Dr. Dabholkar Answers Your Questions...(Part 2/5)

In depth interview with 25 elaborate questions. Questions 6 to 10 answered in Part 2

Link to Part 1 of the Interview

Question 6: The answers you have given to five questions so far indicate that you generally think that there are no miracles in existence. Your activists also strongly propound while working for ANS that in reality there is no miracle of any sort. Hence, the question is: What exactly is the basis for this strong and persistent claim by you and your activists?

Answer: It’s quite simple. If I say, ‘Where there is light, there is no darkness and where there is darkness, there is no light,’ you will say, “Dr. Dabholkar, how can you be so sure?” The meaning of scientific temperament is to know and understand the cause-and-effect relation.  What is a miracle? Something that happens without any cause-and-effect relation. Let us take an example. A magician first shows you an empty hat and then pulls out a live rabbit from it. Or a certain Baba shows his empty hand and then takes out ashes from it. But after the programme is over, do you go to the magician, touch his feet, and say to him, ‘You pulled out a rabbit from an empty hat; now pull out the question paper of my examination scheduled tomorrow from the empty hat?’ You don’t do it because that poor magician is an artist who makes money from his skill; and you look upon Baba’s miracle as the exhibition of his divine power. Okay! One thing is quite true that nobody has ever given a proof of a miracle up to now. Do you know the reason?  To give a proof of a miracle is a intrinsically an inconsistent and self-contradictory idea. Do you know what it is to give a proof of a miracle? There is something you can never do because, if you do it, it will not be called a miracle. For example, writing down in your own hand the time you went into deep sleep. If you could write it down in your own hand, it would mean you were not in deep sleep; and if you were in deep sleep, you couldn’t write it down yourself.  Scientific proof of a miracle is a contradiction in terms. People in our country are deeply impressed by miracles of saints; they don’t like if you talk against them. There is a university named after Saint Tukadoji Maharaj. Let us look at what Tukadoji has said:  

Running crazily after miracles/ Many have been devastated//

Oh, gentlemen! Don’t describe miracles by saints from now on//

Reading emotions of all people/ many hypocrites come to town//

Hypocritical Babas loot people/ running crazily after them//

And then, what do people do?

They give up the path of efforts/ expecting profit by shortcuts//

They’re carried away by false miracles/ of snake-charmers//

In short, miracles turn people away from making genuine, strenuous efforts in life—this is truly the most dangerous aspect of miracles.

Question 7: But we all know that there are many Babas and Buvas in different corners of Maharashtra who claim that they perform miracles. Their disciples or followers also claim, “Yes, we have seen miracles taking place.” If such a challenge is placed before you, would you accept it?

Answer: You might have heard about a Maharaj who claimed that he performed certain miracles. It was written in his book ‘Lilamrut’ (Nectar from Miracles). I don’t mention his name because, if I do, I will have to utter my name instead. I had gone to Nanij to see this Maharaj. We discussed directly sitting face to face. A twenty-minute video of that discussion is also available. “I can’t perform any miracles,” he has confessed in that discussion. I said in a public meeting. ‘We publicly challenge any person who is willing to perform a miracle and if he succeeds to pay him an award of Rs. 21 lakhs.’ At that time, a journalist got up and said, “Do you really have Rs. 21 lakhs?” Why have you laughed?  You might have thought how could this ordinary man have Rs 21 lakhs? However, the situation then was different. When we announced the challenge, the prize money was Rs. One lakh. But we didn’t have even Rs. One lakh. Hence, we decided that if anybody accepted the challenge, we would mortgage Dr. Dabholkar’s own house with the bank. The bank would give a solvency certificate that the price of Dabholkar’s house is Rs. One lakh. If the concerned person performed a miracle, the bank would take possession of the house and pay Rs. One Lakh to him. Later on, when the campaign became strong, the challenge was raised to Rs. 5 lakhs; then to Rs. 11 lakhs. Now the challenge is of Rs. 21 lakhs. However, up to now, nobody has successfully fulfilled the challenge. We have set up a committee for the same in which honourable members like Prataprao Pawar, N. D. Patil, well-known scientist Vasant Gowarikar and famous actor Dr. Shriram Lagoo are included. I never had to pay a visit to these committee members. Those who accepted the challenge were unsuccessful. Even now the challenge of Rs. 21 lakhs is very much open. If there are any babas or buvas who wish to claim the money, they can avail of this golden opportunity. They should see the CD of the interview and come forward to perform a miracle.

