Pseudoscience unchallenged at IIT Kanpur

Written by August 6, 2012 5:28 am 209 comments

Disclaimer: The views expressed are based on the honest beliefs of the writer, and are not intended for any personal attack on the individuals involved. The following debunking is an attempt to spread scientific temperament and dispelling dangerous pseudo-science in public’s interest.

 

  

The biggest spiritual Guru in the world – the founder of the largest spiritual movement, the Art of Living foundation and its trademarked ‘Sudarshan Kriya’ breathing technique – the man popularly known as “Sri Sri” Ravishankar, gave a talk on “Secrets of Success” to students at the flourishing premises of IIT Kanpur, which in its own right is arguably one of the best technical universities in the Indian subcontinent. The entire speech was recorded by Students TeleVision Club, popularly known as STV and a copy of it was posted to YouTube in November, 2011.

In this hour long talk laced with contemporary spiritual jargon, occasional mentions of India’s golden fall from glory, Mr. Ravishankar, at the 42m 23s mark, called for a volunteer to come up on stage for a surprise demonstration, the details of which were not immediately revealed. One of the students from the back rows of the auditorium was chosen to share the dais. The chosen volunteer, a lean-framed male student wearing a black t-shirt with horizontal white stripes, was asked to extend his arm parallel to the floor, clinch his fist and resist the pulling down of his arm. Mr. Ravishankar, gripping the volunteer’s arm near the wrist, was able to pull down his arm easily over and over again, much to the amusement of the audience. He then produced from his pocket a small vial containing an unknown fluid, and shed a few drops on the volunteer’s arm. The volunteer was then asked to rub and spread this oil over his arm. After the volunteer took a step back and a deep breath to relax, the whole exercise was repeated again – except this time Mr. Ravishankar struggled quite hard to pull down the volunteer’s arm, amazing the vast audience. The volunteer, visibly impressed and believing that he had in fact become stronger in a matter of seconds after the application of the oil, went onto fall at the feet (cultural practice of surrender) of his new Guru Mr. Ravishankar. Following the thundering applause from his audience, Mr. Ravishankar went on to urge stronger volunteers to come forth.

The next male volunteer also went on to fall at the feet of Mr. Ravishankar after his new found strength. The frenzy in the arena seemed to have attracted a male skeptic from the audience to volunteer. He was visibly unimpressed by the arm pull down test and the claim of instantaneous improvement of strength and vigor following the application of a few drops of oil. The skeptic boldly asked for permission to perform the same test on his own test subject on the dais. While the skeptic readied his subjects, Mr. Ravishankar began offering an unscientific principle for the efficacy of his oil, that [sic] “one drop of poison can destroy the body. Can it not destroy? One drop of poison can destroy the immune system. No? The reverse can also happen – one drop of nectar can also strengthen your body.” The collective silence in the arena sounded like a silent hiccup in digesting the machinations uttered by Mr. Ravishankar. What happened afterwards was amateurish at best. The test subjects chosen by the skeptic gave testimonies to the audience that they felt “something different,” and the skeptic had to agree, on the microphone, that he was convinced of the gimmick, much to the delight of the student audience that was already spell bound.

The following part of this article would debunk the pseudo-science that was sold convincingly, and with authority, to an audience that was clearly unwilling to be skeptical of a revered spiritual leader.

The mystery oil, supposed to be containing Amruth and three Ayurvedic herbs, seems very similar to a dietary Herbal supplement (revealed on November 27, 2011) called Shakthi Drops, which are sold for €25 in 30ml vials on Art of Living’s EU website. Even though the directions for use clearly state oral administration after dilution in 150ml of water to build up your “immunity”, Mr. Ravishankar’s participants topically applied it onto their skin under his guidance.

Mr. Ravishankar and the participants involved seem to suggest epidermal absorption of this snake oil to boost their muscle strength. Scientific research reveals that it is very likely (though more studies are required among adults) for the human body to dermally absorb some components, if not all, of the topically applied fluid. That, however, does not imply that the absorbed components would instantaneously boost the immunity in the local region.

Modern scientific knowledge of the human body shows us that physical strength depends on various factors, including anatomy and the strength of the neural signal initiating a contraction of the localized muscle. We can safely say that there is no direct correlation between immunity, a biological property involving defenses against infection, and muscle strength in human beings. Therefore, even if we allow the farfetched claim of immediate boost in immunity to stand, it does not explain the immediate boost in muscle strength. None of these complex properties could be improvised within seconds as asserted by Mr. Ravishankar.

Actually, Mr. Ravishankar employed a derivative of the Delta Test or Arm-Pull-Down test used in Applied Kinesiology, an alternative pseudo-scientific practice. The original Delta Test involves having the test subject repeat a claim or swallow food to find a drop in arm’s resistance, which suggests an allergen or a false claim. Naive and unsophisticated as this may sound, the Delta Test demonstration could leave a powerful ‘visual illusion’ if done properly by a conjurer. The multi-million dollar power balance bracelet industry has fooled millions of people, scores of athletes and celebrities time and again into buying their bracelets using the Arm Pull Down test to their advantage in infomercials.

Numerous studies and controlled experiments have been done for this “test” which led researchers to find out that suggestibility, variations in the amount of force, leverage, the follow-through involved, muscle fatigue and distraction of the test subject can influence the resistance in the stretched arm. Armed with their findings on the pull down arm test, we could scrutinize the video evidence to find similar patterns.

On closer examination of the video, it is clear that Mr. Ravishankar uses a combination of tricks to lend credibility to his illusion. It is obvious in the video that the pivot on the volunteers’ wrists was closer in the first attempt than in the second. Mr. Ravishankar also uses a nice little trick, a slight upward motion in his “first” attempt, as he grips the wrist. It causes the muscles to relax, so that the arm can immediately be pulled downwards. The guffaws from the audience add drama to the spectacle that would ensue.

Watch slight upward motion before easy pull down :

Click to view

After applying his snake oil, Mr. Ravishankar either changes the pivot, or momentarily hesitates in the follow through (not discounting the change in grip) – giving time and a much needed stimulus to the arm muscles to provide greater resistance.

Watch momentary hesitation to generate greater resistance :

Click to view

Another observation is that the subjects are asked to rub vigorously, take a deep breath and relax. When they return for the second attempt, their postures have changed and are better balanced to resist the downward action. Though I had previously alluded that the mystery oil was a deliberate product placement to increase curiosity in Shakthi Drops; it is imperative to state that we may never know its contents definitively. It could have contained alcohol or other (easily vaporizing) components dissolved in DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) which will be readily absorbed by the skin causing a different sensation in the applied region.

To conclude, Mr. Ravishankar’s exposition of instantaneous boost in immunity and muscle strength is scientifically inconceivable; however a rational explanation involving any number of the following factors – change in sensation, grip, pivot, posture of the subject, power of suggestion and increased reflexes – after the first stretch could have attributed towards greater resistance in the subjects even when tested by the skeptical student after applying the snake oil.

In India, Gurus have always been apotheosized and are considered above reproach for any of their actions. This cultural veneration of the master has rendered many to surrender their faculties of reason and skepticism, even when presented with highly questionable “miracles” and other shenanigans. Though it is very disheartening that a simple arm pull down demonstration was more than enough to brainwash bright minds at IIT Kanpur; it is almost frightening to consider the rest of the masses with far less critical thinking skills, who are just waiting in line to be exploited with pseudo-science by anybody.

Guru Ravishankar owes all of us a sincere explanation for his actions at IIT Kanpur.

The author would like to credit Pratibha Nair, Imran Hussain and Jaya Sharma for their help with this post.

Post Edit :
*
Added gifs to pinpoint slight updward motion and momentary hesitation done by Sri Sri Ravishankar.
*
  Added relevant hyper link for Applied Kinesiology as suggested by Milind Kale.
* Added a youtube link that debunks Applied Kinesiology practices as suggested by Dr. Suraj Rajan.
* Added relevant hyperlink for Dimethyl Sulfoxide as a plausible component in the oil as suggested by Hardik.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1 posts on Nirmukta.

A software engineer by profession with interests in online skepticism.

209 Comments

  • It is really sad that even the best universities don’t have any clubs or organizations dedicated to free-thought and critical thinking. Engineering prowess or academic brilliance does not guarantee the presence of a healthy dose of skepticism. It requires a special effort to practice and propagate it in our society. I hope incidents like this will eventually trigger such a movement in our universities by suitably disposed students and faculty.

  • Fate of India!

  • Thanks for writing this. Sri Sri seems to have a more “respectable” reputation amongst the new-age gurus, this puts that claim to rest. I just saw the Shakthi Drops page, amongst all the real medical claims is mixed in claims about “doshas”. :(

  • I am trying hard to imagine who and why someone called Shri X 3 to the college in first place.

    I will watch the video to get complete grasp on this. It will be imperative of him to sell such stuff free to masses .

  • This is appalling.Students with the highest IQ can fall for such a sham is just embarrassing. Isn’t this similar to the
    power balance bracelet scam? IITians and the rest of the so called bright students of India are nothing but parrots trained to memorise and regurgitate in exams! The teaching pattern does not encourage questioning or doubt at all.

    Thanks for bringing this to everybody’s notice. There should be more awareness like this.

    • Please do not confuse technical intelligence with IQ. In any case, IQ is not the factor here, rather its about General Awareness.

  • I went to IIT Bombay to study Computer Science and I am embarrassed to admit that there is a lot to this article.
    Folks at the IITs are far more gullible than you would imagine, in such matters. At least over here it was a Ravi Shankar talk with presumably a biased sample of IITians involved with the whole thing. At IIT Bombay, there is a technology festival called Techfest that actually brought a few people who claimed to be doing ESP. They were basically magicians who were claiming to do all their tricks by the “power of their mind”. Techfest posters had the following kind of pitch “Imagine you were trapped underneath earthquake rubble and had no working cell phone. Learning ESP could help you convey your coordinates to your friends and family so that they can come and get you!”. One of the guys was Deepak Rao, dad of the actress Amrita Rao. Given this was a techfest event and widely attended, the audience mirrored the general IITB population far more. That didn’t stop over half the people from buying the whole ESP theory hook line and sinker, so that suggests that mainstream IITians are far less skeptical than you would think.

    • Speaking of defenders of the faith and do-gooders amid the ranks of IITians, here’s a forum thread discussing what makes students at elite Indian institutions particularly susceptible to these activities and how best may all this busybody energy be harnessed.

      God & social good lure IITians by the dozen

    • Great point Vijay. It is truly shameful not only that the students are not skeptical but that the institute is not bothered as to who is speaking to their students. All these cows in engineering schools (i was one of them) just masticate what is taught to them and are brought up to be superstitious and susceptible. If someone is senior and has a standing in society or claims to be a specialist then they earn our immediate respect without any questions asked. Makes me very angry and sad!

  • Somebody please mail this to all senior faculty and students union members of all top colleges in India

  • This has been already demonstrated as a fraud by Sri Pramod of VICAS, Allahbad at many places in UP. Last time I was there he told me that this double Mr. had collected lakhs in some of the district head quarters places in UP with this snake oil show and he had debunked that in the same places. You can contact him on 94156 32458 and ask for a demo of this technique at your campus. In my last visit to the IIT, Kanpur for a lecture demo at the Summer camp for high school students he had told me about that and had also accompanied me.

  • I graduated from IIT Kharagpur six years ago. It is truly embarrassing that this kind of illogical faith existed even at that time and the article clearly shows that the situation seems no better today. ISKON, Art of Living etc were minting a lot of money from gullible students in the campus. If this is the situation in one of the leading institutes of the country then we have reasons to be worried.
    I am curious to know what the reaction to Sri Sri in other top colleges across the country. I would not be entirely surprised if there were more “logical” reactions at other places. I often wondered if there was something about the JEE which, despite all its requirement for a high degree of intellect, was ironically responsible for transforming some of the students into mindless robots who were quickly processing answers without asking any deeper questions.

  • How much ever we try to deny it, most of the villains in those super-hero movies have some truth in their words. Humans have a general tendency to follow. We think we don’t have the capability to do something so we have “faith”. We don’t want to lead so we “follow”. We don’t want to reason so we “believe”. As for the topical oil/lotion, there’s a compound called DMSO. It has the potential to get absorbed when applied topically, usually along with it’s solutes. It could have been a similar solvent, if not the same one. That could lead to the “different” feeling, especially if it was accompanied by the relief from all the arm pulling…

  • I graduated from iit-bhu and the guy in the pic is one of my seniors. as far as i know him hes a very calm and sensible guy who was/is dedicated to sri sri sri ravishankar. a lot people in my college are . i dunno what to make of this !!

  • Such gimmick, now at IIT-K. Looks like many of the highly educated and intellectually superior ones are either turning a blind eye to this incident or are spell-bound too :-/

  • IIT Kanpur, which in its own right is arguably one of the best technical universities in the Indian subcontinent – does not mean those guys are skeptic. Education != intelligence

  • Although I agree with you, it would have been more (for the lack of a better word) scientific, if you tried your explanation on some of your friends and checked for yourself. Of course, you will still need to see close up videos of this Guru guy doing it to check for certainty. At this stage, your explanation is still just a theory.

