Moksha (Liberation) and Beyond

I had the good fortune of visiting the Brahmistan of India a few weeks ago. It is located at the geographical center of the country of India, a two hour drive from the city of Jabalpur. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s movement owns a large tract of land, where a beautiful and blissful residential and Transcendental Meditation facility has been established. A large number of Vedic Pandits meditate together at this location to spread peace around India, and indeed the world. The Pandits also do Vedic chanting here. In particular, everyday they do a Rudra Abhishekam, homage to Lord Shiva every day.  The chanting in this particular location is special, with 1331 (being 11 x 11 x 11) highly trained Maharishi Vedic pandits chanting together. Thus it is called Ati Rudra Abhishekam, (Ati means Extremely Large). It was Maharishi’s dream project, and it got fulfilled a few years after he passed on.

Brahmistan 2016 group

My daughter and I went to the Brahmistan knowing that Ati Rudra Abhishekam is a highly transformative event. Just listening to and witnessing this live chanting can have a powerful and liberating effect on oneself. We were taken to the huge meditation hall and we were seated comfortably on sofas. All the pandits, young and old, sat  on the floor, while a few pandits sat on stage doing the actions of bathing the shivlingas with milk.(see picture)

AtiRudraAbhishek

The chanting began with an hour-long obligatory oblations to many gods as well as donors. Then began the real Rudra Abhishekam chanting by the almost 1500 pandits present in the room. It was a very deeply resonant experience for me. In just a couple of minutes, my head grew heavy and woozy-doozy, and my eyes naturally closed. I was neither awake nor sleepy, and began to have amazing perceptual experiences. I ‘saw’ a giant crane, like the ones used in constructing tall buildings, pick me up by my head from the well of a tall building, and place me on the side of the building.  I felt liberated from the confines of my physical body. This is the state or the feeling of ‘moksha’.

I had never had such a vision before. Such visions are rare but powerful indicators of a quantum leap into higher wisdom, say my learned friends with whom I have shared this experience. Where do we go from here though? How do we use our liberation and higher states of consciousness for the maximum good? Do we evaporate into air like camphor, and spread like a fragrance that is always there everywhere? Do we become like a sun and emit powerful light in all directions at all times?

This leads into my Billion Buddha Project … to ensure that at least a billion people wake up to their true divine infinite powerful creative nature and live a naturally and effortlessly happy life. Enlightening others to this reality is the theme of the rest of my life.

 

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Messages and Lessons from the Fourth Annual International Deep Green Symposium at MUM

DeepGreenSymp - grouppic

Maharishi University of Management held its fourth annual international deep green symposium in Fairfield Iowa on June 26-27, 2015. There were 16 invited speakers, including two from Harvard University, one from India, and many from MUM and around the country to present their research and perspectives on sustainability. The speakers presented their research from philosophical, organizational to technical perspectives in a short 20 minutes. Some of the messages and lessons from the conference were as below.

Leopold’s “land ethic” says that “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Dr. Scott Herriott analyzed the validity of this statement from three philosophical perspectives: Utilitarianism (Bentham, Mill), De-ontology (Kant), and virtue ethics (Aristotle), and found that none of them did full justice to the land ethic. He concluded that the most effective way to cultivate the virtues responsible for environmental sustainability is to develop the consciousness of the individual, and help everyone do spontaneous right action in accordance with natural law. Sustainability refers to a very old and simple concept …do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you! Ms. Vicki Alexander Herriott spoke about ‘Consciousness-based sustainability’, defined as our ability to act in a way that meets the needs of the present without diminishing opportunities for the future. It is based on our level of consciousness, our awareness and experience of the interconnectedness of all things.

Nowhere is the sense of memory about the past and their connection to Natural Law deeper than in East Africa. Mr. Jim Schaefer reported on Sustainable Consciousness based projects in Africa, with the purpose to enliven he memory of Natural Law, to enhance connectivity to Natural Law, and to awaken from within the African people the full potential of all Africans to create a sustainable future for themselves.

