Why Ganga is Sacred
A Six Sigma Perspective
Pradeep B. Deshpande1, Mikel J. Harry2, and James P. Kowall3
The article presents a logical explanation for why Ganges has been considered a sacred river for thousands of years. Experiments with intentions, coherence, emotions, DNA, Buddha relics, and Intention Electrical Device have served as the basis for our analysis. The analysis of Ganges water, the results of these experiments, and the experience at the most recent Kumbh Mela provide powerful evidence in support of the proposed thesis. The ideas presented might be helpful as the Government of India undertakes a mega project aimed at cleaning up the holy river.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, his wife and their children pose for a photo in Hardwar, India. The whole family took a bath in the Ganges River, one of the holiest rivers in the world, Gupta said. When I explained to my three daughters that it helped purge us of our sins, they suggested that I should’ve stayed in the river longer!
The river Ganga (Ganges) has been taken to be sacred since ancient times. In the Bhagvad Geeta Shri Krishna’s statement, Among the purifiers I am the Jahnavi is thought to refer to Ganga’ (10.31). The verse, The Rivers from west to east in the RgVed (RV 6.45.31) is thought to refer to the Ganga. The reference to the banks of Jahnavi (RV 3.58.6) too is thought to be referring to Ganges. Vedas also reference Ganga in the discussion of Nadis and Chakras (Bhavsar, 2014). The wisdom in these ancient treasures is widely acknowledged since ancient times and the citations about Ganga therein cannot be taken lightly. The questions is, can the issue of sacredness of Ganges be subjected to logical scrutiny and scientific analysis. This article is intended to be a progress report and hopefully will serve as motivation for further research.
Investigation of topics such as the sacredness of Ganga or other places or bodies of water considered sacred, requires the knowledge of how something within us can affect our own selves. Thanks to the Nobel Prize winning work of Watson and Crick it is now possible to investigate the effect of nonphysical forces of nature such as intentions and emotions on human DNA. The experiments described in the following paragraphs speak to this concept and when combined with the nature of Ganges water, present a fairly clear picture of why the river has been taken to be sacred for ages.
Experiment 1: Ganges Water Study
In the 1990’s Dr. Kunwar P. Bhatnagar PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville Medical School, wanted to test the oft-made and still-believed statement that Ganges water remains uncontaminated for a long time whereas other bodies of water soon get contaminated. He collaborated with a Microbiologist, the Late Professor Ronald Doyle, PhD, University of Louisville School of Medicine, in an experiment to arrive at a conclusion. There were four water samples marked A, B, C, and D the contents of which were known only to Bhatnagar: (1) Gangotri, the origin of Ganges in the Himalayas; this water was personally collected by his late mother in 1971 and given to him in the original bottle labelled in her hand, (2) Ganges water collected by Bhatnagar himself from Hardwar, Har-Ki-Pauri in the 1980’s, (3) Water from Bear Creek, Cherokee Park, Louisville, Kentucky, and (4) Louisville tap water. Doyle cultured the four samples as per standard microbiological norms. He concluded that the two vials containing Ganges water remained uncontaminated whereas the other two showed contamination. Doyle wanted to repeat the experiment but due to poor health could not do so. Readers are encouraged to investigate this finding for themselves.
Swathi Sunkara, a PhD scholar in the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering and her mentor Dr. Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Conn Center collaborated in measuring the pH of Ganges water from Hardwar provided to the first author by Sanjeev Aroskar, B. Tech, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. The pH of this sample of Ganges water was measured at 8.2. The alkaline nature of Ganges water may or may not be relevant to the scrutiny at hand.
Experiment 2: Effect of Coherence + Intention on Human DNA
Researchers at the Institute for HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California discovered the presence of an electrical field around the human heart extending several feet in either direction. Cell biologist Glen Rein, PhD and Psycho-physiologist Rollin McCraty, PhD carried out a series of experiments in the early 1990s to study the effect of coherence + intentionally generated emotions on DNA. Coherence is a state marked by more ordered or coherent interactions between the heart, breathing, and the brain. More ordered heart rhythms are indicative of a coherent state.
