Yoga and World Peace

Last week on International Yoga Day (June 21st), I was invited to participate in the First International Yoga Conference organized by the Consulate General of India, in New York. There were about 30 speakers in all – about 10 from the US and 20 from India, Singapore and Hong Kong.  The conference went very well. There was a wonderful group dinner too! On the 21st morning we headed out for yoga practice / demonstration in Central Park. Congratulations to the organizers! Here are a couple of pictures!

 

 

The gist of my own presentation was that Yoga is central to effective social transformation and world peace! Yoga has eight limbs, from the grosser limbs of Yama and Niyama, to the subtler limbs of Dhyana and Samadhi. The practice of transcendence or Dhyana, according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s interpretation of Yoga Sutra is called Transcendental Meditation (TM). Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s yoga-inspired, quantum-mechanics-compatible theory called the “Maharishi Effect” posits that small groups of trained TM meditators can create enough collective coherence to counter hostile and negative tendencies and generate peace and prosperity around the world. Tat Sannidhau Vaira Tyagah (Yoga Sutra: 2:35) has been translated by Maharishi as: “In the vicinity of Yoga (or unity) negative tendencies are diminished.” Over 50 research publications in top scientific journals over the last four decades have established the efficacy of Maharishi Effect beyond doubt. I presented a few of those studies from around the world, on how group practice of TM and TM-Siddhis led to higher coherence and lower crime and higher prosperity. It is incumbent upon governments and organizations to take advantage of this technology and solve the grand challenges such as climate change and social inequality, through a small investment in training their peoples in Maharishi’s technologies of transcendence.

There were no objections or major questions from the attentive audience.  One senior researcher from Mumbai said that they had always thought of yoga only from an individual perspective. She and her team want to learn more about this collective perspective. Another researcher from Mumbai said that they learned from my and other MUM presentations that one should always work from and present hard data. There is potentially an opportunity to present this research in more detail to them in India. Another professor from Uttarakhand asked in a reverent and friendly manner how to measure the performance on what I had called out as the subtle limbs of yoga … Dhyana and Samadhi. I said these are self-referral activities. Measuring them will change the nature of activity itself, citing quantum theory. However, its correlates can be measure through EEG etc. One has to become self-aware and self-referral, and radiate that energy to help others become so too!! That is the true import of Gandhi’s message of being the change.

Maharishi Effect is a paradigm change. The new paradigm is self-referral. Maharishi Effect perhaps hits at the very core, the dualistic core, of the Cartesian Enlightenment paradigm!  It does not go well with the powers-that-are in society today. Passionate young people feel that unless something is done proactively, the new generation too will sleepwalk into the existing dualistic paradigm.   Instead of looking around for other people who have transitioned to new paradigm, one should become self-referral oineself. And then look for other self-referral people. And more importantly, radiate to other people so they too can become self-referral. That was the import of Gandhi’s Be the Change message. This is easier said than done for those still caught in career and marriage and family narrative.

I am astonished at how few people in India practice meditation or other transcendental techniques. TM is perhaps the best, but I may be biased. Vipassana is Buddha’s own technique of enlightenment. There could be others too!! Grand challenges will be overcome only by people coming together from a transcendental level!! I also feel that the current rage of Mindfulness is a wonderful start for individual level benefit. However, it has no solution for grand challenges.

I will present this research again at the Academy of Management in Chicago in August, and will describe my experiences and the audience feedback later! I heard that India’s AYUSH ministry is interested in setting up centers of excellence in yoga at elite academic institutions in the US. I wonder if they would support a Yoga Research center at MUM, where our colleagues do research at the absolutely cutting edge. We want to organize a 2-day conference on ‘Collective Consciousness and World Peace’ on our campus in Fairfield next Spring.  The agenda would have a few big sub-themes, with a total of about 15-20 speakers. Half the presenters could be from Maharishi University of Management , and the other half would represent other organizations and traditions! More on that later!!

Have a Blissful Day!!

