Maharishi International University (MIU): Epicenter of Peace

MIU’s Global Country of World Peace is a beautiful organization that embodies what we are:  peace-loving citizens of the world, who are not divided by political or governmental surface levels of difference. As Maharishi said: What we put our attention on grows stronger. We are coming together and experiencing that field of life which is the field of unity consciousness – the unified field of natural law. Vedic technologies of consciousness, that operate from this deepest level of natural law, are a million times are more powerful than nuclear technologies.

MIU launched an Institute for Permanent Peace (IPP) this month, for applying a scientifically validated Vedic approach to creating an environment for permanent world peace. It is urgently needed to mitigate an existential risk from local wars evolving into an uncontrollable global conflagration. The purpose can be achieved by the sustained group practice of Vedic technologies, including Transcendental Meditation™ and TM-Sidhis, to create coherence in global collective consciousness.  The square root of 1% of any population—about 10,000 for the world– practicing these technologies in a group is sufficient to form a lighthouse of peace and prosperity for the whole world. Over 50 demonstrations and 23 scientific published studies have documented the benefits of large group practice of TM and its related advanced techniques on society as a whole. In every case, this approach produced marked reductions in crime, social violence, terrorism, and war, and increased peace and positivity in society.

IPP is proposing the creation of a permanent coherence-creating group comprised of 10,000 specially- trained Vedic experts to perform yoga and yagya. Results will be measured and monitored by an independent board of scientists.  Global celebrities have expressed support for the project. IPP broke ground on a project to create Vastu housing for thousands of such Vedic experts to live on MIU’s campus in Fairfield, Iowa. 

Meeting with India’s finest actor Anupam Kher

Noted filmmaker David Lynch, founder of an international charity that has brought Transcendental Meditation to more than one million under-resourced children worldwide, has issued a challenge to the world’s philanthropists: use a fraction of your wealth to establish large groups of advanced peace-creating Vedic experts in Ukraine and other critical hotspots, and leave a legacy of world peace that will last for generations.  https://davidlynch.gusp.org/

Fall Like A Feather

I met an elderly gentleman, Alan, who is an awakened soul. He told me that not too long ago he slipped on black ice, and fell like a feather. His whole body fell down on concrete, but he was not hurt at all. He fell flat softly in a way that all the parts of his body touched the ground together. Only the phone in his hand suffered a minor scratch. That seems like a miracle.  

On the other hand, an elderly close relative of mine, recently fell and broke his hip. It took him more than an year to recover from the surgery. Similarly, a good friend of mine, who is much younger than me, slipped on black ice a few years ago, and hurt the back of his head. He was taken to hospital in time to stop the bleeding from the back of his head. He is doing fine.

Is there an art to falling? That sounds like a silly question. However, I hear some wise people advising that falling is a given, and the important thing is whether one will dust up and get up and going again. Do some people perhaps fall at the wrong angle, or do they try to protect himself while falling? Do they panic while falling? It is hard to tell, unless one is present on the scene. Falling happens in a flash, in a split second with the full force of gravity.

I ask myself again, is there an art to falling? AARP says that the ‘world is full of banana peels’. So, avoiding a fall is a primary goal. However, they advise a few things on how to ‘fall safely’. Stay bent, protect your head, land on the meat, and keep falling. “Spread the impact across a larger part of your body; don’t concentrate impact on one area,” it says. The more you roll with the fall, the safer you will be. Their tips for preparation are: Be here now, get your eyesight checked (remember, … banana peels), and boost your balance with appropriate exercises.

So, yes, I think that there is a way to fall softly like a feather. The way is to be mindful and roll with the fall. Accept it. Let it be. Resisting a natural fall can be more dangerous than simply falling. Accept falls. I have fallen many times in life. Most times, till about a decade ago, the falls in life and career felt like personal failures and were devastating to mind and body. But in the last decade I can hardly remember a fall. A fall is a fall if we pay attention to it, and try to prevent it. The trick to falling like a feather is to become soft and light as a flower.

Live lightly!

Everything is perfect!

