How to Transform the World Scientifically with Yoga
Scientific Framework for World Transformation with Yoga
Pradeep B. Deshpande1
The Buddha is said to have remarked to a Raja, ‘If I convince you, you will convince your Mantris (council of Ministers) and that in turn means the Praja (subjects) will change’. This time, the opportunity is far bigger and nothing short of world transformation, global peace. We now have two world leaders one whom doesn’t need any convincing and the second, who will soon be convinced. Here is why I make such a bold statement:
- In the September 22nd interview in New Delhi, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Mr. Modi, Do you meditate, do you do Yoga? Mr. Modi replied, I was fortunate that I was introduced to Yoga and Pranayam at an early age. This has been very useful to me. I always advise everyone to make this part of their life.
- In the Op Ed column in the Wall Street Journal on September 26th, Mr. Modi wrote, It has been said, doing the right things is as important as doing things right.
- In his speech at the United Nations on September 27th, Mr. Modi advocated healthier life-styles and proposed the creation of an International Yoga Day at the UN.
- Also at the UN, Mr. Modi said, Yoga was about more than exercise, it could help people connect with the planet better and he suggested that it could help us deal with climate change.
- Carrying a 9 ½-hour jet lag, the Indian Prime Minister arrived in New York on September 25th which happened to be the first day of Sharad Navratri during which he reportedly fasts for nine days consuming only lemonade. If you have followed some of his activities reported in the press and on TV you might wonder how he is able to maintain such a hectic schedule virtually on an empty stomach. I will provide a hint. My Guruji, Guru Mahan Maharishi Paranjothiar goes into seclusion for three weeks of meditation every December for world peace consuming only a glass of milk in the morning and one in the evening. He used to abstain from any food or drink until a couple of years ago. On one occasion in the past, Guruji’s weight was measured and found to be the same before and after. The calorific value of two glasses of milk is around 700 calories while the daily requirements for sustainable weight are 1,000 – 1,500 calories. Fellow-disciple Dr. Sridevi, MD tells us that Guruji conducted a three-day advanced Yoga program right after he came out of meditation in January 2014!
- Commenting on the gift of a rare book, Proceedings of the Parliament of World Religions, Chicago, 1893 from President Obama which contains a paper by Swami Vivekananda, Mr. Modi remarked, I will cherish this gift forever.
- On October 3rd, Times of India carried an article, Barack Obama Expresses Interest in Yoga. The unnamed reporter of the article wrote, While the First Lady has been instrumental in introducing Yoga inside the White House in 2009, Obama appeared to be very impressed by the energy and vigor shown by Modi when he hosted the latter over a private working dinner in the Blue Room of the White House on Monday. They joked about the fact that the rest were eating and the Prime Minister was fasting. The president expressed admiration for the energy and the vigor with which the Prime Minister was able to maintain this rigorous schedule on a diet of only warm water, assistant secretary of state for south and central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal told reporters on Thursday. The president also expressed interest in having a conversation about Yoga. There were some of these very personal, very human moments of interaction, Biswal said in response to a question. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has said that she would help the US Congress pass a resolution in this regard.
The foregoing information is steeped with profound wisdom. This may not be obvious, so I have a bit more explaining to do. After a scientific scrutiny and contemplation spanning four decades, I finally finished developing a scientific framework for world transformation. The book, coauthored with my friend and associate, a Christian-American theoretical physicist turned medical doctor James P. Kowall, MD (Neurology, Internal Medicine; Miami U), PhD (Theoretical Physics, Brown U) titled, The NATURE OF ULTIMATE REALITY AND HOW IT CAN TRANSFORM OUR WORLD: Evidence from Modern Physics; Wisdom of YODA* presents the details. The scientific framework has two components: Excellence of the External and Excellence of the Internal. When Mr. Modi speaks of doing things right, he refers to the excellence of the external and the US-developed six sigma methodology is the way to achieve it. My friend Dr. Mikel Harry co-created six sigma in the seventies while he was at Motorola. By now, six sigma has been reportedly embraced by 40% of US businesses, perhaps more. In this context, six sigma is not merely a quality initiative, it is a fundamental and systemic approach to problem-solving that offers the wherewithal of how to do all that we do from wakeup time to bedtime including what we do at work in the best possible manner.
