Summary of the Talks and Presentations
Prepared by Pragya Upadhyaya
Three days International Conference on Spiritual Perspectives on Creating a Conscious Humanity organised by Sri Aurobindo Foundation For Indian Culture (SAFIC) Pondicherry, and co-convened by Birthing the New Humanity (BTNH) France which also facilitated a Post Conference Workshop: Birth the Change® Change the Birth was successfully conducted at Sri Aurobindo Society Pondicherry form October 18-21, 2019.
Some of the major points discussed in the conference are covered below:
Introduction to the Conference Theme- “Spiritual Perspectives on Creating a Conscious Humanity” by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Director, SAFIC:
Dr. Mishra shared the journey of the maturation of an idea revolving around Prenatal Education and its importance for creating a Conscious Humanity that was conceived in 2007. While other programs related to Prenatal Education usually deals with easy birthing techniques, breast feeding, nutrition, and prenatal-yoga, SAFIC, over a decade of extensive research and alliance, finally manifested as a Multifacilitator Workshop module Sambhūti and Supraja, also catering to the spiritual significance of procreation, as per the Ancient traditional knowledge systems- Veda, Upanishads, etc. Sambhūti-“The Secret of Conscious Maternity and Parenting in Spiritual Light” a three-day workshop was organised by SAFIC at Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry from 26 to 28 April 2018. Whereas Supraja another three-day workshop was hosted by the Prestige Institute of Management, Indore from 27-29 August 2018 which was well received by experienced gynaecologists, psychologists, expectant mothers, educationists, and spiritual seekers as a spiritual movement of creating a conscious humanity (supraja-janana). Successively a four-day Workshop on Prenatal Education was conducted at Seth MR Jaipuria School Lucknow from 19-23 November 2018 especially for empowering the educators. This was followed by the presentation on Supraja at the International Conference on ‘Birthing the New Humanity’ (BTNH) organized at Bengaluru from 30 November to 2 December 2018. After which the initiative was expanded to a new facet with successful organisation of a National Seminar on Prenatal Education: Ancient Indian Perspectives, jointly organised by the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Culture, SCSVMV, at Kanchipuram from 11-12 April 2019 and the latest addition to this list is the International Conference on “Spiritual Perspectives on Creating a Conscious Humanity” with the deliberation on prenatal education, being organised at SAS, Puducherry from 18-20 October, 2019.
Director, SAFIC raised a question about ‘What is Maternity’? Is it just the process of giving birth? Or in the words of the Mother, ‘True Maternity’ begins with a conscious creation of a being… He talked about the importance of prenatal rituals or garbha-sanskAra as an instrument for generating awareness towards ‘Willed Conception’ against the chances of accidental pregnancy. He threw light from the Vedic perspective as well which states that it is not the mother but the father who conceives, and transfers it to the mother at the time of copulation. Mother further nurtures it in her womb. He beautifully explained the meaning of the Sanskrit word for child- “santāna” as “all-expansive” resulting from the union of two states of consciousness (of the father and the mother) evolving into a new state of consciousness (the child) as an extension of both, thus conception being the tool for the expansion of consciousness and child being the design of “expanded consciousness”. He also described another significant Sanskrit word used to define a pregnant woman as “āpannasattvā” meaning a woman who has obtained a living being, thus setting the tone for the attitude of reverence that the mother herself along with others needs to have for the state of pregnancy, thus keeping the mother equivalent to the supreme creator. Another exquisite Sanskrit word used to describe an expecting mother – “dauhrida” was also shared by him, uniquely describing pregnancy as a miraculous condition where two-hearts beat within one body.
Felicitation of the Conference and Post Conference Workshop “Birth the Change® Change the Birth” by Dr. Julie Gerland, Co-founder of BTNH, France:
Dr Julie shared a glimpse of her spiritual journey that started from childhood and intensified after meeting her Guru Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov in France and gave a brief introduction of her 40 years of experience working with the pregnant mothers, the establishment of her organisation BTNH and her previous visits to India regarding International Conferences co-convened by BTNH. First of which was Birthing the New Humanity-Challenges & Prospects, held in Palampur (HP, India) in 2017, and second one being Science, Wisdom & Mother Earth, which had participation of professionals from diverse fields from over 10 countries, which was conducted in Bengaluru in 2018. She also brought into notice about the third international conference going to be held in Bengaluru from 1-3 November 2019 “Youth at the Heart of The New Humanity”.
Dr Julie talked about the paradigm shift in the field of health that has taken place over the decades, with the recognition of positive dimension of health by WHO in its definition: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” However it was discussed that the positive concept of health and wellbeing has always been given significance in the aboriginal traditions across the world by linking it to the spiritual dimension. She also talked about the Goal 3 of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ‘of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’. And highlighted the prioritization of ‘Nurturing care for Early Childhood Development’ as the agenda of 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit. Thus making a significant point that instead of trying to ‘patch up’ the holes of inadvertent chances in the process of ‘surviving’ through the battle of life, we need to make cognizant shift towards giving birth to a ‘thriving’ New Humanity which is only possible through the process of conscious conception, birthing and parenting.
Address by the Chief Guest Subash Chandra Parija, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth:
Coming from the medical background, Dr Parija gave a realistic picture of the approach of modern medical professionals towards prenatal education, which starts only after the mother comes to the gynaecologist, after recognising the early signs of pregnancy. As a result, the first thing the doctors present to the mother are a set of precautions that are given to her regarding protection against infections so as to save the child from congenital infections, along with sharing some guidelines related to nutrition. Thus, limiting the holistic attitude towards pregnancy to a miser one, dealing with it from the frame of reference to disease prevention and management.
Therefore Dr Parija advocated the inevitable need of integrating humanism in medical professionalism. And in his attempt of finding an answer to, ‘What is Spirituality?’ and ‘What is Humanity?’ he came to a point of juxtaposition of the two, i.e. both Spirituality and Humanity cannot be purchased or borrowed from outside rather human values and awareness to practice them at every incidence has to be developed and nurtured by an individual by making conscious efforts. He shared the example of his medical college where Music Therapy and Yoga Therapy go hand in hand with Allopathic treatment and how various scientific research are being conducted to validate the positive outcomes. Thus, laying emphasis on the importance of a harmonious integration amongst allied sciences, complementary medicine and allopath in a medical setup so as to provide rich choices to the clients in order to ascertain his holistic wellbeing.
He also highlighted the rich scope of such integration and research work with respect to Psycho-somatic conditions, Life-style disorders, Prenatal and Postnatal condition.
