria) was born in Goa on 31st May 1756 and given the name Jose Custodio de Faria. The family were originally Hindus – Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of Konkan who were converted to Christianity about three generations earlier. Unfortunately, the marriage of his parents broke down a few years later. His father resumed his studies to become a priest and his mother became a nun. When Jose Custodio was 15 years old, his father moved to Portugal and took his son with him. Jose Custodio later moved to Rome to complete his doctorate in religious studies. That is how he acquired the name “Abbé Faria” and took up priestly duties in Portugal.

A few years later, he moved to France just before the French Revolution. The details of that period are not very clear. Abbé Faria had a rebellious streak. It is recorded that he led a battalion of revolutionaries against the National Convention in 1795. Some believe that he was imprisoned in the famous prison “The Bastille” near Paris, during the French Revolution. From Paris at some stage, he moved to Marseilles in the south of France and lived there for a few years till 1811. He became a member of the Medical Society of that city where he was also teaching Philosophy. There is an unconfirmed story that he was charged for treason by the Government and imprisoned in Chateau D’If, off the coast of Marseilles for many years (the same Chateau D’If, as in the novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’).

By 1813, Abbé Faria in his late fifties was once again back in Paris. Now he was giving his famous demonstrations on Hypnosis which became immensely popular. For the next few years it became the talk of the town in the high society of Paris. Many patients were cured and many influential people swore by his knowledge and skills in hypnosis. Women of high society were particularly attracted to his lecture demonstrations. This was perhaps the most glorious period in Abbé Faria’s life. This also led to marked jealousy and hostility among the clergy and other powerful groups in the city. These enemies started ridiculing his motives and methods. The most damaging was the role of a stage actor who got friendly with Abbé Faria. He then betrayed him by saying on stage that he was not really hypnotized but that he was only acting to pretend that he was in a trance.

The famous writer Jules Verne wrote a play lambasting and making fun of Abbé Faria who was greatly hurt by such insults and accusations. The last few years of his life were quite unhappy. He died on September 1819, a socially isolated and lonely man, without any money. It was just a couple of years before his death, that  Abbé Faria started writing his book for which he is so well remembered. It was in fact published on the day he died. He called it “De la cause du sommeil lucide ou étude de la nature de l’homme”. Translated in English it would be “Of the cause of lucid sleep (slumber) or Study of the nature of man”. The first page further adds that the book is by Abbé Faria, Brahmin, Doctor of Theology & Philisophy, Member of the Medical Society of Marseilles and ex-Professor of Philosophy at the University of France. The book was published in Paris in 1819.

What Abbé Faria called ‘lucid sleep’ was subsequently known in medical literature as “Hypnosis”. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon from Manchester introduced this term in 1843, about a quarter of a century after Abbé Faria’s death. Earlier these techniques were generally referred to as “Magnetism” or “Magnetic treatments”.


The History of Hypnosis

The history of hypnosis during the last two centuries is very interesting. In many ways, it is the history of Modern Psychotherapy. It begins with the appearance of Anton Mesmer in Paris in the 1770s. Mesmer (1734 – 1815) was a medical doctor from Austria. He started demonstrating in Paris his special technique of putting people to sleep and curing them of many ailments. He called his method “Animal Magnetism”. It was also called by some as “Mesmerism”. He claimed that such animal magnetism can be passed on through special invisible magnetic fluids from a powerful person with more animal magnetism (like Mesmer) to other persons, to put them into a trance-like state and cure them of their symptoms. It is true that many people especially women, were helped by his technique but many others considered him to be a charlatan and his animal magnetism to be nothing but a hoax. Ultimately, Paris Academy investigated his claims in 1784 but did not support his theory nor his methods or results. Mesmer became discredited and left Paris to ultimately die in Switzerland.

The phenomenon of Mesmerism or what was later called “Hypnosis” has puzzled psychologists and neuroscientists for the last two hundred years. It will not be wrong to say, that even though we know a lot more about hypnosis, the basic brain mechanisms are still not very clear.

After Mesmer’s exit from Paris, one of his followers, Marquis de Puységur continued his teachings. The latter came from an aristocratic family; unlike Mesmer, he was highly respected for his personal integrity. During the French Revolution, he was imprisoned in the Bastille prison and perhaps it was there that he met Abbé Faria and taught him “Animal Magnetism” of Mesmer. Abbé Faria has dedicated his book to Marquis de Puységur in 1819.

Abbé Faria’s main contribution to this science is that he totally dismissed Mesmer’s theories of “Animal Magnetism” and transfer of “fluids” from hypnotizer to the hypnotized. He, for the first time, proposed that the basis of such phenomenon (what he called ‘Lucid Sleep’ and is now known as Hypnosis) is essentially through “suggestion”. It is the suggestion from the hypnotizer which is accepted by the one who is hypnotized and it is this which produces the remarkable changes in his mind and body.

Over the last two hundred years, the process of suggestion is now widely accepted as the true basis for hypnosis. The recognition of Abbé Faria for this remarkable insight was not easy to come by. Braid introduced the term “Hypnosis” in 1843, which slowly became popular and is now universally accepted. In English-speaking countries, the credit for discovering Hypnosis and its scientific basis is generally attributed to Braid without mentioning that Abbé Faria had already proposed it 25 years earlier. In France however, the contribution of Abbé Faria was slowly recognized. His pupil, General Noizet first popularized Faria’s theories. In France around the 1970s, Dr. Liébeault, a simple rural family doctor was practising Abbé Faria’s techniques. He did not charge fees but cured many patients.

Dr. Bernheim from Nancy University near Dr. Liébeault, also took deep interest in Abbé Faria’s teachings. He wrote about it in academic journals. Bernheim and Liébeault’s teachings on Hypnosis came to be known as the “Nancy School of Hypnosis”. Freud, in his search to learn about hypnosis, visited Nancy and met both Dr. Liébeault and Dr. Bernheim. It was from Nancy that Freud probably picked up the seeds of his famous theory of the “Subconscious Mind”. If during hypnosis, a person can act in a certain way, of which later he has no memory, obviously a part of the mind is involved. This is not at a conscious level but at a subconscious level. To this, Freud gave the name “Subconscious Mind”. Thus, we see a link between Abbé Faria, Hypnosis and the whole movement of Psychoanalysis and Modern Psychiatry.

Slowly, the recognition came for Abbé Faria’s important discovery. The great neurologist Charcot (1825 – 1893) in Paris for the first time introduced Abbé Faria’s writings in the medical curriculum. His clinics were famous all over Europe for the treatment of hysteria by hypnosis. Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in Paris. Many other distinguished neurologists in that period have paid rich tributes to Abbé Faria. Prof. Bernheim very clearly stated that “The discovery of hypnotism does not belong to James Braid, only the word belongs to him. It is Faria to whom without any doubt, goes the merit of being the first to establish the doctrine and the method of hypnotism through suggestion”.

Another famous professor of Neurology from Paris, Dr. Gilles de la Tourette, a recognized authority on Hypnotism has stated, “It was Abbé Faria, the Portuguese Brahmin priest as he styles himself, who, coming directly from India, caused all this revolution, and the change from the “Theory of Fluids” to “Suggestion”. It was Abbé Faria, who, for the first time stated that “the hypnotist owned no special virtue but everything was in the individual to be hypnotized”.


The Scientific Contribution of Abbé Faria

The life of Abbé Faria is an amazing story of struggle and achievements of an Indian philosopher scientist. He made his mark in the countries of Europe in the 18th century, expressing himself in foreign languages in the hostile scientific milieu of those countries. I do not think there is any other example of such outstanding contribution by any Indian, in the European science and knowledge of that period. Even when he was being ridiculed and criticized, his genius was being widely recognized. That he made a powerful impact on the minds of people of those countries is obvious from the fact that the greatest French novelist of that period, Alexander Dumas used his name to depict a powerful character in his best selling novel.


In conclusion

I feel so happy to know that Dr. Rajendra Hegde and his friends are bringing out an English translation of Abbé Faria’s book, along with an introduction and preface by Dr. Dalgado, which was first published in 1906. Every Indian must know more about this great ‘Son of India’. However, those who read his book now must keep in mind that the original book was written nearly two hundred years ago, when the scientific knowledge about Medicine and Human Physiology was very limited. In spite of occasional odd medical statements, one is dazzled by the scientific approach and reasoning of Abbé Faria to demolish the persisting “Fluid theories” and “Animal Magnetism”.

There is a popular story in Goa that when Abbé Faria had to give his first sermon as a young priest in the Royal Court in Portugal, he got very nervous, becoming tongue-tied. His father was sitting below in the audience. To encourage his son, he shouted in the Konkani language, “Kator Re Bhaji”, meaning, do not be afraid to speak to these people; it is as simple “as cutting vegetables” in the kitchen. Listening to this, the young Abbé Faria picked up confidence and delivered a flawless address.

I believe this story has a great message for today’s young people of India. With courage and conviction, one can achieve great things. Remember senior Faria’s advice “Kator Re Bhaji”.


Dr. N.N. Wig

Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry

Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research




This is the Foreword by Dr. Wig for  Abbé Faria’s book ‘ Of the cause of lucid sleep or Study of the nature of man” translated into English by Dr. Manoharrai Sardessai and published by Dr. Rajendra P Hegde (Goa- India).

(Dr. Wig has expressed his indebtedness and his most grateful thanks to Dr. Rajendra Hegde for the various documents that were sent to him.) Some of the important documents, from which he has quoted in this Foreword, are stated below:

  1. The chapter ‘The Rise of Psychotherapy’ from the book ‘Child Psychiatry and You’ by Mikhail Buyanov, published by Mir Publisher, Moscow, 1982
  2. Abade Faria – The Forgotten Goan Pioneer  by Isabel de Santa Rita Vas, Goa
  3. Abbé Faria: Resume: Biographical Sketch





Dr Ajit V Bhide,





My curiosity about Abbe Faria was roused by the statue in Panjim, fairly close to the sea face and the government secretariat, about three decades ago. In that sculpture the man seemed to me, some kind of a mendicant healer in a striking pose, metaphorically and literally, with a lady lying almost supine at his feet. I did not pursue this curiosity about this person until a psychiatry conference in Goa very many years later when a small replica of the statue was presented as the memento to each speaker at that gathering. This, I learnt was the inspired effort of my friend Dr Rajendra Prabhakar Hegde, well known psychiatrist and one of the hosts of that conference.

It then transpired through subsequent meetings with Rajendra at various conferences across the country, that he has had an abiding interest and even devotion to not only exploring the life and work of Faria, but to making this work better known to the world generally and particularly to mental health professionals. The Abbot wrote a seminal piece on hypnosis, which he quite imaginatively chose to call ‘lucid sleep’. This volume, ‘Of the Cause of Lucid Sleep’, alternatively titled ‘Study of the Nature of Man’ is indeed an ambitious project. It is a monograph on what we today call hypnotism, and in a translated form now, is a treasured gift that I received from Rajendra.

Jose Custodio Faria’s phenomenal insights were at once wedded to a scientific approach, yet gave great regard to the pervasive influence of faith. He was an iconoclast who lived almost contemporaneously with that great German polymath Anton Mesmer.  The latter, a qualified physician, had stumbled upon a technique whereby his patient went into a trance, experienced uncommon sensations and in most instances, was even cured of varied and bizarre symptoms.

To be fair to the quite secular Mesmer, he did seek a rational explanation for his observations in the context of the serendipitous discovery he had made.  Not much aided by the scientific data base of that time, he began to attribute the changes wrought by his technique, to ‘animal magnetism’. This phenomenon, discovered in Vienna and pursued by Mesmer, after an ignominious exile to France, had become quite a rage in Paris. The massive spread of its popularity may have clouded the objectivity of the brilliant, if overreaching progenitor of Mesmerism.

Faria, then a Catholic priest in France, keenly studied the so-called magnetism. In the course of his own practice of healing, the Abbe felt compelled to dismiss the magnetic explanation as mumbo-jumbo. His sharp observations of the similarities between sleep and the trance state led him to coin the ‘lucid sleep’ rubric.

Almost a quarter century junior to the Austrian doctor, Faria, never hesitant to assert his Indian Brahmin ancestry, shared with him the dubious distinction of being dismissed as a charlatan. It would be incorrect to think of Faria as being cavalier in his denunciation of Mesmer’s postulates. In fact, his major preoccupations are with the study of the nature of the human psyche, of the unconscious (a concept not quite crystallized in his times), of sensations and their interpretations, of the types and levels of human conviction and of the internal and extraneous influences upon all of these. His remarkable achievements are his persuasive argument for the innate potential the individual has to undergo change, and to astutely ascribing to the therapist, the ability to tap on these by the powerful method of suggestion.

Not free from his own idiosyncratic (and now scientifically unsustainable) arguments, Faria nevertheless assiduously dissected the differences between the natural and the supernatural, and at considerable pains found a continuum between the moral, the physical and the metaphysical. His commentary in this domain can be trying on the reader but is eventually appealing. Not so some of his notions, such as of the ‘loosening of blood’ and its attachment to substrates, as explanations for some psychological events. We must always bear in mind that the Abbe was not a scientist and the science of physiology itself had not much advanced at his time. Given these limitations, and the fact that despite being a priest, Faria adopts a secular approach, the book he wrote is even more impressive.

Persuasive without being doctrinaire, the chapters of Faria’s book, curiously called sessions, are very occasionally tedious. The original French has been translated by Dr Manoharrai Sardessai. The tome I have, has an invaluable introduction written in 1906 by a Goan surgeon and polymath himself, Dr Daniel Gelasio Dalgado. There is also an insightful foreword by one of the great Indian psychiatrists of our times, Prof Narendra Nath Wig. To these gentlemen, to the Abbe, and mainly to the zealous and indefatigable efforts of Rajendra Hegde, I am indebted for opening my eyes and mind to a great mastermind.




ABBE DE FARIA - First to explain hypnotism

 By Shridhar Sharma, M.D., D.P.M., M.R.C.Psych.


Photo © WO'GOA Magazine


It is controversial as to who offered first the scientific explanation of hypnotism.  One of the earliest but not well known contributors to the understanding of hypnotism was Abbe de Faria, a priest, from Goa (Faria L'Abbe 1819, Moniz Egas 1925, Dalgado D. G. 1906) though hypnotism was known and practised by Hindu priests in the temples of ancient India.



Jose Custodio de Faria (Faria L'Abbe 1819), later the celebrated "Abbe Faria ", was born at Candolim, a village of Bardez-Goa, on 31st May 1756. He was baptized in the Church of Our Lady of Hope and Parish of the same name, on the 7th June, 1756.  His father, Caetano Vitorino de Faria was a native of the village of Colvale, Bardez. He was a descendant of Ananta Sinai, a Saraswat Brahmin by caste, village clerk and Patil of the same village who embraced Christianity at the end of the 16th century.  On 21st February 1771, Faria sailed from Goa in the ship S. Jose and arrived at Lisbon on 23rd November, 1771.



In 1772, the two Farias went to Rome via Genova with letters of recommendation from the Papae Nuncio to various personalities of Rome.  Jose Custodio Faria continued his studies in Rome as Internee, in the College of " Propaganda Fide " upto 1780. He obtained doctorate in Theology on a profound subject " De Existentia Dei, Deo Uno et Divina Revelatione" (Faria L'Abbe 1819) (About God's existence, About one God and Divine Revelation). He was ordained on 12th March 1780. After completion of his studies, Abbe Faria returned to Lisbon, where he was also received at the court. The romantic fact that His father was a priest and his mother a nun caused a certain stir, mainly in the eyes of the aristocratic public.



Abbe Faria, convinced that there was no chance of advancement in an ecclesiastical career in Portugal, decided to seek elsewhere an appropriate field for his intellectual activity based on his experiences, practice and to master the art and science of hypnotism. He left for Paris in the spring of 1788, to fulfill his ambitions.

Curiously the first trace of his existence in the big city is recorded in the Registrar of Denunciation (1792) of the Section of Ponceau (better known after 1793, as of "the friends of the motherland")  in the National Archives.  Faria arrived in Paris, four years after the departure of Mesmer. But the fashion was still alive, the appeal for marvelous things as burning as ever.  One would be interested in knowing how Abbe Faria was attracted to Mesmerism.  There is a  suggestion that he brought the Science with him from India where hypnotism was known and practised by Hindu Priests in the temples of India. Being a Philosopher, he was highly observant and possessed a passion for novelty. It is likely that the mysticism in " mesmerism " interested him.

It is not easy to fix the exact time of the beginning of his public demonstrations of hypnotism. The first reference to Faria as a magnetizer is in the "Memoir of Chateaubriand" (Chateaubriand 1768-1848 published after his death in 1843 ; the relevant passage was probably written in 1802.

It seems, Faria continued his experiments and practice in Paris till 1811. Later he went to Marseilles as a Professor of Philosophy in the Academy " Lyceum " of that city. During his stay there he was elected a member of the Medical Society of Marseilles (Dalgado D. G. 1906,

Chateaubriand 1768-1848) in recognition of his contribution to the phenomena of hypnotism. Later, in 1812, Faria joined the Academy of Nimes as a Professor of Philosophy, but he was not pleased with this new position as it was inferior to the previous one he held at Marseilles. He returned to Paris in 1813, where he was conferred the title of Professor and started a public course on "Lucid Sleep". 

On obtaining permission from the Prefect of Police, be began on 11th August 1813 to hold conferences every Thursday at No. 49, Clichy Street. The charge was five francs for each meeting. These meetings attracted the cream of Parisian society. He was much spoken of and obtained great publicity from the Press for his contribution to the phenomena of lucid sleep and hypnotism.



As such, Faria (Faria L'Abbe 1819s Moniz Egas 1925) was the true founder of the modern doctrine of suggestion. In order to understand his ideas well, it is essential to compare them with those of his contemporaries.

He refuted all contemporary theories on Mesmerism saying " I can't conceive, all the human species was so foolish, to go to search the cause of this phenomenon in a tub, in an external wish, in magnetic fluid, in animal heat and in thousands of different ridiculous things of this type. There is nothing that can justify the denomination of animal magnetism, to signify the 'Action of Sleep'." He replaced the term ' animal magnetism' by ' concentration',  'magnetizers’ by ' concentrators' and 'magnetized' by 'concentrated'.

As for the existence of any kind of magnetic fluid, a remarkable departure from the theory of Mesmer, Faria showed the absurdity of this in the following demonstration: "A certain number of people were placed near the tree of Mesmer and Puysegur, (Dalgado, D. G. 1906) but nothing happened ; the same people were placed near another tree and were convinced that tree was magnetized without it actually being so ; it was observed that many fell into deep sleep." He concluded that the supposition of magnetic fluid as suggested by Mesmer at that time is completely absurd, whether one considers its nature, its application or its results. Faria understood the mechanism of hypnotism and it was he who first marked out its natural limits. 

His opinion was firm and unshakeable.  In his own words "nothing comes out in hypnotic sleep that is not natural." He not only observed facts but also scrutinized hypnotic susceptibility. He was quick to appreciate that some people succumb quickly while others remain refractory. He gave more importance to the hypnotized than to the hypnotizer. He explained that people who are anemic (fluidity of blood), who sleep easily, who sweat much, who are much  impressionable and hysterical, are more susceptible to somnambulism.