 

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Quantum Mechanics and Bliss

QuantumMechanicsConference1927

Here is one of the most high-IQ photographs ever taken. It is of the participants of the 5th Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics in 1927. They include, among others, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Niels Bohr. 17 of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel laureates. This picture has obviously been around. However, I find it amazing that almost a century later, the world (us) still does not understand the significance of quantum mechanics.  We still live mostly by the ‘billiard ball’ classical Newtonian mechanics level of understanding, where every one of us is a discrete solid ball.

For me the first step in understanding Quantum Mechanics is to accept the ‘weird’ non-intuitive proposition that a thing can have two values of the same property at the same time, with each value having a certain probability.  The observed value depends upon the observer’s act of observation. It is almost like the game of having two different things in two fists: the value  one gets depends upon which fist the person chooses to open.  Imagine that the two fists are actually the same fist, at two different points in space-time. Quantum Mechanics uses the term ‘wave function’ for the distribution of probability of observing any one among a range of values. It calls ‘collapse of the wave function’ at the point of observation, for the fact an observation will reveal a certain discreet ‘particle’ value to the observer. This wave-particle duality, and its resolution by a sentiment being observing, is at the heart of consciousness and universal connectivity!

This means that we are all interconnected, just One! At the same time, we are also separate beings living our own separate lives. Both the values of the Self – unity and diversity – are simultaneously true.  What we see depends upon our consciousness!  Thus, the non-dual postulates such as Aham Brahmasmi (I am Totality) laid out in the Vedas are completely aligned with quantum mechanics. The rishis (seers) wrote Vedic treatises based on their deep perception of their own transcendent Self. The rishis meditated deeply and reached a pure physiology leading to the perception of these subtle and fine quantum laws of nature. They proved that all the laws of nature reside within one’s own consciousness, but it would take the finest level of self-awareness to perceive them!! We should honor their intelligence and believe in the great heritage they bequeathed upon humanity!!

What if one has no knowledge or interest in understanding quantum mechanics or the Vedas. Just remember that the more one can be in non-judgmental observational mode, the more this non-intuitive fact would become intuitive. The more we are able to get into a silent witnessing mode, the more this diverse world would look like a beautiful integrated whole. Meditation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation (TM) enable us to become a silent witness to the wholeness of our own infinite and invincible Self. And that wholeness is Blissful! From wholeness arises more wholeness, and the world gets ever more blissful!! Wish you an eternally Blissful Life!!!

For those interested: here is the wholeness mantra from the Vedas (in Sanskrit language and its English translation):

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||
“That (‘Brahma’) is infinite, and this (‘universe’) is infinite; the infinite proceeds from the infinite. (Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (‘universe’), it remains as the infinite (‘Brahma’) alone.” – (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad V.i.1)

 

Blissful Living!!

Who are We? And how can we live blissfully?

  • If we think we are a collection … of assets, memories, impressions etc, then that is our small self.
  • If we think that we are everything … the sun, the earth, the wind, the birds, insects and people, … then we are the big Self.
  • When we are the small self, we are like a well, proud of what we have. It is ‘our’ stuff.
  • When we are the big Self, we are like the ocean, all encompassing, and not having anything our own, but being an integral part of an undivided infinite whole.
  • To grow we can push out the boundaries, re-lay-out our fences at a greater distance, and make a greater circle with more space to store more stuff. … concepts, memories, and assets. We can become BIG in our own eyes, and of society.
  • To really wake up to our unbounded Self, however, we can simply burn or remove or dissolve the boundaries at all. Then the entire infinite space and everything everywhere is our own. We are not defined by finite anything. We are infinite and blissful.

If I am infinite, then by the same logic, so are you and everyone else infinite. And not only that, we are the same infinite existence. If you are infinity, and I am infinity, then what is the difference between you and me? Why do we even have names for you and me? How do I converse or engage with you?  Is all separation and then trying to connect with each other, some sort of a game? Is it useful at all?

‘Good fences make good neighbors’ begins with the premise of separation of people into small individual bounded selves. Fences help contain the amount of violence that one would do on the other in a world of numerous separations.

So long as we define ourselves by our own interests first, we will be afraid, and our thinking will be corrupted. By thinking of safety for ourselves alone, we will do immeasurable cruelty on others from whom we are afraid. Then we will give bribes, trade favors, and care for our own pleasures. How can we be happy when we are selfish?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said the purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. When we are all the same infinity, then we are like a joint family. Everything good that one person does, gives benefit to everyone. One person’s happiness becomes the happiness of all the others. That is how Vedas, the ultimate knowledge about the universe, says: ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’, meaning the world is one family.