Keynote Speech 1: Creating a Conscious Humanity: The Yogic Way by Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Director (CYTER), Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry:
Yogacharya opened his presentation by giving the example of Sperm and Egg in the microcosm representing Purusha and Prakriti in the macrocosm, thus reminding us of the Sanskrit verse from the Puranas – ‘yat pinde tat brahmande’. He also brought attention towards the miracle of fertilization in the light of Bhagavad Gita, where out of thousands of sperms only one is able to penetrate the ovum thus leading to a divine union resulting into the manifestation of a new life!
He explained the vicious cycle of karma(Action) leading to the formation of samskāra(Impressions) which further leads to the development of vāsanā (Tendency), resulting into the creation of vritti(Thought Pattern) forcing a person to indulge in similar Actions again and again. Therefore one can break free from this cycle by the interjection of Conscious Living (dharma) as the balancing force between causative and effective action (karma). He also shared the saying of the great Tamil Saint Avvai that, “It is rare to be born human and rarest of rare to be born a compassionate and disciplined human.” Thus parents need to inculcate the feeling of “nimitta-mātram” in the process of giving birth to a child, by giving unconditional love and care, free from the claps of ego.
He requested all for ensuring that expecting and new mothers need not be frightened by traumatic experiences of other women, because fear causes pain which in turn causes more fear, causing more pain! He also shared a series of asana like baddhakona-āsana, supta-baddhakona-āsana, utkata-āsana, meru-āsana, etc. not only for improving maternal health but also for creating a positive focus towards sacred pelvic region. He shared various research findings such as significant changes in maternal heart rate and foetal heart rate on listening to OM chanting by the mother, mother experiencing more foetal activity especially during chanting of makāra phase and at postnatal level, benefits in lactation by working at psycho-neuro-endocrine level.
Giving the reference of his own mother, Dr Ananda Balayogi, laid emphasis on Pregnancy and Motherhood as the most powerful spiritual experiences in a women’s life! It is scientifically proven that fear triggers and intensifies pain. Therefore it is important that new expectant mothers are not scared by the veterans about the odds of pregnancy rather share positive stories of courage and cooperation. All this makes motherhood an ‘Ultimate Yoga Sādhanā’ as maternity leads to the height of inflation of ego, which is the goal of spirituality. He also shared the teaching from Bhagavad Gita that the one fallen from the state of Yoga is born into the home of pure, noble and illustrious souls, hence provoking the parents for praying to be the vehicle for such noble souls to take birth through them, for which parents needs to be pure, noble and illustrious first. He ended by making a wake-up call for replacing Alternative Medicine (Me vs you) and Complimentary Medicine (Me & you) with Integrative Medicine (Us).
Keynote Speech 2: Karmic Effects of Abortion by Paediatrician and Neonatologist Dr. Tushar Dashora chaired by Arya Muni ji:
Dr Dashora came up with this quite a challenging topic and opened his speech by making a comparison between Abortion/Medical Termination of Pregnancy, just being a misnomer to Foeticide in most of the cases. He presented researches and evidences to support this finding that most of the abortions, roughly around 93% are performed based on the convenience of the mother/ parents or family and very rarely, only 7% for the stated reason of saving the life of the mother or any other medical emergencies. Even in case of Rapes there has been recorded only 0.06% pregnancy rate, i.e. 99% don’t register pregnancy as the whole system of the women is in a state of rejection and violation at such a time.
The biggest causes of Abortion in India can be considered as Gender selection, violating the right of birth to girl children, based on the patriarchal societies’ idea of considering a female as a liability and source of economic rundown. But that is not the case everywhere, in modern era, pregnancy sometimes comes as a threat to the jobs of the women, a threat to their body image, freedom, sexuality and pleasure, a threat to the family’s status-quo and convenience, and abortion comes as a tool for asserting pseudo-liberalism, revenge to the partner or family. The saddest news is that many women medical professionals are themselves involved in sex identification and female foeticide. Therefore what makes abortion murder is when it’s an intentional killing resulting into interrupting spiritual evolution of human life mostly for the sake of convenience.
He also showed a short video clip of “The Silent Scream” the video of a first trimester suction abortion seen on an ultrasound screen from the victim’s point of view where the baby tried to save himself during the sonography. This study was done by Jack Dabner & Bernard Nathanson making them changes their perspectives from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life activists. Another case shared by him was that of Ana Rose, whose right arm was severed by an abortionist during an abortion attempt, when her mother was 7.5 months pregnant but later child was delivered due to further complications. Medical tragedies like that should not happen with anybody. Today’s Diagnostic tests like Triple or Quad Tests and Genetic tests for Screening out Birth Defects like Down Syndrome at prenatal stage have around statistically 70% success rate hence they cannot be the ultimate deciding factors suggesting medical termination of pregnancy. Dr Tushar shared real life examples from his own medical practice where children though predicted with birth defects or birth injuries like Turner’s syndrome & Nuchal cord could be delivered safely without any defects or injuries as predicted and suggestions supporting medical termination of pregnancy in such cases could have been the biggest of blunders.
In contradiction to this, in ancient Indian society even the children born to the single mothers or prostitutes were not aborted. And in extreme conditions, such children were given birth and then donated for adoption at ashrams, temples or floated well-protected across the rivers. Example of Kunti and her son Karan is a testimony to that. Even King Bharat was born to an unwed mother. Astavakra, & Paandu are the examples where parents were well aware about the deformities in the child way before their births but still did not decide to abort them.
The spiritual point of view, throws light upon the long lasting Karmic effects of Abortion as per the religious references from Jainism and Hinduism. Abortion from religious point of view has been considered much more sinful than the murder of a man, as a child in its foetus stage is considered equivalent to the God-brahamaswarupa. It is said in Geeta that a foetus remembers past 100 lives thus refereeing it “Rishi”. He shared the anecdote from Mahabharata where Ashwathama was cursed because he tried to kill the baby in the womb. Thus making foeticide as brahamahatyā (Kaushitiki Upnishad Ch 6 Verse 1).
Thus the obligatory karmic effects of abortion are considered to be as severe as infertility, still birth, having multiple miscarriages, handicapped/ mutilated or children with diseases and deformities, aside to psychological implications like guilt, anxiety and depression in parents, marital discord and disharmony, nightmares, and other spiritual consequences such as pitr–rina, communication by executed baby, abortion of self in next life, parent born as handicapped and mutilated baby in next life, loss/separation of the baby. Spiritual understanding as per all religions and belief acknowledge that there is a life beyond this life and body thus accounting for karmic bondage. Thus abortion/ MTP should be used very judiciously, only in very early stage of pregnancy, in specific cases such as rape or incest or under medical emergencies with an intention of saving another life at stake. Under no circumstances should abortion be treated as a mechanism of contraception. And in order to make this happen, awareness needs to be spread about karmic laws, early sex education and the use of protections and contraceptives. We also need to recreate social security frameworks such as ashrams where the medical needs of any pregnant women irrespective of social-economic class or marital status can be adequately met and in worst case scenario orphan/abandoned children could be taken care without compromising with the privacy.
