Saved by Beauty: Adventures of an American Romantic in Iran [Hardcover] By: Roger Housden

Roger Housden traveled to Iran to meet with artists, writers, film makers and religious scholars who embody the long Iranian tradition of humanism, the belief in scholarship and artistry that began with the reign of Cyrus the Great. He traveled to the mountains of Kurdistan to learn from Sufis, whose version of Islam exhorts nothing but tolerance and love. From the bustle of modern Tehran to the paradise gardens of Shiraz to the spectacular mosques and ancient palaces of Isfahan, Housden met Iranians who were warm, welcoming, generous, intellectually curious, and who would recite the poetry of Hafez or Rumi at the slightest opportunity.

Saved By Beauty weaves a richly textured story of many threads. It is a deeply poetic and perceptive appreciation of a culture that has endured for over three thousand years, while it also portrays the creative and spiritual cultures within contemporary Iran that are rarely given any mention in the West. It is a suspense story that reflects on the philosophical and aesthetic questions of good and evil, truth and beauty. And finally, it is the story of a man in his sixties on a personal quest to discover if the Iran of his youthful imagination continued to exist, or whether it had been lost forever under a strict totalitarian regime. In Iran, Roger Housden was brought face to face with the reality that beauty and truth, deceit and violence, are inextricably mingled in the affairs of human life, and was forever changed.

Forty years ago, Roger Housden discovered the poetry of Rumi and Hafez, read tales of exotic Sufis, and was carried away by the music and wisdom of a culture that reached back over three thousand years, ac culture that gave us our word for paradise. Longing to see is the Iran of his imagination continued to exist, or whether it had been lost forever in the revolutionary zeal of the last thirty years, Housden sets off on a journey to discover a country filled with remarkable contradictions. “This books is a pilgrimage, a prayer, a heartfelt reminder, a poet-traveler’s window into the eternal soul of Iran.” –Jack Kornfield

God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Reflections on the Spirit World ~Michael Graziano

For 20 years at Princeton University I studied how the brain processes sensory information and controls movement, but lately I’ve become interested in a more esoteric question, the big question of neuroscience: the brain basis of consciousness. There is now a conceptually simple theory that in principle can account for consciousness, that has emerged over the past 10 to 15 years, and that in my view is likely to be correct at least in its general outlines, although a great deal of scientific controversy still surrounds the topic. I wrote about this theory in my recent book, God Soul Mind Brain.

This theory of consciousness begins with something called social perception. Humans are social animals, and not surprisingly the human brain has special-purpose machinery that allows us to be socially intelligent — to reconstruct information about the contents of other people’s minds. When I interact with another person, I reconstruct what he might be thinking and feeling. I monitor what he might be aware of or what he might be attending to. All of this information forms a linked, interconnected bundle of data, an informational model of another person’s mind, computed inside my own brain. It is a perceptual model of someone else’s consciousness, and the study of the brain circuitry that computes this type of perceptual model is called social neuroscience.

Social neuroscience arguably began in the 1960s with experiments on monkeys. Monkeys are social animals, and it was discovered that neurons in a particular brain area carry information of social relevance, such as visual information about faces or about body gestures. The scientist who made these initial discoveries was Charles Gross, my long-time mentor. I worked in his lab for many years.

The findings from monkeys were picked up by many scientists and extended to the human brain, mainly by putting people in MRI scanners and measuring brain activity. It turns out that the human brain contains specific areas, mainly in the right hemisphere, but to some extent on both sides, that emphasize the task of social perception: of building an informational model of another person’s mind. Damage to these brain areas can lead to a disability in social perception.

Now I would like to draw a distinction between two items: social perception and social cognition. The terms are used differently by different scientists, and the border between them is not absolute. We understand other people’s minds at many different levels, some more cognitive and some more perceptual. But generally speaking, one might think of social cognition as more a process of intellectually figuring out what might be in someone’s mind and social perception as more intuitive, more basic.

One of the best examples to get across this distinction is ventriloquism. In ventriloquism, as an audience member looking at the puppet, you know intellectually, cognitively, that there is no conscious mind in its head. But perceptually, you fall for the illusion. That is what makes ventriloquism fun. When a good ventriloquist makes the puppet move in realistic ways, directs its gaze with good timing, makes it react to its environment in a plausible way, the effect pops out. You can’t help feeling as if consciousness, awareness, agency were emanating from the puppet. The social machinery in your brain constructs an informational model of a conscious mind that you project onto the puppet. In fact, you build two perceptual models of minds, one that you project onto the performer and the other that you project onto the puppet. Ventriloquists have worked out a set of tricks to enhance this illusion of two separate minds. That is why the puppet always has a different tone of voice and usually argues with the performer.

Ventriloquism is an exotic example, but this tendency to perceive mind in things is something we do every day. How many times have you gotten mad at your car? You know it doesn’t have a mind, but you can’t help constructing that perceptual model. We do the same thing to our TVs and to our computers. Some people talk to their plants. Children talk to their stuffed animals.

We do the same thing with respect to each other. When I meet a new person, my brain constructs an informational model of a mind, a consciousness, and attributes it to that person. That model allows me to predict the person’s behavior, at least to some extent, and to interact more effectively.

According to the theory, I do the same thing with respect to myself. I perceive consciousness in myself. My brain constructs a perceptual model of a mind that thinks this and that, feels this and that and is aware of this and that; the mind is attributed to my own location. That model provides an organized, coherent way for me to understand myself — to predict and help guide my behavior. It is not always accurate; it is woefully incomplete; but it is a useful model of myself.

This realization that consciousness is a perception is counterintuitive. We think of consciousness as something ghostly that inhabits an object. But according to this neuro-social theory, consciousness is a perception that is attributed to something. Like beauty, consciousness is in the eye of the beholder. Our brains actively paint consciousness onto ourselves and onto the objects around us.

The implications for spiritual belief are rather startling. In this theory, the spirit world is the complex, richly detailed universe of social perception, the perception of mind. We not only perceive consciousness in ourselves and in others, but we perceive it in the objects and spaces around us. Spiritualism is a fundamental mode of perception by which humans relate to the world. In this view, spiritualism is not an incorrect theory; not a misapplication of rational thought; not pseudoscience. One of the reasons why scientific rationalism has such trouble dealing with religion is that spirituality is not generally about rational thought, evidence or logical inference. At root it is a built-in tendency to construct perceptions of mind, project them around us, and then move through and interact with that perceptual world.

I find myself in the end with a theory that does not fit neatly into anyone’s political bunker. It is decidedly materialistic and atheistic. Yet according to the theory, spirits exist — deities, ghosts, souls, the consciousness of other people, one’s own consciousness — as rich perceptual simulations run on the hardware of the brain. That perceptual world has psychological reality and genuine importance to human existence.

God Soul Mind Brain
By Michael Graziano

Reviewed by By Peter Clarke
As the title suggests, this short book deals with the role of the brain in thought, consciousness and religious experience (all in 170 pages!). The main claims are that certain parts of the brain contain “specialized social hardware” and that this is responsible for: 1) the perception of other people’s intentions and emotions; 2) the illusory perception of “presences, spirits, ghosts and gods”; 3) the perception of our own conscious self. The first half of the book approaches these questions in rather general philosophical terms, and the second half focuses on brain function.

The book is an easy and interesting read, intended for those with no specialized knowledge. It has no references at all, but a short list of suggested further reading. As a neuroscientist myself, and therefore not a member of the target readership, I may be too critical, but I feel that new and controversial theses should first be debated before a specialist audience before being presented in a book with no references.

Not that all in the book is new or controversial. Indeed, the first of Graziano’s claims is certainly not. He describes with admirable clarity some of the more interesting results of systems neurophysiology over the last fifteen years, including mirror neurons, and gives standard interpretations.

His second claim that “presences, spirits, ghosts and gods” result from the illusory attribution of mind to inanimate objects is also not new, because several anthropologists have made similar proposals since the 19th C to explain the origins of animism. But in claiming that all religious experience is illusory Graziano does brook controversy. He also states with almost no argument that “There are no fundamental moral truths of the universe. Morality is not defined outside of us; it is a physiological construct of the brain.” In saying this he appears to commit the fallacy of “nothingbuttery”. All beliefs and experiences are presumably constructs of the brain, but does that make them all illusory? Puzzlingly, he also claims that he is not anti-religious and that he does not want to explain away religion, which makes me wonder if I have misunderstood him, but he writes explicitly on p50 “The spirit world … is a creation of the brain. It is a perceptual illusion”.

Graziano’s third claim seems to me the most original, and it is here that I would have most wished for a less popular approach. He claims to have no less than a solution to the problem of consciousness (including qualia)! His essential idea is that our social brain machinery, which evolved to represent the minds of others, when turned inwards creates consciousness. I don’t know whether this idea is new, but it was to me. I find it very interesting, but not yet well supported and not a solution to the problem of consciousness. Graziano recognizes the difficulty of the problem on p16: “How can awareness itself be explained as the processing of information in the brain? It turns out, however, that even this long-sought philosophical – one might say alchemical – understanding of mind falls into place rather neatly when considering the brain hardware that is tuned to social perception.” He deals with this in more detail in chapter 4 (“Explaining Consciousness”). His arguments there do not convince me that he has solved problem of consciousness, but they are interesting.

There are a few minor errors. For example, Graziano writes on p141 that “the emotional content of the hypothalamus was dicovered in the 1950s in rats”, forgetting the pioneering stimulation experiments of Walter Hess in Zurich in the 1920s and 1930s (Nobel prize in 1949), which showed in great detail the emotional role of the hypothalamus. But on the whole the science in the book is accurate.

A good book for a train journey, even if it doesn’t solve the problem of consciousness.


Michael Graziano (1967-) is a scientist and novelist. He was born in Connecticut and grew up partly on a farm in upstate New York. He is now a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University and has published five novels, some under a pseudonym. His novels often take the form of parables or metaphors – fairy tales for the modern adult. He also publishes scientific books on the brain.

Dolores Cannon on Earth Transformation

Past-life regressionist Dolores Cannon spoke about 2012 in terms of being a dimensional shift into the New Earth, and touched on her work with Nostradamus. She believes she communicated across time with the great seer, who told her the future is not set in stone, but there are certain nexus points that have to happen.

Planetary Transformation: The Coming New Earth by Dolores Cannon

There have been many prophecies and visions of our future and the evolution of consciousness of our world. Dolores Cannon has been at the forefront of this investigation, researching what she calls the “lost knowledge”—the origins of life on Earth and throughout the universe. In this article she shares this information, which she admits is controversial: a view of planetary transformation that is both mind-bending and awe-inspiring.


My research in the field of hypnosis has taken me on unimaginable journeys through time and space to explore the history of the past and the possibilities of the future. When I first began my investigations through past life therapy, I thought I would only find people remembering lives on Earth, because naturally that was all we knew about. My belief system has really been stretched and extended over the past thirty years. As my work progressed, I was given a great deal of information about the beginning of life on Earth. I was told that this is the time for this knowledge to come forth. We are moving into a new world, a new dimension, where this information will be appreciated and applied. During my work, I have heard much about everything being composed of energy; the shape and form is only determined by the frequency and vibration. Energy never dies; it only changes. I have been told that the Earth is changing its vibration and frequency and preparing to rise into a new dimension. There are countless dimensions surrounding us all the time. We cannot see them because as the vibrations speed up, they are invisible to our eyes. It is important for us to know more about this shift to a new dimension because it is coming soon.

Earth is a school that we go to and learn lessons, but it is not the only school. You have lived on other planets and in other dimensions. You have done many, many things you cannot even imagine. Many of the people I have worked with in the last few years have regressed to lifetimes where they were light beings living in a state of bliss. They had no reason to come into the Earth’s density and negativity. They volunteered to come to help mankind and the Earth at this time. I have encountered what I consider to be three waves of these new souls who are living on Earth. They have come at this time because most of those who have been here for lifetime after lifetime have become bogged down in karma and are not advancing. They have lost sight of the purpose for being here. The first wave of these souls, in their late 40s to early 60s now, had the most difficult time adjusting. They didn’t like the violence and ugliness they found in this world and wanted to return “home”—even though they had no idea, consciously, where that might be. The second wave is now in their late 20s and early 30s. They are moving through life much more easily. They are generally focused on helping others, creating no karma, and normally going unnoticed. The third wave is the new children, many of whom are now in their teens. They have come in with all the knowledge needed, on an unconscious level. Their DNA has already been altered and they are prepared to proceed with little or no problems. Some of these children are only nine or ten years old and have already graduated from college. They are forming organizations, and amazingly, these are organizations to help the children of the world!


In order to understand why these three waves of volunteers have come at this time, we have to go back to the beginning—the beginning of life on our world. I know this information is controversial, but when the same information has come to me over and over in thousands of regressions, I feel we cannot ignore it. Eons ago there was no life on Earth. There were many volcanoes and the atmosphere was full of ammonia. The planet had to be changed for life to begin. In my research I learned that there are Councils that make the rules and regulations for creating life throughout the universe. There are Councils over the solar system, Councils over the galaxy, and Councils over the universe. It is a very ordered system. These higher beings go throughout the universe looking for planets that are suitable for life. They say that when a planet reaches the point where it can sustain life, it is a very momentous occasion in the history of that planet. It is given its Life Charter.