Measurements help with reducing everything down to measurable particles and energy. Technology helps measure and create things that are considered pleasurable and useful for the individual selves. Technology thus helps to maximize achievement of safety and power as defined by money and assets.

Even as there are inexorable forces of separation of things into smaller and smaller particles, there are forces of choreographing delicate dances of apparent oneness. Technology also helps to do things that help people temporarily forget their false boundedness. Social occasions such as Mardi Gras or sports matches, and chemical means such as alcohol and opoids, help people temporarily forget their bodily identification, and create some larger units of identity, such as a team, a city, a country, or a culture. The tradition of romantic and sexual love, and marriage to become a family, is another such ancient integrative practice. A regular exercise of the practice of spiritual transcendence, of ‘seeing’ one’s seamless union with everything else, helps creates the joy and charm of that undivided infinite existence.

Overall, though, the forces of separation are winning over, and creating enormous angst among certain segments of people. They may not care too much about the physical existence, but their existential angst is boiling over. The old-fashioned-values people are taking opium, and dying in record numbers with a kiss-of-God.

The solution lies in unlearning our boundaries, and many of the concepts of separation. These boundaries were created by Reason, and can be dissolved by the Heart. A regular process of transcending will help dip into that unbounded unified field of all the laws of nature, and experience the bliss of the awareness of that unbounded existence. No wonder, Emotional Intelligence, has been displacing Traditional Logical Intelligence as the more important skill to live joyfully and productively in the world. There is increasing focus on Spiritual Intelligence, which is a totally different kind of intelligence … less measurable and more blissful!

Visiting Kerala for PanchKarma treatment

We went for a 3-week Ayurvedic Panchkarma (PK) treatment at Sri Subramanya Ayurvedic Hospital (ssanh.com) in Calicut in Kerala. At the end of the treatment, we felt lighter, healthier, and my skin felt baby-soft. My wife Neerja saw improvement in her sleep and BP. Panchkarma treatments included oil massages and detoxes, and also herbal potions for detox and toning. Diet was simple, light and delicious. Overall it was time well spent in overhauling the body machine.
Sanand-Anil-2017

The primary element in Panchkarma is the oil massage called Abhyanga. This is followed by specialized massages using herbs and/or warm oils. I had three kinds of specialized massages, for one week each. The lavana kizhi uses a half-a-pound sack containing about 40 herbs, and the sack is dipped regularly in warm oil. This massage helps tone up the tissues. The anti/obesity uvartaki massage applies a paste of many herbs with milk and oil, applied directly on the body in linear movements from down to up. The Pizhichil massage, an invention of Kerala’s Ayurveda, is a heavenly hot oil bath. It makes the skin very soft and supple. There are many other kinds of massages to suit other purposes, such as dry powder anti-inflammation massage for the joints, and a foot massage with buttermilk.

potli-massage

There are powerful vastis, or enemas, of many kinds to detox the body. I was given the standard vasti for three days to flush out the colon. Then there was the oil vasti using a small amount of medicated oil. Then there is a Kashayam vasti using 800 ml of herbal concoction; it is difficult to hold but is very powerful in sucking toxins out of the intestines. There are other types of vastis using buttermilk and other herbs and fluids.

Shirodhara2

Shirodhara is the detoxing the head by driof pping wam oil on the forehead, for about 20-30 minutes. I had that on all 21 days. It is supposed to lubricate the brain itself. It also sucks out toxins from the head. The oil become dark and dirty-looking at the end of 3-4 days. Thus fresh oil (about 1.5 liters) is used every 3-4 days.

I also had the detox through the eyes. Warm medicated ghee (using triphala) is poured in the eyes, with a moat of atta or swimming goggles around the eyes. For 15-20 minutes one blinks open and closes the eyes to let the eyes release toxins into the ghee. It improves eyesight too.