Keynote Speech 3: Maternity and Spiritual practice, by Ms Deepa Vaitheeswaran from Kalarigram, Auroville- the traditional training centre in Kalaripayattu, Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda, chaired by Arya Muni ji
Kalaripayattu is regarded as the oldest form of Indian Martial Arts that originated in Kerala dating back to at least the 3rd century BCE, thus making it “the mother of all martial arts” around the world. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama- the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. At the turn of the 6th century A.D., martial arts spread from Southern India to China by Daruma Bodhidarma – an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master held responsible for training the Shaolin monks in kung-fu. From China, martial arts have spread to Korea & Japan. It draws inspiration from the raw power, majestic strength and instinctive fighting techniques of animals like lion, tiger, elephant, wild boar, crocodile etc. Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, weaponry and healing methods.
The inherent beauty of this art form lies in the harmonious synergy of art, science and medicine. Kalari marma-chikitsā is an integral part of the kalari tradition. The training of a student to become a master includes the training in Ayurveda and in locating the vital points of the body, known as marmas. A marma point is a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints and ‘where the Prana is present’. There are total 108 marma points in the body in which 64 are considered as kulamarma (deadly points). These points could be used to heel or to harm. If these points are pierced hard, it could result in trauma or even death. Based on these principles the science of Acupuncture and Acupressure have been born.
Architectural design of traditional “kalari” is a 21 feet by 42 feet enclosure, present six feet below the surface level of the ground. This can be symbolically regarded as the womb of a pregnant mother. And the baby can be compared to the fighter who has to come out of the pit(womb), victorious. And in order to do so, one has to well direct all her energy in one direction, which is also physically symbolic of the labour and spiritually represent channelizing of kundalini-shakti. In the south-west corner of Kalari is present a seven-tiered platform called the “poothara”, which houses the guardian deity of the kalari. These seven steps symbolise seven abilities that each person requires but they become fundamental to parenthood; they include Vigneswa (Strength), Channiga (patience), Vishnu (commanding power), Vadugashcha (the posture), Tadaaguru (training), Kali (the expression) and Vakasta-purushu (sound). Other deities, most of them incarnations of the Bhagavati or Shiva, are installed in the corners. The role of a mother can be compared to that of the Shakti, the ultimate creator, the source of energy especially when it comes to maternity. This comparison done by Ms Deepa between Kalaripayattu and pregnancy was quite imaginative and thought provoking.
Ms Deepa also talked about the importance of Maternity by throwing light on the Indian philosophy of chaturvarga ‘puruṣārthas’ that loosely translates into, the four objectives of human life described as, dharma (righteousness, moral values) –kāma (pleasure, love, psychological values) – artha (prosperity, economic values ) – mokṣha (liberation, spiritual values). Wife in Hindu tradition is referred as “sahadharmini”- the one who shares duties righteously as equal to the husband, thus being a pillar to dharma puruṣārtha. The marriage and procreation occupy a significant role in fulfilling kāma puruṣārtha. And maternity and the wealth of a supreme progeny and expanded family gratify artha puruṣārtha; gradually, giving way for exploring the possibilities of moksha puruṣārtha.
Thus if Marriage, Procreation and Maternity serve as one of the fundamental milestones of Human life, why there is so less awareness regarding the spiritual essence of these life transforming stages in one’s life today? Parents now days plan their pregnancy well in advance and they take into consideration so many aspects- financially and socially from the future point of view, from horoscope, shopping, to planning for admissions in the best of schools three years down the line…then why they should miss on to the most significant aspect? That is, planning for providing the best spiritual and emotionally secures & stress free environment to the mother and through her to the baby inside the womb. Only then we can think about producing a generation of children who can be the architect of a self-sustainable society.
She shared a story about Ashtavakra, the grandson of sage Aruni- who ran an ashram teaching Vedic scriptures, where his daughter and son in law, the parents of Ashtavakra also lived. While his mother became pregnant with him, she was living in a sacred ashram environment filled with the Vedic chanting and invocations. Both the parents being the practitioners of traditions themselves recited the chanting of the Vedas daily. While the baby was still developing in the womb, he heard all the chanting and learned the correct Vedic recitations even before birth. And once when his father was reciting the Vedas, but erred in correct intonation, the child from the womb asked him to correct the eight mistakes that he was making while the recitation. This made the father very angry and made him curse his own child to be born with eight physical deformities; hence the child named Ashtavakra was born. This child became a revered Vedic sage and the author of Ashtavakra Gita.
Thus this legend clearly establishes the supreme importance of the knowledge gained by a child during 9 months in the mother’s womb and how impactful the words carrying emotional energy of the father and significant others in the environment could be! She also shared the example of the Namboodri brahmins of Kerala who follow a tradition of fortifying grains of rice with mantras before cooking and serving it to the pregnant mother, recognising the significance of food as our building blocks. Along with this she also briefly discussed about the three garbha-sanskāra (the process of educating the mind of the unborn baby.)Which are, garbhādhāna– Aim is to raise the consciousness of the parents before intercourse; pumsavana– stands for strengthening of the embryo to prevent any miscarriage and to impart to the foetus knowledge in the womb without any obstacles. This is performed before or after the signs of pregnancy are visible in the initial 3 months, to increase the success rate of pregnancy; and simantonnayana– the sanskāra that involves combing of wife’s hair symbolic of child’s mental development to be performed in the fourth month of pregnancy as the brain cells & mental consciousness of the foetus are formed at this time.
Keynote Speech 4: Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri: A Guide for Mothers, Fathers and Midwives by Ms. Paula Murphy, MScN, CNM, chaired by Dr P Ram Manohar, MD (Ay)
Ms Murphy shared the relevance of her topic- Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri: A Guide for Mothers, Fathers and Midwives by sharing a glimpse of her own life journey, when her life as a young lady was touched by Savitri in 1971. This was even before she became a midwife or settled in India. As on her first visit to India, she got introduced to the Savitri, A legend and a symbol- a narrative poem, written by Sri Aurobindo in later years of his life. It is based on the tale of Satyavan and Savitri as recited in the Mahabharata, as a story of conjugal love conquering death with a deeper symbolic meaning attached to it. “Satyavan is the soul carrying the divine truth of being within itself but descended into the grip of death and ignorance; Savitri is the Divine Word, daughter of the Sun, goddess of the supreme Truth who comes down and is born to save.” This book gripped her tight and served as a guide to her spiritual practices from the inception.