These observations by him are very important, considering how little was known about the physiology of the nervous system at that time. He thought that women are better hypnotic subjects than men, and that practice improves performance, i.e. hypnotism works more easily on subjects who are often hypnotized. Susceptibility in short, was not seen by him as fixed and static attribute.

Faria considered that the immediate cause of hypnosis lay in what he called "The concentration of senses" of the hypnotized person and for this "Mental peace and physical calmness is ssential."  He added "One can't be put to sleep as long as the mind is occupied either by the agitation of blood or worries or troubles, etc." He admitted that suggestion played an important part but also said it was not the only factor.

While many later writers continued to attribute the cause of hypnosis to such things as 'concentration of attention' (Preyer ; Moniz Egas 1925, Dalgado D.G. 1906) connection of sleep (De Jong; Moniz Egas 1925) autosuggestion (Ochorowic Varsovia ; Moniz Egas 1925), others acknowledged their debt to Faria.  Liebeault for example writes, " the cause of hypnotic sleep lies in the retreat of attention out of the senses and concentration of the mind on one idea which is the main point." He rightly states that this insight was gained first not by James Braid (Moniz Egas 1925) as was commonly supposed but by Abbe de Faria.



Faria employed the following procedures for hypnosis :

1. First Method : Faria used to sit comfortably and ask the person to sit likewise, to close his eyes and imagine himself going to sleep. When the person was calm, he would exclaim in a loud voice " DORMEZ " (Sleep) and the person would fall into lucid sleep.

2. Second Method : Faria used to ask the person to fix his gaze on his (Faria's) hand. From a distance he would slowly approach until his hand was close to the eyes of the person who would sometimes thereupon fall into lucid sleep.

3. Third Method : Faria used to touch the frontal region, the bridge of the nose, the chest up to the epigastria, the knees and the feet and slowly the person used to fall asleep. If the first trial,  did not induce sleep, he used to repeat them. If the fourth attempt also failed, he would declare that the individual is incapable of falling into lucid sleep.

The procedures are entirely suggestive and psychical. According to Bernheim (Moniz Egas 1925) this is the sleep by suggestion, which is insinuated in the mind of the patient. There is no doubt, that Faria is the founder of the method.  Some English writers who were not aware of Faria's contribution have attributed discovery of hypnotism to James Braid, an English Surgeon.

It is obvious from the above facts that Braid's discovery of Lucid Sleep, was secondary to that of Faria, who discovered the same 30 years earlier. It is also interesting to note that Braid first practiced his technique in Calcutta, India, and not in the West, again showing that India had a prominent role to play in influencing his ideas on the subject.

Faria's work " De la cause Du Sommeil Lucide" (Faria L'Abbe 1819) about the cause of lucid sleep, is divided into four volumes, out of which only one was published after his death. It was written in French and published in 1819 (Faria died on 28th September 1819 due to apoplexy) by a publisher of Paris and it was republished in 1906, by one of his Goan friends Dr. Gelasio Delgado, also in Paris.

L’ Abbe Faria is one of the principal characters of Alexander Dumas' (Dumas Alexander 1959) famous book " Count of Monte Cristo ". L’ Abbe de Faria is also mentioned by the celebrated Chateaubriand, (Chateaubriand 1968-1848) another great French author, in his book " Memorias de Alem Tumulo " — this work has been also translated into Portuguese and English.  It is clearly evident from the available records mentioned, that Faria was the first: —

a)  to deny the existence of magnetic fluid.

b)  to attribute the phenomenon of somnambulism to the anemic condition  and the

     psychic impressionability of the hypnotized subject.

            c)  to discover the suggestive psychic procedure for provoking somnambulism.

d) to employ the same suggestive procedure to step the somnambulistic state and the

    division of the  personality.

e) to observe and describe some new symptoms by suggestion.

f)  to propose a psychological theory, explaining the phenomenon of somnambulism.

g) to give experimental and therapeutic suggestions in a really extraordinary




Chateaubriand : Memorias de Alem Tumulo, 1768-1848.

Dalgado. D. G. (1906) : Memoire sur la vie de l'Abbe de Faria, Paris, Henri Jouve Editeur.

Dumas Alexandre (1959 ) : The Count of Monte Cristo Complete and unabridged, Jaico Book.

Faria L'Abbe de (1906): De la cause du Sommeil lucide ou Etude de la Nature de l'Homme.

Ediled by Dr. D. G. Dalgado. Paris Henri Jouve editeur, 15 Rue Racine 15. Reimpression

de l'edition De 1819.  Moniz Egas (1925) : O padre Faria na historia do hypnotismo.

(This paper was presented in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. (1974) 16, 307-311

By Dr Shridhar Sharma, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Goa Medical College, Panaji and Consultant Psychiatrist, Mental Hospital, Panaji—Goa.)






Mémoire Sur le Somnubulisme et le

Magnétisme Animal

by General François Joseph Noizet

                                                               Aurevoir Tristesse by Dom Martin


In 1814, upon returning from a Hungarian jail in Szegedin after peace had been announced, I heard about demonstrations of somnambulism performed by Abbé Faria in Paris, rue de Clichy, in a building adjacent to the former Garden of Tivoli. I went there less out of idle curiosity than with the desire to acquire specific ideas on animal magnetism. There, I saw a tall and handsome old man, with half-greying black hair, dark complexion, elongated face, hooked nose, large bulging eyes, a beautiful horse's head, as I told myself then. I discovered that he was an Indo-Portuguese priest from Goa.

Many respectable members of the aristocracy were present, as well as several young cavalry officers; altogether thirty to sixty people who had paid three francs to gain admission.  The lecture began with a monotonous and laboured reading from a manuscript in which the author explained his system. He specially stressed that the outcomes he produced did not depend on him but entirely on the subject, whose belief was all that mattered in achieving all the results obtained. He stressed repeatedly that neither the Devil, nor animal magnetism were in any way involved with the phenomena produced.

Finally, after half an hour during which the audience waited impatiently, the experiments began. He was assisted by a housekeeper and one or two regulars in whom he induced somnambulism using only verbal commands. He then selected three, four, five or more members from the audience in whom he tried to produce similar results. He made them sit comfortably, asked them to think about sleep and to watch him, while he himself stared at them fixedly from a distance with his large eyes, showed them the back of his raised hand, came forward a few steps, then suddenly lowered his arm in front of them while ordering them firmly to sleep.

Sometimes, but not often, he would approach them and press his finger on their forehead while repeating the order: Sleep! At least three times out of five, I saw this technique succeed in less than one minute. I even submitted to his action, but he managed only to paralyse my eyelids, preventing me to open my eyes until he ordered me to do so. I brought to him a rather frail young law student who fell asleep at Faria's first attempt, spoke as all somnambulists do, but was so embarrassed when he woke up that he later refused to see the Abbé again and even refused to submit himself to a few tests I wished to conduct. Since he lived with one of my relatives who was also studying law, I was able to determine by placing my hand for a while on his forehead as he slept naturally that, though he did not wake up at night, he was indeed a natural  omnambulist.

After attending a dozen lectures [by Abbé Faria], I received my marching orders from the Minister of War and went to Boulogne, from where I set out eight months later for the Waterloo campaign. After the army was decommissioned, I stayed on in Paris for five months in 1815, waiting for the judgement they were about to pass on us, Bandits of the Loire, as they called us then, and during this free time, I got the idea to go and again see the poor priest whose sad adventures I had been told. He received me with much enthusiasm and convinced me to review his text with him, to correct some stylistic anomalies which, as a foreigner, he could not have avoided introducing into it. Thus I began this laborious task without contradicting any of his theoretical ideas and concentrating on sentence structure only, but I found this man to be so headstrong that I soon regretted my hurry in agreeing to help him. Finally, I regained my rank in the army, received new orders from the Minister, and did not again see the Abbé, who died in oblivion a few years later. What I can add is that I was absolutely convinced of poor Faria's good faith, of the reality of the effects he obtained, of thecorrectness of a great part of his doctrine,  though I believe that his physical presence, his use of facial expressions and his self assurance played some part in the outcome.




Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat

--a remarkable Goan sculptor


By Isabel de Santa Rita Vas



The statue of Abbe Faria at the heart of Panjim city is dynamic enough to have become a kind of visual symbol of the city. One approaches the pedestal and reads the details of the statue: the man with extended hands depicts the pioneer Goan hypnotist who disproved the theories of the once famous Anton Mesmer in France. The statue was installed through the initiative of a citizens’ committee. One wonders --- who has sculpted this arresting piece? The pedestal offers no clue. But a little research yields the name of another interesting and talented Goan artist: Rama Kamat of Madkai.

He was born in 1904. This year, 2004, we have the opportunity to celebrate the birth centenary of a remarkable Goan sculptor, Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat. The artist himself passed away four years ago, but his work lives on. Here once again we encounter a curious and enthusiastic mind to whom Goa was both restricting terrain to be escaped from, and inescapable and inspiring homeland.

Rama Kamat was bitten by the creative bug very early in life. As a little boy he was already trying his hand at painting on the walls of the local temples. The Chaturthi festival found him busily at work fashioning Ganapati idols alongside more experienced craftsmen. At village fairs he put together mobile statues of great Indian leaders. But his world was too constricting --- no possibilities for study and training in art, no exposure to great work, no financial backing. But the little boy knew exactly what he wanted. At the age of thirteen, with only Rs. 50/- in his pocket, the boy Rama ran away from Goa. His preferred destination: the exciting city of Bombay, in ‘British India’.

All he wanted for the moment was to study art, to learn all he could about sculpture. He joined the Haldankar Art Classes, then the Ketkar Art Classes. He quickly absorbed all they could teach him and sought admission to the second year art course at the J.J. School of Art. The administration of the school refused. But somebody saw his work and was impressed: the Director, Sir Gladstone Solomon, glimpsed the spark of talent in the young man and got him admitted to the school in the year 1928. He continued to encourage Ramchandra through the years and under that protective wing, the fledgling sculptor gained skills and confidence to learn to fly across his own horizons. In 1929 he won the Mayo Medal at the J.J. School of Arts.

The same year the young artist completed his work ‘ Fisher Boy” and was rewarded for his pains with the Silver Medal at the Bombay Art Exhibition. Sir Solomon thought the twenty-five year old artist deserved even better and registered his protest in the local press. Ramchandra graduated in the advanced course in Sculpture with a distinction but before he did so, he went to the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts, London, where he earned prizes and scholarships in recognition of his work: in 1931, the Second Landseer prize and the bronze medal; in 1932, the First Landseer prize and the silver medal; the Edward Scots scholarship and the silver medal. People began to respect his work. In 1933, the Dean of the Academy, Sir William Macmillan, called the young man to his office and pointed out to him a list of names: earlier gold medallists at the academy. Kamat too must have his name inscribed there, in gold letters. Kamat did not fail him. He sculpted a piece entitled ‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Eden Garden’. It was highly appreciated and earned him a Gold Medal besides the Edward Scot traveling scholarship which enabled him to travel through Europe, including France, Portugal and Italy. The name of Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat stands inscribed in gold on marble at the Royal Academy of Arts. With understandable pride, his son, Dr. Aditya Kamat, a sculptor himself, tells us, “ He is the first and only Indian sculptor to get this honour.”  In 1935 he received the Livenlume Scholarship. Dean Macmillan offered him the post of Asst. Professor, but Kamat was homesick. In 1935 he returned to India.

On arrival, Kamat was given a rousing reception at the Goan Institute in Bombay. The Archbishop of Nagpur, Dr. Leonard Raymond, then Principal of St. Sebastian Goan High School, paid high tribute to the well-known Goan sculptor on this occasion. He was featured on the front page of The Times of India, interviewed on AIR and later on Doordarshan, and favourably noticed by art critics. Kamat refused the Deputy Director’s post at the J. J. School of Arts so as to be free to devote himself to professional work in sculpture in Bombay.

He has worked with a variety of materials: bronze, marble, wood, cement, etc. His preferred subject seems to have been heroic personalities --- perhaps because these were the commissions he received. The 10ft. Abbe Faria statue in bronze was completed in Bombay in 1939 and installed in Panjim in 1945. He created the 15ft. bronze statue of the Goddess Laxmi which is atop the Laxmi Insurance Building on Sir Pherozeshah Mehta Road, Mumbai. The 12ft. bronze statue of Dinshaw Wacha which stands opposite the main gate of the Churchgate Railway Station , Mumbai, is his work. His is also the 16ft.  bronze ‘equestrian statue’ of Shivaji that guards the historical Pratapgad Fort in Maharashtra. Other works include ‘ Raja Chamrajendra Wadir’ in marble, at Orissa, ‘ Rani of Jhansi’ in bronze at U.P., a mural in wood at the Reserve Bank of India, Delhi, ‘ Subhash Chandra Bose’ in bronze at Bangalore. Kamat was the founder of the Indian Sculpture Association and its first chairman.

Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat passed away on 25th May 2000 at Prabhadevi, Mumbai. His love of art and sculpture was only matched by his love of Goa. Both these he has bequeathed to his son, Aditya, a ENT specialist by profession who devotes many of his hours to painting, poetry and sculpture. Dr. Aditya himself has earned first prize for a head study of his father in a Mumbai Art Society Exhibition in 1994. Which leads one to wonder. Who will immortalize in stone, for the inspiration of posterity, this remarkable Goan sculptor who put the seal of his art on many a statue of great personages? Doesn’t Goa owe her sculptor son some poetic justice? Don’t Goans owe their renowned ‘gaun-bhau’ some lasting tribute?

This article was originally written in 2004 and is reproduced.





Mr. Requiem, who cured all the dead?

by  Teotonio R. de Souza



Probably the only authentic contemporary caricature, preserved in the National Library in Paris, portrays Abbé Faria with bolts of lightning emerging from his head, riding a scrawny horse, describing the rider as "Mr. Requiem, famous physician, who cured all the dead". He was the butt of black humour in the theatre Varietés.

Besides such attempts to ridicule him, Abbé Faria merited a more serious and largely authentic treatment in Dumas’ novel , the Count of Monte Cristo, wherein Faria plays an important role, as a prisoner in the Castle d’If in 1813. But whatever is said about his participation in a revolutionary march against the Convention seems to point to his views against the regime of terror, but probably more to his opposition to the new Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

Among his contemporaries, Faria’s novel theory of hypnotism by talk and gestures was acclaimed as a significant breakthrough by General Noizet, known for his interest and practice of induced sleep. However, Abbé Faria was too stubborn to trust anyone to support his views. His written French text was probably not too easy for a native French reader to grasp, and as Noizet recorded in his Memoirs, Abbé Faria had sought his help to review the proofs of his book, but would not easily give in to correcting even his faulty language structure. General Noizet felt sorry for having obliged Faria, but acknowledged nonetheless his scientific merits.

Dr. D.G. Dalgado’s biography of Abbé Faria (Paris, 1906) has provided us General Noizet´s graphic description of Abbé Faria, whose demonstration of hypnotism he once attended: "A tall and handsome old man, with half-graying black hair, dark complexion, elongated face, hooked nose, large bulging eyes and a sort of beautiful equine head". Faria required a donation of three francs from those seeking admission to his weekly Thursday sessions.

Two and half centuries later, the Goan pioneer of scientific hypnotism in Europe, has justice done to him. His name is given to a city road in a prestigious zone of Lisbon, the Park of the Nations, which houses the “Live Science Pavillion” (Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva), created as part of Expo98. This grand recognition took long to come. The wheels of history grind, slowly, but surely.

His Portuguese admirer and biographer, the Nobel laureate in Medicine in 1950, Dr. Egas Moniz, had complained on the occasion of the bicentenary commemoration of the birth of Abade Faria in the Geographic Society of Lisbon in 1945, over which he presided, that it was important that “Portugal, and Lisbon in particular, should recognize and manifest its respect for the merits of Fr. Faria, by associating his name and that of Pope John XXI (the Portuguese pope) to two new roads of the capital city.” He further lamented on that occasion that the city fathers had shown indifference to these eminent Portuguese citizens, and had paid more attention to political figures and artists, but had forgotten the men of science.

This was not entirely true, because Agostinho Vicente Lourenço, who had distinguished himself as chemical scientist in French and German laboratories, had gained a road name in Lisbon.  Unfortunately, following the April 25 democratic revolution in Portugal, some unwise councilor mistook the Goan scientist for the chief of the hated PIDE, the secret police of the Salazar regime, with that same name. Until the mistake was recognized, the Goan scientist had to retire from the city road, at Areeiro.

Abbé Faria’s opus magnum on lucid sleep (just a part of his projected work) is curiously organized on somewhat apocalyptic numerology, divided into 14 chapters of 14 sections, even at the cost of leaving some sections blank! There are at least 4 sections missing in Lecture VI. Seven represents completion in the Bible, as in seven days of creation. Fourteen conveys double completion .

The term "14th" is found 24 times in scriptures, and the number 14 represents deliverance or salvation and is used twenty-two times in the Bible. Jacob served Leah and Rachel during 14 years; the feast of dedication of the temple of Solomon lasted 14 days; the genealogy of Jesus in Mathew is divided into sets of 14 generations. In the Book of Proverbs the expression “the fear of the Lord” occurs 14 times.  Right through his book on the lucid sleep, which probably very few have cared to read, Abbé Faria is revealed to be a man of faith and true to his priestly Catholic theological formation.

Throughout his efforts to define lucid sleep, he sticks firmly to the human make-up of material body and spiritual soul, intimately and mutually dependent. Abbé Faria defends that an epopt, as he designates persons susceptible to benefit from lucid sleep, is master of freewill, and defends right through his treatise that no one can be forced into lucid sleep without his/her will or cooperation.  The hypnotist is a mere concentrator, an occasional cause, and never an external human efficient cause or a Devil. Abbé Faria’s scientific contribution was acknowledged by Jean-Martin Charcot, whose prestige took his views and practice to the great Hospital of Salpetrière, laying the foundation of the Nancy School of Hypnotism in 1980s.

Abbé Faria wrote his book to refute his professional detractors, but partly to assuage his fellow clergymen who had suggested that he was practising magic or witchcraft. Abbé Faria declared that those who had no interest or competence to pursue the honest could hardly bother him. His only interest was to follow his conscience, which alone ruled his conduct. It is to be noted that Faria was very conscious about every word he used, and it isn't surprising that he raised constant doubts about Noizet’s suggestions for changes in the text.

Abbé Faria was deeply convinced that there was nothing supernatural about lucid sleep, and regarded its causes as more intellectual than physical, and consequently, the difficulty in subjecting it satisfactorily to the rigour of a physical demonstration or analytical method. Abbé Faria had treated over five thousand persons, and concluded that one of every five of them could be induced into some level of lucid sleep.

Abbé Faria’s theory of lucid sleep, which some have named Fariism, defends its benefits over and above the natural sleep, but was cautious to distinguish it from religious prophecies or mystical manifestations, and denied its capacity to predict the future with any certainty, or to foretell the lucky numbers in a lottery, as some in the gambling establishments at the Palais Royal had accused him of doing. For Abbé Faria, the lucid sleep provided a glimpse into eternity, which for him meant loss of link with time consciousness, including any clear reading of future events.

Right through his book on the lucid sleep, which probably very few have cared to read, Abbé Faria is revealed to be a man of faith and true to his priestly Catholic theological formation.