Everything is perfect!

I believe that there is no purpose of evolution, except to get better at being ourselves, and escaping from the physical manifestation and its pains from contact with objects.

I have been off tea and coffee for the last almost 20 years since I first went to a Vipassana 10-day retreat, and the teacher asked us to eschew these and other intoxicants for the ten days and ideally forever. I think from there and my decade long practice of Vipassana brought me to the understanding that we are ourselves the ultimate reality. Then during the last decade, being in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s University, brought for me the idea of unbounded unified consciousness as the Vedantic nondual reality. It made complete sense during progressively deeper and longer and advanced sessions of Transcendence. All this while we have been eating and drinking non-agitating foods to purify our nervous systems to experience the oneness within our own selves. I have been amused by the growth in these soft-toxin businesses such as coffee and tea. I heard about the Oxford Circle of scientists using Assamese tea and then creating the dominance of the Scientistic Revolution in the service of the British East India company. The poor tea-pickers from Darjeeling will be tickled to learn that their tea was instrumental in creating the scientistic paradigm as we know it.

Just a few days ago, I chanced upon a young Argentinian man named Mattias de Stefano, who speaks about the unbounded consciousness as being the ultimate dimension, and then goes on to describe up to 9 dimensions. The second dimension produces a duality, which is mostly a thought system. The third dimension provides a neutral level also, and physicality appears. Time appears when we rise to perceive the fourth dimensions. Our 3-4 dimensional (space-time) body is a projection of our high-dimensional self. This is like a small 2-dimensional picture is a projection of our 3-dimensional body. At the fifth and sixth dimension we are pure energy, and later on pure vibrations that are the creator of all reality. At the seventh dimension, there are seven laws of existence represented through the seven chakras. At the eighth dimension, existence is the field of infinite correlations, the unbounded universe that contains everything. We are not of the universe, or in the universe, … we are the universe. A the ninth dimension, we are pure void, like a black hole, which provides the context in which the universe appears. That resonates so much with Buddha’s teaching.  

Two things from here: The first thing is that I find Mattias’ message very similar to that of Maharishi’s. Maharishi also had the baffling ability of speaking about the dynamics of the unmanifest consciousness. ‘How did he know?’, the world wondered. But that did not stop people from following him and using his descriptions of reality, that was tested through thousands of experiments published in over 700 scientific publications. In particular, I am extremely interested in Maharishi’s theory of collective consciousness. This Super-Radiance effect, that can only be understood from a consciousness-as-a-field paradigm, has been statistically proven and published beyond reasonable doubt (over 50 journal publications).

The second fascinating thing from this Argentinian young man is to hear what else he says. He speaks about his past lives, going back thousands of years, in great detail, with specific locations and names and what happened. He reports living in civilizations from across the various galaxies, tens of thousands of years ago. He is reporting solar systems with 2 or 3 suns with planets facing a night-time of only 2 or 3 hours. That means a lot of what we see and do could be biologically different in a different solar system. Many civilizations arise and die, and this one too will die, he says. The important thing from us is to raise our perceptions to the highest levels. If we die of consciousness (nothing left to do) then we do not return to the lower dimensional existence. Instead if we die of time, we will be back. One particular metaphor caught my attention: We are the spider that creates the web. We are not the web. We certainly are not an object caught in the web. The day we realize that we are totally liberated. We are the creator.

He says, that everything is perfect as it is. There is no purpose to existence. The path is the way. Have fun!

