The proponents of pseudo-sciences use the terminology of Science. They try to copy and emulate real science. That’s how they make naive people get convinced that it is indeed a science. Actually, these naive people are not really dumb. They are pretty ‘smart’ people who have consciously chosen to act dumb when it comes to certain aspects of life. These ‘smart’ people have gone to top schools, attended top colleges, got big degrees and now work for international companies. And yet, they believe in and follow pseudo-sciences to give them the much needed legitimacy.
Here’s on such interview with a noted numerologist. He is introduced as:
If someone thought of preparing a list of 'busiest persons' one cannot leave out the name of Pandit Ashokbharrati. His telephone numbers must be among the most accessed numbers in the country. It is said that several lakhs attempt to get in touch with him over phone every day.
While talking to a Nobel Laureate or the President of France, one does not say he is very busy or that he gets one lakh phones per day. Why? Because everyone knows they are important people, hence there is no need to actually say it. However, to prove that a numerologist is in serious business one has to go extra length to convince people. If you are trying to sell fake stuff, you really to work extra hard to prove it is genuine.
The numerologist, Pandit Ashokbharrati (note that there are two ‘r’s in his name), starts off:
I learnt this science from a Maharishi who was living in our place and when I was in the 11th standard…
How come a science is learnt from a Maharishi? Why do all these pseudo-sciences trace back to an illiterate rishi, sadhu, or a vagabond? In my region, most of these sciences originate in a koyavadu (a tribal), a kummarodu (a potter) or a sakalodu (cloth washer). Our aunts and uncles tell stories of a tribal they met on their way to some village, and how he has performed a miracle and gave some medicine which instantly cured a chronic ailment.
On asked if there is any difference between Astrology and Numerology, Pandit Ashokbharrati answers:
There is absolutely no difference. Astrology is based on the movements of planets and numerology is also based on the planets. For example, Venus is known as 6 in numerology. It is a simple way of understanding and practising Astrology.
If Numerology and Astrology are same, why have two pseudo-sciences instead of one? If I were to do a global-replace of all numbers with planets or planets with the numbers I should get the other pseudo-science, isn’t it? Just because one talks about planets while the other talks about numbers should we have two different branches of pseudo-sciences?
Or is it just another way of fooling people? More variants the more fools? May be some clever quack thought, ‘just because Science has Physics, Chemistry, and Botany, let’s have different branches in pseudo-science too’?
On asked whether there is truth in the belief that the numbers 8 and 13 are unlucky, he says:
Yes. These two numbers are unlucky and persons with the numeral value of their names adding up to these numbers would benefit by changing their names to eschew the evil effects of these numbers.
Hmm... Now you know why we get those weird names, like Hrrithikk Roshan, or Eiasha Khoppikhaar, etc. These movie stars keep adding alphabets to change their numbers till they get a hit in their films. That’s when they stop. The more letters they add, you should know more flops they must have got. (I wonder- why people only add but never remove alphabets from their names.)
This noted numerologist believes that Chennai should be changed back to Madras. He thinks there is an unfavorable effect on the city because it is christened Chennai. He gives his reasons:
The numeral value of the name Chennai is 25. You will recall that it was on a 25th that earthquake shook the city.
I just don’t understand these numerologists. How come they wait for the earthquake to happen to tell us why it is unlucky? If numerology was indeed a science, shouldn’t we have scientists telling us how we should name out cities? I have a very simple solution to get rid of earthquakes forever from history of mankind. Name all cities so that their numeral value is 32 or above. Since no such date exists, there will never be earthquakes. This way, numerologists can completely eliminate all natural disasters by just changing the names of the cities on the planet. Don’t you think we should invest in numerology instead of trying to predict earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, typhoons and hurricanes?
Next the interviewer asks him, ‘What is your opinion about removal of Kannagi statue, as per Vasthu?’
For a while, I though Pandit Ashokbharrati was a numerologist, how come the interviewer wants to know about Vasthu? Oh, I forgot. All pseudo-sciences are the same with just different names, isn’t? We can easily walk from one discipline to another without any problem. Of course, our hero does not even blink. He answers:
The numeral value of the name Kannagi is 17, which adds up to 8. No wonder that she faced problems when she lived and even now! (Laughs)
Actually he is laughing at the interviewer. He is laughing at all of us- all of us who keep listening to every word of nonsense that comes out of his mouth.
The interviewer is already mesmerized with this guy. He asks, ‘It seems that you have suggested that the name of our country be changed to United States of India (USI)…’
Yes. If the name is changed to 'USI', 'Gandhi Desham' or 'Bharath Desham' it would result in faster growth rate and better development for the country… If this is done, India would progress very well in agriculture, industry and general living as well and would be the 'number one' country in the world.
If the name 'Sri Lanka' is changed back to Ceylon, I tell you, peace would return within 30 days and it would grow up to match Japan. A change of name for Kashmir as 'Bharat Kashmir' would silence the guns in the valley.
I don’t know what to make of it. But there are millions of Indians who seem to make sense out of such stuff. Many educated Indians seem to be in awe of such men. Irrationality is being embraced consciously by arresting one’s mental faculties. We see Indians in very big positions, including those who run our governments and industries, believing in one pseudo-science or the other. And sitting next to him is some pseudo-scientist (if I may call them), a quack, a charlatan, who is making a quick buck feeding on his conscious naiveté.