An interesting tussle went on between the President of the Rationalist International and an Indian Tantrik (Black Magician) on a live TV show in India. The Tantrik vowed to kill Sanal Edamaruku, the President of the Rationalist International through his super natural powers and chanting of holy verses from the Hindu scriptures. All this was happening on live TV watched by millions.
You might have guessed it by now that the tantrik miserably failed in his attempts and become a subject of ridicule. Sanal claimed fame and victory to his rationalist and atheist assessment that there is no power in prayer, belief or anything of that sort.
From a narrow contextual view, an irrational mind can draw a few conclusions. If you disagree with Sanal then you can be construed to agree with the tantrik or actions that can perpuate harm through some kind of a black magic. If you disagree with the tantrik and his methods then Sanal and his claims of rationalism – powerless prayer become legitimate.
From a truly rational perspective, both of them were wrong in their claims. A tantrik or any individual who claims that he can cause harm taking the help of god is like a terrorist who claims that he kills innocent people in the name of god. The fundamental premise of any profession is that any service or act rendered by that profession should not deliberately cause any harm to anyone. In not adhereing to this principle, the tantrik assured himself of failure in his endeavor. Such people should be banned in practising these kinds of antics and if law permits tried for an attempt to murder.
Sanal by surviving this whole incident and exposing the tantrik and his pretentious claims (kudos) in a way negated his own theory of rationalism. Sanal was able to bear the rigor and come out of this event unscathed by his strong will power or belief that no harm would come. In other words, he proved that the power of belief whether it comes from God or any supreme being or your own mind is critical and influential in the way we conduct ourselves.
In essence then, the whole incident was not about ritual vs. rationale or the victory of rationalism, instead it was the victory (as it should be) of the fact that belief when directed in the right direction has greater magical powers than anything else in this world, not even the dubious magic of a black magician can defeat it. If this is what is called rationalism or you want to call it by any name, so be it.
You can check out the article and watch the video here (It is in Hindi):