International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management – summary report

Maharishi International University (Fairfield, Iowa, USA) organized a three-day International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management, from May 21-23 2021, for mapping the path to Oneness and a flourishing humanity. The event was co-sponsored by the International Academy of Management through its Management, Spirituality and Religion (MSR) interest group. More than 1100 attendees from almost 400 cities around the world registered for the event. The event had 90+ speakers including Dr Tony Nader, Dr Robert Quinn, Dr. Subhash Kak, Dr. Anil Gupta, and other reputed professors from top institutions from the US, India, UK, Germany, Europe, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Equador, South Africa, and more. They also represented a wide range of fields including Management, Leadership, Music, Medicine, Computer Science, Quantum physics, Vedas, Ayurveda, Arts, Psychology, Consciousness, Sustainability, and more. They participated in 15 sessions of integral conversations and research presentations of 90 minutes each over three days. Our feedback surveys showed consistently high ratings and comments. Every session aimed to produce one or two principles towards a flourishing humanity.  We sincerely thank our board of advisors, which included Drs. Chris Laszlo, Judi Neal, Sharda Nandram, Satinder Dhiman, Kathryn Pavlovich, and Cathy DuBois, for their guidance and counsel in making this event a great success. We also wish to thank all the speaker and presenters for being a part of this journey.

There is a great demand for videos for replays and we have been working on editing them and making them available. Here is a wonderful playlist called Consciousness-Based leadership @ MIU, comprising of seven keynote and panel conversations, each of which is about 60-90 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLs4GvULvBU44jIFWP4IaDCXb61lgLMk3Y

Here is a brief summary of the videos. The opening keynote conversation with Dr. Tony Nader lays out how consciousness is primary, which is a new paradigm with increasingly greater explanatory power. Then there is the transcendental keynote conversation where they lay out the benefits of transcendence, its neuroscience, and the path ahead.  Then there is the quantum and technological conversation where we discuss how quantum world leads us to different ways of leading and organizing, from an unboundarized and uncontainerized view of ourselves as the field of consciousness. Then there is the organizational cultural conversation where we discuss positive scholarship away from deficit and towards flourishing, and from workplace spirituality to global consciousness, as the organizing metaphors.  Then there is the panel conversation on Dialogic approaches where we begin with asserting that our words have more power than we think, in bringing about a harmonious world.  Then there is the panel conversation on the future of management education, where we agreed that the future is consciousness-based education, based on empathy and fairness and justice.  Then there is a panel on Vedic approaches to Oneness, beginning with Bhagavad Gita, and including other traditions towards unboundedness and self-transformation.

In addition, Here is the play list of about 25 pre-recorded short (7-8 minute each) research presentations by the authors themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io4mRLsEMjg&list=PLs4GvULvBU44ng3DX6qbDegNsS9lzzCCm

 Would appreciate if you could enjoy these videos, and post your comments.

Wish you a blissful and flourishing life!

Anil Maheshwari, Conference Organizer and Co-Chair

We are more than we think

Our thinking is limited to things one can think about. Some of those things are sense objects and some are mental objects. Our perceptions and feelings are difficult to think about. Our being is beyond thinking. 

We know more than we can tell. That is tacit knowledge. Our words have more power than we think. These could be words spoken with others or with oneself. This is our latent power. 

We exist in more ways than we can tell: The body, the mind, the intellect, the spirit, the soul. We are the unbounded Brahman.  At some level of thinking all these things vanish. We become no-thing. No-thing is actually everything. But there is no way to think about everything.

We have more than we know. We have all the laws of nature within us. We exist in conformance with, and are the manifestation, of all the laws of nature. We permeate every part of every galaxy. 

We are beyond qualities, beyond names, beyond words, beyond language. We transcend and include all of those. We are silence in dynamism, wholeness in motion. We are naturally blissful, like the earth is grassfull and the sky is starfull. 

We are naturally full, or fullness, or wholeness. We just need to be aware of it at every moment. We are a wave flowing and rising and falling. Particle wise, we are at best a little boat that rises and ebbs with the waves. The life force naturally flows through us in its own rhythm.

As Pascal said, the Heart has its reasons, that Reason has no knowledge of. Nurture your own heart. Be with those that nurture your heart. Let your heart swell with joy. Share the joy with the others. And you will get 10x in return. And the whole world will be one big happy family!

Life is a donut!

Life is a donut. 🍩 (or doughnut).