Then various groups of ETs or higher beings are given the assignment to go and begin life on that planet. These beings are called the Archaic Ones or the Ancient Ones. They have been doing this since the beginning of time. This does not put God out of the picture at all—He is very much in the whole picture. These beings first bring in single-cell organisms to get them to divide and form multi-cell organisms. It depends upon the conditions on each planet which organisms form. After they have seeded a planet, they go back to check on the cells from time to time over the eons. Often the cells do not survive, and they find the planet lifeless again. These beings have told me, “You have no idea how fragile life is.”

So down through time they did this on Earth, and life began to form. And after a time plants began to form, because you have to have plants before you can introduce animals. As life began to develop, they kept coming back to see and care for it. They formed the oceans and cleansed the air so that various life forms could evolve. Eventually the higher beings began to create an intelligent being. This has happened on every planet; this is the way life is formed.

In my books, I have called these beings “keepers of the garden,” because we are the garden; we are their children. Now in order to create an intelligent being they had to take an animal with a large enough brain that it could begin to learn things, and one that had hands so it could develop tools. This is why they chose the ape. Some people don’t go along with this, but the truth is that we are 98% genetically compatible. You could give blood to an ape and it would live; that’s how close we are genetically. But even so, creating the human being required genetic manipulations and mixing in other cells and genes brought from all over the universe to create the different races. They said we will never find the missing link; it doesn’t exist. Our evolution jumped generations. It did not happen by random chance.

Over time, whenever something needed to be given to humanity, these beings would come and live with humans and give them what they needed. Every culture in the world has legends of the culture bringer. The Indians have the corn woman who taught them how to plant. There are legends of the ones who taught us about fire and how to develop agriculture. In all the legends of the world these beings come from the sky or from across the sea. These were the teachers, and they could live as long as they wanted. They are the ones who have come down to us as legends of gods and goddesses. It is still happening now, but they cannot live among us; they would be too conspicuous.

So when they want to give us new ideas to speed up our evolution, they put them into the atmosphere. Whoever picks up on that idea is the one who will invent it. They don’t care who invents it as long as it is in the timeline. An example of this is free energy, which I am hearing in my travels that people are developing all over the world.


When an intelligent being was created on Earth, the Council decided to give us free will and see what we do with it. There are planets where there is no free will. The Star Trek directive of non-interference is very, very real. This is part of the Council’s directives: they cannot interfere with the development of an intelligent species. They can help by teaching us and giving us knowledge, but they cannot interfere. Even when we take what has been given to us and turn it into something destructive, they cannot interfere or tell us not to do it. We were supposed to be a perfect species that never got sick and could live as long as we want.

Earth was supposed to be like a Garden of Eden, a perfect place, but something unexpected happened and changed the whole plan. When life was beginning to develop nicely, a meteorite hit the Earth and it brought bacteria that caused disease. This was the first time disease was introduced to the Earth. When this happened the beings overseeing Earth’s evolution went back to the Council. They asked what to do now that their perfect experiment was spoiled. There was great sadness. The question was whether to destroy everything and start over, or to allow life to continue to develop. The Council decided to let it go ahead and evolve because so much time and effort had been involved. They allowed it even though they knew, because of disease, that life on Earth would never be perfect as originally planned. These higher beings continued to observe our evolution from afar, but something happened in the 1940s that really caught their attention: the explosion of the atomic bomb.

This is something we were not supposed to have at our stage of evolution. They knew we would not be able to control it, that we would use it for destruction. Destruction of the Earth would not be allowed because it would reverberate throughout the galaxies, disturbing too many planets and even life on other dimensions. It was during this time, at the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s, that UFO sightings began to be publicized. The higher beings went back to the Council and asked what to do since they are not allowed to interfere with mankind’s free will. That is when the Council came up with what I think is a brilliant plan. They said, “We cannot interfere from the outside, but what about if we help from the inside?” It is not interfering when you ask for volunteers to come in and help. This is how the call was given throughout the universe for souls to come to help the Earth.

The people on Earth have been caught in the cycle of reincarnation, on the wheel of karma, for hundreds and hundreds of lives, coming back and making the same mistakes over and over again. We are supposed to be evolving but we are not. This was the main reason Jesus and the other great Prophets came to Earth: to teach people how to get off the wheel of karma, to help humanity to evolve. But we are still making the same mistakes over and over again: creating wars and so much violence. So the people on Earth were not going to be able to save the Earth.

It needed pure souls who are not caught in the wheel of karma, who have never been to Earth before. In the last five years of my work I am finding more and more souls who have come directly from God. I have had people go back to where they were ETs, to where they were on other dimensions, to where they were light beings and did not need a body. The volunteers who come have a sheath or cover over their souls so they cannot accumulate karma, because once they accumulate karma they have to be reborn again and again. Now there are tens of thousands of these new souls all over the world, and the higher beings have said they don’t have to worry about us destroying the Earth. They say we have finally tipped the balance. We are going to be able to save the world. I have asked to know what God is. They said that our conception is just a tiny thread of what He truly is. We cannot even begin to conceptualize what He is.

They all describe God in the same way: He is not a man—if anything He would have been a woman, because women are the creative force. But God is neither man nor woman. He is a huge Source of all energy, described as an immense Fire or Light. Some call God the Great Central Sun, a huge energy Source, and yet so full of love, total love. One being described the Source as “The heart of the Sun. The heart of God.” When the pure beings who have come directly from God go back to the Source, they do not want to leave. This is where we all began; we were originally one with this Source. The souls who have come directly from God say that there is no separation; it is all one. I have asked, if you loved it so much, why did you come? They all said the same thing: “I heard the call.” Even the ones who are ETs have said the same thing. And when they come in, like all of us, their memories are erased. I have asked, wouldn’t it be easier if we remember why we have come? They said it wouldn’t be a test if you knew the answers.


The question has been asked whether there will be a fourth wave. It will not be necessary because something else is going to happen: we are moving into a New Earth—the first time it has ever happened in the history of the universe. Many civilizations have perished down through history because of man. Atlantis was one example but there were many others. Each of these civilizations had tremendous advances. They had psychic abilities; they could do anything with their minds. The men of those times wanted more—power and greed—so eventually they violated the laws of the universe and they had to be brought down.

Each time this happened, some humans were left to start civilization over again. This has happened time after time after time. The higher beings say we must understand this because we are reaching that point again. They do not want to have to destroy humanity, so they came up with this idea that has never been done before: the New Earth. The Earth is going to evolve to a higher dimension whether it takes us with it or not. It is a living being. If we want to go with it, our vibrations have to match the new vibrations. And beings all over the universe are watching us to see—are we going to be able to pull this off? Many civilizations have disappeared from the Earth without a trace. Among these are the Mayans, the Anasazi, and many others.

During regressions I have had people go back to those times. Each of these ancient cultures evolved spiritually to a point that their entire civilization moved into a higher dimension. The Mayans saw that the next great advancement was going to be when the entire world would shift into a higher dimension. This is what they saw happening in 2012. It is not the end of the world; it is when the entire world moves into a new dimension.

The transition began around 2003. The culmination is going to be in 2012. Time is speeding up. Earth’s frequencies and vibrations are changing. But not everyone is going to go, just as it says in the Bible: “Then two shall be in the field; the one will be taken, the other left.” It is very real. When the transformation reaches its peak in 2012 the energy becomes so strong it will push the Earth into the new dimension. There will not be anything dramatic; it will be very subtle, very slow, and only those who are really aware will know anything is happening.

Things will look different and feel different. The old Earth is where we are going to have all the catastrophes, and these are going to increase because the Earth is lifting itself as it shifts. You cannot change your frequency or vibration immediately; it would be too strong and would destroy your body. It has to be done in stages. Many of us can sense on another level of our being that something is happening. With the changes subtly going on around us, our physical bodies must also change in order to adjust. Some of these physical symptoms are unpleasant and cause concern. Just be aware of what is happening: the body is adjusting and adapting to different energy levels so it can move on.


As the New Earth is formed, when you first cross over, you will be in your physical body. Eventually over time it will turn into a light body, just the way these other beings are. My subjects are being told that they must change their diet in order to make the adjustment into the new world. You have to be lighter. Heavy foods will hold you to the old Earth. They have said many times that the ideal foods are live foods: fresh fruits and vegetables. Lighter foods will allow you to change your vibration and the frequency more easily. They say to stay away from sugar, and to drink lots and lots of water; the true value of water is unfathomable.

Many people have asked, “What am I supposed to be doing?” We are here to help each other, being there for each other. There are two things that we have to get rid of in order to go to the New Earth: negative karma and fear. There is good karma and negative karma. As long as you are bogged down with negative karma, you are going to remain on the old Earth, because the way the law of karma is set up, you must repay it. Too many people are caught up in negative karma and do not know how to release it. That is the reason why new souls had to come, because they don’t have karma, and they can help others to release theirs. You have had many lifetimes with the same people, going over the same circumstances and not resolving it.

Until you can stop that cycle and get off of the wheel of karma, you are not going to be able to evolve upward. The way to get rid of negative karma is to forgive and let go. Some of my clients have said, “I can’t forgive them, you don’t know what they did to me.” That is what makes people sick: holding on to this baggage and garbage and not letting it go. You have to let it go because it is not hurting the other person, it is only hurting you.

The first thing you’re going to have to do is forgive. Now, sometimes that is difficult to do face to face with the person. And sometimes the person with whom you have negative karma has died. You don’t have to face the person to ask for forgiveness and to forgive them; you can do it mentally. Picture the person in your mind and just speak to him or her mentally. Focus on the person and send your forgiveness and love. Everything comes back to love. It all goes back to your treating others as you would want to be treated yourself. It begins to turn to the vibration of love and that is the most powerful thing there is. Now, the second thing you have to do after that is to forgive yourself, which is also very difficult. People are always good at blaming others without looking at themselves. It takes two to create a situation.

Even though you consider yourself to be the victim, you’re still a part of the whole thing, perhaps even from a previous lifetime. You have to look deep inside to be able to see and accept your part in the circumstances, and then forgive yourself. Release it and let it go. It has no place in your life any more. The second most important thing they say you have to do if you want to go to the New Earth is let go of fear. Fear is a paralyzing emotion. It’s the strongest emotion a human has. If you don’t understand something you are going to be afraid of it. Fear drags you down and holds you back. If you have love there is no fear, but many people live their entire lives in fear. There is so much on TV, in movies, and elsewhere trying to generate fear. You have to think for yourself and ask lots of questions.

Make up your own mind. Then what you come up with will be your truth. Most of the time what we fear never happens anyway. Fear is so powerful that when you think of something on and on, through the law of attraction you draw that very thing toward you. You have to get rid of fear because it is debilitating and binding; it will hold you to the old Earth. Meditation is very helpful. They say the best time to meditate is just before the sun comes up, when all the Earth is quiet and still. Any time that you can set aside for yourself to be quiet, alone, and just relax will be beneficial. Then ask your questions and listen for your answers.

At a recent conference I attended, Annie Kirkwood, author of Mary’s Message to the World, described a vision she had of this transformation. She saw the Earth sphere begin to pull apart, like a cell when it divides in two, and then it separated into two Earths. And on the New Earth she heard them saying, “We did it, we did it!” On the old Earth she heard them saying, “Poor thing, she died believing all that.” One group is not even going to be aware that anything has happened.

I would like to end with a quotation from my book, Convoluted Universe Book Three, a message given during a session with one of the souls who have come directly from God “You are God. It is given to you to manifest your God beingness. Open your God self, and allow the light to enter. From within, will come such light. It will manifest from the very core of your being. The world which you envision is already inside of you. You are not moving to another planet. You are breaking out of your shell. This planet—this shell—is bringing forth that light. It is given to you to enter your light fully, fully and to draw it out. And to say, I AM LIGHT. Nothing in God’s beingness can exist without the permission of God. I say to you, YOU ARE GODS. YOU ARE THE LIGHT!”

© 2010 by Dolores Cannon. Dolores Cannon is a past-life regressionist and hypnotherapist who specializes in the recovery and cataloging of “Lost Knowledge.” She has been specializing in past-life therapy since 1979. She is the author of fifteen books and has made over 1000 radio appearances. She travels all over the world teaching her unique technique of hypnosis and bringing the message of the coming New Earth. This article was compiled from an interview with Dolores Cannon by Light of Consciousness, as well as her DVD, Awaken, from a November 2009 lecture in Long Beach, CA, and her books The Convoluted Universe Book Two and Book Three.

Dolores Cannon speaking on “Moving Into the New Earth” at the 16th Annual International UFO Congress Convention and Film Festival

Reincarnation/Questions Answered by Expert Richard Salva

Reincarnation/How soon after death till someone takes rebirth and how can you know?


I have recently lost my love in an accident, and i feel that he desired to come back to earth strongly. How soon after death does someone reincarnate? i believe that i have sensed that he has decided to take rebirth already. Can you try and find them again when they have taken rebirth and what are your chances? I have a strong desire to reconnect with him in whatever birth he takes or roles we play in each others lives, at a soul level i believe i would recognize him if i had the opportunity.


There are many possibilities for when someone might reincarnate after they pass on. Most return fairly quickly—less than ten years. Some come back almost immediately. Others may wait for decades.

If your lost love left his body with a strong desire to do or experience something in this world (such as seeing you again), and if he did not need a long period of time in the astral world to recover from his passing or some other pain or grief in his life, then it is possible that he has already returned.

To deepen your contact with him I would suggest, if you haven’t already, that you learn to meditate. In meditation you will raise your inner sensitivity, which will help you to recognize him when you meet.

For, if you do have a strong connection with this soul, and especially if there is a strong karma or mutual desire, you are bound to meet again, sooner or later, in this world or the next, in this life or a future lifetime.

