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article imageOp-Ed: What You See May Not Be Real, What is Real You May Not See!

By Hans Smedbol     Sep 17, 2010 in Crime
Things are not always what they seem. An ordinary person living in your neighbourhood just might be harbouring secret skills, or practising the magical arts for fun and profit. This is fraud according to the Canadian Criminal Code as per statute 365.
In an article published by Digital Journalist KJ Mullins on September 15 raised a number of interesting issues to this writer. In the article, it was stated that a Canadian man of Indian descent, Yogendra Pathak, had been charged with fraud for "pretending" to practise magic for the supposed benefits of his annoyed "customers", who when reality caught up to them, they realised that they had just wasted whatever money they gave the gentleman, for his "skills in the black arts", which according to them now, were nil, despite their previous confidence in the sorcerer to provide them with what they wanted, to the extent of paying him for rituals and so on, to accomplish their aims.
Quite a turn about in faith here, from flatteringly and eagerly bestowing their money to loud accusations of fraud. No one MADE these gullible ones go to see this "sorcerer". Also no one made this man claim to be a sorcerer, nor did they make him claim to be able to fix the problems that his clients were bringing him. To all intents and appearances, on the face of it, he does appear to be a "fraud", because he did not deliver on his promises, for which he took money.
However, whether it was magic he was practising, or ordinary business such as a painting business, or carpentry, if he does fail to deliver as promised, he is liable to damages, and prosecution. Many business men make promises they cannot fulfill also, as do many politicians, daily lie through their teeth about what is on their greedy arrogant minds, still they will not be facing arrest and arraignment in a court of law, unless their crime is so egregious that it lands them there following an outcry. Here it seems that at least the harm was not so great as what many of our beloved politicians, and captains of industry have accomplished through their own false claims and outright lies, but this gentleman is to be addressed in a much more serious manner. Fraud is fraud, and should be dealt with equally according to circumstances. The witch doctor's fraud is not worse than that of many business owners, who daily practise it. But because he IS a witch doctor, there is a "witch hunt", and he MUST go down to oblivion, as we can not have any competition here, in world views, especially when "they" lend themselves to such obvious frauds.
I see by his name, that the accused sorcerer is of Indian descent, possibly even an immigrant from India. One might speculate that he, or his family of origin, may have come from North India, perhaps Gujarat, or somewhere in that area. In India, there are many sorcerers, many many practitioners of various shades of the "black arts", from those who are healers to those who will perform "black magic", to hurt other people. Despite their education, in my experience, people of Indian origin, tend in general, to be more open to the ideas that some sorcerers may actually have access to "supernatural powers", because it is part of their ancestral culture as well as their Hindu religion, not that Hinduism advises to practise sorcery, but sorcery is acknowledged to have some effects. Often in the ancient stories, there are witches, and sorcerers, often associated with great "Demons" or "Asuras", who had supernatural powers, or "Siddhis". Even today many people in the South Indian Tamil Saivite tradtitions pursue the knowledge and acquisition of these Siddhis. They are taken perfectly seriously by many millions of people, some stories of which filter down through the media into fantastic stories occasionally heard in the west.
Certain of these [url=htt t=_blank]stories linger, one, for example, about yogis and fakirs, who were certified by the British Army officers of the Raj to have entered into a burial chamber, went into Samadhi, or spiritual absorption, or "trance", were closed in, and left for many days, up to a month sometimes more. Then the "tomb" would be reopened, and the yogi/fakir would return to everyday reality, looking a little more gaunt, but no less healthy than previously. It was said that having entered into the breathless Nirvikalpa Samadhi state of spiritual absorption into the "Brahman",or the Divine, the yogi would have apparently suffered no oxygen loss, being in a kind of "suspended animation", from the "pranayama" "breath control" practised by the Yogi, to the point of becoming a Siddhi. Such a Yogi in the South of India might become known as a Siddha due to his mastery of the Siddhis. This kind of experience was common in India in those days, and may be still common, especially in the countryside. India as is well known, is a perpetual land of Mysteries, and enchantments amongst the filth and horrors. People who come from Africa, or the Caribbean,particularly Haiti, may also be familiar with their own versions of sorcery, and trance induced states of religious absorption, as well as folks from other parts of South East Asia, like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and so on, as well as Japan, and Tibet. For these people when they were in their homelands, this kind of worldview was ordinary. Our secular, materialistic view would have been considered quaint, uninformed and in fact ignorant.
