Indian Skeptic's explanation of miracles
By "Anti-Guru" B. Premanand
By: B. Premanand
Q: Explain "Miracle" shortly and
surely state the related specific social incidents of
Short time death, stopping heart
Making Vibhuti (holy ash) from
air and coin.
Vibhuti produced from Satya Sai
Producing fire by mental power
in the Yagna Kunda.
Transforming water into wine,honey, petrol etc.
Lifting heavy weight on finger
tips by four persons.
Making a heavy person climb on
another who is made stiff and sleeping on two chairs
at his head and feet.
Levitation in the air 5 or 6
Lifting a vessel filled with
rice with a knife.
j) Sleeping on a sharp nail bed.
k) Piercing the tongue with a sharp trishul.
l) Walking on fire.
A: Miracle is something done by
supernatural powers. Mysteries are "natural phenomena"
about which we do not know anything. But we have been
believing "Mysteries" as miracles as we did not know
what was behind them.
time death, stopping heart beat : One can
stop heart beat by breathing air inside fully and
trying to exhale the air without exhaling. What
generally done by god-men is only to stop pulse at the
wrist. This is done by stopping the flow of blood to
the hands by keeping a lemon, or a small ball or a
rolled hand kerchief in the arm pits and pressing.
Doctors do not in the confusion check the heart beat
but check the pulse and confirm that the pulse is
stopped. The god-men show this trick to make people
believe that by practising yoga and pranayama a person
can stop the breath and heart beats and still be
alive. This is to prove to the people that they are
above normal human beings.
Vibhuti (holy ash) from air and coin : No
one can create any matter from nothing or from air
except by physical and chemical reactions of a matter
which can only transform one matter into another. This
phenomena of creating anything from nothing is against
the theory of conservation, "That matter and energy
are two sides of the same coin and they can neither be
created nor destroyed." This theory is taught to us in
the High School Classes. To get ash one has to burn
firewood, or cowdung or paper. The ash so made has no
smell unless perfume is added to it. The godmen like
Satya Sai Baba claim to create anything from nothing.
When they produce vibhuti or some other thing, it has
to be hidden in their hands or the body, as they make
the same movements of the hands and the body like a
magician. No godman so far in the history of Mankind
has created anything without the movements of hands
and body and by clearly showing their hands empty and
then create something without any movement. The
godman's devotees argue as to how vibhuti which is in
powder form can be hidden in the palms when the palm
is kept down and moved in circles. They think that
when the hands are kept palms down, the ash being
powder would fall down and come to a wrong conclusion
that the godman has really created vibhuti. What the
godmen do is, that they mix perfume in the ash or
purchase perfumed ash and make a dow by adding starch
solution (Kanji water is the best) and then make small
balls and dry them. These balls are hidden between the
thumb and the pointing finger and after circling the
hand palms down and while raising the hand to produce
vibhuti, bring the vibhuti ball to the finger tips,
powder the same and give it to the devotee.
The vibhuti from coin is produced
by chemical reaction. One Vilas Baba of Phelton
Village in Maharashtra challenged me through
newspapers in 1982 when I was touring Maharashtra,
that if I prove that his miracle of producing vibhuti
from coins is a trick he is prepared to pay me Rs.5 lakhs. I accepted the challenge and agreed to meet him
on the last day of my tour, as my lecture programmes
were already arranged at the rate of four programmes a
day and in between we had to travel more than 200 km.
every day and the schedule was so tight. But the godman replied saying that his soul is going to
Himalayas for penance and will be back only the next
day of the date fixed by me. As it was a matter of
Rs.5 lakhs, I agreed to the next day by extending my
stay in Maharashtra by another day. I went to Phelton
on the day and time fixed, but the godman was missing.
He had left the place bag and baggage and has not so
far returned back.