At the time of Padre Faria, Portugal was not a police State, although some decades earlier, following the Lisbon earthquake and the expulsion of the Society of Jesus, Portugal saw the iron rule of Marquis of Pombal´s Chief of Police, the dreaded Pina Manique. The denunciation of the Pinto Revolt in Goa in 1787 forced Fr. Faria to move out of the reach of the Portuguese police and organize his livelihood in France. He did it with great creativity and fanfare, by questioning the popular and authoritative figure of Mesmer in the field of hypnotism.

Abbé Faria did not limit himself to dramatic performances, and put down his doctrines on paper. However, the public ridicule to which he was subjected by his rivals and the hardships of  life conditions hastened his early demise in 1819, providing pastoral needs to a home of some pious and charitable ladies at rue de Orties, at the age of 64, before seeing the printed edition of the first of the four projected volumes of his De la cause du sommeil lucide (On the Cause of Lucid Sleep), translated for the first time into English by Laurent Carrer, himself a practicing hypnotherapist, in 2004 [ISBN 1-41404488-X]. Dr. D.G. Dalgado had earlier reprinted the book with a Preface and Introduction (Paris 1906).

To conclude, we can return with Abbé Faria to Goa, where he was born and lived till 15. In Lecture VI, he discusses the practice of massage in the Indies, and one practiced in many families to help relaxation and fight diseases, by inducing a pleasant sleep. He called it mutt marunk, meaning in Konkani to strike the calves with the fist, leading to drowsiness and numbness. Abbé Faria, who had identified himself in Europe as a Goan Brahmin, also paid special homage to the Brahmins, and their practices of bhar in Hindu  temples, associated with oracles. He mentioned that they kept to themselves the secrets of inducing lucid sleep in their epopts, but believed that they followed what his own experience had taught him.



Mr Requiem who cured all the dead

(Dr. Teotonio R. de Souza)

Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologías




Abbe de Faria - Father of Hypnotism

by Dr. Nandkumar Kamat

Sometime during 16th century, the family of Antu Sinai of the scenic and historic village of Colvale converted to Christianity. They took the name of Faria. A grand house and a chapel existed at Colvale in the Faria's ancestral property. With time, both crumbled to dust. In 1754 Cajetan Vitorino de Faria, who had taken the vows of priesthood, after completing his theological education, left the religious duties, married Rosemary, daughter of a landlord in Candolim, and became their son-in law.

Strange twists and turns took place in the lives of Cajetan and Rosemary.  They separated after the birth of Jose Custodio on May 30, 1756 just  a year before the famous battle of Plassy, which gave the British East India Company hold over Bengal. At that time, Hyder Ali was gaining strength in South India. The Marathas were also in full command. Events were happening at lightening speed. Cajetan became a priest again. Rosemary became a nun and entered the convent of 'Santa Monica'.  Jose Custodio spent 15 years in Goa in the verdant surroundings of  Colvale village. He never saw his mother again.

The father and son left for Portugal on the ship 'Sao Jose' on February 22, 1771 for Lisbon, Portugal, where they arrived on November 23. At that time, they would not know what history had reserved for them. For one they were destined never to see their motherland again. They had entered Europe via Lisbon during one of the most turbulent periods in international history - the period of the American war of independence and the epochal French revolution.

Father Faria received the support of the King of Portugal for the education  of his son in Rome. Jose Custodio aimed to become a priest and completed his doctorate in theology and philosophy from the college ‘Propaganda fide'  in 1780. The Europeans would know him as Abbe de Faria. He would be the first Goan to receive both bouquets and brickbats from the local press during his active and controversial life in France and even after his death.

His magnificent statue - a remarkable piece of sculpture from the master sculptor, Ramchandra Kamat stands on the pedestal near the Old Secretariat in Panaji. A small plaque commemorates his birthplace at Candolim. However, there are no special programmes to celebrate the 250th birth anniversary of this great son of Goa - Father Jose Custodio alias Abbe de Faria. The French novelist, Alexander der Duma immortalized him in his novel-'The Count of Monte Cristo' (1844). Those who have seen the film produced in 2002 would remember the character of Padre Faria imprisoned in the castle of If with Edmond Dantes - the protagonist. Duma has given a different background of the imprisoned priest but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the character is based on Abbe de Faria.

Until 1792, Abbe de Faria had no introduction to hypnosis (from the Greek word Hypnos for sleep). However, when he became curious about the claims of 'animal magnetism' and Mesmer's mesmerism, he devoted himself to its study. This interest continued and transformed his life. Ultimately, he was successful in rejecting Mesmer's claims and provided a somewhat scientific  and rational basis for hypnosis. His followers called his technique - `Fariaism', but experts later renamed it as 'hypnotism'. Before his death under utterly impoverished circumstances in 1819, his first volume explaining the principles of hypnosis was in the press. To counter his critics he had planned four volumes, but he could complete only a single tome. The world took notice of this work but it was only in the 20th century that he was acknowledged as the 'Father of Hypnotism'.

Most of the books on his life and work are in French or Portuguese. Recently a book in English - `Jose Custodio de Faria: Hypnotist, Priest and Revolutionary', by Dr Laurent Carrer - translator and practicing hypnotherapist has been published. I am tempted to quote Faria's contributions to the field of hypnosis from the abstract of this book available to the readers.

Faria experimented with hypnosis, a state he called "lucid sleep," on more than five thousand individuals. He took a bold stand against Mesmer's theory of magnetic fluid and believed that "magnetic fits" were not only unnecessary to healing, but potentially harmful. Faria's approach was different from Mesmer.
He used to keep his subjects in a state of calm, and he believed the magnetic fit to be "a state contrary to the normal development of nature."

Faria had faced tremendous opposition from religious authorities who believed that commanding people to sleep was something accomplished through the power of the 'devil'. Faria forcefully argued that hypnotic phenomena were not due to magnetism, trickery or the devil but to the expectation and co-operation of the patient. He has shown that it is impossible to hypnotize people who are not willing.

It was Abbe de Faria who discovered the suggestive method of inducing and interrupting trance verbally. He observed and described a number of ill-understood hypnotic phenomena and provided their psychological explanations. He postulated that ordinary sleep and the hypnotic state are of similar nature (a theory that was later adopted by the School of Nancy, but has now been proven wrong)."

This book is not available in Goa but the state government needs to procure many copies of this authentic and well-researched work and get the translation rights in Konkani and Marathi so that the modern generation is introduced to this great Goan personality.

The Farias had supported and were sympathetic to the Pintos' revolt in 1787 against the repressive Portuguese rule in Goa. They were most certainly trying to secure the French support for Tipu Sultan for the liberation of Goa by establishing an Indo-French front. We have to also see the knee-jerk reaction of the British after they got a hint of such a possibility and sent their garrison to Goa to thwart an invasion. The Goans have no details of Abbe De Faria's role during the French Revolution and the violent, turbulent period that followed.

The end of the father of hypnotism was in abject misery. He is still remembered in France and Portugal. Efforts were made by his Portuguese biographers to trace his tomb in Paris without any success.

It is shameful that at government level there is no public function to commemorate his 250th birth anniversary. Some individuals and institutions in Goa and abroad are trying to keep his memory alive. There is a demand to release a postal stamp in his honour. But this is not sufficient. Goans from all walks of life and especially the villagers of Colvale and Candolim need to rise to the occasion to pay tributes and keep his memory alive by organising yearlong activities.


Editor’s Note: 

This article was written in 2006, and is reproduced with permission from the author. There was a clarification by Fr J.Loiola Pereira that Caetano Vitorino de Faria was studying to become a priest but left before he could receive the Holy Orders. His marriage with Rosa Maria de Souza lasted for six years but ended in both of them agreeing to seek church dispensation in order to pursue a religious vocation. Thus Caetano became a priest and Rosa, a nun, with the father taking over the custody of his son who in turn would become a very famous priest.



The Enigmatic Abbe Faria

by Dr. Maria-Suzette Fernandes-Dias


This article is about a genius who existed in flesh and blood beyond the confines of the dungeons of Chàteau d'If and beyond the pages of Dumas' Count of Monte-Cristo. In life, few understood him. In death, even fewer remember him. But his legacy lives on ... 

Self-exiled from his colonised motherland where he never dared to return, fearing  persecution for his father's alleged involvement in a conspiracy against the Portuguese and probably lack of intellectual opportunity, he lived in Italy and Portugal before making France, his home . Some biographers recount that for his role in the French Revolution, he was incarcerated in the Chàteau d'If. Derided by his contemporaries (Vernet, De Jouy, Châteaubriand among others) for his ground-breaking research in hypnotism and disgraced professionally, he died in penury.

Today, the world - and that too the restricted circle of the literati- knows him better as prisoner no. 27, the mad monk from Dumas' Count of Monte-Cristo who keeps ranting about his hidden treasure, than as the Father of Modern Hypnotism. He continues to fascinate young readers, and even modern artists like Ryan Gander. But very few know about the real treasure that the Abbé left behind
. I dedicate this article to everyone who has, in some way, big or small, tried to save the Abbé and his legacy, from the threat of historical oblivion.

In the centre of the cell, in a circle traced with a fragment of plaster detached from the wall, sat a man whose tattered garments scarcely covered him. He was drawing in this circle geometrical lines, and seemed as much absorbed in his problem as Archimedes was when the soldier of Marcellus slew him.

He did not move at the sound of the door, and continued his calculations until the flash of the torches lighted up with an unwonted glare the sombre walls of his cell; then, raising his head, he perceived with astonishment the number of persons present. He hastily seized the coverlet of his bed, and wrapped it round him.

"What is it you want?" said the inspector.

"I, monsieur," replied the Abbé with an air of surprise—"I want nothing." (…)

"Monsieur," continued the prisoner, "I am the Abbé  Faria, born at Rome. I was for twenty years Cardinal Spada's secretary; I was arrested, why, I know not, toward the beginning of the year 1811; since then I have demanded my liberty from the Italian and French government." (…) but it is not that which I wish to speak of, but a secret I have to reveal of the greatest importance. "(…)

"But what if I am not liberated," cried he, "and am detained here until my death? This treasure will be lost. Had not government better profit by it? I will offer six millions, and I will content myself with the rest, if they will only give me my liberty."

"On my word," said the inspector in a low tone, "had I not been told beforehand that this man was mad, I should believe what he says."

"I am not mad," replied Faria, with that acuteness of hearing peculiar to prisoners. "The treasure I speak of really exists, and I offer to sign an agreement with you, in which I promise to lead you to the spot where you shall dig; and if I deceive you, bring me here again,—I ask no more." (…)

"Monsieur, you run no risk, for, as I told you, I will stay here; so there is no chance of my escaping."

"You do not reply to my question," replied the inspector impatiently.

"Nor you to mine," cried the Abbé. "You will not accept my gold; I will keep it for myself. You refuse me my liberty; God will give it me." And the Abbé, casting away his coverlet, resumed his place, and continued his calculations.

                                Excerpts from The Count of Monte Cristo, chapt. 14


Surely, as children, this quirky genius imprisoned in the dungeons of the Château d’If and his stories of the hidden treasure must have fascinated all of us. In the foreword to Compagnons de Jéhu, Alexandre Dumas himself speaks about the cult of Abbé Faria that developed after Monte-Cristo was staged at Théâtre Historique and the novel, Le Comte de Monte Cristo was launched in 1844-45: “I have learnt that a guide attached to the Château d’If was selling pens made out of fish cartilage, claiming that they were manufactured by the Abbé Faria himself.” [1]

Long after, the Château d’If continued to be a local attraction and unsuspecting tourists visiting Marseille, were shown the dungeons of Dantès and Faria. Undoubtedly, Dumas’ literary talent metamorphosed several historical characters into legendary ones and inevitably, numerous legendary characters became historical. The legend of the treasure has overwhelmed the public imagination so profoundly that even today, occasional treasure hunters still feature among the privileged one thousand permitted to visit the remote and rocky Tuscan isle of Monte Cristo, Italy's most highly protected nature reserve since 1971, inhabited by families of goats, rabbits, rats and reptiles, as well as insects that buzz about between tufts of wild rosemary and erica bushes. And as further evidence that the allure of the novel and its enthralling nineteenth century characters will not wane despite the glaring popularity of Jedis, Ents, Wizards and  Uruk-Hais, Disney’s 2002 remake of the film, The Count of Monte Cristo, directed by Kevin Reynolds, procured an impressive 4/5 viewer rating as recorded by the BBC[2].

Winner of the 2003 Prix de Rome, artist Ryan Gander exhibited as part of his collection, An Incomplete History of Ideas, an installation entitled, Death is All Around Me – The Death of Abbé Faria. Literati probably recognised in Abbé Faria, one of the main characters from Dumas’ novel. However, to the curious visitor to his exhibition, Gander provided no further information about the mysterious Faria. In the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, Gander had built an enclosed space that reminded one of an office that had been emptied out. The view into this office was almost entirely blocked by cladding in front of the windows, and furthermore, the largest part of it was veiled in darkness. Through a slightly opened blind, one could see two more rooms in the distance that were indeed brightly lit, but these rooms too did not reveal much. In one, one could vaguely distinguish, through a half-opened door, part of a minimally decorative tiled wall. All one could decipher from the installation was that Abbé Faria was dead and that Gander has stripped him of the last remnant of his identity by devoting to him, such a completely anonymous space.


The Real Abbé Faria – who was he?

Gander’s work seems like a fitting tribute to the real Abbé Faria, my compatriot. The real Abbé Faria left behind no addresses. It is believed that he lies buried in an unmarked and unknown grave somewhere in Montmartre.  One of his biographers, Portuguese Nobel laureate and eminent neurosurgeon, Dr. Egas Moniz, found in the records of the burials of the Parish of Saint Roch, this bleak entry: “On 21 September, 1819, burial no. 6 of Mr. Jose Custodio Faria, professor of Philosophy, died on 20 September at the age of 64 at Rue des Orties No. 4. Daniel Gelasio Dalgado who is considered to be the most authoritative of Abbé Faria’s biographers, narrates in his Mémoire sur la Vie de l’Abbé Faria: Explication de la charmante légende du Château d’If dans le roman, ‘Monte Cristo’, that he visited No. 7, Rue de Ponçeau, in Paris, the last known address of Abbé Faria. When he told the concierge that his illustrious compatriot lived in that house probably around 1792, she refused to believe that Abbé Faria had ever existed and insisted that he was a fictional character, the Mad Monk created by Dumas.

Jose Custodio Faria was born in Candolim, Goa on May 31, 1756, son of a seminarian, Caetano Vitorino de Faria and Rosa Maria de Souza, both native Goans. His parents’ marriage ended in a canonically decreed separation. The father then completed his priestly studies and the mother became a nun, joining St. Monica abbey in Old Goa, where she rose to the position of prioress. Faria had to live with the stigma of being the son of a priest and a nun – something that was considered a taboo in the 18th century Goan society. The father nursed great ambitions for himself and for his son and felt that the two of them would never be able to fulfil their potential in Goa.

In 1771, armed with a vast array of letters of recommendation to the Portuguese court and the papal nuncio, the duo set sail for Lisbon. In Lisbon, the Portuguese sovereign, Dom Jose I, sent Faria Sr. to Rome to earn his doctorate in theology and the son to pursue his studies for priesthood.  In 1771, the father returned to Lisbon, now a Doctor of Theology. Eventually, in 1780, the son too earned a doctorate, dedicating his thesis to the Portuguese Queen, Dona Maria the Pious, and another study on the Holy Spirit to the Pope. Apparently, his Holiness was sufficiently impressed to invite Jose Custodio Faria to preach a sermon in the Sistine Chapel[3].On his return to Lisbon, the Queen invited the young priest to preach in the Royal Chapel. D.G. Dalgado recounts a rather amusing anecdote of what many consider, sowed the mustard seed of Abbé Faria’s interest in hypnotism.

According to Dalgado, the young Abbé Faria, on climbing the pulpit and on seeing the august congregation, felt tongue tied, confused and was about to leave, fearing ridicule. His father, who sat below the pulpit, whispered to him in Konkani, a Goan dialect: “Kator re bhaji” (“Those are just grass heads. Cut them”). Relieved by this exhortation, the son overcame his fear and continued his preaching fluently. It is believed that Faria Jr., from then on, wondered how a mere phrase from his father could alter his state of mind dramatically.

In Goa, a wave of discontent was brewing among the Goan priests and army personnel against the sidelining of natives in the fray for higher positions in the army and the clergy.  This culminated in the “Conjuracao dos Pintos”, a conspiracy hatched by some Goan members of the clergy and the army to overthrow the Portuguese colonizers in 1787. The plot was unearthed and the connivers were severely punished and disbanded. Faria Sr was implicated in this failed putsch and lost favour in the Portuguese Court. Faria Sr was detained at the Convento dos Paulistas in Lisbon and faded into oblivion. According to Goan historian, Mario Cabral e Sa[4],.one of Faria Sr’s letters to Rama Custan Naik on 4th April 1799, requesting information about his property, indicates that he was in an agitated frame of mind.  It is known that he died after a stay of some 11 years at the convent. A pauper’s funeral was given to him, without the benefit of a Mass being said, even though he was apriest.


Initiation to Hypnotism

In 1789, Faria Jr. (i.e. the Abbé Faria) left for Paris. Given his father’s alleged political involvement and anti-colonial sentiments, some biographers like Dr. Egas Moniz have speculated that Abbé Faria was sent to Paris by his father to meet the emissaries of Tipu Sultan[5] to obtain help for the conspirators of 1787 who had been incarcerated by the Portuguese in Goa. However, other biographers refute this implication since no evidence exists to prove the Abbé’s involvement or interest in political affairs back home. After leaving Goa as a teenager, he maintained no correspondence with anyone back home, with the exception of a letter requesting a cousin in Goa to look after Catarina, an orphan who was his playmate during his troubled childhood and an oratory and some icons sent from Paris.

According to Dr. Mikhail Buyanov, President of the Moscow Psychotherapeutic Academy and author of A Man Ahead of His Times, a study of Abbé Faria in Russian for which Buyanov researched at Goa’s Central library, Abbé Faria’s alleged anticlerical activities that did not please the authorities and the son was imprisoned in the Bastille. He spent several months there. One of his guards was fond of playing draughts; however, each game only lasted a short time and had to be started again. Jose Custodio de Faria often played with this guard and to prolong the pleasure, he invented hundred square draughts. This was his first contribution to history.

In Oct. 1795, Abbé Faria led a battalion of revolutionaries against the French National Convention and met Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puységur, a disciple of Mesmer, the charlatan who had enthralled the Parisian elite with his theories on magnetism and body fluids. Hypothesizing the existence of a physical magnetic fluid interconnecting every element of the universe, including human bodies, Mesmer argued that disease was the result of disequilibrium of this fluid within the body. Cure required the redirection of the fluid through the intervention of the physician who served as a kind of conduit by which animal magnetism could be channelled out of the universe at large and into the patient's body via "magnetic passes" of the physician's hands. In the process of treatment, patients experienced a magnetic "crisis," something akin to an electric shock or a convulsion, from which they recovered, cured. In imitation of electrical theory, Mesmer thought of magnetic fluid as polarized, conductible, and which could be accumulated and discharged. Indeed, ever the entrepreneur, he developed the baquet, a device for concentrating magnetic fluid in the manner of a Leyden jar. The baquetenabled him to treat as many as twenty patients at a time, each patient connected to the fluid through contact with an iron rod.