Savitri is divided in three parts with twelve books, each book containing various Cantos. Thus taking some references from the Book Three – The Book of the Divine Mother, Canto IV – The Vision and the Boon, she tried to throw some more light on the topic and quoted as follows:
Into the little room of mortal life.
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
Into the fallen human sphere they came,
Faces that wore the Immortal’s glory still,
Voices that communed still with the thoughts of God,
Bodies made beautiful by the spirit’s light,
Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire,
Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy,
High priests of wisdom, sweetness, might and bliss,
Discoverers of beauty’s sunlit ways
And swimmers of Love’s laughing fiery floods
And dancers within rapture’s golden doors,
Their tread one day shall change the suffering earth
And justify the light on Nature’s face.
Thus we all need to ponder upon the potentials of the next generation Children who are coming and waiting to be born on this planet now by taking birth from the womb of the capable parents who can seed them with their austerity and purity. They are the promise of a new world, which will be the fearless warriors of light and will do all these battles to bring a new higher order in our world.
She also talked about later established, Morning Star Birth Centre- a clinic where natural birthing takes place without any surgery or operation theatre in Auroville. Looking back at her own professional experience, Ms Paula shared the story of the family that had the first birth in Santé Auroville Institute for Integral Health, where the father spontaneously on his own created a recording of Sanskrit mantra chanting in his own voice and while the mother was in the birthing room undergoing labour pain throughout the night, in the morning when the physiological processes of labour were going on, he always made sure that his beautiful chanting continued in. Through this he brought his own powerful spiritual energy in the process and showed his love, care and concern. This real life experience highlighted the effects of Mantra chanting on the baby and the mother.
Aside to this she also talked about Sensitivity and Safety for childbirth. It is said that the women always remember their birthing experience for their entire life. Hence it is not only a matter of utter significance for the new born child but also for the mother. And in case something goes wrong physiologically or psychologically, it is certainly imprinted in one’s subconscious as birth trauma. Hence in order to reduce these chances, the mother needs to be provided with quite observation and conscious attention, while ensuring her privacy, comfort and dignity.
One problem with current trend of institutionalised births is treating pregnancy as a disease in the hospitals. They even restrict or stop intake of food and beverages and don’t allow even the intake of water, which in turn is substituted with IV. This creates a serious problem in the body of the pregnant mother, putting her in a lot of stress. Another problem area is lack of patience in the medical professional and parents during the time of labour. Studies suggest that 18-20 hours of labour are normal for childbirth. But often mothers are rushed into labour and expected to deliver in less time, and in case of even a little delay, they are seen to be rushed into operation theatres, for C- section, or artificial rupture the membrane. When things like this happen, the convenience and will of the mother are overlooked to meet the convenience of the medical staff and family. Therefore instead of rushing the mother and putting more pressure on her, if she could be adequately supported and encouraged and made relaxed during the period of labour, both the mother and the child can be saved from the birth trauma.
Hydrotherapy- Getting into water in the time of labour can be a great solution to this problem. Water has unique cooling, cleansing and refreshing properties. We naturally feel relaxed, energised, aware, fresh and hygienic after coming in contact with water. Through regulating the temperature of water desired effects can also be attended like fomenting with hot water, which can help the mother experiencing contractions, spasms, cramps and pain. This can also serve as a recreation and help the mother in providing distraction from pain. Hydrobirthing and Hypnobirthing serve great options for a much conscious child birth process. Ms Paula hoped for the present times to become the twilight of this era, free from institutionalised birthing in stressful hospital setups, away from the fear of operations. Thus giving way to the mothers to experience the child birth process as a truly spiritual practice.
She also advocated for the immediate need of reviving the role of midwives in the birthing practice to take care of the mother with innate humane touch with care and empathy, thereby restricting the Intense nursing experience in the medical hospitals in the case of medical emergency under expert medical supervision. She endorsed the possibilities with regards to Alternate medicines like Ayurveda, Acupuncture and Acupressure that needs to be further explored as they have showed good results in the past as well as in her own practice. Another important point made by Ms Paula was the importance of breast feeding, epically Women’s Colostrum- the first thick coloured milk secreted by the mother after the birth of her child, as various researches conducted have scientifically proven that it is very nutritious and serves as a natural immunity booster for the child.
Keynote Speech 5: Garbhashariram: Creating and Nurturing Life Consciously from the perspective of Ayurveda by Dr. P. Ram Manohar, MD (Ay) and chaired by Dr. Tushar Dashora
He beautifully described Ayurveda as the user’s manual for life, best decoded with the biometric code of one’s Prakriti. Each Ayurvedic regiment needs to be tailor made for the individual and not to be taken as a blanket decision. Garbhashariram is the Ayurvedic term to describe the specific discipline that deals with the process of not only conception, birthing, and fertility but also parenting. Thus aptly being summed up as the science of creating and nurturing life consciously. Dr. Manohar opened his talk by educating all regarding the superlative advancements of technology in medicine. He shared a case of Mirror Syndrome where the pregnant woman was facing a threat of heart attack due to the tumour being formed in the foetus and with the help of non-invasive technology, the tumour could be treated successfully, saving two precious lives at one go. He also shared the news from Netherlands, that world’s first artificial womb is on its way! So while such technological advancements are revolutionising the medical scenario of child birth, he decided to take us back to the ancient era, the times of the Technology of Spiritual Engineering for creating healthy womb, to give birth to not only a genetically supreme child but also as to a virtuous child for personal and universal aspiration for higher consciousness and harmony. One such e.g. is of Praladha who was Thought-Engineered in the womb by the mother from a demonic temperament to a divine temperament. The e.g. like this and that of Abhimanyu are now very much aligned to the scientifically findings that a child in the womb is completely influenced by the entire sensory stimulus and the environment he gets in his intra-uterine life.
Ayurvedic branch of sharira-sthāna. Shariram– The journey of embodied consciousness in a life-time. Where the body eventually disintegrates with time but the consciousness only expands. In Ayurveda the branch is not fundamentally divided into Anatomy and Physiology though it includes these aspects, but rather the classification starts with sristhi-shariram– The manifestation of the Macrocosm. Further giving birth to its mirror image in the form of Microcosm, endlessly and repetitively as if fulfilling its inner yearning and need to express its self again. And the Journey of Embodied life continues through dosha-sharira, marma-sharira, sānkhya-sharira, prakriti-sharira and vikriti-sharira and garbha-sharira.