One can produce ash like matter
only from aluminium coins. You ask someone to give
you 5, 10 or twenty paise coins and as if you are
reciting mantra rub the coin with mercuric chloride
solution and blowing on the coin. Then handover the
coin to the person asking him to keep the hand closed
with the coin. Send mental power to the hand and the
coin would be hot (by chemical reaction). Then when he
opens his fist, grey matter is seen appearing on the
coin which has been produced by chemical reaction of
mercuric chloride an aluminium and water. People
believe that it is holy ash. The grey powder
continuously forms on the coin for hours together
according to the quantity of mercuric chloride used on
the coin. Even when one removes the grey matter, still
it start forming again.
c) Vibhuti produced from Satya Sai Baba's photographs.:
Actually vibhuti does not fall constantly from the
framed photographs of Satya Sai Baba. To know if
really vibhuti forms on the glass, unless one removes
a portion sticking to the glass it cannot be known.
What is done is, ash is mixed in starch solution and
sprayed on the glass except the face. The man in whose
house vibhuti is forming on the photos does not permit
any one to go near them or touch them. They say that
if any one touches them with an intention to verify
the truth the vibhuti stops forming! What is done is
the top of the photo frame is hollow and is filled
with vibhuti, while the glass is fitted loose. When
the ceiling fan is switched on, the ash stored in the
photo frame top flies and people think that really
vibhuti is falling from the photos. This could be
exposed by removing a part of the vibhuti pasted on
the glass and see if it again forms there and by
stopping the fan. In one house of an advocate at
R.S.Puram, Coimbatore where this claim was made, I had
to wait for more than two hours as there was power cut
and only when power came, I was taken to the prayer
room to see the vibhuti falling from the photos of the
godman. When I came out the fan was put off, but I
suddenly turned around to see if vibhuti was still
comming from the photos, it had stopped!
Producing fire by mental power in the Yagna Kunda.:
It was Sadachari Sai Baba who produced fire
in the Yagna Kunda by his mental power at Delhi in
1980 or 81. The Yagna was said to be conducted on
behalf of our late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
Wood scraping was in the Yagna Kunda and a spoon full
of ghee poured over the wood. Then the swami sent his
mental powers through his eyes, when smoke started comming and when he sent mental powers through his
hands by circling his hands over the fire wood a fire
came. What he had done was, he had hidden secretly pottassium permanganate below the wood scrapings and
what he poured on the wood as ghee was glycerine. When pottassium permanganate and glycerine came together
chemical reaction started, oxygen and heat was
generated and smoke and fire was produced. But the
people who attended the Yagna - they were scientists,
Professors, judges, Ministers, politicians and
government officials etc., - fully believed that the
swami produced fire by his mental power and emptied
their pockets, and within three days yagna, he made
over eighty four lakhs of rupees. He had been recently
arrested for murdering his first wife.
Transforming water into wine, honey, petrol etc.
From time immemorial religious texts tell us about
transformation of one matter into another by
supernatural powers. In Bible, Christ is said to have
transformed water into wine. The present godman like
Satya Sai Baba also transform water into petrol,
honey, amritha etc. One thing we should remember is
these claims of transformations with their alleged
supernatural power is done only in their own vessels.
(Read the bible story, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST.JOHN
- Chapter 2.)
And the third day there was a
marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus
2. And both Jesus was called, and
his disciples, to the marriage.
3. And when they wanted wine, the
mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4. Jesus said into her, Woman, what
have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.
5. His mother saith unto the
servant, Whatever he saith unto you, do it.
6. And there were set there six
waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying
of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a-piece.
7. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the
waterpots with water. And they filled them upt to the
8. And he saith unto them, Draw out
now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they
9. When the ruler of the feast had
tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not
whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water
knew:) the governor of the feast called the
10. And saith unto him. Every man
at the beginning doth set forth good wine: and when
men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but
thou hast kept the good wine uptil now.
