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!

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.

 

 

International Yoga Day 2017

I think that International Yoga Day is a laudable initiative to bring emphasis and attention on Yoga.  I wrote about it last year too, calling it the Independence Day of the Human Spirit.

Yoga is ‘cessation of the activities of the mind’, as defined by Patanjali in the first phrase of Yoga Sutra. Yoga has 8 limbs.  Asanas is one of them. Meditation is another.  Asanas prepare the body and mind for meditation.  All good meditation centers avoid televisions and aggravating foods that would interfere with the practice of inner peace and quiet.

I have met Swami Ramdev. His vision is almost unfathomable. Have visited Yog Gram too. I want to go to Coimbatore to see Satguru’s center; have heard great things about it. Have met Sri Sri RaviShankar a few times and learned his technique too. At our own campus (set up by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) in Fairfield Iowa, everyone meditates daily for long periods for the dual purpose of self-development and world peace. I  have also been to many Vipassana centers and done their 10-day courses.  Every guru has a different meditation technique. They say there are 108 ways to transcend!

No guru is without detractors who would call their followers as a cult, sometimes somewhat justifiably. Ramdev made yoga popular. He propped up Narendra Modi in his bid to become Prime Minister of India. And he is giving foreign companies a run for their money. He has completely upended marketing practices. He is a big part of India rejuvenation.  … despite all his faults.

 

Vastu House in a Vedic City

Today we moved into a beautiful Vastu house in Maharishi Vedic City. A Vastu design follows a branch of the Vedas called Sthapatya Veda. Vastu houses are supposed to be completely aligned with all the laws of nature, and are considered health- and fortune-giving. Vastu is named after Vastu Devata (god) who is supposed to give health and wealth. Vastu houses are distinctive in how they strictly align with nature, and with the movement of the Sun, with East being the most favored direction.

1746 Joy ave

Maharishi Vedic City was incorporated in Iowa by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a township in about 2001, with the express purpose of establishing a Vedic way of living. Said to be the first Vedic village since the Vedic times, it is a small city with its own mayor. It is an experiment in government by natural law. The layout of the town is designed completely according to Vastu guidelines.  Most of the residents of the city are white. These white desis, as I call them, are completely Vedic at heart. They are all long-standing practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques.

We are a rare family of Indian origin living in this Vedic city. It will be a nice experiment for us to discover the health and wealth giving power of Vastu homes, and Vastu devata! Stay tuned!

Technology and Spirituality Coexist

In the last couple of weeks, I had long fulfilling conversations on spirituality and Moksha with two young people in their 20s. Both are Computer Science students, with one doing a bachelor’s degree and the other doing a master’s degree.  One is a male and another is a female. One is a student on my own university campus and the other is on another university where I had recently visited to give a technology seminar based on my Data Analytics book. Both students happened to be from Hindu backgrounds, but neither is from India.

Both said that they were deeply spiritual people, and they were always concerned about how might technology and spirituality co-exist. I said I was a living example, and they felt reassured. Of course, there are many other IT people who have even become full-time spiritual people. I also said that spirituality is all encompassing, and it includes everything including technology, management, society, and all other fields. In fact, spiritual technologies can accelerate the path to moksha.

Both also said their conversations with their classmates and friends were not too fulfilling since others could not communicate with the others at the level that they found fulfilling. One described the conversations as being more about questions and answers about manifested things, and it was difficult to describe to their friends their deep spiritual experiences that had changed their view of the world. The charm they found in their inner journey was very enjoyable, but not necessarily describable. The other student was curious whether spirituality could help technological solved problems more creatively.

I wished them great progress in their spiritual journey. Enlightenment is very easy to achieve if one innocently wished for it, but does not obsessively try hard to find it in the world outside. It will come when one is ready.  This is the same message I gave my two friends in the summer when they said that don’t give me this Bliss s**t.