Excerpts from the book ‘Ignited Minds‘ Written By A.P.J. Abdul Kalamji
On 3 February 2002, I had an extraordinary spiritual experience when I visited the Brahma Kumari Spiritual Academy at Mount Abu.
The deity of the Brahma Kumaris, Shiva Baba, descended on one of the disciples, Dhadhi Gurzar. Before our eyes, her personality changed.
Her face became radiant, her voice became deeper as she talked about the four treasures: Knowledge, Yoga, Virtue and Service. We– I, Sivathanu Pillai, and Selvamurthy–were lucky to be called by her to the dais and blessed.
As she blessed us she said, ‘Bharat will become the most beautiful land on earth.’
My interaction with the Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) patients, popularly known as ‘Dilwalas’, at the Global Hospital and Research Centre of the Brahma Kumari Academy headed by Dr Pratap Midha, clearly illustrated that the mind— body interaction, a subject I touched upon at the end of the previous chapter, is vital for health which is defined as physical, mental and spiritual well-being. My friend Dr W. Selvamurthy postulated through years of clinical work that yoga and meditation significantly alleviate pain.
The experiments, which I had the opportunity of initiating through the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) when I was Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, include a new approach towards healing through mind— body synchrony. Dr Pratap Midha and Dr Selvamurthy joined together and formulated a unique treatment for cardiac patients.
When I reviewed this project, two years back, about sixty patients reported an improved sense of well-being.
Now, it has yielded excellent results with 400 patients reporting progress.
The treatment included lifestyle intervention with Raja Yoga meditation for stress management, low-fat highfibre diet for reducing risk of hyper lipidemia and regular aerobic exercise or walking to improve the cardio-vascular and metabolic efficiency.
I hope that medical treatment will begin to lay greater emphasis on healing not only the body but also the mind.
During my previous visit to the Brahma Kumari Spiritual Academy at Mount Abu, Sister Usha had given me the task of interacting in a group discussion with thirty Brahma Kumaris who had recently joined. It was a pleasure to look at their bright faces bubbling with enthusiasm.
In a post-dinner session when I asked them in turn about their mission in life, the reply was unanimous: to serve the people through spiritual endeavour.
Dr Selvamurthy and I were moved to recite a Tamil poem composed 1,000 years ago by Awaiyar which in translation reads thus: ‘It is rare to be born as a human being It is still more rare to be born without any deformity Even if you are born without any deformity It is rare to acquire knowledge and education Even if one could acquire knowledge and education It is still rare to do offerings and tapas But for one who does offerings and tapas
The doors of heaven open to greet him.’ I then narrated to the Brahma Kumaris how the Bishop at Thumba allowed transfer of the land belonging to the church for setting up a space research station (as given in chapter three of this book). What is the conclusion to be drawn from this story? I asked them.
The Brahma Kumaris responded by saying that our civilization is rich, which leads to forward thinking, harmony and better understanding.
With such a great nation and people, why are there communal clashes? I think that when a nation doesn’t have a vision, small minds take over its affairs.
The unification of science and spirituality will be essential to take the benefit of science and technology to mankind. In 1911, Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Song of Humanity ‘A time will come when the Indian mind will shake off the darkness that has fallen upon it, cease to think or hold opinions at second and third hand and reassert its right to judge and enquire with perfect freedom into the meaning of its own culture and tradition.’
That is the future we need to work towards as we shake off the shackles of poverty.
There was one message common to all the places I visited–there is a higher self within you that transcends the limitations of the physical world. I felt the presence of this higher self in my father.
I have learned over the years to maintain my equanimity regardless of circumstances.
I have faced failures and disappointments without feeling defeated. I wish to live the rest of my life at peace with myself and others. I have no wish to engage in quarrels with others.
This is the challenge before the individual as he tries to transcend his limitations.
At this point, I recall a sura from the Holy Quran. ‘O Prophet, you proclaim to the people Who do not accept your preaching, What you worship, I do not worship, And what I worship, you do not worship; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The result of your actions belongs to you, The result of my actions belongs to me.’ What we are, what we believe in, is ours alone.
Once we have trust in the wisdom that created us, we can develop a faith that sustains us through our lives. Indians are well versed with the concept of higher self, or perhaps highest self is the preferable term.
For generations our ancestors lived their lives by this concept.
But for many today, rooted perhaps too deeply in the material world, this idea sounds lofty and spiritual.
For me it has been a cornerstone of the way I live.