Instead of learning about the science of medicine in the western traditions by starting with the unempathetic process of the dissection of a dead body, students in Ayurveda begin by learning about garbha-sharira – the processes of child birth and witnessing the miracle of bringing a new life on the planet. In Ayurveda a fresher begins by understanding the whole spiritual context in which the consciousness emerges and in that context the value of compassion is directly transferred to the students and they feel a responsibility to take part in this process of transformation of consciousness.
Therefore Conception in Ayurveda was beautifully described by him as- Seeding of Consciousness in the womb of matter. Thus it’s the Consciousness that is regarded as the real seed, inside the male & female gametes. The growth in life is not primarily the growth of the body but of our inner consciousness. The physical growth is involuntary and automatic irrespective of what one wishes for, but the growth of consciousness along with it requires efforts and that’s what really matters. This is the real purpose of Conception, Birth and Evolution. Creation is a process in which expansive Consciousness shrinks into the dense mater forming seeds of consciousness and the evolution becomes unfolding of the expansion of this seed of consciousness which transforms material body, which it inhabits in this process.
This gives way for Karmic Engineering, because Ayurveda doesn’t look at the Theory of Karma as density or determinism but rather as a possibility of absolute freedom. The texts state that strong human effort can overcome any fate. We have absolute freedom in choosing and performing an action, and which will manifest into a consequence. In order to change the result of one action, one needs to perform another action. So our each and every action has consequences and we will always have to face them and can’t ever escape them, though we have the freedom to act afresh. Every single thought, word, and action have a consequence and becoming aware of that consequence makes one act more responsibly. This makes the idea of the awareness for conscious conception so significant. Thus Dr. Ram Manohar summed up that, “This is the real prenatal education- the awareness of the fact that with your free will you can change your destiny. The institution of marriage, human sexuality, conception, childbirth all align together as tools to experience this freedom. Conception is an opportunity to change the course of destiny not only of self, but also the new life going to manifest through them, and collectively change the destiny of humanity.”
That’s how our Karma also becomes our Dharma! Because my Karma will not only influence me but also people around me and the environment, thus becoming Collective Karma. It is not interconnected because it is only one and the same thing! And Dharma can be best defined as my freedom of not interfering with the freedom of another person. Thus parents need to have that much shraddhā awareness and intension to create a new life; else there was no need of such an institution of Marriage. The institution of Marriage becomes so sacrosanct because you are bring a new life on the planet which needs a partnership of two individuals who have to work like one. Parenthood is an opportunity to remind oneself that we are not just connected but rather we are one. And that’s when marriage becomes complete, when two individuals attain that oneness. In the unity of those consciousness, new life be conceived. There should not be the slightest thought of divisiveness that pollutes the womb, and the matrix for the new consciousness to manifest. This is the ultimate way to conceive. This makes conception after marriage significant. How deeply the parents have united at the spiritual level.
Consciousness is the invisible seed in the seed of creation. Just like the fire appears from nowhere, when two stones are rubbed, or a paper catches fire, when sunrays fall on the glass, similarly life initiates out of nowhere when a man and woman unite. The physical body is just the tool to manifest that consciousness. Thus Ayurveda gives so much more importance to manifestation of consciousness than physical form and aspires for connecting more deeply with it, because as consciousness evolves, it has a very powerful effect on the material matrix and transforms it for its own manifestation and can help it blossom to its highest state. Reverse of this is also true, if body experiences a lot of problem, this means that the consciousness is trapped inside and is being suffocated.
As per Charaka Samhitā, a chapter answers the question, addressed in the form of a debate amongst various rishis, “From where does the new being arise?” and the final answer is attained that the New Life is created by multiple factors i.e. Self/ Consciousness, Mind, Nutrient fluid of the mother, sapta dhātu, the genetic material coming from the father and the mother, karma, swabhāva, Nature itself along with the Time. Thus the seamless alignment of the multiplicity of these factors brings a new life in the wholesome way. Thus being conscious means to be aware of all of these things. Thus Ayurveda gives equal importance to the subtle and deeper aspects along with the basic things. Another question that the text answers is what makes the garbha supreme. And the answer to which is Harmonizing of multiple factors like, Ritu- the season of fertile period, Kshetra-the field and condition of the uterus (compared to temple which is a sacred place for the manifestation of higher consciousness.), ambu– Nutrition and beeja- quality of the reproductive element. Third important question that text answers is how the garbha is shaped? Genetic material from the parents, intrauterine conditions, diet and lifestyle of the mother, the quality of the material that goes into making of the foetus.
Different regiments advised by the Ayurveda from preconception to post conception are as follows:
Ritumati-charya: the regiment or protocols to be followed during the time of mensuration which has been often misunderstood in the modern time as discriminatory and sexist. But actually Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to the wellbeing and freedom of women, during menstruation a woman can use the time to know herself better. During menstruation, the body is preparing for one of the biggest acts that one can perform as a living being and that is creating a new life by giving birth to a child. Hence disregarding this and perversely being ignorant towards what is happening in one’s body and dogging the responsibility of taking care of oneself for living a pre-conditioned life style is unreasonable. Hence Ayurveda advocates this time to be cherished by women to become self-aware about what is happening in their body, and cherish the freedom to slow down and become more involved with their embodied self. This was not intended to make them feel isolated or discarded but rather to save them from being burdened by the day to day chores that would tax them.
- garbhadhāna–vidhi: How to envision conscious conception of a being.
- garbhini–charyā: The regiment that the pregnant women have to follow during the time of pregnancy.
- prasuti–charyā: The process of birthing. As it leaves a deep impact on the consciousness of the mother as well as the child.
- sutika-chayrā: The post natal care of the mother.
- jātakarma–vidhi: the postnatal care for the new born child.
Ayurveda gives utmost importance to the fact that each individual is unique in spite of having similar elements of constitution. Just like we have unique fingerprints, similarly ever person has unique mānasa and shāririka prakriti. And it is imperative to identify with it in order to proceed for conscious conception. Hence the genetic, epigenetic and individual factors that contribute to it are Ethnicity, Family, Place of Birth. Thus through the process of birthing both the mother and the child have an opportunity to discover their true self and purpose in life, and thus prepare for the roles to be played in the future. User’s manual of this sophisticated machine is locked within.
Prakriti includes all the elements that make us unique like genetics and epigenetics, mind and body.