    Again for the record, I consider all this people(this guy, Nithyananda, the late Sai Baba) as tricksters, but just a theory is not enough to refute their acts.

    • I think the following piece is a good explanation of why it is sensible to a priori reject any “paranoromal” claim. A brief summary:
      1. Such claims usually involve overturning of all the laws of physics and chemistry, which has had millions or billions of pieces of evidence in it’s favor thus far. These claims would therefore end up substantially increasing the Kolmagorov complexity of the universe.
      2. Such claims have been investigated in great detail in university deparments in the US, other organizations such as the James Randi Educational Foundation etc., and absolutely nothing has come of it so far.
      See:
      http://www.scottaaronson.com/writings/randi.html

    • Hi Aditya,

      I did try out “momentary hesitation, slight upward movement, change in grip and change in pivot” on couple of my friends and derived the expected results. All these three techniques (not used at the same time) are clearly visible in Mr. Ravishankar’s demonstrations. I also noticed that my subjects were able to better resist the pull down when they are better balanced after the first stretch.

      You could also try out the same and let us know.

      In the above post, I had made an attempt to posit a scientific explanation(s) of what could have happened in reality, after the standing claims of Mr. Ravishankar are “deducted” to be unfounded.

      – Thanks

  • Dr. Suraj Rajan

    Hi Nirmukta,

    Thanks for the article. Here’s a video from SkepticZone that debunks the kinesiology “muscle balance” fraud. Thought, this might be a good addition to your article:

    http://youtu.be/Piu75P8sxTo

  • The following article explains it really well:
    http://www.skepdic.com/akinesiology.html

  • Komath Bhaskaran

    A good informative piece of writing.. However, by making a conclusion / a judgement that a traditional veneration of prostrating and touching the feet as “”surrender (ing) their faculties of reason and skepticism”” .. , by making such a judgement the authors also fall into a trap of premeditated conjuncture!!!

    • Thanks for your comments Komath. I would like to provide clarification for the following remarks.

      //However, by making a conclusion / a judgement that a traditional veneration of prostrating and touching the feet as“”surrender (ing) their faculties of reason and skepticism””

      In the above post,I had opined that the faculties of sishyas/followers get diluted for an altogether different reason : “cultural veneration” of the Guru, not the act of prostration.

      – Thanks

  • The write up was not convincing enough. It would be nice if you could have provided a reasonable explanation of how it is done.

    I had to do some googling to finally understand the trick Sri^2 is doing. Thanks Dr. Suraj Rajan the video was really helpful.

    • Hi Balu,

      I have updated the post with relevant gifs that pinpoint slight upward motion before easy pull down and the other one offering momentary hesitation to generate greater resistance after the topical application of oil.

      All relevant suggestions mentioned in the comment section have been updated to the post with credits. I hope this post serves to feed the reader with all relevant information to make up their minds on what could have happened at that event in IIT Kanpur.

      – Thanks

  • This is a dangerous trend.Such programmes are sponcerd by ABVP and RSS affiliated groups. Chinese might be laughing at the way INDIA is going back to medieval period. Rationalists and sceintific community should be proactive to bring the youth of the country back to Rational thinking.These dangerous GURUS are anti national and anti social.

  • Thanks for taking the time to write this article. I was fed up with all these pseudo-scientific people and decided not to talk/think about them. Your article is encouraging me to be more active in debunking such claims. Thanks.

  • It is proved beyond doubt that Double sri Ravishankar is a front to RSS { Book “Inspite of Gods” by Adward Luce}.These “Gimmicks”are aimed at brain washing the youth before 2014 Election.

  • Nicely written article. Much probing be done on SATHYA SAI BABA’S GIMMICS too.

  • Former AOL Member

    Brilliant article, thanks for taking the time to debunk this and go into such scientific detail.

    For your information and for anyone else who is interested, this was also discussed on an a blog exposing Art of Living’s deceptions and other fraudulent activities, here: http://aolfree.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/debunking-gurujis-grace-part-2/

  • can we file a pil against this public cheating

  • Thanks for thh article. How God and the Indian mythology related things are cleverly sold to become rich is evident. Hope our folks would wake up and throw these professional cheaters out. Surprised that the IITans got fooled by this.

    Vivekananda on his explanation of Vedanta said not to believe in godmen but in God alone. God save India.

  • A well written article. All the so called bright brained IITians must introspect and question themselves whether they are really intelligent. Or as the belief goes has their standard really come down? If a so-called guru whose very graduate certificate is a fraudulent one, can hoodwink our pseudo-brained intellects, then think of the Indian illiterate masses who easily fall prey to the gimmicks of such frauds. In our country it is the so-called educated who give fillip to such corporate gurus and help them to build an empire.

  • Dr. Suraj Rajan

    The most dangerous and equally disappointing thing here is that the lads who fell prey to this charlatan fell on to his feet without a second thought, as if begging for his blessings ! They seem so convinced by the instantaneous “strength” they acquired with the help of the snake-oil that it didn’t even cross their minds as to whether they should repeat the same test without the “drops” on a fellow student. Any student of science who’s been trained to high school level should know that performing the experiment in a controlled setting (i.e. with a ‘control subject’ alongside the ‘test subject’) is the first step to confirming an observation. Testing the veracity of this charlatan’s claim doesn’t require any expensive machinery or laboratory setting; this entire bluff could’ve been called then and there if a student had tried to perform the same ‘kinesiology’ magic with and without the magic drops (or say, the “magic drops” and some plain water, or just simply rubbing the subjects forearm with and without the “drops”).

    Testing things in a controlled manner isn’t rocket science. It is something we all have done at middle school — demonstrate photosynthesis, show the combustibility of substances and so on. It’s the same thing one does at higher secondary level testing circuits or playing with a voltmeter or an ammeter (Yes,the same basic physics experiments these fools should have concentrated on instead of mugging up JEE questions!).

    It is unimaginably frightening that students of IIT, who supposedly have cleared one of the world’s toughest entry exams, fail to show the bare minimum of scientific temperament when a practical situation demands it. No wonder we haven’t had any real science since Aryabhata :(

  • Rather than being armchair critics, stuck in intellect,rhetoric and hate – it will be so nice to experience it first hand and then form an opinion.For the sake of an objective and balanced journalism please avoid assumptions on hearsay.

    • Instead of spreading the ancient wisdom of Vedas to the masses, bottling it new selling it in the brand of AOL and making money. A new form of Brahmin culture.

      • V. Balakrishnan

        Sir, I agree with your observations, by and large. May I suggest (with all respect) that your remarks would be more effective if you made the point without gratuitous generalization of the kind that appears, for instance, in your last sentence? Polemical side-swipes, especially when they digress from the issue at hand, are generally counter-productive and detract from the value of the main thesis.

        • Sir, if you meant my remark about Brahmin culture, I being one is appalled at the state of affairs. If you saw Devon ke Dev Mahadev in Life OK channel(based on Shiva Purana), Shiva says the Vedas, Upanishads etc. is for the whole mankind but our forefather brahmins kept to themselves.

          I am in the Middle East and I am surprised at the unity the Muslims have when it comes to religion and reason being everyone is taught Quran. They know their scriptures. Most follow it. At the call of the prayer you can see rich, poor, high class, low class all flocking to mosques, sit together and pray. Come the month of Ramadan, you can see many homes giving free food to the needy.I do not see the caste barriers we have here. Now don’t rake up the issues of terrorism etc. That’s a different topic.

          Whereas even us Brahmins (most) are not aware what is in the Vedas save some mantras,leave alone whole Hindu community. Had this knowledge been spread and assimilated to one and all such psuedo-saints would not have cashed in on the ignorance of masses to amass wealth and power.

    • Wish i could but could you give me AOL’s contact so I can get the vial and “experience it first hand”

  • Here is a mail all IITK students received today. Pasting this here to add to the discussion

    ****************

    Hi,
    Kindly forward this mail to all students about:

    YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SKILLS (YES!+)

    YES!+ is a powerful life-skills program, that charges the youth with a
    fresh breath of vigor, enthusiasm, excellence and responsibility. YES!+
    enables you to absorb the freshness, the repose and all the positivity
    around you, and helps you discharge stress, inhibitions, bad habits, and
    barriers.

    YES!+ is a brilliant mix of antiquity and the contemporary. It is a smooth
    blend of ancient wisdom, yoga, pranayama (breath control), and meditation,
    fused with contemporary intellectual exchanges, music and games. And
    of-course it includes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s powerful and famous breathing
    technique, the Sudarshan Kriya.

    YES+ is a fun, dynamic course for college students and young professionals
    that can give your life the boost of energy you have been looking for.

    Benefits:
    *Strengthen leadership skills
    *Enhance memory + concentration
    *Eliminate doubt and worry
    *Improve relationships
    *Stress and anxiety relief
    *Increase productivity + Self Confidence
    *Be happy, vibrant + joyful
    *Restful sleep, stronger immune system.

    This is a five day workshop from:

    DATE : 16-20 AUG
    TIMING : 7-10 PM
    VENUE : YOGA HALL, NEW SAC

    The course will be conducted by Ankur Menghwani and Suryaprabha
    Balachandran, international faculty in art of living organisation. They
    are very dynamic, enthusiastic teachers and alumni from IIT Kanpur.

    Link for more info on course: http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yes-plus

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3t7lHxVZcY

    All those who are interested can register by contacting the following
    people and filling up the registeration form.

    ###Contact details removed###

    Personal experiences:
    The processes taught in the course are so profound that they helped me
    improve concentration, energy, dealing with emotions and over-all
    participation in life.It has given me immense peace.

    – Arihant Bhandari

    Being an IITian I was a very logic oriented guy. But all the breathing
    techniques and meditations in the course just blew away my mind. The
    experience was beyond any reasoning or scientific explanations. It has
    really changed my perception of the world. Apart from that regular
    practice of the techniques has removed my introversion, fears and
    inhibitions and given me confidence, energy, enthusiasm, a clear mind and
    a deep inner peace. The workshop is a must do for everyone.

    -Sachin Modi

    I have done this course four times and am tirelessly waiting to attend it
    fifth time, ’cause it adds every time some thing new to me. You all must
    do and feel this wonderful experience once in your life. -Satish Kanhed

    I used to do a lot of activities – studies, sports etc. I used to take
    enormous efforts in it. However, I could not much progress beyond a
    certain extent. After dong the techniques and meditation taught in the
    course, I developed like anything in any of my endeavors and I could feel
    that I was doing what ever I did in a much better way and in significantly
    less time. I am very happy at the course, especially the peace of mind it
    gave me irrespective of the results of my efforts or any situations
    confronting me.

    -Sahil Bhalekar
    ****************

    • @^ Thank you for that sneak peek into the charmed world at the intersection of IITK and AOL.

      It is possible that there are some students who don’t buy the snake oil of the Shakti Drops variety, but still are sympathetic to initiatives that promise inner peace and world peace. There maybe folks who say, “Never mind if he gets some science wrong…His message of peace matters!”. The following, published earlier at Nirmukta, may serve to give them pause too.

      Icons of the middle-class
      Arms, Drugs and Spirituality: A counterpoint to a counterpoint by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

      Of course, the most effective response to such indoctrination on campuses is ‘counter-programming’ by means of more freethought events.

  • I had met a IITian a Brahmin in a bus to Bangalore from Cochin. I being only a REC product held him with awe. What a genius he must be to study in IIT. It soon fizzled out. He was a teacher at this Art of Living and started singing priases of it!!! I just asked him why. He had a lot of problems in life that was solved after taking to AOL.

    I just said your father did your Upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony)and taught you the same pranayama as AOL but you never thought of mastering it. When someone else charged you fees(those days it was Rs.1000 or so) and taught the same thing you religiously learnt it and are following it. And by leaving the engineer’s job and becoming AOL teacher you are escaping life than facing it. Also wasted another’s chance of studying in IIT.

    He fell silent for the rest of the 10 hours or so.

    It’s a shame that educated folks are getting carried away by these thrid class cheaters.

  • This is an endemic disease in India’s educational institutions. Who the hell invited a religious leader of a cult to preside on a technological institute ?

    Don’t we have eminent Indian scientists and technologists who can provide the right guidance and inspiration for students ? As long as we shun them and give the limelight to charlatans, glamour stars and politicians, we will keep seeing the same type of results that plagued Indian education for decades.

    India has to honor its scientist sons and daughters. Not snake oil salesmen.

    • Are there some names which immediately come to mind as recommended science speakers for college fests in India? It maybe worthwhile to compile a list which fest organizers can refer to, instead of resorting to Page 3 to find speakers. Once the list grows, it can perhaps be archived for reference in the forums.

      • Hi Arvind..

        Sorry for the late in my reply. I thought a bit about this issue. We definitely need an organization that identifies scientist speakers, and encourages them to devote a little bit of their time to talk to young impressionable students – especially in good institutes like IITs.

        There is a wide number of such speakers available in India, and also in Indian diaspora. But I think there is no organizational effort to pin them down and keep them in contact. It will be brilliant if a rationalist organization like the Nirmukta takes the lead and starts such an effort.

