2006-05-13 08:01:02 UTC
By Bosco de Sousa Eremita
PANAJI, Goa (SAR NEWS) -- The European Union is honouring a pioneering
Goan Catholic priest scientist on the occasion of his 250 birth
anniversary with a commemorative post card scheduled to be issued on 31
May, according to media reports here.
The priest Jose Custodio de Faria alias Abbe Faria (1755 -1819) is the
second Goan accorded the distinction after Portugal commemorated Blessed
Joseph Vaz with a postal stamp on the occasion of his 300th birth
anniversary Faria was a hypnotist, revolutionary, professor and
scientist. He participated in the French Revolution and in the first
revolt in India against any colonial power, after the Portuguese in Goa
(1510-1961) disallowed local priests from becoming bishops.
Faria was born on 31 May at Colvale, 15 kilometers north of the state
capital Panaji, to a priest and a nun (parents separated after birth),
but eventually ended becoming a priest himself.
According to the report, initially the commemorative stamp proposal
initiated by Dom Martins, a Goan artiste based in USA, was to honour the
priest with a commemorative stamp, but after the world-wide internet
petition signed by admirers of Fairia to the Stamp Advisory Committee
of one of the European Countries crossed the deadline for submission of
stamp proposals, the authorities assured to release a commemorative
Ironically, a statue of Faria lies installed in the city's main
thoroughfare since 28 September 1945, but until last year following an
initative by some Faria fans not many citizens were aware of the
Faria put forth the theory of hypnotism and played a pivotal role in the
The statue depicts Faria hypnotizing a woman lying at his feet,
evidently an effort by the sculptor at enacting the rage at Rua de
Clichy, France, when he started "hypnotic" classes in 1813, much sought
after by aristocratic women seeking new sensations to entertain
At the classes, Abbe Faria carried out practical demonstrations on
audience, after explaining that hypnotic sleep did not depend on him
(the hypnotiser), an amazing departure from theories held at that
Explained Stanley Fernandes, a schoolteacher in Goa who researched to
bring out a booklet along with Matanhy Saldanha, a Goan legislator, on
Abbe Faria in 1976 in a bid to educate the public, "F Anton Mesmer from
Vienna had come to Paris in 1778 and expounded his doctrine of animal
magnetism, which was widely accepted,. But, the French Academy, which
appointed a commission while admitting to its success of the practice,
said it was due to imitation and imagination.
This was a severe blow to Mesmerism, which forced its decline and
neglect until Faria too it up".
"It is now Abbe Faria who is today acknowledged and acclaimed even by
eminent scientists like Betrand Bennheim, Brown Saquard, Crocq, Cills
de la Touette and others, to have proposed the theory and method of
hypnotism through suggestions to self and others", said Fernandes.
After Mesmer's unsuccessful attempt to establish hypnotism (or
magnetism), as a science, similar efforts were made in vain, but Faria's
theory differed from the rest, explained Fernandes. "Others held that a
`magnetic fluid' passed from the magnetizer to the subject. But Faria
contended that nothing comes from the magnetizer. Everything comes from
the subject and takes place in his imagination".
It was held by Mesmer, and even before Mesmer by the early Greeks, that
this type of magnetism was a gift of a few who were endowed with special
qualities. Faria disagreed with the theory and boldly developed his own
teaching, which said that suggestion could be passed by anyone to
anyone. He then demonstrated for the first time, the existence of
"Faria was the first to successfully give therapeutic suggestions to
subjects under hypnotism", said Fernandes, adding that writer Alexander
Dumas immortalized the priest in his classic The Count of Monte Cristo
as an imprisoned priest in the castle and one who knew of some secret
treasure in real life.
Only one volume of Faria's book saw the light of print in his
lifetime. Before the other two volumes were completed, Faria died of
apoplectic stroke, penniless and was buried in the cemetery of
Montmartre on 20 September 1819.
Last year, a US-based French translator Laurent Carre released the book
entitled Jose Custodio de Faria: Hypnotist, Priest and Revolutionary,
comprising works of Faria.