Question 8:  Another question associated with this one is about Phaljyotish or Astrology. It has been claimed that Astrology has a history of two thousand years in this country. However, you say that Astrology is not a science at all. On what basis do you say this?

Answer:  There are certain criteria accepted all over the world to prove whether a certain subject is a science or not.  What are these criteria? First, you have to put forward a hypothesis and then prove it. After that, it becomes a theory. In this connection, if you go to any astrologer and ask him, ‘What is the hypothesis in Astrology?’ he will not be able to answer, but I will tell you his hypotheses: 1. There is a constant and continuous influence of planets and stars on human life. 2. These influences depend on the date and time of a person’s birth. 3 Accordingly, his or her future is known or decided or changed.

This is also a subject for a lecture of an hour, which I am trying to explain in about two minutes.

Let us admit for a moment that planets and stars from the sky affect human lives. Suppose, I have fever. I take a liquid prepared by using five medicines, and the fever subsides; it will not be clear which particular medicine was responsible for the treatment of my fever. Isn’t it correct? To know the answer, I will have to take each medicine separately. If we argue in the same manner, when an astrologer says that there is an impact of Jupiter or Saturn on me, he will have to make some arrangement to cover up the impact of other planets. Otherwise, he will not be able to know which planet influenced in what way!  Moreover, how can planets and signs of the zodiac (rashi), which are situated at a distance of millions of light years away, influence us? It simply means that they are not able to explain how exactly planets and stars affect our lives.

The second hypothesis states that astrological predictions depend on the time of birth. In the framework of astrology, no mention of the time of birth is made because it is not known which time is to be considered and why.  As a doctor, I know when the sperm enters the female body, it fertilizes the ovum in the fallopian tube within the next 24 to 48 hours and the first living cell of a new life is formed as the embryo. But can you ever know that time? And this is not my argument, it is made by Mahatma Phule. Hence, the question is: how do you decide the time of birth? And if you say, ‘It’s the time when the baby is born,’ then the question arises is this: Do the rays coming from millions of miles, crossing ten-storied concrete buildings get obstructed by the four-inch-thick belly of a woman? Are they not allowed inside! Does the effect begin only after the delivery! Is it so?

Now let us look at the third hypothesis: All this influences man’s fate and alters it. This is the most serious objection. Suppose, there are three tables kept here. On the first table, a pregnant daughter of a poor labourer from Pune, whose pregnancy has completed nine months, is lying. On the second table, you let sleep a daughter of a rich businessman in exactly the same condition. On the third table lies the daughter of the richest Indian business tycoon Mr. Ambani in a similar status. Then, at the same place and exactly at the same time, a caesarean section is performed on the women to give birth to three infants. Will the future of the three be the same? No; not at all. The poor farm labourer’s daughter would take her baby as soon as possible and go for work because she would never survive without working. The rich businessman would come in his luxury car on the tenth day to take his daughter home. And Mr Ambani would move about here and there inquiring where to land his helicopter. It clearly suggests that man’s future is not decided by the movement of planets and stars, but on the social circumstances in which he lives. Take a note that horoscopes of women in this country had never recorded an opportunity to obtain education for the last two thousand years. Then did their opportunities change quickly after Savitribai Phule was born? In short, astrology is not a science. It obstructs man from progression and transformation. That’s why we are fighting against it.