When the Prime Minister speaks of doing the right things, in my language he speaks of internal excellence. In the absence of an adequate level of internal excellence, an individual may not know what the right things are. For example, we could be engaging in an endless debate on whether the scientific thinking on global warming being manmade has merit. Individuals with a high level of internal excellence would know the truth about global warming since such evolved ones are able to discern truth from falsehood and such individuals wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything. The eight-fold Yoga system (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayam, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) is the way to enhance internal excellence. In 1893 Swami Vivekananda told the mesmerized audience at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago that Yoga was the key to human progress but the bone-bending physical exercises that have come to be known as Yoga are a severely suboptimal use of Yoga. Nikola Tesla was intently listening to Vivekananda. He later remarked If you wish to understand the universe, think of energy, frequency, vibrations. Not many seemed to take that seriously either. He is also reported to have remarked, the day science begins to study non-physical phenomena it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
To comprehend how Yoga can transform ourselves, our organizations, our nations, and the world, it is necessary to unravel the mystery of the beginning of the universe, the mystery of life, how the two connect, and then learn how that understanding can be put to use to increase our level of internal excellence. Rebellious Jewish-American teenager Amanda Gefter started on a quest to unravel the mystery of the beginning of the universe in 1995 with the help of her beloved father Warren Gefter. After talking to world-renowned physicists such as the Late Dr. John Archibald Wheeler, a colleague of Einstein at Princeton, exchanging emails with Dr. Stephen Hawking, and dining with many Nobel laureates and famous physicists, Amanda offered a startling conclusion in her 2014 path-breaking book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: The Ultimate Reality is the Nothingness of the Void after everything in the universe has vanished. But hey, YODA (YOga + VeDA) had already known that (Ref. Rig Veda 10.130 Nasadiya Sukta). Jim Kowall, inspired by the wisdom of Nisarga Datta, the author of I Am That reached an equally mind-blowing conclusion: Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems prove that the nothingness of the void cannot be anything else but consciousness (Brahmanic consciousness). Our book on The Nature of Ultimate Reality details these path-breaking discoveries and presents a scientific approach to rising our level of internal excellence which turns out to be Yoga. The experiments of outstanding western scientists to gain confidence, scientific devices to track progress, and the corroborative evidence supportive of the benefits of the practices are outlined therein.
The words Connect with the Planet Better in Mr. Modi’s speech can now be better understood. Yoga means to connect but connect what to what, and why? Here, connect means connect the Brahmanic consciousness to our individual consciousness. When we succeed, and each of us has the capacity to succeed, a variety of benefits are realized. Jim Kowall will tell you that the weakening of the link between Brahmanic consciousness and Atmanic consciousness is the root cause of all sorts of problems including high levels of stress, which the AMA says is responsible for 80% of all diseases including cancer, suboptimal performance in all walks of life and discord and violence. The 2009 Nobel Prize recipient in Physiology and Medicine Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD of UCSF discovered that high levels of stress causes our telomeres to dwindle and telomerase enzyme levels to fall, leading to accelerated aging and diseases. Colleague Elissa Epel and Blackburn also reported that while exercises, eating healthy, social support, etc., were all restorative, meditation was the most effective intervention capable of slowing the erosion of telomeres. Professors Blackburn and Epel both reportedly meditate. In a 2012 comment in Nature, Prof. Blackburn issued a warning to the world governments to heed the warning on stress. I can go a step further. Stress is the root cause of global unrest and Yoga is the way to address it.
The book contains citations in reputed journals such as Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences-US, medical journals, business publications, such as Forbes, etc., on the myriad of benefits of meditation in a variety of areas; from health and wellness, to exemplary performance in all walks of life including business performance, to better leadership decisions, and less discord and violence. There is a list of famous CEOs and four Nobel Laureates in the Appendix who reportedly meditate. The nation’s three richest individuals, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Larry Elision all reportedly meditate and credit some of their successes to meditation.
There is also a chapter in the book explaining how the ideas on enhancing individual internal excellence can be extended to promote global peace. Researchers at the Maharishi University of Management like renowned quantum physicist and three-time presidential nominee, Dr. John Hagelin, Prof. Roger Nelson of Princeton, and Dr. Rollin McCraty of the Institute of HeartMath have done breakthrough work providing experimental evidence as proof of concept.
In the context of performance including business performance, it is now clear that an inadequate level of internal excellence is a root cause for suboptimal performance even in the best practices such as six sigma. Dr. Harry and I have written a column on this, Criticality of Internal Excellence in Six Sigma for National Transformation. There is also a chapter in the book on this topic. That said, six sigma is one of the most precious gifts to humanity. It is critically important even in the pursuit of internal excellence, except when you sit for meditation. Guruji Paranjothiar, too, is convinced of this. A few years ago, not only did he sit through a full-day session on internal and external excellence but also deputed ten of his people for six sigma training with us. Guruji and I are now conducting joint programs on Internal Excellence. I can narrate tons of examples of how inadequate level of internal excellence affects performance:
- The Ukrainian Government is reportedly undertaking a program to vet 1 million Government officials to root out corruption.