We are donuts. Our bodies are donuts. Bodies have a hollow tube running through them. When the hollow tube remains flowing and clean, our bodies are healthy. The moment it clogs, diseases appear. Our life is also like a donut with a hollow hollow tube through it.  The upper side of the donut is the absolute, the unbounded cosmos. The bottom part of the donut is the relative, bounded by resting on the earth. Both sides are essential. So long as the hole in this donut connects the absolute with the relative, the mind functions well and remains healthy. Life gets into unbounded flow at some times, while remains engaged in specific chores at other times. 

When we eat too much or eat junk stuff, our body’s hollow tube begins to clog. When we don’t flush it down it with enough water the tube clogs. Similarly if we take in too much data and information we need time and energy to digest it. Undigested information clogs the hollow tube. The connection between the top and the bottom of the donut gets clogged. The donut becomes more like a pancake. At that point, the view is mostly of the relative side of life, the bottom of the pancake, and the view of the top is totally obscured.  Yogic techniques such as pratyaahara are ways to unclog our mind. Meditation helps to reopen the hollow tube of the mind and makes the pancake back into a donut. Attention of the mind goes round and round in the donut in a self-referral manner, even as it connects with the infinity above and the minuscule stuff below.  

A donut can be fresh thick soft and sweet. It can be glazed and have toppings, and be of different sizes. Similarly our life can be fresh expansive smiling joyful and grateful. It can have its idiosyncracies and passions and wisdom. OR else life can be short brutal nasty dour fearful stale and putrefying. 

Be a fresh donut 🍩everyday.  

Covid19 Survey – US vs India

Covid-19 virus has unleashed mayhem in the world, and it has caused many deaths. The pattern of deaths has, however, been uneven. As of the date of publishing (May 18, 2020), there have been 30 times more deaths from #Covid19 in the US (90,000 deaths) than in India (3,000 deaths), even though the US has only one-fourth the population of India. I was curious to find out why it was so.

We conducted a quick 5-minute survey with a simple One-big-question of rank-ordering 9 factors in terms of their importance in causing this huge differential in death rates in the US and India. The 9 factors were: Demography (older population in the US); Sickness (high chronic conditions in the US); Immunity (Indian soil; Yoga, pranayama etc); Culture (greater social cohesion and family support in India); Public Policy (how seriously each country mounted a unified approach); Resources (availability of medical equipment); Genetics (difference in two populations); Diet (more vegetarians in India); Measurement (less reliable data from India). There was a None-of-the above option too. In addition, we added two question on their expectations of the way forward. One was about how long it will take to come out of Covid19 situation into normalcy. And the other was about what might be the markers for returning to normalcy.

We did convenience sampling using social media contacts of the researcher who should be in a position to compare and express their perceptions. 66 respondents from US, India, and other countries, filled out survey. Of the 66 respondents 60% were resident in India, 29% in the US, and 11% in other countries. The respondents including 55% from the researcher’s own age cohort of 55-64 years, while 42% were younger. A couple of respondents were over 65 years. The respondents were 71% male and 29% female.

Here are the main results (see bar chart below). Demographics (Older population) in the US was perceived to be the major cause of higher deaths from Covid-19 in the US than in India. Public policy choices and higher rates of Chronic sickness in the US were also identified as the next important causes for higher deaths in the US compared with India. Higher levels of Immunity was ranked highest as the major reason for lower death rates in India. Culture, Diet and Genetics received only moderate support. Surprisingly, availability of resources was ranked as least important cause.

66 Respondents’ ranking of 9 factors to explain differential death rates in USA and India

Moving forward, half the people (48%) said that it will take 1-2 years to return to normalcy. 31% of respondents said it will take less than one year, while 21% said it will take more than 2 years (see pie-chart below). US residents were twice as likely as Indian residents to think that it might take 2 or more years. For return to normalcy, the preferred enablers were availability of a tried and tested vaccine and a tested cure for Covid19, in that order (see bar graph below). Declining death rates were a lesser important marker, while availability of resources such as PPE was considered the least important marker.

66 Respondents’ expectations of time frame for return to normalcy
66 Respondents’ ranking of factors for return to normalcy

Here below is some more granular analysis.