Many of the practitioners of the spiritual practises leading to the Siddhis, also are known by locals as sorcerers, (or witch doctors), because of their apparent mastery of the "powers", and their apparent interest in alchemy and ayurveda, as well as Jyotish (vedic astrology). Many ordinary people in this way, may have such practitioners as members of the family even. I know of one family (Tamil) that believes it was cursed by the hereditary practices of sorcery which were engaged upon by many of the male members in the past, both for money and for power.
Even murder is not too much for such people.
To me, just as for most westerners, educated and well read, such practices as sorcery appear to be blatant "play acting" or even fraud, when performed for cash flow, but for people who grow up in a culture where such things are ordinary, and who may have seen such people in action often, and known those who took part many times, these sorcerers are not so easy to dismiss. Indeed there are many events that transpire in those cultures, which most of us in the west would be unable to believe even if we did see it for ourselves. There is the example of fire walking, and there is further, the example of the
A Tamil Man carrying hooks with weights as penance during Thai Pusam in Kuala Lumpur
A Tamil Man carrying hooks with weights as penance during Thai Pusam in Kuala Lumpur
Julian Song
body piercings undergone by Tamils
A Tamil Kavadi carrier at Thai Pusam parade in Kuala Lumpur  on the way up to Batu Caves Murugan Tem...
A Tamil Kavadi carrier at Thai Pusam parade in Kuala Lumpur, on the way up to Batu Caves Murugan Temple.
Mohd Nor Azmil Abdul Rahman
tranced out by their dancing for God, and from their observances which they had vowed to carry on for a certain period prior to the
A view along the way that the Thai Pusam parade  in celebration of Lord Murugan passes on its way up...
A view along the way that the Thai Pusam parade, in celebration of Lord Murugan passes on its way up to the Batu Caves, in the rear.
Anandajoti Bhikkhu
Thai Pusam celebrations, wherein they would carry these vast platforms of adoration dedicated to their favourite God, Murugan, bearing "kavadi", all of this weight suspended on hooks pierced through the flesh of the person carrying the "kavadi", hooks which would be transfixed at a certain stage of the trance of devotion, induced by dancing and singing with the beat of the absorbing drums carrying the devotees off to the land of bliss, dancing for hours and hours with these vast palaces of worship suspended from their own pierced flesh. Some would sport a sacred lance called a "Vel" transfixed through their tongues, whereas others might have the Vel transfixed through their cheek muscles, extending on both side of the face, or pierced through the lips in a form of penance. There is no pain, little or no blood, and the wounds appear to disappear quickly after the Vel is removed. In time the entranced dancers would be moving slowly, majestically in vast crowds, of millions even (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the Batu Caves), moving ever so slowly still encumbered with the Kavadis and the lance piercings, up the ever so long stair case, and into the caves, where the Murugan Temple awaited them.
Two people bearing the pots of  amritam  as penance  on their heads  on Thai Pusam  in Malaysia  off...
Two people bearing the pots of "amritam" as penance, on their heads, on Thai Pusam, in Malaysia, offering the contents to their Lord Murugan.
Other folk, mostly women would be carrying a Pot on their heads, a pot of milk, mostly, decorated with mango leaves and a coconut placed in the mouth of the pot, with sacred markings adorning it as well. Such awe inspiring events as these are mysterious enough to witness, without going into the possibilities or truths of sorcery or Siddhis, and whether it's all B.S. or not.
Coming back to Canada, and our own somewhat narrow, and even somewhat bigoted view of the world. Even although the Canadian Criminal code Statute #365 claims that people "pretending" to practice magic and fortunetelling are liable to prosecution, the enforcers of such a law have no effective way of distinguishing what is "pretending" from what is "real" to those who were taking part in the activity.