Participants in the experiments included a test group of individuals trained and experienced in HeartMath’s coherence-building techniques and a control group whose members were not. The experiments showed that by holding the intention of causing the DNA to wind or unwind while maintaining a heart-focused state, generating feelings of love and appreciation, the DNA could be so changed.
Experiment 3: Buddha Relics
Buddha relics are a part of the cremation ashes of the Buddha and subsequent Buddhist Masters, some dating back two thousand five hundred years. Buddhists take them to be an embodiment of loving kindness and they have long been revered. The Buddha relics go on a world-wide tour presenting an opportunity for people of all races, religions, and nationalities to experience first-hand of being in the vicinity of the relics. Scottsdale-based Rheumatologist Nisha J. Manek, MD, FRCP (UK) reported that for her, a non-Buddhist, an incredible and life-altering experience occurred in the presence of the relics while the relics were on a tour in Minneapolis in 2009. The intensity of that experience motivated Manek to invite the Buddha relic tour to their home in Southern California in 2010 as she wanted to confirm what she had experienced a year earlier (Manek and Tiller, 2012).
Manek had this to say about the experience of visitors, For the hundreds of visitors, the experiences were very personal, very powerful, and very meaningful. It did not matter what spiritual tradition they came from, if they regularly meditated or not, or if they even believed in a higher being. Many reported a feeling of deep peace, and others were overcome with tears. For some, physical ailments resolved. It did not seem important how serious or chronic the disease was but the body healed. In one of these cases, the treating physician stated that in his medical opinion the resolution of the illness which involved recovery of renal impairment and ceasing dialysis in an elderly diabetic patient, was unexpected. This gentleman remains well 18 months after the Relic tour at the Manek home. (Reference: Manek’s personal communication with the physician, Dr. Cabebe, MD, Glendora, CA).
Experiment 4: Intention Host Device Experiments (Tiller, 2007)
Dr. W. A. “Bill” Tiller, Professor Emeritus and a former Chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Stanford University has done breakthrough research in the field of Psychoenergetic science. He developed what is called an Intention Electrical Device (IED) and showed that intentions could be imprinted on the device and the device subsequently used elsewhere to bring about physical changes in such parameters as pH. Figure 1 on the left depicts the image of typical Buddha relics while on the right is an IED. One of the successful experiments involved the intention is raising/lowering the pH of water by 1 unit without the addition of chemicals. To begin the imprinting process, the device is plugged into a wall-socket and turned
Figure 1. Sample of Buddha Relics (Left) and Intention Host Device (Right)
on. This is followed by several experienced meditators who are highly coherent with long years of meditation practice meditating onthe intention as per the procedure described on their website (www.tillerinstitute.org). The process ends with an invocation to seal the intention. If you will reflect on the procedure, you will see that successful imprinting of the intention depends on the space-conditioning around the device, coherence within and among the meditators, and invocation of the specific intention. It is seen to resonate with the experience with Buddha relics. Tiller and associates have reproduced the results of the experiment in several laboratories Europe and the
United States. Figure 2 depicts the response of pH over time.
Figure 2. Response of pH over Time
Manek conducted an interesting experiment surrounding these concepts. She left the IEDs plugged in while the Buddha relics were at their home presumably with the intention of conditioning the space. The device was then supplied to Tiller who successfully conducted an experiment to raise the pH of water at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. The hypothesis is that the emotional energy of loving kindness was imprinted on the device in the presence of the Buddha relics at Manek home and at the Tiller home, the thermodynamic excess energy associated with that loving kindness imprinted on the device was invited almost in the form of prayer to raise the pH of water.
These experiments and the experiences tell us the following:
- Something about a being or object generates strong positive emotions, reverential feelings of unconditional loving kindness, compassion,
- These feelings can be sustained in something that is associated with that being although he or she is no more,
- When such feelings are strong enough they condition the space in the vicinity surrounding the objects associated with the being.
- When people gather in such a conditioned space, coherence in and among them dramatically increases producing the kind of effects observed.
- The devoted can help sustain the conditioning of space due to reverential feelings of loving kindness for thousands of years, may be indefinitely.
Is Ganga water naturally structured?
