September 26, 2010

A VEDIC RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

[Today the entire world faces the threat of terrorism. Arab-Israel wars and India-Pakistan conflicts are too well known to need detailing. The unending Arab-Israel hot wars over the last 55 years show that a violent response to terrorism can be irresponsibly disastrous. It could be argued that, in order to prevent the further escalation of violence, India has embraced a ‘no action’ response over the last 30 years. If so, this strategy does not appear to have been effective in controlling escalating terror activities. However, India’s ancient Vedic tradition, revived by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, provides a practical means to apply the 6–7th steps of Ashtaang-Yoga Darshan to this situation. Peer-reviewed scientific research has shown that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program can effectively reduce protracted conflict by alleviating the underlying collective societal stress responsible for social problems such as crime, terrorism and war. This non-violent and non-invasive approach can be used confidently by India under the present conditions as a long-term solution to extremist violence.]

By Prof. Mukund D. Apte and Dr. David R. Leffler
Invincible Defense Technology experts gathered in
Washington, DC, lowering the crime rate 24%
Introduction;  India has suffered from terrorism for the last 50 years. The Indian government’s responses to terrorism have varied from soft to strong but have mostly been spoken or written. It could be argued that Indians strive for tolerance and that their government’s mild response reflects this tendency. If true, this strategy may have prevented at least some escalation of the problem. However, this strategy has not lessened the sufferings of the victims of terrorism.
A primary duty of any government is to protect its citizens and reduce suffering. Methods currently used to stop terrorism include strong measures like military strikes at the location where terrorists are raised/born (as some would argue Israel is doing) and/or softer measures, such as removing the causes of distrust from the concerned peoples’ minds (if the people are local). But history shows that even if governments adopt these approaches (or adopt neither, as could be argued in India’s case), terrorism not only continues but often escalates and spreads all over the country. When terrorism escalates, citizens become antagonistic, which often causes further violence to erupt. And under these conditions, the government seems powerless to prevent or control the continuing cycle of violence.
The problem of terrorism cannot be entirely solved by addressing only local issues such as social services, poverty mitigation, law and order. Terrorism also originates from outside India, so it is being faced by the Indian Republic from all directions, e.g., from Pakistan. But even if India could count on Pakistan’s help, India and Pakistan together can do precious little to solve the problem by using conventional defence strategies only. This is because terrorism is a human problem that requires a human solution.
The underlying cause of extremist social violence is accumulated collective social stress. Therefore, to eliminate such social problems, India needs to reduce its collective societal stress. Clearly a new approach is needed to accomplish this objective. India’s largely forgotten ancient Vedic tradition offers such an approach.
Background of the Non-violent and Non-invasive Response
According to ancient Vedic tradition, soon after human beings appeared in this world the great Vedic Rishis (teachers) in India cognized the deep structure of the laws of nature. They compiled and passed down most of these cognitions and called them Veda or Pure Knowledge. More instructions and information were added subsequently as further knowledge and experience revealed effective applications of natural law to sort out difficulties arising in human life.
According to this tradition, the role of human beings on earth is to realize their full unbounded potential and to protect and nurture the ‘Charaachar Srushtee’ (the whole world, including the environment). Humans are expected to use Nature’s resources for their needs, but not to exploit them ever. In this way they can enjoy their earthly tenure in health, happiness and comfort. To enable them to carry out their responsibility effectively, they were given three ‘extra’ gifts: ‘Vichaar’, ‘Karunaa’, and ‘Aatmiyataa’. Detailed instructions regarding proper behaviour, known as ‘Manav Dharma’ or Sanaatan (‘since time immemorial’) Dharma, were laid down at various places in the Vedic Literature for them to follow. The path provided by the Vedic Richas was natural and simple so that the tenure of duty of Mankind finished with pleasure for everyone.
As time passed, a culture of respect towards all slowly spread through adjoining regions to Bhaarat, and a Vishal Bhaarat developed from the Red Sea in the West to the Pacific in the East, with a similar culture throughout. Culture really is the collective effect of human behavior as people try to gain comfort and happiness while carrying out responsibilities on the planet that respect natural laws and each other, including responsibilities for the environment as a whole. Historically, the National Consciousness of the Vishaal Bhaarat consisted of ‘Respect for Vedas’, ‘Thinking about welfare of Community (over self)’, ‘Respect to elders’, ‘Respect for and protection of Nature’ and ‘Tolerance towards variations in the activities of individuals who aim at the same ideals’. The concept of Community includes plant, beasts and birds as well. These qualities became the basis for Indian and Eastern Culture.
