Daily O

How my father, PC Sorcar, became India's greatest magician

[Book extract] He cleansed and modernised Indian magic and provided a solid scientific foundation for it.

Right from the time he came of age, my father’s enquiring mind began a thorough search of the origins of magic and its practice in India. Going through ancient Sanskrit texts and scriptures, yogic literature and treatises, he discovered that a good many of the celebrated magic acts of today were performed in the Vedic and later periods. “The Great Indian Rope Trick”, for instance, has been mentioned in Shankaracharya’s commentary on Vedanta as an offshoot of Indrajala Vidya, Kauchumara Yoga and Chhalitak Yoga. He also found out that the “Art and Science of Magic” was taught in such eminent seats of learning as the universities of Nalanda, Takshashila and Abantipura. Even in the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna was said to be trained in the intriguing craft of magic. It did not take much deliberation to make up his mind. He decided to become a full-fledged magician with the sole aim of reviving this ancient art form.

My father dearly loved our country and our culture, which gifted him with his identity as a magician. And understandably, he could not bear the yoke of colonial subjugation which in his time had weighed down

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