11. This beginning of miracles did
Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his
glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Your will find that when water was
brought Jesus could not transform it into wine, the
water had to be poured in the 6 stone jars kept ready
at the home. Why could he not transform water into
wine in the same pots the water was brought for
filling the stone jars? It was because these were
special jars where the wine was already stored and the
water poured in them did not come in contact with the
wine. Though I was not present when Jesus Christ was
said to have transformed water into wine, one could
know that this transformation of water into wine was
nothing but a trick. If I would have been present
then, I would have asked Jesus to dip his finger into
a well and transform the water in the well into wine,
so that even now we could have gone there and tasted
the wine and exclaimed that Jesus really had
supernatural powers. This is what we also now ask
godmen like Satya Sai Baba. Let them dip their fingers
in the dry wells and tanks and let perennial supply of
water sprout out from them. Instead of transforming
water into petrol or honey or amrita or wine in their
own vessels, let atleast one well water be transformed
into petrol or honey, or amrita or wine. No godman can
do this nor have any one done this so far.
heavy weight on finger tips by four persons.
A sandstone ball of about 14" diameter is lifted by
five, seven or eleven men who sing the name of saint,
Kamarali Darvesh who is buried in the durgah at
Shivpuri about 25 kilometers from Poona. The saint had
died 700 years ago and is said to be buried in that
durgah. This was considered to be a miracle and we
exposed the same by lifting such stones on finger tips
with just four persons. Lifting a weight on finger
tips by people is based on the fact that all people
use their force at the same time and lift up. Then
upto 150 kgs. can be lifted by four persons using 8
finger tips. They also do not feel the entire weight
as it is equally distributed on their eight fingers.
Another fact is that the raising of the weight is done
on the principle of leverage.
a heavy person climb on another who is made stiff and
sleeping on two chairs at his head and feet.
The trick of taking a heavy person on the body while
he remains stiff with his head and legs resting on
stools and the middle portion without any support is
also based on the body knowledge. Any one when he is
stiff without any support in the middle can take a
weight of about 250 kgs. without strain and
collapsing. One leg of the person is on the thigh and
the other on the stomach and the weight is balanced
while the knee joints become stronger by the weight
and there is no joint on the stomach. It is the fear
which makes the person who is stiff to collapse. For
this we have to give a suggestion to the person who is
made stiff to keep his eyes closed and open them only
when he is asked to open in which case you will take
the responsibility as nothing would happen even if an
elephant climbs on him and he will not feel the weight
also. But if he opens his eyes if something happens
you will not be responsible. If he keeps his eyes open
and sees someone who is stout climbing on him, the
fear in him makes him collapse even before the person
climbs on him. If a person is fearless and lies down
on two chairs without any support in the middle and
becomes stiff by himself, he can take a weight of 250
kgs. on his body easily.
Levitation in the air 5 or 6 feet. The trick
of levitation done by godmen and street magicians is
to prove that they have "Ashta Siddhis" practicing
patanjali Yoga. They do not levitate visibly but hide
their complete body with cloth except their head. If
they are really levitating, why do they hide their
body unless it is a trick? They hide two bamboos to
the length of their body from neck to feet. These
bamboos are held in their hands after their body is
covered by a sufficiently big cloth, and their face is
seen protruding through the hole made in the cloth
which hides the body. At the time of showing the trick
from the lying position, they sit and stand with the
sticks in their hands in horizontal position which
seems as if the body is floating in the air while the
person really stands inside the cloth.
a vessel filled with rice with a knife.
Lifting a vessel filled with rice by putting a knife
inside the rice is done by Tantriks (Sorcerers) to
remove the bad luck of their customers, and also in
temples. In Draksharama, in Andhra Pradesh, there is a
temple which has a six feet naked idol of the god
Kalabhairava installed. Each temple publicises
different miracles or supernatural powers to attract
people. In this temple if married couples who have no
children go and pray they beget children. More than
90% of the couples who had prayed there are said to
have become pregnant and had children.