As in often the case with oral historical discourse and the passionate biographer’s quest for the particular, myths about the Abbé’s life have been perpetuated without being authenticated and new myths have been created, thus distorting the truth. No conclusive evidence proves that Abbé Faria was castigated for his involvement in the French Revolution. Dr. Buyanov claims that the Abbé was arrested in Marseille and sentenced by a law court to solitary confinement in the Château d’If, where he steadily trained himself using techniques of self-suggestion which helped him to retain a sound mind and memory. But according to Mario Cabral e Sa[6], facts do not corroborate this version. However, the Imperial Almanac of 1811[7] records that the Abbé lived in Marseille for a year and was elected a member of the medical society of that city. Obviously, the Abbé who had no medical qualifications had his skill as a magnetist equated with those of a conventional medical practitioner.


In Paris – Exit Mesmer, Enter Faria

In 1813, when Faria arrived in Paris, Mesmer had already fled and his Société de l’Harmonie had been disbanded. Le Marquis de Puységur had taken over from where Mesmer had left and discovered the "perfect crisis," a somnambulistic sleep state in which patients carried out the commands of the magnetizer and on waking up, exhibited no memory of having done so. Faria studied Puysegur’s theories and arrived at the conclusion that psychology was at the root of hypnotism. He maintained that for any hypnotic session to be successful, the rapport between the healer and the patient had to be first established. At a conference centre at 49 Rue de Clichy in Paris, Faria began conducting lessons in hypnotism, or somnambulism or “sommeil lucide” as he termed it, for a course fee of 5F. Dr. Egas Moniz points out how the nineteenth century French society was fascinated by India, the land of mystery, snake charmers and fakirs, and attributes part of Faria’s success to his ascetic figure, his bronze-coloured skin and the fact that he was Indian. At a time when titles and royal privileges were regarded in high esteem and brazenly flaunted, Faria, while teaching philosophy in Marseille, brandished a visiting card that listed among his titles, that he was a “Brahmin from India”.

Dumas denies the existence of the real Abbé Faria in his foreword to Campagnons de Jéhu by stating that the Abbé Faria from his novel, was a character created by his imagination. However, it is unlikely that Dumas who was himself very interested in somnambulism and organized séances to experiment hypnotism in his villa[8], did not know the real Faria. Châteaubriand, a staunch defender of Catholicism, speaks about him in 14th book of the second volume of his Mémoires d’Outre-tombe, in very derogatory terms: “The Abbé Faria, at a dinner at Mme de Custine’s house, boasted that he could kill a canary by magnetizing it: the canary proved to be the stronger of the two, and the Abbé, publicly shamed, was forced to leave, afraid of being killed by the canary: Christian, my mere presence had rendered the charlatan powerless.”[9]

As a practitioner of hypnotism, which was still considered an occult and forbidden science, the Abbé attracted several ailing patients and the curious onlookers… and the wrath of the clergy. Nonetheless, the Abbé worked on the clear notion that he was using a science, never abusing it and that he need not build any safeguards against its possible misuse. Egas Moniz quotes the Abbé’s last recorded words: “There are evils which sometimes do good to those who know to discern their utility.”[10]. According to Laurent Carrer, an US based French hypnotherapist who recently translated Abbé Faria’s opus magnus De la cause du sommeil lucide into English, Faria experimented with hypnosis on more than five thousand individuals, curing many of them. As for his contribution to science, Faria questioned Mesmer’s theory of magnetic fluid and declared that magnetic fits were not only unnecessary to healing, but potentially harmful to healing. His own approach was to keep his subjects in a state of calm, and he believed the magnetic fit to be “a state contrary to the normal development of nature.” He propounded the original view, though uncomfortably caught between Mesmerists, skeptics and religious opponents, that hypnotic phenomena were not the consequence of magnetism, trickery or satanic intervention, but the result of the expectancy and the cooperation of the patient. He also discovered the suggestive method of inducing and interrupting trance verbally and recognized the existence of individual differences in susceptibility to somnambulistic sleep (hypnosis). He observed and described numerous hypnotic phenomena, now well known, and gave them psychological explanations.

Faria’s method (in his jargon, he was “the concentrator” and the patient, “the concentrated”) consisted of a series of well reasoned and effective actions: he got the patient to sit comfortably and through concentration, relax and imagine that he or she was going to sleep. When he judged that the patient was sufficiently tranquil, he would give the command “sleep”, and if necessary, repeat it, with a certain degree of urgency, three or four times. Sometimes, he would ask the patient to gaze fixedly from a distance at his open palm. He would then gradually draw the palm closer to the patient, and by the time it was a few inches away, the patient would fall asleep. One of his followers, General Noizet of the Ecole de Nancy, recounts in his Memoria delivered in the Royal Academy of Berlin in 1829 and later published in 1854, that Abbé Faria had succeeded in being so specific in his suggestion techniques that he could, at a given command, paralyse a limb, eyes, a specific muscle and even the tongue of his patient. By the same method, he could restore to normalcy, the motor functions of the patients.

Faria’s power of suggestion was displayed in many other ways. He would ask his patients whether they would like a particular beverage or medicine and then give them instead, a glass of plain water that they would drink and savour as if it were the desired beverage or medicine. He could influence their sense of smell as well. The patient would, for instance, ask for snuff and the Abbé would give them some odourless powder that they would sniff as if it was snuff. On one occasion, Noizet recounts, the Abbé was approached by a Russian official living in Paris who wanted to “see” his wife whom he had left behind in Russia. The Abbé, through his methods of suggestion, “created the illusion” so effectively that the diplomat began to cry with joy.

It was not long before Faria’s sessions were the talk of the town and he became the victim of diatribes of skeptical journalists. Gazette de France in its issue dated 21st of Aug, 1813, carried a long article “Somnambulisme et l’Abbé Faria” written by L’Ermite de Chaussée d’Antin, the pseudonym of Etienne de Jouy, a satirist who wrote about the customs and practices of the Parisian society of his times. Jouy describes the scenes witnessed at the hypnotism sessions held at Rue Clichy and derides Faria as a foreign charlatan. The audience is described as “brilliant, numerous, comprising largely of young women. The large majority was well predisposed towards the new doctrine.” The journalist then recounts: “I sat next to Madame Maur and I could see through her attractive figure, the different changes caused by credulousness, trust and persuasion. Fr. Faria accompanied by five or six young ladies arrived at the corner reserved for him at the far end of the hall. His believers did not have any more prejudices than Desdemona.”

Even Le Moniteur Universel did not spare the Abbé from slander: “That Abbé is Satan’s hellhound. His countenance is frightening and extraordinary at the same time and compliments his magnetic stances.”[11].  The article falsely accused the Abbé of having induced a pregnant woman to miscarry through his method.

Playwright Jules Vernet portrayed Faria as “Soporito”, the anti-hero of his vaudeville play, La Magnétismomanie which was a huge commercial success in Paris. Faria’s reputation did not survive the onslaught on his character and abilities. Denigrated by the press, jeered on stage, ridiculed by fellowmagnétiseurs and threatened with ex-communication, he retired as a chaplain to an obscure religious establishment and set out to write a defence of his theory that hypnosis, or lucid sleep was caused by the force of suggestion appropriately applied. He published the first volume of his book, De la Cause du Sommeil Lucide in 1819 but died of a stroke before he could complete his opus.


Faria’s Legacy

It is only after his death that the schools of Nantes and Paris recognized the true worth of Faria’s theory and technique. French neurologists, Gilles de la Tourette and Albert Pitres known for their research on obsessions and impulsions, expounded Faria’s theories. According to Pitres, Faria was the first to describe first hand, the phenomenon of sensorial hallucination, referred to as “Braidism”.  Jean Martin Charoot, well known French neurologist openly defended Faria’s theories and included them officially in the curriculum of medical studies. Dr. Bernheim, the most outstanding spokesman of the School of Nancy, is more emphatic: “The discovery of hypnotism does not belong to James Braid. Only the word belongs to him … it is Faria to whom without any doubt, goes the merit of being the first to establish the doctrine and the method of hypnotism through suggestion and of having rid it of doctrines, unique and useless, which until then, hid the truth. it was he who gave before anyone else, a clear and true notion of hypnotic phenomena.”[12]

A century ago Dr. D. G. Dalgado, his biographer, wrote: "Abbé Faria is known inthe medical and scientific world, particularly in France, as having signalled the end of the era of animal magnetism and of magnetized trees and the beginning of the era of the lucid sleep or of hypnotism, which is a very interesting branch of knowledge of physiology and psycho-physiology, with practical applications, specially to therapeutics and paediatrics. His book, Of the Cause of Lucid Sleep, published in 1819, and to which he owes his reputation as a scientist, has been out of print for a long time. There are authors -- some of them authorities! -- who know about it only through a few quotations cited in other works. I am of the opinion that the reprinting of this book would generate a lot of interest among those who dedicate themselves to the study of hypnotism and whose number is increasing every day."[13]

Dr. Dalgado himself reprinted the book in 1906, on Faria's 150th birth anniversary, in the original French and published it along with his own biography and assessment of the man, also in French. These, too, went out of print and have remained so. Several modern researchers have looked into the scarcely available copies of the original French text in an attempt to extract its quintessence, only to find themselves recoiling in terror - tackling 18th century language and concepts expressed awkwardly by a non-French native, is indeed not a feasible challenge for the faint of heart. But US based French hypnotherapist and veteran translator, Laurent Carrer took up the gauntlet and delivered in 2004, a masterful annotated translation more legible than its original.

In Goa, Faria’s motherland, in the capital city of Panaji, in a park facing the river, is the life sized bronze statue of a cloaked man gesticulating above a reclining female beauty. Designed and executed by Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat, the first ever Indian to be awarded a Gold Medal by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, it was erected in 1945 by Alto Comercio, a group of citizens from Panjim to honour the memory of an illustrious son of Goa who had made a significant contribution to the study of the mind in the nineteenth century. At the base of the statue, is the following inscription: “Jose Custodio, Abbe Faria, fundador do metodo de hipnose pela sugestao” (founder of the method of hypnotism by suggestion). Novelist Evelyn Waugh graphically described the tableau as a “wildly vivacious statue of Abbé Faria, a Goan mesmerist of the Napoleanic era, caught here in hot bronze at the climax of an experiment, rampant over an entranced female.”[14]  However, in post-liberation Goa, few people know much about the man, and when a move was made to include a photo of the sculpture in a government brochure, an official protested that this was unacceptable since Faria was Portuguese!

31st of May 2006 marks the 250th birth anniversary of Abbé Faria. Several prominent Goans have been striving to draw public attention to his life and achievements and build a permanent memorial to him. A website has been created and a petition has been lodged before the Indian government to issue a postal stamp to commemorate the Abbé’s 250th birth anniversary. From as early as April 1985, appeals have been made to the government (unfortunately, without any success)  to convert the Abbé’s ancestral home into a national monument, a museum or a place of learning and culture instead of the orphanage that it is at present.[15]  Well-known Goan academic and playwright, Prof Isabel Santa Rita Vas has produced a play about the life and times of Abbé Faria and a documentary entitled In Search of Abbe Faria. Abbe Faria's sermon on the Advent of the Holy Spirit, delivered in Latin in the Sistine Chapel at the invitation of and in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Pius VI, has been translated into English by Fr. Ivo Souza, Professor at the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, Goa.

On the international plane too, there has been a revival of interest in the life and the work of Abbé Faria. In 2004 US based French hypnotherapist and veteran translator, Laurent Carrer translated the Abbé's opus De la cause du sommeil lucide into English and in July 2005, French publishing house, Harmattan, published De la cause du Sommeil Lucide with an introduction by Prof Serge Nicolas, leading French psychologist. Revue La France Pittoresque carried an article on the Abbé Faria in its 16th issue (Oct/Nov/Dec 2005) The postal department of a European nation (details confidential at the moment) will be issuing a commemorative post card in honour of the Abbé. One of my compatriots, Luis Santa Rita Vas brought to my attention, Abbe Faria: The Master Hypnotist Who Charmed Napoleon, a biography by Diogo Mesana Fernandes which speaks about Faria’s work on clairvoyance and explores his close association with Napoleon.[16]

In his life time in Paris, the real Abbé Faria inspired fascination, scandal and trivia and paid a heavy price for the honesty of his convictions and the validity of his scientific theories. In death, the fictional Abbé has displaced and outlived the real one, as is often the case with cults engendered by literary works. But the real Abbé Faria’s legacy lives on …. Hypnotism or suggestion is extensively used in psychotherapy. It has been so widely accepted as to be seen almost as a truism that the mind responds powerfully to effective suggestion. Today’s popular techniques like the use of positive thinking, the methods of creative visualisation and the awareness of the depths of the mind, are considered to be offshoots of Faria’s seminal work.

As Dr. Buyanov, Moscow Psychotherapeutic Academician put it very aptly:  "[Faria was] great, because he had no fear and fought for truth rather than for his place at the vanity fair.  Abbé Faria's mystery does not lie in the circumstances of his life that are unknown to historians and lost forever (a detail more oe a detail less, is unimportant); his mystery lies in his talent, courage, and quest for truth.  His mystery was the mystery of someone who was ahead of his time and how blazed a trail for descendants due to his sacrifice." [1][17]


Dr. Maria-Suzette Fernandes-Dias coordinates research and scholarly activities at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, The Australian National University. She has recently convened conferences on the Legacies of Slavery and Blasphemy and Sacrilege in the Arts. Prior to her relocation to Canberra in Dec. 2002, she completed a doctorate in French (La conscience post-coloniale: une etude compare des oeuvres de Rushdie et de Ben Jelloun) from the University of Goa, India (awarded in 2003). From 1998 to 2002, she worked as the educational director and cultural coordinator of Alliance française de Goa and from 1998-2000, taught comparative literature, linguistics and francophone literature to post-graduate students, at the School of Languages, Faculty of Arts, University of Goa.



[1] "Un Mot au lecteur"  in Compagnons de Jéhu 


[3]  In 2005, there was much debate among Goan intellectuals about whether the Abbé Faria was indeed invited by the Pope to deliver the above mentioned sermon.

[4] Cabral e Sa, Mario: Great Goans, Vol. 1, Kirloskar Press, Pune, p. 21

 [5] Tipu Sultan (1750-1799) was ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, in India from 1782, and one of the primary native sources of resistance to the establishment of British rule in India. He worked to check British advances through alliances with local rulers and with France which had been a rising European power in India. An interesting aspect of Tipu's life was that he was a founder-member of the Jacobin Club.

 [6] Cabral e Sa, Mario: Great Goans, Vol. 1, Kirloskar Press, Pune, p. 21

 [7] as noted by Paxeco Oscar in “Sant’elmo, Ruy, O Padre Faria e a sua Apoteose” in Boletim Ecclesiastico da Arquidiocese de Goa, p. 91-96 

 [8] As illustrated by J.A. Gentil in Initiation aux mystères de la théorie et de la pratique du magnétisme animal, suivi d’expériences faites à Monte-Cristo chez Alexandre Dumas, Paris, 1849.Dumas had written :’ . . .the fact is, Dantes and Abbe Faria have never existed save in my imagination; consequently, Dantes could not have been precipitated from the top to the bottom of the Chateau d'If, nor could could the Abbe have made pens.  But that is what comes from visiting these localities in person.'  However, it has subsequently been proved that Dantes was based on General Alex Dumas's own father, and so, was not a figment of his imagination.  Likewise, Abbe Faria . . .

 [9] Châteaubriand: Mémoires d’Outre-tombe, Bibl. De la Pléiade, 1951, t. I, p. 474

 [10] Moniz, Egas: O Padre Faria na historia do hipnotisme, Lisbon, 1925, p. 2

 [11] cited by Louis Pauwels in  « Le véritable Abbé Faria, grand magnétiseur », Historia, juin 1980, no. 403 p 73

 [12] Paxeco, Oscar: ibid, p. 61

 [13] Dalgado, D.G.:  Foreword to Mémoire sur la vie de l’Abbé Faria, Henri Jouve, Paris, 1906


 [15] Dom Martin in leading Goan newspaper, OHeraldo, dated April 21, 1985.

 [16] For details about Mesana Fernandes’ book, look up

 [17] Buyanov, Mikhail. A Man Ahead of His Times. Mir Publishers, Moscow, 1989.





Dr. Mikhail Buyanov


                                                                          (Untitled) by Dom Martin


A good word can cure a person, while an evil word can make a person sick. A word can send a thousand of soldiers into battle while another word can make millions stoop in mourning.

Psychotherapy includes over seventy treatment techniques one of them being hypnosis, which is a special kind of remedial suggestion.  The first 100 – 125 years of psychotherapy is in fact, the history of hypnosis because hypnosis was a synonym for psychotherapy for many years.

The place of Abbot Faria in the system of psychotherapeutic knowledge was defined by Kannabikh in his classic History of Psychiatry (Moscow, 1929, in Russian). Mesmer 1734-1815) who was born in Vienna presented his theory of ‘animal magnetism’ in Paris in about 1780. According to the theory, the body of the magnetizer emanates a special fluid that is transmitted by the passing of hands across the face or a slight touch to the body of the patient and brings a curative effect. Mesmer’s pupil, Puysegur (1751-1825) observed the phenomenon of somnambulism induced in some people by the ‘magnetic passes’. The next step was the observation by the Portuguese (sic) scholar Faria that if he looked intently at a person for several minutes while repeatedly ordering him to sleep this will induce a state of somnambulism. This technique was presented in a book by Faria in 1819.”

Reliable data on the real Abbot de Faria are occasional and contradictory. There are more myths and conjectures about him than exact information. It is difficult and sometimes impossible to separate the truth from fantasy. A collection of the grains of trustworthy data yields the following biography of the Abbot.

He was born in 1756 near Panaji, now the principal city of the Indian state of Goa. Caetano de Faria, his father, was a descendant of an Indian Brahmin who was converted to Roman Catholicism. The son was Christened José Custodio. When he was 15 years old his father took him to Lisbon where they spent several months before going to Italy. J. C. de Faria enrolled at the Theological department and became a Doctor of Theology in 1780.

Having completed their education father and son returned to Portugal. The Father became confessor to the King and the Queen and the son was made a priest in the royal Chapel. They fled from Lisbon to Paris in 1788 having supposedly been involved in a plot to separate Goa from Portugal.

In Paris, they both pursued clerical activities but they did not please the authorities and the son was imprisoned in the Bastille. He spent several months there. One of his guard was fond of playing draughts; however, each game lasted a short time and had to be started again. Jose Custodio de Faria often played with this guard and, to prolong the pleasure he invented the 100-square draughts. This was his first contribution to history.

On July 14 1789, Parisian rebels occupied the Bastille. Whether or not Faria was imprisoned there at the time is unknown. One thing is clear: he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Revolution and headed a detachment of sansculottes. He seems to have devoted himself entirely to his political activities. Having exchanged the cross for the sword he fought on the side of the Revolutionary troops and became famous as a victorious commander.

However, there were negative aspects to the policy pursued by some of the leaders of the revolution. Terror became absolute and a universal suspicion was cultivated: every foreigner was suspected of being an enemy of the revolution. The fact that Faria was not French was clear to anyone who saw his dark complexion, Indian appearance and heard his guttural speech. To save himself from the Terror the Abbot de Faria fled to the South of France. He is said to have become a member of a Medical Society in Marseilles, to have been a Professor at the Marseilles Academy and to have taught in a local high school.