Genetics- individual unique traits, Epigenetics – environmental influences External sensory environment has deep impact on intrauterine environment, thus influencing the growing foetus. Maternal food intake, touch, sight, smell, sound, taste, all the sensations are perceived by the growing foetus. That’s where the importance of garbhini–charyā comes into picture. Ayurveda has stated that a foetus can also see and trace the patterns of human faces from within the womb, and the same is also being recognised later in the modern scientific researches. Foetus can hear and recognise their mother’s voice shortly after birth, foetus can perceive the thoughts of the mother without any barriers, and foetus can also experience taste and smell sensations in the womb, along with touch sensation in utero. Thus one needs to be highly careful about what sensory experiences one gives to the developing foetus. Impregnating the new life with higher sanskāra. Not only creating a new life but transferring right sanskāra in it
The continuity of life: Our body is being destroyed continuously but by food we recreate out body. Thus food is a pious agent of rebirth. The food needs to be tasty as well as nutritious. If you don’t (cant) like what is good for you and still try to forcefully eat it, this creates diseases. Immune system rejects it. Therefore one must become aware of their food habits and consciously accept it and develop a liking towards it before consuming it. So even the pregnant mothers should eat only what is nutritious food but what she likes. Most of the autoimmune diseases and allergies in children are the result of non-acceptance, inhibition and rejection of the external world as part of you, to which immune system viciously reacts.
Brahmacharya: the path of expansion of consciousness. We have an innate ability to expand. We are tāmasik, when we are born and until early childhood and loose most of our time in sleeping and crying, in adolescence we become rājasika, full of activity and vigour and thus continue throughout our late adulthood, generally redeeming into Tamas once again in the Old age. Body is always degrading, as we are growing old and is moving towards disintegration. Body is like a diving board with the help of which one can throw oneself in the sea of life and rise high on the waves of consciousness. Hence while one is young, he needs to keep the foundation of his old age. Only then our Old age can be different than a mere series of degradations and rather become sāttvika. And unlike the west where older people are considered a waste, in eastern world, older people have been always regarded as a precious resource. Old age in the sāttvika state becomes the resting shade of life, and then Death comes as a beautiful sunset of life (as beautiful as sunrise). The cognitive functions of the body remains preserved, this is the sign of successful aging, whose foundations are laid in the beginning of life.
He also beautifully highlighted the traditional Indian ritual of putting tilaka & sindoora on forehead symbolic of our commitment for the expansion of consciousness in vertical as well as horizontal aspects. As behind the forehead lies our frontal lobe, the sight for all high order cognitive functions like Imagination , which makes Humans realise and actualize their true potentials. The process of marriage is to ultimately surrender to this task of expansion of the consciousness. In Ayurveda the gharba is considered to be agni-somiya, i.e. it requires the elements of fire and water to come together, represented as Male and female respectively. Male is fiery with a seed of water inside while woman is watery, with a seed of fire inside. So both the male and female are complete in their own. This Agni soma harmony makes one transcend beyond the limitation of one’s gender. Thus putting of sindoora by the husband in the mane of the women symbolizes the promise of awakening the seed of fire or male energy in her, while bride putting the tikā on the forehead of the husband symbolises the assurance of awakening the water or female energy in him. And ultimately through their union they go beyond the limitations of gender and give birth to a complete consciousness. Vivāha or Marriage is this special purpose vehicle to achieve this state of inner harmony.
Rajaswalā-paricharyā : Monthly cycle of the women can be compared to the waxing and waning of the moon. In Ayurveda the physiology of the women is diametrically opposite in the Ovulation period and period of Mensuration. With a supreme effort, the body produces the flower of ovum (the pushpa) and whole body prepares with this physiological expectation that this time it will blossom to life. This is what Ayurveda hopes woman to be consciously aware of what is happening in her body, as a woman has no direct control over the release of the reproductive element, i.e. ovulation, unlike male who are in its conscious control. It’s like rolling a stone up the hill for 14 days and then on the 14th day, it suddenly starts rolling down. It is linked with the dark moon face, as a Dark period due to physiological failure of the body to create new life. Thus this repeated process of menstruation could not be a simple wastage alone, and instead, this repeated time period is to make the women aware about their responsibilities and active participation in the process, when the right time comes.
Comments from Dr Tushar:
Kalidasa has said to King Dillipa that, fathers who are just the cause of birth of a child are not the father. Father has an important role of providing nurturing and support. Mother stands for unconditional love and father stands for conditional love, it’s like potter making an earthen pot, from one hand the potter gives support (Role of a mother), and from the other hand, he pats and gives it a shape(Role of a Father). He said, the reason behind so much of emphasis given on the Male wooing in the society is because he has to be aroused for the process of reproduction, but female can reproduce without being aroused.
In Kamakhya Temple, worship of menstrual blood is done and even modern science is recognising its importance through the researches in the field of stem cells now. So the hidden potential behind these subtle physiological processes are great mysteries yet to be rediscovered and thus needs to be taken with that much seriousness.
Based on his medical practice he advised all that there is no general lactation failure in the mothers. Only counselling of the mother, along with right exposure of physical proximity, touch, and smell can invoke it. He also strongly advised never to tell a mother that she is not milking well.
Keynote Speech 6: The Sacred Marriage of Spirit and Matter: Personal, Collective and Planetary transformation by Dr. Julie Gerland, chaired by Dr. Arati Sharma
Dr Julie began her session by sharing her own inimical early life story where she as child could never buy into education system, and felt disconnected with her family and the society in general. And as she grew a little older, she started to have out of body experiences, was able to see dead, was too perplexed about her existence and attempted to commit suicide by hopping off pills. As a summation of her traumatic early childhood experiences she identified herself living in a Hostile Universe. She was diagnosed and given different labels but she rejected all of them though she knew that things were not well by the age of 20 years. But around the age of 16 years, she started to drop all her beliefs and began travelling, and from her state of darkness approached a point of light and then became completely alive by experiencing and living in unconditional love for herself and the world. She was able to develop psychic abilities like predicting future, and getting her wishes manifested in reality. Reaching her young adulthood, though she was able to experience and experiment with her highest potentials, her mind started to look beyond herself to a rather bigger question – why other people still suffered? Why all are living the life of struggle when they can simply chose to change this? Was her reality an exception or forgery or theirs?
And all these questions led her to explore new dimensions of life, and on this path she met her master who helped her to go deeper within, but still her body was suffering from cancer. That is the time she learned that Education begins before birth. And one of the fundamental conditioning that happens unconsciously is setting a belief system based on our prenatal and early childhood experiences whether our universe is friendly or hostile for us. With this came awareness that like every other thing in this world, this also can be turned into a conscious choice. And only with a feeling of security and acceptance of our world as a friendly place can every other hostile environments, around us and within us could be changed.