The only question, as I say, is recognizing him. The great yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda, used to point out that lost relatives may reincarnate next door without their former family members recognizing them.

Meditation, as I say, is very helpful in this process. And Yogananda himself described a technique that he himself used to find a lost student of his. He described this technique in his Autobiography of a Yogi:

In the chapter titled “Kashi, Reborn and Discovered,” Yogananda wrote: “My love for Kashi, and [my] pledge to find him after death, night and day haunted me. No matter where I went, his face loomed up before me. I began a memorable search for him, even as long ago I had searched for my lost mother.

“I felt that inasmuch as God had given me the faculty of reason, I must utilize it and tax my powers to the utmost in order to discover the subtle laws by which I could know the boy’s astral whereabouts. He was a soul vibrating with unfulfilled desires, I realized—a mass of light floating somewhere amidst millions of luminous souls in the astral regions. How was I to tune in with him, among so many vibrating lights of other souls?

“Using a secret yoga technique, I broadcasted my love to Kashi’s soul through the microphone of the spiritual eye, the inner point between the eyebrows. With the antenna of upraised hands and fingers, I often turned myself round and round, trying to locate the direction in which he had been reborn as an embryo. I hoped to receive response from him in the concentration-tuned radio of my heart.

“I intuitively felt that Kashi would soon return to the earth, and that if I kept unceasingly broadcasting my call to him, his soul would reply. I knew that the slightest impulse sent by Kashi would be felt in my fingers, hands, arms, spine, and nerves.

“With undiminished zeal, I practiced the yoga method steadily for about six months after Kashi’s death. Walking with a few friends one morning in the crowded Bowbazar section of Calcutta, I lifted my hands in the usual manner. For the first time, there was response. I thrilled to detect electrical impulses trickling down my fingers and palms. These currents translated themselves into one overpowering thought from a deep recess of my consciousness: ‘I am Kashi; I am Kashi; come to me!’

“The thought became almost audible as I concentrated on my heart radio. In the characteristic, slightly hoarse whisper of Kashi, I heard his summons again and again. . . .

“I began to turn round and round, to the undisguised amusement of my friends and the passing throng. The electrical impulses tingled through my fingers only when I faced toward a near-by path, aptly named ‘Serpentine Lane.’ The astral currents disappeared when I turned in other directions.

“‘Ah,’ I exclaimed, ‘Kashi’s soul must be living in the womb of some mother whose home is in this lane.’

“My companions and I approached closer to Serpentine Lane; the vibrations in my upraised hands grew stronger, more pronounced. As if by a magnet, I was pulled toward the right side of the road. Reaching the entrance of a certain house, I was astounded to find myself transfixed. I knocked at the door in a state of intense excitement, holding my very breath. I felt that the successful end had come for my long, arduous, and certainly unusual quest!

“The door was opened by a servant, who told me her master was at home. He descended the stairway from the second floor and smiled at me inquiringly. I hardly knew how to frame my question, at once pertinent and impertinent.

“‘Please tell me, sir, if you and your wife have been expecting a child for about six months?’

“‘Yes, it is so.’ Seeing that I was a swami . . . he added politely, ‘Pray inform me how you know my affairs.’

“When he heard about Kashi and the promise I had given, the astonished man believed my story.

“‘A male child of fair complexion will be born to you,’ I told him. ‘He will have a broad face, with a cowlick atop his forehead. His disposition will be notably spiritual.’ I felt certain that the coming child would bear these resemblances to Kashi.

“Later I visited the child, whose parents had given him his old name of Kashi. Even in infancy he was strikingly similar in appearance to my dear Ranchi student. The child showed me an instantaneous affection; the attraction of the past awoke with redoubled intensity.”

Yogananda went on to write how he helped the reborn Kashi in later years.

You might try this technique, coupled with meditation, to find your lost love. (Remember that a reborn soul will bear some physical similarities to his or her past life, and some changes as well.)

Richard Salva
Author of The Reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln

Can people reincarnate with different relations?

I just have a little simple question, I might sound stupid about it, but I need to know. Can our dead loved ones reincarnate in our own family? Can they reincarnate as our children or grand children? For example; Can my very own dad who passed away just 2 years back reborn as my own child? Can they take up any gender in new life? How long do they take to reborn after passing away from one life? Or do they wait for us to be our father again in our new life? I am very confused.

I lost my father 2 years back in Dec 2007. I am pregnant now and have a strong feeling my dad is coming back through me as right after he passed away, within 15 days of his demise with cancer I saw him in my dream where he told me very clearly, I will come to Bangalore(my city) in October. I came to know of my pregnancy in October itself.

There is evidence to support the assertions of many people that their deceased relatives have been reborn back into their former families as their own grandkids, nieces, nephews, and so on.

Some of these kids have correctly identified items that belonged to their grandparents, aunts or uncles, saying “that’s mine.” As their abilities to speak grew, they recalled specific details of the lives of the deceased, details that no one had shared with them, and sometimes events that their parents had forgotten or had not known.

And so it is certainly possible that your father may be reborn as your child, no matter which gender it is.

After the birth, look for signs without giving your child cues about them. Listen to what he or she says. Watch his or her habits of speech and relating to others.

Especially, look deep into his or her eyes. The eyes are “the windows of the soul” and you should see the same consciousness peering at you through your child’s eyes if he or she is your father reborn.

To answer your other question, it is also possible to have the same parent or parents in future lives, depending on the twin motivations of desire and karma.

Awakening Nature’s Healing Intelligence: Expanding Ayurveda Through The Maharishi Vedic Approach to Healthby Hari Sharma

This book gives readers an unprecedented insight into the common focus of all natural health approaches – the body’s inner intelligence. It presents a comprehensive framework for understanding how the self-organizing intelligence of nature emerges and how it can be harnessed to create better and greater well-being.

Dr Sharma shows how both modern science and the ancient Vedic science of India point to wholeness as an essential quality of existence. Based on this understanding, the text provides a model for moving beyond approaches to treatment that focus primarily on the symptoms of diseases. In this new model, the seed of disease is sown at the level where individual consciousness, mind, and physiology emerge from ‘undifferentiated wholeness’. If the self-organizing intelligence of the body becomes disconnected from its source of wholeness, the disease process begins.

The book goes on to introduce a wide range of therapeutic measures offered by the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health. This therapies provide a unique way to understand and prevent chronic diseases, and the transform healthcare as we know it. Paperback, 277 pages.

In this newsletter we interview the herbal research pioneer and author of Freedom from Disease, Hari Sharma, M.D.

Q: Today be interviewing Dr. Hari Sharma, a professor emeritus at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, a professor of pathology and former director of Cancer Prevention and Natural Products Research, who has done over ten years of groundbreaking research on herbal medicines and a prevention-oriented approach to well-being called Maharishi Ayurveda. Dr. Sharma has published more than 100 scientific articles and has authored three books. he has presented his work worldwide, including to the World health Organization, National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration (USA). Also, Dr. Sharma is the only U.S. physician to be honored by being named Fellow of the National Academy of Ayurveda under the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs, Government of India. So, without further ado, Dr. Sharma, welcome to our program.

Dr. Sharma: Thank you.

Q: In your book, Freedom from Disease you say that we’re in the midst of a medical revolution. Could you describe for us that revolution?

Dr. Sharma
: Yes. I wrote that book a few years ago, and at that time we were talking about a basic, common underlying mechanism of disease process. We talked about free radicals. We discussed free radicals as the main chain of events causing the majority of disorders.

Q: Could you explain for the listener what free radicals are, and their significance for health and disease?

Dr. Sharma
: Free radicals are those elements which are produced in the body. These are either atoms or molecules which have one electron missing in the outer orbit. Usually, in the outer orbit, in the outer shell, there are two electrons. And in a free radical molecule one of these electrons is missing. You need two of them to balance each other. Free radicals are the byproducts of the metabolic process. So free radicals are produced all the time in our bodies and cells. And the body uses free radicals to defend the body against infection. However, if free radicals are produced in large numbers, then they start attacking the body and cause damage.

Q: Thank you. And what are the implications of free radicals for the medical revolution you were describing in Freedom from Disease?

Dr. Sharma: Free radicals are an underlying mechanism, because they damage the cells, they damage the mitochondria which produce the energy for the body, they damage the DNA which controls all the functions of the cells, they can damage the cell membrane, they can damage the lining in the cell. Similarly they can damage different organs, joints, the heart, the pancreas. Many scientists now believe that 80-90 percent of disorders are related to free radicals.

Q: Eighty-ninety percent of all medical disorders are related to free radicals. Can you explain this story? This is, I think to most listeners, rather astonishing.

Dr. Sharma
: Free radicals are produced all the time. If they’re produced in large numbers, instead of protecting the body from damage due to outside forces, they start attacking the cells. Let’s look at it this way. If you have a large home, a large palace, and you have your own private security force, they are there to protect you. Then you go on vacation, and the security guards invite their friends and their relatives to rob you. Similarly, this is what happens with free radicals. They are essential to life, but if large numbers are produced, then they attack you and cause a lot of damage. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, aging — the most common disorders — liver disorders, kidney disorders — these are all related to free radicals. So if we can prevent and balance the generation of free radicals, we can really wipe out the majority of disorders.

Q: As an MD and scientist, what would you suggest can be done for this excess production of free radicals so that people can truly experience freedom from disease?

Dr Sharma
: There are two things. One thing is to know what causes increased production of free radicals. The second is to utilize the factors which balance the increased production of free radicals. So let’s discuss the increased production of free radicals. The most common cause, which is frequently ignored, is mental pressure. Mental pressure, tension, hostility, anger — emotional disturbances such as these — all create or generate hormones like catecholamines, epinephrine, distress hormones, etc. which act on the cell membrane and create free radicals. And their byproducts also act as free radicals. So one thing is this mental aspect. It has to be taken care of.

The other causes of increased production of free radicals include the diet. Polyunsaturated fats create free radicals. Meat and aged cheeses, create free radicals. Chemicals, radiation, environmental pollution, and drugs create free radicals. Alcohol and smoking also create free radicals. So making an adjustment in any of these areas will help to decrease the amount of free radicals we generate. Of course, there are some things we have no control over — for example, the pollution in our environment — so we need to take steps to help the body combat the free radicals this generates.

Q: As a research scientist, what attracted you to Ayurvedic medicine in your search for a solution to free radical cell damage?

Dr. Sharma
: Before we discuss that, let me talk about how the body balances the increased production of free radicals, and then I’ll come back to your question. There are certain enzymes in the body and if there is increased production of free radicals, these enzymes can help take care of it. There are also certain items in our food which can balance free radicals. These we call antioxidants. Many people are now becoming aware of the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

The most powerful antioxidants in nature are in the herbs. When we have the proper mixture of herbs, they can really control a large amount of free radicals. Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants. So, if on one side, we indulge in activities which create more free radicals, and on the other side we have enzymes and antioxidants, then there’s a balance. But if there is yet more production of free radicals, you have to really balance it further, otherwise there will be increased damage. So this is what led to my investigation of Ayurveda as I became interested in the possibility of the support that traditional herbal Ayurvedic formulas could provide.

: I see. Perhaps you could explain what ayurveda is for our listeners

Dr. Sharma: Ayurveda is a very ancient, very comprehensive health care system. This health care system does not focus on the various organs. Ayurveda does not have a cardiac specialist and a liver specialist, etc. Ayurvedic physicians look at the body as a whole. They take care of the mind, the physiology, what you’re eating, what you’re affected by, your senses, your emotions, and also the environment you live in. So the total picture is taken into consideration when somebody is sick, in order to set it right. Ayurveda uses more than 20 different technologies, one of which is the use of herbal mixtures.

Ayurveda did not originate in present-day India, it originated in ancient India, a long, long time ago. There are written texts that the Ayurvedic physicians use as the basis for their treatment programs. And there is a tremendous amount of clinical experience which demonstrates the validity of this health care system. Also, a great deal of research has been done, mostly in the east, but in the west also, which validates these Ayurvedic technologies.

: Fantastic. And what’s the distinction between Ayurveda and Maharishi Ayurveda?

Dr. Sharma: Basically, overall, Ayurveda is the same. But with the passage of time, the way Ayurveda was practiced in India became fragmented. Many of the technologies were lost and the totality was not taken into account. Ayurveda was reduced to the use of herbal mixtures. What Maharishi did was to gather the scholars and scientists together and put back the totality of Ayurveda. The mind, the consciousness, the physiology, senses, environment, the total picture is taken into account. This is known as Maharishi Ayurveda, but this is the ancient, original Ayurveda.

Q: I see. And how does this consciousness based system of medicine relate to modern science?

Dr. Sharma
: Modern science .. that is a very good question. If you really want to talk about modern science, we should compare it with physics. There is Newtonian physics, which is based on a cause-and-effect relationship. For everything you see outside in the relative world, there is a cause-and-effect relationship. Then there is the recently discovered quantum physics, which goes beyond the subatomic particles to a substratum known as the unified field. Everything in creation originates from this unified field, so if you work from the level of that field, you can effectively manage the outside field of the relative world. But today’s medicine is still working on the level of cause-and-effect relationships, which is Newtonian physics. It has not gone beyond that to the level of quantum physics. In the human physiology, from the outside level we see various organs and their disorders.

But what is the basis? It goes beyond all this, to the quantum level. At that level, the relevant factor is the consciousness. From consciousness, all of creation emerges. So if you are going to treat a disorder effectively, you must work at the level of the basic cause of the disease process — which is consciousness. Consciousness must be taken into consideration. That is where the mind comes into play. If you ignore the mind, you’re ignoring a big chunk of the problem, so the problem is never solved. If you only treat the symptoms of a disease, you find that the health problem keeps coming back. Symptomatic treatment is incomplete and ineffective.