        I have one name to suggest : a scientist about whose work I came across quite recently. But she is already one of the most well-known experts in her field of Virology. She is Polly Roy, and she has been the recipient of the President’s gold medal award in India in January 2012. Please check out her interview on the Guardian science podcast, and also an older interview here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/may/01/highereducationprofile.academicexperts). Her life is something of a miracle and an inspiration.

        It is an utter shame that we don’t invite people like her but instead quacks like SS Ravishankar to IITs !

      • @Kiran,
        Thank you for that inspirational find and we hope it’s the first of many such suggestions we receive. Incidentally, a life-science-related series also on microbes just commenced on Nirmukta: http://nirmukta.com/bacterial-expressions/

  • V. Balakrishnan

    I’m surprised that anyone should express surprise that such an event took place in an IIT. Do we not know, by now, that there are no geographical, economic, cultural, or even educational barriers to
    human gullibility? That being numerate is quite distinct from being literate in the broad sense of the term, and vice versa? That irrational belief and superstition can be quite successfully sequestered from scientific and technological expertise, and that both can be sustained in the same mind in ‘peaceful coexistence’, especially in a value system that is so ambivalent and equivocating as that induced by our milieu? Mental compartmentalisation of mutually contradictory beliefs is nothing new to our people!

  • IIT Kanpur? So what? Being a good at engineering, doesnt mean you are not an idiot at everything else.

  • About ” Sudarshan kriya ” of Sri Sri Ravishanker ,every anesthesiologist can reproduce this event when the patient is awake or asleep (under anesthesia,but not recommended ) by hyperventilation which causes hypocalcemia and hypokalemia which cause Chvosteks sizn and Trousseau’s sign . (spasm of face and hand when tapped). It can cause nausea and EKG changes and dizziness or disorientation and can become an emergency. Being awake these signs may disappear if patient hypoventilates . I wonder how can anybody get a trade mark on such an event ?

  • Excellent debunking.

    I would like to add one thing though: slight upward motion before pulldown (translating in the opposite direction of where you want to move a person) is a technique much used in jujitsu/judo (called kuszushi), how it works is not by relaxing the muscles but by directing resistance. When you are asked to resist and somebody pulls your hand up, your natural reaction is to start to pull it down. Now, if he pushes down then you are in fact aiding him in the effort. This is one of the main part of all jujitsu /judo throws.

  • Dr.G.P.Agarwal

    The only comment I could make is that ‘there must be something in these gurus which could make even IIT Kanpur brains leave reason. Is it hypnosis?’

    You are very correct that less reasoning common man is a very easy target for these gurus.

    If Nirmal Baba can be a success, nothing is impossible.

  • Snaring young scientists is the best way to impress and recruit gullible very quickly as they marvel at IIT Ravishankar combination, as the current ploy by religions is to exploit and tame science. Also, I think DMSO was used for arthritic conditions in horses and has been tried on humans too.

  • Great post on Nirmukta! Thanks to the author.

    I am an old product of IIT-Kanpur and have met several intelligent minds at IIT, brilliant in the sciences, but very gullible when it comes to falling at the feet of god-men and wanting to reinforce conditioned beliefs in religious jargon, especially hindu mythology. They seem to think that the laws of physics work only in the ‘normal’ dimension and taking a dose of so called spirituality can transform them (and their surrounding universe) into states which transcend this ‘normal’ dimension. And of course, why should the laws of science be valid in those ‘transcendental’ states! Thus, they cleverly avoid any conflict within their minds between the natural laws and the magic associated with pseudo spirituality.

    My opinion on the SSRS’s (sri sri ravi shankar) cheap trick: with the arm extended, the shoulder becomes the pivot and even a small force applied far away from the shoulder (on the wrist) creates a large moment/torque which easily forces the arm to rotate downwards about the pivot (shoulder). Anyways, majority of students at IIT-Kanpur are nerdy skinny guys for various reasons!

    In the first case (without the oil), the volunteer (bakra?) can feel exactly how much pressure SSRS is exerting on his wrist, when pushing downwards. In second case, the oil (probably some kind of mild local anaesthetic + placebo) makes the skin numb so that when SSRS applies lesser force in his second try, the volunteer does not feel the pressure correctly and is not able to compare it with the previous trial. SSRS jumps to the opportunity and applies much lesser force this time, although acting as if he is applying the same force as he did the first time. It almost seems as if most people prefer living unconsciously, carrying the burden of religious and cultural conditionings despite all the scientific advancement. And as some comments indicated, if this is the state of a premier engineering institution like IIT-Kanpur, then what can we say about the common man/woman/child?

  • There is a fundamental blunder in this demonstration by this guy,….basically its in the knowledge of anatomy,..and involves some idea of mechanical movement also, that is why its surprising that none of the engineering students picked up the blunder.
    the arm movement being resisted here is mainly controlled by the shoulder and not the wrist !!! but our all knowing ravishankar is applying the mystery oil to the wrist of the subject,…so even if the oil actually gives strength (lol).,…why did he apply it to the wrong muscle? its almost like applying it to the leg and claiming that the arm get stronger..

  • Some blogs which are trying to expose art-of-living and sri-sri-ravishankar:

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/
    http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.in/
    https://beyondaolfree.wordpress.com/

    Its sad that people get fooled by tricks…

  • Captain Mandrake

    IITians falling prey to SriSri’s gimmicks. This make me sad, but I am not surprised. I was at IIT Kanpur in 90s when Ganesh statues started to drink milk. Students and professors were lining up next to a Ganesh statue to feed his milk.

    :fp

    • Did you try it too? Did you try to understand what happened or have an explanation for it?

      Or are you just happy to pronounce anything as untrue because you felt it to be. The other IITians and professors of course were dumb as compared to your highness.

      • Captain Mandrake

        Water can rise up against gravity through a porous media if the pores are sufficiently small and if the pore surface is sufficiently hydrophilic. I believe that is what happened.

        Are you ok with the explanation?

        Me feeling superior to others or you feeling inferior to me is totally irrelevant to the point being made in my first post.

  • Trifling favor

    After coming across your website, have been going through it…and I reach the conclusion that you have more or less touched only the peripherals of the subject and been responding to only some phony incidents or claims. Even Sri Sri Ravishankar is just a mediocre high profile contemporary Guru and doesnt in anyway stands to explain the complex subject of religion. I would suggest you read some much better stuff and you could start reading Swami Chinmayananda who was a staunch atheist and a freethinker as they come :). Here is one good interview on him – https://www.mychinmaya.org/index.php?id=art_chinmaya_pritish

  • Dear Author,
    i admire Your style of thinking. Sadly in India there have been Spiritual Masters who have fooled the masses but somewhere i feel that what Sri Sri did, it had nothin to do with fooling the audience. it would be my humble request to U to conduct a research over the effects of the Fluid Shakti Drops and then post something like this. this article though questions the “miraculous incident” but does not reveal anything except infusing doubt. give us a scientific explanation of not believing Ur Article.

    Thank U

    • I have posted this link as comment to all art of living websites, all blogs of senior art of living teachers. No one has accepted the comment.

      Why dont they come up with a scientific explanation on how fluid shakti drops will strengthen the person ?

    • Captain Mandrake

      Does SriSri also use Fluid Shakti Drops? If so how come he was unable to move the poor sod’s hand the second time around?

  • Wow (Sri)^N.. I’m impressed. If only we knew about this oil before the Olympics, India could have bagged all 45 medals in weightlifting and all 52 medals in boxing. Oh, wait – you knew it before the olympics and still you dint help the Indian team – too bad.

    On a serious note, I think this represents only a small portion of the IITK community – so, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. One of the comments on the youtube page suggests that most people dont attend these kinda meetings. Another possibility here is that even if there were skeptics in the crowd, they were probably scared of being humiliated on stage. That is what that guru ended up trying in the end – he stared telling the skeptic that he wasn’t paying attention, he needed to do some breathing exercises, etc etc. But the least they could do was to boo this guru. I think if somebody had even suggested using a heavy dumbbell instead of manually pulling the arm down, the guru would have run for his life.

    P.S: No, I did not go to any IIT, and I’m not trying to defend people at IIT Kanpur.

  • Huh… why r we even spending so much time on this stupid gimmick..

  • Abhishek Banerjee

    I was present at this talk. I would like to assure you that none of us: my friends or I and I believe, a large portion of the crowd, fell for the trick. While it was a lively demonstration, and most of us were amused, we took it with a pinch of salt, and had detailed arguments about why the ‘magic’ oil should have worked in the first place. This could be done using multiple methods, most of which you have touched upon in this post. A detailed critique of this was also published in one of our internal magazines where the author had, much like you, tried to rationalize the Guru’s feat. However, in-spite of this demonstration, the talk by Sri Sri Ravishankar was pretty good and illuminating in terms of it’s content. Here, we IITians are taught to appreciate the good and sieve out the bad. Moreover, we have the sense not to insult a guest of IIT Kanpur on-stage by demeaning him in any manner. Sri Sri Ravishankar might be a fan of theatrics, and we are always up for a ‘magic’ trick. But we know the difference between trick and truth: we were not ‘brainwashed’ to say the least.

    Abhishek
    IIT Kanpur

    • Captain Mandrake

      So what was so illuminating about the talk? What was th good that you got out of the talk after you sieved out the bad.

      Let us see if further sieving is needed.

      • Abhishek Banerjee

        Aye Captain Mandrake

        Of all the things he talked about, one made a lasting impression. He asked us a very simple question: How many friends do you have? I thought to myself, maybe 5 close friends at most. He pointed out that in a campus of about 2000 people, I knew only 5 of them really well, which was surprising to say the least! I had been in campus for about 3.5 years then, and I had not managed to make more than a handful of friends! This set me thinking. It made me realize that I have 300+ facebook friends of which only 5 are real! “We live in a strange age, where we have wonderful things to communicate with, but nothing to communicate.” What keeps us so busy that we don’t care about even our neighbours? True success in life comes only from being happy, not from marks, not from material achievements and definitely not by owning a 1-crore flat in Mumbai, while you don’t know who your neighbour is. And relationships, strong and lasting ones, play a pivotal role in happiness.

        And then he urged us to do something: talk to a new person everyday(the campus gives us abundant opportunity to do this): I think it was fine advice and I have tried to follow it since.
        It doesn’t matter whether advice comes from a beggar, yourself or a Guru, one must learn to appreciate if it’s a good one. I sense a prejudiced tone in your statements. Prejudice is bad, it numbs the mind, makes one incapable of rational thought.

        By the way, if you have seen Dr. Strangelove, which I guess you have (given your pseudonym), I guess you should be able to understand my point. :)

        • Captain Mandrake

          So you have 5 friends who are a lot closer to you than the 300 other friends on Facebook. I would say that is perfectly normal. But SriSri made you feel as if you have discovered something profound about yourself. This is another trick people like him use to soften up the crowd. Now that he has a receptive crowd he can easily make some of you enroll into YES+. And a fraction of those who join YES+ will eventually join his cult. More money and power for him.

          • Considering that he has managed to make add people like Dr. Devi Prasad Setty to his cult who perform operations like open heart surgery on babies who have died as their parents could not afford the expensive medical procedure, I dare say that I would rather be part of the cult rather than your world.

          • Satish Chandra

            Jane2u,

            It’s the exact same argument that believers in another fraud make.

      • This set me thinking. It made me realize that I have 300+ facebook friends of which only 5 are real! … What keeps us so busy that we don’t care about even our neighbours?

        That point is well-taken and it is a good question to ask. But should asking such a commonsense question earn someone the genuflection of future technocrats and license to misinform on medical matters?

        • Abhishek Banerjee

          Absolutely not. That was very ill-conceived on Sri Sri Ravishankar’s part and rather went on to earn him disrepute in the IITK community.

        • Jane2u,

          If Ravishankar is my teacher then I will certainly ask him why he did this cheap trick to fool people…

          • Captain Mandrake

            And Ravishankar will tell you that he did it to take your money and redirect it to Dr Setty who can then saves lives of kids. Of course after taking a cut to fund his plush ashram in the west.

    • Here, we IITians are taught to appreciate the good and sieve out the bad.

      Elsewhere too, folks are hard at work sieving, and find to their dismay that so many nuggets of untruth fall through the cracks of the hi-tech IITian sieve. Check out the links in this earlier comment and this one too. Magic tricks aren’t the only problem.