Resilience is a quality akin to adaptability, which is critical for ecosystems to robustly thrive amidst environmental turbulence. Dr. David Goodman spoke about developing resiliency through conservation. He reminded us to Leave No Trace while traveling through the wilderness areas in order to protect these special places for future generations.

Progress towards sustainability at the community level depends upon successfully implementing local strategic plans. Dr. Ayako Huang demonstrated that the processes and challenges of the shared action-learning approach to sustainability projects proceeds through five sequential steps. Shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires changes on the individual and community levels. Ms. Anna Bruen explored why and how communities are shifting from fossil fuel consumption towards renewable energy adoption and the relationship between individual action and community transformation, using examples of what a couple of mid-western towns are doing to address their energy needs.

Greenhouse gases arise from two primary sources: direct emissions such as from agriculture and waste, and from burning of fossil fuels. There are increasing concentrations of GHGs in atmosphere, and increase in global average temperatures, which lead to various adverse impacts emerging over time. Dr. Robert Stowe of Harvard University showed that there are two major mechanisms to contain and reduce carbon from the atmospheres: carbon cap and trading or a carbon tax. He reported on the discussions between US and China on the technical issues towards a global climate accord in Paris later this year. Managing the product life cycle more effectively can help re-consume all waste, and thus reduce the waste going into landfills. Using the examples of HPs recycling of printer cartridges and others, Dr. Dennis Heaton and his colleague showed that Life cycle thinking helps consider social and environmental impacts not only of one’s own business operations but also of upstream and downstream supply chain partners. As awareness of the whole value stream expands, opportunities for improvement can be seen.

The Urbanization project is likely to be completed in our children’s lifetimes. Dr. Anil Maheshwari showed how Data-smart Big cities will become digital governance platforms to responsively and interactively serve a superior experience to their residents. Using the multi-million records data set from the usage of bicycle rentals in the city of Chicago, he showed how collecting and analyzing big data from many sources can help uncover service usage patterns to design better experiences. In contrast, Drs. Lonnie Gamble and Travis Cox explored the limits of how much technology can accomplish, and asked directly for a Sustainability Revolution, where unity and diversity coexist in a symbiotic relationship. They challenge the blinding notion that technologies are neutral – that the only thing that matters about them is who has access to their controls, that they have no intrinsic qualities that inevitably produce certain ecological or political outcomes. They described deep sustainability as going beyond efficiency and substitution, in service to radical redesign based on a worldview that uses ecology as a metaphor rather than the machine, holism rather than reductionism, compliments science with many ways of knowing, and is grounded in an experiential and intellectual understanding of the unity that underlies the surface diversity of life.

Mr. Stuart Valentine showed how an awakening to the abundant flow of energy Is leading the transition to a renewable energy economy. He called for an enhanced corporate performance report card, that naturally takes us to a circular & more spiritual view of the economy.   This requires a fresh financial toolbox informed by Nature’s principles to support a new circular economic investment framework. Echoing Gandhi’s message of there being enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed, Dr. Ram Ramanan showed why we should go beyond the triple bottom line (of profit, people and planet) and called for ethical decision-making as the way forward for creating wealth for all stake-holders and not only the shareholders. His ethical values checklist including transparency, reliability, citizenship, and responsiveness. Mr. Ved Nanda spoke about how international law can be a force for sustainability by creating moral pressure, as well as frameworks for guiding ethical decision-making.

Dr. Sunita Singh Sengupta of ISOL said that the ancient Indian value system provides a broader context of nature and human sustainability. The concept of Rin (or debts) shows that one should feel grateful for what one has received from one’s father, teacher, the gods, and also the motherland. Ecological insights from Vedas include associating deforestation with the destruction of the state, and reforestation with the rebuilding of the state. And that no creature is superior to another and all have a right to live happily in the ecosystem. And that care should be taken to channelize wealth for organic development of the society. Dr. Shanmugamurthy Lakshmanan of Harvard University showed how using ‘consciousness as the foundation’, science can become complete, by bridging the gap between ancient science and modern science. For example, the fundamentals of Ayurveda (ancient Vedic medical system) can be explained effectively using modern nanotechnology mechanisms from a subatomic, quantum-mechanical level.

