Who ya gonna call? Gurubusters!

15

In the endless fight against superstition and fakery in India, campaigners for rationalism have to use every trick in the book to beat so-called holy men at their own game.

Standing in front of the schoolchildren at Desu Madra Secondary School in Mohali, in the Indian state of Punjab, Satnam Singh Daun spreads his props out on the table: scarves and money that vanish, cards, powders that burst into flames, some rope, matches, vials, cotton wool. He looks like a magician about to start a show at a child's birthday party.

But the tricks are not for entertaining the children. Daun is using them to expose the godmen, gurus, astrologers, charlatans, soothsayers, palmists, charm sellers, quacks, and humbugs who are so popular in India.

The children, seated on the ground in the bright sunshine and humidity that follows a monsoon downpour, listen intently to Daun as he pours scorn on superstition. He performs the same tricks that are used by holy men to exploit the gullibility of Indians and project themselves as possessing supernatural powers – making money disappear or turning 100 rupee notes into 500 rupee notes, producing ash from nowhere, swallowing fire.

''It's because they are too stupid to become teachers, doctors or scientists that godmen become astrologers to fool people,'' Daun says.

''They want you to use amulets and trust in the stars instead of using your reason. These holy men are holy fools tricking you. Be rational, use your minds,'' says Daun, as a rooster in the school grounds crows on cue as if to say ''hear hear''.
 

Written By: Amrit Dhillon
continue to source article at theage.com.au

15 COMMENTS

  1. Never a truer word spoken!

    With increasing wealth and affluence amongst Indian middle class, things have regressed a lot. Great work done by rationalists and atheists in the early 20th century (thanks to Fabian influence) are now being eroded slowly by the rising power of Hindu nationalism and skullduggery. Modern day skeptics and rationalists like Sanal Edamaruku and Narendra Dabholkar have to face the wrath of religion. Religion does poison everything!

  2. It’s so strange. While India is on the one hand one of the most financially successful countries in Asia with an ever growing number of highly educated people. On the other it seems like superstition is on the rise. Even highly educated people seem to buy into these ridiculous gurus who are obvious charlatans. To me it goes to show how hard it is to be a rational human being. Even without organized religion superstition seems to flourish. Perhaps ironically, in a sense it might even make things worse. At least moderate forms of Christianity tend to despise magic and superstition (other than the boring old Christian rituals and teachings that few take seriously anyway). But when people leave their old faith many don’t become any more rational. Instead they turn to new age and other forms of bullshit.

  3. Yep, this makes you sick.I have friends who believe that that scoundrel Sai Baba was divine.And then you get all those folks regularly trooping off to temples and paying priests fat sums of money to predict all manner of dates and times which would be ‘auspicious’ for every aspect of life.Very discouraging.
    Wonder what became of the “Rajneeshi”who caused havoc in Oregon? Now, there was a guru who thoroughly deserved “busting’.Good for Daun,fine job.These parasites should be shown up for what they are.Conmen.

    • In reply to #3 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      Yep, this makes you sick.I have friends who believe that that scoundrel Sai Baba was divine.And then you get all those folks regularly trooping off to temples and paying priests fat sums of money to predict all manner of dates and times which would be ‘auspicious’ for every aspect of life.Very disco…
      I have a relative who gave to a ” palm reader” and got screwed out his money–BIG TIME! I told him it was BULLSHIT, but he didn’t believe me.

  4. I saw Sai Baba do that ash materialising thing. I was baffled. He seemed to create endless quantities of it from an urn.

    I also have a personal Sai Baba “miracle” involving the mysterious appearance of ash cones in my house. That one could not be attributed to magicianship because Sai Baba did not even know he was being tested. It did not require the suspension of any natural law, just an improbable event.

    • In reply to #5 by Aztek:

      ”It’s because they are too stupid to become teachers, doctors or scientists that godmen become astrologers to fool people.”

      Good to hear a person be so frank.

      Sometimes these people can be very smart, at least in the sense of “street smart”. They can be masters at manipulation, salesmanship, communication, etc. If you look at some of these tricks they require a lot of skill to pull off convincingly. Not saying I admire them or anything just that it’s a little simplistic to just say they are stupid.

    • In reply to #8 by SoundGuyLuke:

      It makes me ill to learn that Edamaruku was forced to flee his homeland for debunking a lie.

      wait…what?! I remember him getting in trouble for some goofy charge of offending people, but hadn’t heard the outcome. Very surprised he wasn’t mentioned in this article.

      Anyone unfamiliar with Edamaruku should look him up. He’s one of the greatest forces for dispelling myths. His videos with gurus are lulzy.

      • In reply to #12 by This Is Not A Meme:

        In reply to #8 by SoundGuyLuke:

        It makes me ill to learn that Edamaruku was forced to flee his homeland for debunking a lie.

        wait…what?! I remember him getting in trouble for some goofy charge of offending people, but hadn’t heard the outcome. Very surprised he wasn’t mentioned in this article…

        If you continue to the source article he is mentioned:)

  5. “But the tricks are not for entertaining the children. Daun is using them to expose the godmen, gurus, astrologers, charlatans, soothsayers, palmists, charm sellers, quacks, and humbugs who are so popular in India.”

    Who are indistinguishable from priests, rabbis, popes, deacons, bishops, reverends, pastors, nuns, monks, swindlers, con-men, pickpockets, habitual liars, saints, theologians, republicans…

  6. Jeepers creepers, take a look at those peepers!! Just the look on this guy’s face screams psychotic. If I met him on the street, I’d want to get away from him as quickly as my legs can carry me.

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