      • Abhishek Banerjee

        Hi Arvind

        Firstly, I am not saying other places do not teach you to ‘sieve’. I wouldn’t know because I have not been to these places. So what happens elsewhere is strictly not my business. Further, as I said, I do not care who the advice comes from, but what the advice is. I liked the advice, many of my friends liked it: that’s end of story. And by the way, why are the people ‘elsewhere’, ‘dismayed’? Shouldn’t they be more bothered about the ‘nuggets of untruth that fall through’ their OWN sieves, than the ones which are not screened by the IITian sieve? Does the failure of IITians give them an excuse to bask in, or probably secretly enjoy? If an IITian fails, does it mean they are allowed to fail too? This is a very big problem with our nation, we start pointing fingers very easily, and especially at those who have ‘promises to keep’. Let me dispel another ‘nugget of untruth’ for you: we at IIT have much bigger problems (of course ‘Magic tricks aren’t the only problem’) to worry about, to name just one: suicide and depression is extremely common in our system, it is a plague which we bring in ourselves and which kills one student per semester on an average. If Ravishankar/Yes+ tells me that meditation can alleviate depression(which sounds like a reasonable thing to believe), I’d rather send my depressed friend to Yes+/Ravishankar than see him hanging from the ceiling-fan or see him put on high dose anti-depression pills, or spend mindless hours debating on a forum whether the ‘trick’ Ravishankar showed me was genuine or fake. I agree that Ravishankar/Yes+ are making money out of this and truckloads of it too and that they preach bull-shit stories to attract people, but then who isn’t?

        • Satish Chandra

          You are making an unsubstantiated claim that everyone preaches BS. Please back it up with evidence.

          But let us assume, for your sake, that everyone does preach BS. But that doesn’t mean no one can point out BS. That would be committing the tu quoque fallacy.

          I know that you have better things to do than waste mindless hours on sites like this (like type out essay length comments), but bear with me. For there is one more logical gaffe in your comment. You bring in a new claim – “depression” to support what the charlatan does. This whilst ignoring the sites which Arvind linked to which address those very claims. And some of the sites describe how the cult actually caused harm.

          • Abhishek Banerjee

            First, my English is not good enough to understand the archaic version you seem to use. Pardon me, if I make semantic errors. I am not ‘arguing’ with you, I am trying to discuss a serious issue and trying to point out that every system has it’s flaws, and we must look for constructive solutions than destructive ones like cutting each other down on petty matters like we are doing here. I do not ‘support the charlatan’. I did not ‘ignore’ the links Arvind pointed out, in fact it was in response to them.Please re-read my posts, if you will, and let me know if you have something more constructive and something less condescending to offer.

          • Satish Chandra

            Money not spent on snake oil is a lot more constructive. So it is important to know where the advice comes from, as the advice is coupled with snake oil. Another constructive solution is to not derail discussions which point out a fraudulent activity with irrelevant arguments like “But the cult does some good. Everybody has flaws”. There is wrong and then there is wrong.

        • Captain Mandrake

          If depression is a problem at IITK then the administration should increase the number of psychiatrists at the local hospital. You should not rely on Quacks like SriSri for mental issues. Please be aware that he is not a licensed medical expert. Also note that there is nothing wrong in taking anti-depressants if prescribed by a doctor.

        • Given the undeniably valid concerns raised above, here is a URL to keep handy:
          http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html

          However, if assorted quacks are turned to instead for advice, here’s the sort of fare that is turned out:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BbgzqgTK5Y

          A tl;dw version of the video:
          1.Knowing that our time here is limited helps put things in perspective. (Need an enlightened being to say this?)
          2.Suicide is futile because we’ll be reborn to suffer again anyway.

          To those of us uninitiated in the ‘art of living’, a real-world helpline seems a safer bet than an after-world myth.

  • This is hilarious!!…the same thing has been debunked by James Randi years ago…cant believe this Ravishanker is doing the exact same old cheap trick…pls chek ths out—>
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RApN8veicPI&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLceUU9GKNuIYsEH-gMpKZBA

  • Being an IIT student has nothing to do with their personal belief & religious views.
    They are nothing special and can be fooled by any jerks.

    And whether you’re an atheist or not, only thing concerns in this world is MONEY !!!

  • Can you all see that , all we are arguing on is not going to give any result. the thing matters is how we take knowledge out of any event. Foll we pull out bad things from even good events and wise will find only good things out of worst.

    No one can change you except your perception. If you have any doubt on anything, before thinking and arguing negative, just GO and ASK to that person first…:)

    But save your mind from negativity…:)

  • Hi guys you might want to check this website and want to investigate on the topics covered as well :
    http://blog.hasslberger.com/2007/04/science_and_spirituality_heise.html

  • Shri Shri Ravishankar has been nominated for Noble-peace-prize for his works he’s done to humanity. You can’t judge him just by this odd activity of arm-motion. You may be knowing more physics than him but you should have seen the other aspect of Ravishankar. You can’t judge him just on your knowledge of physics.
    India is not backward because of him. India is backward because the wrong people are appreciated or not considered wrong and right people are criticized.
    We all have a common hobby of criticizing others, but one should look beyond just a speech to judge a person. The great work he’s done to humanity are of international recognition. You don’t have even a vague idea of that. You know just two things about him – (1) Art of Living and (2) Sudarshan Kriya.
    You have used such a complicated language. You must have worked on this for hours or days. By using such complicated language can’t put him down. I admit his act was not so scientific but whatever he wanted to say that all had the meaning. Sad – you didn’t get that. Your eyes were shut because of arrogance. You just want to prove how you are better than him, right?
    Think calmly, from your soul, did you get the massage he wanted to give you. Wasn’t that enough fair, wasn’t he the right person to give such massages ?

    • As for the Nobel Prize hype, much of it is manufactured by AOL acolytes rather than emerging from some overall groundswell of support. Here is more on that: 1, 2, 3, 4

      Speaking of the backwardness of parts of India, the attitude of passivity, resignation and surrender to faith-healers that still plagues large sections of our society is at least partly to blame. Quoting from here, the time is long overdue to renew our commitment to together script a new and redeeming chapter in the history of India, which is not a narrative of passive waits for messianic deliverance, but of the emergence of a society awakened by Reason, enlivened by Compassion, founded on integrity in personal conduct and sustained by probity in public life. Whether the likes of Sri Sri help or hinder such an awakening, ought to be obvious to anyone committed to scientific truth and with intolerance for iniquities.

      As mentioned earlier in the article Arms, Drugs and Spirituality: A counterpoint to a counterpoint by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, this is not just about party tricks but also about partisan affiliations and demagoguery in an already divided society. To dismiss as ‘complicated language’ a critical appraisal of on-stage trickery, and to dignify as Nobel material rehashed cliches is too much to ask of a society which now ought to stop suffering fools and those who fool.

      As for the question, Think calmly, from your soul, did you get the massage he wanted to give you. Wasn’t that enough fair, wasn’t he the right person to give such massages ? I would simply say “No thanks!” to any such offers of dubious mystic masseurs.

      • Arvind, I stay in US. There are plenty of faith healers here as well -heard of Benny Hinn and Rod Parsley? Heard about the polygamist cults here or even the Amish and the Mormon communities?

        There are at least 4 Southern states that I know of where abortion is banned because of the influence of pro-lifers.

        Some of your Indian faith healers really have managed to save lives -do you think if they hadn’t managed to do this even once, they’d still be in business? Maybe it was a case of mind over matter because the person had implicit trust in the faith healer rather than any actual work by the faith healer -but if it saved lives, who are you and I to contest?

        I am not an AOL member -had done only the AOL basic course way back in 1997 -did not find it that useful for me. However, I do know that NIMHANS has done plenty of studies that it ddoes help people with Asthma-a girl in my batch had been cured of chronic asthma and a life of inhalers when her mother taught her the basic kriya and she came back to do the basic course herself). I hardly follow Sri Sri -but the only thing I remember from the course -I was asked to treat each person as if I could see God in that person…to live in the present and embrace it rather than worry about the past or the future.

        I don’t remember any religious affiliations sought then or anytime since. I also remember that the schools started by AOL charge exhorbitant fees -not affordable by my parents. However, I can take the good in all of that -the philosophy that has helped me and continues to help me.

        Who are you to call me a fool because I believe in the goodness of anther you call a ‘fool’?

        Instead of wasting time on these blogs, why dont you guys read the biography of Steve Jobs and understand that while you keep wasting your time and talents here, the world has moved on…IIT was meant to be more than an institute which taught you to treat all with different view points and believes as people who are below yourself (even your other profs and other batchmates if they believe in Ganesha idol or Sri Sri -just because you did not)Nobody will remember your words on a non popular forum like this (my husband had sent me the link for this -he is also from IIT-K -because there was something about “snake oil and Sri Sri”. Turns out this was an absolutely childish and immature blog.

        • Jane,

          AOL can still continue to do all the good things that they do..

          But Ravishankar will not get courage to repeat this exercise in a public show anymore. He will be “exposed”. That is a good thing, right ? This blog will filter out the cheap tricks from AOL and make them a better organisation than they are now.

          • I don’t think acceptance or non acceptance by a small section of people like you or me will make any difference at all to his organization.

            They are doing good and will continue to do so.

        • Captain Mandrake

          I am glad that you are putting Sri Sri and his cult in the same category as Benny Hinn and Mormons. I think we have made a breakthrough here. That is the benefit of these blogs :)

          • Considering that Sri Sri is not doing any of what Catholic priests have been doing in US (more than 15,000 Catholic priests have been convicted of child molestation charges) and considering that India is slowly but surely become evangelized -make a trip to South India or East India to check this -I am really happy that we have a last few non- religious public figures who are doing some good.

            Btw, next you will be saying that all those people who reported life changing health benefits of Baba Ramdev were lying through their teeth :)

        • Captain Mandrake

          Jane2u,

          Considering that Sri Sri is not doing any of what Catholic priests have been doing in US (more than 15,000 Catholic priests have been convicted of child molestation charges)

          So Sri Sri is not a paedophile, and according to you that is his saving grace? But selling snake oil is OK with you?

          considering that India is slowly but surely become evangelized -make a trip to South India or East India to check this

          Yes, I did visit those parts of India recently. I did not see any evangelicals but saw a lot of puke-worthy AOL and AOL-like outfits at every street corner, fooling the next generation Indians.

          -I am really happy that we have a last few non- religious public figures who are doing some good.

          Who are these non-religious public figures you are talking about?

          Btw, next you will be saying that all those people who reported life changing health benefits of Baba Ramdev were lying through their teeth

          Again, please let me know what health benefits of Baba Ramdev are you talking about?

          • Was he really selling the ‘health oil’ (of course we both are on the same page that snake oil is just a term for any thing gimmicky thing that is supposed to have super natural benefits)? I thought he was trying to break some perceptions of people regarding toxic and non toxic things available.

            You really did not seem to keep your eyes open when you visited these areas -I have lived in these parts of India for more than 8 years -have been approached multiple times on the road by someone saying something like, “Today is your lucky day, Christ has decided to come to your life”. I wonder how many cases of Catholic paedophile priests are we going to see in India soon enough…considering that most of such cases go un-reported in a developing country like India I would expect it to become an epidemic unfortunately…I have also been given evangelical material multiple times at school and college (both being Jesuit organizations – legally they were not supposed to do so).

            Sri Sri himself is not a religious figure. I have seen how nuns of colleges are attending Art of Living courses…Do you think that would happen when such nuns are forbidden to eat sweets that one distributes as Prasad from a Hindu festival?

            Watch Baba Ramdev’s programs and also study the doctor’s studies that are being done –why not go to his ashram where they have started asking for medical records of patients to keep as proof that the person improved after trying Ayurveda and Yoga?

            And I am really irritated at this apologetic belief of Indians living in India –anything ancient and Indian is by default not worthy of study and is satanic and so on -till a Phirangi touches it -then it becomes gold.

            The Bikrams, the Iyengars and other yoga gurus probably still have cynics like you deriding them…while in US, their practices have been incorporated in to mainstream medicine as accompanying treatment. Read the reviews of something as esoteric as Kundalini yoga here to see what phirangs say about it (lives of war veterans suffering from PTSD have been changed by practising it -they will not care of intellectual views by people like you.)http://www.amazon.com/Kundalini-Beginners-Beyond-Brett-Singh/product-reviews/B000BRM992/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

          • Satish Chandra

            Jane2u,

            India needs life experienced thinkers like you to solve all of its “real” problems.

            When you find someone lying/cheating/defrauding people, all you need to do is to point out some good that person did and poof, they become good and corruption has been reduced. For example, I’m pretty sure every corrupt politician has done some good to someone else and that alone is reason enough to not point out their corruption.

            Another good use of your logic is to point out wrongs elsewhere, and again, poof, the wrong in question goes away. So if there is a scam going on in India, all one needs to do is point at the atrocious state of Pakistan and the scam becomes a non-issue.

          • Jane,

            Now art-of-living followers will be praying that you stop commenting on this post. You are making this post one of the most discussed one in nirmukta website and thereby doing a service to highlight the fraud thing their master has done.

            Ravishankar has done a cheap trick and this blog post has exposed it.

      • There are plenty of faith healers here as well -heard of Benny Hinn and Rod Parsley? Heard about the polygamist cults here or even the Amish and the Mormon communities?

        Rest assured there are no fans of this or that brand of apologetics here. It’s just that we are more immediately concerned about garbage in our own backyards.

        …but if it saved lives, who are you and I to contest?

        Please provide some evidence, for all these claims of saved lives, and also explain why timely common sense couldn’t have done the job.

        I hardly follow Sri Sri -but the only thing I remember from the course -I was asked to treat each person as if I could see God in that person…to live in the present and embrace it rather than worry about the past or the future.

