The extremely pseudoscientific Hinduism (Part 2)

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When I published systematic deconstructions of 25 pseudoscientific claims about Hindu traditions, I felt I had overdone it. ‘I should’ve gone 5 or 10 at a time.’, I thought to myself. Yes, I did say that Hinduism is a goldmine and it wouldn’t be too long before more claims of that kind are made for me to refute, but one can never be too sure. Turns out my apprehension was for nothing. Hinduism has achieved the stature of being a self renewing source of bullshit.

Of course, not all the bullshit has to be specifically about their traditions. Like the Hanuman Chalisa claim that I’ve debunked, most Hindu pseudoscience are generic claims about knowledge, in that they assert their ancients knew of science in ways that the scientist of today couldn’t possibly imagine or compete with. Sure, there are politicians claiming all sorts of fantastical things – ancient in-vitro fertilisation, unlikely interspecies head transplants, and cow secretions powered omnidirectional flying machines come to mind – but that’s within the realm of expectations of illiterate people. The problem, however, runs deeper than that. The actual educated ones seem not to be at conflict when presented with ideas that contradict their knowledge and profession. I’ve known physicists who think astrology is a valid science and medical doctors who think homeopathy works. That’s what we’re dealing with: people at the top of their fields believing in things that a twelve year old could debunk. Luckily, (and I know I say this every article) I’m here for you.

How many of those shall I debunk today? I did 25 last time; I think any less than 20 this time would be a shame, so 20 it is. One more thing, most of the nonsense to be decimated here on, are excerpts of full-blown articles. Those would each have their own proper deconstructions in the future. In a way, you’re just looking at a set of previews.

  1. Disinfectant conch

    The Shankha Dhwani creates the sound waves, by which many harmful germs, insects (not visible with open eye), destroyed immediately. The mosquito breeding also effected by conch blowing, to decrease the malaria. The conch blowing is pure environmental injection to improve the quality of living being.

    The conch blowing is a procedure by which, powerful cosmic waves travel in such a way to destroy the harmful germs from environments and it is more effective at the time of sunrise. It is clear that conch blowing is not a religious symbol and it is a environments naturopathy. Daily blowing of conch is helpful for speech therapy, resparatory treatments and psychological treatments.

    The deconstruction

    • Blowing into conches produce sound. The sound, like every other sound, is nothing more than mechanical vibrations. The sound doesn’t converge any more than usual, thus no constructive interference happens. The only thing that could kill is the mood of those who were sleeping when your annoying conch noise woke them up.
    • Science doesn’t do vague. Saying that harmful germs and insects, too small to be seen with the naked eye, die because of the sound waves, isn’t sufficient. It has to be demonstrated and documented. No documentation to support it? There’s no evidence; the claim is bogus.
    • Mosquitoes, eh?! There used to be these electronic bug repellants purported to repel mosquitoes using ultrasonic vibrations. I bet this conch claim takes its inspiration from there or similar sources (as will many claims you see here on). Those devices have never shown to work in tens of field studies conducted to determine their efficacy.
    • Is cosmic waves supposed to mean something? Cosmic waves aren’t real; they simply don’t exist, the term doesn’t refer to any real entity or phenomenon. Just a buzzword for the gullible.
    • Use of unsubstantiated bullshit to support more unsubstantiated bullshit: Naturopathy isn’t scientific, it’s medical woo. Still, it’s accepted by commoners as a valid practice and it becomes easy to get those people to believe in whatever nonsense you’re spewing.
    • Speculation about the train of thought. ‘How do I fool people into thinking that blowing conches is not just a religious thing but a science thing? I got it. Let me tell them that it is clear it is not a religious symbol. That ought to work.’
    • There is absolutely no evidence that would suggest blowing a conch is helpful for speech, respiration or psychological problems.
  2. Memory enhancing punishments

    Ever thought why the traditional Indian school teachers would give this particular punishment? I believe even majority of the teachers who grant this punishment to their students do not know the reason behind it. This form of punishment has been in practice in our country since the Gurukul time and was given to the students who were weak in studies. That is a different question if now a days teachers grant this punishment for any mistake and not only for studies but originally it was meant for weak students only.

    Talking about the logic behind this punishment, it is very interesting to know that this particular posture increases the blood flow in the memory cells in brain and synchronizes the right and left side of the brain to improve function and promote calmness, stimulates neural pathways via acupressure points in the earlobe, sharpens intelligence and also helps those with autism, asperger’s syndrome, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.

    Shitanshu Srivastava

    The deconstruction

    • The true reason for this punishment, as is with any punishment, is to inflict pain and humiliation. Pain is something humans always try to avoid. A person who is forced to associate bad behaviour with pain would try to avoid it and comply with the instructor. Couple that with the humiliation of being made to act silly in front of your peers and you’re sure to avoid getting into such trouble in the future.
    • Acupressure is bullshit. It always was and always will be. Pinching one’s earlobes have no effect on one’s intelligence.
    • Why cross arms? It’s much easier to pinch one’s earlobes when their arms don’t cross. If it really had something to do with acupressure the arm crossing would not be essential. Even better, they could’ve made clips for the express purpose of pinching the earlobes.
    • Synchronisation is not real. The left and right hemispheres of the brain always work together. You couldn’t be alive and functioning without it. No amount of exercise changes that.
    • It’s belittling. The punishment is humiliating – that’s it’s purpose. Those with autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities would only find it harder to function when punished like this. To use them as bait for propagation of pseudoscience is despicable. Shitanshu, you might want to prefix your name with ‘Bull’.
  3. Speed of nonsense

    The first quantitative estimate of the speed of light is seen in Indian vedic scholar Sayana’s commentary on the Rigveda, one of the main Hindu scriptures. It says sun light travels 2202 Yojanas in a half Nimesa. Yojana is an ancient unit of length. Arthasastra defines it as being equal to 8,000 dhanus, which is equivalent to 9 miles. A nimesa is an ancient unit of time that is equal to 16/75 seconds. Thus 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesa is equal to 185,794 miles per second after conversion. The modern estimate of the speed of light is 186,281.7 miles per second.