It is important to rest during and after the PK treatment.  The body becomes tender. The tissues become supple.  The skin becomes soft. One feels lighter. During the blissful massages a lot of old memories resurface that should be let go of. I left my laptop at home to avoid during serious work during PK. The iPhone was more than enough to take care of urgent email and social media communications. In fact, social media consumed a lot of my time and attention than I would have liked to.

We developed good family-like relations with the Thekkayil family that owns and runs the hospital. With the senior Vaidya, who is a decorated authority on Adi Sankara, I had many conversations and learned many stories about Adi Sankara. The doctors invited us to their house for a nice dinner and conversation with the lovely family.

Kerala is the ideal location for PK. Kerala is called God’s own country. There are many Ayurvedic families here with centuries of tradition in practicing Ayurveda. They are able to cure many diseases incurable by western medicine. Also, the weather in Kerala is perfect … neither too hot or cold. We had a nice air-conditioned room as we used this facility even in December.

I recommend that everyone should experience this blissful helpful traditional practice of Panchkarma at least once in their lifetime and enjoy the rejuvenation it brings.

 

 

Travel adventure – going overseas without wallet

This is a travel adventure of going overseas without one’s wallet and still coming out whole.

A few days ago, in December 2017, I traveled from Delhi to Seoul in South Korea. I was an invited speaker on Data Analytics at an international conference. I got dropped me off at the Delhi International airport, went through the immigration and security counters, and sat down near the flight’s departure gate. A little bored, I look around and saw my favorite snack counter close to my gate. I walked over to the store and found my favorite snacks. When I tried to pay for it, I discovered that I did not have my wallet with me. I rummaged through my pockets and then my bags but could not find it. I became a little worried that I had lost or dropped it somewhere.

A sweet and beautiful young Indian lady, from Los Angeles, was shopping in the same snack store. She heard me saying to the shopkeeper that I had lost my wallet, and was very sympathetic. She asked me how much money I needed. I said that at the very least I needed $15 for a one-way ride to the hotel in Seoul. With great effort, she managed to scrounge $15 cash from the various pockets inside her handbag. Very cheerfully she gave the money to me. God bless her. I took her phone number and will try to return the money, even though she said not to bother.

I then frantically tried to reach out to my parents in Delhi by phone. They looked around and quickly found my wallet on my bed. I was a little relieved. I realized that I was trying to remove some of the unneeded cards and cash from the wallet, and in the process I forgot to pick up the wallet. I had checked that I had the passport before I left, but did not check the wallet. My father, a retired UN diplomat, was worried how I will manage without the wallet. But I told him it will be an adventure. We both laughed, and he was relieved.  Now the correct story was that I had ‘forgotten my wallet at home’. I texted my daughter in the US to be ready to wire me money in Seoul just in case. I also texted a friend who was coming to the same conference that I may need his help.

In the plane, I tried to meditate and keep calm. I lost all fear, and became determined to find someone who would be willing to help. I was a little concerned about the currency conversion process at the airport that I may fall just a little short of the Korean currency needed to get to the airport. I looked around for who could help.

A young Korean man sitting right behind my seat. I asked him if he could convert for me $15 worth of Korean currency to pay for one-way bus ride from the airport to the city. He talked nicely with me but found it ‘unusual’ how one forgets one’s wallet at home. He said he will think about it. I also asked the Korean flight attendants for help. They said that none of them had any Korean currency, and could not help.

I wanted to ask another Indian person. I had seen an Indian family with little kids in the departure lounge right behind me. I looked for them in the plane. I saw a family sitting close to my seat. It was a different young man. He looked pretty blissful sitting there with eyes kinda closed. I approached him. He said he lived in Seattle, and had worked with Microsoft till very recently. I told him about my situation. He agreed to lend me $15. But then he said his wallet was in his bag up in the storage, and he will give me later. I came back to him with a copy of my Big Data book which had some brief description of me as an author. Finally, when we landed in Seoul, he gave me $15.

Now I was confident that I will be able to make the trip without any hassle. I had enough money to reach the city. I had friends at the conference. Hotel bill was prepaid. I did not need any additional money, as I did not need to buy anything. I had carried some home-made vegetarian food from home. I returned to Delhi from the conference safely two days later. I contacted them both my benefactors so I can return the monies. I can’t thank them enough.