The event soared high with great motivation from hearing Mr. Gary Guller, the only person with one arm to have climbed Mt Everest. Any is possible, he said, if you believe in yourself and in your team. When challenges inevitably come, you just have to give yourself the permission to succeed. MUM’s President Dr. Bevan Morris, delivered the closing remarks with reading uplifting remarks from Maharishi’s book on ‘Heaven on Earth’. That is the end-goal of all sustainable development, he said. The plan is to establish a new way of life, to eliminate all the unhealthful aspects of the way our lives are lived, and introduce a life of bliss.

Video recordings of these excellent talks will be released in due course.

International Yoga Day as the Independence day of the human spirit

The celebration of the International Yoga Day is akin to being the Independence Day for the human spirit.

The word Yoga means ‘union’, with the transcendent infinite Spirit. A Yogi means one who has had direct perception of the transcendent. For example, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was one such person. The celebration of Yoga day empowers people in 193 countries to freely and legitimately practice transcendence, and achieve liberation and bliss. Yoga is more than just the physical postures, which are needed to get the physique flexible enough for the energy to flow freely in the body. If yoga were just physical steps, circus performers would be called yogi. Yoga is simple and yet profound. There are many resources for the practice of yoga. The united nations (Unesco) page on the International yoga day is idayofyoga.org

This day should also be called the International world health day. Yoga is preventive medicine. It helps avert danger before it come: ‘Heyam dukham anagatam’. In contract, the modern western medicine is a disease management system. Yoga is about wholeness, about union with the infinite powerful source, and thus about health at every level. The legitimacy of yoga begins to free up humanity and healthcare from the clutches of industrial medicine. In particular, yoga frees people from the clutches of pharmaceutical companies who fund medical research and control the corporate media. World Health Organization (WHO) is likely to declare Yoga as being good for health. That would also free up the practice of yoga from the tyranny of the clinical test system, which is loaded in favor of big corporations and lobbyists. It is absurd to do clinical trials for Yoga to prove general improvement health at all levels.

The International Yoga day is also the launch of an effective antidote to capitalism. There is no force bigger than yoga to take on the relentless march of unbridled capitalism, which is corrosive to the human spirit. When was the last time 193 countries voted unanimously to make such a powerful declaration as the International Yoga Day, and practice it in large numbers. Yoga gives people free and effective techniques to provide complete control over their own body and mind. Yoga liberates people from the dictates of the western capitalist medical system which forces us to spend an inordinate amount of time and money in pursuing the medical system.

It is also the Father’s Day today. Enjoy with your family and friends.

It is also the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. It is also a pleasant summer day. So enjoy some time outdoors with nature, and practice yoga!

Anything is Possible: Neuroplasticity provides proof

Anything is Possible: Neuroplasticity provides proof

Our brain is a primary driver of our physiology and decision-making processes. Not many people recognize and realize how plastic and malleable our brain is. It also opens up new vitas for thinking big in all walks of life. Transcendental Meditation is a powerful way of using neuroplasticity towards a more purified nervous system and new waves of effortless accomplishments.

Not long ago the brain was said to be configured permanently. Habits were supposed to be set early in life and incredibly difficult to change. Attitudes to life were considered fixed. Education was supposed to be completed early in life, and then one used that to work all their life. However, all that is passé and incorrect.

