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How Yoga Can Serve Humanity
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced “Yoga for Humanity” as the theme for the upcoming International Yoga Day, June 21, 2022. This article offers a scientific perspective on how yoga can serve humanity.
The correct interpretation of Yoga is “Union” or to connect, and knowing what to connect to, why, and how are the pathways to a better and more peaceful world.
What To Connect To?
In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding. More recently, scientists have concluded that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
Clearly, if we go back in time, the universe would be smaller. If we go far enough back in time, physicists say about 13.8 billion years, the universe would be an incredibly small, about the size of Plank length (10 -33 cm in diameter), unbelievably hot and immensely dense energy phase.
There is a consensus among physicists that the universe came into existence then with what is referred to as the big bang event. It is also the moment when the flow of time began.
Pursuant to her interactions with some of the best brains in physics, including Stephen Hawking and John Archibald Wheeler, a colleague of Albert Einstein at Princeton, Amanda Gefter, the author the New York Times best-seller, “Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn”, concluded that there is nothing on the other side of the energy phase of the big bang, a void.
In other words, the universe came out of nothing.
But this finding is an enigma for scientists. How can “nothing” transform into “something”, the energy phase of the big bang?
Theoretical physicist-turned physician, Jim Kowall answers the question: Undifferentiated consciousness produced the energy phase of the big bang by its own desire which then created the universe. Today, the universe consists of some 70% energy, 5% matter, like galaxies, stars and planets, and 25% dark matter, like black holes.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama observes, “The universe may end one day but consciousness will remain for it is eternal”. His Holiness received the Nobel Prize in Peace in 1989.
Now, we humans all have consciousness, the differentiated kind, which means we are all a microcosm of the undifferentiated consciousness. This is where the expression, “Aham Brahmasmi” comes from. It implies that we too are creators!
That said, only the undifferentiated consciousness can create something from nothing; the rest of us can only transform energy into matter and matter into energy. Indian seers have preserved this knowhow for millennia. Scientists have been able to transform matter into energy (nuclear bomb) but not energy into matter.
Ancient Indian seers had understood creation. Explains Shiva in a Puranic story, “Parvati is incomplete without me and I am like a corpse without her”.
Shiva is known by many names, among them are Shoonya (zero, void) and Ardhanareshwar, and Parvati is known as Adyashakti (primordial energy).
The Saamkhya (सांख्य) hypothesis states that the source of all creation is five principal elements: Earth – all matter that is found in the universe, water, fire-heat, air-oxygen, and space which in turn comprises of energy and consciousness.
Since the time of Lord Buddha, Buddhist monks, and countless yogis for millennia before that, had understood that we all come from the source and should want to return to the source. In yogic parlance this journey home is termed as “Jiva Samadhi” and in Buddhist terminology, it is referred to as Thukdam.
Explains His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
“When an ordinary person dies, there is a dissolution of the five principal elements, but when an accomplished meditator enters Thukdam, the body can remain warm and free from decomposition for many days after clinical death implying that the earth, water, and fire elements have remained.”
So, the answer to the question, “What to connect to” is undifferentiated consciousness of the void.
Why To Connect?
Notwithstanding the noble desire of evolved human beings to return to the source, the process to connect to the source delivers a myriad of benefits for the rest of us. They include emotional and internal excellence, health & wellness, performance, leadership, interpersonal relationships, and less discord and violence. These are benefits to an individual but they can be extended to societies for a better and more peaceful world.
How To Connect?
Progress in the quest to connect to the source necessitates that the required positive< changes come about from within, and thus, it is not an intellectual exercise. An aspirant must transcend the realm of reason and yogic practices are a way for it.
A measurement device indicative of progress is helpful to the aspirant as it provides comforting evidence that the practices are working, motivating the practitioner to continue with the practices diligently and regularly.
Progress with yogic practices is indicated by a shift from negative emotions (anger, hatred, hostility, resentment, frustration, jealousy, fear, sorrow and the like) toward positive emotions (love, kindness, empathy, compassion) and since emotions can be measured, progress can be audited.
Emotional excellence has nothing to do with race, religion, caste, gender, or national origin.
To understand how emotions can be measured, we all have trillions of cells in our bodies. If we breakdown the cells into even smaller parts, we will find that they are made of atoms which have neutrons and protons in their nuclei and electrons that orbit them.
Thus, we are all vibrational creatures. Our vibrational characteristics determine everything about us. They are our fundamental nature.
Unfortunately, the vibrational signals are too weak for human perception with the five senses. They have to be stimulated and amplified for measurement purposes.
There are at least two devices for emotions measurement. One uses wireless radio frequency signals and in the other, a harmless electrical current is applied to the fingers of both hands, one at a time. The finger’s response to this electrical stimulation is a burst of photons. The intensity and area of that discharge then produces our vibrational characteristics, and in turn emotions.
How To Extend Yogic Benefits To Societies
What we have discussed so far is sufficient for an individual but it impractical to expect that all 7 ½ billion of us will practice yoga regularly and diligently. To extend the benefits yoga to the world at large, the principle of Maharishi effect has be used. According to the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a tiny fraction of the global population ( 1 %) is sufficient to make the world more peaceful. Renowned quantum physicist and three-time US presidential nominee, Dr. John Hagelin had proved this concept with experiments in several cities.
The idea of Yoga for Humanity is precious but much of the world is unfortunately on the wrong track, limiting its pursuits to the domain of reason. This is really problematic as violence and discord have exponentially increased across the world. Too much time is being wasted on topics such as superiority or inferiority of races, caste, religions etc., instead of focusing on how to promote a better and more peaceful world.
It would also help to introduce the concepts explained in schools and colleges for today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.
Amanda Gefter, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Bantam Books, 2014.
Disruptive Innovation, Dabbawalas Website, January 2020.
James P. Kowall, The Physicist’s Dilemma: Ultimate Reality -The Non-Physical Nature of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research, 5, 4, 2014.
Thukdam, Buddhist Monk Leaves Body Consciously.
Kurt Warren Kleinschnitz, An investigation into field effects of consciousness from the perspectives of Maharishi's Vedic Science and physics, PhD Thesis, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, May 1997.
Pradeep B. Deshpande, Scientific Framework for World Transformation, Dialogue and Alliance, 33, 1, June 2019. (Dialogue and Alliance is a publication of the Universal Peace Federation, a New York City-based international organization with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Cultural Council).
Pradeep B. Deshpande, The Secret of Exemplary Performance, BizEd, September/October
(A publication of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB accredits B-school curricula.
Pradeep B. Deshpande, Transforming India and Indian Businesses, Business Mandate, Madras Management Association, October 2020. pp. 55-57.
Pradeep B. Deshpande, Actualizing the New Statement, Business Mandate, Madras Management Association, March 2021. pp. 49-52.
Pradeep B. Deshpande, S. N. Bhavasar and James P. Kowall, Saamkhya Hypothesis – Creation Link Deciphered, ThePulse.One, May 6, 2022.