Q: I’m very excited to hear your description of consciousness-based medicine because, as a physician, as a psychiatrist, I’ve been very intrigued with holistic medicine. But, clearly, Ayurveda is the fulfillment of holistic medicine. It is a body, mind, spirit, system of health care. And I’m wondering if you can tell us how Ayurvedic herbs are similar or dissimilar to prescription medications. Because most Americans now have become very disenchanted with the toxic side effects from many prescription drugs. There are more Americans going to see alternative health practitioners than they’re MD/GP for the first time in our history. But how would you compare ayurvedic herbs to prescription drugs?

Dr. Sharma: The prescription drugs, as you know, have now become the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

That’s right.

Dr. Sharma:
And so, the majority of people now don’t want to take drugs unless they really have to take them. Prescription drugs are very powerful because they are single substances that have been isolated and concentrated — the so-called active ingredient. A prescription drug which is given, for example, to treat heart disease will work on the heart, but will also affect other areas. It has an indiscriminate action. And this indiscriminate action results in toxic effects. Every drug has a toxic effect. Sometimes these toxic effects are so powerful that they can actually kill the patient.

On the other hand, in Maharishi Ayurveda the approach of totality is used. Ayurveda has all the knowledge of the various herbs and their medicinal properties. And these properties differ, whether in the root or the stem or the flower or the fruit, so you have to know which part to use. Ayurveda has this knowledge. It also has the knowledge of which chemicals are present from season to season in the herbs, so the herbs are harvested at the proper time. And now, using the latest technology, a special technique known as HPLC can identify whether those chemicals are present or not in the harvested herbs. So when you use the totality of the plant products and herbal mixtures, you effectively treat the disease which you want to cure, and at the same time, side effects are prevented by the other chemicals in the mixture. There are also chemicals in the herbs that produce synergistic effects. So, we have two advantages occurring. There are synergistic effects which increase the potency of the treatment and toxic effects are negated. People everywhere are finding this out. That’s why there is an increase in the use of Ayurvedic technologies and herbal mixtures.

: I’ve been fascinated to read in medical journals the research you’ve conducted on the Maharishi Amrit Kalash herbal formulas. Could you tell us about that specific research and what the implications are for what you were describing earlier in terms of free radical cell damage and looking for a more holistic solution?

Dr. Sharma
: There is a very interesting story behind it. I attended a conference on Ayurveda in the late 80’s in India. Maharishi was giving the whole conference, with some very renowned vaidyas.

Q: Can you describe what they are?

Dr. Sharma: Vaidyas are Ayurvedic physicians. In India, there is a five-year course to become an Ayurvedic physician. And then, of course, there is postgraduate training and all that. At this conference there were many Ayurvedic experts — deans and professors and experienced physicians and Maharishi. Of course, they were saying that Ayurveda can do this and this and this — very high-sounding claims that it can cure anything. It was very difficult for me to swallow because I’ve been trained in Western medicine, where everything has to be tested by research and verified. So then this idea came out, that we should do research. And after a lot of discussion, Maharishi asked me to carry out this research because a lot of the people who were there were practitioners who had no research background. These practitioners were giving their ideas on how the research should be done. Finally, I spoke up and told them how it should be done. So Maharishi picked up on that. He said, “Okay. You go ahead and plan and execute the research.

At that time, I had no idea of what I was getting into or what results the research would produce, because there was no background of research at that point. One of the things which was discussed was that Amrit Kalash basically prevents the aging process. So I said it is very difficult to do research on the aging process. And even if you do, you’d be long gone before you get the results! So we considered what should be done. During the aging process, several things happen: the blood vessels become thick and you can get heart disease, the immunity decreases and you can get cancer, all these things happen.

So I suggested we conduct research on cancer, on immunity, on atherosclerosis (thickening of the blood vessels) and on platelet aggregation which is part of the blood clotting process. The blood becomes thick and there are many problems associated with that. So we planned all these experiments. When the research results started coming out, it was really very fascinating. It surprised me completely. We did not expect such profound results from one mixture. Usually, one drug gives one result. But this one mixture showed anti-cancer properties, increased immunity, prevention of atherosclerosis which causes heart disease, and prevention of the toxic effects of chemotherapy. And then we found out it’s a very powerful antioxidant. So, a large number of positive results came from this herbal mixture.

Q: And would you say that Amrit Kalash actually can solve the free radical problem that is so ubiquitous?

Dr. Sharma: I think this is one of the most powerful mixtures which, as far as I know, is available in the world today which has such powerful effects. And the Amrit Kalash mixture is not limited to antioxidant effect. It also has an anti-cancer effect. It helps prevent cancer and also dissolves the fully-formed tumors. At the same time, it also helps prevent the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

Q: It dissolves tumors?

Dr. Sharma:
That’s right. There is work going on and they have found that apart from helping to prevent the toxic effects of chemotherapy, the addition of Maharishi Amrit Kalash has an anti-cancer effect that is much more than chemotherapy alone. This anti-cancer effect we had previously seen in animal experiments with Amrit.

Q: Wow. Very exciting!

Dr. Sharma
: This research is now being conducted in humans. From animal and lab experiments we know that Amrit Kalash has anti-cancer effects in breast cancer and lung cancer, and in a tumor of the nervous system, called neuroblastoma. Now we are finding very fascinating clinical results in patients in these same areas.

Q: Wow. Is there other research going on, on this remarkable herbal formulas because, clearly, this ought to be trumpeted around the world.

Dr. Sharma
: Oh, yes. Apart from the U.S., research is going on in India, in Russia also, in Japan, in Holland, in various places around the world. And it’s really fascinating. Some clinical work is being conducted on heart disorders also. Amrit Kalash helps prevent heart disease. It helps prevent arteriosclerosis, the hardening of blood vessels. And if somebody has angina, pain in the heart on walking or some other activity, it reduces that pain, and increases the work activity of the heart. So that’s why I think Amrit Kalash has a much more far-reaching effect than a lot of herbal mixtures I know of and any pharmaceutical I know of. Without any toxic effects.

Q: I’m fascinated because, in 1977, I went on ABC News 20/20 show to talk about the research on St. John’s Wort which was very exciting, electrifying, to Americans at that point. Last year, in 1998, I went back on ABC News 20/20 and talked about Kava-Kava which is a natural tranquilizer. But, clearly, the research you’re telling us about on Maharishi Amrit Kalash is much more exciting, is much more profound, has much larger implications than even St. John’s Wort and Kava-Kava because it really applies to staying healthy and avoiding disease. Why aren’t we seeing this on the front page of the New York Times, and where people are informed of an exciting opportunity to practice prevention-oriented medicine at its very best?

Dr Sharma:
Yes. Well, I think it’s because experts like you have talked about Kava-Kava and St. John’s Wort. We have not talked about Amrit Kalash. The time has come for you to go on ABC and NBC and CBS and talk about Maharishi Amrit Kalash.

Q: Well, I’ll do that with you. Because it is time, you’re quite right. Can you tell us more about any studies that have been done on Amrit and the brain? Dr. S: Yes, there is some excellent work which we did on Amrit and the brain. We made microsomes from the brain cells and then tested whether we could prevent the oxidant damage, the free radical damage, and we found Amrit prevented that. So Amrit definitely has an effect in the prevention of ongoing damage to the brain itself.

Q: There is a mixture I’ve heard about here in America.. It can be found in Indian grocery stores, called Chavanprash. Is that the same thing as Amrit or is it different?

Dr. Sharma
: Chavanprash is not the same thing as Amrit. A lot of people get confused that anything which is a paste and looks dark and brown in nature must be Amrit. That’s what Chavanprash looks like, but this does not make it the same as Amrit. Chavanprash is a nice mixture, it’s an Ayurvedic mixture. I have no problem with that. Chavanprash is usually given in India in the winter because it helps prevent colds and coughs. So it is good for that. However, I’m not aware of any kind of extensive research which has been done on Chavanprash which details the same kind of benefits that we see in the scientific research done on Amrit.

Also, the herbs which are in Amrit Kalash are not in Chavanprash. There may be one or two which are common, but basically they are different mixtures. And many of the mixtures you see marketed as Chavanprash are not actually the traditional formula for this mixture as many of the ingredients detailed in the ayurvedic texts are very hard to locate so the manufacturer’s substitute other cheaper, less effective ingredients. Basically Chavanprash and Amrit Kalash are two very different herbal mixtures and Amrit has much wider effects which have been validated scientifically.

Q: So for someone who really wants to have the scientifically researched holistic benefits, then Amrit Kalash is the way to go?

Dr. Sharma: That’s right. That would be my first choice.

Q: Can you describe to us a little bit more how an individual would take Amrit. I mean, I’m thinking about our listeners. How would the average person know that they’re getting quality Amrit? And how would you go about taking it? And how soon could you expect results?

Dr Sharma:
Let me talk a little bit about some research we did, then I’ll tell you the dose and all that. At Ohio State, we had a whole division working on research on high lipids. As you know, the whole nation is talking about high blood lipids and high cholesterol. And one of the main factors involved is that cholesterol causes a great deal of damage when it gets oxidized, when the fat becomes rancid. Just like in a car, the oil becomes bad. That’s why we change the oil, because it will damage the engine. So one of the things which has to be done when somebody’s lipids are high is to prevent oxidation of that lipid, oxidation of that cholesterol. We put patients with high lipids on Amrit to see what the effect would be. Usually when you do a study like this, you get 20 percent positive results, maybe 30 percent. If you get 40 percent, you feel really excited that a lot of things are happening. In the Amrit study, in three months, every patient was showing a very significant, positive antioxidant effect.

Q: Every patient?

Dr. Sharma: Every patient. Which I’ve never seen really. You normally don’t get 100 percent results. This was 100 percent success. We published all that work. And during this work, we had a placebo group and a group which was taking Amrit. The problem which arose was that the placebo group found out that Amrit was very effective, then we couldn’t keep the placebo group. Because they will go and buy it themselves and start taking it! So, the participants acted as their own control in this study. We compared their oxidation of lipids before they started Amrit, to the results after they had been on Amrit. Now, coming to the dose of Amrit. There are two forms of Amrit. One is a tablet and one is paste. The name is the same — Amrit Kalash — but the two are not the same thing. They are mixtures of different herbs. We have used in our research the name MAK-4 for the paste (or Maharishi Amrit Kalash Nectar) and MAK-5 for the tablets (or Maharishi Amrit Kalash Ambrosia). And they are both very powerful.

Q: They’re different herbs literally?

Dr Sharma
: They are different herbs. MAK5 (Ambrosia) is one mixture of herbs and MAK4 (Nectar) is a different mixture. The basic difference, apart from the herbs, the MAK4 also contains clarified butter (Ghee) and honey and whole cane sugar. And it’s a powerful mixture. The dose is one teaspoon twice a day for this paste. Some people like the taste and some people have trouble with the taste because of the herbs. But most people get used to it. To help with taking the paste, you can mix it with water or with juice or with milk or with tea or coffee or whatever. The dose of MAK-5 (Ambrosia) is one tablet twice a day.

When you’re looking for the results of taking Amrit, remember that it is not working on the level of the emotions, so you won’t feel any highs or lows or anything like that. We did a survey of 60 or 100 individuals who had been taking Amrit for more than six months. We also did blood tests to see if there were any toxic effects. We did not find any toxic effects. We did biochemical tests for the whole body — for the liver, for the pancreas, for the kidney — everything was normal. What we found very interesting was that those people who had been taking Amrit felt, in general, more healthy. And they did not get sick. Usually people get a cold, a cough, or a minor sickness here and there. They didn’t. Or if they did get something, they recovered from that illness very quickly. And they felt that, overall, their sense of well-being and health was much better.

And we know, from the research, that when you take Amrit, you help improve your immunity, you help improve your overall body functions, you help prevent cancer, and you help prevent heart disease. This we know from experiments we have conducted. Also, clinical studies on patients show that overall health is much better. So Amrit is really taken as an anti-aging agent. Amrit is not just vitamins, it’s not just minerals, it’s much more than that. So Amrit is not a kind of replacement for taking vitamins and minerals. It is something else which is needed in the highly stressful and highly polluted environment in which we live.

Q: Which is what we have in America.

Dr Sharma: That’s right.

Part Two of an Interview With Author of Freedm From Disease
Amrit, High Blood Lipids and High Cholesterol

This issue continues the interview of the herbal research pioneer and author of Freedom from Disease, Hari Sharma, M.D. (listed below as Dr. S)

Q: I’m so curious. When you discovered that Maharishi Amrit Kalash is a thousand times more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C or E, how did your colleagues at the Ohio State University College of Medicine respond to what is really a remarkable discovery?

Dr. Sharma: Well, we did this work when people were really not into free radicals or antioxidants. So we knew that we were way ahead of time and this thing is going to come out some time in the future. Now you hear about antioxidants, at that time when I was talking about antioxidants and free radicals scientists pooh-poohed it as not that important. Now you’re finding out it’s very important.

Q: You were truly ahead of your time.

Dr. Sharma
: Yes. That’s what happened.

Q: You mentioned that Amrit contains ghee or clarified butter, as well as some sugar. Some Americans would find that confusing because they usually associate butter and sugar with disease, as opposed to promoting health. Can you explain that?