And as she was struggling with severe health conditions, she started observing her inner environment and observed that it was hostile as well. Close attention to herself showed her that the cells of her body were angry and sick of her! Which made her ask another important question to herself, i.e. How to live in harmony of our body? And this time instead of asking anyone else, she started trying to connect with her own cells by talking to them, and becoming attentive to the signs of body and actively listening to them. She would ask questions like, “I have done something to be in this state of disharmony, so please teach me, how have I hurt you and what can I do to attain a state of harmony?” And just like an angry child, her cells always blew up with all the complaints about how much she has been abusing them by constant repression of emotions often expressed at physical level by involuntary reflexes like, numbness, strain, twitching of nerves and muscles, etc. Supressing and delaying her natural urges, like thirst, sleep, urination, etc. aside to the programing she received at prenatal level.
Our cells of the body speaks to us all the time, mostly by sending involuntary reflexes, urges, craving, allergies, pain, distress, diseases, and break downs.
All the cells in the body are working 24×7 for us. So we need to be grateful and when body starts talking, we must express our gratitude to it. “When you receive a message-please acknowledge it by saying thank you to your body for telling you that.” The cells of our body function based on cosmic intelligence and are the true embodiment of Unconditional Love. When there is a disconnect between our cells and consciousness for an extended time, then the cells finally breakdown in the form of diseases. Thus express immense love and gratitude to your body. Our body is much more intelligent and sophisticated than any other machine present on this planet. Thus why not ask for suggestions from within and follow them.
Dr Julie shared an anecdote about how once she heard the cells of one of her visceral organs talking to each other, “I don’t think there exists any life outside.” They were ready to totally discard her very existence, that was the level of disconnect that was reached. We need to understand that our cells are the teachers, and we are the students. They tell us up to a point just like our spouse, sibling or children but when we are always turning a blind ear, and then they just stop. Hence Acknowledgement and Validation is important. If cells just like children are not addressed, than it results into cellular stress which gives way to chronic illness. It’s important to clean our body and flush every toxin out of the body, after whole night the body has been working. We need to be judicious about deciding the point beyond which we should not delay in meeting our bodily urges met. We need to end the fear-stress cycle.
Some questions were asked from her by the participants of the conference, such as, “What to do in education system, when we are teaching students about Discipline, which often looks like controlling one’s urges? Or in the case of Addiction how do we know that it is not the healthy call of the body rather a compulsive drive?” Answer to which was, beautifully given by Dr Julie that in order to identify, from where the message is coming from, introspect if it is good for your body or not? The more you start becoming aware of how you really feel about doing a certain action or making a choice, for e.g. eating that extra cup cake, taking some more rice in your plate, sipping just one more glass of alcohol, you will instantaneously feel not good deep within. That should be taken into consideration before making any choices.
The key of sound health is healthy secretion of Endorphin and Dopamine Neurotransmitters.
Validating and Accepting the needs of the body. Being cautious about preventing Dehydration as Cells if they are dehydrated, they close off and have a layer of cholesterol and no exchange happens, thus all the toxins remain trapped inside the cells-organs and body, making the internal ecosystem acidic and toxic, and making it a breeding ground of diseases.
Hence her message to the young population was that, “We must birth the change within ourselves, then only we can give birth to souls who will THRIVE in Life, Love and Light, on this planet.”
Keynote Speech 7: A Universal Spiritual Vision on Creating a Conscious Humanity by Dr. François Gerland, chaired by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra
Dr François started his talk by sharing his life journey, right from his secure and comfortable childhood which suddenly came crashing down with an unexpected and shocking demise of his father at the age of 11 years. This served as a point of inception towards his quest of filling this unfathomable void by demanding the presence of the most powerful- the father of this universe. His cultural and religious understandings could not satisfy his pursuit, making him judgemental and sceptical, and successively an atheist. His passion for flying paved his way to become a pilot. He shared a life changing experience when once relaxing and looking at a simple solitary tree made him experience a sudden surge of limitless love, rushing within and felt in his body as intense sensations. In this experience, he was able to finally feel that God exists.
As it is said that, when the student is ready, the master appears. He finally met his spiritual master Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, who was a celebrated Bulgarian philosopher, pedagogue and mystic of 20th century Western Europe. He instantly connected with him, but after meeting him, he went away in avoidance because he still had a lot of mental noise that generated self-doubts. Intellect blocks what it does not understand, hence this experience turned out to him as beautiful but irrational.
But with time, he got introduced to various subtle aspects of life by the grace of his master. And Dr François took on this opportunity to share Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov’s insight on the Universal Spiritual Vision of Creating a Conscious Humanity. He talked about two of his books namely, “Hope for the World: Spiritual Galvanoplasty” and “Education Begins Before Birth”, throwing light upon some of the fundamental thoughts and principles proposed by the Master.
“Everything in Nature and in the Human Being reflects the two fundamental principles, Masculine and feminine.” Man-Woman represents this interplay between Masculine and the Feminine principles of the Nature and the Divine and “Spiritual Galvanoplasty is the science of the two principles applied to the human being’s inner life.” This concept appeared to be very much in tune with the Ayurvedic principal of Agni-Soma shared by Dr P. Ram Manohar. But Dr François also explained how the phenomenon of Galvanoplasty teaches us to work with the forces of life… “By putting the anode in our minds that is by having the most incorruptible thoughts (pure gold) and by nourishing the highest ideal, an image of perfection in our hearts (the solution of love), and by linking ourselves to the spirit (battery), or God within, then we receive His strength and life-giving force.”
Thus this can be very well be applied in the case of a pregnant lady, where her mind becomes the anode, blood coming from the placenta- the solution and the foetus becomes the cathode. As a result the feelings, thoughts, memories, imaginations and actions of the mother are as it is platted on the child. Hence if a women is bound to face a stressful or chaotic environment during her pregnancy, instead of supressing or battling with her negative feeling and thoughts she needs to necessarily address them by communicating this to her child in the womb that, “This has nothing to do with you and we apologize for the inconvenience. This is momentary and temporary while a constantly beautiful and peaceful world is waiting for you outside! ”
The Prism- a Symbol of Man:
Dr François gave an interesting analogy of the white light, falling at the inverted prism, and thus getting scattered in the Vibgyor. Thus if one’s Heart, Will and Intellect becomes as clear and pure as a Prism, human beings can allow the Divine-Infinite white light to enter within and manifest out-worldly in the highest potential of Spirituality, Power, Love, Growth, Intelligence, Health & Vitality. Thus highlighting the importance of certain purity and self-mastery within.