        So, what would you find objectionable about attempts to treat people with an attitude of simple empathy grounded in our own humanity rather than assumed divinity, and about our own attempts to create meaning in our lives?

        Turns out this was an absolutely childish and immature blog.

        Then how about following your own free advice: Instead of wasting time on these blogs, why dont you guys read the biography of Steve Jobs and understand that while you keep wasting your time and talents here, the world has moved on…

        IIT was meant to be more than an institute which taught you to treat all with different view points and believes as people who are below yourself (even your other profs and other batchmates if they believe in Ganesha idol or Sri Sri -just because you did not)

        This isn’t about looking down on others; just about recognizing that we all live in a causal universe and outgrowing myths of supernatural intervention.

        • Rest assured there are no fans of this or that brand of apologetics here. It’s just that we are more immediately concerned about garbage in our own backyards.

          Well, considering that you are really missing out the most important thing in India just now -Corruption, I am not sure you are really concerned about the garbage. If corruption is missing, people will not even need so many outlets to escape the dreary lives they live in India. Maybe, when you grow up and see India for what it is, you will try…If you go on to make a difference to India in that sense,more power to you.

          So, what would you find objectionable about attempts to treat people with an attitude of simple empathy grounded in our own humanity rather than assumed divinity, and about our own attempts to create meaning in our lives?

          Absolutely not –it’s just that your limited experience of hte world around you makes me absolutely certain that your meaning of your life is going to be vastly different from the meaning that I look for in my life. If you are going to fight ‘assumed divinity’, why are you guys leaving out the biggest organized religion in the world? Talk about Sri Sri -but not in such an offensive manner that you bring out opposite views in people like me -who dont care either ways to suddenly become a fan of the man.

          Then how about following your own free advice: Instead of wasting time on these blogs, why dont you guys read the biography of Steve Jobs and understand that while you keep wasting your time and talents here, the world has moved on

          -Already doing it. Changed at least 6 lives fo r the better -in practical terms. Working in US -thus clearing up a job in India so giving work to someone there. Earning precious forex for India..though that might change since I have given up intentions to return to India -Satyamev Jayate told me that the country is much worse than I imagined. I wonder if any of you samaj sudharaks viewed those episodes and looked at the real problems of India…

          • How exactly did thy enlightened self come to the conclusion that people here aren’t fighting against corruption and other problems? They do. On all fronts. One of which is making sure that people don’t get away with fraudulent activities like the Mr. Mr. Articles like this do a lot to combat corruption than comments like yours which try to excuse a fraud in whatever illogical way you can.

    • Bhanu,

      If you are an art-of-living insider can you ask Ravishankar or the teachers what was the reason Ravishankar did this trick ? Was he being “playful” ? Or was he fooled by his teachers or his ayurveda division ?

      Why not ask this and post the reply back to this site ? I tried posting these queries to art-of-living blogs like :
      http://bawandinesh.name/
      http://www.artoflivingsecrets.com/

      But they did not accept my query. Why not art-of-living take this as a challenge and answer to this blog either in their websites or here..

      • So Anoop, are we convinced that the IIT students who underwent the stage theatrics were hypnotized or were hand in glove with Sri Sri -I still havent understood how they played along and did not call the whole thing a farce?

        Did you try talking personally to any of them?

        • I am not a nirmuktha member..

          The only association I have is with art-of-living. I did their part 1 course. The games and knowledge sessions were good. I was irritated with the “Guru grace” and “Guru stories” and so came back home and searched “sri sri ravishankar fraud” and came across many blogs which are trying to expose art-of-living. And their somebody posted a link of this in one of the posts and I am here.

          And to answer your question. Let the IIT students reply.

          I am convinced that this particular act of sri sri ravishankar was a fraud act. Why he did it only he knows. This post just exposes it. In art-of-living “probably” questioning the Guru is considered as a sin. And they come and cry ing praises of the other (good ?) side of the Guru.

        • Captain Mandrake

          You don’t have to be hypnotised to fall for these tricks. There are ways in which these tricks can be delivered in a crowd with out it being challenged. Illusionists (eg. Derren Brown, James Randi) and quacks (eg. Sri Sri, Benny Hinn) do it well. It is just not the cheap tricks like the arm-pushing maneuver that captivated the crowd. Even trivial questions and answers like the one about number of friends you have can soften up the crowd.

          There is an interesting 6 part video on YouTube where Dawkins interviews the illusionist Derren Brown about such tricks.

      • Anoop,
        I am not a AOL insider. I have attended Ravishankar’s lecture when I was in class 8th or 9th, 7-8 years ago.
        But I am not saying anything about that trick that you are stressing on. You can see my previous comment. All I want to say is Ravishankar has done nothing bad to society. Spreading peace in life is the only job, he does. I totally agree that his trick was not scientific, but whatever he wanted to tell people had some meaning, a fair meaning. Anybody can come to be stupid for a while, but is it right to judge him on just that ‘for a while’ moment ?
        He doesn’t say people to follow him, he says them to follow their will, their own targets in life. I support people as long as their intention is good and they don’t make decisions for others. Ravishankar has nobody behind him to be taken care of. He has contributed to collect money for social good. He has helped donation for critical situation like flood or Gujrat earthquake, in crores – it’s not a rumour. nobody else could do that.
        Maybe you don’t like his way of talking or presenting things.
        But should he be criticized? Is he brainwashing people to darkness? Did he ever do something that caused a harm to people? – this is all I want to ask.
        And I am not a great supporter of him. But if he’s done nothing wrong, then why we should protest or criticize him?
        There are a lot of wrong things in our country, a lot of. Ravishankar still comes in positive class. His snake oil trick didn’t have all the meanings, may be a fun thing he wanted to do meanwhile or just a way to bring snake into conversation, as snake is a symbol of devil. But as soon as his subject of the talk got disturbed, he came back to the topic.
        Didn’t he know this simple thing? He is considered to be a great thinker by many. Don’t just be stuck on snake oil, but doo you really think he is that fool? Can you count even a single incident of him that caused hurt or harm to people?
        I don’t mean to prove anything. I just wanted to say that the person who is criticized should be worth it.
        Thanks bro.

        • I have read the post and all the comments. I totally agree with Bhanu, that if we look at His work for society then, this event looks insignificant. If we look at history, every person who did something good to the society was criticized, and such criticism can’t stop them from doing their job. It is so strange na, that He spoke for an hour. People left all other good things what he said and got stuck in this small incident. That is what he wants to teach all of us, to wake up and see the world from a broader perspective, rather than getting stuck in small small things.
          Now coming to the drops which he used that day were ‘Shakti drops’ and not the Snake oil. It is – 1) Made from pure organic herbs
          2) Paraben free
          3) 100% vegan vegetarian
          4) No animal tested
          5) Approved by GMP and HACCP
          6) ISO 2200-2008 certified
          All the contents are very much popular in Ayurvedic practices, and are used by Ayurvedic practitioners all over India. These herbs have rejuvenating, strengthening, nourishing effect on body. You can go through its contents and search for their properties.
          The explanation he gave about the action of drops i.e. “one drop of poison can destroy the body. Can it not destroy? One drop of poison can destroy the immune system. No? The reverse can also happen – one drop of nectar can also strengthen your body.”
          All these herbs are used in the form of Water extracts and are in concentrated form, which increases their efficacy.
          He was not trying to perform any Arm pull down test, it was just a simple example just to SHOW the efficacy of the drops and not to PROVE.
          Second thing is, He has lots of other works rather than FOOLING people. Millions of people follow Him all over the world including well known scientists, players, celebs, and even IITians. We can’t say that all of them are fools to follow Him. If you say about marketing then, isn’t it good that He is marketing something useful, something which is good. If people say that marketing good things is not correct then God only can help them. And a part of the proceeds from the sale of the product goes to fund the rural and social welfare products, worldwide.
          Lastly I would say that, this is a Medical thing rather than a Physics thing. There are again two different sects in Medical side, one is Modern Allopathic medicine and second one is Alternative Medicine like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Siddha, Acupressure , etc. Each Branch has its own theories that explain the action of the herbs or procedures used in that branch. So we better not try to prove one sect of Medicine through other.
          I think I have touched almost all conflicting topics.
          Thank you.

          • Nirmukta and similar organisations is just enabling people to do critical thinking.

            Organisations like “art of living” do the reverse..

          • Anoop,
            Nirmukta’s purpose is like giving sex education – “Enabling people to do critical thinking”
            People need neither sex education nor critical-thinking-tips. People need to put their intelligence in right direction. The real issue need to be thought critically, not such things which can never be an issue.

          • So what are the things which sri sri does we should take seriously and which we should not ? Is there a list available with art-of-living ?

            This post just exposes a trick. Similar tricks are done by Masters around the world to fool people.

          • Guruji doesn’t alone sell snake oil, he brings out people from paralysis also:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAhPWlM6BhM

            Since he is doing all good things by bringing out people from paralysis he should be excused on marketing snake oil.

            Is that the logic ?

            These fraud organisations are fooling people and earning millions and doing real estate across the world.

          • Anoop,
            I don’t know what good will happen after exposing that trick. You really want to hate all other things and events and mottoes of Sri Sri and art of living because that trick didn’t work well ???
            Come on, be rational. Don’t be stuck on just that trick. This is not about just that one trick, this is about the man who did this. Can you prove his intention or his work harmful ?
            This is not about just the trick man. You witnessed just that little trick and you conclude that person was the worst… are you sure you are doing fine ??
            Someday a person comes and sees you for one our and in that time he picks your few silly things to criticize you ignoring your all other goodnesses, will you appreciate it ???

          • I do not hate “sri sri” or “art of living” just because of that stupid trick.

            I have subscribed to the comments of this article and when I get notification I come here and see the comments and if I have time I reply to that.

            I dont have a intention to prove that sri sri is a bad person because he did that stupid trick. All I am saying is that was a trick and nothing to do with the miracle powers of shakti drops…

          • Captain Mandrake

            Bhanu,

            *I don’t know what good will happen after exposing that trick.*

            Ever heard of emperor’s new cloths?

          • Anoop,
            I think you have not read my comment. I have given the details about Shakti Drops and its effects. Isn’t this enough for you? Or if you need any more clarification about it, tell me, I will happily do that.

          • Why did he do the arms pull down test ?

            From your reply I understood that shakti drops is an approved medicine and ayurveda has its own significance.

            You said he wanted to show the efficacy of the drops.. Why arms pull down test ? How that will show ? Isn’t the drops intended for taking inside the body ?

            I also understood that he has lots of other things to do other than fooling people. But then why arms pull down test ? He is doing this everywhere.. including all european countries / pakistan etc etc. Why do that ? How does it show the efficacy of the drops and ayurveda ?

          • Medical Definition of FOOD
            Anoop,
            If I say, that everyone should consume good and healthy —
            “”1
            : material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such material together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)
            2
            : nutriment in solid form””

            And if I say, that everyone should consume good and healthy “FOOD”.

            Which is easier to understand for a common man? The first one is Medical Definition of FOOD. There are things which are complicated to explain, but if we simplify them, then it becomes easy for everyone to understand.
            Also, if any subject is taught using audio-visuals or through practical application, then it becomes easy to understand and memorize it. Sri Sri Ravishankar just wanted to explain the efficacy of Shakti drops in simple and practical manner.
            Now, coming to your query about its route of administration.. Yes, it is supposed to be taken orally for normal use, but there is nowhere mentioned that it cannot be applied locally.
            The quick action of local application cannot be explained through logical explanations. The action of drug is considered to be happened by THE PRABHAVA. Prabhava is an Ayurvedic ter, for which I am giving a link here. You can go through it.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149385/
            (Please read the Introduction part of this article.)

            If still you want to know anything else, let me know.

          • I understood the part that simplified explanations will be more catchy for the common man.

            Still I have doubt on – Does the local application of shakti srops is causing some PRABHAVA effect which is strengthening the muscles ( which cannot be explained logically for some reason) ?

          • Dear Anoop,
            Yes, It is the “Prabhava” of Shakti drops’ contents that has resulted in muscle strength…

          • Captain Mandrake

            Rakesh,

            Now coming to the drops which he used that day were ‘Shakti drops’ and not the Snake oil. It is – 1) Made from pure organic herbs
            2) Paraben free
            3) 100% vegan vegetarian
            4) No animal tested
            5) Approved by GMP and HACCP
            6) ISO 2200-2008 certified

            Do you realize that even bottled water will satisfy all the above mentioned criteria?

            Do you also realize that Shakti drops meeting these criteria adds no weight to the claim about the efficacy of these drops to boost your strength?

            These herbs have rejuvenating, strengthening, nourishing effect on body.

            You can not just blurt this claim out with out pointing to peer-reviewed studies done in an controlled environment that shows that Shakti drops increases the strength in an arm-pull-down test. In such a study no one has been able to show that apparent increase in the strength in an arm-pull-down test is due to the application of some fluids or holding on to crystals or telling the truth. However, people have exposed the sham of such tests as pointed out by the author and by others in several posts.

            Given that the arm-pull-down test has been exposed as a fake we can only conclude that Ravishankar is a crook for actually using it.