Faria, who was working as an assistant teacher at a High School in Nimes was also arrested. He was taken to Marseilles in a barred police carriage and sent to the Chateau d’If by a Law Court. He was shut up in solitary confinement in Chateau d’If thus doomed to a lingering and agonizing death.  Then aged 40, Faria could have expected to spend the rest of his life in captivity until either he died or went mad. However circumstances intervened but to explain them, we must go back in time before the 1789-1794 French Revolution.

A short while before the Bastille was stormed, Franz Anton Mesmer appeared in Paris. He was a tall handsome man who was rumored to be a magician. Mesmer accomplished miracles: he could induce local anesthesia in the skin and tissues of a person or convince a person of being at the sea shore or on an ice-field, so much so that the person would suddenly feel cold or hear the lapping of waves.

Although Mesmer was considered to be a black magician and an emissary of the devil, he was only an honest intelligent and inquisitive man, who sincerely tried to reach the truth. A son of his time, he fell into the mistakes and errors of many of his contemporaries, but he discovered phenomena that even now, two centuries later are as incomprehensible as they were in the late eighteenth century.

No one used the term “hypnosis” prior to 1843; the term was invented by the Manchester physician James Braid. Hypnotherapists such as Mesmer, Puysegur and the Abbot de Faria were called magnetizers.

While in Paris, the Abbot de Faria became an ardent follower of Mesmer and continued his work. Faria met Puysegur and began experiments with him on what is now called hypnology. However, Faria never forgot that his ancestors came from India . He met yogis and studied their teachings. Naturally, he could not explain the unusual things yogis could demonstrate, but he understood that a great role (if not the principal one) was played in yoga by self-suggestion. Having lived in Goa, José Custodio de Faria had tried the yoga techniques on himself. When he moved to Paris he tried to combine yogism and Mesmer’s teaching.  While imprisoned in Chateau d’If, Custódio de Faria steadily trained using the techniques of self-suggestion. It appears that this helped him retain sound mind and memory.

Everything comes to an end sooner or later. Custodio de Faria was finally freed after 17 years in Chateau d’If. A tall grey bearded old man with a dark complexion and large brown eyes, appeared in Paris one day. He was the long forgotten Abbot de Faria. A new period in his life had begun and this period made him famous.

Although the “Bronze Abbot”, as de Faria was nicknamed in Paris, used therapeutic magnetism for only three or four years, these were the most fruitful years of his life. The Abbot de Faria passed away in 1819, but before he died he succeeded in publishing On The Cause of Lucid Sleep or A Study Of the Human Nature by the Abbot de Faria, Brahmin, Doctor of Theology and Philosophy, Member of the medical society of Marseilles, and Ex-professor of Philosophy at the University of France, Paris, 1819. He dedicated the book to the Marquis de Puysegur who had been his teacher.

I shall not discuss José Custodio de Faria’s views on the nature of hypnosis (or magnetism as it was known at the time) in detail. Let me only note that de Faria was ahead of his time. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he based his argument on the fact that somnambulism and the other phenomena of hypnotism were underlain by human suggestibility. Everyone is suggestible: some to a greater extent, some to a lesser extent. No one can be hypnotized without suggestion.

This had been presented in Faria’s book but nobody paid any attention to his conclusions. Nor had anyone taken note of what de Faria had noticed, namely, that there is nothing supernatural in the ability to carry out suggestions and that both the hypnotizer and the hypnotized subject are important. If the person who comes for suggestion believes in the hypnotherapist and expects a successful session then it will be a success. But if the person is suspicious, illdisposed, believes in nobody and accuses the hypnotherapist of trickery or deception then he will not derive any benefit from suggestion. This is why it is very difficult to treat such individuals.

Custodio de Faria was the first to write about all this, bur few people read his book while he still lived, and few thought about the phenomena he demonstrated. A ”distance” of time was required before we could appreciate this extraordinary man. At the dawn of psychotherapy, he had achieved an insight into what scientists could only see a 100 years later. Jose Custodio de Faria demonstrated hypnosis at 49, Rue de Clichy in Paris. He held sessions with men women, children, adolescents, and domestic animals including birds. In the main he used two kinds of suggestions: he would either look unblinkingly into the eyes of a sitting or lying subject and several times repeat: “Sleep”, and the subject would go to sleep; or he would suddenly approach a subject and say sleep in an imperious tone, and the subject would go to sleep instantly.

These are called the de Faria techniques and mentioned in all textbooks on psychotherapy and they are broadly used by psychotherapists today. I suppose that the Abbot de Faria realized that the psychotherapists’ “bread” was bitter. In addition to the envy, jealousy, and interference one has to put up with when one does better than one’s colleagues he was accused in indulging in black magic, and witch doctoring. The usual reasoning is: “explain what you are doing. Why can you do it and someone else cannot, even though he is more educated and occupying a higher post than you.”

What can one say? Should we ask why Enrico Caruso could sing so well while legions of generals, professors and statesmen could never sing as he did, if they could at all. Should William Shakespeare have been asked how he managed to write Romeo and Juliet while no playwright either before or after him had been able to write anything like it?

To answer these questions is as impossible as to say why people sing of lost love but never of lost jobs or money. Even to try to answer all the related questions requires immense knowledge, but some day, humanity will find out. As matters stand now, however, the data are too scarce, and therefore we should not jump to hasty conclusions.  Regrettably, people are rarely tolerant of the opinions of others. When Custodio de Faria lived and worked, and now-a-days as well, people were very intolerant.

As soon as the address at the Rue de Clichy in Paris became known and thousands of inquisitive people rushed there (the entrance payment was symbolical, a mere Fr.5) the Faria’s adversaries fell upon him. Most of his adversaries were clergy, but there were also scientists.  The fury of the clergy and scientists, who saw the devil incarnate in Custodio de Faria, were so tempestuous that the Abbot, whose health had already been impaired and whose life hung by a thread faced a dilemma: either to continue his activity and perish or go underground and write a book on suggestion. Harassed by his destiny he chose the latter. Who can rebuke him? Who can cast a stone at Galileo Galilei who was forced to recant?

Custodio de Faria confessed his “sins” and was given a tiny parish. He led the life of a humble shepherd. However, the guise of old priest concealed a fiery soul an ardent intellect, and a conscience seeking for an answer. Clandestinely, Jose Custodio de Faria was writing his book.

De Faria passed away but his book is here to stay. Thousands of psychotherapists in every country and continent know his name. A monument to the Abbot has been erected in Panaji; a priest is bending over a woman, he is going to tell her: “Sleep”, and the woman will go to sleep, and when she wakes up she will be healthy and happy. The Abbot’s destiny after 1819 is unknown. He was over his humiliation and persecution. He was over prisons and Chateau d’If.

He was over his trials and tribulations. He was envied and misunderstood. In a word he was over what had been the destiny of a great person. Great because he had no fear and fought for truth rather than for his place at the vanity fair.

The Abbot de Faria’s mystery does not lie in the circumstances of his life that are unknown to historians and lost forever (a detail more or a detail less is unimportant);  His mystery lies in his talent, courage, and quest for truth. His mystery is the mystery of a genius who was persecuted, oppressed, and tormented while he lived and made a banner, or a symbol after his death. His mystery was the mystery of someone who was ahead of his time and blazed a trail for his descendents due to his sacrifice.


(This article is excerpted from a chapter in the book, Child Psychiatry and You, by Dr. Mikhail Buyanov, published by Mir Publishers, Moscow. Dr. Mikhail Buyanov is the President of the Moscow Psychotherapeutic Academy, and also the author of A Man Ahead of His Times, a study in Russian of Abbe Faria.)



by Alfredo de Mello

                                             The 10th Panchen Lama by Dom Martin


Caetano Victorino de Faria, a Brahmin Christian, born in Colvale, in the north of Bardez district, just on the south bank of the river Chapora, devoted himself to ecclesiastical studies when young.  After taking lesser orders, he married Rosa de Sousa, daughter of Alexandre de Sousa, nicknamed Concro, a rich man, of course of Brahmin origin, in the village of Candolim in the south-west of Bardez near the sea..


It is the custom in India for the bride to enter into the family of the groom, but in the present case, since the bride was an only daughter, it was Caetano Victorino who went to live in the house of his father-in-law. Maybe this exception to the rule gave rise to the dissensions and unsavoury quarrels that followed. Rosa, as an only daughter, and heiress of a great fortune, brought up with the indulgence characteristic of these two attributes, was haughty, with a dominating character, and could not reconcile herself to life of a married woman, submitting herself to the power of her husband, as was the hallowed custom, and this gave rise to perpetual domestic agitation. Caetano Victorino was evidently a man of strong character, clever and ambitious, because any other lesser man would have been glad to marry a rich woman, sole heiress, and his role would be only to procreate and have a good life.


The tribulations that poor Alexandre de Sousa suffered during six years, without being able to bring about marital peace, mined his health until he died. As there was no successor, nor hope of his daughter bearing a child, he willed one third of his inheritance in favour of two nephews, sons of his brother Manoel de Souza, whose male descendants were known in the eighteenth century with the common name of Concros.


After seven years' marriage, and exactly ten months after the death of her father, Rosa gave birth on the 30th May 1756 to a son, who was called Jose Custodio Faria. He was baptized on the 7th June, as per birth certificate appearing in Document 49, fol 123: "On the seventh June 1756, I, friar Manuel de Jesus e Maria with the permission of M.R. Father Fr. Manuel deAssumpcao, rector of this church Our Lady of Hope of Candolim, baptized, and put the holy oils to Joseph Custodio, born since eight days, son of Caetano Victorino de Faria, and Rosa de Sousa. The godfathers were father Joao Simôes,living in Sirola and Celestina Maria Luiza de Souza, who lives in this parish." signed:  Fr.- Manoel de Jesus Maria.


The birth of the son did not bring about a truce between the parents, who, in common accord, decided to separate, and Caetano Victorino became a priest, whilst Rosa de Sousa went to the convent of Santa Monica of Goa, where she became a nun.


In 1771, Father Caetano Victorino decided to take his son to Europe and both father and son sailed on the 21st February 1771 on the ship "S. Jose", on a long but felicitous voyage sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, and arriving in Lisbon on the 23rd November 1771.


During this voyage, he struck up a friendship with the former Secretary of State in India, Henrique Jose de Mendanha, who, incidentally, was recalled and headed for prison in Limoeiro by order of His Majesty, for the blame of the unsuccessful attempt in the conquest of Piro, against Tippu Sultan, in the year 1768. The friendship which he made with this judge and other letters of recommendation which he carried to the Kingdom, opened the way for Caetano Victorino Faria to acquaint himself with the principal people in the Court of Lisbon; but during conversations with father Fr.Francisco, the Poet, the latter recommended him to abstain himself from these acquaintances, and that he should take a different course, which the disgraced Mendanha also approved. It must be borne in mind that although King Jose I reigned, the real ruler was the famous Marquis of Pombal, Prime Minister.


Faria was recommended to the father master Fr. Joao Baptistade S. Caetano, a Benedictine, who listened to him, and after a chat of four hours in the Convent of Estrela, the latter decided to help this priest in his plans, in view of the fact that caution was needed in such a delicate matter in the Court. As a result, Fr.Joao Baptista talked to the Nuncio, and informed favourably regarding Father Caetano Victorino Faria and his son Jose Custodio.


What were father Caetano Faria's plans in Lisbon, and especially in Rome, are not known in the documents available today, but it is certain that the letters he wrote to Goa by the first monsoon (1) after his arrival in Lisbon, dated 1st February 1772, and addressed to the Pintos of Candolim, he declared that he was about to travel to Genoa, on the way to Rome, taking along letters of recommendation of the Nuncio in Lisbon to the Cardinal, Secretary of State of the Vatican, and other dignitaries of the Vatican, as well as special instructions; all were made with great caution and secrecy.


The other channel of introduction of Caetano V. Faria with the Grandees was through the Counts of S. Vicente, whose son Miguel Carlos da Cunha had arrived in Goa as a military officer in the year 1756. In fact, he had gone to India under the name Miguel Carlos de Tavora, and after this surname was made extinct by law, he adopted the name of da Cunha, which also belonged to his family. This military officer had married a lady of poor means, but as a compensation, besides a grant from the royal Treasury, the Government had given him the coconut grove of Sinquerim, which had belonged to the Jesuits - who were expelled in 1759 by Marquis of Pombal, with their property seized by the State - but Miguel Carlos was prodigal and a great squanderer.  With his salary plus the above mentioned revenues, he could not maintain his family, and he was obliged to resort to the generosity and alms of the Pintos of Candolim, who were close friends and neighbours of Father Faria. The latter did not miss the opportunity to mention to the Count that his son and family were practically guests of Antonio Joao Pinto. The Count was much obliged and willing to extend his influence and favour, upon which offer, Father Faria delivered to the Court a petition in the name of Mr. Ignacio Pinto for being appointed General Treasurer of the Bulla da Cruzada, which appointment indeed materialized. All these details are known by a letter dated first of February 1772 sent by Caetano Victorino Faria to the aforementioned friend in Candolim, Antonio Joao Pinto. (2)


Incidentally Miguel Carlos da Cunha became eventually a Lieutenant Colonel and died in 1813, as governor of the fortress of Cabo de Rama, in south Goa. There were many sarcastic and humourous anecdotes about him; his extravagancies and ravings were the gossip of Goan society for decades.


Both Farias, father and son went to Rome in 1772, where the older studied for his doctorate and returned to Lisbon. He left his son Jose Custodio to enter the College of Propaganda Fide, under the sponsorship of Portugal's King Jose I.  Whilst Father Caetano Victorino became the doyen of the Goan community in Lisbon, and gave help and recommendations to the influential people in Court in favour of his countrymen, the son Jose Custodio finished his course of Theology in 1780, after having become a priest. In gratitude, he intended to dedicate his Thesis to King Jose his patron, but since this King had passed away, he dedicated it to the Queen Maria I and D. Pedro III. (3)


Upon his return to Lisbon, Jose Custodio Faria was invited to preach in the royal chapel.  After climbing the pulpit and facing the Queen, the King, and the distinguished Court, young Faria started stammering timidly, but his ever watchful father, hidden underneath the pulpit, uttered the Konkani injunction "KATOR RE BHAJI" , which nobody else understood except young Faria. His father ordered him to "snipe away with the scissor the bhaji vegetable", thereby meaning:" Go ahead, don't be afraid, you know more than the whole congregation". With this adrenalinic vocal shot from his father, Jose Custodio delivered an eloquent sermon which was much appreciated and applauded.


Wily Father Caetano exaggerated his importance in Lisbon to his countrymen, by leaking to his friends the Pintos of Candolim in Goa, that he was the confessor of the Queen, but this seems to be a bluff, even though this title appears in the Great Portuguese-Brazilian Encyclopaedia; however, this is rebutted in the document N§ 31 of the book of J.H.da Cunha Rivara, where the author quotes a letter from Inocencio Francisco da Silva addressed to Mr. Jacinto Caetano Barreto Miranda: "I don't think it possible to say truthfully that father Caetano Victorino was ever confessor of the Queen D. Maria I; in the year 1757 in which by decree of the 19th September, the Jesuits were expelled from the Court...the following confessors were chosen for the crown princess D. Maria and the infantas her sisters, viz Father Dr. Jose Pereira de Santa Ana... until his death on 31st January 1759. In February, the confessor chosen was Dr.Fr. Ignacio de S. Caetano...who continued until his death at age 69 on 29th November 1788, directing always the conscience of theQueen. He was suceeeded by D. Jose Maria de Mello, ...bishop of Algarve, and it was during his ministry that the Queen became mad...Therefore in the interval between 1757 and 1794, it is not possible to put Caetano Victorino as confessor of the Queen." (4)


Between the years 1780 and 1785 several Goans had gone to Lisbon, and logically all flocked to the house of Fr. Caetano Victorino Faria, who was the unofficial ambassador of his fellow countrymen, inasmuch as he had managed to have some influence in the Court.


Father Caetano Francisco do Couto, a Goan who had been governor of the bishopric of Cochin, had been fired by the Portuguese bishop Fr. Manoel de Santa Catharina. The former sailed to Lisbon in the year 1781, complaining about the bishop and seeking promotions.


Another father Jose Antonio Goncalves, professor of philosophy in the seminary of Chorƒo, appointed there by the aforementioned bishop of Cochin, who was also governor of the archbishopric of Goa, had also been dismissed. Embittered and discontented with the bishop, he too sailed to Portugal in the year 1781; and in order to ascend the ladder of hierarchy in priesthood, he took a degree of doctor in Rome, in the year 1782.


These disgruntled priests gathered in the house of Caetano Victorino Faria and his son Jose Custodio. Other Goans, including Jose Antonio Pinto of Candolim, who was a student, and two Vicente brothers, one student in the navy, by name of Joaquim Antonio, joined in these social gatherings.  Living together, it was natural to talk about things going on in Goa, and from these debates there arose the first idea of an uprising in Goa, which would drive the Portuguese out of the Government of the State, and thus conferring the high posts of running the State to native Goans, especially to those of the Brahmin caste, to which they all belonged. It seems that father Caetano Francisco do Couto and Jose Antonio Goncalves aspired to be promoted to bishops which were then vacant in the Padroado of India, namely in Craganore, Meliapur and Malacca.


At this time there were in Lisbon two Catanar clergymen, of the Syrian-chaldean rites in Malabar, originally founded by the Apostle St. Thomas, the "unbeliever" who had migrated to India around A.D. 43. To this day these congregations are known as the Syrian Christians and they proliferate precisely on the southern coast of Malabar. The new Christianity brought along in the sixteenth century, by the Catholic Portuguese was trying to dominate these Catanar sects, and caused a schism. Although the lands and ports were no longer under Portuguese suzerainty, the Padroado granted by the Pope to Portugal in Asia, still continued in the sphere of religion.


These two Catanar priests managed to get in the good graces of the Queen D. Maria I who protected them, and also the benevolence of Pope Pius VI, and in common accord among the two sovereigns, lay and religious, father Jose Cariate was elected and confirmed as Archbishop of Craganore.


This promotion, the first of its kind, was ill received by the two Goan fathers, who being of the Latin church, reputed themselves as much more worthy than the Malabar Syriac to occupy the head of the Craganore See. They complained to the Secretary of State, Martinho de Mello e Castro, who listened to them and counselled them to return to Goa, in the certainty that the Archbishop of Goa, their superior, would grant them promotions according to their merits. The two Goan priests complained bitterly to the Secretary of State about the contempt with which the Portuguese treated them in Goa, and suggested that, instead of sending Portuguese officials from Lisbon, the administration of the government as well as military and ecclesiastical jobs be given to the native Goans, who were educated enough. In this manner, Portugal would get the best advantages from the State of India, and only thus would it be opulent and happy.


This"paradoxical utopia" (Cunha Rivara dixit) could not be envisioned by the Government in Lisbon, and such pernicious ideas fomented by these priests deserved only indifference and contempt. During the government of Marquis of Pombal, the rights of citizenship of native Goans were reaffirmed and specifically declared equal to those of the Portuguese from the Metropolis. The Secretary of State detected that these priests were primarily interested in becoming bishops, but not in Portugal, as they were only interested in serving in India.


The two priests Jose Antonio Gonsalves and Caetano Francisco do Couto returned to India sailing in April 1785 in the fleet of the three ships "Senhor Jesus Resuscitado", "Santa Zeferina" and "Princeza do Brazil", which arrived in Goa on the 1st of May 1786. Father Gonsalves landed in Ceylon, and only travelled to Goa by the beginning of 1787.