Over time, however, as the number of kingdoms/republics functioning simultaneously in the Indian sub-continent continued to expand, this original cultural unity began to break down, and both the rulers and the people began to lose their inner connectedness to universal laws of nature within themselves and to the Vedic teachings that helped maintain that connection. With a view to guiding the people back to the natural path of mental and spiritual development, Mahamuni Paatanjali collected various Sookts spread
across the Vedic literature concerning psychology and at the start of Kaliyug compiled them into a textbook, Ashtaang-Yog Darshan, consisting of four sections. He described the natural process of human development in eight steps (or limbs) for reaching (returning to) one’s Cosmic Home. All obstacles that might lie along the way (including the means to overcome them) are also described in detail therein.
Many spiritual pandits or Rishis studied the Yoga Sutras of Paatanjali (sometimes spelled Patanjali) and developed what they proposed to be easy ways or shortcuts to trace the path to realization of higher states of consciousness. Absorbing every step fully before progressing to the next was considered by them to be too tedious and difficult for common people to follow. They therefore concentrated on meditation, i.e., the 6th and 7th steps combined. As a result the progress to Samadhi (enlightenment) or the 8th or final step, though assured, became slower to achieve.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the exponent of the Vedic knowledge in the form of Transcendental Meditation (TM). He was a disciple of Brahmananda Saraswati, Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (also known as Guru Dev.) Maharishi developed the Transcendental Meditation program for daily practice by everyone to gain happiness regardless of one’s religious beliefs. It is his view that through his revived system of meditation all eight steps of Yoga can be developed at the same time.
In modern times, however, many Indians have lost their Shraddhaa, i.e., their trust and faith in Vedas, and accordingly they did not flock to Maharishi’s Ved Vidya Bhavans to learn the TM program. Still, in large towns and cities, Maharishi in India maintained his Ved Vidyaan Bhawans for whoever wanted to learn the technique. However, Maharishi began to concentrate his efforts in foreign countries like the USA, where the TM program eventually spread like wildfire. (Today, six million people around the world have learned the TM technique.) He developed an advanced course based on the Yoga Sutras of Paatanjali called the TM-Sidhi program. To convince the world about the benefits for everyday life, he inspired scientists worldwide to conduct hundreds of scientific experiments on the TM technique, mostly in advanced laboratories in the USA and Europe, and to publish the results in reputable peer-reviewed journals.
Ashtaang-Yog Darshan by Mahamuni Paatanjali, the textbook of Bhaarateeya psychology, was forcefully reiterated by Maharishi. The structure of subtle mind as suggested by Western or Experimental Psychology and understood from the Bhaarateeya Psychology or Paatanjali psychology is shown in the figure below.
Maharishi predicted in the early 1960s that if just 1% of the population would practice the TM program they could produce positive changes in society; he hypothesized that just one person practicing the TM technique could affect over 100 persons in the local environment by reducing the collective societal stress. Later scientists who carried out experiments that validated the 1% social coherence-creating field effect theory named it ‘The Maharishi Effect’– a phenomenon similar to the ‘Meissner Effect’ in quantum physics relating to super-conductivity, where a superconductor having all its elements in the same magnetic orientation is in a position to prevent penetration of any other force within its field.
In 1976 Maharishi also predicted that a large group of people practicing the advanced TM-Sidhi program together in group could have an even more profound effect by creating ‘The Extended Maharishi Effect’. Once again he based this on ancient Vedic tradition as well as his consultations with quantum physicists who had studied super-conductivity-based field effects such as the ‘Meissner Effect’. It was shown that when just the square root of one percent of the population of a social system practiced the TM-Sidhi program together, indicators of collective social stress improved. For instance, crime, war and terrorism declined during experimental periods when the number of meditators practicing together in a group rose above the critical threshold of the square root of one percent of the population. Leading scientific journals like Journal of Conflict Resolution, (i) Journal of Crime and Justice (ii), Social Indicators Research (iii) and
Journal of Mind and Behavior (iv) have published the results of well-controlled experiments in this regard. (v) These outcomes have been described by Maharishi in his book ‘Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence’. (vi) research Findings
In July-August 1993, a two-month Maharishi Effect intervention (known as the Invincible Defense Technology in military circles) was implemented in Washington, DC. Predictions of specific drops in crime and other indices were lodged in advance with government leaders and newspapers. An independent Project Review Board approved the research protocol. The findings showed that crime fell 24 percent below expected levels when the size of the group of TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners reached its maximum. The study was published in Social Indicators Research. (vii)
Invincible Defense Technology experts gathered in Washington, DC, lowering the crime rate 24%
A study in the Journal of Conflict Resolution (viii) of a two-month-long coherence-creating assembly in Israel showed that war deaths in neighboring Lebanon decreased by 76%. A composite quality-of-life index showed decreased crime, traffic accidents and fires in Jerusalem, and decreased crime accompanied by improvements in the stock market and national mood throughout Israel. Other possible causes (weather, weekends, holidays, etc.) were statistically controlled for and could not account for the results. A follow-up study in the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (ix) showed that during seven different coherence-creating assemblies, war deaths in Lebanon decreased by an average of 71%.
