The Great Tantra Challenge – A News story you could not make up if you tried.
One of my favorite podcast, The Skeptics Guide To The Universe, had a segment on the following story.
From the link:
On March 3, 2008, on India TV, one of India’s major Hindi channels invited Sanal Edamaruku for a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science”. Pandit Surinder Sharma, who claims to be the tantrik (black magician) of top politicians claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.
The tantrik decided to kill Sanal Edamaruku with the “ultimate destruction ceremony”.  Edamaruku agreed and sat in the “altar of the black magic ritual” (this some how reminds me of Monty Python’s “comfy chair” torture).  India TV observed skyrocketing viewership rates.

The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras (magic words): “Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili….” (Wga, wga, biddity, boppity boo). 🙂 But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal – not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the “breaking news” of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.

“Now the tantrik changed his technique. He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal’s head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples.” “Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.”

After nearly two hours, the anchor declared the tantrik’s failure. The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him. “No, I am an atheist,” said Sanal Edamaruku. Finally, the disgraced tantrik tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night. Bad luck again, he did not get away with this, but was challenged to prove his claim this very night in another “breaking news” live program.

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.

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 (death by Pillsbury Doughboy).  🙂  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.

Atheist – 1, Tantra’s altar of the black magic, never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction – 0.

Like I said you could not make this stuff up.  🙂


Question – Are there any supersitions that you follow, even if you don’t really believe in them.

I am probably one of the least superstitious persons on the planet.  I don’t believe in luck, good or bad, just random happenstances.  I don’t knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and even walked under a ladder today.  I am not too crazy about cats of any color.  🙂