Friday, March 21, 2008

Black Magic Guru Shoots Blanks

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

It began when a Hinduvta politician (the racist and nationalistic political movement in India) publicly claimed she was being harassed by tantric black magicians:
Everything started, when Uma Bharati (former chief minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh) accused her political opponents in a public statement of using tantrik powers to inflict damage upon her. In fact, within a few days, the unlucky lady had lost her favorite uncle, hit the door of her car against her head and found her legs covered with wounds and blisters.
In an effort to inject some sense into the Indian mediasphere, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, organized The Great Tantra Challenge, a TV ratings bonanza and proof these so-called tantric black magicians are nothing more than impotent con men with criminally-utilized pathological imaginations:
The encounter took place under the open night sky. The tantrik and his two assistants were kindling a fire and staring into the flames. Sanal was in good humour. Once the ultimate magic was invoked, there wouldn’t be any way back, the tantrik warned. Within two minutes, Sanal would get crazy, and one minute later he would scream in pain and die. Didn’t he want to save his life before it was too late? Sanal laughed, and the countdown begun. The tantriks chanted their “Om lingalingalingalinga, kilikilikili….” followed by ever changing cascades of strange words and sounds. The speed increased hysterically. They threw all kinds of magic ingredients into the flames that produced changing colours, crackling and fizzling sounds and white smoke. While chanting, the tantrik came close to Sanal, moved his hands in front of him and touched him, but was called back by the anchor. After the earlier covert attempts of the tantrik to use force against Sanal, he was warned to keep distance and avoid touching Sanal. But the tantrik “forgot” this rule again and again.

Now the tantrik wrote Sanal’s name on a sheet of paper, tore it into small pieces, dipped them into a pot with boiling butter oil and threw them dramatically into the flames. Nothing happened. Singing and singing, he sprinkled water on Sanal, mopped a bunch of peacock feathers over his head, threw mustard seed into the fire and other outlandish things more. Sanal smiled, nothing happened, and time was running out. Only seven more minutes before midnight, the tantrik decided to use his ultimate weapon: the clod of wheat flour dough. He kneaded it and powdered it with mysterious ingredients, then asked Sanal to touch it. Sanal did so, and the grand magic finale begun. The tantrik pierced blunt nails on the dough, then cut it wildly with a knife and threw them into the fire. That moment, Sanal should have broken down. But he did not. He laughed. Forty more seconds, counted the anchor, twenty, ten, five… it’s over!
Note that this was the third attempt to kill Sanal on live TV. All three failed of course, the last in front of 300-million viewers. It's no wonder we haven't been vanquished yet, as the reader who tipped us to this wonderful event jokingly warned us about.

This is one of the great tragedies of the Hinduvta. As long as the superstition of Hinduism, including ideas about black magic, gets promoted as canonical truth, India will never become the great world power these nationalist folks expect her to be. They are shooting themselves in the foot with every politician who hires black magicians, or fears them, making demonstrations like Sanal's one of the best things that can happen for the future of India.

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9 Comments:

At 3/21/2008 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty funny that the Google ad at the top of the page today is for getting rid of black magic spells, using vedic incantations.

 
At 3/21/2008 8:38 PM, Blogger jody said...

the Google ad at the top of the page today is for getting rid of black magic

It's tragic there's a market for it.

 
At 3/22/2008 9:26 AM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

As long as the superstition of Hinduism, including ideas about black magic, gets promoted as canonical truth, India will never become the great world power these nationalist folks expect her to be.

I'm wondering if this is a non-sequitur.

There have been world powers with equally superstitious beliefs in the past and, even in this era, I don't doubt the possibility of it happening again... which should be a cause for greater concern.

Remember, Jody, you live in a world power country where a vast majority believes "thoughts become things" (or heal from a distance, or are God speaking to you, or any manner of other superstitions).

 
At 3/22/2008 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is strange to see black magic compared to superstitions - when there could be ample proof (if thats what one is into)to prove otherwise. The live TV stunt was ofcourse doomed to be a failure - no wise man would attempt such a ritual(s)for arbitary reasons and performed in view of 300 million!
Besides, if the whole of black magic was a superstition, deities like Kali,Bhairavi etc would need reevaluation. I use this as an example as I am aware that Jody has a good connection to the Goddess Kali.

 
At 3/22/2008 10:50 AM, Blogger jody said...

It is strange to see black magic compared to superstitions - when there could be ample proof (if thats what one is into) to prove otherwise.

We've got another inveterate dreamer this morning.

The live TV stunt was of course doomed to be a failure - no wise man would attempt such a ritual(s) for arbitary reasons and performed in view of 300 million!

They why would he try and fail? It's all one-hundred-proof hogwash.

Besides, if the whole of black magic was a superstition, deities like Kali, Bhairavi etc would need reevaluation.

Not if you view them all as mere cultural expressions which point to different aspects of our lives' container.

I use this as an example as I am aware that Jody has a good connection to the Goddess Kali.

You mean, I have a relationship with the universe I've painted with a Kali brush. That has nothing to do with anything superstitious or otherwise. I've simply taken a cultural artifact I find attractive and apt as a descriptor of life in general and employed it as a way to imagine I'm in relationship with the whole of life. I expect nothing in the way of protection from anything, ridiculous paranoia about black magic or hurtling fireballs about to end all life on the planet.

 
At 3/22/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger semblance said...

hey, I was not watching this on TV, which means it was 1 minus 300 millions. I guess this was a no-news item to the average indian.

To have Tantra reduced to silly black magic is amusing. The tantriks i have seen/met among many others were, the most kindest and utterly incapable of any violence.

Sanal Edamaruku possibly set up the whole exercise with some jobless wannabe 'babajis' and the news hungry media, which is a common strategy in the indian mediasphere these dayz.

It appears whatever incredibly nonsensical can conveniently stuffed and sold in the name of Tantra. Perhaps it was more important to make people understand, what is truly tantra than dismiss entire tantra as just a gimmick.

 
At 3/22/2008 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Dear,
Am I becoming just a little too cynical? Why do I feel that Sanal is in one of those "pairs of opposites" relationships with the "tantrik guru"? Is it something about the tv performance? the website? The knowing smirk on Sanal's face? the real lack of scariness of the tantrik guy (unlike some I've known in India), who looks like the Pillsbury DoughBoy in a robe?. Is it the organization? Can't really tell from here but the whole thing has a decidedly "fishy" quality.
Now if he got Afro Sai Baba up there on tv and challenged him then I'd be a little more impressed.But I guess that wouldn't do...too many devotees..

seen too mucho

 
At 3/25/2008 12:08 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

Sanal's Ace is that he doesn't believe in this stuff. also the fact that he has has something to do with setting it up, means he has something to do with the outcome. so maybe not really so convincing. you get what you want.

 
At 3/25/2008 3:13 PM, Blogger a correspondent said...

Sanal is an irritating, if honest, atheist / rationalist in India.

tantricks like this abound in India - and they probably believe in their tricks enough to come on live TV and try it.

Nothing fake in this. Sanal obviously knew he will be safe. He has considered himself safe for 30 years or so now.

IndiaTV is not the most popular TV channel. So a lot of us heard about this later

 

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