India no longer paradise for gurus

and godmen


Date: 05-18-02


Document date: Bulletin # 96 (15 May 2002)

Exposed at home, Indian godmen go West:

Sanal Edamaruku to speak at World Skeptics Conference

We expect much from him...

Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International, is scheduled as a
speaker in the forthcoming Skeptic World Conference in Burbank, California.

The conference is hosted by CSICOP, an international organization founded by Prof. Paul Kurtz to study paranormal claims.

Under the title "Exposed at home, Indian godmen go West", Sanal Edamaruku will shed light on an alarming phenomenon, which could be called the globalization of traditional Indian superstition.

Do you remember? In summer 1997, a certain Tapasvi shot into prominence in Delhi, claiming he was able to cure any disease with his healing touch and the right mantra. Among his many influential admirers was the health minister, who helped his master establish a Mantra Healing Center at a medical college in India's capital. Sanal Edamaruku and the Indian Rationalist Association unleashed a powerful public campaign against this, and within one month, the health minister's chair was shaking and the Mantra Healing Center was closed down. Tapasvi vanished silently. But he resurrected. In March 2002, he was back in flourishing business - this time in New York!

India is no longer a paradise for gurus and godmen. Thanks to the Indian
Rationalists, they are challenged and exposed, wherever they try to
demonstrate their "miraculous" powers. Even big shots like Sai Baba,
enjoying highest political protection and ruling enormous financial empires,
are going low profile in India, after their trademark tricks are publicly
exposed. Many godmen have run out of business after an encounter with the
"guru busters". They all find a comfortable haven in the West, where exotic
miracle men meet with much curiosity and little knowledge and resistance.
Skilled in adapting themselves to the needs and wishes of their new victims,
many of them are extremely successful and have started wielding enormous
public influence. They sell the new "art of living", lecture politicians and
top finance managers, speak in the UN and even try to sneak into the
humanist movement. How could we counter the "globalization" of Indian

Sanal Edamaruku's speech, "Exposed at home, Indian godmen go West" is on 23 June (Sunday) forenoon at the Hilton, Burbank Airport and Convention Center.