    The deconstruction

    • Surprisingly close, isn’t it? It’s one of the most brilliant tactics in the book. Get very close to the answer instead of the exact answer and people will be astonished rather than sceptical.
    • Why be unnecessarily cryptic? Light travels 2202 Yojanas in half a Nimesa? Why not just say it travels 4404 Yojanas in a unit Nimesa.
    • Funny that Yojana is 9 miles now. In the Hanuman Chalisa claim, Yojana was defined as 8 miles to arrive at the distance between the earth and the sun. Curiouser and curiouser!
    • How convenient is it that a nimesa just happened to be equal to exactly sixteen counts of seventy fifths of a second? Why is it that the ratio of ancient Indian units with the current international units is always a rational number?
    • What function did mentioning dhanus serve? Readers who didn’t know about Yojanas or Nimesas are just as unlikely to know about dhanus. That’s clearly meant to be a distraction.
    • This hoax started with a paper published in the Indian Journal of the History of Science that attempts to substitute the variables with different values and see if any familiar number turns up. That’s ad hoc explanation – a red flag. Science doesn’t work that way.

    Coming soon: Debunking claims about mentions of the speed of light in Hindu scriptures.

  4. A non-veg joke

    The medieval caste system of India was based upon the occupation of a person. Therefore the people from a particular caste doing more physical labor were allowed to eat meat. For example, job of a Kshatriya was to fight with enemy and protect the people. So, they required a lot of energy. Hence, Kshatriyas were allowed to eat meat. In the same way, a farmer who requires a lot of physical work was allowed to eat meat. On the other hand, other castes like Brahmins who do Prayer and intelligent work requiring less hard labor were restricted from eating meat. In the same way, weavers, businessmen were not allowed to eat meat.

    The deconstruction

    • The truth is that Hinduism, or the people whose descendants came to belong to the religion now known as Hinduism, adapted the concept of religious vegetarianism from Jainism and Buddhism. Those two were getting quite popular among the people because of their extreme compassion toward living beings. Brahmins adopted vegetarian diets to feel better about themselves.Vegetarianism existed in the land of India as a concept long before Jainism and Buddhism and are referenced in many texts considered sacred in Hinduism. However the instances of Hindu Brahmins adopting vegetarianism seem to only come after the emergence of its rival faiths.
    • Not all Brahmins are strictly vegetarian. The differences in the attitudes of the higher castes toward vegetarianism are as pronounced as can be. The chances you’d find a vegetarian Hindu tends to increase with proximity to regions historically populated by Jains and Buddhists. In certain parts of south India, beef is consumed even by Brahmins.
    • The caste system was based upon occupations and their inheritance. That part is true, but the rationale isn’t. Brahmins sought to differentiate themselves from the rest when they decided to go vegetarian. There is no evidence that one’s occupational requirements were considered before settling on their dietary plans.
    • Brainwork requires a lot of energy. It is evident that humans not only evolved the ability to consume meat, but meat was essential in the development of the human brain. The fact that we are able to read, write and invent the internet might’ve been, in part, caused by meat consumption. The brain uses a fifth of a human’s oxygen supply which certainly would be helped by the consumption of meat even if no physical labour was involved. I guess, since all Brahmins did was prayer and “intelligent work”, they might’ve not needed the energy from meats after all.
  5. Another one

    The three qualities of Maya exist in varying levels within one’s mind. Satva are the qualities comprising of tranquillity, restraint, purity and peace of mind. Rajas are the passion and pleasure seeking attributes of Maya. Tamas are the evil qualities that lead one to become angry, resentful, arrogant and destructive.Various foods and drink can influence the state of one’s mind and can therefore manipulate the levels of satva, rajas and tamas. For example, alcohol lowers inhibitions and invokes rajsik qualities such as lust. In the same manner, onions, garlic, etc, raise tamsik qualities such as anger. Disciples of the Lord must avoid any food or drink that are considered rajsik or tamsik because these cause a hindrance in their worship of God.

