7,000 Yogic Flyers

by endlesspsych

By Keir Liddle

In what has to be one of the ballsier debunkings I have yet come across (an oldie but a goodie) Indian sceptic, and head of the Indian Rationalist association, Sanal Edamaruku challenged holy man Pandit Surender Sharma to kill him with his mystical powers.  Millions tuned in to see the master chant mantras, sprinkle water on his intended victim, brandish a knife, ruffle the sceptic’s hair and press his temples: all to no avail, as Mr Edamaruku remained jovial and, crucially, alive, throughout the ritualised shenanigans.
You can see how events unfold on youtube:

It is a classic example of the  debunking of charlatan Babas and Gurus that Mr Edamaruku has taken part in with the members of the Indian Rationalist Association: an organisation that has grown from a small group of 300 members content to debate among themselves to a grass-roots movement of more than 100,000 members — mainly young professionals, teachers and students — covering most of India. Members now spend much of their time investigating and reverse-engineering “miracles” performed by self-styled holy men, who often claim millions of followers and amass huge wealth from donations.

The efforts of the Indian Rationalist Association and Mr Edamaruku are to be applauded and encouraged, particularly as gurus  Baba Ramdev (the yogic healer of Little Cumbrae)  has founded a political party, Bharat Swabhimaan Andolan , promising to cleanse India of corruption and introduce the death penalty for slaughtering cows.  This may bring to mind for some people the image of the UK’s own (now defunct) Natural Law Party and their policy on crime of yogic flying, their policy on health of yogic flying, and their policy on yogic flying on yogic flying… Okay, I am glossing over some of the detail of the Natural Law Party’s policies for comic effect- but not by much.

For your entertainment, I present one of their campaign adverts, so you can see for yourself why we need seven thousand yogic flyers:

However, Bharat Swabhiman Andolan seem to be a slightly different kettle of fish politically. There is a nationalist tint to their rhetoric about corruption, education and economics. Particularly random is their rebuttal to concerns about India’s educational system by pointing to the fact that the numbers 0-9 were created/discovered (a debate for mathematicians and others to have elsewhere!) in India as evidence that India’s current educational system is fine…

Is there anybody in this modern world to tell from where the counting numbers 1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 came from? Why even today’s most advanced educational and scientific intellectuals of these most developed countries call them as NATURAL NUMBERS. Natural Numbers indicate the number which we got from nature.
To be a proud Bhartiyas, we can say that in VEDAS there were enough references that these numbers are as old as Bharat and its origin.
A step ahead another feather to Bharat’s crown is ZERO and DECIMAL. These digits are given by true Bhartiyas and only then the sequence of counting numbers got completed.
To be more proud Bhartiya, we can also claim that if there was no Ramanujam on earth then from where the basic of modern science and mathematical Square root and Cube root this world got. Without all these, what would be athe face of this modern science and economies?

It also seems as if Baba Ramdev might have some Berlusconi-esque motives for supporting this political party.

Ramdev, whose yoga lessons are followed by an estimated 85 million people on televisions and video, said the recent arrests of self-claimed holy men on criminal charges was “a very big conspiracy” even if some of them were indeed guilty.
“Some politicians and communal forces are conspiring to malign the name of Indian saints by trapping them in cases related to fake currency, rape, murder, sex scandal and drugs,” he said.
Hmm… could it be useful for the Baba to have some political allies to protect his own particular brand of woo?