[Quality of life in Israel improved and intensity of the conflict in Lebanon decreased in direct proportion to the number of Invincible Defence Technology experts in the coherence-creating group. A short online video featuring Dr. John Hagelin explains this finding. Dr. Hagelin is the Executive Director at the International Center for Invincible Defense in New York City.]
The Maharishi Effect has also been documented worldwide in a study published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation (x) using data provided by the Rand Corporation. When large assemblies of IDT experts exceeded the Maharishi Effect threshold for the world, terrorism decreased globally 72%, international conflict decreased 32%, and violence within nations was reduced without intrusion by other governments.
Examples of Collective Consciousness in Vedic Literature
Maharishi often quoted two verses from the Vedic tradition illustrating the use of the Maharishi Effect to create an ideal Vedic prevention-oriented defence:
{Tat sannidhau vairatyagah. (Yog-Sutra, 2.35) In the vicinity of Yogic influence — unifying influence, integrating influence, coherent and harmonious influence — conflicting tendencies do not arise (xi)
Heyam duhkham anagatam. (Yog-Sutra, 2.16) Avert the danger before it arises (xii) }
The Charaka-Samhita, (xiii) an ancient book of Ayurvedic medicine (sometimes spelled Caraka-Samhita), stated:
{Likewise, unrighteousness [caused by incoherent collective consciousness] is also the cause of the destruction of the community by weapons. Those who have excessively increased greed, anger, attachment and conceit, disregarding the weak, attack each other, or their enemies or are attacked by their enemies, resulting in the loss of themselves, their kinsmen and enemies.}
According to ancient Vedic tradition, unrighteousness was the result of ignorance of how to create coherence in the societal collective consciousness. For example, the Ramayana stated that “…ignorance will have no access within eight miles from it” [the Yogi's hermitage]. (xiv)
The Ramayana of Valmiki described the ancient city of Ayodhya. Certainly Ayodhya relied on traditional defense systems of its time. For example, “It was enclosed by strong fortifications and a deep moat, which no enemy, by any expedient whatsoever, could penetrate (xv). Also, “Ayodhya abounded in warriors undefeated in battle, fearless and skilled in the use of arms, resembling lions guarding their mountain caves”. (xvi) However, based on the descriptions of the righteous stress-free lifestyle of the inhabitants of Ayodhya, a more enlightened interpretation could be argued. What if Ayodhya’s first line of preventive defence was created by the purity of its inhabitants’ collective consciousness, which automatically created the Maharishi Effect? This would explain why, according to Valmiki, “…the brilliance of which spread for four miles, [Ayodhya] was worthy of its name ["The City none can challenge in warfare"]”.(xvii)
It is more than 5000 years since Kaliyug started and the Bhaarateeya people drifted away from the Vedic knowledge. But since that knowledge is their ancient heritage, it apparently has not completely washed off from their collective psyche. Fortunately, some small inherent seed appears to be remaining. Hopefully, if cultivated with vigor, it should be possible for them to regain those lost bits and pieces of Vedic knowledge in order to raise the collective consciousnesses of the nation.
War and Terrorism are Created by Stress in Collective Consciousness
Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence (xviii) propounds the theory that the outbreak of collective violence or warfare is due to the buildup of stress and tension in society’s collective consciousness. If the collective consciousness is full of tension and fear, then disorder is more likely to erupt than if the prevailing mood is one of contentment. Social injustice and unfavorable economic conditions thrive in, and contribute to, chaotic environments. Unresolved religious, territorial, political, and cultural differences further contribute to unrest. Thus, the frustrated and dissatisfied population of any country contributes to national instability. The buildup of this sort of tension becomes dangerous to national sovereignty, producing an unstable government that is more prone to war.