          • Captain,
            U told that any bottled water will follow all the specifications…can u tell me which brand of water do u use which contains pure organic herbs …. & if u dont know let me tell you that many of those specifications are for the techniques used to make the preparation.

            Quality & purity of ingredient actives in shakti drops is tested with advanced chromatographic methods (high pressure liquid chromatography)

          • Captain,,,
            For ur kind information let me tell u that pilot studies have shown the positive results…and long term studies are also going on… have little bit patience results will be out in some days….(Primary observations of long term studies have proven its efficacy)

          • Captain Mandrake

            Sameer,

            OK, bottled water missed the first criteria. So how about a bottle of herbal tea may be organic chamomile?

            Please note that whether or not Shakti drops meets the six criteria listed by Rakesh is totally immaterial to the claim that “application of shakti drops increases the subject’s strength in a matter of seconds.” That is what Sri Sri is trying to demonstrate with the arm pull down act. The author of this article has done a good job of exposing this demonstration as a cheap trick.

            Also note that no one cares whether or not super-duper-chromatographs can identify these herbs in the shakti drops.

      • I think Anoop you are wasting too much time on investigating these things…about genuine & fraudulent people. There are many more things in this world on which if you concentrate will benefit you & others… like doing real scientific research on such things rather than just blabbering about it…It seems you watch too much discovery channel which had led to your thinking that it is a snake oil…if you really want to know what it is plz see the details given by Rakesh…

        • I do spend lots of time watching James Randi, Richard dawkins, Carl Sagan, Richar Feynnman videos these days. It seems those videos are corrupting me.

          I watch lots of BBC like planet earth, frozen planet, planets kinds of videos also.

          So you have guessed almost correctly.

          What should I watch instead ?

          This post is about what Ravishankar did with the shakti drops. Was it a trick or was it miracle or was it shakti drops effect ? What do you think ? This post is trying to prove that it was a trick. I dont think this post says anything bad about art-of-living other than this.

          • Dear Anoop,
            I dont say that u should not watch discovery but don’t let ur mind get corrupted that’s it… I feel after watching all these informative channels one should have broad vision and readiness to accept the various possibilities… Its good that now u dont think it as a trick any more after knowing ayurvedic science behind it… We should thank Rakesh for giving extensive information in simplified version…

          • Sameer,

            You seem to have a profound sense of broad vision. Maybe you can explain this – I tried the same trick, but without using shakti drops. Instead I just rubbed air. Can you cite some “gold standard” evidence based scientific articles which explain how air has muscle strengthening effects? My guess is that there exist space-time contorting bacteria which bend space when air is rubbed on the hand. That bending generates an upward lift counteracting the pull downwards.

            But the most important thing to note is huge amount of good for human kind this discovery implies. Air is freely available and is practically an infinite resource. Shakti drops are not. It means everyone on Earth can get strong quite easily on air. I hope people like you who have the best interests of humans at heart will spread this knowledge freely.

          • Satish,
            As per my knowledge of microbiology your concept of space-time contorting bacteria does not exist…if you have some evidences plz enlighten us…
            You mentioned that u rubbed air…so first tell me how can one rub the air?
            Most of the herbs are also freely available but one can not ingest all herbs separately in raw forms…instead if you use extracts of them it becomes more effective n easy to use…

    • most atheists and true followers of Science dont believe in soul.. There could be good benefits of things like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises.. but they arent always scientifically verified.. Also what most gurus do is ‘placebo’ effect.. ie make believe..

      Author is not discounting any good works Ravishankar could have done.. but his good works dont give him authority to engage in tricks to sell his merchandise.. author is only criticizing a potential pseudo-science experiment the great Swamiji did..

  • I have added this trick of the double Mr. to our miracle exposure program and make it a point to expose this one.

  • Anoop,

    Plz invest your time in research…i will make it easy for you and for all those who think like you… plz refer following links for “scientific” details of the various techniques taught by art of living foundation…

    Comprehensive yogic breathing program improves quality of life in patients with diabetes.
    Jyotsna VP, Joshi A, Ambekar S, Kumar N, Dhawan A, Sreenivas V.
    Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 May;16(3):423-8.
    PMID: 22629512 [PubMed – in process] Free PMC Article

    2.
    A multicomponent yoga-based, breath intervention program as an adjunctive treatment in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder with or without comorbidities.
    Katzman MA, Vermani M, Gerbarg PL, Brown RP, Iorio C, Davis M, Cameron C, Tsirgielis D.
    Int J Yoga. 2012 Jan;5(1):57-65.
    PMID: 22346068 [PubMed – in process] Free PMC Article

    3.
    Role of sudarshan kriya and pranayam on lipid profile and blood cell parameters during exam stress: A randomized controlled trial.
    Subramanian S, Elango T, Malligarjunan H, Kochupillai V, Dayalan H.
    Int J Yoga. 2012 Jan;5(1):21-7.
    PMID: 22346062 [PubMed – in process] Free PMC Article

    4.
    The effects of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga on some physiological and biochemical parameters in mild hypertensive patients.
    Agte VV, Jahagirdar MU, Tarwadi KV.
    Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Apr-Jun;55(2):183-7.
    PMID: 22319901 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    5.
    Roles of meditation on alleviation of oxidative stress and improvement of antioxidant system.
    Mahagita C.
    J Med Assoc Thai. 2010 Nov;93 Suppl 6:S242-54.
    PMID: 21280542 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    6.
    Theta activity and meditative states: spectral changes during concentrative meditation.
    Baijal S, Srinivasan N.
    Cogn Process. 2010 Feb;11(1):31-8. Epub 2009 Jul 22.
    PMID: 19626355 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    7.
    Wellness through a comprehensive yogic breathing program – a controlled pilot trial.
    Kjellgren A, Bood SA, Axelsson K, Norlander T, Saatcioglu F.
    BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Dec 19;7:43.
    PMID: 18093307 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

    8.
    Concentrative meditation enhances preattentive processing: a mismatch negativity study.
    Srinivasan N, Baijal S.
    Neuroreport. 2007 Oct 29;18(16):1709-12.
    PMID: 17921873 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    9.
    Effect of rhythmic breathing (Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayam) on immune functions and tobacco addiction.
    Kochupillai V, Kumar P, Singh D, Aggarwal D, Bhardwaj N, Bhutani M, Das SN.
    Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Nov;1056:242-52. Review.
    PMID: 16387692 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    10.
    Sudarshan Kriya Yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression. Part II–clinical applications and guidelines.
    Brown RP, Gerbarg PL.
    J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):711-7. Review.
    PMID: 16131297 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    11.
    Sudarshan Kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: part I-neurophysiologic model.
    Brown RP, Gerbarg PL.
    J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Feb;11(1):189-201. Review. Erratum in: J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Apr;11(2):383-4.
    PMID: 15750381 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    12.
    Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine.
    Janakiramaiah N, Gangadhar BN, Naga Venkatesha Murthy PJ, Harish MG, Subbakrishna DK, Vedamurthachar A.
    J Affect Disord. 2000 Jan-Mar;57(1-3):255-9.
    PMID: 10708840 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    13.
    P300 amplitude and antidepressant response to Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY).
    Naga Venkatesha Murthy PJ, Janakiramaiah N, Gangadhar BN, Subbakrishna DK.
    J Affect Disord. 1998 Jul;50(1):45-8.
    PMID: 9716279 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    14
    http://www.aiims.edu/aiims/events/world_conference_expanding_paradigms_06.htm

    15.
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

    16.
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/70225906/Flowcytometric-Study-of-T-cell-Subset-And-Natural-Killer-Cells-in-pdf

    17.
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:upHeiOO5qi8J:aolresearch.org/pdf/other/Slovenian_police_study.pdf+Evaluation+of+The+Art+of+Living+Basic+Course+as+the+Anti-stress+Program+for+Police+Officers+in+the+Slovenian+Police.+Hedviko+Visnikar,+Gorazd+Mesko.&hl=en&gl=in&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESirbzi8YHE9T2pYdExKbx-mTFyKhKzsfGJT0aMsFEqTz0

    18.
    http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=2736

    Many more are there…

    So its easy to comment but difficult to prove… in this era of evidence based medicine all above things are proven throughout the world…

    • Why this surfeit of references on Sudarshan Kriya when the question raised in the article was about Shakti Drops? Is this an attempt to trot out Chewbacca and forcibly elicit some honor by association?

      As for the studies supposedly demonstrating the merits of SK, many of caveats and critiques in the podcast linked here, in principle apply to them, thus rendering as premature any finality or triumphalism that is accorded to them by aficionados.

      • Captain Mandrake

        Come on, let go of those shakti drops. Atleast Sri Sri is not a paedophile. 😉

        And thanks for the podcast link. It is nice.

      • Mr Iyer all those references were for Mr Anoop on his following post…Who has doubt about the organization & techniques taught by them.

        Anoop
        September 17, 2012 3:37 pm

        Guruji doesn’t alone sell snake oil, he brings out people from paralysis also:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAhPWlM6BhM

        Since he is doing all good things by bringing out people from paralysis he should be excused on marketing snake oil.

        Is that the logic ?

        These fraud organisations are fooling people and earning millions and doing real estate across the world

        • Sameer,

          The video I posted is a art-of-living video. It sort of claims that it is because of Guruji miracle that Dushyant (dushyantsavadia.net) came out of paralysis. Do you believe in miracles of Guruji ? Is this also scientifically proven ?

          Just curious.

        • Art-of-living as I understand does past-life-regression therapy where you can know your past-life.., blessings course where your pain will be taken away etc etc.

          Are these also authentic and scientific ? What are the texts/scientific papers I should read to understand these ?

          • effect of past-life regression.. blessings detailed explainations are given in Upanishads, Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, Bhagvad geeta…
            Arsha vani also says
            “Poorva janma kritam paapam vyadhi roopena bhadhate. Tat shanthir oshadhir daana japa homa tapaadibhih.”

          • Believing in past life is one thing. But here AOL does past life regression therapy to discover one’s past life..

            So AOL is not just about breathing and seva. There are more cool techniques.How is it done ? Is it patented ? Seems to be cool..!

          • sri sri can predict future lives also 😉

            http://www.deccanherald.com/content/156771/art-living-pays-homage-satya.html

            In a message from Germany, Ravi Shankar said, “Baba will be born in Mandya after six years and he will come into public life when he turns 18 years old”.

            May be sri sri and AOL have already planned how to excute that after 6 years so that sai bab’s devotees money also can be grabbed :-)

      • Mr Iyer,

        I think u keep dictionary beside u while writing posts…simplify it man…

        Studies cited here are proven facts…now its up to u in which sense u have to take it. Just wait for some days it will top the gold standards of evidence based medicine…

      • Mr Iyer,
        You have mentioned about the podcast link which is vague.. plz be specific and stick to the point…

        And if we talk about Shakti drops i think Rakesh has given enough information to clarify doubts about it…

        • The language barrier here is not as much a problem as differing understanding on what the word ‘scientific’ means. Due to this, attempts by AOL aficionados to ‘scientifically’ explain Shakti Drops effects have ventured farther and farther into unscientific territory.

          There are two questions here:
          (1) whether the preparation called Shakti Drops leads to an instant increase in arm strength (this question can be investigated without knowing what the ingredients are)
          (2) how the ingredients in Shakti Drops make it work (this question becomes relevant only after question (1) has been answered in the affirmative by experiment)

          A scientific approach to investigate question 1 that can meet a skeptic’s criteria is as follows. We need three volunteers to conduct the experiment and proceed as follows. Volunteer 1 fills a vial with either (a) Shakti Drops (b) distilled water. Volunteer 1 then hands over the vial to Volunteer 2 without revealing its contents and maintaining a confidential record of the same. Volunteer 2 invited a subject for the experiment and applies the contents of the vial on his/her forearm and leaves the room. Volunteer 3 immediately enters and requests the subject to lift dumbbells of different weights for a stipulated period of time and records suitable measurements. After a sufficient number of subjects have been tested in this manner, the measurements for (a)Shakti Drops (b) distilled water are compared to see whether one consistently and reliably imparts more strength than the other.

          The ‘demo’ at IIT Kanpur fails to meet the following criteria above (i) there is no control like the distilled water to enable comparison (ii) in the above experiment, the subjects are not aware of what is applied to them, which allows us to the test the Shakti Drops’ effect rather than other motivational effects. Sri Sri’s demo does not permit checking the Shakti Drops’ effect. The podcast mentioned earlier is relevant because it highlights the need for suitable controls in such studies, and the limiting of extraneous influences. Hope this makes clear why skeptics find Sri Sri’s demo inadequate and that skeptics really are not asking for too much more than the above simple experiment.

    • I do not know much about sudarshana kriya other than i have done part-1 course once.

      Have seen blog posts “claiming” that sudarshana kriya gives the bad effects of hyperventilation. But I do not have knowledge or self-experience to comment on that. Posting the links. You can read if you are interested:
      http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.in/2009/12/sudarshan-kriya-is-it-freeing-or-frying.html
      http://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/refuting-scientific-research-on-sudarshan-kriya/
      http://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/is-sudarshan-kriya-safe/

      This blog post was discussing the pseudo science behind getting strength while the oil is applied.

