Rationalists expose quack
Secretary, D.K.Rationalist Association
One Sri Varadaraja Pai from a village near Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada had been claiming that he has powers of healing through which he could diagnose and heal diseases through what he called was a pendulum. While the pendulum would diagnose disease, the treatment would be done by his recently discovered technique called Cosmic therapy and teletherapy. He had also made many predictions like India would become a very strong country in 25 years; a dynamic young man would become the prime minister of India. Besides these he had claimed that many VIPs like the prime minister of India Sri Atal Behari Vajapayee was under his treatment. Yet another claim was that Prince William, the grandson of queen Elizabeth of England was getting photo therapy from him as requested by the office of the queen herself!
It was the last claim that attracted our attention. Ms.Tanya Datta, a correspondent of the BBC was coming to Mangalore to interview us for a feature on the rationalist movement in India and when she was told that we would introduce her to a person treating her Prince William, she was very thrilled and said that she would be glad to meet him and carry the news back to England!
On the afternoon of the 12th five of us set out for the village Nada grama that is about 50 kms from Mangalore. On reaching the place we could see quite a few people waiting outside his gate. We were told that the man was waiting from some one from BBC who would come to interview him! So after a short time we entered his consultation room. The room had a table and some chairs and a bench for the waiting patients. One being introduced, we treated to a lecture about the composition of white light, which Mr. Pai claimed that it was made of 9 colors. He also claimed that these colors came from different planets each representing its own color! This was followed by a long lecture on his technique. He had a pendulum, which would be held over a book having different pages. Depending on the information required, a separate page was to be turned. The photograph or some possession of the patient which could be even a lock of hair or a thumbprint would be placed in front of the book with the appropriate page open, the material would be placed in front and the pendulum allowed to swing. It would swing by itself and provide the required answers! Once the disease was diagnosed, the same device also would suggest the treatment! It would show which a color a person was’ Hungry” for (in the words of the great healer himself!). Either wearing an appropriate gemstone of the required color or treatment by the healer himself could fulfill that hunger for a color. He could send the healing powers of the required color if he were provided with a photograph of the patient! In a room in his house there was an array of boxes with photos stuck to the doors and with colored bulbs inside. When switched on the rays would fall on the photograph and heal the patient. This was explained as the basis of his “scientific” technique called tele therapy.
After these explanations we came down to the practical aspects. We had a young lady with us. She was put in the patient’s chair and the healer was asked to diagnose her ailments. He wanted some material from her. Since there was not photograph of hers available, a hair was plucked from her head and given to him. He [placed the hair on the table, swung his pendulum and within seconds came to the conclusion that she was perfectly healthy! However, she had some personality problems for which the deficiency of green color was the cause! When we told him that the perfectly normal, pretty lady was a cancer patient he was taken aback! However, he told us the problem was that he had diagnosed based on a hair which he said was not very good, If he were given photographs, he claimed, he could tell everything about the patient. So, a group photograph was produced. The healer immediately claimed that it was difficult to diagnose a group photograph, but he could cut out the individuals and do so. WE asked him to go ahead and he cut out the individuals and swung his pendulum. One he claimed was not in the pink of health. He also suggested color therapy for him. The second individuals photograph was also taken to the table, the pendulum placed over it and I was aced what the problem was! First a vague diagnosis was made about the state of health being very, very bad. When I prodded and asked to ,be told whether the person was dead or alive, the pendulum came to the conclusion that he was dead. When queried whether the pendulum could enlighten us as to when he had actually passed away, the reply was that it was eleven years ago! The healer was then informed that the first person that he claimed was not in good health was actually dead and the person whom he had claimed to have died eleven years ago was in fact still alive, the quack was furious .He reproached me for having approached him with unclean hands! Obviously the pendulum had a fetish for cleanliness! So, when I showed him my hands and told him that he could see for himself that they were very clean, he was indignant at my ignorance of the English idiom and berated me for having taken his word literally when he actually meant that my hands were figuratively not clean! So, I showed him my hands once again to be empty, waved one in the air and produced holy ash for him! He was spluttering with shock and rage. Then I could not resist waving my other clean hand in the aid and producing for him another heap of ash!
When we queried him as what was the proof that the queen of England has written to him he informed us that the letter was missing as he got a huge volume of correspondence which he had put away. However, the letter was traced and it was just an acknowledgement from the Bucking ham palace that his letter dated the 23 rd of April, 2003 had been received. There was alas no mention of any treatment being requested! So, a disappointed Tanya Datta, correspondent of BBC had to return with us! Thus ended the fiasco of a “healer” curing people of diseases by his special powers! The team, which had gone to investigate, consisted of B.Premanand, the eminent rationalist and editor of the Indian Skeptic, Ms. Tanya Datta, reporter of the BBC, Ms. Sheela Samuel and the undersigned!
Prof Nayak is the Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Centre for Basic Sciences, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. He is known for his contribution in the field of rationalism. Since 1976 he has been the Secretary of the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association. He is also the Joint Convenor of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Organizations, which is an apex body committed to the development of scientific temper and humanism in the country.