    The deconstruction

    • Life is hardly ever simplistic. It’s intricacies cannot always be broken down to a small number of fundamental processes, but people in general are not smart enough or informed enough to infer that about reality. This human vulnerability is what a misinformer tries to exploit. Making people believe that understanding the working of one’s internal body systems is not that difficult (and sometimes going out of their usual way to assert that real medical doctors don’t understand the human body), is common tactic used to sell pseudoscience to uninformed masses. This is the way, Ayurveda and Yoga is sold to the deluded public. It’s not unique to India. Acupressure, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, etc. are all popular because their methodology is explained in an extremely simplistic manner.
    • Foods change one’s mood. That is true as is shown in studies where other factors are controlled for. Changing food habits, however, cannot drastically alter one’s personality enough to restructure their emotional response to stimuli.
    • Emotions cannot really be grouped in three separate boxes. They’re quite complex. Passion, pleasure and lust are barely similar emotions to one another as are anger, resentment, arrogance and destructiveness. Besides, people do not all have the same ability of handling all their different emotions.
    • Why are tranquility, restraint, purity and peace of mind considered virtuous qualities? They’re, of all the emotions mentioned, the least natural for a human to exhibit. Lust and anger are deeply ingrained in human nature because those emotions have been instrumental in the survival of human kind throughout their existence. Tranquility and restraint are directly opposed to a human’s natural tendencies. Why is the resistance to one’s nature considered virtuous?
    • Alcohol only lowers your inhibitions. It cannot strengthen or deplete your emotions. Lust is independent of alcohol consumption. It may however be that the loss of one’s inhibitions might cause them to display their latent lustfulness.
    • You know what? I totally got it. You’re the kind of person who spends all their time worshipping your imaginary friend. It gets boring after a while which is why you need to keep your diet low on alcohol and roots. May I suggest something though? Have a drink before your go pray. Not too much though; you don’t want to be lusting after your deities and humping their statues. A shot of vodka will suffice. It’ll make not having your prayers answered despite your constant attempts at divine-ass-kissing way more easier on you.

  1. Menstrual science

    The first reason why women were kept secluded is that at the time of menstruation, a woman is more prone to get affected by infections. Therefore she was kept in a different room to avoid getting infected. Secondly, women are barred from doing housework at this time because a woman’s body becomes very weak and needs good amount of rest. That is why it is advised that women excuse themselves from housework and take rest in a room. They are also advised to stay away from other people because at the time of menstruation, a woman’s body generates negative energy which can also affect the people around her.

    The deconstruction

    • If you really believed that, you could’ve told them. What’s with the history of demonising them over the ages? Menstruation has been a taboo subject for most of Indian history. Women were considered impure during their menstrual period and it was believed that the things they come in contact with in that time would become impure. This is why they were kept away from the others and they were not allowed to touch food meant for the rest. Admitting that was a practice and promising to not let women go through all that in this day and age is acceptable; rationalising is not.
    • Yes, women generate negative energy during menstruation. They also generate it on other days. And before they entered puberty and after they’ve gone through menopause. Even men generate negative energy. In fact, every single thing on this earth is where it is because they all have negative energy. That is what negative energy conventionally means. An object that is bound to earth, due to earth’s gravity overwhelming all its efforts at escaping, is said to have a net negative energy. If that’s what you mean, you’re right, but it’s kind of stupid to use that as an argument for keeping away a menstruating woman, don’t you think? Of course, if your idea of negative energy is something else, let me tell you that…
    • Negative energy is not a thing. Energy is an absolute quantity that only is referred to as positive or negative to simplify calculations. Scientific conventions allow that, and that is why an object can be said to have negative velocities or charge or to have done negative work or to have spent or gained negative energy. The term “negative energy” used in any other context simply does not mean anything.
  2. Sacred trees

    These two trees (peepal tree and Audumbar tree) are 24-hour oxygen generators and cannot be planted manually. They grow on their own mainly through the birds, which eat their fruits. Audumbar tree is associated with Guru Dattatreya, one of main Hindu deities and cutting or dishonoring the tree in any way is considered as a sin. Both of these trees are very important for ecological balance. So by associating them with Hindu deities, they have been protected, so that no one would cut them.

    The deconstruction

    • The trees can be planted manually. If bird droppings can plant the seeds of a tree, humans can plant the trees too. It’s not rocket science.
    • The Audumbar tree does not generate oxygen all day long. That tidbit is just false. The Peepal tree too doesn’t do very well in that area.
    • Crassulacean acid metabolism is the process used by Peepal trees that cause it to release oxygen produced during the day for a few hours after sunset. It doesn’t actually produce any oxygen in the night. In the first few hours of the day it also consumes more oxygen for its respiration and thus on aggregate is as good as any other tree.
    • Those trees don’t contribute to the ecological balance any more than other trees. Pineapples do that too by the way. Why don’t they get all that respect? Deifying trees is idiotic.
    • Stupid ancestors: If protecting the trees were really believed to be good for the environment, just telling people to avoid cutting the tree for that very reason would do the trick. Your ancestors had to be fooled into doing things that were right for them?
  3. Evolutionary bullshit

    In Bhagavad Gita , Lord Sri Krishna himself told to arjuna that the soul passes 8.4 million bodies and at last it will get a human life. There are also many other Grandhas (based on Bhagavad gita) also state that we will get a human body only after the soul passes through 84,00,000 different species and also states that human life is the last one that the soul will get.

    But with the advancement in science and technology, it is revealed that there are nearly 8.7 million species on earth. Though there is a difference 0.3 million between what it says from the indian literatures and what scientists discovered, it’s 97% near to what exists in reality.

    So what they say is a symbol for the fact that we get this human life after passing 8.4 million lifes (or may be approximately). We can say it as a evolution for our soul to reach the ultimate stage i.e., HUMAN LIFE, The most valuable, precious species on the planet.

    The deconstruction

    So many things wrong with this one.