A conspiracy was being schemed among a few Goans, and here there were links with Joseph Francois Dupleix, French Governor of Pondicherry and the Nawab Tippu Sultan, ruler of Mysore. Dupleix was married to a lady born in Goa, and known in history as Jan-Begum. Her real name was Joana Albert, daughter of Isabel Rosa de Castro and a French doctor J. d'Albert, and granddaughter of a Portuguese Tome Rodrigues de Castro and whose mother was Indian. Joana de Castro, married to Dupleix, was a great collaborator of her husband in the Government of Pondicherry and other French settlements in India. Her proficiency in the languages of the country were of immense help to Dupleix in his confidential negotiations with the native princes, and Tippu Sultan in particular. (5)


Tippu Sultan had sent three envoys to France to establish links with King Louis XVI in Versailles, ostensibly to establish a commercial treaty.   Dupleix had in mind to conquer the island of Goa with the aid of Tippu Sultan, who would keep for himself all the other territory of Goa adjacent to the islands of Goa. If this project had taken shape, it is doubtful if it would serve the interests of the Goan conspirators, as no doubt Dupleix and Tippu Sultan would have the upper hand, and would leave the conspirators stranded. The conquest of Goa was dreamed by the French . The Government of Goa had no inkling of any subversive element within Goa, but feared the plans of the French and therefore sought diplomacy by means of cordial correspondence between the Governor Francisco da Cunha e Menezes with Colonel de Montigni in September/October 1787 who was the French diplomat in Poona, the seat of the Mahratta kingdom. (6)


However, these projects did not enter seriously in the thoughts of the French government of Versailles, which had more weighty problems to deal with at home, Instead, Dupleix was recompensed by being made Marquis, and decorated with the "cordon rouge".


Tippu Sultan, however, kept in mind the invasion and conquest of Goa, but other urgent matters, distracted him from this conquest, due to his skirmishes with the English and other Indian princes.


During 1787 in Goa, the Portuguese Governor had plenty of grave problems to deal with: on the one hand the declared war against Bounsulo in the north of Goa, a perpetual enemy and bad neighbour. On the other hand, the fear of invasion on the part of Tippu Sultan who had conquered the lands of Canara and Sunda, up to the fortress of Piro on the southern frontier, lost in 1768. The King of Sunda, despoiled of his domains, sought refuge in Goa under the Portuguese flag. \


It was between the 31st July and the 5th August that the Governor came to learn from different sources and places, that a conspiracy was brewing and would take place on August 10, 1787. On the 31st July, father Pedro Caetano Lobo, of Bastora, vicar of Tivim, and two other Goan clerygmen had revealed to the now Archbishop Fr. Manoel de Santa Catharina, what was going to happen. On the 5th August, the notary of Aldona in Bardez, Antonio Eugenio Toscano reported to the Governor that some clergymen were trying to excite the natives to rebel and expel the whites. This denunciation was not taken seriously by the Governor, but on the same evening, the commander of the legion of Bardez, Manoel Godinho de Mira, accompanied by lieutenant Nicolao Luiz da Costa came to inform about the impending revolt, disclosing the names of the rebels.  Consequently orders were given in secret on August 6 to apprehend the subversive heads and accomplices.


The leaders of this revolt, nipped in the bud, were none other than the two disgruntled priests Jose Antonio Goncalves from Piedade, and Caetano Francisco do Couto, from Pangim. Father Goncalves got wind of the police action and managed to flee from Goa, disguised, and ending his life exiled in Calcutta.


Eight other conspirators managed to get away to the Mahratta land, among whom were the three Noronha brothers, one of them Ignacio, a priest who fled to Bombay, three other priests Pedro Fernandes, Diogo Caetano do Couto, and Jose Manoel Ribeiro, and two military petty officers, Gerardo Ferreira and Pedro Sousa of the legion of Ponda.


A total of fortyseven people were imprisoned, of which fourteen were priests, including the chief rebel Father Caetano Francisco do Couto and Joao Baptista Pinto, twelve soldiers, among which one captain, four lieutenants, and the rest corporals. Among the latter was Manoel Caetano Pinto, of Candolim, lieutenant of the Ponda legion, his cousin Manoel Pinto of Saligao, a civilian. One sole Hindu Narba Naique, the Dessai of Ponda, was made prisoner.


It is intriguing to note that this conspiracy is commonly known in Goa as the Revolt of the Pintos, when only three Pintos were involved, and one of them was declared innocent. Later, by a letter intercepted by the authorities, addressed to his brother father Joao Baptista Pinto already jailed, it was discovered that the student in Lisbon, Jose Antonio Pinto was also involved, as he declared his intention to serve in the army of Tippu Sultan. Lt. Ignacio Caetano Toscano of the legion of Bardez was evidently the brother of the notary Antonio Eugenio Toscano who denounced the conspiracy to the Portuguese GovernorFrancisco da Cunha Menezes, 79th Governor of the "Estado da India". 


The news about this conspiracy reached Lisbon only on July 21,1788 by the mail sent through the ship "Nossa Senhora da Arrabida", and the Secretary of State Martinho de Mello, imparted instructions to proceed with the law, and the sentences imposed by the court in Goa. According to the confessions, the conspirators aimed at subtracting the whole State from the subjection, obedience and government of Her Majesty, destroy the State and found a new republic, in which the government would be composed of Goan natives. Couto and other priests invoked that it was the will of God, and that they had dispense of the Pope. [While I am writing this chapter, taking as basis the book of Cunha Rivara, a Portuguese civil servant , I do believe that this was the first attempt at independence from Portugal, just two years before the French Revolution of 1789.]


Of the fortyseven, fifteen were hanged on December 13, 1788, mutilated and decapitated, three served life sentences in the galleys of Angola; two were sentenced to ten years' prison in Mozambique, five sentenced for life in the galleys of Goa, and eight were absolved, found innocent, and freed, including Manoel Pinto of Saligao, the Hindu Narba Naique, Dessai of Ponda, and Dr. Manoel Francisco Gonsalves, brother of the fugitive Fr. Jose Antonio Gonsalves.


The Governor knowing full well how embarrassing it would be to pass judgement on the priests involved in the conspiracy, had them sent to the Kingdom in Lisbon, as prisoners, who sailed from Goa on March 29, 1789 in the ship "S. Luis de Santa Magdalena."


In 1802, the vicar of Ponda, Manoel da Expectacao was declared innocent and returned to Goa.


After eighteen years in prison eight priests were freed and sent back to Goa, already forgotten by their countrymen. Father Caetano Francisco do Couto, the ringleader, feigned lunacy when he was interrogated and was sent to the convent of S. Francisco da Cidade, for medical surveillance, and finally interned in the Tower of S. Juliao da Barra.


Thus petered out the conspiracy of 1787.


However, the judiciary procedures gave circumstantial evidence that father Caetano Victorino Faria, the patron of the Goans in Lisbon, was a partner and had known all the plans of the conspiracy, and when the Secretary of State learnt about the details of the conspiracy in July 1788, he ordered some Goans residing in Lisbon to be apprehended, but it was too late. Jose Antonio Pinto, the two Vicente brothers and Jose Custodio Faria, son of Caetano Victorino had fled to France, to go back to India overland, and Jose Antonio Pinto had mentioned to some of his friends in Lisbon, that in France they would meet the ambassadors of Tippu Sultan in Versailles, as mentioned before in this narrative. Nothing came of it.(2).



 regarding the failed "Putsch" of 1787 (May 1996)

 The foregoing chapter is a resume of the only official account of the Conspiracy of 1787, written down by a Portuguese bureaucrat, serving as Secretary of the Governor in Goa, J.H. da Cunha Rivara and printed in Goa in 1875. There were no written accounts of this episode, by Goan authors, except for a servile confirmation of the original book "A CONJURACAO DE 1787 EM GOA", written by J. Ismael Gracias in his "Oriente PortuguLs" in 1908.


When, just five years ago, I learnt for the first time about this Revolt taking place two years before the momentous French Revolution, the book of Cunha Rivara seemed to contain blatant inconsistencies. The ferment of Revolution against the ruling European monarchies was very much ingrained among educated layers of the colonial empires, ever since the American Revolution of 1776, which shed off the yoke of the British colonial rule in America, much to the annoyance of King George III. Could it not be that this was a real attempt by the Goan elite to achieve self-government and independence from the Metropolis, just as the thirteen colonies comprising New England had achieved eleven years before ? I simply could not believe that the events, causes motives and reasons were those portrayed by Cunha Rivara.


It was therefore a pleasant surprise recently to get hold of a typewritten essay in Portuguese, penned by a Goan, Carmo de Noronha, voicing a different version of the events of 1787 which I had suspected all along. This postcriptum written almost five years after the foregoing chapter was written, merit therefore the term "palimpsest". This word means "Paper, parchment, etc prepared for writing on and wiping out again, like a slate" and " a parchment, etc which has been written upon twice; the original writing having been rubbed out". For the sake of the record, I do not wish to wipe out the contents of Cunha Rivara's book dated 1875. Simply now, in 1996, I wish to do a revision literally, a second seeing, giving an entirely new perspective of the episode of the year 1787.


Cunha Rivara instead of being a true historian, was only an obsequious clerk, toeing the official line, and dismissing or down-playing the real motives of the revolutionary leaders, the intellectual Fr. Caetano Francisco Couto, and the erudite professor of the College of Chorao, Fr.Jose Antonio Goncalves, by claiming that these two priests staged this uprising, out of spite, just because they were not appointed bishops... The bottom line was that three fellow Goan "quislings", betrayed the rebels. The whole book of Cunha Rivara reminds me of the scribes rewriting history in George Orwell's epic novel "1984" or the well-known re-writing of "Who-is-who" in the history of Stalin's Soviet Union, thus creating umpteen "Non-persons" who officially had never existed.


In the year 1640, after eighty years of being under the rule of the three Philips of Spain, it was only natural that the Portuguese should rebel against foreign rule.


Granted that Albuquerque freed the Hindu Goans from the Muslim rule of Adil Shah in 1510. But in view of the lapse of History, and of the world developments - the American Revolution of 1776, and the simmering of pre-French Revolution - was it not natural that the enlightened Goans, after 277 years of ineffectual, decadent and arbitrary rule of Portugal, should rebel against the powers-that-be, and achieve self-government, which is precisely what the two leaders specifically stated to the Portuguese Secretary of State in Lisbon, and which the reader will find underlined in Cunha Rivara's meticulous account?


Fathers Goncalves and Couto returned to Goa from Lisbon disillusioned; ensconced in the Couto household in Fontainhas, in the historical "Travessa do Rego" street, they set their minds to execute the fantastic (but not unrealistic) plan to get rid of the Portuguese, make Goa an independent and sovereign State, with its own army, its parliament, its own laws.


Why should Cunha Rivara label these motives as a "paradoxical utopia" and "such pernicious ideas" ? There is always a latent and noble human aspiration to be free and lord of one's destiny.


Unfortunately Cunha Rivara, ninety odd years after the fateful events, showered ridicule on the noble impulse of the Goan people. And he could pontificate on the matter, on hindsight, because there were three Goan Judases who betrayed: namely, Antonio Eugenio Toscano, a scribe from Aldona, brother of the co-conspirator Lt. Toscano, Lt. Nicolau da Costa, another sycophant of the Ponda Legion, and the priest from Bastora, Caetano Jose Lobo. These traitors to Goan freedom in 1787, tattletaled to their respective authorities five days before the Revolt was scheduled to take place.


Carmo de Noronha (descendant of the three Noronhas who participated in the revolt ?) states that a military subversion among the native troops would have been the first in all India against foreigners and forerunner of the French Revolution. Noronha advances the notion that the leaders of this Revolt would follow with a kind of Holy War (Jihad in moorish parlance) through the priests and vicars, preaching the gospel of freedom, from the pulpits.


History is written by the conquerors, or would-be paladins of the "status quo". Cunha Rivara bends over backwards to belittle the caliber of leaders Gonsalves and Couto. Father Caetano Francisco Couto, in view of his high intellectual and pastoral qualities, had been appointed Governor of the bishopric of Cochin, by the Archbishop D. Francisco de Assuncao e Brito, but he was demoted from the post by the Governor of the bishopric of Goa, Fr. D. Manuel de Santa Catarina, a rabid "reinol", and replaced by one Fr. Jose de Soledade, a dumb friar, intellectually and culturally inferior. Frustrated and disillusioned Fr. Couto sailed to Lisbon, to seek justice. He was accompanied by another Father, much more brilliant and cultured, father Jose Antonio Goncalves, who later, received a "summa cum laude" doctorate in Rome, and his merits were recognized in an eloquent speech delivered by the Holy Office's Fr.Thomas Mamachi.


Likewise, Cunha Rivara glosses over the punishments meted out to the condemned rebels. All the military men among the rebels were condemned to die by hanging, but the sentence was carried out in a ferocious and unseemly manner: they were taken to the place of hanging, behind the convent of St. Caetano, in Old Goa, tied to horses, and dragged over rough streets, peppered with stones, which tore into their flesh, before they were hanged. Furthermore before the hanging, the hands of the Lieutenants Pedro Gonzaga, Manuel Pinto, the surgeon-general David Viegas, and corporal Caetano da Costa, were cut off, and after hanging, the heads were chopped off, and the bodies quartered, and the blood-dripping heads were exposed on poles, conspicuously in public places, especially in the locations were they were born. Needless to say that such sadistic sentences instilled deep fear among the Goan populace, so that people feared to talk about this aborted revolt.


Since from all the facts gleaned, it is evident that the Pintos of Candolim, whilst participants, had little to do with this Conspiracy, as ringleaders. Out of the 47 captured, only three were Pintos, and one of them, was absolved and freed. Therefore it is highly suspicious why Cunha Rivara insists on coining the term " he Revolution of the Pintos", and further by including in his book, a detailed family tree of the Pintos.  It would seem that he wanted to gloss over or belittle the role of the real leaders, Couto and Gonsalves, and create a smokescreen in order to minimize the real import of a high-level subversive movement to implant self-rule in Goa.


The revolt that was nipped in the bud, took place during the period when the 79th Governor of India, Francisco da Cunha Menezes was governing Goa, and soon after, the Portuguese conquered the province of Pernem which became the most northern district of Goa, and in 1791, this Governor annexed Ponda from the king of Sunda, thus beginning the period of the New Conquests (Novas Conquistas). Meanwhile, in the Old Conquests, comprising of Goa island, the district of Bardez, and Salcete the Christianized Goans nursed their hurt feelings in silence, and according to Carmo de Noronha, there prevailed the hostile reaction of "that hibrid and truculent race" of the descendants and mestizos, who displayed their "patriotism" by ill-treating the true Goans. How important this segment of the population was remains an unknown factor to me, considering that in the census of 1950 or thereabouts, there were only around 1100 descendants in Goa. It seems therefore logical that in 1787, the number of "descendants" or mestizos were fewer, unless during this period of 160 odd years, this "hibrid race" emigrated back to the Metropolis, which is unlikely.


The Goan historian, Fr. Gabriel Saldanha in his "History of Goa" - which is rather the History of the Portuguese in Goa and not of the Goans - written in 1925, also erroneously labels this episode as "Tentativa da Conjuracao dos Pintos", thus contributing in twisting the real historic facts, although he admits that the Conspiracy was planned by Frs Goncalves and Couto, but incongruously labels the failed attempt as the "Revolt of the Pintos". It is really shameful that this Goan historian, who lived in the historic house, in Fontainhas, where this Conspiracy was hatched, should toe the line of the Portuguese chronicler, almost 140 years after, instead of presenting a cool and true appraisal of the historic facts.



Abbe Faria’s Legacy

by Luis S. R. Vas



 Abbe Faria’s first encounter with hypnosis was informal and unwitting.

It happened when he was invited by D. Maria I, Queen of Portugal to preach a sermon in her chapel on his return from Rome where he had concluded his doctorate in theology, sponsored by the queen. He mounted the pulpit but was struck dumb by stage fright.  He gazed anxiously at his father who sat in the audience. The father silently mouthed the now famous exhortation  in Konkani: Hi sogli baji; cator re  baji. The son lip-read him, instantly recovered his speech and spoke eloquently.  For years he would wonder how his father’s words could have had such spectacular impact on him.

Faria emigrated to France and there met Marquis de Puysegur, a disciple of Anton Mesmer, a believer in Animal Magnetism. “I believe in the existence within  myself of a power. From this belief derives my will to exert it. The entire doctrine of Animal Magnetism is contained in the two words: Believe and Want. I believe that I have the power to set into action the vital principle of my fellow-men; I want to make use of it; this is all my science and all my means. Believe and want, Sirs, and you will do as much as I,” said Marquis de Puységur as quoted by Henri Ellenberger in Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (1970), New York: BasicBooks, pp.70-76.

After the Napoleon’s overthrow the new generation of practitioners of hypnotism looked to Puységur as their patriarch, and came to accept his method of inducing a sleeping trance in preference to the original methods of Mesmer. Puységur, however, always portrayed himself as a faithful disciple of Mesmer. He never took credit for having invented the procedure that is now known as hypnotic induction that seems to have been based on Abbot Faria techniques, of whom he was a close friend.(Wikibooks Hypnosis)

According to Henriette Gezundhajt, AN EVOLUTION OF THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF HYPNOTISM PRIOR TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND SUBCONSCIOUS, Ryerson University, Toronto, Copyright © 2007 British Society of  Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis Contemp. Hypnosis 24: 178–194 (2007) Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd ) The Abbé Faria, or Abbé (Abbot) José Custódio de Faria, (1746–1819) was a colourful Indo-Portuguese monk who introduced oriental hypnosis to Paris. He is also well known for taking part in revolutionary movements in France in 1795 and being kept prisoner, for a while, in the infamous Chateau d’If. After he was released, he met Alexandre Dumas, the novelist, who used him as a character – the mad monk – in his novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. He also inspired Francois-Auguste-René de Chateaubriand who mentioned him in his Mémoires d’Outre-tombe. As far as the arts were concerned, the Restoration period, following the fall of the First Empire was dominated in France by a Romanticist wave. Passion, imagination and aesthetics had taken over the rational beliefs of the previous century. In 1811, Faria was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University de Nîmes in France, and was elected member of the Société Médicale de Marseille.

However, he was very interested in Mesmer’s and Puységur’s work and he moved to Paris to study the phenomena better. In 1813, at the end of the reign of Napoleon, the Abbé Faria offered a paying course in magnetism that was open to the public at large. Unlike his precursors, he did not believe that trance is mediated by some sort of animal magnetism and he was the first to effect a breach in the theory of the ‘magnetic fluid’. For him the baquet, the transfer of energy, the crises, the fluid, all was an illusion and he was surprised that people would look for external means to attain a state that tends to occur naturally in the human species.