Although Ganges water remained uncontaminated for a long time in the referenced study and that investigation needs to be repeated, it is not clear what that ‘holiness’ signature is. However, several other studies provide tell-tale signs.
1) Gerald Pollack, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, has done a considerable amount of research discovering that water has four phases, not three, as has been widely held (Pollack, 2013; Mercola, 2011). He has been organizing water conferences annually since 2006. He terms this water as EZ (for exclusion Zone) water. He has shown that EZ water exists at the interfaces and is ionically charged. Water is the most abundant molecule in our cells; the rest being organic compounds of various types. So there are plenty of interfaces within a cell. Pollock’s work suggests that the interfacial water is ordered, or “structured”. Many of us suffer from muscle cramps as we grow old and we have the experience of benefiting from hydration, application of heat, and even tonic water. Severe dehydration is known to cause temporary loss of memory, seizures, etc. These problems may be pointing to the un-structuring of water in the interfaces not just to water deficit outright.
2) The water we drink is treated by municipal authorities to render it safe for human consumption. Water supplies are contaminated enough that we wouldn’t want to have it any other way. But the process of chlorination, fluorination, etc., may affect how supportive the treated water remains for health. Devices to structure the municipal water are available in the market. Structured water is produced by passing regular water through a water-structuring device. Krishna Madappa has investigated the efficacy of structured water on the productivity of agricultural land, vegetable gardens, etc., in commercial settings reporting significant benefits from structured water in terms of quality and productivity. Jagadish Chandra Bose, FRS, named one of the fathers of radio science by IEEE, had made pioneering discoveries in plant physiology demonstrating the power of feelings in plants (Wikipedia). Since structured water has such a dramatic effect on plants, and plants are living systems, the extension of structured water benefits to human life is logical although unproven at this time. Figure 3 depicts the bio-photonic images of bore-well water (left), structured water (Middle), and Ganges water from Hardwar (Right) captured with the GDV (Gas Discharge Visualization) device called Bio-Well (Korotkov, 2002)
Figure 3. GDV Image of Bore-well Water (Left), Structured Water (Middle),
and Ganges Water – Hardwar (Right). Courtesy: Krishna Madappa
3) Jerry Pollack has investigated the Light absorption characteristics of EZ water at and near the interface and bulk water away from Nafion interface. Specifically, he wanted to investigate whether the wavelength of light absorbed by EZ water differed from that of the bulk water. A facsimile of the plot taken from his book (Pollack, 2013; p. 35) is shown in Figure 4. There is some unpublished work on the light absorption characteristics (UV-Vis Spectroscopy) of Ganges water showing certain similarities of Ganges water to structured water. It is a tempting thought if the Ganges water might be naturally structured.
Figure 4 Absorption Spectrum Measured at Distances, mm from the Nafion-H2O Interface.
At 400 mm, it is essentially bulk water (Courtesy, Adapted from Pollack (2013)
4) Japanese researcher the Late Dr. Masaru Emoto presented the photographs shown in Figures 5 (a) and (b). The photograph in Figure 5(a) is that of Lourdes water, considered sacred by Catholics and the photo in Figure 5(b) is that of polluted water. His procedure was to freeze droplets of water and then examine the crystals under a dark field microscope with a photographic capability. His work suggests that positive and negative emotions significantly affect the water crystals.
Figure 5 (a) Dark Field Microscope Images of Lourdes Water (Left) and
5(b) Polluted Water (Right)
Why Ganges is taken to be sacred
We now have the necessary background to make a case why the Ganges has been held sacred for such a long time. Eons ago, before the Vedas the inhabitants of the Ganga plains must have begun notice the benefits of Ganges water on their lives, food they grew, etc. It is natural that would have kindled reverential feelings of loving kindness not unlike the Buddha relics. Over time, these feelings would have remained sustained, and perhaps grown. That would have conditioned the space around the river and it remains so to the present time. The devotional even today vouch for the benefits of bathing in Ganga. This is so even in the highly polluted river by the time Ganges descends to the cities like Allahabad and Banaras.