    • Souls don’t exist. It’s a metaphysical concept that does not have a basis in reality.
    • Reincarnation is bullshit. There is no reason to believe that a being can be reborn as another.
    • Species aren’t static. The official number of species that might exist has changed multiple times. Species might go extinct, new species might arise, species change. The figure of 8.7 million is an estimate based on a very specific definition of species in 2011. It’s not a fixed number. Oh! That number includes not just animals, but plants, protozoa, fungi and chromists. It’s also the lower estimated limit. Let’s have a minute silence for all the souls stuck in those millennia old pine, sequoia and fig trees.
    • Humans are not the ultimate stage of evolution. In fact, humans are still evolving and faster than ever before. Other than their powerful brain, humans suck at nearly everything else.
    • The narcissist conclusion: ‘Hinduism says there are 8.4 million lives. Science says there are 8.7 million. That’s close enough, thus Hinduism is right. Also, Hinduism says human life is the last life, therefore humans are the most precious species on the planet.’ If only I could make up shit like this, I would be swimming in a pool of ad revenue.

    Hypothetical: If I were to have a crowdfunding campaign of sorts to support this site (which is completely ad free and always will be) and its content, would you consider donating to it? I’m considering devoting more of my time to debunking bullshit and I’d like to know if you, the reader, consider that a worthy pursuit. Ideas welcome…

  4. More

    A surprising and much documented aspect of the Dashavatara story is its connection with evolutionary theory. For those who don’t know, biological evolution is the slow process of change that is said to occur in living organisms, adapting to new environments over billions of years. Evolutionists claim that we all arise from a single common ancestor, and like the branches of a tree, species separate from each other over time—even if growing from the same tree.

    Interestingly, Charles Darwin (1809–1882), the first major proponent of this theory, was foreshadowed by the Puranas of ancient India, which had already proffered a teaching of evolution. But rather than claiming that one species evolves into the next, the Puranas tell us that all species were created simultaneously, and that each eternal living being evolves through the various species until it reaches perfection. In other words, the original theory involved an evolution in consciousness.

    The deconstruction

    • Much documented? In a way it’s true. It is documented quite extensively in Hindu circles, but that’s deliberate misinformation. No evolutionary biologist, no scientist of any discipline rather, would give the Dashavatara story a second thought.
    • The Puranas are wrong. The narrative of the Puranas is that all species were created simultaneously. That’s just wrong, end of discussion. Conflating the fiction in the Puranas to something as real as the theory of evolution is nothing short of a sin.
    • Do you really think the story hints about evolution? It’s so clearly fiction. Most of the story doesn’t make any sense. How do you know what parts to take seriously? If ancient India did know about evolution why not just teach that? Why make it so that you only discover it after a scientist observes it?
    • The original theory involved an evolution of consciousness? Many things wrong with that.
      • First, the word ‘theory’ has a very specific meaning in science – the best possible explanation of a phenomenon as acquired via the scientific method and confirmed via observation and experimentation. The “theory” of the Puranas is nothing other than a plot device.
      • Secondly, you’ve basically admitted that your scripture was wrong about evolution. Continuing with the “evolution in consciousness” bit is just a diversion.
      • Third, human beings have not existed for more than a few hundred thousand years, which basically falsifies the claim that all species appeared simultaneously. I know I’ve already said you’re wrong a few times, but that has never been enough with you lot.
    • Dear Indians, I have been thinking about this for a long time but I didn’t know how to tell you this. Here goes: Your ancestors hated you. They purposefully encoded their works in science and put them in the fiction that you worship to mess with your head. It was a long con. They’ve always wanted you to look into the scripture and proclaim to the world that the discoveries made by modern science already existed in your holy books, and hoped that in doing so, you’d look like a fool to all those watching you. You can, of course, thwart them by simply finding something in those books that has not yet been discovered by modern science. Of course, you won’t be able to do that; your ancestors were far too clever for you. You’re a disgrace. I’m pretty sure that dog in your neighbourhood who howls at 3AM is none other than your reincarnated great-great-great-great-great-grandfather laughing at your stupidity.
  5. Finger foods

    In Vedic tradition, we eat with our hands because the five elements within them begin to transform food and make it digestible even before it reaches the mouth. This transformation also heightens the senses so that we can smell, taste and feel the texture of the foods we are eating. We can also hear the sounds of eating. All of these sensations are a necessary prelude to beckoning agni, the fire of digestion, to ready itself for the meal to come.

    On the greater dimension, the act of eating is spiritual feasting. We are activating the energies of the Deities aligned with the elements, stimulating a surge of heightened consciousness within. This is made possible through the powerful play of mudra. It brings the elements of nature through our hands and fingers into the food, and then joins it with agni. If we are aware of awakening the fire within ourselves, we digest not only the food but also our thoughts more smoothly. The fire of digestion and the fire of the mind, tejas, work hand-in-hand. As you see, there are six specific mudras for eating.

    The deconstruction

    • Deepak Chopra alert! “We are activating the energies of the Deities aligned with the elements, stimulating a surge of heightened consciousness within.” – doesn’t that sound like something Deepak Chopra would say?
    • Hands make food digestible? Why bother cooking? Just eat with your hands. But seriously, there are no chemical processes in using one’s hand that might render the food any more digestible than usual between the plate and the mouth.
    • Are they suggesting that foods are tasteless, odourless and textureless when eaten with the aid of cutlery? Is it that one’s senses are disabled unless and until they use their hands to eat? It has one or the other.
    • Five elements?! The five elements – earth, fire, air, water and ether – are real entities. However, in this context it’s not any more than spiritual mumbo jumbo. That concept does not map on to any real process that goes on in one’s body.
    • The concept of mudras is a baseless one. It suggests holding one’s fingers in certain relative positions to each other can cure impaired bodily functions or enhance healthy organs. There is no evidence to that effect. It’s like acupressure – it is believed simply because it sounds like it ought to work.