The magnetizer’s will does not intervene and does not act on the patient, with or without a special fluid. For him, trance was the product of two factors: the fascination felt by the subject towards the operator and the degree of persuasion that had been previously established. He applied what has since been known as ‘conditioning.’ He emphasized the power of suggestion and demonstrated the existence of autosuggestion. He also established that nervous sleep can be explained as a natural phenomenon. He introduced the notion of ‘lucid sleep’. In 1819, he published his famous book De la Cause du Sommeil Lucide in which he explains his technique for inducing lucid sleep:

“I seat them comfortably and energetically pronounce the word ‘sleep’ or I show them my open hand, at some distance, and have them fix it with their gaze, not turning their eyes aside or not resisting the urge to blink. In the first case, I tell them to close their eyes, and I always say that when I forcibly pronounce the command to sleep they will feel a trembling all over and will fall asleep.” (Faria 1819, quoted by Crabtree 1993:123).

Faria remains as the founder of what is known as the ‘imaginationist’ movement with Baron d’Hénin de Cuvillers, Alexandre Bertrand, and Général François Noizet. The latter would explain the phenomena of trance on psychological grounds and attributed it to applied suggestion. In that, the imaginationists placed themselves in opposition to both the ‘psychofluidists’ and the ‘spiritualists’.

Furthermore, Faria can be considered as the precursor of the stage hypnotists who continue to use his techniques nowadays. Indeed, magnetism having been banned by the Medical academies, the only way to promote it was through public performances.

Since mesmerism and somnambulism lost standing in France, it was in other countries like in the Victorian England that it started regaining some consideration.


John Elliotson

John Elliotson (1791–1868), was a Professor of Medicine at University College Hospital in London. Besides being one of the first physicians to advocate the employment of the stethoscope, he also studied mesmerism in 1829 with Richard Chenevix, a pupil of  Abbé Faria (Marks, 1947). In 1837, he met in London with visiting Baron Jean du Potet de Sennevoy who told him about successful cases of mesmeric surgery he had witnessed in France at the Hôtel-Dieu of Paris, seventeen years before. Consequently, Elliotson experimented with the use of ‘magnetic sleep’ as a powerful analgesic during major surgery on many patients.

However, the person who became the most important advocate of mesmerism in surgery was James Esdaile (1808–1859), a Scottish surgeon, who was a friend and a correspondent of Elliotson’s. In 1845, in charge of the Native Hospital at Hooghly, in India, he was a pioneer in surgical anaesthesia just before James Young Simpson discovered chloroform. He used mesmeric analgesia successfully in numerous operations and provided his results to the government.

A Government Committee reported favourably on his work and, in 1846, Esdaile was given command of a small hospital in Calcutta where he carried out thousands of  painless operations and gained the appreciation of the native population. Despite his success, the hospital was closed down by his detractors. A second hospital applying the same methods was established in 1848. In 1851, Esdaile left India and one year later he published his pamphlet entitled ‘The Introduction of Mesmerism as an Anaesthetic and Curative Agent into the Hospitals of India’ but, with the expansion of the use of chloroform, he received the same kind of opposition as his predecessors by the medical community as well as by the Church.


James Braid

It was James Braid (177–860), a Scottish surgeon, who put a definite end to the era of mesmerism and magnetism by renaming it and reinventing its procedure. He coined the term ‘hypnotism’, formed from the Greek word meaning ‘sleep’, and designating ‘artificially produced sleep’. Realizing later on that hypnotic states of catalepsy, analgesia, anaesthesia and amnesia could be induced without sleep, he tried to suppress his own term for ‘monoideism’ but the word ‘hypnosis’ remained in usage.

Braid witnessed mesmerism twice when it was demonstrated by Lafontaine. At first he was incredulous but the second performance convinced him. James Braid’s classic Neurypnology, or the Rationale of Nervous Sleep appeared in 1843, greatly inspired by Abbé Faria’s work. Through hypnotism, he would produce what he, at first, labelled as ‘nervous sleep’ which differs from natural sleep. For him, the condition underlying hypnotism was the over-exercising of the eye muscles through the straining of attention.

In 1850, Braid’s ideas were introduced into France by Dr Etienne Eugène Azam (1822–1899), a Professor of Medicine in Bordeaux, who published them in the Archives de Medicin. Marks (1947: 81) reports that among the people who widely studied the phenomena was Paul Broca (1824–1880), the pioneer brain specialist and anthropologist, who experimented with Braid’s method.

“Although Braid believed that hypnotic suggestion was a valuable remedy in functional nervous disorders, he did not regard it as a rival to other forms of treatment, nor wish in any way to separate its practice from that of medicine in general. He held that whoever talked of a "universal remedy" was either a fool or a knave: similar diseases often arose from opposite pathological conditions, and the treatment ought to be varied accordingly. He objected being called a hypnotist; he was, he said, no more a "hypnotic" than a "castor-oil" doctor.” — John Milne Bramwell (1852–1925)


Émile Coué

Émile Coué de Châtaigneraie (February 26, 1857 – July 2, 1926) was a French psychologist and pharmacist who introduced a method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion. The application of his mantra-like conscious autosuggestion, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better" (French: Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux) is called Couéism or the Coué method.

The Coué method centers on a routine repetition of this particular expression according to a specified ritual, in a given physical state, and in the absence of any sort of allied mental imagery, at the beginning and at the end of each day. Unlike a common held belief that a strong conscious will constitutes the best path to success, Coué maintained that curing some of our troubles requires a change in our unconscious thought, which can only be achieved by using our imagination. Although stressing that he was not primarily a healer but one who taught others to heal themselves, Coué claimed to have effected organic changes through autosuggestion.(Wikibooks Hypnosis)


Johannes Schultz

Autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz and first published in 1932. The technique involves the daily practice of sessions that last around 15 minutes, usually in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. During each session, the practitioner will repeat a set of visualisations that induce a state of relaxation. Each session can be practiced in a position chosen amongst a set of recommended postures (e.g. lying down, sitting meditation, sitting like a rag doll, etc.). The technique can be used to alleviate many stress-induced psychosomatic disorders.

Schultz emphasized parallels to techniques in yoga and meditation. It is a method for influencing one's autonomic nervous system. Abbe Faria and Emile Coue are the forerunners of Schultz. There are many parallels to progressive relaxation.

Example of an autogenic training session: Sit in the meditative posture and scan the body

"my left arm is heavy and warm" (repeat 3 times)

"my arms and legs are heavy and warm" (repeat 3 times)

"my heartbeat is calm and regular" (repeat 3 times)

"my solar plexus is warm" (repeat 3 times)


finish part one by cancelling

start part two by repeating from steps 2 to cancelling

part three repeat steps 2 to cancelling

Quite often, one will ease themselves into the "trance" by counting to ten, and exit by counting backwards from ten. This is another practice taken from progressive relaxation.


Effects of autogenic training

Autogenic Training restores the balance between the activity of the sympathetic (flight or fight) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest) branches of the autonomic nervous system. This has important health benefits, as the parasympathetic activity promotes digestion and bowel movements, lowers the blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and promotes the functions of the immune system.



Autogenic Training is counter-indicated, or needs to be adapted, for a series of conditions including: heart problems such as myocardial infarction, diabetes, psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia, glaucoma, alcohol or drug abuse, epilepsy.


Clinical Evidence

Autogenic training has been subject to clinical evaluation from its early days in Germany, and from the early 1980s worldwide. In 2002, a meta-analysis of 60 studies was published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (Stetter & Kupper 2002), finding significant positive effects of treatment when compared to normals over a number of diagnoses; finding these effects to be similar to best recommended rival therapies; and finding positive additional effects by patients, such as their perceived quality of life.

In Japan, four researchers from the Tokyo Psychology and Counseling Service Center have formulated a measure for reporting clinical effectiveness of autogenic training (IMYK 2002).

Herbert Benson, MD, a Harvard professor also did significant research in the area. He called it the Relaxation Response and wrote an influential book with that same title.(Wikipedia)



From the above evidence it is clear that Abbe Faria has had an abiding impact on his successors and that his legacy continues unabated.



The Mad Monk

by Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues



Goa has completed 25 years of statehood and to mark the occasion NT BUZZ brings you a series on statues of prominent Goans by Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues that will be carried over a period of time.  Today being the birth anniversary of the enigmatic Abbe Faria, the mysterious son of Goa who is known internationally, we begin the series with his statue that adorns Panaji.  Have you seen the statue of a priest and a woman, the one next to the old Government Secretariat at Panjim?  A priest and a woman? Oh! The statue of Abbe Faria; the one that depicts him hypnotising a woman.  But what has a priest to do with hypnotism? The common perception is that only magicians and hypnotists can hypnotise people. 

Well, Abbe Faria was the founder of hypnotic sciences though he was not given the credit for the same by the biased society of the time.  He was the first to establish that hypnotism was the science of suggestion, and explained that memory can exist without imagination, but imagination could never exist without memory. His main argument: “One can retain memory of what one imagines. But during the lucid sleep, particularly when it is deep, one cannot remember all that has happened. One concludes, therefore, that the somnambulism that has been induced is not due to imagination.”  He maintained that there had to be a rapport between healer and patient.

Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893), the great French specialist in nervous diseases, was perhaps the first man to officially include Abbe Faria’s theories in the curriculum of medical studies.

But is Abbe his name?

No, Abbe in French means priest. He lived many years in France and died in Paris.  What then is his name? His full name is Jose Custodio Faria and he was born to Rosa Maria de Sousa from Candolim and Caetano Vitorino Faria from Colvale. Born on May 31, 1756 in the village of Candolim in the Bardez Taluka; he died in Paris on September 20, 1819. His parents could not go on well with their marriage and they thought of separating. Caetano Faria completed his priestly studies which he had discontinued when he fell in love with Rosa Maria, who went to the convent to become a nun and later became the Superior (Prioresa) of the Santa Monica Convent.

Jose Custodio was taken by his father Caetano Vitorino to Lisbon in 1771 aboard the ship Sao Jose. They landed in Lisbon on November 23 of the same year. Dom Jose I the reigning Portuguese Monarch granted a scholarship for Jose Custodio to study in Rome. He was ordained priest in Rome on March 12, 1789 and his doctoral thesis was “De Existencia Dei, Deo Uno et Divina Revelatione”. After his ordination he went back to Portugal. However, after spending sometime there he returned to Paris where he joined politics.

He taught philosophy in Marseilles for a year and was transferred in 1812 to the Academy at Nimes as an auxiliary professor, before he initiated his course on magnetism in Paris on August 11, 1813. Necessary license was obtained and through a primary school teacher, permission to use one of the halls of Butel de Sarti's school at 49 Rue de Clichy, next to the (then existing) Tivoli garden. The sessions were held every Thursday on payment of an admission fee of five francs. There were more women than men. Some came in the hope of finding cure to their ailments and others just for the thrill.

The sessions began with a lecture in French, followed by his experiments. His main theory was that not all individuals could be hypnotized, and that the degree of response to his hypnotic powers varied from one individual to another.
He also carried experiments in artificial somnambulism. Faria is known as the “Creator of the doctrine of suggestion in hypnotism”, which is professed today.

However, the experiments of Faria were not accepted by all and he was criticised by many. He was accused of practicing magnetism, an occult and perhaps forbidden science then and was even called a foreigner charlatan. However, there were others like A Pitres, who gave Abbe Faria full credit for being the first to describe firsthand the phenomena of 'sensorial hallucination'. Dr Liebeault demanded that the achievement be named “Fariism” after Faria rather than “Braidism”. The great Portuguese Nobel Laureate Dr. Egas Moniz rightly puts the existing mind frame of the time. He says: “Unfortunately Faria, as an Indian, has not been given due recognition as he deserved, probably because of the biased attitude towards the West.”

His thesis on hypnotism “De la cause du sommeil lucide ou etude de la nature de l'homme” describes the science of hypnotism and is the first work in French by any Goan.  He was immortalised by Alexandre Dumas in his novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”, in which he was portrayed as the Mad Monk who was thrown into the dungeons. The statue is part of the Panaji Municipal Corporation's logo.


(Courtesy: The Navhind Times)




by Ibonio D’Souza


                                                  Wisdom by Dom Martin


Would you like to know the greatest teacher in the world? The one who could teach you what you most need to learn? It’s easier than you may think. Just look around you. Your teachers are everywhere. Your life is set up to teach you what you need to learn. Whether you recognize it or not, you possess an inner wisdom that is capable of showing you who your teachers are and what they have to teach you.

To find those teachers, look at those closest to you – your family, friends and co-workers.  The people you spend the most time with can tell you much about yourself. How? One way is that, quite often, what we see in others is, in some way, a reflection of something within ourselves. What we most admire in another may be a quality we possess but have failed to recognize.

Conversely, what we dislike most in another may also reflect some trait within ourselves that we weren’t aware was there. This can be especially true when we have very strong feelings, positive or negative, about someone. Other people can be our teachers, not necessarily because of what they themselves know or do, but rather because of the way we react to them. In other words, other people can serve as mirrors to teach you about yourself.

The way people respond to us can add to our self-knowledge as well. This does not mean that if we aren’t popular we are “bad”, or that if a lot of people like us we are necessarily “good”. How people respond to us is certainly their choice; yet we can use their reactions to learn something about ourselves. This is especially true when we see several people responding to us in a similar manner.

Another way we can learn from others is simply to look at the characteristics of the people we choose to associate with. We need to be sufficiently imaginative and sympathetic to see through a crust of self-consciousness or fear to the inner person. There can be goodness waiting to be released. We may be in a position to teach as well as be taught! Again, this becomes not a matter of judging anyone as good or bad but rather recognizing there could be something within ourselves that may be attracting us to these persons, and them to us.

It can also be helpful to look at those activities you spend the greater part of your time pursuing.  What do your time priorities tell you about yourself? Also examine yourself in other areas: How do you spend your leisure time? On what do you spend most of your money?  What thoughts do you most often hold in your mind< What feelings do you experience most often? These things – indeed everything in your life around you and within you – can teach you a great deal. We may have difficulties, sometimes a crisis, and once in a while we may have to go through some experience that seems like a tragedy. But the point to remember is that we need to keep going. Sometimes what seems to be a most difficult experience can become one of our greatest teachers as we gain wisdom and understanding contained in the situation.

The truth is, you are teaching yourself, and as you use your life and the world around you as your textbook and your classroom, you can become your own greatest teacher.


Courtesy: Herald , December 26, 2013






Dr. Dilip V. Jeste

MD, University of California,

San Diego, USA


  Where the mind is without a vessel and the hand

 without a plough  by Dom Martin

Philosophers, poets and writers have long pondered psychological constructs such as consciousness and wisdom. However, researchers have tended to ignore these concepts, considering them too vague for scientific scrutiny. However recent research has shown that the construct of wisdom is scientifically valid and may rest on underlying biological foundations. There are now several scales for assessing wisdom, with variable psychometric properties, and literature on wisdom continues to expand. (Jeste et al 2010)

Although there is no consensual definition of wisdom, several researchers believe that wisdom is a unique psychological construct, not just a collection of desirable traits with a convenient unifying label. According to a recent review, wisdom may be viewed as a trait comprised of nine subcomponents (Bengen et al, 2013):

(1)   Social decision making and pragmatic knowledge of life, which relates to social reasoning, ability to give good advice, life knowledge and life skills;

(2)   Prosocial attitudes and behaviors, which include empathy, compassion, warmth, altruism, and a sense of fairness;

(3)   Reflection and self-understanding, which relates to introspection, insight, intuition, and self-knowledge and awareness;

(4)   Acknowledgement of and coping effectively with uncertainty;

(5)   Emotional homeostasis, which relates to affect regulation and self-control;

(6)   Value relativism and tolerance, which involves a nonjudgmental stance and acceptance  of other value systems;

(7)   Openness to new experience;

(8)   Spirituality; and

(9)   Sense of humor.


The relative weighting of these subcomponents may vary depending on the context or culture. Yet, the basic concept of wisdom has remained largely similar across temporal and geographic boundaries. This suggests that wisdom may be rooted in biology and have evolutionary significance (Jeste and Harris, 2010). According to recent investigations, the putative neurocircuitry of wisdom involves the prefrontal cortex (especially dorsolateral, ventromedial, and anterior cingulated) and the limbic striatum – the newest and the oldest parts of the brain, respectively, from the viewpoint of evolution (Meeks and Jeste, 2009).

As wisdom is considered an important contributor to successful personal and social functioning, deciphering the neurobiology of wisdom may have considerable clinical significance. For example, knowledge of the underlying mechanisms could lead to development of preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitative interventions for enhancing wisdom, including those designed for persons with neoropsychriatric disorders (e.g., frontotemporal dementia).

Even though empirical research on wisdom is a relatively new phenomenon, the concept of wisdom dates back to ancient times. Can we compare modern concepts of wisdom with the conceptualization of wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita? It is remarkable that the description of wisdom in the Gita includes similar domains, suggesting that the basic notion of wisdom has not changed over centuries. In many ways, most teachings of the Gita have a universal applicability (similar to some of the classical texts in other religions) as they transcend temporal, geographic, and cultural barriers (Jeste and Vahia, 2008).

A comparison of the conceptualization of wisdom in the Gita with the modern scientific literature shows several similarities, such as rich knowledge about life, emotional regulation, contributing to common good (compassion/sacrifice), and insight (with a focus on humility). The basic goal promoted in the Gita is that of rich knowledge of life in a broad sense (realizing one’s personal limits within the context of the large universe) leading to humility and at the same time, fulfilling obligations toward others through appropriate work that enhances societal well-being rather than serving one’s own narrow personal interests. This requires regulation of emotions so that rational social judgment supersedes one’s selfish needs. Living in the face of uncertainty and understanding real and potential conflicts between personal and social goals is essential; however, such moral or practical dilemmas should lead, not to inaction, but to decisive action.

The Gita also suggests that wisdom can be taught and learned. Any person can become wiser, and no case is considered hopeless. In most eastern cultures, aging is associated with greater wisdom. However, we usually think of aging as all gloom and doom. Older age is generally viewed as a period of progressive decline in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning.

Contrary to this pessimistic concept that aging means mental deterioration, a number of recent studies across the world show that some components of wisdom tend to increase with age. Researchers have found that new learning is possible in later life, and older adults continue to exhibit new forms of adaptive capacity. Older people make greater use of sophisticated ways of thinking – e.g. considering multiple perspectives on any issue, showing willingness to compromise, and recognizing limits of one’s knowledge. Older adults are better decision makers than younger adults for decisions that need experience and an ability to use that experience optimally.

One of the most revolutionary findings in neuroscience research during the past 20 years has been that of the neuroplasticity of aging – e.g., the brain remains “plastic”, with its growth and development continuing into old age. New synapses (connections among neurons), and in some areas, even new neurons (nerve cells), can form in older brains if there is stimulation by living in an enriched environment. Neuroplasticity of aging can be enhanced through techniques such as yoga, Qi-gong, and

Tai Chi, or meditation.

More research on wisdom is clearly needed and further studies seem to have considerable relevance for psychiatry. While it may be challenging to develop interventions promoting a multi-dimensional construct such as wisdom, interventions aimed at improving specific dimensions of wisdom may enhance outcomes in mentally ill persons, prevent illness, and contribute to a greater well-being. Finally, combining elements of wisdom from various cultures could result in more comprehensive and effective strategies for promoting wisdom.

(Courtesy: Souvenir published at ANCIPS 2014 Conference, Pune.)





Book Reviews

Melvin Gravitz


Carrer, L. (2004). Jose Custodio de Faria: Hypnotist, priest, and revolutionary.

Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford. Reviewed by Ian E. Wickramasekera II, Psy.D.

