Indian Rationalist Association

India's largest rationalist organisation. Founded in 1949. Fights for scientific temper, secularism, freedom of thought and expression. Defends reason and science. Exposes superstition, blind belief, obscurantism, paranormal claims caste-based social divisions and guru-politics nexus. Strives for a post-religious society. President: Sanal Edamaruku Contact: Phone: + 91-11-6569 9012, +91-11-64630651

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sanal Edamaruku in The Times of India on Black Magic

Chicken bones and black magic cannot harm you

The Times of India - 2 May 2010

Sanal Edamaruku
(President, Indian Rationalist Association)

I have campaigned against superstitions for several decades now and am convinced that it is the single most destructive force in India’s development.

Let me start with a small piece of advice, just in case. If one fine day you get to know that some tantrik, generously paid by your arch enemy to kill you, has managed to lay his hands on a used handkerchief or a strand of hair or yours, don’t panic. Here is the counter spell that can save your life: just laugh. For whatever mantras he may chant over a midnight fire in the local burial ground and whatever cruelties he may commit to your handkerchief, it cannot harm you as long as you are not afraid. If you are afraid, yes, you could die - out of fear that is.

In March 2008, I had an opportunity to prove my point. During a panel discussion live on India TV about “tantra power versus science” my opponent Pandit Surinder Sharma, a well-known TV-tantrik, boasted that it would take him just three minutes to kill whomever he wanted by the sheer power of his mantras. “Then kill me!” I challenged him. And he tried. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment. When I survived two exhausting hours of “Om lingalingalingalinga, kilikilikili….”, the show was continued in an open air midnight special with the “ultimate destruction ritual”, in which the tantrik fired off the full stock of his black magic arsenal. Finally he furiously crucified, massacred and burned the little clot of wheat dough that was meant to represent me. But all the tantra and mantra could not harm me. Of course not! How should abracadabra and chicken bones spell death?

Fear from freedom is looming large

We are living in a time where scientific and technological revolutions are dramatically changing the way we live and the way we think. With the fast and easy flow of information at our fingertip and the whole world just a call away, borders are opening, old monopolies and privileges breaking and social prisons crumbling. It’s a good time to do away with the last balance of age old superstition and tribal rituals in our mind and to try to understand the world in its complexity. To take control of our lives and develop our own capacities, to be efficient, strong, confident, responsible – and happy. This is not only a personal affair, it is also the best way promote India growing into a developed country and unfolding its strong potential to take a leadership position in tomorrow’s world order.

Many are ill prepared to cope with the challenging situation. For them, all changes create a feeling of insecurity and fear. People who could not overcome their childhood fears and weaknesses tend to remain trapped lifelong in a bizarre world where ghosts and spirits are lurking behind every shadow. They are the ideal customers for tantriks and babas, who unscrupulously exploit fear and insecurity.

Blisters and a flush of enlightenment

I have been a spirited campaigner against superstition for several decades now, as I am convinced that it is the single most destructive force in people’s lives and India’s development. My encounters with “supernatural” charlatans enlist much more colourful figures and more dangerous situations than the “Great Tantra Challenge” on India TV. There were people like the fiery Balti Baba, who performed his fire tricks allegedly for the benefit of a top politician’s re-election, when I exposed him. He got so furious that he tossed a huge burning mud pot on my face. Running TV cameras recorded my narrow escape. I got some minor blisters, but the baba burnt his hands down to the bones and hasn’t been seen in public ever since.

Among all those sinister creatures, Pandit Suriner Sharma deserves a special place. As a somewhat sedate thinker he understood the consequences of our experiment in a nationally broadcast live programme too late. Killing nothing but his own career, he helped me – though against his will – to spark a flush of enlightenment in the minds of millions of viewers. I still receive touchy mails from people of all wages of life who found their way out of superstition that night. In case you missed the programme: you can see some clippings on YouTube.



Blogger SuMa said...

Just seen these videos on your channel of YouTube.

Amazing :) :)

Thanks a lot for removing the last bit of fear that I had from these tantriks.

Sunil Manohar

7:41 PM  
Blogger viam shah said...

yesterday there was once again the article on 'Rekky" the spiritual enlightenment which enhance the subconscious mind power and a person can bent a metal - spoon or four people can lift a 107kg person with two fingers
but it seems a trick is more involved than a supper power.
eg. A Rekky master first call three people from the audience and ask them to lift a person of 107kg by two finger and they could not - but then a master applies the rekky and then ask them to lift a Person and they did it.
If you go throughly the clipping then it realize that there is a "load sharing " principle involved in it where a master & other were lifting the person by placing their hand on the knee and tried to lift the person as fingers has limited power tolift a weight , but after dong some "Rekky" they all and particularly Master has lift the person without putting his ankle on the knee he lifted with full power of his body

3:33 PM  
Blogger Santosh Kumar said...

Absolutely brilliant.
I think it will go with time. Most young people don't believe in such arrant nonsense anymore.


10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sanal

This question is off-topic. I often read that homeopathy is well accepted in India and that homeopaths are viewed as the equal to real doctors.

What is the Indian Rationalists take on homeopathy?



4:23 PM  
Blogger zing said...

Thanks for the good article

3:19 PM  

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