This phenomena can also be explained in terms of an alignment in the flow of energy, which can be understood in terms of the principle of least action, or in terms of alignment of information, which in turn can be understood in terms of entanglement. Entanglement is operative over all of space. Events on the opposite sides of the universe are related if the information for those events is entangled. Entanglement is also operative over all of time. Events at the beginning of the universe are related to events now if the information for those events is entangled. Prayer and devotion are a natural way of bringing oneself into alignment.
Kumbh Mela – 2013
The Kumbh Mela is held on the banks of the Ganges in Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh every twelfth year. The earliest reference to Kumbh Mela may be found in the account of Chinese Monk Hsuan Tsang who visited India in 629-645 CE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbh_Mela). Strong evidence supporting the notion of sacredness of Ganges has come from a most unusual source; an article in the Financial Times on the 2013 Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela, believed to be the largest religious gathering of humans on earth, is held in the city of Allahabad every twelve years on the banks of the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati. Most recently the Mela was celebrated during the first quarter of 2013. The Financial Times carried an interesting article on March 1, 2013 by Mr. Victor Mallet titled, Pop-up Mega City is a Lesson in Logistics for India along with a photograph of the tent city in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Temporary tents for devotees during the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Said the Financial Times article, to somebody who does projects, the tent city is like a mega-refugee camp that comes up overnight and gets sustained and managed for two months with people filtering in and out at a rate of millions a day. It’s managed by the Uttar Pradesh State government. If somehow we could translate that capacity to day-to-day business, you could transform UP. It’s really a powerful thought. Uttar Pradesh is often seen as the epitome of all that is wrong with India. With a population of over 200 million – larger than Brazil’s – the state is notoriously corrupt and inefficient. Take sanitation. In the decade to 2011, the UP government reported steadily rising construction of latrines in rural areas with the help of $600 million in public funds. But the 2011 census showed that almost no toilets had actually been built. Most of the money was stolen, leaving tens of thousands of children to die each year as a result of diarrhea spread by what one aid worker called “appalling” sanitation. There are few such problems at the Kumbh Mela, however. Mr. Onno Ruhl, Head of the World Bank in India, who visited the Kumbh Mela was so moved by the operations that he decided to bathe in the Ganges himself. He called it an incredible logistical operation. Said Mr. Ruhl in the Financial Times article, The city on the sandbanks, soon to be dismantled before the river floods, has water, sanitation, power, and solid-waste management, everything, actually, that many Indian cities lack.
Harvard researchers described it as “a pop-up mega city”. The bureaucrats and workers from Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and one of the poorest states took less than three months to build a tent city for 2 million residents complete with hard roads, toilets, running water, electricity, food shops, garbage collection, and well-manned police stations. This year’s event attracted millions of pilgrims from across India who came to wash away their sins in the Ganges at its confluence with the Yamuna. Over the two months to mid-March, the Mela attracted 80 -100 million visitors, with up to 30 million attempting to bathe in the river on February 10 alone, officials say. Precise numbers are hard to come by but the devotees and foreign visitors are generally full of praise for the organizers of what is arguably the largest gathering of humans on earth. Apart from a February 10 stampede at the nearby Allahabad railway station in which 36 were killed, the Kumbh Mela itself has so far gone off smoothly. Fresh water comes out of the taps, toilets are disinfected, trained police carefully shepherd the crowds to the bathing areas, and the lights come on at night.
Devesh Chaturvedi, Divisional commissioner of Allahabad is proud of the huge task that he and perhaps 100,000 workers completed in organizing the festival. He mentions 165 km of roads on the sand made of steel plates, 18 pontoon bridges, 560 km of water supply lines, 670 km of electricity lines, 22,500 street lights and 200,000 electricity connections, as well as 275 food shops for essential supplies such as flour, rice, milk and cooking gas. Mr. Chaturvedi agrees there is a contrast between the successful provision of these services and the way life continues in the rest of the state, and has two explanations. First, the authorities ensure that all those working on the project are accountable for their actions and the money they spend. Second, those involved are highly motivated. They feel it’s a real service to all these pilgrims who have come here, the sadhus [holy men] and the seers, so it’s a sort of mission which motivates them to work extra, despite difficult working conditions. In the concluding thoughts on the article, Victor writes, a question on the minds of both Indians and foreigners is: How? Why? Or rather: if the authorities can build infrastructure so efficiently for this short but very large festival and its instant city, why can they not do the same for permanent villages and towns? We trust the answer is clear to the readers of this article.