So they take refuge in the "for money" section, and that covers all, whether the sorcerer was "pretending" or not, because the money transaction immediately makes it "fraud". This is despite, again, the actual facts of the matter being that the court has NO independent way of establishing the facts of the matter in question. Whether the so-called sorcerer is able to access the "spirit-world" or the "gods" , or the "demons" or not. it is simply not "testable" with our current technology. Thus if truth be said, such should be beyond the resolve of the courts, save where it is indeed obvious that a fraud has been committed. According to this law, every astrologer in the country should be arrested and charged if they are offering their services for money, not to mention all sorts of practitioners of other "iffy" "holistic" "spiritual" sciences. Name your favourites here:
Of course if the man is promising a lot of stuff to people that never materialises, the case is good that he may well be a fraud. Maybe a good finger rapping and the advisement that charging money for such foolishness is really asking for a lot of trouble that the good gentleman doesn't want. So if he wants to avoid future disputes, please to cease the fraudulent behaviours. If he really can deliver on his sorcery schtick, then let him prove it. Otherwise,he gets a black mark in the Better Business Bureau's Black Book. And some time in solitary to think about it.
People who are interested in various forms of "spiritual" life, will definitely take issue with some of the assumptions contained in the law, and with some of the comments so kindly left in the comments section of the article, by the usual atheists.
However, I suppose, we should always remember, that just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they are not watching you!!
Another good one to remember when dealing with these kinds of folks is : Caveat Emptor: buyer beware. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Still people constantly fall for the fraudsters because they WANT to believe what the fraudster is peddling: that they can have something for nothing, (or not much).
What must also be remembered if we would practise due diligence here is: just because you have not seen something doesn't mean that it is not there., for example, radio waves. We can not see them, but we are surrounded by them, day in and out. Only if we "tune" into them can we see anything or hear anything. The same goes for anything: music, art, cooking. If you do not "tune" in, they will simply not exist for you. Whereas if you DO tune into something, like music, or cooking, or computers, or yoga, or Sanatana Dharma, or even Christianity, or Islam; if you consciously tune your mind in that direction, you will experience a different experience than the person who refused to "tune" in to it. Through the tuning, even if skeptically inclined, one will see, hear, and feel somewhat differently the experience of daily living. One will find it easier to learn about the object of one's interest, one will be able to master the subject.
But if the person doesn't "tune in" to the subject, s/he will learn nothing about the subject, and may even deny that it exists, or is valid. all due to a lack of "tuning". In this way we can explain the Catholics vs. Atheists: each is tuned into a different version of reality, and are functionally unable to see the world through the other's eyes, due to a lack of "tuning". Just like on the radio, one can tune into one station only at a time. The mind is similar, in that it can only entertain one view or thought at a time. So whatever one "tunes in" to will be the world of reality for that person. This does not discount the "reality" of other persons, because in fact, each person in this world lives in his or her own unique "reality", about which most of us form a "consensus opinion" about how things are.
However, what we do forget, and must not forget, is that this consensus reality varies from nation to nation, and even from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, depending upon lived experiences, and the local teachings ABOUT the consensus reality.
In many countries, consensus reality includes sorcery and witchcraft, including astrology and palm reading, as well as Tarot card reading. They are simply accepted as another way of navigating through life, with just as much value added to one's life through their practices, as might be experienced through other practices in other countries. People routinely consult Vedic astrologers in India, as well as in countries where Indians dwell. In the same way Ayurveda (the ancient Indian health care system) is practised wherever Indians live, even despite the facts that the majority culture may not know anything about these practices, nor have any faith in them. For Indians, even many well educated ones, Vedic astrology is ESSENTIAL to their lives for timing certain life events, for understanding what has been transpiring in their lives, for establishing whether couples have a good chance to enjoy an happy fruitful marriage or not, for understanding what tendencies and illnesses that one may have brought with them from another life (belief in Karma and Reincarnation are prevalent), and for understanding what your child may be able to expect in terms of his or her life experiences, through consulting a competent Jyotishi (Vedic astrologer) at appropriate times.
It's fine to make blanket labels of fraud and so on, but really there are preciously few people who could honestly distinguish in many cases between what is really fraud and what is honestly practised, with appropriate outcomes. Of course one can just jump on the "it's all fraud because I don't believe in it" bandwagon, or one could preserve an open although skeptical mind. I don't hold out much hope in this country, for the "open, yet skeptical" option, however. What I expect to see is the usual ignorance portraying itself as knowledge, opinions, masquerading as "facts", and facts ignored or glossed over in the quest for the perfect sound byte. It would be nice to be proved wrong.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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