      • Dear Anoop,

        All the cited research papers represent scientific studies done by scientists/doctors…and all blogs you have mentioned are written by people from non-medicine background….so its your choice whom to believe..

  • Dear Author (D),
    Thanks for discussing this topic… which had led to the conclusion that application of those drops is not a Pseudoscience but well supported ayurvedic science…..for further details u can refer ayurvedic text books like “Ashtanga Hridaya, Sutra: 9/22-27″ & “Charak Samhita,Sutra: 26/67-72″.
    If one does not believe in Ayurveda then it is pointless to discuss this topic anymore…

    • So probably art-of-living should file a case against author(D) for the below conclusion:

      “a rational explanation involving any number of the following factors – change in sensation, grip, pivot, posture of the subject, power of suggestion and increased reflexes – after the first stretch could have attributed towards greater resistance in the subjects even when tested by the skeptical student after applying the snake oil”

      Now its proven and concluded that “prabhava of shakti drops” led to the muscle strengthening.. ! No discussions are possible unless all of us believe completely in ayurveda and prabhava shakti.

      • Sameer/ Rakesh,

        My reply was sarcastic in nature. Sorry If i gave a impression that I agreed.

        I still believe it was a trick. And I dont know why he did the trick.

        Regarding prabhava effect – i dont have time now to read the ayurvedic texts and see how rubbing shakti drops increases the strength. This is something which I dont know.

  • If u or some-one is able to explain the ‘happening’ then u label it as ‘pseudo’ science.

    if u or some-one cannot explain the ‘happening’ then u suggest that it is power of positive suggestions; which you admit by God’s grace; oops u don’t want 2 believe in God. But this at least you have no objection to believing in, because some of your instruments are able to record the difference between before and after, etc.

    if the happening fails under your controlled conditions, then u say that the ‘happening’ did not happen.

    So u see, u have sworn to remain ignorant by choice, depending upon your sophisticated instruments r or r not capable of measuring the change in before and after changes.

    Your sophisticated measuring instruments can give a huge difference when one-same sample of blood or urine; that doesn’t make any make any difference to u because no-one has asked u to explain.

    Your attitude is: Positive I win and Negative u loose.

    Now I am asking u some questions and I request u to answer them as honestly, i mean truthfully [i.e. within your limited knowledge] as possible.

    1] In the experiment made by “Sri Sri” Ravishankar, at the institution where the experiment was performed, what “critical controlled conditions” would u like to specify? and please specify here-now so that an experiment can be designed to meet with your “critical conditions” can be produced. Of-cource, we will negotiate with u if some “critical condition” specified by u cannot be inherently cannot be produced in the claimed-experiment-outcome. e.g. we cannot b expected to meet with an outcome-condition to e.g. resolve the rise in crininal activities in a city or part thereof.

    How-ever, even that is possible if say 80% of the population practice internal-spiritual-meditation, as taught by me, for say 3 months. I am sure u cannot meet with critical-condition as necessary. Relax, I m not going to lay down any such condition as a pre-condition. Not just yet.

    I now await your considered views in respect of my suggestion for the repeat of essentialy a quite similar experiment.

    kirti

    • Captain Mandrake

      Kirti,

      I find it difficult to follow most of what you wrote except probably the following.

      In the experiment made by “Sri Sri” Ravishankar, at the institution where the experiment was performed, what “critical controlled conditions” would u like to specify?

      Typically the onus is on the experimenter to use proper controls and standard measurement techniques to test the claim that “application of any fluid increases the your strength in a matter of seconds”. It is not the job of the critics.

      The author of this article does a good job of debunking Sri Sri’s snake oil salesmanship. Assuming that you don’t think so, why don’t you point to the specific part of the article that you disagree with?

      • Oh ho Captain plz wake up still u r stuck with snake oil thing….u r not focused i feel…so many time we have discussed it that it contains herbs…

        • I have heard of scriptural literalism, but this is literalism taken to a whole new level. Here’s what the rationalist commentators here mean by snake oil. Next, you might say that Axe Oil and Tiger Balm shouldn’t be called so because they do not contain pulverized hatchets or pickled felines, but contain herbs.

          • Arvind,
            Sameer predicted perfectly that u keep dictionary with u while posting. Come on, grow up man, it is already proven that what H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar had used that day was Shakti Drops. The mode of action of Shakti drops has also explained with enough references. But still u are referring it as snake oil(a derogatory term used to describe quackery)
            , i feel compassionate for u. we really can’t help for the people who don’t want to break their shell and let new things come in. If people have made their mind to oppose something then, they won’t listen to listen to anything and keep opposing, and they will find some or the other way to do so.

          • Rakesh,

            Are you having a troglodytic contest with Sameer to see how far logic lands on the ground after it has been defenestrated from the highest floor? So maybe you can answer the burlesque question I asked Sameer?

          • Satish,
            I think u are very much confused. u r throwing ur frustration on others.read all the posts, and go through the scientific explanations given. if u have any doubt abt it ask directly, to the point and in simple words.
            and the ‘ the burlesque question’ that u have asked sameer is already answered by him i think.

          • Here is our doubt in simple words (with an image to make things still clearer).
            If the oil gave strength, can the person be requested to hold this for 10 minutes?
            That is a simple question. “The oil contains herbs which will make a person lift heavy objects” is a claim, not a proof. “The person who sells the oil is a social worker” is also not an answer to the question. We will be glad to read a scientific study in which the supposed strength of the arm is measured by a technique other than a human being pulling the arm down.

          • Arvind,
            No one has yet tried holding THAT for 10 minutes. We all will be grateful if u could try that and let us know.Anyway Shakti drop doesn’t claim it.

            I think u need to check with urself cause MANY, MANY times we have cleared that it is not an oil. It is a water extract.

            These sentences were not said by me, so u can ask the people who quoted these :-
            “The oil contains herbs which will make a person lift heavy objects”

            “The person who sells the oil is a social worker”

            Also,
            u need to have a little patience. As Sameer said, there are studies going on, and results will be soon published. But if u r that much eager to know about the studies, why don’t u take an initiative for that?

            The answers given by me below are self explanatory. Relevant links are put there for referral. I think Sameer has given even the textual reference as :-
            .for further details u can refer ayurvedic text books like “Ashtanga Hridaya, Sutra: 9/22-27″ & “Charak Samhita,Sutra: 26/67-72″.

            please go through it, if u don’t get satisfied by that, then u can ask ur GUNUINE doubt.

            Anoop and Sameer have concluded the topic, because all the required information has been given. I think it’s needless to talk about this topic anymore.

          • Ok, in that case, replace ‘oil‘ with ‘herbal water‘ or ‘Shakti drops‘ or ‘substance‘ and replace ‘10 minutes‘ with any other duration of your choice. The question still stands. Here is an attempt to explain why your efforts so far do not satisfy skeptics here.

            The question is far from settled just because someone quotes a ‘study’ or as in this case, promises a study. The question of whether any reported study addresses the concerns raised here is key. The AOL devotees may well believe it is needless to talk about this topic anymore, but anyone who cares about science cannot stop insisting on double-blind controlled trials of any supposed medication. Such a double-blind trial is something we will insist and those who care for such evidence couldn’t care less if some AOL fan-kid certifies this as a ‘genuine doubt‘ or not.

            You are welcome to try moving mountains with your faith and your Shakti Drops. You must however be prepared for disappointment if you expect that posting reams of comments here will convince skeptics here to take it on faith.

    • Kirti,

      There were two types of pro-AOL replies

      1. Jane2u and Bhanu were of the opinion that it may be a trick. But look at the good things the man has done rather than focussing on this small trick.

      2. Sameer and Rakesh says this is not a trick. It is explained in ayur vedic texts and it is some “prabhava effect” ?

      What is your opinion ? If its not a trick can you explain how it works ?

  • Hi AOL supporters! Ayurveda or siddha is the Indian medicinal option for the people who were strictly in the position of no other go in the past. Now, they have the option to choose the best, but we cannot deny the marketing strategy behind every demo and promise. Think it practically, there are some reasonable claim and observation which we may agree, and it may be true to the some extend, but superstitious claims such as, you(organ-hand) will stand like a pillar post for the whole day is really a absurd claim, this claim reminds us the road venders assurances’ nearby bus stand and rail way station.

  • I am not a member of this blog niether i am from IIT, but i must congratulates this blog for posting such article to expose such frauds and help to increase scientific temperament among our youngsters who day by day are more trapped in such mimics and Baba’s. I feel more rational and scientific thinking would save our nation.

  • I am really surprised. Once Guru Ravishankar was answering questions during an inter-active program, when a Lady described how he had appeared before her and answered questions. She was very emotional.
    But the Guru calmly downplayed the ‘miracle’ and only said that such things happen to ‘sadhaks’ and they should not dwell on such ‘miracles’.

  • Any explanation for these articles??

    On a Possible Psychophysiology of the Yogic Chakra System (Part 1-3)
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2000/cmay00/chakra1.shtml
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2000/djuly00/chakra2.shtml
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2000/esep00/chakras3.shtml

    It relates the endocrine system to the yogic chakras with appropriate references in peer reviewed journals.

  • Captain Mandrake

    Raj,

    * Any explanation for these articles?? *

    Why don’t you present the explanation?

    • Before I comment on these articles, a short intro about myself. I do not believe in any personal form of God or the New Age pseudoscience of cosmic consciousness. I am a strong believer of the scientific method and critical thinking.

      That said I like to explore different viewpoints out of curiosity but always being skeptic. I honestly feel that while fighting narrow-mindedness due to blind faith, the scientific community should not reject everything associated with religion or spirituality. If there is an iota of truth in the mountain of gibberish out there, that can really benefit people, it is worth spending some time on it.

      I found these articles intriguing in the way it is presented. The article is written by Dr.Serena Roney-Dougal, a British woman with a PhD in Parapsychology. A link to her homepage,
      http://www.psi-researchcentre.co.uk/index.html
      Parapsychology and psi-research are considered pseudoscience by many. So I am not sure about the credibility of this research. I would be glad to listen to someone debunk it :)

      Nevertheless, I felt the paper was worth a read. I will try to explain what I understood of it and propose my humble ideas. They are in no way decisive/final and totally open to critical review. A healthy debate is good for science :)

      As many of us know, the science of the mind/consciousness is highly complex and is closely associated with the Central Nervous System (CNS). Neuroscientists are yet to find the underlying mechanisms and answer many questions still out there. One possible link that we could be missing out is the relation between the CNS and the endocrine system. Though thoughts and feelings keep arising in the mind, they really matter when they manifest as emotions which are regulated by the hormones secreted by various glands of the body. It could be said that hormones dictate the mental state of a person. But what would be interesting is that this may be a two way relation – The state of the mind could regulate the hormones. I think this is what meditation tries to achieve.

      Ok so far so good (I hope so). Now coming to the yogic chakra system. I know there is lot of pseudo-science and quackery associated with it and to make things worse, it has a strong religious/spiritual connotation. Let us not be taken aback by it though. It has been a hot topic of debate and scientists/freethinkers have tried to prove it is complete nonsense. I am trying to step back a little bit and double check on that.

      For those who are not familiar with the chakra system, kindly read part 1 of the article (link given above).
      The article proposes a correlation between each of the seven chakras with a gland in the human endocrine system. The ‘psychic’ aspect or the characteristic of a chakra is associated with the appropriate hormone secreted by its corresponding gland. The most interesting of them is the pineal gland in the brain. This is associated with ajna chakra or ‘gnana-drishti’ as famously known.

      The pinoline and melatonin hormones are said to play an important role in the physical aspect due to the activation of this gland. Infact, pinoline is hallucinogenic and is said to be used in lot of tribes for ‘spiritual awakening’ or ‘higher states of consciousness’ (refer to article). This point was exciting to me as this could give a simple explanation to the ‘psychic’ revelations experienced by ‘spiritual’ people. They just got some pinoline secreting from their pineal glands! Please check the article for explanation on other glands.

      So we might ask, what use is it to activate these chakras/glands? Is it going to give us miraculous powers? Make us attain ‘moksha’ and reach ‘God’? I do not think so. But a possible benefit in understanding the chakras, essentially the endocrine system, could be to help us control and regulate our instincts/emotions. That would really help us live a more peaceful and meaningful life. This looks sane enough to me.

      Comments welcome :)

      PS: Most of spiritual writings are adulterated, filled with jargons and gibberish. But I think even peer review publications are not perfect. As a skeptic, we need to swim through the ocean of irrelevant info to reach the pearl of truth. So please read with caution but do have an open mind :)

  • Captain Mandrake

    Why go through piles of yogic garbage in the hope of possibly finding few bits of truth about endocrinology when we can obtain all that is to be learnt by reading a book on endocrinology?

    Please answer this question with out repeatedly calling yourself a skeptic and a freethinker.

  • Yes I agree we can read a book about endocrinology if you want to know only about that. But I wanted to suggest that there could be valid science behind the chakra system which seems to link endocrinology and the CNS. This could help mainstream science and medicine to develop and progress in areas which are still not fully understood.