Six Sigma Principles
Several six sigma principles are important in the context of this paper. Six sigma posits that there is always an unexplained variation in the outcomes due to unknown/uncontrollable causes (common causes). This is especially so when it comes to outcomes that involve interactions with humans. So, one should not be surprised if all the data points do not conform to the hypothesis; that does not render the hypothesis invalid. For example, in the example of the Buddha relics at Dr. Manek’s home, one can be sure, not everyone would have been overcome with the feelings of loving kindness, compassion. The science of how nonphysical forces of nature such as intentions, emotions, etc., bring about physical changes is not understood at least for now. Another example, if a large number of random individuals were to take a dip in the Ganges, not at time of the Kumbh Mela, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities that there might not be enough beds in Allahabad hospitals. Two eminent scientists appear to appreciate the role of common cause variability in introducing unexplained variation in the outcomes (http://www.waterconf.org/jacques-benveniste/): Dr. Brian Josephson, (Nobel Prize, Physics, 1973) stated, The situation seems to be that in some cases you had reproduction, in others you didn’t, but the overall results were highly significant. Dr. Luc Montagnier (2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine) stated, These are real phenomena that deserve further study.
The second principle is whenever an outcome of primary interest, in this case sacredness signature of Ganges water, cannot be measured directly, one or more secondary inferential measurements indicative of the primary unmeasurable outcome may be used. It is for this reason several experimental observations with Ganges water were presented. The next principle of interest is that correlation does not necessarily imply causality because of the possible presence of lurking variables. So, if we were to conduct several experiments randomly and observe the same effect time after time, the probability that there is causality rises. Another principle involves measurement validation. The variability due to measurement error must be a small fraction of the total variation or else the conclusions of the investigation will be suspect. For additional information on six sigma, the reader is referred to Harry and Lawson (1992) and Deshpande (2013).
The Ganges Cleanup Project
Government of India is in the process of initiating a mega project to clean up the Ganga with international assistance. Most rivers in India are polluted and the choice of Ganga as the river to be taken up first bears testimony to the widespread belief in the sacredness of the Ganges. Many international readers might well be baffled why such a river considered sacred by a vast majority of inhabitants should be dirty at all. The answer has to do with theory of the rise and decline of societies and a high T component of the society at this time (Deshpande and Kowall, 2015). The Kumbh Mela has provided strong evidence on how high level of internal excellence of the visitors and the workers alike delivered great performance. The lesson here is that the cleanup project must not only executed as a six sigma project, the effort needs to go hand in hand with a program to raise the level of internal excellence of the inhabitants or else the project is likely to deliver substandard performance. Deshpande and Harry wrote a blog not long ago, The Criticality of Internal Excellence in Six Sigma Programs for National Transformation. Mikel Harry wrote an article some years ago, India should use 6 Sigma to catch up with the world in the Times of India (Harry, 2004) and Arati Menon Carrol wrote a column, Six Sigma could change the world on the first author’s perspective in the Economic Times (2009). The wherewithal of how to achieve internal excellence and transform individuals, organizations, and nations is presented in Deshpande and Kowall (2015). Together with the six sigma texts referenced above, they represent a complete scientific framework for world transformation.
A logical explanation for why the Ganges has been considered a sacred river from ages has been presented. The explanation is supported by the experience with the Buddha relics and the experiments with coherence, emotions, intentions, and the Intention Electrical Device. We have taken the specific case of Ganges in this article but the concepts presented herein apply to other places and bodies of water considered scared wherever they may be. The Indian perspectives are solely of the first author.
This article is written with the blessings of Guru Mahan Maharishi Paranjothiar. The cooperation of Jerry Pollack, Tania Slawecki, Krishna Madappa, Kunwar Bhatnagar, Raja Ananthakrishnan, and S. N. Bhavsar is gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank Dr. B. D. Kulkarni, Distinguished Scientist and Dean of Academic Affairs, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, Government of India, for his helpful review and comments on the paper.
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