History supports this view. A relentless series of tensions and crises led to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, triggering World War I. Social unrest and political instability also contributed to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Disorder can take the form of civil strife or of conflict with neighboring countries. If a war between nations, a civil war, or even a coup d’├ętat occurs, the possibilities of escalation may increase because, frequently, other nations or groups become tempted to take advantage of the situation. For instance, at the outset of World War II, Italy invaded Ethiopia. After war had broken out in Europe, Japan sought to gain new footholds in other territories besides China. These are just a few among many historical examples of collective stress driving social disorder, spilling out into other nations, and creating the reign of terror called war.
The Present Situation
In any country the political consciousness of its citizens must be in a coherent, unified state to avoid internal conflicts. It might be argued that this situation could have been ensured in India at the time of Independence itself, if the first Indian Government had passed a Unified Civil Code for all citizens. However, for whatever reasons, this did not happen, and today India’s national consciousness is deeply divided. For example, whenever police arrest suspected local people for involvement in terrorist acts, so-called secular leaders and thinkers often blame the police and government (even before the enquiry is finished) for abusing innocent citizens just because they are from a particular community. Authorities often have to wear kid gloves, and as a result terrorist attacks may not be investigated thoroughly to their logical conclusion. Other people argue that terrorist attacks continue unabated for this very reason. Even where obvious perpetrators of terrorist acts are found, often the police cannot take any direct action but must wait for the results of a court case after they have filed a report. Since the accused have Human Rights, they are guarded with gusto by the secular leaders. Sadly, the victims of the attack (though Indian citizens) appear to have lost their Human Rights; they are dead, and nobody bothers about them. In short, the usual ‘suspect-arrest-investigate-court case’ route is not achieving the desired level of success.
To deal with such dastardly attacks, the Indian Government is considering actions such as reducing damage to property and paying compensation to the victims of such acts. India also accuses Pakistan of involvement in these acts from time to time. All these approaches indicate the Government’s inability to stop these attacks. But since the mid-eighties, such acts have become very serious; they are now well organized, planned and executed. Most people would probably agree that India’s current responses are definitely inadequate, to say the least.
However, history shows that responding to violence with more violence cannot stop it. The answer has to be something else. The response of violence will merely escalate violence by the initiator. The Israel-Arab conflict does not appear to be waning even after 55 years! Neither will there be any respite for either party.
Violent action needs a non-violent means to extinguish it. Anyone abusing loudly will get tired and stop only if the other party responds by maintaining silence! Mahatma Gandhi was the lone proponent of this philosophy in the 1920s. He was fully committed to Indian culture and to the principle that to combat violence successfully, the response should be non-violence. If someone abuses you, your response in kind will only ensure a further escalation of hostilities. As a contrasting example, Sant Eknath of sixteenth century Paithan in Maharashtra was a true model of this culture of non-violence. One early morning when Eknath was returning home after his bath in the river Godavari, a person sent by Eknath’s detractors spat on Eknath’s face. Without annoyance and without uttering a single word, Eknath returned to the river and after another bath walked towards his home. The person again spat on his face, and Eknath repeated his response. The person repeated his action more than 20 times without getting any other response from Eknathjee. At the end, the person bowed before the Sant and became his disciple!
It is unlikely that any foreigner can enter India and commit any terrorist action without at least some kind of help from some local citizens (i.e., friends, relatives, etc.). Therefore one way to help discourage terrorist activities in India would be ensure that the local people do not assist the terrorists. On an obvious level, local people, being Indians, should promptly report to local authorities any inkling that they get about anyone (who may be visiting them or meeting them someplace) planning such activity—and in any case should never help the terrorists. But for this to happen, all citizens must have a similar or compatible consciousness, and it must be in tandem with the well-being of Bhaarat Nation. Currently, however, due to divisions within the collective consciousness of society, the individual consciousness of some people (relatives/friends of the terrorists) is not compatible with that of other citizens. Therefore unity and harmony must be restored within society. This would be the best possible way of dealing with terrorism. But how can we ensure that this situation takes place?