Progressive waves of neurological research have shown that the brain is soft-wired and not hardwired. It is almost completely reconfigurable in a short period of time at any age. The cortical tissue (grey matter) is fungible. i.e. a loss of any sensory ability can free up the associated parts of the cortex to be deployed towards greater capabilities in other sensory or motor areas. E.g. Hellen Keller lost the sense of vision but gained a more acute sense of sound and touch; this was due to redeployment of the brain’s cortical mass from the sense of eyes to the other senses. Research shows that the brain changes at all points in time: 70% of neural synapses are rewired every day. The direction of the rewiring can be deliberately changed through focus and persistence towards alternative action patterns. The brain can be rewired quickly also through biofeedback systems. There are no limits to learning and accomplishment at any age.

At a personal level, neuroplasticity demands of us big thinking, i.e. ambitious ideas. Everyone can dream of being an enlightened person, very soon. Everyone can dream of being perfectly positive, healthy, and prosperous. In my own life, it empowers me to make the right decisions for moving forward singlemindedly and without doubt to pursue big goals. In family relationships, I can aim to restructure all my relationships through unilateral change in attitude and behaviors, knowing that my family members’ brains are plastic and can adapt for the better. My work relationships can similarly improve through initiating the right kinds of projects, aligning my work with my interests, and molding my work interactions for the better. I can start new organizations with lofty missions, knowing full well that my brain has enough capability and adaptability to align itself for effortless accomplishment of those missions.

Neuroplasticity also encourages me to pursue my meditation practice with full vigor and determination to become an enlightened person, and to help everyone around me become enlightened. As my good friend Gary Guller, the only person with one arm to have climbed Mt. Everest, says, ‘Anything is Possible’. Now there is neuroplastic evidence to support that claim!

On Unconditional Love

On Unconditional Love  … by Anil Maheshwari

Dr. Eben Alexander is a Harvard-based neurosurgeon who went through a Near-Death Experience and wrote a very insightful book, called “Proof of Heaven”, about the experience. From a materialistic paradigm, his brain got infected with E.Coli bacteria. His brain’s cortical surface tissue was completely shut down as a result of the bacterial attack. He was brought back to normal brain functioning in a few days through antibiotics. During these few days of non-normal brain functioning, he saw things that could materialistically only be described as hallucination. Without new inputs coming into his brain, he was perhaps experiencing self-reflective memories from the still functioning middle part of the brain, the thalamus and the brainstem.

He describes himself at one point as just a point-like primordial awareness without access to language or emotion. Then he vividly saw creepy-crawly earthworm-like creatures and grotesque animal faces moving around him, kinda representative of hell. Then he saw ‘a beautiful, incredible, dream world’ … filed with angel-like golden-haired pretty women floating around him along with butterflies and beautiful sounds. He specifically remembers messages of feeling loved, safe, and free from mistakes. He then felt a sense of place, as a fetus in a protective womb of Om the primordial sound. He says he received so much knowledge, effortlessly and for good, which will take more than a lifetime to unpack. He concludes that ‘unconditional love is the greatest scientific truth’.

From a spiritual perspective, Eben was able to experience the mystical totality that each one of us is. He was reporting what might be called super-normal experience in spiritual parlance. With sensory inputs cut off just like in meditation, he was perhaps able to transcend to a higher state of consciousness, where he saw a complete oneness of the universe, which he felt was better than 1000 times the best scenario he could ever describe in English language. This resembles the infinite creative unmanifest potential value of transcendental consciousness. With the body not functioning, he could be realizing his atman (soul), the ‘dweller in his body’.

I feel that Eben is in a unique position to speak from both paradigms, materialistic as well as transcendental. His statement that ‘unconditional love is the greatest scientific truth’, resonates aligns with all spiritual traditions especially Vedic and Buddhism. However, from a physio-causal perspective, it is not clear how he can remember all these fantastical multi-dimensional experiences so vividly, so much after the actual accident happened. I would still not doubt the veracity of his self-reported experiences, as Vedic Science values on the subjective experiences of the observer, under proper circumstances.