When the couples who have no
children go there, the priest would look at them and
tell that they did not get a child because of the "Shani
Dasha" or bad luck. Then for removal of this bad luck
they have to do Prayaschitta Puja which would cost
them thousands of rupees according to how rich they
are. After payment of agreed amount, the puja starts
with a pot filled with rice and while chanting the
mantras he inserts the knife into the rice dozens of
times half way and then suddenly he presses it stright
down and the pot rises up with the knife. The knife
gets jammed in the rice. Then the lady has to have sex
with the naked idol inside the sanctum sanctorium.
With the doors closed it is utter darkness inside and
sound proof. 90% of the ladies get pregnant after
visiting the temple for about a fortnight. This was
exposed in 1981 when a lady hit the person who came to
the front from the back of the idol by the wooden
plank used by the priest. He fell down and along with
his falling, the sexual part of the idol also broke
and fell down. The photo of the idol with the broken
linga was taken and the trick exposed. What happens
inside, the sanctum sanctorium is that a person rapes
the lady and if she is healthy and fertile she gets
Regarding the miracle of the pot of
rice rising along with the knife, the pot has to be
curved at the neck and when the rice is jammed by the
hitting of the knife a few times to the half of the
pot, and then suddenly pushed down straight, the knife
gets jammed and the pot can be raised along with the
knife. In earlier days Satya Sai Baba also have
blessed dozens of married women with children.
Sleeping on a sharp nail bed. Sleeping on
the sharp nailed bed of nails is also done by Yogis to
show to people that by practice of Yoga nothing can
harm their body. They also sleep on thorns and glass
pieces. What is done is that 3" nails are fixed on a
plank 1/2" apart and the godman sleeps on the nail bed
slowly without giving much pressure to the sides of
the bed. The nails being very near will naturally act
as a bed and will not enter the flesh as the body
weight is equally distributed on the nail bed. Unless
there is strong sudden pressure the nails cannot enter
the body. Another nail bed prepared in the same manner
is placed above the body and any one from the audience
is asked to climb on the top of the nail bed while the
godman is lying in between the two nail beds. The
person who shows this trick takes the weight of the
person on the top nail bed, on his elbow joints which
is pressed on the ground, while he holds the top nail
bed on his palms. If a person suddenly with a jerk
climbs on the nail bed by pressing on the side of the
nail bed, the person in between the nail beds is sure
to get hurt.
Piercing the tongue with a sharp trishul.
Pricking the tongue and cheeks are done as a
propitiation to the god Subrahmanya, son of Shiva, of
the trinity. Where ever there are no bones and if one
could bear the pain knowingly can pierce his tongue or
cheeks with sharp Trishuls which are well sterilized
and if one takes the precaution of getting oneself
injected with Tetanus Toxoide. The pain is bearable if
one is fearless. Otherwise the ladies would not have
pricked their ears and nose to beautify themselves
with gold ornaments. There are also tricksters who use
gimmicked Trishuls to pierce their tongue and cheeks,
but no one can pierce their neck or heart or stomach
which is generally done by muslims and they use only
gimmicks for these feats.
on fire. Walking on hot coal bed is based
on several factors. The first factor is the time taken
for getting our skin burnt in a particular heat, the
atmosphere i.e. the breeze, coolness, and the
dampness. One way is to put rock salt on the hot coal
bed which attracts moisture and so there is no sudden
burns if one walks within 3 seconds. The other which
is generally done in places of worship is that they
wash their feet and body with lots of water in front
of the hot coal bed and goes around the hot bed
praying many times when their feet get a coating of
wet clay and until the water in the clay gets
evaporated, they won't get burnt. If one is afraid and
tries to jump or run on the hot coal he is sure to get
burnt as the red hot coal would then stick to his
Q: Give some examples as to how
you expose the claims of paranormal exactly
A: The way in which I expose
miracles, is by collecting as much as information on
the miracle, then observe the miracle once, twice or
many times and find out the trick behind it. By
watching me constantly you have been able to find out
one of the ways of creating again the same burnt note.
I am happy that with your intelligence you will be
able to expose any miracle. The thing is to watch and
reason out why they do each thing each move, and you
get the answer. I am also happy that my visiting West
Bengal has helped hundreds of youths to start