Dr. Sharma
: Yes. That’s a very good question. Now, the ghee is clarified butter, so it is not seen as butter, because the way it is prepared — it’s a long process — but basically, you heat it and you filter it. The material which rises to the surface is discarded, so the rest of the material that is left is the ghee. Which, when you use these herbs with ghee, it facilitates the entrance of the herbs to the inside the cells. So activity is much more enhanced. And you’re not using a large amount of ghee, and we have tested that Amrit Kalash does not increase the cholesterol. It does not increase the blood lipid. So people should know, if this is one concern they have.

Q: What about the sugar in Amrit.

Dr. Sharma
: The sugar is used so Amrit can remain at room temperature. You don’t have to refrigerate it. The second quality of sugar is that it acts as a carrier to help facilitate the assimilation of the herbs by the body. The sugar also acts as an antioxidant.

Q: Interesting.

Dr. Sharma: The only thing is, those who have diabetes should not take the paste because it contains the sugar. And for them, I think they have this preparation which is without sugar. The same formula but with no sugar which comes in capsules.

: Dr. Sharma, can you explain to our listeners exactly how Amrit can strengthen the immune system, and would Amrit, therefore be valuable for people who are simply interested in preventing the common cold from other who have AIDS and are looking for some other additional benefits?

Dr. Sharma
: Yes. We did these tests on animals, and they were repeated in Kansas City and also Indiana and then also in, I think, Tokyo, Japan. So several studies have been done on immunity. With the immune system, we have cells and the plasma. Plasma contains the antibodies which are dissolved. Basically, what they found was that the capacity of the cells increases. So there’s immune enhancement between two to four times. And when the cells are stimulated by some foreign antigen or attacker, then the response is much more profound as compared to those who are not taking Amrit.

: And when you say much more profound, on what level of magnitude are we talking about?

Dr. Sharma:
At least two to four times higher. But if you just count the immune cells in a person who is taking Amrit and one who is not taking Amrit, you won’t find any difference. But if the cells are challenged, then you find the difference. So they maintain normal status, but if something comes up, the person who is taking Amrit, his body reacts in a very strong way to prevent the attack of the foreign agents.

Q: Dr. Sharma, I’m amazed, how can one formula have all of these health benefits — on the heart, in preventing cancer, the effect of chemotherapy — how is that possible?

Dr. Sharma
: That’s a very good question. This comes up from time to time. Remember when we talked about free radicals being involved in more than 90 percent of disorders, either initiating or promoting disease?

Q: Yes

Dr. Sharma: If we have something which can balance these free radicals, prevent the increased production of free radicals, then we should see beneficial effects in a large number of diseases. Now, when you test antioxidants, free radical negating effects of different herbs, most of the people, when they talk about effects, are talking about test tube results. We did the tests in the test tube, then we did the tests on animals, then we did the tests on the whole human body also. We did clinical research. We have tested the whole way through, from the very basic side all the way to the clinical side.

I think the basic underlying mechanism is preventing the increased production of free radicals. Because if you do that, you wipe out most of the problem—free radicals are involved in cancer, they’re involved with heart disease, they’re involved in chemotherapy, they’re involved in immunity. It is a very powerful common theme in all these areas, which is free radicals. But apart from that, I think it has other effects also, which have not been investigated yet.

: When we say that Amrit is a thousand times more powerful an antioxidant than vitamins C or E, can you clarify that? Are we talking about per unit of weight? Are we talking about compared to a standard does of vitamin C, say 1000 milligrams, or 400 units of vitamin E? In other words, what’s the comparison?

Dr. Sharma: Obviously these tests were in a test tube to test the antioxidant effect of Amrit and vitamin C, vitamin E and there were some pharmaceutical drugs also which were tested. And, finally, after testing, we dried each one of these mixtures to make a powder. And then took the weight. Then we compared weight to weight mixtures.

Q: I see. So it’s per unit of weight?

Dr. Sharma: Per unit of weight, that’s right. And per unit of weight, you take a very little amount of Amrit which will have such a powerful effect as compared to other things which are available.

Q: Fantastic. And of course, that’s a very practical measure because when people are taking, say, vitamin C or vitamin E tablets on a daily basis, they could be taking equal weight of the vitamin or an equal weight amount of Amrit Kalash and with Amrit be getting a thousand times more antioxidant power. But the question I have is, would you therefore recommend that people who are taking Amrit, that they no longer need to take any vitamins?

Dr. Sharma: No. Vitamins, in general, have some other role. So I cannot say that you should not take vitamins. But if you compare the activity of vitamin C or E as antioxidants, with Amrit — if you are taking those things as antioxidants, you don’t need to take them.

One other thing which we did not talk about is that antioxidant effects, fighting free radicals, occurs outside the cell and inside the cell. Now, inside the cell, you have to go through the cell membrane which is made of fat. But you would have to have a fat soluble mixture which can go inside. On the outside of the cell you need a water soluble mixture. So when you talk about vitamin C, it is only water soluble so it can only help with the free radicals which are outside the cell. And when you talk about vitamin E, it is only lipid soluble, fat soluble so it can only help with free radicals inside the cell. But the Amrit mixture has both antioxidants, both water soluable and lipid soluable. So it gives the total spectrum of antioxidant effect. It works outside the cell, it works inside the cell. That is why is has such wide-ranging effects.

Q: I understand that there are different classes of antioxidants, and that we can benefit from having a broad spectrum antioxidant. Is Amrit a broad spectrum antioxidant?

Dr. Sharma:
Yes. It is the broadest spectrum antioxidant I know of. Because it works both on water soluable and lipid soluable. It’s very powerful because it’s a mixture of a large number of different bioflavenoids. These are the chemicals which are present in the plants.

Q: Excellent. With the kind of research that you’ve shown on Amrit Kalash — a thousand times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamins C or E — have you been approached by the pharmaceutical companies? Because usually they’re looking for this kind of breakthrough product.

Dr. Sharma:
You’re absolutely right. They are basically opposed to it. And the reason is because this kind of preparation they cannot patent, because it’s a natural preparation. They would like to really isolate the active ingredient. And there’s not a single active ingredient in Maharishi Amrit Kalash because it’s a mixture of different nutrients which are working in synergy. So you cannot really isolate one thing and use it. So basically, that’s why they really are not interested.

Initially, I tell you, about ten or fifteen years ago when people heard of Amrit at a conference, there were some specialists, some investigators from a major drug company. I’m not going to name it. And they were very excited. And I asked them, “You will be interested in research on this?” He said, “No, no, no. We are not interested in research. And as a matter of fact, if this thing becomes big, we’ll try to see that this thing is no good. Because if it really becomes a competitor, then we’ll try to fight it out. But I think times have changed.

Hopefully. Hopefully, consciousness-based living is on the rise. Can you describe for us how Amrit Kalash is prepared? Because people have concerns sometimes, perhaps that India does not have state-of-the-art production methods in terms of how the herbs are cultivated and then refined and that the product is made with modern manufacturing standards.

Dr. Sharma
: I think that’s a very good question. I’ve been there in the manufacturing plant where it is in India. And this area in India is an export zone. Whatever is being manufactured there goes outside the country. It is not consumed by the country. So there are very strictly monitored quality control measures there. And all these different herbs, when they’re collected, when they come into the manufacturing plant, each one is identified by a herbalist, by a botanist, to make sure this is the herb they are looking for, and it’s the proper part of the plant. If it’s not, it is discarded. The herbs are also tested for contamination by bacteria and heavy metals. Because if they find contamination, they discard it.

Then they are also tested by this HPLC chemical process to make sure the different chemicals are there in the herbs. When the herbs pass all these parameters, then they go through the process.

As far as the technology and equipment is concerned, they have state-of-the-art equipment. They imported the equipment from outside the country, and they manufacture under hygienic conditions and they have a very strict quality control. I know of different companies which are manufacturing ayurvedic mixtures, and I think the MAPI facilities are the best.

When it comes to the North American consumer, it’s tested again here in the US for heavy metals and bacterial contamination to make sure everything is proper. Otherwise it will not pass, even, through the FDA and the customs department. And then it is of course distributed here by MAPI.

Q: Magic wand for the moment. If every person in America was taking Amrit on a daily basis, what kind of changes would we see in American health care?

Dr. Sharma: I think you would see a tremendous change. However, f you really wanted to see a change in health, we would have to do more than just take Amrit.

Q: Of course.

Dr. Sharma
: We would need to also change our behavior. We would need to do something for the mind also — like meditation for which I think Transcendental Meditation is very good. But Amrit alone will change a lot for the health of the people who take it. Because it has a lot of good qualities in a variety of different areas.

Q: That’s great. And what has been the history of Amrit? Were there people who lived into their hundreds practicing meditation and taking Amrit on a daily basis?

Dr. Sharma
: Yes. Those who did really all these things, they lived a long life. But at the same time, people say, you go to India, people are dropping dead all the time. The thing is they are not practicing these things in every day India. So you cannot hold India up as an example of these things because unless people practice authentic, ayurveda they cannot reap the benefits.

That’s really an important distinction because you’re quite right. Americans look over at India and they say, “But aren’t these people doing the ayurvedic practices that are being talked about?” And what you’re saying is that, to a very large degree, they are not?

Dr. Sharma:
They’re not.

Q: Right. And that this knowledge of Ayurveda has really only recently come back into its wholeness and its purity.

Dr. Sharma:
That’s right. It is very important to really give out this knowledge to as large a number of people as possible so they know what is available. If they don’t know, they’re missing the whole thing.

Q: Dr Sharma, you grew up in India and I understand that you had your training in western medicine. But as a child, did you show any interest in ayurveda? and the ayurveda that you were exposed to, is this the ayurveda that now is becoming so popular in this country?

Dr. Sharma: It’s a very interesting thing. When I was growing up, I was really taken over by the western medical system. And that was my total education. And I was introduced to ayurveda because ayurvedic physicians are all over India. My father-in-law was an ayurvedic physician. And when I was in medical school, he tried to teach me, but I sort of ignored it. So I didn’t learn anything.

And it’s only after I came in contact with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, that I learned a lot about ayurveda and vedic medicine. Then I did a lot of research. The effect is total transformation. Now, I’ve given up allopathic (Western) medicine completely. I was learning all those things at Ohio State and gave it up. So I took early retirement to do work full-time in ayurvedic medicine.

Q: And so you’re now continuing to explore, both personally and professionally, ayurvedic medicine.

Dr. Sharma: Yes

: Wonderful. Very exciting. Hopefully that will be the future of medicine in America, that more and more allopathic physicians get training in ayurvedic medicine.

Dr. Sharma
: I hope so.

Q: When you give lectures are people in North America really interested in this knowledge?

Dr. Sharma
: The interest in ayurveda is really rising. I mean, all the conferences I’m involved in giving, and there are more and more people coming to those conferences, more physicians and more interest.

Q: When you address physician groups across the country and let them know about the research on Amrit, how do they respond? Are they interested? Are they excited? Do they want to see their patients, whose health they are charged with, taking Amrit on a daily basis? What’s the pulse of the medical profession?

Dr. Sharma:
They want to know where they can get it.

Q: Great

Dr. Sharma:
The one thing is they want to get it for their family, and then comes the patients. I think, when the knowledge is there, and they know the importance and the scientific basis, they want to have it, and they want to give it to their patients too.

Q: How many people in the United Sates, do you estimate, are currently taking Amrit Kalash on a daily basis?

Dr. Sharma: To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea.
Because it’d be fascinating to compare that group over time, a kind of Framingham study, to controls of the same age, and follow the morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Sharma
: That would be a fascinating study. But a long term study like that is quite expensive.

: I’m trying to picture your days at the Ohio State College of Medicine. I know how conservative that medical schools and medical universities can be, and here you are, a professor of pathology and director of cancer prevention, and you say that you want to start researching Maharishi Amrit Kalash. That must have raised a few eyebrows. Did you get much resistance to your research proposals?

Dr. Sharma:
I think, in general, there was resistance not only at Ohio State, but at every other place. But I must say that Ohio State left me alone because I was interested in investigating. And if you’re investigating something, they don’t really concern themselves with what you’re doing as far as the research. But the other researchers, they were talking behind my back that he’s gone off the deep end. He has done all this work for all of his life, he has a nice career, and now he’s working on this. They were concerned and they were sort of laughing behind my back. But when the results started coming, very good results, then they stopped talking behind my back. And when the results got published, then they wanted to join the team.

Now, the publication of this material was not easy, I can tell you that. When the results came out, I had to literally pick up the phone and fight with the editors because they were not prepared to publish it. The first thing was, “Well, it’s not allopathic medicine. It’s herbal medicine. This is not in our field, so we cannot publish it. So it took some time, after fighting, that these things got published. The same thing happened with presentations also. And now you have all these alternative medicine journals and all that. So a lot of things have changed. But it was, initially, not an easy thing to do research in herbal mixtures. And, even if you find something, it was not easy to get it published.

Q: Right. Well, on behalf of American medicine and the general public, I thank you for persisting because, really, you set the standard no only for researching ayurvedic medicine, but also, really, ushering in the herbal medicine revolution in this country. And it’s easy to forget how way out there you must have been perceived in coming up with such a radical answer to free radicals.

Dr. Sharma:
Thank you.

Q: Let me have you step back for a moment and perhaps you and I can dialogue about where the future of medicine is going. You know, what we hear about is still mainly in terms of high-tech, the gene-nome project, organ transplantation, but what do you see as the future of medicine, and where we can be in the next century, in the new millennium?