    If you think its just total nonsense, then I would like to know if you can point me to some evidence against it. That was why I posted this in the first place. I will be happy to learn about any scientific arguments on this topic.

    Thanks

    • Captain Mandrake

      What you find in mainstream scientific literature consists of the body of knowledge build over the years through rigorous and painstaking research conducted using the scientific method. On other hand what you find in yogic literature is stuff pulled out of thin air by a bunch of illiterate gurus from the dark ages. Science has nothing to learn from such gibberish.

      But hindutwadis do not understand this. They will pick some terms from yogic literature and say that these terms are the same as the terms in scientific literature and act as if ancient Hindus have something to contribute to the scientific community.

      Here is an exercise for the hindutwadis. First start by forgeting everything you know about endrocrinology. Then start from yogic literature and rebuild the body of knowledge that is currently encompassed by the field of endocrinology. Let us see how far you go.

      While the hindutwadis will not go too far the scientists can totally ignore yogic literature and still tell how the endocrine system works and how it fails and how it can be fixed it it fails.

      That is the difference between science and quackery.

      • I join you in blasting all who want to piggyback on scientifc findings to justify any religious concepts.

        Religion by its very nature is not conceptual but experiential.

        It is subjective, not objective.And nothing can’t be called crap because it does not fall into an objective framework. That’s what religions have been doing for long,disregarding that which doesn’t follow their framework. Their is no merit in REPEATING a folly.

        However, the parallels in two knowledge systems is an interesting field of knowledge itself. It needs to be given a chance.

        On the other hand, just like I would read a book on endrocrinology to know about it, I would need to directly experience my own chakras. No theory can give me a direct shot.Expecting theorotical knowledge to be of help in this matter is a waste of time.

        “current body of knowledge about endocrinology”-How old is this “current” knowledge? 400-500 years at max?Do we mean to say that the entire human civilization dating back atleast 10000 years has NOTHING to contribute in our “current” knowledge? Please try cutting out language,geometry,numbers,astronomy from our current civilization and then ascertain whether many parts of the world would have been inhabited in the first place, forget sophiticated infrastructure for scientific discovery.

        Many Yogis like Charak, Patanjali etc were also inventors in their own right. As far as chakras go, please appreciate their discovery by pure inner observation in an age without electricity, microscopes, communication networks or any such thing. Isn’t that one hell of a discovery?

        • Satish Chandra

          Ashmant,

          Just like you are entitled to your subjective experiences, so are others. If those others call as nonsense your expectation of what they should be experiencing just because you experienced it, the least you could do is respect their call as their subjective experience and leave it at that. But if you insist on finding fault with their call, then you are appealing to something other than subjective experience and that couldn’t be anything but something to do with an objective framework.

  • “What you find in mainstream scientific literature consists of the body of knowledge build over the years through rigorous and painstaking research conducted using the scientific method. On other hand what you find in yogic literature is stuff pulled out of thin air by a bunch of illiterate gurus from the dark ages. Science has nothing to learn from such gibberish.” -What you find in Yogic literature is a result of lifetimes of practice.Plus “illeterate” is a very vague term, considering that the whole body of technological education is a relatively young phenomenon in a million year old species. Owing to lack of knowledge on telecommunication systems coz they remained undiscovered in his time, I can call Newton illeterate if I want to. And I’m as sceptical of these displays as any of you. But without experimenting on Yoga yourself, your arguments are a far cry from an open, scientific, experimentative attitude.

  • Ignorance is being a sceptic and not knowing you are a sceptic. If you think you are a sceptic, you are no longer a sceptic because you have a clue of something beyond. So, in reality, you can never know whether you are a sceptic or not!

    A skeptic is stuck in a paradigm and closes all other possibilities. But this creation is of all possibilities. As one understands the paradigm shift, scepticism is removed.

    A real scientist can never afford to be a skeptic because skepticism closes down possibilities and does not continue to probe into unknown areas of existence.

    In short, skepticism is an “I know it all” attitude, and this attitude is unscientific. Skepticism is dispelled by Knowledge. Perception and inference are two means of knowing.

    In every human being deep inside, there is faith and love. What you think is skepticism is only a thin layer. If you hold in your mind that they are skeptics you empower their skepticism.

    Do not recognize someone’s skepticism and try to argue with them. Argument strengthens their skepticism. Fear of interference in one’s freedom brings more resistance and causes skepticism.

    Your silence and the smile from your heart will dispel their skepticism. There is nothing better than silence to break skepticism. Silence means the quality of consciousness, not just keeping lips tight.

    Skepticism doesn’t come up in children. It comes only with people who walk with boundaries. Children have no skepticism. They live in their fantasy world, a world of many possibilities. Their world is one of innocence, joy, beauty, and so much love.

  • Parthivendra Upadhyaya

    Thanks a lot for this article. A lot lot indeed.

  • If a yogi performs a trick and 1% believe, the 99% will keep quite. The rest 1% will go into the world preaching.
    They preach to another hundred and another 1% believes. The total is now 2%. The 2% becomes 4% , 4% becomes 8%, 8% becomes 16% ,16% becomes 32%.
    At the end of the day there are more believers than there are non-committal ones.
    If it is packaged nicely with some useful things such as blood donation camps and some pesudoscience, more people gather in support and forget that it was for the good things they gathered.

    • This is bad arithmetic… If you convince 1 percent of another population of 100, the you’ve convinced 2 percent of only the original population. When the figure goes to 32 percent, you’ve still only convinced 32 people…

  • IIT is not a place for science. They do not make good scientists.Of course there are designations called scientist in engineering areas.Perhaps how APJ Kalam became a scientist. According to Indian traditions, sycophancy is a way of life due to the belief that gurujis possess absolute knowledge.
    I think we must rebel till we convince ourselves irrespective of whether it is said by parents or teachers. If that is extreme among the youth,it will eventually strike balance.
    Sycophancy is a major deterrent to Good research in India.We need a movement against Sycophancy to get rid of it.Our professors inculcate that culture and the best among them get awarded a PhD.

  • That youtube video has been taken down by AOL. Does anyone have a copy of it? If yes, then please upload to liveleak or dailymotion.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Youtube says the following.

      **”Shri Shri Ravisha…” This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by The Art of Living TV Foundation.**

      Youtube says the following about copyrights infringement (http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/copyright-complaint.html ).

      **If you believe your copyright-protected work was posted on YouTube without authorization, you may submit a copyright infringement notification.**

      How is the video shot by a student club at IITK. How could there be a AOL copyright violation?

      • We live in a DECEPTION of democracy setup by imperialists. All fake systems are setup by them, and are used to dumb down the citizens and bankrupt the country on all fronts before the end of 99 year lease. Sri Sri is nothing but a globalists agent.

        Check out – youtube.com/watch?v=kTcyu-wPYOg

        • Captain Mandrake

          Sri Sri is a snake oil salesman. But this deception of democracy, imperialism, and 99 year lease are all just BS conspiracies.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Interesting how similar conspiracies exists everywhere. In US the right wing base used to believe that Bill Clinton might hand the US govt over to the UN.

      • I am not a lawyer, but a couple of points I’d like to elaborate:

        1. It is not necessary for a copyright violation to *actually* have taken place. If you post a video of yourself walking your dog, I merely have to *claim* on a US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) form that it violates my copyright, and send that same form to Youtube, thence obliging them to either remove the video immediately, or become a co-accused in a possible copyright-infringement lawsuit against you, that will be brought by me. The only way forward is *you* (the poster) to file a counter-challenge that the video, in fact, does *not* infringe my copyright, thus absolving Youtube of any liability for copyright infringement. This system may seem horrible, but such is current US law. By Indian standards, that law is wonderful. Not many people do file any counter challenges, because the cost of litigation is so high that even for an invalid copyright claim, the defendant will face financial ruin before he can get a court ruling in his favour, if he even gets to that stage. Thus the videos usually remain removed.

        2. In this case, the video was a straight-up recording of a speech by Sri^2 (although I’ve not seen the complete video). As such, it most certainly is copyrighted by the ArtOfLiving Foundation. For example, if you record a magic show, does not the magician still own copyright for the recording of *his* show? Merely being a «student club» does not absolve one from the responsibility to obey laws. The fact that such leaders usually do not mind their videos circulating is because they tend to reinforce their publicity. If they start being used for criticism (such as here), they are well within their rights to have them taken down. The only way copyright was not with Sri^2 was if IITK negotiated it with him previously (I highly doubt that, given the poor respect for the law shared by students and teachers alike).

        So what’s the solution? The video should have been:

        1. Edited to use only the bare minimum of original footage, so as to only highlight relevant points.

        2. Accompanied by commentary actually highlighting those points that the excerpts reinforce.

        This basically means that the excerpts are used to illustrate criticism of the performance: the criticism being the main content. This (at least under US law) brings the usage under the «Fair Use» clause of the law. Even then, the poster must be prepared to stand up for his rights. Rich corporations using copyright laws to curb free speech is nothing new (eg: The original UNIX book by John Lions), and religious outfits are not behind in any way. The Church of Scientology™ has made this into an art form!

        PS: According to Indian law, none of this is applicable. The Govt and courts reserve every right to curb any and all speech at their whim.

    • Hey guys,

      Found two Sri Sri Ravishankar’s videos on youtube that is similar to that IIT Kanpur shakti drops video.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quf3Ynu-Qq4
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoVDkBlGYS8

      I have downloaded my copies, but quick everyone, before AOL takes these down, go download it using any Firefox’s or Chrome’s youtube downloader plugin. And upload in other websites.

  • Aditya V Daga

    Has any of you tried the experiment at all yourself ? or you want to just go by the what one/few guys have tried to distort the facts ? Shakti drops ( the so called oil here, its a water like extract ) today is one of the top selling medicines, it increases immunity, one simple experiment is to take in cold/fever next time, and see how it cures. Then you will see the scientific magic.

  • You might also want to point out that the skeptic’s subjects couldn’t hold their hand up…it did fail, which is why the guy asked if he felt a difference.

  • Snehal Shekatkar

    This is a really great article. I think we need to start a movement against Gurus like Shri Shri and Ramdev (who claims that he can cure cancer and also that being homosexual is disease and even that he can cure!). Though I already know internal facts about how “brilliant” and “wise” an average IITian is, it is still disgusting to see something like this in a scientific institute.

  • Why doesn’t someone buy a bit of the oil and put it through a Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry? Then we will know for sure what is in it.
    A lot of forensic labs have the equipment, all we need is a skeptic in one of them.

  • sunil bhatnagar

    I was not aware that Mr Mr Ravi Shankar also resorts to this kind of ‘miracle’ demo. And he sells shakti drops also.
    I pity devotees, obviously IITians are not scientific in temper.
    Once I posed a query in in Quora about rationality & scientific temper of ISRO chief when he goes to prey at Tirupati before GSLV launch. Most scientists from ISRO defended his act siting usual excuses- culture,tradition,personal choice, act not interfering with scientific part etc.
    Our Scientist have failed us. Perhaps they take Sc. as a 9-5 job only. No wonder technologists at IIT are no different.

  • Bhavani Davanam

    Hahahahahaha !!!!!!!!

  • Shirish jadav

    Similar things are happening in india a lot. Actually this type of groups or organisations are fooling indians on name of god spirituality and stuff.. one of it is Brahma kumaris world spiritual university which are labeling every act of their as spiritual and misusing the term.. also they use mass hypnosis and claim that they have been contacted by god ….
    they are like parasites in Indian societies and please I warn you people keep ur wifies daughters and mothers safe from this organisations … don’t underestimate their methods.. of controlling its followers…

  • There is no dearth of educated illiterates. I find so many professionals active in highly technical and scinetific fields still believing in the mumbo jumbo of the ancient times. It is a matter of the conditioning of mind since childhood. In this way religion can dangerously affect the growth of free thinking.

  • There are so many magician in orange robe claiming to be guru.. True guru doesnt show outside magics.. True guru can show you the god inside you and not on the screen or mountain.. Ramcharit Manas has clear definition of true guru..

  • Thanks to show hw pple ..cheat to sale their prdxts..it realy hrting to see this …jai hind

  • Guru is someone who can’t be measured. In my measure..there r so many dimensions where he is at infinity. .. My little mind knows very little but whatever I have seen&experienced about Sri Sri is way big . The tricks shown here ..can it be a measure. May be . I m going by his knowledge and core practices that he has been spreading across the world. The work and the service that he does to the world.

    • There many be any number of dimension in which he is at infinity. but in this particular performance doesn’t he seem like a charlatan to you? What does that tell you about his greatness?

  • The sudharshan kriya which he is promoting was something discovered centuries before by some yogi

  • Nikhil Kaushik

    James Randi debunks these kind of so called Gurus. The James Randi Educational Foundation will pay US$1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) (“The Prize”) to any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observation.The Challenge was first introduced in 1964 , over 650 people had applied and nobody has even passed preliminary test because there is no such thing as supernatural power , psychic and all that stupid thing.

  • The youtube links of the event seemed to have been removed. Is it possible to restore them?

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