This excellent book represents an important contribution to the literature on the history of hypnosis. Laurent Carrer, Ph.D., presents in this single source a series of works which properly establish the claim that Jose Custodio de Faria (1746-1819; frequently referred to as the Abbe Faria in the literature) was the first explorer of hypnosis to really understand the psychological and psychophysiological nature of hypnotic phenomena. The book contains an English translation of de Faria’s only known surviving treatise which was entitled: “On the Cause of Lucid Sleep” and published in the year of his death in 1819. Dr. Carrer also presents in this book some really fascinating biographical essays on de Faria, including Daniel Gelasio Dalgado’s rare “Memoir on the Life of Abbe Faria”.

Many historians of hypnosis have previously written that that de Faria was the first explorer of hypnosis to part with Mesmer’s explanation of hypnotic  phenomena as resulting from animal magnetism, electromagnetic, or occult-related factors. However, most people and some popular histories of hypnosis incorrectly describe James Braid as the originator of our current tradition of hypnosis simply because of Braid’s preference for the term hypnosis, rather than mesmerism.

Indeed, while Braid has been often called the originator of the term hypnosis that is in error because it was the French in the early 1800s who first used that terminology (see Gravitz’s discussion in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 27, 107-110).

One reading of Carrer’s translation of de Faria’s: “On the Cause of Lucid Sleep” will quickly dispose of this error, as one can readily see how accurate de Faria’s observations were about hypnosis in light of our modern scientific evidence. In de Faria’s writings, we can find evidence for his belief that: (A) hypnotic phenomena were not caused by a magnetic fluid or an occult phenomena; (B) hypnotic phenomena are primarily caused by the special psychological and psychophysiological characteristics of the person being hypnotized; (C) that the phenomenological experience of hypnosis is similar to that of falling asleep in that both experiences require a gradual withdrawal of the senses from the peripheral environment; and (D) that hypnotic behavior is similar to sleep, although not identical to it. Thus, de Faria refers to hypnotic phenomena as “lucid sleep” to capture the paradoxical quality of lucidity and soporific-like effects of hypnosis that we frequently observe even today almost 200 years after his death.

De Faria’s writings predated Braid’s works by over 30 years and yet most people are probably more aware of Braid’s contributions to hypnosis than his. Even more people are probably aware of the fictional Abbe Faria’s life (as described in the noted novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo”), rather than the real life explorer of hypnotic phenomena who established the basis of the traditions that we all research and practice today in his writings. The relative ignorance that most of us have towards his importance to our scientific and clinical work

today may likely be due to the previous unavailability of accurate translations of de Faria’s works in English; but now Carrer has made available this splendid translation, thus filling that lack. Accordingly, this book represents an important contribution to the literature of hypnosis which properly establishes de Faria as the true originator of the scientific and clinical tradition of hypnosis that we practice today. Carrer’s scholarship on this project is extremely evident in the painstaking way he provides copious notes on both de Faria and Dalgado’s writings. Many of these notes contain helpful definitions of 18th and 19th century

philosophical, medical, and spiritual terms that most of us would find difficult. Dalgado’s biography of de Faria addresses many interesting issues such as de Faria’s childhood in Goa where he was born into a Brahmin household that had adopted Christianity many years ago.

The biography also covers de Faria’s involvement in the French Revolution and how he likely came to learn about hypnotic phenomena through the work of the Marquis de Puysegur.

I highly recommend this work to anyone who is interested in the history of hypnosis and who would like to discover de Faria’s surprisingly accurate intuitions about the nature of hypnotic phenomena. He was constantly ridiculed by his peers for not believing in a magnetic fluid or occult-related mesmerism theories. And yet, in this one volume, de Faria wrote ideas which Dalgado clearly documents had an influence on Braid and Bernheim’s theories. You can find an example or passage regarding nearly all of the current things that we do and debate in the current clinical and scientific traditions of hypnosis. I  highly enjoy reading and re-reading this book from time to time to appreciate the unique insights that de Faria uncovered into the nature of hypnosis. In some ways, I think that it is a shame that we did not stick with de Faria’s paradoxical term of lucid sleep since the word hypnosis suggests a complete equivalence of sleep and hypnotic phenomena.


Source:  Book Reviews Melvin Gravitz - American Society of Clinical ...


Book Review

Of The Cause of Lucid Sleep or Study of The Nature of Man

Abbé Faria

 (Translated by Dr. Manoharrai Sardessai)


                                                                                Reverie by Dom Martin

At a time in history when Indians have a question about whether their practice of modern medicine is borrowed from Western civilization, this book ‘Of The Cause of Lucid Sleep or Study of The Nature of Man’ by Abbé Faria restores the self-esteem of Indian practitioners of psychiatry. The present generation has forgotten to take pride in the contribution made by India to the field of mathematics, science, medicine and fine arts. Reading the book you come to know that ‘suggestion’, one of the basic concepts of psychiatry, has been the contribution of Abbé Faria, a discoverer and philosopher from Goa.

At a time when the theory of ‘Animal Magnetism’ was the mainstay of treatment and clouded scientific thinking, Abbé Faria’s book tried to establish that suggestibility is the basis of hypnotism. As the book was written in French it never got its due importance in the English speaking world. So, to put history in context and to infuse self-pride in Indians, the translation of this book by Abbé Faria in English was much needed.

The study of hypnosis contributed greatly to the development of psychoanalysis and modern psychotherapy and central to the understanding of hypnosis is the concept of suggestion. So, this is a ground-breaking observation by Abbé Faria in the field of modern psychology and clinical psychiatry.

The Indian subcontinent has a great tradition in the field of science but that got halted for many centuries due to foreign invasions or passivity in the civilization. Even in this period of lull, the genius Abbé Faria had the intense drive to prove his cause and took pains to establish the scientific bases of hypnosis at a time when everything was against him and supernatural kind of animal magnetism by Mesmer was very much in vogue.  

From his own life experience he understood the power of suggestion which he studied scientifically and documented in his ground-breaking book ‘Of the Cause of Lucid Sleep or Study of the Nature of Man’. Because of this book he became very much a part of a revolutionary scientific movement.

So, at this point of time, the translation of his book by Dr Manoharrai Sardessai brought out by tireless efforts of Dr Rajendra Hegde is greatly appreciated by the scientific community in general and by Indian psychiatrists in particular. This book helps us to have the real historic view of psychiatry rather than the one popularised by the English speaking world. 


Devashish Konar MD

Director & Consultant Psychiatrist, Mental Health Care Centre Kolkata & Burdwan, West Bengal




                                                                           (Untitled) by Dom Martin


The functional aspects of brain are dealt in Psychiatry and Neurons and neurotransmission is what is responsible for it. Until the early 20th century, scientists assumed that the majority of synaptic communication in the brain was electrical. However, through the careful histological examinations by Ramón Y Cajal, a 20 to 40 nm gap between neurons, known today as the synaptic cleft, was discovered. The presence of such a gap suggested communication via chemical messengers traversing the synaptic cleft and in 1921 German pharmacologist Otto Loewi confirmed that neurons can communicate by releasing chemicals.

Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse from one neuron to another 'target' neuron. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles clustered beneath the membrane in the axon terminal, on the presynaptic side of a synapse. Neurotransmitters are released into and diffuse across the synaptic cleft, where they bind to specific receptors in the membrane on the postsynaptic side of the synapse. Many neurotransmitters are synthesized from plentiful and simple precursors, such as amino acids, which are readily available from the diet and which require only a small number of biosynthetic steps to convert.

Neurological research has identified over 50 neurotransmitters in the brain. Research also tells us that several neurotransmitters are related to mental health problems – Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Glutamate and GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid). Too much or too little of these neurotransmitters are now felt to produce psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and ADHD.

Drugs, which are chemical agents, can influence human behavior by altering neurotransmitter activity. Drugs that prevent a neurotransmitter from binding to its receptor are called receptor antagonists. For example, drugs used to treat patients with schizophrenia such as haloperidol, chlorpromazine, and clozapine are antagonists at receptors in the brain for dopamine. Other drugs act by binding to a receptor and mimicking the normal neurotransmitter. Such drugs are called receptor agonists. An example of a receptor agonist is diazepam, a benzodiazepine that mimics the effect of the endogenous neurotransmitter Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) to decrease anxiety. Other drugs e.g. antidepressants, interfere with the deactivation of a neurotransmitter after it has been released, thereby prolonging the action of a neurotransmitter. This can be accomplished by blocking reuptake.

The basic concept is that neurotransmitter imbalances within the brain are the main causes of development of psychiatric conditions and that these conditions can be improved with medication which corrects these imbalances. The phrase originated from the scientific study of brain chemistry.

In the 1950s the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants were accidentally discovered to be effective in the treatment of clinical depression.

These findings and other supporting evidence led scientists to formulate association between neurotransmitters and various mental disorders. Schildkraut found that there is association between low levels of neurotransmitters and development of depression. Research into schizophrenia also found that too much activity of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine was correlated to development of these disorders.

The last 50 years have seen the transition in thinking about pharmacological management of mental / psychiatric illnesses. This mode of management has been continued till now rather than abated, largely fueled, on one hand, by the innovations that have occurred in drug development related to the neurotransmitters and, on the other, by definitive changes in mental health care delivery systems and health care financing. Although certain psychotropic agents having actions of the neurotransmitter levels, are now widely used, there are many more with different biochemical and pharmacologic types available to the clinician to make a right choice based on patients clinical profile.

What are the changes that have been made possible with new pharmacotherapy influenced by the neurotransmitter model?

This has drastically reduced the need for inpatient or indoor management for many psychiatric conditions and good improvement can be predicted in as many as around 60% cases.

Patients getting early recovery could go back to their premorbid functioning easily with small dose maintenance therapy. Others could be brought back to the mainstream by working with counselors, therapists and social workers. This led to further research in these allied sciences and therapies.

A broader array of health care professionals are involved in treating patients with psychiatric disorders making it a multidisciplinary team approach, and the role of psychiatrists has changed, from just being a doctor to a leader of a team.

These new treatment modalities represent an enormously valuable payoff from earlier investments in basic neuroscience research. This led to looking for molecules with action on specific receptors thus giving better efficacy and lesser side effects.

These phenomena probably helped to de-stigmatize mental illnesses and made it easier for patients and their families to seek help for what was now clearly defined as a common and treatable illness. This brought a change in the public perception of psychiatry which was once upon a time a stereotyped image of the analytic couch to a more advanced and scientific one with medications i.e.  capsules or tablets. Thus psychiatry became equitable with any other branch of medicine.

The great strides that had been made in educating primary care physicians about well-defined, validated psychiatric syndromes and the need to carefully apply specific diagnostic criteria as a requisite for treatment planning began to unravel.

The neurotransmitter related research has lead to development of practice guideline to provide guidance to psychiatrists who regularly evaluate and manage patients. The guidelines are intended to delineate the knowledge base, professional expertise, and integrated clinical approach necessary to effectively manage this complex and diverse patient population. These guidelines were drafted by a work group consisting of psychiatrists with clinical and research expertise in the field, who undertook a comprehensive review of the literature.

All these changes have taken place in the last few decades. Research leading to better understanding of mental illness, leading to better therapy and finally getting better quality of life for patients and their families and lastly a great satisfaction for the treating psychiatrist. Thus neurotransmitter has become an important and integral member or domain of the science of Psychiatry.



Professor and Head, Dept. of Psychiatry

NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences






   There is a bronze statue in central Panjim, Goa, next to the old Secretariat building

of Abbe Faria trying to hypnotize a woman. The statue was sculpted by Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat of Madkai in 1945.


    A prominent thoroughfare in South Goa city of Madgaon is named ‘Rua Abade Faria' in his honour.


    Portugal commemorated the 250th anniversary of the Abbe’s birth in May 2006 by releasing a

      a postcard of his statue (that is in Panjim, Goa)


    Alexander Dumas used a fictionalized version of the Abbe in his famous novel

‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. In the novel, Faria an Italian, is a prisoner of the Chateau d’If. He instructs Edmond Dantes, the protagonist and a fellow prisoner, in a number of fields including mathematics, the sciences, and foreign languages. Eventually he helps him to escape from the island prison. He also discloses to Dantes the whereabouts of a hoard of jewels at Monte Cristo, a small island near the Italian coast, before dying from a cataleptic seizure.


    Asif Currimbhoy in his famous play ‘Abbe Faria’ narrates the dramatic situations

of the life and views of a revolutionary priest and premier hypnotist. The title was published by Writers’ Workshop.


    The Institute of Clinical Hypnosis and Counseling in the Indian State of Kerala is

     a memorial to Abbe Faria.


    Laurent Carrer  included the first English annotated translation of Faria’s book

originally written in French as “De la cause du sommeil  lucide ou Etude de la nature de l’homme (On the Cause of Lucid Sleep or Study on the Nature of Man” in his 2004 “Jose Custodio de Faria: Hypnotist, Priest and Revolutionary”  .


   The Mustard Seed Art Company , a theatre group from Goa, celebrated the 250th

anniversary of Faria’s birth by staging a play entitled “Kator Re Bhaji”. This was conceptualized, written and directed by Isabel de Santa Rita Vas.


   “In search of Abbe Faria: The hypnotic vision of a Goan Pioneer” is a documentary

prepared by Isabel de Santa Rita Vas with the help of Cecil Pinto who did the cinematography. In this, she embarks on a journey to document the history and achievements of Abbe Faria through a series of interviews with people who have studied or encountered the Abbe in some way or the other.


   Luis SR Vas has written a book “Abbe Faria: The Life of a Pioneer Indian

     Hypnotist and His Impact on Hypnotism. Broadway Book Centre, Panjim, 2007.


   “Of the Cause of Lucid Sleep or Study of the Nature of Man” English translation

of Abbe Faria’s book; translated by Dr. Manoharrai Sardessai; Editor – psychiatrist from Madgaon, Dr. Rajendra P. Hegde



The Virtual Abbé Faria

by Luis S. R. Vas

September 20 marks the death anniversary of José Custódio de Faria (1756-1819) better known as Abbé Faria. Although he was born in Goa, he lived most of his life in France where he investigated the phenomenon of somnambulism, now known as hypnotism, hypnotizing over 5,000 subjects and producing spectacular cures and other results. He was the first to give a scientific explanation to the phenomenon, attributing its effects to suggestions appropriately implanted by the hypnotist into the subject’s mind. He thus became known as the father of scientific hypnotism.

Later, Emile Coué (1857 – 1926), a French druggist, used Faria’s discovery to develop his own system of auto-suggestion in his book Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion ( ) and prescribed the formula ‘Every day in every way I am getting better and better’ to his patients, which enabled them to heal themselves with its help. Further on, Dr. J. H. Schultz (1884-1970), a German physician, used Faria’s and Coue’s ideas to develop his own series of suggestive formulae, which, repeated as prescribed, enabled the subjects to raise their body temperature, fight freezing cold and achieve other mind-over-body effects.  He termed his technique Autogenic Training

In the 1950s another German doctor, Dr. Hannes Lindemann dramatized the power of autogenic training by using it when he crossed the Atlantic alone in a canoe, to brave and surmount stormy weather, freezing temperatures, hunger and thirst.

The importance of Abbé Faria to the development of hypnosis is, therefore, indisputable. But, when about a decade ago Dr. Rajendra Hegde, an enterprising and public spirited psychiatrist from Madgaon, decided to commission Manohar Rai Sardessai, the late Konkani poet and French scholar, to translate De La Cause Du Sommeil Lucide, the opus in French by Abbé Faria into English, he had to send a photographer to the Central Library, Panaji, to photograph every page of the fragile copy of the book preserved in the library, before it could be translated. No other copy was available.

Just a couple of years before the 250th birth anniversary of the Abbé in 2006, Dr. Laurent Carrer, a French hypnotherapist living and working in the US also decided to translate the same book into English along with a biography of the Abbé and assessment of Faria’s book by the Goan scientist Dr. D. G. Dalgado. He could download all three texts from a French website for a fee. Today the full text of Abbé’s book and the introduction are available free on the Net courtesy an Italian hypnotherapist, Dr. M. Paret.

The Internet has been a great boon to the memory of the Abbé. When Dom Martin, the talented Goan expatriate artist living in the US, thought of appealing to the governments of India, Portugal and France to issue a postage stamp in honour of the Abbé, it was suggested to him to go online with his appeal after canvassing support from other Goans and admirers of the Abbé. He set up the website where anyone accessing it could add their names to the appeal. The appeal was successful in persuading the Portuguese postal department to issue a commemorative postcard (“um inteiro bilhete postal”), more appealing visually than a mere postage stamp, on May 31, 2006. Today the website has not outlived its usefulness. To the contrary, it has become indispensable to anyone interested in the Abbé.

 It features:

* biographical and photographic material on the Abbé;

* a collection of articles and links on him;


* Abbé Faria’s sermon on the Advent of the Holy Spirit delivered before Pope Pius VI in the Sistine Chapel translated

   from Latin into English by Fr Ivo Conceição de Souza of Rachol Seminary;

* a picture of the postcard issued in his honour;

* digitized and illustrated text of De La Cause du Sommeil Lucide with an English summary;


* two extraordinary and contradictory eyewitness accounts of the Abbe’s lectures in Paris in 1813, one by

   columnist Etienne Juoy, the other by General François Joseph Noizet, who was to become his first disciple; and


* a fascinating New York Times review, dated 1907, of Dr. Dalgado’s book:  Memoir on the Life of Abbe Faria,

   published in French in 1906.

In a word it is a treasure trove on Abbé Faria, all of it exquisitely illustrated by Dom Martin himself.

Long ago Dom Martin had suggested that the ancestral house of Abbé Faria, in Candolim, currently an orphanage, be converted into a museum in the hypnotist’s honour. So far the suggestion has failed to hypnotise or even persuade the concerned authorities despite several attempts in Goa to follow up on the suggestion. However, Dom Martin’s own website has turned literally into a virtual museum, a veritable ‘museum without walls’ in the words of the celebrated French writer André Malraux, becoming accessible to anyone anywhere interested in this great Goan.

It’s not a substitute to converting the Abbé’s house into one, but it’s the next best step, thanks to the Internet and Dom Martin’s imagination.







What we would like to request from the Government:


     1.      Establishment of a museum at Abbe Faria’s house in Candolim. Retrieval and

              collection of whatever available material on him from all over the world.


     2.      Setting up a Chair in Abbe Faria’s name in the Psychology Department at the GOA



     3.     Setting up of a Mental Health Counseling Centre at Colvale (Abbe Faria’s Father’s

             house)  to offerservices in various types of counseling at nominal rates to the public.

             (Let us not waste lakhs of rupees on erecting a   statue).


     4.     The compilation and publication of all material available on Abbe Faria, including

             sources (and four or five plays written about Abbe Faria) maybe by the Department

             of Art and Culture or the Department of Education.


     5.     Translation of selected works on Abbe Faria into English and Konkani.


     6.     Production and presentation of a Tiatr about Abbe Faria, maybe in September, his

             death anniversary.


     7.     With the friendly relations between India and France, to work towards a memorial of

             Abbe Faria, n France, as he did most of his research work there.


     8.    The release of a postage stamp/ coin celebrating the life of Abbe Faria, Indian pioneer,

            scientist and son of Goa.








The foregoing is a true text copy of the Souvenir of ABBE FARIA’s 258th Birth Anniversary; however, enhanced imagery as well as fine art has been added by artist/webmaster, Dom Martin.