Question 9: While giving an answer to a question a while ago, you talked about hypnosis. There are public programmes of its demonstration in which it is claimed that hypnosis has miraculous power and that it is helpful for personality development. Several diseases can be cured using it… However, looking into your explanation given above, it seems that you don’t agree with the view that hypnosis has strange powers. The question then arises, what exactly is hypnosis?  

Answer: Let me inform you that I personally had a discussion on a public platform at Nashik with the persons who give full-page advertisements in newspapers about hypnosis. Therein, I made them confess, “There is no mysterious power in hypnosis at all.” Hypnosis is a simple state of mind like sleep, wakefulness, dream and unconsciousness. In simple language, we can say that hypnosis is a state of trance associated with instructions. Hypnosis does not let anything happen which can be proved that it has happened only because of it. Anything that happens in the state of hypnosis can also happen due to any other method.  In many countries, public performances of hypnosis are banned because they create delusion in the people. Hypnosis does not strengthen memory. There is no truth in the claims, ‘We are doctors and our hypnosis is scientific.’ I haven’t come across any person so far who was a doctor practising hypnosis. Who is given permission to perform hypnosis as per rules?  The central government has stated that a recognised degree holder can practice hypnosis as a complementary and secondary act. From amongst those who propagate hypnosis today, no one is a recognised degree holder. Those who use ‘Dr’ before their name are medical practitioners of Naturopathy; they don’t have a recognised degree. I’m making this statement quite responsibly as a worker of ANS. The training they have obtained is not recognised. Therefore, it’s a fact that hypnosis is a sort of beguiling tricky region wherein people are lost. No wonder it creates nothing but superstition.

Question 10: Just as claims are publicly made for hypnosis in newspapers and other media through advertisements, similar methods are employed for what is called Vastu Shastra—traditional Hindu Architecturein which it is said, “Owing to the changes made in our building according to architectural advice, the house proved to be beneficial to us.”  These so-called ‘architects’ offer professional advice. Do you think they deceive people?

Answer: Just try to understand this. When we build a house, we think it should be safe. It’s absolutely right. It should be convenient; it’s also quite right. It should be comfortable, fine! But these Vastu Shastra ‘architects’ say, ‘It is not enough. It should prove beneficial or profitable.’ For example, ‘If you go and stay in the house, your daughter should give birth to a baby boy,’ or ‘Your 12th standard boy should get admission without paying any donation.’ Or ‘Your husband should get promotion,’ or ‘Your court case should be resolved in your favour.’ How can this happen? The simplest way to make it happen is that you should keep the main entrance of your house to the east. Such ways are advised by these so-called architects. Once, I participated in a public debate with such an architect in Pune. His book Vastuprakash was selling copies like hot cakes. I will just mention two examples from it so that you will understand how this Vastu Shastra or traditional Hindu architecture does not have cause-and-effect relation. Why should the entrance of a house be towards the east? The normal view would be that the sun rises in the east; hence, the house gets good sunlight. Look at the Vastu Shastra expert’s explanation… ‘The entrance of the house should be to the east because ‘poorva’ in English is ‘East.’ The English word ‘East,’ if used in Marathi, would be ‘Ishth,’ which means entrance to the east is ‘desirable’ and ‘favourable.’  It shouldn’t be to the ‘west’ because in English it is also ‘waste’—that is, worthless. Hence the entrance should be to the west. In short, Vastu Shastra is an idea for selling dreams and every one amongst us is willing to buy dreams! Hence, Phal-jyotish or astrology and Vastu Shastra–this pseudo-architecture are siblings: they sell dreams.


- Dr. Narendra Dabholkar
(Founder Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti, Former Editor of Sadhana Weekly)

Interviewer: Vinod Shirsath (Editor, Sadhana Weekly)

Translated by Vilas Salunke

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Dattaram V. Jadhav

साधी उदाहरणें देऊन विस्ताराने समजावले.

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