  1. Holi shit!

    It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun. We also need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time. And, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.

    As Holi comes at a time of the year when people have a tendency to feel sleepy and lazy. This is natural for the body to experiences some tardiness due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.

    Besides, the colours when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.

    There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenhiet. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.

    The deconstruction

    • Yes, Holi does a lot more than provide joy and fun. It’s a fantastic subject for a pseudoscience laden writeup.
    • Scientifically accurate time? What does that even mean? In relation to what, is the timing of the celebration of Holi accurate, and to what degree? Assuming the festival of Holi came into existence during a time when seasons were extremely in sync with the revolution of the earth, Holi should’ve appeared on the same day every year rather than be dependent on the phases of the moon.
    • Citation needed. Just mentioning that people tend to feel sleepy and lazy at the time of the year isn’t sufficient. Does their laziness vary with the latitude at which they’re located? Does it vary with solar or lunar cycles? Those are important things to mention.
    • Moving from winter to summer makes people lazy? Isn’t it the other way round? How is no longer experiencing the human body’s resistance to motion brought forth by winter going to impede one’s activity in the advent of summer?
    • Speaking and singing loudly counteracts tardiness? Citation needed. I would think having to hear loud noises for a prolonged period would put you in a state of panic. Why must this happen on a specific day? It’s not like the weather immediately shifts from cold to warm in a day. Why not practice this over a larger span of time, like a fortnight or a month?
    • The colours are good for you? What biologist has ever claimed that? At best the colours simply stain your skin for prolonged periods. At worst it causes skin irritation and allergic reactions? Is there any study that shows this liquid dye is good in any way?
    • Strengthening of ions? Now what does this mean exactly? It is very well understood that ions have a tendency to react chemically with other compounds or act as a catalyst. Ions are unstable and they actively try to reduce their span of existence. In the human body, ions exist in the form of free radicals – a factor that is known to reduce one’s lifespan. With that in mind, what would strengthening of ions mean? Will the number of ions increase? Why would you want to do that? And how would it add to one’s health and beauty?
    • Do you think bacteria only grow in numbers between winter and spring? That’s clearly not the case. In fact once the climate’s transitioned from winter, the rate of growth of bacteria would peak and plateau. How is burning an effigy before the transition going to combat the growth of bacteria during summer?
    • Ultrafine particles are a danger. Burning of objects a bonfire-esque show, which would no doubt contain wood and cloth, would release particles with the size of about a micron, which on inhalation would hurt one’s lungs far more than cigarette smoke. These particles tend to stay in the atmosphere for days on end. I’d like to see someone justify going through this ritual despite the obvious health hazard.
  2. Fasting nonsense

    According to scientific research, it is known that the air pressure on the earth varies to extreme limits on both the new moon (Amavasya) and the full moon (Purnima) day. This is because of the orbital path combination of the sun, moon and earth.

    Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekadashi fasting can be explained in 2 ways: 1) It takes about 3-4 days for the food that we eat today to reach our brain (for the brain to understand the food intake). Now, if we eat light/fast on Ekadasi days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the New moon/full moon day. On both of these days, the earth pressure is at its maximum, thus leading to imbalance in everything, including ones thought process. 2) This is the best time to fast and cleanse the bowel system. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system. Thus, it is advisable that after fasting on Ekadasi, on the immediate next day, we should get up early and eat as soon as possible.

    The deconstruction

    • The extreme limits are, at best, a 3% drop or rise in air pressure than the average. That difference isn’t sufficient to affect a human being.
    • Observe the wording of this bit. They’ve started by saying that scientific research shows air pressure varies with the position of the moon during a lunar cycle. Then they go about back-fitting their ritual to this fact, making bogus claims along the way, to justify their beliefs. This is the poster example of the way the mind of a Hindu rationaliser works, perhaps never seen put so plainly. The words, ‘based on this fact’ and ‘can be explained’, are both dead giveaways.
    • They got it backwards. The barometric pressures on new moon and full moon days are the least at noon and midnight, not maximum. It’s maximum on those days at sunrise and sunset and yet barely noticeable. I know you don’t think your target audience is capable of intelligence, but at least do a bit of fact checking to avoid becoming an object of amusement for those with a functioning brain.
    • Digestion doesn’t work that way. It’s not a queue. Assimilation of food does not take three to four days, but merely a few hours. Here’s a helpful trick to know if the energy from your food has reached your brain: if you’ve shat the remains of that food, it has reached your brain.
    • Cleansing is a bullshit practice. Fasting, eating lighter, and eating only a certain restricted subset of available foods have never been shown to be beneficial to humans. It has only withstood the test of time as it had been seen as a way of measuring restraint – just another bullshit measure of virtuousness. Fasting does not cleanse one’s bowel system. It just puts it on a halt. The human body is capable of handling years and years of consuming junk just fine. It does not need these gimmicks to function better.
    • Potential timetable mismatch. Why would you risk getting up early the next day and eat as soon as possible? Your body hadn’t had much intake the previous day. What if your digestive system feels adventurous and decides to process your food and send it to your brain a bit faster? If that happens, you’ll have the worst ever hit from the extreme air pressure. I know your brain isn’t equipped to thinking with all that food taking three days to reach it, but give it a try sometime.
  3. Stupidity overdose

    The time 90 minutes prior to sunrise is called Braahmi Muhurtham. This time is good for academics, purohits and the time where in the later hours, in the night, the last 48 minutes. The above specified time is auspicious for gaining and sustaining intelligence and knowledge, owing to which it is called Braahmi Muhurtham.