Age: Respondents in 55-64 years ranked Public policy and Measurement issues higher, while those in 35-44 age group ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) higher, as factors for explaining the differential death rates.

Gender: Male respondents ranked Demographics (aging population) and Measurement issues higher, while Female respondents prioritized Immunity, Diet, and Availability of resources.

Location: Respondents living in Rest of the World (11% of total) ranked Public policy choices and Measurement issues by a wider margin than those living within the US and India. Indian residents ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) as more important. US residents ranked Public policy and availability of Resources as more important issues.

Additional comments from Respondents: One respondent wrote that it may be taboo in the Indian culture to report Covid death from a social stigma perspective. One reported that there is greater resilience to pain in India. One reported that traditional Indian homes include a central space to grow Ayurvedic plants such as Tulsi. Some reported that the cause as well as cure for Covid19 were unclear and should be thoroughly investigated.

Summary: This survey shows that there are different perceptions of what has caused dramatically lower death rates reported in India compared to the US. Development of immunity is considered the best ameliorating factor. An effective public health policy could be another.

Lessons learned: Healthy holistic lifestyle including Yoga Sutras based practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation are among the best ways to a create a strong platform of immunity on which specific vaccines can work effectively! In fact, the development of a special vaccine for Covid-19 is essentially a way to increase immunity against this specific virus.

Covid-19 is a very important world-transforming, life-and-death matter. Please write to us as to what you think. If you wish, you may also take 5 minutes to fill out this survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CovidAKM . Thank you!

Being vs Doing

No matter what we do, there is always a feeling of exhaustion and boredom after some time. Whether we are talking or walking, eating or reading, there is an exhaustion of sense organs and physical limbs. The only thing that does not bring an exhaustion, but brings in new energy, is to just Be. What is Being, and how is it different from Doing?  

Being is to just Be what one truly is. We are pure consciousness. When we witness our Self, there is a great effortless feeling of lightness and joy. Freedom from boundaries of space-time releases us into a light, open unbounded space where all is one, and it feels invincible and awe-inspiring. This awareness of our unbounded self brings us closer to knowing the truly limitless nature of our capabilities – be it creativity, imagination, ideas, knowledge, energy, or anything else.

How does one just Be? It is by first understanding that to be is not to see our physical body or to even to see our mind or feelings. These can be paths to Become, but Being ultimately transcends all these manifestations of body and mind. There are many paths to Being. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provides an eight-limbed path to Be. One can begin to Be by following the behavioral principles of non-violence and truth. One can begin to Be using physical asanas or the breathing practices of pranayama. One can begin with withdrawing the sense organs inward through pratyahara. One can also turn ones attention totally inwards through dharana, dhyana and samadhi. The last three techniques are totally internal activities that are done b turning the attention inward, after the body and mind have been stilled. Just as one can see a clear reflection of unbounded sky in a clear lake, so also one can see our unbounded consciousness reflected within ourselves when the mind has been stilled.

Doing vs Being vs Having thus becomes a matter of politics of goals. There are many goals competing for our attention. Being joyful and healthy is usually an obvious primary goal. However, the goals of having superior means (such as wealth) tend to have their own charm. The goals of personal development (such as widening one’s knowledge and experience base) have their own charm. Thus, there is a plethora of goals in the relative domain. While those goals remain useful to the extent we are an embodied Being, we should also not ignore the fact that the body is good only to the extent it houses our Being, our Life force itself. It would be good just Be, at least some of the time!

Yoga Sutras is Positive Psychology

Yoga means union or addition. Positive means on the growing side of the number line. Positive is represented by the same + (plus) sign as is addition or union. It is not a coincidence. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is indeed Positive Psychology.

Positivity works on the principle of optimism about the future, and one’s confidence to grow and face any challenges in being able to enjoy life. Optimism comes from the implicit realization that the rest of the universe is working to guide us in the direction of growth and joy. Optimism is like finding a home in the inner Being, which is pure consciousness. This pure awareness is the unified field of all the laws of nature, which guides us through the principle of least action to do less accomplish more. The concept of inner strength comes from this self-realization of self as an unbounded invincible being.