Love is all that is. Love conquers all. Unconditional love conquers unconditionally. There is  usually no unconditional love except from a mother. King Solomon’s story is an allegorical proof of this wisdom. Be like a nurturing mother to all around you. Like the Buddha, help everyone and refuse no one. Giving them love will bring you more love. We are all one. Recognize that, see all as part of us, and deal with all as kindly and lovingly as one can.

Acupuncture Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Can-Acupuncture-Treat-UCAcupuncture Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Many people suffer from auto-immune diseases. Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is one such auto-immune disease. It is characterized mostly by an inflammation of the colon leading to constant bleeding from the rear end. Medical science calls it as part of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). There is no definitive cause assigned to it. There is no cure for the disease. Medicines like Mesalamine are designed mostly to contain the disease, i.e. to avoid its flaring up. I was able to obtain great success for myself in this disease with Acupuncture form of therapy. This piece below is to share my story with a wider audience so they can have a path to hope and success.

I first suffered from UC more than a dozen years ago. I was going through a particularly job-related stressful period in my life. I ignored the problem, till I could clearly see blood in my stool. I went to the emergency room and had colonoscopy done. I was prescribed steroids (Prednisone), which stopped the bleeding within a few days. I was also prescribed a Mesalazine formulation designed for long-term maintenance. I am against taking medicines for life. I immediately sought the help of Meditation, and went for a 10-day Vipassana course. I felt much relieved and happy, and in a few months, I let go of the maintenance medicine.

About 5 years after the first occurrence, I had another flare-up of the condition of UC. There was another job-related stress and some kind of a sinking feeling. After colonoscopy, the usual steroid and Mesalazine regiment was prescribed. However, this time the medicines were ineffective and the bleeding continued. My Gastro-Enterologist (GE) doctor now wanted to prescribe an immuno-suppresive medicine which worked on a different mechanism. After noticing its side effects including a form of cancer, I decided to obtain second opinion. Then I also consulted a tertiary GE specialist at a teaching hospital who had spent his life studying just UC. He also told me that there is no definite cause for this. He recommended that I should continue to take the maintenance regimen, as that is the best bet. I did another course of Vipassana meditation, which gave much relief but still did not completely stop the bleeding.

A chance encounter with an Acupuncturist set me on a different course. He said that they have no problem in curing UC. I was intrigued. I found a nice acupuncturist nearby and consulted her. She spent a whole hour listening to my symptoms in great detail. She also said that I will be cured soon. I was impressed. With two weeks of acupuncture treatment, with some herbs, my bleeding completely stopped. I repeat: bleeding completely stopped with acupuncture in 10 days, when it won’t stop for the previous six months. This looks like magic but it is completely true. I continued to do maintenance sessions with the acupuncturist at reduced frequencies, finally just once a month. My body and mind felt healthier. After an year I was completely cured.

A couple of years later, we relocated to another city for work. Again, because of job-related stress, UC reared its head. After colonoscopy I was prescribed the usual regimen of medicine, which did not help in stopping the bleeding. I lost a lot of weight. I called my previous acupuncturist and planned to fly out to her for treatment. However, she completely assured me that if I found a good acupuncturist in my new city, I will be able to get the same benefit. I followed her advice and selected an acupuncturist in my new city. He also said that the chances of success were excellent. Once again, with just two weeks of acupuncture treatment and herbs, my bleeding completely stopped. That was magic, repeated again.

I wanted to understand how this thing works. I was told that a good place to start was ‘The Web that has not Weaver’. It is a good book, but it is difficult to understand their language beyond the introductory chapters. They speak in terms of Chi and meridians. The reader can read this book on their own.

It has been several years since my last UC flare-up. Even now, I go to acupuncturist if my body begins to feel even a little bit uneasy. And I feel instantly better. Others are free to try.