- Last year, the Indian Government established the office of Lokpal to root out corruption in high places.
- In my 2014 visit to India, my favorite driver and friend Yogesh Pardeshi drove me to Ralegan Siddhi not too far from Pune to meet with Shri Anna Hazare. I wanted to explain to the Gandhian Social Activist, now in the late seventies that his tireless efforts which included several periods of indefinite fast were likely to lead to suboptimal results in the absence of a concomitant effort to raise the level of internal excellence, not just of politicians but also of the general population. He looked a bit frail having recently concluded several days of fast he had undertaken to force the central government to enact the Lokpal Bill but appeared to give full attention. In a speech to twenty-plus village youths who had come from nearby villages to meet him, he told them how he was inspired by Vivekananda as a young man. I was pleased to hear that, for that is what this blog or for that matter the forthcoming book on Ultimate Realty is, a scientific take on the Swami’s wisdom. Unfortunately, I can no longer speak Marathi well enough to be able explain the entire framework in his language and he doesn’t speak English. I did hand over a packet of my papers on internal and external excellence which he promised to get translated and study and we drove back to Pune.
- The Indian Government reportedly plans to build 500,000 toilets to avoid defecation in the open. They also are planning to initiate a massive program to clean up the river Ganges. In a forthcoming article I will explain what is so holy about the Ganga.
- Gun violence, sexual harassment, racially motivated incidents, bullying on college campuses, etc., etc.
In every one of such cases, the absence of a concomitant program to raise the level of internal excellence will mean that the well-intentioned projects will fail to meet the desired goals.
Mr. Modi and the US President Mr. Barack Obama wrote a joint editorial in the September 30th issue of the Washington Post pointing to many wonderful interactions in a variety of areas. However, the most important reason for collaborating was missing. The US is the home of external excellence (six sigma) while India is the home of internal excellence (YOga + veDA). One without the other is insufficient to achieve wholesome excellence. The two components together can help India rise faster and help the US keep the decline at bay longer. Not only that the two nations together can help make this a more prosperous and peaceful world.
I predicted the rise of China and India in the early nineties. The theory of rise and decline asserts that rise and decline are natural and unavoidable phenomena. However, by doing the right things and doing things right, it becomes possible to accelerate the rise of nations that are rising, keep decline at bay longer for nations that have risen, and change the direction of nations presently in decline. Herein lies an opportunity for world transformation. Greece is an example in the last category. I have been conducting a six sigma course in the MBA program of the University of Kentucky in Athens for nine years. Three years ago, I introduced the internal excellence component in the course and taught them meditation, and the students loved it. Also then my former MBA student and a friend Nicolas Rouhotas arranged for me to meet with Dr. Andreas Papastamou, special Advisor to the then Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to apprise him of the scientific framework for internal and external excellence and how it could help Greece. Dr. Papastamou appeared to enjoy learning about the framework commenting at the conclusion of the meeting, I want to be your student.
There is also a chapter in the book on interfaith understanding and racial harmony and for Indians how the caste system, a degenerated version of the brilliant Varna system, has no merit. Rumor has it that the sole reason Maharishi Mahesh Yogi could not become the next Shankaracharya was because he was not born in the Brahmin caste. In this context, the conversation between Bhishma and Karna on the battlefield of Mahabharat seen on Z-TV conveys a powerful message. Says Bhishma, if on that day I had accepted you as a Kshatriya and not Shudra, the circumstances would have been different today. During Vedic times, the social order was based on an individual’s deeds and capabilities. When it began to be based on heredity, no one knows. This sin is committed by authorities like me. The chapter explains that while religious freedom is a precious concept, the wisdom of YODA would suggest that equal respect for all religions ought to have a higher place. If you will reflect on the messages of all incarnations, messengers of God, Prophets, yogis, and saints you will see that they are virtually identical although independently developed. The scientific framework not only contains the wisdom of YODA, but also the wisdom of outstanding western scientists of several faiths. In my own family, we have Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, and Protestant faiths. Religion needlessly gets a bad name. The real culprit for violence in the name of religion is the low level of internal excellence, high T component, the same component that induces the decline of societies. I will cherish the response HH Pope Francis sent through the Office of the Vatican Secretary of State upon receiving some of my articles, His Holiness will remember you in his prayers and he invokes upon you God’s blessings of joy and peace. The chapter also explains the pitfalls of advocating democracy for societies that are in the depth of decline due to a high T component.