Dr. Sharma
: I think where medicine is really going to go forward now is in those areas it is receiving pressure from the consumers. And consumers are basically not very happy with what is going on. I know it’s high-tech medicine and there are a lot of pharmaceuticals, but the outcome is results. And the results show the diseases which were really giving a lot of trouble before, are still there. Also, many of the pharmaceuticals cause other problems. And the only way to come out of this rut, in my opinion, is to have a medicine based on consciousness. If the underlying mechanism is based on consciousness, from which everything comes out, and if we have that knowledge and then introduce that knowledge into the medical system. That is the future of medicine. And slowly but surely, I think it will get incorporated. I mean, in your field, you know psychiatry has changed, and more and more people are now interested in mind-body medicine. More people are jumping into this.

Q: You know, it’s interesting. Most of the potent medicines that we had even in the allopathic tradition are plant-derived, whether we’re talking about aspirin which comes from the bark of the white willow tree, or penicillin which is mold, a primitive plant-like structure, or digitalis, digoxins are coming from the foxglove plant, tomoxifen coming from a tree in the great northwest. Plants have always been a significant source of healing. And, certainly, 80 percent of the world still relies on herbal products for healing disease.

It seems new to most Americans because we have been sold such a bill of goods by the pharmaceutical companies who have been looking to isolate magic bullets, so to speak. But the future of medicine, I think, is going to come back to a realignment with Mother Nature once again, including our diets having less fat, highly processed foods, and more fruits and vegetables. And ayurvedic tradition pays a great deal of attention to various spices and foods that are important with the change of seasons and with optimizing health.

And the other shift I think we’re going to see in the medicine of the millennium is the medicine of optimum health. How do we recreate individuals who can live at their full human potential? And I certainly have been excited for the last 30 years about the research on the Transcendental Meditation technique, which has been researched in over 600 universities around the world in over 26 countries. And with research and science, the Scientific American, the American Journal of Physiology, showing that it produces a very unique state of restful alertness, a state of consciousness, transcendental consciousness that has profound health benefits. And we will see more and more Americans looking to practice transcendental meditation on a twice daily basis, turning to ayurvedic medicine, to help them stay in an optimal state of well-being so they will need less medical care during their lifetime.

Dr. Sharma
: Very nicely put. I totally agree with you.

Q: It’s been my great pleasure to have as our guest today Dr. Hari Sharma, a professor emeritus at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, a professor of pathology and former director of the cancer prevention and natural products research, who has been one of the leading scientists and researchers of the herbal medicine revolution.

The Transmission of Consciousness: Reviving the Role of the Spiritual Master

An interview with Dr. Dario Salas Sommer
by Jessica Roemischer

Jessica Roemischer
Bio & resources


In our cultural milieu, the traditional model of the teacher-disciple relationship is, for many, a relic from the past. Indeed, postmodernity has fought hard to wrench itself free from the strictures of religion and religious authority. In a time of unprecedented personal freedom, even those who are drawn to a spiritual life can find it difficult to imagine being beholden to anyone. So it is rare to find someone, particularly from the contemporary West, whose life and work express the conviction that in order to fully realize our human potential, we must yield to another to guide us and enter into the classic definition of discipleship.

That doubtless conviction comes from philosopher, spiritual teacher, and author Dr. Dario Salas Sommer. Salas, who has published eight books under the pseudonym John Baines, is a strikingly passionate advocate for the teacher-student relationship. He has rekindled a mystical teaching known as Hermeticism, which first emerged in the temples of ancient Greece and has been conveyed from one generation to the next by living transmission from master to disciple. Practiced and preserved over the millennia in the inner sanctums of secret societies, Hermeticism has inspired many of the West’s mystery schools, including Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and Theosophy, and Salas has revivified the essence of this teaching for a postmodern age.

A legendary figure in his native South America, Salas is becoming more widely known throughout the world. The director of the Institute of Hermetic Philosophy, which he founded in 1961, and which has centers on three continents, he is engaged with an expanding international body of students located in North and South America, Europe, and Russia. As the guiding inspiration to his students and thousands of others worldwide, he upholds the perennial goal of the spiritual life—“moral and spiritual elevation”—and affirms the only means by which, he believes, it can be attained: an authentic relationship between student and teacher.


What Is Enlightenment: In many religious traditions, the spiritual teacher was considered essential to transformation. But today, in an age of heightened individualism, you are a rare voice defending the classic tradition of the teacher-student relationship. Can you speak about the role of the teacher on the spiritual path and why it continues to be so essential?

Dario Salas Sommer: There are two kinds of relationships between the master and disciple. There’s one where the master gives the disciple information he or she will use to improve his or her life. But there is another kind of relationship where the master gives part of his own consciousness to the disciple. Through the consciousness of the master, students can become enlightened because they now have the parameters within them for what is real and what is false, and by that I’m talking about levels of reality—a deeper reality. Naturally, in the world there are many masters, but they work on different levels. And I believe the highest expression of the student-teacher relationship takes the form of this transmission of the master’s consciousness.

In the traditions of the past, initiation ceremonies were carried out in the temples, and these were extremely serious. When a candidate for initiation came up, they would ask him if his intentions were pure, and if he said yes, they would give him two glasses of wine. They’d say, “One of these glasses has poison in it, and the other doesn’t. If your intentions are pure, your spirit will guide you to choose the correct glass without the poison.” If the candidate doubted his own intentions, he was free to go. Otherwise, he’d choose a glass and drink it. Naturally, they had the antidote waiting in case he drank the poison. In that initiation, the master would transmit something to the person that would start a fermentation process within the student’s soul. And that transmission gave the student motivation, enthusiasm, and strength and initiated the student on the path.

WIE: Many today claim that we no longer need the teacher and that we can transform our consciousness on our own.

First of all, we have to ask who it is that is expressing that opinion. In the New Age movement, there’s too much esoteric information available, and people develop fantasies that spiritual transformation is easy. But the great difficulty has to do with ego. The ego defends itself. It has its own “program.” Within that program is something like a file, and that file is on self-defense. So, is the opinion that we no longer need a teacher being held by the spirit of a person or by the program of that person? I think it’s the program defending itself. It’s vanity, it’s pride, it’s an excessive feeling of self-importance.

It’s only possible to advance on the spiritual path if we lose our self-importance, because personal importance blinds us. We can’t see reality. We don’t value other people’s opinions because all we do is look at our own image, and this is the basis of narcissism. We only listen when the other person agrees with us. Narcissism damages the possibility of spiritual evolution because narcissists always think they’re right. They don’t listen to other people’s points of view. Narcissism strengthens the ego; humility, on the other hand, is the opposite of narcissistic self-importance.

WIE: So you’re saying that a teacher is, in fact, required to bring about spiritual transformation.

Salas: Yes. How can a machine stop being a machine by itself? It’s impossible. How can a computer switch on and change its own program? How can a computer modify its own hard disk? There may be good intention, which is respectable, but it doesn’t lead you to anything practical. Human beings can’t see themselves. A person has a blind spot for their own mind; they can’t see their own defects.

Let’s relate this to entropy. Entropy is what is easy. When a rock is falling, it’s entropy. Can the rock get back to the top of the mountain by itself? It can’t. And spiritual evolution is like climbing Mount Olympus. I’m convinced that it’s very difficult for a person to change by themselves unless they have a catastrophe in their own life that produces an emotional catharsis—where they’re about to die and agonizing on their deathbed, or something like that. We need someone on the outside to look at us and tell us what is happening to us, a guide who’s already gone up that path and who knows what the temptations are, where the enemies are, and what you have to do to avoid them.

WIE: What is the student’s responsibility in this process?

Salas: I want to caution those who think that being directed by a spiritual master means to encounter a fountain of wisdom and spiritual help without giving anything in return. For the student, spirituality doesn’t address itself to his or her capriciousness or whims. If a student has ten defects, he will need to overcome these defects to perfect himself spiritually. God is not going to forgive that person his defects; nobody is going to wipe them away.

A student has to conquer them, overcome them. When an Olympic athlete wants to run a hundred meters and be the champion, it doesn’t matter if he’s a believer or a nonbeliever. It doesn’t matter if he prays or if he doesn’t pray. What really matters is the physical training, the willpower he has, the discipline he has, the emotions he has, his internal strength. And as he does this, he proves to himself that things work in a certain way according to scientific paradigms and not according to his whims. And through his own life, he’s able to acquire faith and profound conviction and create the energy necessary to evolve.

WIE: Can you speak about some of the temptations and obstacles one may encounter on the path?

Salas: They say that a teacher does his work because there are temptations on our path. If there was no temptation, people wouldn’t sin. If there was no sin, the teacher would be without a job. If the only thing that existed in the world was goodness, we would be like sheep that do not evolve. Temptations exist for a reason. They lead us to hell, and we can only go to heaven by overcoming and conquering the temptations that are put in front of us.

We might ask ourselves, “Why did God make this so difficult for us?” And the answer is that if we didn’t have a body, we wouldn’t be in sin; we would be in paradise, but we wouldn’t know what life on earth was like. You can’t evolve when you’re in heaven. You can only evolve if you have a physical body. Through the physical body, you can create the necessary energy that you need to be able to evolve and make your spirit grow. The body is continuously seeking for its own balance, its own homeostasis, but if it arrived at that perfect balance, it would die—as soon as balance occurred, it would be in a static equilibrium and that would be equivalent to death.

The same thing happens within the universe, and this is the reason for the eternal struggle between good and evil, which illustrates the perfect wisdom of the energy that created the universe. With regard to human beings, we have to conquer evil to be able to evolve and become more spiritual. So absolute evil is everything that stops the human being from evolving, everything that keeps him in a state of hypnosis. That which is good, from an absolute point of view, is everything that helps a human being to awaken.

WIE: Can you explain further how this applies to the pursuit of a spiritual path?

Salas: The student has to choose between good and evil for themselves. We choose badly when we choose the dark forces, which are opposed to our light side and which enjoy putting obstacles in front of us. They will tempt us to leave the spiritual path, and we may choose to run away. A person’s light side, however, will choose to remain on the path. And yet, when a student has created a good amount of light within themselves, that’s when the dark forces are going to attack that person even more strongly. As time goes by, a person will have to face even greater challenges and difficulties. Not physically, but through the person’s passion, through their emotions and their thoughts. They’re going to be tempted to lose faith. The path gets more difficult and the problems become greater. It’s very similar to what happens to someone who takes on bodybuilding. They start working out with small weights, and as time goes by, they need to use heavier and heavier weights. The same thing happens on the spiritual path.

WIE: So no matter what a teacher offers the student, it’s ultimately up to that student to choose for the light.

Salas: Yes, and in trying to guide his students, a spiritual master confronts this difficulty. There’s a cosmic law that says that you can’t make someone evolve—you can’t pressure them in any way at all. Our personality is very strong, and we’re not conscious beings. We’re mechanical beings, and our consciousness has to be developed. But as mechanical beings, the ego feels that it’s being threatened to death by the master.

So when someone enters the spiritual path and finds a master, they’re often going to be faced with a problem. They come to the master and say, “I want to change. I want to evolve. I want to be spiritual. I’m tired of myself.” The master says, “Then do this.” And the student replies, “Yes, I understand that clearly,” and starts off with a great deal of enthusiasm. But as time goes on, the mechanisms that defend the ego start to work. Gradually, the student begins to believe that what the master says to him is not quite right. The student believes that the master is being abusive. And as a result of these defense mechanisms of the ego, he or she may leave the spiritual path. The student may begin to have aggressive feelings and thoughts toward the master. What happens most frequently is that the student runs away, they leave.

And at that moment, the ego causes tremendous anguish, because the person divides into two: a part that really does desire to be on the spiritual path and a dark side that feels that the spiritual path is a death threat, and that closes the path for that person. But the spiritual state a disciple experiences while following this path is so different, so sublime, that once the student has gone beyond a certain limit, he or she will not be the same as before, even if they leave the path. One who has tasted it is eternally bound to it.

WIE: Can you describe what occurs if the student does choose to stay on the path?

Salas: In the end, all initiation represents a struggle between good and evil, between the blind, bestial, and destructive force of the disciple and the intelligent consciousness of the guide. This is why the disciple must obey the teacher’s will. Milarepa was one of those great masters who said that people cannot evolve unless they hand over their will. This was practiced in ancient times, but it is not practiced today. At the same time, if a student does actually hand over his or her will, then the master becomes responsible for that person’s life.

In fact, that’s the worst possibility for a master. It’s as if you will yourself to become infected with AIDS; nobody would do that. Because, in helping the student to change, the master is taking on the karma of the student—they are changing that person’s destiny. I’m not talking about destiny in terms of astrology, but the destiny created as a result of all the actions a person has taken in his or her life. The actions that a person has committed in the past define the person’s destiny up to the present moment, and those actions also define what’s going to happen in the future.

It’s very easy to predict somebody’s future without a crystal ball. You just need to know what the main mechanism is for that person and you can guess what’s going to happen in their immediate future. So when a spiritual master changes the life of a person, he becomes responsible for that person’s life; he is changing that person’s life, and in that he is altering life itself.

WIE: The kind of teacher-student relationship you’re describing has mostly been relegated to our spiritual past, at least in Western culture. Is it really possible for this kind of relationship to exist in our twenty-first-century world?

Salas: The world is undergoing a crucial period, and we are in desperate need of just, strong, wholehearted, and upright human beings imbued with the ideals of peace, love, abundance, and good for all mankind. To achieve this, each human being has the inescapable obligation to seek moral and spiritual elevation and thus contribute to world peace. And the one who yearns for this must contribute with his own love for humanity. But there exists only one path, and that is to enter into contact with an authentic spiritual guide who will lead the aspirant by the hand along the steep and arduous path, who will be a pillar of support without which he may never successfully overcome the obstacles that are placed in his way.

This process is the rebirth of the human being—a complete regeneration through the vehicle of consciousness. It is freedom from fate, chance, ignorance, vanity, and pain, and one who has accomplished this and is fully conscious of his human duties starts a crusade of impersonal help to humanity. The goal is cooperation toward universal peace, and to give others an opportunity to acquire the same knowledge he or she has received. In this way, a great universal chain is formed whose origin is lost in antiquity and whose existence will never end, because there can be no more sublime power than that of an individual who becomes the complete master of his soul.

DVD Blueprints for Awakening – Wisdom of the Masters


Blueprints for Awakening is for everyone who has an inner passion to know who they are and what they are doing here as a human being. It is for all who ask the question ‘Who am I?’ and for those who are looking for guidance on the teaching of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to ‘be as you are’.

‘This is arguably the best and finest introduction to the hallowed teaching of Advaita Vedanta that has ever appeared. … a marvellous collection of authentic sage wisdom-teaching, perfectly designed to give the correct pointers to Self-realisation for today’s seekers after essential Truth.’ Alan Jacobs, President Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK

This unique film presents fresh, modern dialogues with 16 Indian masters about ancient truth. Premananda’s familiarity with this subject, combined with his many years of experience guiding spiritual seekers, create fascinating, lively interactions with each of the Masters. The questions relate to major topics which we meet on the spiritual journey, such as Enlightenment, Self-enquiry, the Nature of the Mind and the World, Guru and Devotion.

Premananda – Blueprints for Awakening. Wisdom of the Masters (2008)

Karma And Reincarnation: Transcending Your Past, Transforming Your Future by Spadaro and Prophet

Karma And Reincarnation: Transcending Your Past, Transforming Your Future
The word karma has made it into the mainstream. But not everyone understands what it really means or how to deal with it. This insightful book will help you come to grips with karmic connections from past lives that have helped create the circumstances of your life today. You will discover how your actions in past lives — good and bad — affect which family you are born into, who you are attracted to, and why some people put you on edge. You will learn about group karma, what we do between lives, and what the great lights of East and West, including Jesus, have to say about karma and reincarnation. Most of all, you will find out how to turn your karmic encounters into grand opportunities to shape the future you want.

Change Begins Within – Transcendental Meditation – Lynch, McCartney, Hagelin

The “Change Begins Within” Press Conference at Radio City, NYC on April 3, 2009, with John Hagelin Ph.D, David Lynch, Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Donovan, Paul Horn, Mike Love and Moby. Also performing at the concert on April 4 was Sheryl Crowe, Eddie Vedder, Jim James, Bettye LaVette, and Ben Harper, for the benefit of the David Lynch Foundation to teach 1 million at risk kids Transcendental Meditation.

John Hagelin: ” Over the past couple of years the foundation has taught over 100,000 children to meditate in 30 countries in North and South America, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia and the Middle East.”

David Lynch: “If we can get this to 1 million kids it’ll be huge!”

Russell Simmons: “I’m a meditator, my children are meditators. It’s changed their life and I want to give this gift that I’ve given my children to all kids.”

Paul McCartney: “It is, it’s a life long gift, you know it is something that you can call on at any time. Now it’s actually come into the main stream we (Ringo Starr and I) think it’s a great thing and so thank you David for putting it together.”

Donovan: “The proof is in, Transcendental Meditation naturally unfolds any student’s full potential, now there are thousands of students who are already receiving it and they are raising their self esteem, they’re improving their well being.”

Paul Horn: “These kids that are 11 and 12 and 13 from the inner cities that are experiencing quiet and expressing that they are less angry and are getting much more out of life is proof in the pudding.”

Mike Love: “The David Lynch Foundation’s goal of teaching 1 million children Transcendental Meditation – that will be like a million steps in the direction of world peace.”

Moby: “One of the things that impressed me so much about Transcendental Meditation (TM) when I finally learned it was it’s simplicity. No other meditation technique no other practice I tried was as effective of quieting my mind and helping me go to a calm and centered place.”

Spiritual Networking

Spiritual Networking is a cutting edge concept that transcends the usual networking notion. Spiritual Networking in itself embraces many aspects and manifestations that pertain to human connections. It is a Holistic and Organic approach, and a way to use a new outlook to translate connections.

Being part of a growing multifaceted community can enrich our lives, and at the same time create a myriad of new possibilities for interactions, relationships and connections. As we organize into a normal social network, Humanity Healing is setting the standard, providing the backdrop of Global Service, Ethical Standards, and Professional Excellency.

Humanity Healing’s concept of Spiritual Networking can be condensed down to this single concept: to make this world a better place by gathering as many willing hearts as possible, be they individuals or organizations, and assisting with synchronization so that together we can send our actions and intentions out through the connection of our shared Humanity.

The Ripple Effect concept has been a labor of love for Humanity Healing.

The pebble has been dropped. The ripple is spreading. Will you be a part of the wave?

Community Network:

1. The Book of Life: The Akashic Records 2. Spiritual DNA

Many traditions and many religions of the world refer to the mysterious “Book of Life”.

“but rejoice that your names are recorded in Heaven.
~ Luke 10:20

Spiritual DNA

Does God Choose When the Spirit Leaves the Body or Do We? ~ Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs

Consider this scenario:

Your loved one is dying and there have been no conversations about what his wishes are concerning how he wants his body to be treated as he nears the end of his life. The doctors tell you that there is no expectation of recovery and that, because of the natural progression of his disease, his organs are starting to shut down. They ask if you are willing to sign a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), so that if he stops breathing or his heart stops, a “code” will not be called, his chest will not be pounded on and his heart will not be shocked to try to restart it. He will continue to receive all medications and will be kept comfortable (free from pain) until the natural course of his disease takes over and he dies.

You believe that as long as your loved one has breath in his body, God’s Spirit is present within it. Therefore, everything must be done until God’s Spirit chooses to leave the body. To you, this means that all human interventions are to be tried until God decides it is the end of his life. So, you refuse to sign the DNR.

What do you think? How would you react in this situation? If your religious beliefs are consistent with the above scenario, or if you believe that there should never be “artificial interventions,” do you think that God gave us all of these amazing technologies so that we might live longer? Or do you think that God gave us the knowledge to be able to create these technologies, and then, as humans are want to do, we use them way beyond their original intent (e.g., the man who invented the feeding tube device never intended it to be used for a long time — it was invented to help people over the “hump” of major surgery or recovery from an accident)? Or do you think that God had nothing to do with it — we invented these devices because of our strong denial of death and push to stay “alive” as long as possible? Or … ?

There is no “right” or a “wrong” answer — there is only your answer. And each of our answers will be different, which is why it is so important to have discussions with your loved ones, while they are still healthy, about what is important to them. Do they believe, as in the scenario above, that everything has to be done because God requires that of us? Or, do they believe that the natural course of the illness or disease should dictate how aggressive the medical staff should be?

Ask your loved ones and then, as they tell you what they would do in this scenario, don’t be surprised if it is different from what you thought they would say!

Rev. Martha R. Jacobs, BCC is the author of A Clergy Guide to End of Life Issues, a new book that has received excellent reviews and is being widely used by seminarians, Clinical Pastoral Education supervisors, local clergy and laypeople. She works as a per diem chaplain at NY Presbyterian Hospital where she is on the Palliative Care Team. She is an adjunct professor at New York Theological Seminary and coordinates the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care for Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors and Directors of Pastoral Care.

Martha was the founding managing editor of PlainViews, a position she held for eight years. Prior to that position, she was director of pastoral care at New York United Hospital in Port Chester, New York. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, she is the president of the New York Metropolitan Association of the UCC, and is past president of the UCC Professional Chaplains and Counselors, the national association for UCC chaplains. She is a Board Certified Chaplain and serves on the Board of the Association of Professional Chaplains where she chairs the Communications & Publications Council. In 2010, Martha received the APC’s highest award, The Anton Boisen Professional Service Award, for demonstrating

Graham Hancock Presenting at the 2012 Conference

Graham Hancock Presentation at the 2012 Tipping Point Prophets Conference.

Does Resurrection Contradict Science? ~ Matt J. Rossano

The scientific case against resurrection is pretty straightforward: once dead you stay dead — that’s just the way it works. Coming back to life after having been dead (I mean really dead) would constitute a violation of natural law — a miracle — and miracles just don’t happen. Fair enough. But in his recent book on the last days of Jesus (Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection), Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) argues that reckoning Resurrection as resuscitation of a corpse is to misunderstand its true significance. Jesus’ Resurrection, he contends, was an utterly singular event, straining the very limits of human understanding:

“Anyone approaching the Resurrection accounts in the belief that he knows what rising from the dead means will inevitably misunderstand those accounts and will then dismiss them as meaningless” (p. 243).

In fact, if Jesus’ Resurrection were “merely” coming back to life in any way that we might comprehend, then it would be of little significance.

“Now it must be acknowledged that if in Jesus’ Resurrection we were dealing simply with the miracle of a resuscitated corpse, it would ultimately be of no concern to us” (p. 243).

So what then does Resurrection mean? For Benedict it represents a new dimension of reality breaking through into human experience. It is not a violation of the old; it is the manifestation of something new.

“Jesus had not returned to a normal human life in this world like Lazarus and the others whom Jesus raised from the dead. He has entered upon a different life, a new life — he has entered the vast breadth of God himself…” (p. 244).

Because it is something entirely new, it cannot represent a violation of natural law as understood by science.

“Naturally there can be no contradiction of clear scientific data. The Resurrection accounts certainly speak of something outside our world of experience. They speak of something new, something unprecedented — a new dimension of reality that is revealed. What already exists is not called into question. Rather we are told that there is a further dimension, beyond what was previously known. Does that contradict science? Can there really only ever be what there has always been? Can there not be something unexpected, something unimaginable, something new? If there really is a God, is he not able to create a new dimension of human existence, a new dimension of reality altogether?” (p. 246-7)
Thus, in this view, Resurrection (as with all true miracles) is not contrary to science, but an indicator that science does not (yet?) describe the full expanse of reality. Indeed, some may argue that science itself contains similar “indicators.” The 11 (or so) dimensional universe required by some versions of string theory, the multiverse theory of the universe where ours is but one of an infinite array of universes with variable physical laws, quantum entanglements, “spooky” action at a distance, the mysterious emergence of consciousness from inorganic matter — all push the limits of human reason and imagination, suggesting to some that reality may be far more complex than the human mind can grasp.

For a moment, let us entertain the possibility that Resurrection is as Benedict interprets it: not a violation of natural law but an indicator of something beyond our scientific understanding of the universe. This has interesting implications for understanding how believers and skeptics approach the issue. If Resurrection does not violate science, then science does not necessarily constitute an impediment to accepting the reality of Resurrection. If the difference between the skeptic and believer is not science, then is it just a matter of imagination? The believer imagines greater possibilities for the universe than the non-believer. While this is possible, it seems questionable. To my knowledge, no research has found differences in imaginative abilities between religious and non-religious people. Moreover, contrarian examples easily come to mind: Isaac Asimov was an atheist but hardly lacking in imagination when it came to science fiction. I tend to think that both believers and non-believers can imagine (with varying degrees of effort, I’m sure) the new possibilities implied by Resurrection.

Thus, if it is neither imagination nor science that prompts skepticism about Resurrection, then what is left? I suggest that it comes down to a question of authority: At what point does one allow imaginative possibilities to have authority over how one lives? To the believer, Resurrection has an authority that science fiction does not. Resurrection is not thought-provoking entertainment. It requires far more than just imagining greater possibilities for the universe. It requires a change of life, here and now. Unlike the microscopic hidden dimensions of string theory, the new dimension implied by Resurrection has “broken though” into everyday reality and demands a response — even if that response is to actively ignore it.

Now, what convinces the believer that Resurrection merits such authority when other imaginative possibilities such as extraterrestrial life or time-travel do not? The answer here appears to be historical commitment. There’s no record of people committing themselves to the point of martyrdom to other imaginative possibilities as they have to Resurrection. The earliest example of such commitment being found, of course, in the dramatic post-crucifixion turn-around of the Apostles. Such an astounding change of heart, followed by an unwavering commitment capable of altering human history demands a categorically unique explanation: Resurrection.

The believer’s argument, however, remains unconvincing to the skeptic. However impressive they might be, a change of heart and steadfast commitment do not necessarily add up to a new dimension of reality. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Fair enough. So a key question regarding the interpretation of Resurrection is this: Is the post-crucifixion history of Christianity extraordinary? Does it compel the dispassionate observer to concede that a categorically unique event could plausibly be its best explanation?

There’s a message here, one quite in keeping with the Easter season when the notion of something radically new breaking through is uppermost in our minds. It ought to be upon questions such as those above that skeptics and believers respectfully engage one another, rather than the simplistic and often acrimonious sloganeering that has increasingly become the norm.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Matt J. Rossano received his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California at Riverside in 1991. He is Professor and Department Head of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. He is the author of Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved, released in June 2010 by Oxford Press.

The Compassionate Teacher: Karma ~ By Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari

Knowledge of the Law of Karma, which governs human life, is very important. Once you understand the essential purpose of Karma, all confusion is removed. The purpose of Karma (the Universal Law of Cause and Effect) is not to punish you; it is only to awaken you to the reality that you are here for a higher purpose, to surrender to God and His Grace and live moment to moment in awareness of His infinite gifts and blessings.

Karma is sometimes interpreted as a punishment. At times, you feel as if you are being punished without knowing the reason for it. If you have done something wrong in this life, or if you believe in past lives, in some past life in ignorance, why should you be punished today?

How do you know the reason for the plight that you are going through today? You may not be able to correlate the agony you are going through with the Law of Karma, because you do not know when or where you made the mistake in some unknown past.

This has always remained a puzzle. It has also created a Karma-phobia in the minds of those who know of Karma only superficially, without realizing its deeper blessings. How could the universe, with all of its infinite intelligence and joy of continual creation, function by a law which is so heartless? But the laws of Nature are for the celebration of all creation. It is not and cannot be ruthless. The Universe is absolute joy, perennial celebration. How could the Law of Karma operate against the nature of universal love for beauty and harmony?

Don’t misunderstand Karma as only being negative. Karma is not only the difficult incidents of life such as emotional and physical afflictions. If you do well, it is Karma too. When you cry for those who suffer and do what little you can, you have added to your balance of positive and good Karma. If you are enjoying even a moment’s pleasure, however transient, that is a withdrawal from the account of your good Karma. It is simply cause and effect, a chain of actions and reactions manifesting in its own spontaneity.

Every good thought or small good action brings with it the blessings of the Karma of happiness. The seed of good Karma will bear fruits that ripen into joy and success in life. When you bring joy and peace in another person’s life, don’t forget you are clearing a Karmic debt to that person who has done something good for you at some time in the past. The bodies have changed through rebirth, but the Soul has not changed. The Soul is omniscient. It can recollect its past through its own state of pure consciousness. It always attracts those Souls with which it has to work to evolve further in order to move along its path of Self-Discovery.

Karma is the stairwell that must be climbed to the peak of human excellence. It is not only bondage. It is the pathway to the ultimate freedom of unity with your Beloved.

You search only when you are missing something. Your search is your Karma. When you find your way home, the searching ends. Karma begins with you and ends in the union of you with your Beloved.

There is nothing to fear in Karma. Are you afraid of the stairs to your home? Of course not! When you use the stairs you feel their utility, but do you remember the stairs when you have reached the door?

Your Karmic stairs are there for you to reach your home–your true Home within. And when you do finally reach your Home within, you will no longer need those stairs. They will effortlessly drop away.

Karma is only an educator, a true friend. It brings out of our past the most painful and also the most thrilling experiences of life. It gives you misery and also happiness. Remember that happiness is also a part of Karma. It, too, has no more of a reality than pain does. If it was a reality, it could not be so temporal. Who can hold happiness forever? From happiness and the greed for more happiness come the consequences of misery. Can Nature allow you to hold on to a shadow and think it is the reality? No. Karma is the instrument of Nature that gradually awakens in us the hunger for the reality of Life and living.

Therefore, Karma is not punitive. In Nature there is no deliberate punishment or reward. There are only manifestations of the energy
operating at diverse levels. Karma is only for our education. It is like the Compassionate Teacher who reminds you to read the lesson and come prepared for the test. Ultimately, the experience of Karma will remind you that there is nothing that your Soul does not know. It is only the veil of the material body-mind that puts you into a state of temporary forgetfulness. Karma is the reminder.

As you become more and more aware of the role of this teacher, Karma, you become an obedient student with earnestness to learn and excel. The past presents its fruits of happiness and sorrow, success and failures, praises and insults, but you have become aware of their unreality. You don’t identify yourself with either. You allow them to pass over the screen of your mind and over the physical body.

Rooted in the realm of inner Spirit which is unaffected by such superficial projections, you are on your way burning the old, not creating the fresh, moving toward a state beyond the bonds of Karma. This is the state of Yoga, the goal of meditation, the peak of spiritual illumination. Karma thus becomes your guru, guiding you toward your own kingdom of peace, beyond dualism. Remember, Life is an arduous, daunting journey, but God does not send us to this earth alone. Karma as the most compassionate teacher will continuously work in your heart till you have reached the pinnacle of spiritual experience, the realization of “Who am I”?

The Power of Words

This short film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world.

infinity trailer

Infinity: The Ultimate Trip –Journey Beyond Death
A Film by Jay Weidner
Featuring Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate Dollinger, Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss.
Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate
Dollinger. Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert
Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss

What happens after we pass from this world? Is there a life after this one? Or do we just disappear forever? These are the questions asked in this powerful and poignant feature documentary, Infinity: The Ultimate Trip. Many may be surprised by the answers.

Featuring noted experts Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate Dollinger. Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss, Infinity: The Ultimate Trip brings a message of hope and optimism concerning the most mysterious act in a human life; the end of this life and journey to the beyond.

Using vital and beautiful imagery, along with personal accounts of near-death experiences, reincarnation and more, Infinity brings forth the story of our own infinite nature, what to expect after death and the magic and beauty that awaits us on the other side. Here we learn of the energetic landscape of the world that we enter after we die, the angels, or beings of light, who assist us in the passing and the promise of a new life. Infinity: The Ultimate Trip is an honest and hopeful assessment of the greatest journey that any of us will ever take. It changes our view from that of dread and pessimism to one of hope, joy and light.

10 Hindu Environmental Teachings ~ Pankaj Jain, Ph.D.

Hinduism contains numerous references to the worship of the divine in nature in its Vedas,
Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras and its other sacred texts. Millions of Hindus recite Sanskrit mantras daily to revere their rivers, mountains, trees, animals and the earth. Although the Chipko (tree-hugging) Movement is the most widely known example of Hindu environmental leadership, there are examples of Hindu action for the environment that are centuries old.

Hinduism is a remarkably diverse religious and cultural phenomenon, with many local and
regional manifestations. Within this universe of beliefs, several important themes emerge. The diverse theologies of Hinduism suggest that:

• The earth can be seen as a manifestation of the goddess, and must be treated with respect.
• The five elements — space, air, fire, water and earth — are the foundation of an interconnected web of life.
• Dharma — often translated as “duty” — can be reinterpreted to include our responsibility to care for the earth.
• Simple living is a model for the development of sustainable economies.
• Our treatment of nature directly affects our karma.

Gandhi exemplified many of these teachings, and his example continues to inspire contemporary social, religious and environmental leaders in their efforts to protect the planet.

The following are 10 important Hindu teachings on the environment:

1. Pancha Mahabhutas (The five great elements) create a web of life that is shown forth in the structure and interconnectedness of the cosmos and the human body. Hinduism teaches that the five great elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) that constitute the environment are all derived from prakriti, the primal energy. Each of these elements has its own life and form; together the elements are interconnected and interdependent. The Upanishads explains the interdependence of these elements in relation to Brahman, the supreme reality, from which they arise: “From Brahman arises space, from space arises air, from air arises fire, from fire arises water, and from water arises earth.”

Hinduism recognizes that the human body is composed of and related to these five elements,
and connects each of the elements to one of the five senses. The human nose is related to earth, tongue to water, eyes to fire, skin to air and ears to space. This bond between our senses and the elements is the foundation of our human relationship with the natural world. For Hinduism, nature and the environment are not outside us, not alien or hostile to us. They are an inseparable part of our existence, and they constitute our very bodies.

2. Ishavasyam — Divinity is omnipresent and takes infinite forms. Hindu texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita (7.19, 13.13) and the Bhagavad Purana (2.2.41, 2.2.45), contain many references to the omnipresence of the Supreme divinity, including its presence throughout and within nature. Hindus worship and accept the presence of God in nature. For example, many Hindus think of India’s mighty rivers — such as the Ganges — as goddesses. In the Mahabharata, it is noted that the universe and every object in it has been created as an abode of the Supreme God meant for the benefit of all, implying that individual species should enjoy their role within a larger system, in relationship with other species.

3. Protecting the environment is part of Dharma.
Dharma, one of the most important Hindu concepts, has been translated into English as duty, virtue, cosmic order and religion. In Hinduism, protecting the environment is an important expression of dharma.
In past centuries, Indian communities — like other traditional communities — did not have an understanding of “the environment” as separate from the other spheres of activity in their lives.

A number of rural Hindu communities such as the Bishnois, Bhils and Swadhyaya have maintained strong communal practices to protect local ecosystems such as forests and water sources. These communities carry out these conservation-oriented practices not as “environmental” acts but rather as expressions of dharma. When Bishnois are protecting animals and trees, when Swadhyayis are building Vrikshamandiras (tree temples) and Nirmal Nirs (water harvesting sites) and when Bhils are practicing their rituals in sacred groves, they are simply expressing their reverence for creation according to Hindu teachings, not “restoring the environment.” These traditional Indian groups do not see religion, ecology and ethics as separate arenas of life. Instead, they understand it to be part of their dharma to treat creation with respect.

4. Our environmental actions affect our karma. Karma, a central Hindu teaching, holds that each of our actions creates consequences — good and bad — which constitute our karma and determine our future fate, including the place we will assume when we are reincarnated in our next life. Moral behavior creates good karma, and our behavior toward the environment has karmic consequences. Because we have free choice, even though we may have harmed the environment in the past, we can choose to protect the environment in the future, replacing environmentally destructive karmic patterns with good ones.

5. The earth — Devi — is a goddess and our mother and deserves our devotion and protection. Many Hindu rituals recognize that human beings benefit from the earth, and offer gratitude and protection in response. Many Hindus touch the floor before getting out of bed every morning and ask Devi to forgive them for trampling on her body. Millions of Hindus create kolams daily — artwork consisting of bits of rice or other food placed at their doorways in the morning. These kolams express Hindu’s desire to offer sustenance to the earth, just as the earth sustains themselves. The Chipko movement — made famous by Chipko women’s commitment to “hugging” trees in their community to protect them from clear-cutting by outside interests — represents a similar devotion to the earth.

6. Hinduism’s tantric and yogic traditions affirm the sacredness of material reality and contain teachings and practices to unite people with divine energy. Hinduism’s Tantric tradition teaches that the entire universe is the manifestation of divine energy. Yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “to yoke” or “to unite,” refers to a series of mental and physical practices designed to connect the individual with this divine energy. Both these traditions affirm that all phenomena, objects and individuals are expressions of the divine. And because these traditions both envision the earth as a goddess, contemporary Hindu teachers have used these teachings to demonstrate the wrongness of the exploitation of the environment, women and indigenous peoples.

7. Belief in reincarnation supports a sense of interconnectedness of all creation. Hindus believe in the cycle of rebirth, wherein every being travels through millions of cycles of birth and rebirth in different forms, depending on their karma from previous lives. So a person may be reincarnated as a person, animal, bird or another part of the wider community of life. Because of this, and because all people are understood to pass through many lives on their pathway to ultimate liberation, reincarnation creates a sense of solidarity between people and all living things.

Through belief in reincarnation, Hinduism teaches that all species and all parts of the earth are part of an extended network of relationships connected over the millennia, with each part of this network deserving respect and reverence.

8. Non-violence — ahimsa — is the greatest dharma. Ahimsa to the earth improves one’s karma. For observant Hindus, hurting or harming another being damages one’s karma and obstructs advancement toward moksha — liberation. To prevent the further accrual of bad karma, Hindus are instructed to avoid activities associated with violence and to follow a vegetarian diet.

Based on this doctrine of ahimsa, many observant Hindus oppose the institutionalized breeding and killing of animals, birds and fish for human consumption.

9. Sanyasa (asceticism) represents a path to liberation and is good for the earth. Hinduism teaches that asceticism — restraint in consumption and simplicity in living — represents a pathway toward moksha (liberation), which treats the earth with respect. A well-known Hindu teaching — Tain tyakten bhunjitha — has been translated, “Take what you need for your sustenance without a sense of entitlement or ownership.”

One of the most prominent Hindu environmental leaders, Sunderlal Bahuguna, inspired many Hindus by his ascetic lifestyle. His repeated fasts and strenuous foot marches, undertaken to support and spread the message of the Chipko, distinguished him as a notable ascetic in our own time. In his capacity for suffering and his spirit of self-sacrifice, Hindus saw a living example of the renunciation of worldly ambition exhorted by Hindu scriptures.

10. Gandhi is a role model for simple living. Gandhi’s entire life can be seen as an ecological treatise. This is one life in which every minute act, emotion or thought functioned much like an ecosystem: his small meals of nuts and fruits, his morning ablutions and everyday bodily practices, his periodic observances of silence, his morning walks, his cultivation of the small as much as of the big, his spinning wheel, his abhorrence of waste, his resorting to basic Hindu and Jain values of truth, nonviolence, celibacy and fasting. The moralists, nonviolent activists, feminists, journalists, social reformers, trade union leaders, peasants, prohibitionists, nature-cure lovers, renouncers and environmentalists all take their inspirations from Gandhi’s life and writings.

(Acknowledgment: Adapted from the essays by Christopher K. Chapple, O. P. Dwivedi, K. L. Seshagiri Rao, Vinay Lal, and George A. James in Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water and Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life, both published by Harvard University Press. Thanks also to the essays by Harold Coward and Rita DasGupta Sherma in Purifying the Earthly Body of God: Religion and Ecology in Hindu India, published by SUNY Press.

Pankaj is the author of Sustenance and Sustainability: Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities (May 2011) and has also published articles in journals such as Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Religion Compass, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Union Seminary Quarterly Review and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. He also contributes to the Washington Post’s forum “On Faith” and the e-zine

His research and teaching interests include Hinduism, Jainism, environmental ethics, Indian films, Sanskrit, and Hindi/Urdu languages and literatures. Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in the North Texas area. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project and as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith. He is also a Roving Professor at the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity at UNT.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University (both in Religious Studies). In his “previous life” he had also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from India and had worked as a software engineer in India and in New Jersey.

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