21 December 2007

Barnum said there was one born every minute, and this book proves it

Human Physiology: Expression of the Veda and Vedic Literature
Tony Nader (aka His Majesty King Nader Raam)
Maharishi Vedic University, 2001

In this scandalously overpriced tome, His Majesty King Nader Raam (who had to make due with a mere MD and PhD in a previous edition) draws connections between Vedic literature (i.e., the Hindu scriptures) and the structure and function of the human nervous system. Then he flips the logic of Occam's Razor on its head to assert that this correlation is indicative of the ontological primacy of the Vedic literature. In other words, the Vedic literature exists as timeless vibration that manifests as the material world; the copious colorfully illustrated correlations summarily discussed by Nader show how the brain and nervous system are literally the Vedic word made flesh. So for example, because there are 12 cranial nerves and 12 signs in the Vedic system of astrology (jyotish), this proves that the cranial nerves are somehow the biological encoding of the zodiacal information.

Unfortunately for His Majesty, comparing two highly complex systems will ALWAYS yield interesting correlations. This phenomenon lies at the heart of other spiritual systems like Kabbalah and numerology. Yet this coincidence does not prove that these correlations necessarily indicate anything deeper than the human mind's propensity for finding patterns in the natural world and believing in the reality of those patterns.

In short, this book is beatifully illustrated and produced and would make a nice gift if it were priced at $30. It is worth nowhere near its cover price, though, except perhaps to members of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's choir. (I guess someone might possibly find it of value if they were doing research in cult-based marketing practices.) So unless you are a die-hard member of the Transcendental Meditation movement and need "scientific evidence" to validate the spiritual beauty of the Vedas and the power of meditation, please save your money.

(This review was originally written on August 15, 2006.)

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