    Early in the mornings the weather is tranquil. Oxygen is present in greater ratio. Lungs get healthy air. Sweat pores will be activated. Digestion will improve. Thus say physiologists.

    The deconstruction

    • This is a load of bullshit. Is it not possible that this is simply a practice people adopted to avoid being interrupted during the day?
    • Oxygen in greater ratio?! Greater ratio to what? If anything, oxygen is slightly depleted in the morning as every living being including trees would have used it for respiration. The highest oxygen content would be at the moment after sunset. Lungs get healthy?! Do you think air richer in carbon dioxide is healthier?
    • Redundancies. I bet this piece was written in the acute absence of oxygen.
    • Does this interval of time vary with seasons? Sunrises occur later in the day during winter. Was that accounted for? Muhurthas are supposed to be 48 minute long intervals of time, with 30 of them occurring in a day. Also, the timekeeping practices of ancient India assumes that the day begins at sunrise and that the Brahmi Muhurtham is the last phase in the day. You didn’t even have the right concept of timekeeping. What makes you think your idea of the use of this time is appropriate for the reasons you’ve specified?
    • Sweat pores will be activated? Now what is this supposed to mean? Does not making use of this time of day impede the production of sweat? Did people visit ancient gyms back then?
    • Why would digestion improve? How does performing any activity at a certain time of day cause such physiological effects? Citations needed. Why wouldn’t digestion find a way to improve itself while a person is asleep?
  4. This is gold

    In Hindu families, there is a tradition of buying gold and silver on four auspicious days. Most of Indian families buy gold on this auspicious day, every year. This practice is the age old systematic investment plan as taught by the old and wise people. Since we keep buying gold, the savings keeps on increasing. The value of gold always increases, and hence the stability of a family too with it. Hence whenever there is a financial crisis or a marriage, the year on year piled up gold comes to rescue.

    If any saving plan is told to the youngsters of today, they mostly ignore it and spend it all. By associating the concept with the religion, and auspicious days, people trust and believe and hence start saving money. This is the wisdom of the Indians, and illustrated and crafted so that the most layman can follow the best practices.

    The deconstruction

    • Wow! They admitted they think their kids are stupid. That’s a first! ‘My kids are too foolish to invest their resources even if their life depended on it. What can I do to make sure they save? I know. I’ll tell them it’s got to do with religion. Religion always comes to the rescue when your kids are as dumb as a rock.’, is what they’re essentially saying, aren’t they?
    • Gold has a fickle system of valuation. It only has value because people believe it does. Since it has no other real world use than in ornaments and can be done without entirely, in a crisis situation, the value of gold cannot be availed without exchanging it with money. The value of gold does not simply keep increasing but varies with demand.
    • An understanding of economics would’ve sufficed. Instead of ritualising buying gold, it would’ve made more sense to teach youngsters the concept of economics and the laws of supply and demand. That knowledge could be applied not only to gold but any real or imagined commodity.
    • Generalisation of youngster behaviour. First of all, why are we hearing about the rationale behind this practice now and from a random article on the internet, when we should’ve been hearing it from our parents who taught us to save religiously? Was there someone up your ancestry who didn’t think their children were smart enough to understand that the habit of saving they acquired actually helped them make smart decisions in their life? That’s a two minute conversation that would stick for a life time.
    • Aversion to actually educating the masses. This practice, or at least the ex post facto rationalisation of this ritual, just goes to show the lengths to which Indians would go to avoid actually teaching their children anything of real tangible value. They’d rather trick them into living their lives per an instruction set than educate them well enough so that they could innovate.
  5. Fire for your lungs

    It is a scientific fact that burning herbs charged with Mantras in a Yajna and mixing the smoke in the atmosphere and letting those sitting nearby inhale the smoke is highly and widely effective, because liquids and more effective than solids and gases are more effective than liquids, similar to the fact that the liquids in a medicine are more effective than powder in a medicine. Injections and extracts are even more effective. Gases and vapours inhaled are much more effective than solids or liquids. The science of Yajna too shows fast effects. Yajna and Agnihotra effectively do the job of getting the medicinal smokes and vapours to the minutest body parts through inhalation, and very fast. The medicinal smoke and vapours generated in a Yajna enter the lungs and go straight to the brains and other body parts via blood, and start showing their effects immediately. The heart beats 70-80 times a minute, inhaling 7500 ml of air and exhales carbon dioxide. From this, it can be imagined as to how fast the vapours and smoke travel through the body by way of blood. In addition to spiritual benefits, this also provides fast mental and psychological effects.

