Biranchi Narayan Mishra, Dhenkapur Sasan, Keonghargarh, Orissa, 758 001 has sent us a paper cutting from Statesman dated 26.7.1990 with a picture of one K.Krishnan of Tamilnadu swallowing snakes and claiming it as a Yogic Feat.

Yoga, if you mean "spirituality or psychic power" has nothing to do with snake swallowing. If you go through the history of such feats where persons claiming to have Yogic powers swallowed swords, snakes etc., you will find that it is the same physical practice used by the gold or narcotic smugglers by swallowing them and bringing them out when needed.

The method of swallowing snakes is as follows: Take an elastic tube with round smooth ends of the size of a snake or purchase a rubber snake. Hold your head back so as to form a straight passage down your throat. When you first try to swallow the same you will have the tendency to gag and you may feel sick with vomitting sensation. This will continue for some time until your throat becomes accustomed to the material.

Practice this every day and several times a day before meals. After you get over gaggy spell, you will find that your throat has closed up so tightly that the tube or snake will not go down any further. These are most discouraging moments, but don't give up practice. This is due to the involuntary muscle in the throat which closes. Keep on trying one day you will find unexpectedly that the passage in your throat is open. You will then go through another period of gagging until that part of the throat also becomes used to the feel of the tube. Keep practicing, attempting to insert the tube further and further until it has reached the stomach. Doctors generally insert a tube in the stomach for feeding or stomach wash. It is the same method.

After you have mastered swallowing the tube or the rubber snake, you are ready to swallow a live snake. Before swallowing a live snake, learn about the snakes and how to handle them with the help of a snake charmer or snake parks in your area.

Take your own time and never try to swallow the tube in a hurry. Always practice until you are certain of your ability to swallow well.

Now what has psychic powers or supernatural powers to do with swallowing snakes?

K. Krishnan of Tamil Nadu earns Rs.100 to Rs.150 a day by swallowing five snakes on the pavement of Bombay washed down with a jugful of water. Spectators cheer as Krishnan soon pulls out the wriggling snakes, Krishnan claims it is a yogic feat - UNI. (The Statesman, 26, July 1990)

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Last update: 21 July 1998