Meet Mohit Rao, the man the BSE is wary of
Mohit Rao. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Hopelessly curious about hypnosis, it's only media-fed visuals and unsubstantiated stories of people being mysteriously transformed into mindless pawns, that's kept us away from giving it a shot. But recently, curiosity won the battle when we learnt of homegrown mentalist Mohit Rao's almost-paranormal abilities — to hypnotize over 25,000 people, including an entire local train, predicting BSE Sensex live before the closing to the last decimal (he has now been prohibited from trading at the BSE).
'Meditation with bad reputation'
It's a Thursday afternoon and we are sitting with Rao in a small colourful studio at our office. Dressed in a white shirt paired with a navy blue blazer, Rao, who likes to call himself a mind reader, has a disclaimer. "This might be not be as exciting as you've imagined. You won't be doing anything dramatic because what you experience will be entirely in your mind. But, I'll handhold you through the experiment," he tell us, with the assurance that there will be complete recollection of all events. "It will feel like your imagination, but the memory is for life," he smiles.
Rao starts with the waterfall experience: "Imagine walking to a waterfall and standing under it with the gushing water washing all over you." He then leads me to another scene. This time it's a beautiful house where I am to climb down a series of imaginary footsteps — 10 at a time. Gradually, with the slow hum of his instruction, we are put into a state of complete relaxation. While we are aware of our surroundings everything begins to feel distant — the sepia-lit room and people in it. It is a happy state of being that you want to stay in. Rao, however, says it's possible for a person to snap out of the deepest state too. "There's conscious, subconscious, hypnosis and sleep. Unlike what people think, sleep is deeper than hypnosis," he says.
When the 38-year-old, who was formerly working for an IT company, started practising hypnosis five years ago, he admits being worried about a person being stuck in a state of hypnosis. "But, that doesn't happen. Let's assume you are in this state and we all leave the room, two things will happen, either you will come out and kick our *** or fall asleep and wake up 20 minutes later. But you will find your bearings soon after," he assures us.
Rao says his first experience of being under hypnosis was hardly what he expected. "When I first became interested in studying how the mind works, I attended a few workshops. During one session, I was put under hypnosis and all the while I kept thinking to myself, 'is this it'? I couldn't believe that I had just been hypnotised," he laughs. Today, having tried hypnosis on over 30,000 people in seven different countries, Rao is aware that people are usually moderately responsive to the treatment. "It's important to build a rapport with the person. It's only if you are open to the idea, will it work."
A self taught mind reader, Rao says he had to develop the hypnotic skills on his own because he was unable to find someone who could teach him. "No psychiatrists or any expert helped me because they felt it could be misused. So I scoured through a lot of books and began practising self-hypnosis. I realised it is a fantastic form of meditation."
To predict the Sensex, Rao uses a combination of analytics and intuition. "There is no hypnosis involved in this prediction," he says. Hypnosis, he says, is a trance-like state, but there are physical clues to deciphering if a person is hypnotised. "Relaxed body language, deep breaths, slight flutter in eyelids, plus my skill as a mind reader helps me to visualise what they are seeing," he says. Next up, Rao wants to hypnotise people in Mumbai local trains. "The locals are filled with stressed people. I want to train them to use hypnosis to relax themselves - reach home refreshed." As the hour-long session nears its end, we are gradually pulled out of our trance-like state where we are asked to trace our steps from our journey to the waterfall and back to reality. For now at least, my mind feels relaxed and rejuvenated.