So powerful is the theory of rise and decline, the very culture whose wisdom is its founding principle, could not escape its consequences. The present-day India calibrates far lower in internal excellence than the United States, although it is rapidly rising. Mr. Modi is a rare leader who understands all this but much of India is still in slumber. In my 2014 visit to India, I traveled to Delhi in January and arranged to send a pocket handbook, How India could reinvent itself and transform the 21st century to over twenty-five Members of the Indian Parliament cutting across all party lines. I received a sole response, from the Aam Aadmi Party telling me that the handbook had certainly got them thinking. In the last five years, I have made a presentation on external and internal excellence to many organizations in India but there have been no takers. With Mr. Modi at the realm of leadership, things will begin to change soon enough. My Guruji will shortly establish an institution tentatively titled, Academy of Six Sigma and Consciousness Excellence for National Transformation (ASCENT) in South India.
In my fifty plus years in the US, I have witnessed a significant rise in the average level of internal excellence here. In the early sixties, I was studying chemical engineering at my beloved alma mater, University of Alabama, when Vivian Malone, the first African American student was admitted to the school. The then Governor, the Late Mr. George Wallace had stood in the door to block the entry of the student. Some years later, an African American young lady was crowned Miss University of Alabama! If you think the US democracy is over two hundred years old, think again; women only gained the right to vote in 1920.
I have interacted with two prime ministers of India in the past. In November 1988, I traveled to Delhi as an invited member of the US delegation of scientists for meetings with the Government of India officials and the then Prime Minister the Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi. At that time, I offered my recommendations on improving quality, productivity, and competitive position in the process industries with computer-based advanced control and optimization strategies. In 2002, I met with the Late Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao, a friend and associate of my late father in the freedom struggle days. I explained to him the concepts and importance of six sigma for India. He appeared to understand the concepts saying, Oh, you mean we should be following the Gandhian model – A customer is the most important visitor…. . Then he said, if you had come to me while I was Prime Minister I would have given you a problem and told you to go solve it. When the book, THE NATURE OF ULTIMATE REALITY AND HOW IT CAN TRANSFORM OUR WORLD and the text Six Sigma for Karma Capitalism are presented to Mr. Modi and President Obama in a few months, there may be no need for much additional explanation.
Finally, this article is written with the most sincere desire for human wellbeing. There is a sense of joy a scientific framework for global wellbeing is now available arguably for the first time in human history. It is made possible by the wisdom of YODA and the outstanding work of western scientists over the last four decades. It is not a democratic thing or a republican thing, a BJP thing or a Congress thing, it is a human thing. My late father left college as a teenager in the 1920s and immersed himself in the nonviolent freedom struggle for the ensuing four decades as a member of the Indian National Congress. I am a registered democrat but have voted for republican presidential candidates in the past and could do so again in the future.
1Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville; Visiting Professor of Management, University of Kentucky; President and CEO, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls, Inc.
*The book is dedicated to several self-realized yogis: Avdhoot Baba Shivanand Ji, Baba Ramdev, the Late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, My Guruji Paranjothiar, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. And these scientists: , Mr. Gregg Braden, Dr. Mikel Harry, the Late Dr. David R. Hawkins, MD, Dr. Huping Hu, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, Dr. Rollin McCraty, Dr. Roger Nelson, Dr. W. A. Tiller, and Dr. Maoxin Wu.
Further ReadingThis article is written with the blessings of Guruji Paranjothiar. I am grateful to Mr. Tony Belak, Ombudsman at the University of Louisville for the editorial help. The ideas for the article came to me on the morning of September 29, 2014 during YAROS meditation; Sankalpa Siddhi Sadhana. Computer scientist, Sanjeev Aroskar (B. Tech, IIT Bombay) had taught me this style of meditation and at my urging made sure the practices were six sigma compliant. I also thank one of my favorite friends and former graduate students, Dr. Roberto Z. Tantalean and his daughter Chris for their help with the publication of this article as a blog. Roberto is a former Peruvian Fulbright scholar, a devout Catholic, and lovingly wears the Rudraksha I presented him during a visit to India. Raja Ananthakrishnan in Coimbatore, India was kind enough to share this article with Guruji and obtained Guruji’s blessings on my behalf. Thanks are also due to Arvind Bhavsar in Pune who helped upload the blog in various other languages.
Deshpande, Pradeep B. and Kowall, James P., THE NATURE OF ULTIMATE REALITY AND HOW IT CAN OUR WORLD: Evidence from Modern Physics; Wisdom of YODA, e book, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls Inc., January 2015 (Available on Amazon).
Deshpande, Pradeep B., Six Sigma for Karma capitalism, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls, Inc., 2015 (Available on amazon).