    The deconstruction

    • A run on sentence! Effective for what? The smoke is highly and widely effective, you say, but what is it effective for? Why have you continued with this nonsense about gases being more effective than liquids without explaining what it is effective for? Why supplement that bullshit with even more bullshit about injections and extracts? Why repeat that gases are more effective than solids or liquids. Run on sentences are great when they’re fact based, not so much when the information conveyed is effectively null. A whole 40% of space wasted for absolutely nothing. Did you by any chance take a course on “SEO optimisation for dummies”?
    • Burning herbs charged with Mantras? Burning of herbs will cause its essence to vapourise, allowing it to be inhaled. The Mantras play absolutely no role in this process ergo does not actually contribute to any medicinal benefits one might get from this practice. If that really is the whole purpose of a Yajna, it’s nothing but a waste of time. Get a vapouriser instead. Don’t partake in fire hazards unless absolutely necessary. I’m sure if your ancestors were really that smart, they could’ve created a portable pipe of sorts.
    • Irrelevant factoids. What really is the purpose of mentioning one’s heart rate other than to pile on all of the bullshit thrown your way? Secondly, why mention 7500 ml – a number that might be a valuable piece of information – without mentioning lungs in the same sentence where you’ve unnecessarily mentioned the heart?
    • Congratulations! You finally discovered smoking. Yes, inhaling air that contains vapours of a drug will let you experience the effects of that drug a lot more quickly than ingesting it by other means. All the more reason to hate your ancestors for teaching you to do a Yajna when you could’ve simply lit a joint.

  1. Greedy fashion sense

    It is mentioned in the Shastras that one should always wear a pavitra / fresh (clean and washed) cloth while doing Pooja everyday. And ‘Dhoti’ is the purest forms of cloth. It can be and is made to be washed everyday and easily dried up to wear every next day. For the word itself means similar to washed it Dhoti or ‘Dho’ + ‘Ti’ a cloth that one can ‘Dho'(a hindi/sanskrit word meaning wash) everyday and wear a-fresh every next day.

    Dhoti is one of the simplest of clothes without any stitching in. Deriving one possible explanation out of the same is that this type of cloth, i.e. dhoti, could be THAT simplest forms of cloth which is made to cover the body in the most simplest forms and which is its real purpose or to say which fulfills the ‘Need’ for what it is made mainly FOR. Where as to proceed further there on, one crosses the fine line in between the ‘Need’ and ‘Greed’ where the skillful designing, stitching and decoration like embroideries could take you away from the path of eternal bliss, which eventually has no end.

    The deconstruction

    • Really?! I have an alternate hypothesis. Is it not at all possible that Indians, like most people on the planet, choose their clothes based on utility rather than self decoration, but Indians chose not to innovate past a piece of cloth?
    • If it’s not washed daily, is it still a dhoti? Just a philosophical question I’ve been pondering for a few hundred million microseconds.How much time does a dhoti need since its last wash for it to stop being a dhoti? Let me know in the comments.
    • What does eternal bliss mean? Aren’t you supposed to believe in reincarnation or something? Where does bliss fit into that narrative? Is it that you become entitled to bliss after you’ve completed your course of living through 8.4 million lives? Isn’t being human the final frontier? I think the dhoti is supposed to go around your neck.
    • Don’t shirts and trousers fulfil the need they’re for? They do the job of covering a person’s body much better. They’re a perfect fit and take the least amount of material in doing so. In fact, even if not exclusively, they’re more likely to be used for the singular purpose of clothing than a dhoti.
    • Why are you trying to get away from eternal bliss right now? If I understand this correctly, possessing things that have required skilful crafting puts a person on a slippery slope away from eternal bliss, and yet you’ve posted this nonsense on the internet. You don’t need to use the internet in order to live a life. Why jeopardise your chances of attaining bliss by indulging in spreading ignorance? Ah! “Ignorance is bliss”?! I knew it. You’re a clever little cookie, aren’t you?
    • Stitching is considered bad? What happens if your dhoti is torn? Would getting it stitched move you away from bliss? Would you buy an entirely new dhoti to avoid the bad karma from getting your torn dhoti stitched? Doesn’t creation of a dhoti by itself require some skilled input? Why not just cover yourself with a leaf? Why draw the line of righteousness at a dhoti?
    • Wait?! Embroideries on clothing are bad? Does that mean celebrating festivals that involve fancy clothes push you away from bliss? In that case literally every celebration is a grossly immoral act.
  2. Raise a glass and spill

    When the water is offered by raising both the hands towards the Sun God, a wide film of flowing water would be made in front of the eyes and our ancestors (sages, saints) would see Sun God through that film of flowing water. The rays of the Sun coming (filtered from the flowing film of water) at the time of sun rise were not only excellent for their eyes but it would also energize their entire body and soul.

    Scientists say that the early morning sun rays are good for the human being, after all human body is also a bundle of energy. The human body is made up of five things, air (vayu), water (jal), earth (prithvi), fire (energy) and space (aakash) and the cure of all the ailments of the body is among these five things only and the rays of the rising sun are one of these things. Many diseases can be cured by the use of sun rays e.g. ailments of the heart, eyes, jaundice, leprosy and weak mind.

