Down the water for an Ashram scam?

by endlesspsych

I should point out I have nothing against the idea of an Ashram (a religious hermitage or the Indian equivalent of a Yoga dojo if you like) but I do take exception to people claiming they can cure cancer through increasing random and impossible means…

Baba Ramadev

Yes Swami Ji it is amazing people believe this!

Baba Ramdev (Swami ji to his friends) has recently been gifted the Island of Little Cumbrae in Scotland so folks will soon be able to go “doun the watter” to get their cancer curing fix of Pranayama – the art of controlling the life force through the breath.

Swami Balendu ji has been performing spiritual healing ever since he emerged from his three and a half-year spiritual devotion in the cave. Swami ji has carried out this healing all over India, as well as in Europe, and has brought spiritual peace to many souls, irrespective of race, creed and spiritual beliefs.

Now spiritual healing is all well and good, it would be foolish to condemn someone for fulfilling someones individual need and belief for faith or spirituality, however to make claims along the lines of reducing good and bad health to positive and negative energy (which you can shield them from…) and indeed heal actual illness and disease is pure woo and potentially dangerous.

Broadly speaking there exist two kinds of negative energy. One, which we create ourselves by leading a wrong and disorderly lifestyle (for e.g. – bad eating habits, negative and malicious thinking, stress, tension etc.) and the other which we get affected by from outside (for e.g. – where one is doing well in life and envious people who do not have a good mind target their jealousy towards them without any reason). Sometimes even the mere sight of jealous people who feel unhappy in seeing that others are happy produces a lot of negative energy. But one need not be ill or have serious problems to benefit from Spiritual Healing. In fact many people come to Swami ji simply for getting the feel of this good energy as it helps build an aura of positive energy around them. This aura acts as a protective shield against all negative energy and radiates the person from within. However if there are any particular physical or mental problems that bother you, please do not forget to tell Swami ji about them. Swami ji has been blessed to be able to cure such ailments through the process of Spiritual Healing. Swami ji suggests that you write down all your problems prior to the healing session so that you do not forget any of them!

Swami ji’s website gives an excellent account of how the placebo effect operates in woo however:

This energy can work in many different ways. Many people feel an immediate improvement and soothing for their pain, others do not feel anything in beginning. It can even happen that a problem deteriorates before it finally disappears. Swami Ji generally recommends three healing sessions. In the first session the body and consciousness are tuned to this energy. As this is normally the first experience, many people are nervous and have a lot of questions and curiosity. In the second and third session it is not a new experience anymore and the energy can be taken in better and more intensively.

So essenentially in a wonderful display of circular logic, nothing might happen/something might happen – both of these meaning of course that we can conclude anything that happens to you during the healing is caused by the healing and the healing is good.

All that for a mere $70 “donation…” but wait thats not all…

“We have cured hypertension, thyroid problems, asthma, arthritis, [and on cancer] the cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygenated environment – this is a scientific truth,” said Baba Ramdev.

Now, with the help of the formerly Sceptical Mrs Poddart, he’s on a ten year mission to improve the health of my beloved nation (thats Scotland folks). Which in fairness does have very poor health, so poor in fact it has it’s own effect named after it… But I don’t think somehow that breathing funnily will help my fried food loving, Tennents swilling, Lambert and Butler smoking countrymen (although grudgingly I would reckon that eating a more healthy diet and partaking of some yoga everyday would probably help – just don’t hold with all this “energy curing cancer nonsense!).

Basave Premanand

What would he make of all this?

All this nonsense on home soil is made all the more galling and poignant when it follows so closely the announcement that prominent Indian sceptic Basave Premanand has been admited to hospital and is in a terminal condition suffering from carcinoma of the stomach

Basave Premanand founded the Indian committee for sceptical enquiry and the federation of Indian Rationalist organisations and devoted his life to exposing the kind of huxterism and delusion of gurus and fakirs, you can see his involvement in the debunking of Sai Baba in the film guru busters.

I’m not quite sure what he’d make of the very same huxterism/delusion washing up on our shores – but I think we can guess the old rationalist wouldn’t have been best pleased…

I’ll leave you with a video of Swami Ramdev doing his thang when he came over to our cold and wet shores: