Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, while in space on his way back from the moon, had an experience of extra-temporal extra-spatial consciousness.
Upon return to earth, he pooled all his resources and with the help of likeminded friends founded an institute for the study of the phenomenon of consciousness.
This, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has a number of scientists engaged in various studies. One of their landmark publications is the Bibliography of Scientific Research in the Physiology and Psychology of Meditation. Visit also www.noetic.org The Institute has also done several video interviews with Swami Veda Bharati. Finally, their senior scientist Dr. Dean Radin (author of Conscious Universe) had Swami Veda Bharati in their laboratory on September 22, 2004.
April 7, 2005
Dear Mr. Krause,
On September 22, 2004, Swami Veda Bharati kindly participated in a series of informal experiments conducted in the Consciousness Research Laboratory of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. During the experiments, I noted the following observations:
(1) During meditation, Swami Veda's respiration rate declined at times to about one breath per minute. This reflects an exceptional degree of control over the autonomic nervous system and is characteristic of highly experienced meditators. I was not aware of Swami Veda's heart problems beforehand, and was impressed given his robust appearance and composure.
(2) Before, during and after the meditation period, Swami Veda's predominant brainwave power was in the theta (5-8 Hz) and delta bands (1-5 Hz), as shown in the three graphs below. Increased theta and delta would be expected during meditation, but the sustained power measured at these low frequencies suggests that Swami Veda's ordinary state of awareness is analogous to that of a normal person in a deep meditative or sleep state.
(3) In another experiment, we ran an electronic random number generator (RNG) during and after the meditation period to see if Swami Veda's coherent attention produced during meditation could influence the surrounding environment in such a way as to impress detectable "order" within the RNG's normally random output. The graph below shows that the RNG output deviated from chance to a statistically significant degree after about 3 minutes of meditation, and it remained there for about 7 minutes. (In this type of graph z scores > 2 are associated with odds against chance greater that 20 to 1.) The deviations returned to chance expectation near the end of the meditation and throughout the after-meditation control period. This suggests that Swami Veda's meditative state produced a change in the physical randomness in the environment, in the direction of increased coherence or order.
(4) Finally, we conducted an experiment examining whether Swami Veda's intention would influence a distant person's physiological state. The experimental design explores the "sense of being stared at" under rigorously controlled conditions. We recorded several physiological measures in the distant person, including hear rate, while Swami Veda viewed a live video image of that person in 36 randomly-timed presentations of 10 seconds each. The graph below shows that on average, the distant person's heart rate accelerated as soon as Swami Veda began to view their image. This suggests either that his intention directly influenced the distant person, or that his intention was perceived by that person.
In summary, from these informal test it appears that Swami Veda displays a range of exceptional mental and physical capacities sometimes observed in long-term, experienced meditators. To confirm these findings, and in particular to determine whether Swami Veda can consistently produce similar results, I believe it would be valuable to explore these capacities in pre-planned, longitudinal studies. Formal experiments would also be worthwhile in helping to assess the limits, potentials, and underlying mechanisms of deep meditative states and their relationship to the physical world.
I would be pleased to advise potential donors interested in contributing towards research projects designed to study Swami Veda and other experienced meditators. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has had along-term interest in meditation research, and in support of this interest we've created a free and comprehensive online bibliography of meditation research, located at
With best wishes,
Dean Radin, PhD
Institute of Noetic Sciences
101 San Antonio Road
Petaluma, CA 94952
Swami Veda Bharati would like to complete a small part of the work of his Master, Swami Rama of the Himalayas. For this reason, he now has a mental image of a research laboratory at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG).
The rationale for establishing such a laboratory is indicated in the attached pages.
The laboratory will require:
* A small building (already set aside for the purpose at SRSG),
* To be renovated to serve the purpose of a lab, such as soundproofing, installing appropriate electric connections etc.
* Computers and software,
* Funding for continued work,
* Fees for a senior scientist to create the research design and supervise its execution by a) Two trained technicians.
b) Secretary to maintain records.
The kind of electronic equipment needed, and the funding required, is being researched. It is hoped that the work will begin with simple tools of investigation, such as the most sensitive EEG equipment. Slowly more ambitious projects will be undertaken in order to measure the psychological and physiological correlates of changes in consciousness.
Start up funding needed (guesstimate) could be in the vicinity of $1,000,000 plus the scientist's fees, technicians' and the secretary's salaries.
On the respiration rate of one breath per minute, the only previously published report is that about a Japanese Yoga teacher whose respiration rate was found to be five breaths per minute and it was considered significant.
While it is true, as Dr. Radin had said during the laboratory session, "only a person with a strong heart can maintain such a rate of breathing", on the other hand, one who can reduce the respiratory rate to this degree can manage to survive and "appear robust" through the changes thereby introduced in the autonomic systems.
It will be a boon to heart patients if the "technique" used by Swami Veda, a serious heart patient, could be verified and taught widely.
The ancient texts like the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads speak of "action in inaction and inaction in action", or, that a Yogin "seeing he does not see, hearing he does not hear" &endash; and so forth. The oriental martial arts including Zen archery are also an example of the same principle where inner calm alone ensures the success of a physical motion.
Based on the guidance in meditative practices received from his Master, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, Swami Veda Bharati has been teaching widely that one may remain in silence while speaking or writing, and be in a state of stillness while moving.
He explains this on the basis of the ancient yogis', and his own, observation of the mind and its processes. He teaches that while the shallow surface of the mind may remain turbulent (kshiptam and vi-kshiptam in the terms of the Yoga-sutras), the deeper dimensions of the mind may remain in a state of stillness. This is explained by the analogy of the sea that is turbulent on the surface but a few feet below is a deep silent world.
It is yet to be seen as to what might be demonstrated in any possible studies to be conducted by the experts in modern neurology and the anatomy of the brain of a meditative person walking about in daily life. Would some areas of the brain demonstrate a state of silence and stillness (alpha-theta-delta) and other areas show signs of distraction (beta)? This is for the objective science to test out.
It is known that the yogis do maintain such dual track, but their statements can be dismissed as purely subjective. Swami Veda himself has sometimes made this claim and was keen to have it tested out.
That is where the item No. (2) of Dr. Radin's testimony comes in which shows that an outwardly non-meditative daily life state may conceal a simultaneous meditative state, as seen in the case of Swami Veda.
Further laboratory studies are needed to work out all the variables and controls in a carefully designed research protocol.
The research required is so extensive that it cannot be undertaken in short, borrowed or rented, laboratory time. The yogi needs to have his own laboratory where he works in co-ordination with the scientists.
For the past one and a half years Swami Veda Bharati has been conducting distant guided meditations for many hundreds of meditators on all continents. They sit at a certain appointed time on every Full Moon day.
The e-mails and letters received from the participants are impressive but the experiences described can be dismissed as purely subjective and as products of imagination.
Those who (sometimes up to 100,000 people in a crowd) have sat in meditation sessions guided by Swami Veda (but much more powerfully so when guided by Swami Rama) have spoken of a deep meditative field created during such sessions.
The items (3) and (4) in Dr. Radin's report show that it is possible for a meditation guide to create a coherent field.
How distant from the meditation guide (a) a machine like the random numbers generator, or (b) a person has to be in order to come within the influence of such a field is yet to be tested and demonstrated.
Swami Veda wishes to state that even though he was asked to concentrate on the machine, he did not heed that request. He only generated the field. Any incoherence whether of (a) a machine or (b) a person's or (c) an animal's mind could be caught in this field and would exhibit signs of relative coherence. Again, further testing is required to prove objectively what is known to the meditation guide "subjectively".
On Dr. Radin's item No. 4 : a person was seated in a soundproof room and, as described by Dr. Radin, Swami Veda sitting in a different room was asked to concentrate on the person's video image that was flashed for ten seconds at a time.
Swami Veda was left alone and was not being observed, so this fact was not made known: He was not concentrating on the image on the video screen. (1) For the first two times, he looked at the video image for half a second only, and then closed his eyes. (2) He found that as the video screen lit up with the image each time, he could sense the light with his eyes closed. This was his signal to concentrate on the person.
The concentration was not on the video image but on the mental image &endash; without making any mental suggestion as to whether or not any physiological, neurological or psychological changes may occur in the person. It may be said that just a 'presence' was projected.
That the changes did occur is a further proof of a field of consciousness (as Swami Veda terms it) having been generated.
There, however, remains one more variable to consider. The subject of concentration in the other room has been meditating with Swami Veda for nearly six years. She is (a) conditioned to his "field of consciousness", and (b) has certain accomplishments in meditation, as is seen in the letter from her surgeon, attached.
Would a complete stranger (a) a meditator from a different school, or (b) a non-meditator exhibit the same physiologically measurable or a subjective response?
Many other questions remain, for example:
At what distance can such an effect occur? Can what happens in an adjacent room happen to a person a mile away, a continent away? Can specific physiological, neurological, psychological states be triggered?
Once again, Dr. Radin's statement proves that it is worthwhile undertaking such studies in a more comprehensive and detailed manner.
In our search for any records of:
(1) a conscious production of delta brain wave, and of
(2) such a brain wave even when the person is not apparently meditating, there were only one or two examples of (1) and none of (2).
It is therefore imperative that a comprehensive and exhaustive research project be undertaken under the guidance and with the laboratory participation of Swami Veda to complete the work of his Master. For this, the means need to be provided at the earliest possibility as Swami Veda is now 72.
So far all research in the area of meditation practices has been conducted by scientists on meditators.
The research is piecemeal, testing some small area of the vast field of meditative consciousness.
It is time to undertake a comprehensive programme of research to include a vast range of interrelated practices in their proper sequences.
And, for a change, this new research programme should be guided by a meditation guide with the help of scientists who will, of course, rigorously enforce the norms of scientific methodology.
Hence the need for a research laboratory.
On Dr. Radin's item No. 4: a person was seated in a soundproof room and, as described by Dr. Radin, Swami Veda sitting in a different room was asked to concentrate on the person's video image that was flashed for ten seconds at a time. As has been stated above, he did not really concentrate on the video image, but only on a mental image of the person. It may be noted that Linda was the person in the soundproof room.
Linda was left alone and was being observed and video recorded. She recorded the following subjective observations:
* She was asked to look at the video camera when/if she felt the "ten-second periods" were occurring. (1) For the first time only, with eyes closed, she tilted her head slightly towards the video camera which was located in the upper right corner of the room from Linda's position. (2) She stopped tilting her head after the first time as she felt the movement was a distraction, and it was unnecessary for Swami Veda to confirm her awareness of his presence.
* She found that as the experiment occurred there were periods she could sense a presence. The presence was felt as a deep, calm, stillness. She likened the experience to diving deep under the ocean water. As the experiment went on, the stillness and silence deepened as if she were diving into deeper, darker, quieter depths.
* Then at some point she could feel herself getting quieter and quieter and then there were times when she felt completely still and quiet. And it was like there were points when she didn't even feel the body.
* She felt her breathing rhythm slow and even felt there were times her breath seemed to stop.
* The experiment lasted approximately 30 minutes, but felt more like only a few minutes had passed.
March 30, 2005
Dear Swami Veda Bharati:
This letter is being written to verify that Linda M. Billau underwent a surgical procedure on March 12, 2004. This nasal surgery was done without general anesthesia at HealthSouth Centennial Lakes Surgery Center in Edina, Minnesota. It is very unusual to do nasal surgery without general or IV sedation anesthesia. Only local anesthesia was used on Linda Billau, which is extraordinary. She used special guided yoga meditation during the surgery to offset the need for general anesthesia. I have a great amount of respect for Linda and her abilities. I understand that you are her instructor and I give you my compliments.
Joseph M. Gryskiewicz MD, FACS
University of Minnesota
On the special guided yoga meditation used during the surgery to offset the need for general anesthesia, Linda listened to Swami Veda Bharati's Yoga Nidra cassette tape.
Linda's Pre-Surgery Preparations:
One-month prior to the surgery, Linda began preparing mentally.
2. For every fearful or negative thought that arose, Linda practiced breath awareness and systematic relaxation and then replaced the negative thought with a positive thought.
On the day of the surgery:
1. Linda arose and meditated using her personal mantra.
2. On the 1 _ drive to the surgery center, Linda practiced:
a. Diaphragmatic breath awareness
b. Systematic relaxation
c. Nadi Shodhanam
d. 61-points relaxation
e. Mantra recitation
3. At the surgery center (prior to surgery):
a. Spoke sparingly, only as needed to medical staff.
b. Practiced breath awareness, systematic relaxation and mantra recitation.
4. In the surgery operating room:
a. Practiced breath awareness and systematic relaxation as nurses attached heart rate and oxygen monitors.
b. After Dr. Gryskiewicz arrived, he instructed Linda that she must not move during the surgery. As he began, Linda started listening to Swami Veda's Yoga-Nidra tape on the portable tape recorder she brought with her into the surgery suite. Her physical and mental sheaths relaxed now, Swami Veda's voice carried her deeper into a still, quiet place--a place where she sensed everything was going to be ok. She felt as if she were an observer of the surgery and did not feel the body as the doctor performed the surgery. She remembered hearing all the noises of what he was doing but from a distant place. At this point she felt she was no longer the "doer" - that the relaxations and breath awareness allowed her to get out of the way so that the Universal energy could flow through.
c. As Dr Gryskiewicz stated in his verification letter, it is quite unusual to do nasal surgery without general or IV sedation anesthesia.
5. After the surgery:
a. The monitors were removed and Linda got off the operating table and went home. She didn't feel any pain at any point during or after the surgery.
The list of possible benefits below is not exhaustive and is only an indicative one.
1. Cardiac Problems.
(A) While current experience may indicate that only a person with a strong heart can maintain a respiratory rate of one breath per minute, the hypothesis would be: a) this respiratory rate indicates control over some parts of the autonomic nervous system and b) in turn may help deepen such control. Thereby, a heart patient may be able to regulate his/her condition autonomically.
(B) One may also learn to survive and remain robust in polluted or smoke-filled areas by requiring less oxygen.
2. Dual Consciousness.
(A) As the experiment with Swami Veda indicates, a person may be active in ordinary life yet rest a major part of his/her brain at the same time. This may serve:
a. as a tool for reducing the effects of stressful situations and,
b. one may become less prone to negative emotions, like anger, being triggered by external stimuli.
(B) In terms of conflict resolution, any negotiation will not be confrontational, but cooperative.
(C) The level of exhaustion experienced through daily activity will be greatly reduced and a person will:
a. revive faster from exhaustion and
b. heal quicker from illness or surgery, thus reducing hospital and insurance costs.
(D) Even though many preparatory mental exercises are nowadays termed Yoga-nidra, conscious sleep, the true Yoga-nidra, is when delta brain waves are being produced consciously. This is known to the Yogis as a tool for
a. quick conscious rest,
b. quick recovery from cardiac angina,
c. pacification of emotional disturbances,
d. alleviation of many impairments of gastric, intestinal, and colonic systems,
e. as a quick learning tool .
3. Reducing Anesthesia.
Linda's experience indicates that it may be possible to let a patient undergo surgery at least up to a certain level where anesthesia is counter-indicated. In such cases, the patient will have to be extensively tested for his or her mastery of the mental technique.
4. Distant healing.
(A) This sounds like another scientifically unproved 'new age' phenomenon. However, the fact that in laboratory experiments, Swami Veda Bharati's concentration on a person in another room changed the latter's cardiac and respiratory rates indicates that it is an area of research worth pursuing.
(B) It may also become helpful for astronauts and others in similar situations.
These are only suggestions of some possible benefits and there are many other hypotheses (which Yogis claim to be experiential facts) that need to be tested.
It is worth remembering that what may be proved in a scientific laboratory situation may then require more extensive planning for practical applications in training a large number of the population to be able to experience the benefits universally.
Copyright 2005 West Art, Prometheus 95/2005