I believe that the permanent solution lies within ourselves. We should be mentally strong and positive. There is nothing that we cannot do if we put our minds to it. We should prepare for the worst and hope for the best in every situation. We should lower our expectations. Being alive is great. We should be grateful for our life and everything else we have. We should take the time to thank all the beings that make your life livable and enjoyable. Our family, friends, customers, employers, suppliers, colleagues, restaurants, snow-removers, pets, and everyone else.

Auto-immune disease means that the body turns on itself. i.e. our body’s defense mechanisms like Adrenal glands get into overgear to protect against some imagined or real enemy. We exhaust ourselves in some time, run on fumes for a while, and then we get into a downward spiral from which it becomes difficult to escape. The best preventive method is to not feel negative at all in the first place. Try to be positive, always. Try to see something good in everything. Once negative feeling arises, it will have its effect on us. We can try to deny or suppress it, but it will come out some time or the other, in some way or the other.

We should try to see the world as sunny. There are many people who have lost their limbs or vision, but have not given up their dreams. Keep dreaming of a great future ahead. Then keep working towards it. Once life has a lofty purpose, then everything else, gain or loss, seems small and insignificant. Nothing bothers us and our bodies anymore. We can be as happy as we want to be.

Leadership models: Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

Leadership models: Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

I had the opportunity recently to present a talk on Leadership at a seminar at our university. The attendees were about 60 graduate students. I began my talk with a wide-ranging view of leadership, including my own lessons on leadership (posted on this blog), Steven Covey’s 4-role model of leadership, among other perspectives. Included in my presentation were two case studies of Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs. These were worthy case studies as one was about socio-spiritual leadership, and the other one was about technological-organizational leadership. The case studies were of comparable quality, and were full of colorful images. A fellow presenter later observed that the attendees were much more alert and engaged when I spoke about Steve Jobs. This happened at a school where we focus a lot on spirituality and morality, based on Vedas and consciousness.

I wonder why Jobs was the more attractive message to the multicultural graduate students? One simple explanation could be that most of these young people use Apple products such as Macs and iPhones and are interested in all things Apple. Another reason could be that a majority of participants in the seminar were computer science students and therefore technology leadership would be of greater appeal to them. Yet another explanation could be that Jobs is a contemporary figure who died only a few years ago, while Gandhi died way back in 1948. Yet another reason could be that this talk was held in the US, to an audience who might care more about American icons rather than the distant ones from Asia. Most students had already seen his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech.

There are any similarities between the leadership models of Gandhi and Jobs. Both were transformative leaders of planetary scale: stubborn individuals who bent the existing reality to their dreams and purposes and achieved great results. Both had strong spiritual underpinnings: Gandhi was a believer in universal brotherhood, and Jobs was influenced by Zen. Both were adventurous, creative and lived on the edge: incessantly innovating and keeping their opponents on tenterhooks. Both played two major transformative innings each: Gandhi won his moral leadership spurs working for Indians in South Africa, and then moved to India to achieve India’s freedom from the British Empire; Jobs made history with the design of personal computers (Apple-II and Macintosh), and then helped Apple achieve even greater success with the iPod/iTunes music ecosystem and the iPhone/Apps computing-communication ecosystem. Finally, both died unconventionally, one to an assasin’s bullet and the other to cancer.

I think that Gandhi’s leadership model is very relevant even today (or else I won’t have bothered to present it). Gandhi worked towards universal goals such as freedom and human dignity using innovative paths such as truth, non-violence and self-reliance. These goals and paths were worthy of emulation by Martin Luther King Jr. In the US, and by Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Mynamar, and many more.

The concept of freedom may have different meaning today. There are wealth inequities and technological colonization in the world today. The French economist Thomas Picketty has analyzed the causes of wealth inequities, and made a strong case for a ‘global income tax’ for global growth and happiness. Mohammad Yunus has innovated with micro-finance. On the technology side, Elon Musk is revolutionizing transportation with electric cars and inexpensive space travel. Google and Facebook and Amazon are also transforming the world. There is room for a new kind of a leadership today, beyond Gandhi and Jobs.