Practical Application
To help create a more powerful and unified national consciousness in India, we can use the non-violent approach of the ‘Maharishi Effect’ (described above). To produce this effect most powerfully, all patriotic citizens of India should learn the TM program and maintain their daily practice as per instructions. While other varieties of meditation may have some effect as well, the TM technique alone stands scientifically ‘certified’ to produce the desired benefits for both the individual and society, as validated by the world’s most modern laboratories. Brainwave patterns have been scientifically studied and confirm that different physiological processes take place during various forms of meditations. Meta-analyses have shown that the TM technique produces uniquely beneficial effects. Although some other forms of meditation have been found to produce good effects in specific areas, EEG and neural imaging studies show that only the TM technique creates unique brainwave coherence throughout the brain. The research also shows that the TM technique is most effective at reducing depression and anxiety, and increasing self-actualization. The TM technique also provides much deeper rest for the body than do other practices. (xix)
For all these reasons, regular TM practice by the citizens of India would develop brainwave coherence which, by enlivening the most fundamental level of the unified field in Nature, would spread from their location to other minds nearby. These positive vibrations would reduce negative impulses and tendencies in the population. Since people with negative or destructive tendencies may be found all over India, at least one percent of the Indian population, or around 15 million Indians, would need to practice Transcendental Meditation regularly twice a day to have effective control of terrorist activities on a long-term basis. Alternatively, as noted above, a peace-creating group of around 3400 Indians (the square root of one percent of the population) practicing the advanced TM-Sidhi program in one place could create a similar effect throughout society. For obvious reasons, we feel that all personnel who deal with the local population, such as the police, CRP, SRP, etc., should have the TM program available to society.
The military could easily create its own peace-creating groups from among its personnel. Regularly meditating squads of adequate size could be deployed in front-line formations as a means to help prevent cross-border patrols and terrorists from entering India. Extensive scientific research confirms that when peace-creating groups reach the required size threshold, crime, violence, and terrorism within the population all decrease markedly.
For obvious reasons, we feel that all personnel who deal with the local population, such as the police, CRP, SRP, etc., should have the TM program available to them. Also, all gazetted officers of the Centre as well as the States should be practicing the TM technique. This will ensure that their decisions/suggestions will all be in the best interest of the Nation. Moreover, the implementation of decisions will be in accord with the Laws of Nature and hence will not encounter resistance at any level of execution.
It is hoped that the establishment of a permanent peace-creating group will start a phase transition in India’s national collective consciousness that will inspire all the Bhaarateey people to learn the Transcendental Meditation program. The resulting increase in coherence and harmony could absolutely ensure that local people and visitors do not carry out terrorist attacks either in Bhaarat or anywhere else in India.
It appears that the non-violent, non-invasive approach of widespread TM and TM-Sidhi practice is likely to be most effective as a long-term measure to protect the nation against crime, violence, and terrorism. The short-term measures include keeping a watch on persons entering India, being vigilant on suspects, and trying to reduce the likely severity of terrorist activities. These measures must of course continue as important deterrents to terrorism.
Conclusion
In ancient times, India had a reputation as a peaceful and prosperous country which attracted outsiders. It was known as Suvarnabhoomee then. Military attacks from foreigners were invariably repulsed successfully and the attackers merged into Indian population automatically. These outcomes were the result of India’s Nature-friendly culture which had developed over the three previous Yugas. But with the onset of Kaliyug, divisions in society have naturally arisen; it is normal that the people have become less interested in spirituality, more attracted towards outside cultures, and greedy for bodily comforts, in the process destroying their happiness and themselves by chasing ‘Artha’ and ‘Kaam’ and neglecting Manav ‘Dharma’. The present conflict-ridden national situation is the result, even though many great souls have tried to guide the people and restore the original dignity of the nation.
As Indians, we have to develop (return to) our internal power to purify the minds of the whole world. As Jagadguru, Indian citizens have a responsibility to make the world a peaceful and enjoyable place for all. To do so we have to develop ourselves first, as per Bhaarateeya Psychology norms. As a natural byproduct of growing individual enlightenment, society will rise to indomitable coherence and invincibility. Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi has started to teach foreigners this Vedic Defence technology, but with India’s inherent connection to it, Indians can surely employ the technology most swiftly. It is the call of the whole world now! India needs to maintain a minimum of approximately 3,391 (xx) Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) experts practicing the advanced TM-Sidhi program together twice a day in one location to be invincible. Once this goal has been achieved, it would be ideal to teach more than 15 million citizens of India the TM program (one percent of the entire Indian population) as soon as possible to eliminate terrorism forever.
References
1. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s book: ‘MAHARISHI VEDIC UNIVERSITY – INTRODUCTION (1994)’
2. Indian scriptures like Mahamuni Paatanjali’s ASHTAANG‐YOG DARSHAN
3. Waves 2008 Conference at Orlando, USA in Jun ’08 Paper ‘Science of Psychology’ presented by Prof M D Apte.
4. Experiences of the authors
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