I believe there are no ‘accidents’. It all happens for a reason. We don’t know how many dots get connected for some event to happen. Somehow I developed the confidence to manage an international trip without carrying my wallet. Anything is possible!!

Lessons: check your documents and wallet before you leave for a trip. Do good to others, so nature will provide support back. Both the US-based Indians whom I approached, helped; that warms my heart!!

 

 

Transcendence in Life and Society

In some ways, transcendence is the recovery of the primal innocence we were all born with. We all emanated from some womb, through a similar process. Then we gathered the elements which bulked up our body. We gathered sensations that grew our mind. Then we began to develop our bodies and minds … making them sharp, beautiful, strong. We fell in love with these growing things, and we began to totally identify with our body and mind. We forgot our own selves, the little seed of awareness within. We began to worry about the potential loss of the body and the mind. We frantically began to covet resources of all kinds to protect the body and mind. At some point, we forgot our body and mind also and began to love the growing riches of stuff and resources Then we began to live in the dream state of life. Our coworkers became resources. Relationships became assets too. Instead of transcending to the state of freedom from thoughts and things, we began to become a thing ourselves. The objectification is almost complete. Then we enter the slumber state.  We are now manipulated by legal drugs, junk food, mindless entertainment, and constant interruption. Shhh … what/who is manipulating us? We will soon become automatons. Robots impress us as nearly as good as ourselves. We are being enhanced by robots. Soon robots will decide if they need us sleeping hydrocarbon blobs.

Suddenly some one wakes up from slumber. Oh my! This is not me. I am aware that this is not me. I am eternal awareness. I can’t be destroyed. I don’t have to worry. I don’t need much. I am invincible. I am unbounded. What’s going on, I wonder. Air does not need to be toxic. The water either. We can grow little wholesome food in our backyard. We have plenty of sunlight. We can be free. Autonomous. We can live on endlessly. And blissfully. Let’s spread some bliss around. However, others don’t believe our bliss. They live in Plato’s caves. We try telling them that they are seeing is the shadows, and that they should venture out in the open to see enjoy free life. They laugh it off as cranky and weird. Well, some of them muster the courage to try it. And voila! They find it different. Refreshing. Unbounded. Lively. Healed. Happy. Joy and Bliss. Our growing numbers and energies are now devoted to work on liberation of all, and on the healing journey for all. That is all there is to do. Everyone can be free to be compassionate. And slowly the world begins to become blissful again. And then exponentially so. And the world is happy and healed ever after.

P.S. What happens to robots? Well, they continue to grow more powerful and useful. They clean up our soil at our command. They plough and tend to our vegetable gardens. They do all the chores we want done. What happens to the information machines and Artificial Intelligence? Well, they are rolled into robots. Finally, what happens to the evil empire who wants to keep us all hooked and dependent in the caves? Well, the liberated ones scared the crap out of it. Little innocent children can scare the big bad bully out of its evil ways. Watch the Pixar movie ‘A Bug’s Life’ for inspiration.

 

Bliss is me

Bliss is me

 

Bliss is my current state

From Bliss I come

Into Bliss I am going

Bliss is the source and the destination

Bliss is all there is

In Bliss all distinctions arise

In Bliss all distinctions merge

Bliss is the alpha and omega and everything in-between

Bliss is #1 and #2 and #3 and all the way

Bliss is here there everywhere

Bliss is inside and outside

Bliss is with everyone

Bliss is everyone’s fundamental right

What gets in the way of Bliss

As Bliss is all there is, Bliss gets in the way of Bliss

How so?

Lower forms of Bliss … pleasure and happiness get in the way

How to remove the obstacles

The obstacles too too must be Bliss as Bliss is all there is

By being aware that we are Bliss here and now, and we do not need to traverse any path to get to it. The obstacles will reveal themselves to be a gross form of bliss that our senses and mind are able to perceive. Mind and body develop preferences for certain grossified bliss forms based on how often and close they appear to them. The game of more, more, more is unending like a dog chasing the tail. Higher bliss and knowledge can pull one out of that chase and catapult to an awareness of infinite bliss within. Then all is within and without.

We have everything; we are everything. That is the nature of Bliss. That is us.