    The deconstruction

    • What did your ancestors smoke? I need to know. It sounds wonderful. They could see the sun god through that film of flowing water? I want to call them delusional but I’m settling for an alternate plausible explanation – hallucinogens.
    • Seeing the sun from a film of water has no effect on the human body. It’s like seeing the sun through glass – the same amount of light is going to enter your retinas as when you look at the sun directly. At best, the water could on occasion focus the light over the wide film directly onto your retinas. In that case it’ll be like looking at the sun with a magnifying glass.
    • The soul is a made up concept. It doesn’t exist and I’ve written about it at length.
    • Bundle of energy? Ah! Ayurveda – the pseudoscience that just wouldn’t die already. Maybe you’d like to believe that the human body is made of five fundamental things, but that isn’t true (except perhaps your skull which I believe is filled with space).
    • Diseases can be cured with sun rays? First of all, which of the five things is the sun rays? I’m guessing it’s fire. Also, working eyesight is not really a disease, so stop looking at the sun. Now, how do we go about curing diseases with air, water, earth and space? I could try putting people in oxygen filled chambers, submerge them in water, bury them in the earth or put them into orbit. But they’ll cause people to spontaneously combust, drown, suffocate and explode. Technically, death is not a cure; that’s cheating.
    • Joking aside, this kind of misinformation is dangerous. By telling people that the cures for ailments exist in the five fundamental forces, they’re misdirecting people from actually getting any real help they might need.
  3. The cup we’re born with

    When we drink water with hands, the salivary glands gets activated and secrets saliva. This saliva helps in digestion. But if we drink directly from a glass/bottle, without making contact with the lips, this water without saliva enters directly into various body organs which may lead to kidney and other problems.

    The deconstruction

    • An amazing leap of logic. This is one of those ‘I’m not even mad. This is amazing.’ moments. Take a moment to relish in its glory.
    • Is it not possible that your ancestors had no idea how to create bottles so you got butthurt and decided to spew some hatred on all those bottled water drinking people. What are you going to do next? Will you tell me that shitting on a train track is a scientifically proven preventive measure for colon cancer because your ancestor did not invent the toilet?
    • Salivary glands are active when they’re needed. They exist to lubricate the food you consume so it goes down your oesophagus with ease, and to some extent buffer the pH balance of the food you’re consuming. Water does not need saliva to accompany it, but it always will.
    • Saliva does not make it to your kidneys. Seriously, how can they come up with such bullshit? The function of saliva ends where digestion begins. The only way through which your kidneys are connected to your digestive system is via your circulatory system. Your blood does not contain saliva, thus your kidneys cannot encounter saliva. The only way you might have some saliva in your kidneys is if you recently underwent a transplant and your surgeon made you lick the kidney before putting it in your body.
  4. Capacitive clothing

    Silk clothes have the capacity to attract and store electro magnetic energy. With the friction between the body and the silk clothes, electric energy is produced, which gives rise to electro static attraction.

    This energy, according to shastras, would act on the mind of the devotee. It is also said that the vibrations, which are generated while worshipping, are also stored by wearing the silk clothes. The external clothing, which prevents the loss of these vibrations, would work on the mind to sustain the much needed concentration. It is also said that any worship, without concentration is useless.

    The deconstruction

    • Electrostatic is the word. It’s one word. It is quite clear that the person making this claim has no clue about electrostatics.
    • The circuit is complete. Whatever charge the clothing has generated will have dissipated through you as it’s in contact with your skin. Yes, that does mean your silk clothes stick to your skin but that’s the extent to which electrostatic attraction works in this instance.
    • Worshipping generates vibrations? Is it at all possible that you had too much coffee before you started worshipping? Maybe you forgot to pee and are reflexively shaking to alleviate the urge. If you didn’t notice that your bladder is full, you’ve mastered the art of concentrating on your task of worshipping. Why do you need silk clothes for that?
    • Why would you want to prevent the vibrations from escaping? Who really likes having objects vibrate on their skin. There’s always a risk of severe friction burns.
    • Worship without concentration is useless? Then why wear clothes that can sustain vibrations? Why must you make it unnecessarily difficult to concentrate by adding an external distraction – the vibrating silk clothes?
    • Vibrations mean a specific thing. It is a mechanical phenomenon where oscillations happen around a point of equilibrium. It’s definition rarely ever deviates from this fundamental fact. Vibrations generated from worship are a fictional device. It makes no sense whatsoever.
  5. String nuts

    Scientific research proved that Rudraksha bead consists of Magnetic, Electric Inductive properties. Depending on the polarity and intensity of this induced magnetic field, Rudraksha beads transmits electrical and inductive impulses with opposing polarity and intensity.

    The human body is a complex bio-electronic circuit comprised of the Central Nervous System and the organs and functions it regulates.

    Streamlined blood flow has a powerful rejuvenating impact on this circuit and serves to prevent stress-related disorders caused by the damaging effects of excess energy on neurons and neurotransmitters.

    The deconstruction

    • Rudraksha beads are made of Elaeocarpus ganitrus. They’re do not have the ability to generate or influence magnetic or electric fields.
    • Every article related to the beads that suggest they have properties of magnetic and electric induction comes from Hindu nonsense propagating websites. Investigations of the beads in real medical journals suggest nothing of the sort.
    • The beads are diamagnetic, but their diamagnetism is of no consequence to humans. Every living being is diamagnetic. Every living being slightly opposes magnetic fields. That fact is the basis for magnetic resonance imaging.
    • Magnetism doesn’t affect humans. It doesn’t in the slightest impact the central nervous system and neither does it modulate the circulatory system. Alternative practices that involve healing from magnetism are all shams.

That’s it!

I hope you all enjoyed this article. I admit this piece contains more questions than actual information due to the nature of the claims made. However, if you find anything factually wrong, please let me know. If you like it, share it among your circles using any of the social media buttons.

Want to post a rebuttal to this article and embarrass yourself? You can circumvent the copy protection on this piece and quote me. Click on the “Other” button and find out how. The rest of you can link me to articles online you’d like to see debunked.

Think!