Positive Psychology is the science of well-being. Dr. Martin Feldman of University of Pennsylvania started this field in 1997 with a speech as the president of American Psychological Association. He presents a five-factor model for wellbeing–  in the acronym of PERMA. The five letters stand for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & purpose, and Achievements. Further research on positive psychology found that Self-discipline and Grit are more important than IQ or talent for achieving success and happiness. They also found that gratitude, hope and love are the most correlated with well-being. The single best predictor of well-being is gratitude, by far.

Yoga Sutras provide an eight-limbed path for union with unbounded pure consciousness. The first limb is yama. The relative world can be thought of in terms of the rules that govern relationships between individuals. The Yama, the master administrator, uses those rules to govern and see who has done how much good and should receive how much happiness. The five yamas are Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non-violence), Asteya (non-attachment), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-possession). These five yamas structure the unity of natural laws to govern. The second limb of Yoga Sutras is niyama, or a set of rules for personal conduct. The five main niyamas are Shauch (cleanliness or purity), Santosh (contentment or satisfaction), Tapas (purification through strong effort), Swadhaya (self learning), and Ishawarpranidhan (bringing god into one’s awareness).

Yoga Sutras are a great path to developing the qualities for gratefulness and happiness. Gratitude directly maps to god-awareness, or appreciation for the gift of life. I wrote earlier on this blog that “what makes people most happy is to be present, to be here now! We are happy when we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing at the moment. Gratitude and Forgiveness are other habits that bring happiness.”   I believe that Positive Psychology is a secular version of Yoga Sutras.

Mind Without Fear – A Book Review

I finished listening to Mr. Rajat Gupta’s [photo credit: Wikipedia] memoir ‘Mind without Fear’ in just two sessions. It is a compelling story of the Mind and the Times of an exceptionally accomplished person. He had the good luck to be the right person in the right place to become first non (white) American managing director of McKinsey & Co, when the firm was ripe to go global. He was the wrong guy at the wrong time when he entered the financial markets with the wrong guy, and got the wrong overzealous prosecutor thus getting jailed for two years. He draws inspiration from his father who was an Indian Civil Services officer during the British rule but resigned Mahatma Gandhi’s call for freedom and was jailed and beaten mercilessly with permanent damage. He also draws inspiration from the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose beautiful poetry threads the book and gives it the title of Mind without Fear. He also draws solace from his strong family and the many friends who stood with him and believed his story. He however deeply regrets not taking the stand and testifying in his own trial, as he received overwhelming advice from his lawyers and his loving family that allowing the prosecutor to question him directly will be too risky. At the end of it all, he comes out of the ordeal with his head held high, without much bitterness for those who deserted him including the McKinsey firm who dismissed him summarily and took his name off their alumni list.

I believe Rajat Gupta’s story, as I have done over the years. He is a fellow IIT-Delhi alumnus ten years my senior. I met him at Pan-IIT meets in 2007 and 2009. He looked handsome and seemed very honest and a good listener. I do remember some of the stories of the next few years as the attorney Preet Bharara with political ambitions set his sights on a fellow successful Indian. There was a story in the Indian press about Preet Bharara and Dr Sanjay Gupta, whose moms knew each other from India, about whose son is doing better in the US. I recall a feeling of a certain revulsion at that approach to achieving success by beating down an iconic fellow Indian. Some of my well-meaning friends however felt at that time that greed and power had gotten the better of Rajat Gupta.

Rajat Gupta has done much good work including seting up Indian School of Business and starting the Public Health Foundation of India. He also started the Global Fund against three major diseases. These inspirational stories are laid out in great detail in the book. That alone makes the book worthy of attention. What the book does not tell is that none other than Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, compared Rajat Gupta with the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru for having started two world class organizations in India. I also salute Rajat Gupta for his great work. May God grant him strength to continue his good work. He wants to work on the American penal system which he observed from the inside and found deeply lacking. He should also write a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, the book that he read during his incarceration and which helped him come out stronger, with malice towards none and with his head held high!