And finally he connected the dots by sharing the importance of the above mentioned phenomena with Creating a Conscious Humanity by emphasising on the fact that, “if parents want to give birth to a highly developed being, they have to prepare themselves long before the child is conceived because superior entities only consent to incarnate with parents who have already achieved a certain degree of purity and self-mastery. The father’s seed contains a condensation of his quintessence. All that he has experienced in the past as well as his present life is expressed in his seed. Therefore, a man can give a seed of lesser or greater quality according to the kind of life he has lived in the past and is living now. While throughout the nine months of pregnancy, a woman not only forms the physical body of her child but, without realizing it, she influences the seed provided by the father by giving it conditions that will either help or hinder the development of its various qualities and characteristics. ”
Comments from Dr. Sampadananda Mishra:
He in his concluding remark shared a wonderful insight by elaborating on the meaning of the root word ‘maa’ i.e. ‘to measure’ and only a finite shape can be measured. Therefore, Mother, Mummy, Mom, Maa, Mata, Amma; all have the root sound ‘maa’ meaning it is only her who has the power to give ‘the Infinite’ a ‘finite shape’ in the form of a child.
Keynote Speech 8: Conscious Parenting in the Light of India’s Spiritual Tradition by Dr. Alok Pandey, chaired by Dr. Julie Gerland
Dr Alok Pandey, a dedicated sadhak at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a practicing Psychiatrist and Air force veteran, gave the last and the most practically relevant keynote speech on Conscious Parenting. He made a point to correct the title of his speech by recognising the diversity in Indian Spiritual Traditions which might also contraindicate each other so often. Looking at the extremities of the values of Ahimsa and Intolerance towards Injustice, sanctioning war in Mahabharata and Ramayana, he highlighted that it’s not so much about the Actions than the Inner state of Consciousness which is important in Indian Traditions. He also said that, “I find the term Spiritual Tradition as oxymoron because the moment we turn spiritual into tradition, it begins to petrify. Spirituality by its nature goes beyond tradition. And thus we can call it Conscious Parenting in the Light of India’s Spiritual Seeking.” The stress in Indian Traditions is not so much on what is done outside than what is one inside. And that’s what shows us some light in the direction of Conscious Parenting as well.
He insisted that reading books, hearing stories and filling all the checklists related to Conscious Parenting is not enough in this direction. Rather they are a just preparatory step that needs to be backed with lasting self-observance, practices and gaining experiences, to kindle the Fire of Yoga. One has to take constant efforts to grow this Fire of Yoga and ascent our state of consciousness. He gave the examples of Parikshit, the son of Uttara and Savitri the daughter of King Aswapati, as the children born out of spiritual practices and penance, themselves becoming the beings of expanded consciousness. Can this be still possible? Yes but only by the expansion of one’s own consciousness.
He talked about how the concept of Dharma has been reduced to morality in our general understanding, but while looking at the birth across Mahabharata lineage, he gives example of Bharat (most likely the name of Bharatvarsh is named after him), the son of King Dusyanta and Shakuntala who was born without wedlock and was accepted with open arms by sage Kanva, without any prejudices. He was also guided to claim his rightful position in the kingdom. Thus love and inner truth was more important than any social ceremonies. And Dr Pandey mused at this as an indication of future, than merely a trace of tradition. “Future where we will value inner state of consciousness much more than external set of circumstances.”
He also reiterated the birth story of Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura who were born after their respective mothers Ambika, Ambalika and their maid, being impregnated by Sage Vyasa in order to give a worthy heir to the royal family, after the demise of her husband. More than the outer environment of luxury, splendour and ambitious wistfulness, the inner state of disgust and fear, in the royal sisters, gave way to the actions of shutting the eyes in aversion and perspiring in fright. Such disturbed inner state of consciousness, invoked at the time of conception resulted in doing permanent damage to their offspring, thus giving birth to a blind child- Dhritarashtra and Pandu suffering from severe skin disease. On the other hand the respectful, composed and surrendering inner state of consciousness of the maid at the time of conception gave way for the birth of a genius and healthy child, suitable to become the most skilful ruler. His Vidura neeti is still preached in the world.
Thus more than the secondary role of the father, it’s the role of the vital state, temperament, thoughts and actions of the mother that becomes primary. The story from Chandogyopanishad, of Satyakama Jabali, the son of a hostess, Jabal, further strengthens this argument as the father figure was missing in Satyakama’s life since birth. His mother was in the service of many guests and was unable to claim the father of her son, but instead of being humiliated about it, she took pride in her duty and inculcated the same sense of truthfulness and honour in her son. This honesty and sincerity won the heart of Sage Gautama making him bound to accept the courageous Satyakama as his disciple and facilitating Brahmavidya, irrespective of his caste or status.
Another great example of the importance of motherhood and conducive environment to over-ride even the demonic tendencies being inherited from the father is that of Kayadhu, giving birth to Prahalada in the asharm of Sage Narada. Her child in the womb was developed and born in the satvik environment, listening to the discourses on Shastras and the worship of the omnipresent, omnipotent Lord Vishnu. And as a result turns out to be the biggest devotee of Lord Vishnu. He further put forth the case of two children – Ravana and Vibhishan, born to same parents, the great sage Vishrava and his wife, the daitya princess Kaikeshi. Thus this proves that more than the importance of caste, heredity and parenting, the strong intentions and aspiration of mother along with the right time of conception, have serious impact on the innate tendencies of the child, thus making the personalities of Ravana and Vibhishana poles apart.
Thus neither Dharma nor day to day life can be understood linearly as there are multiple dimensions involved. Hence parenting the children who are defiant or non-conformists and refuse to comply with the traditional norms and parental conditioning comes as a big shock and challenge to even the best of the parents who have finest of road maps pre-designed for them, which they simply reject as redundant. Such children are born to break preconceived notions of ‘Good and Evil’ in the minds and liberate the parents from such ideas. Thus he raised a potent question, “Why do you look at the child with your ideas of what is really good?” Even this is a kind of ambition parents, don’t realise. They want them to be good, as per their own limited perception. This often demands obedience, compliance without challenging the authority, following the parental footprints, adopting same religious or social beliefs and values, and so on. But when many children of today’s generation, don’t seem to adhere to these expectations, and do not accept things on face value but rather ask questions and challenge a belief until it resonates with their heart, it gravely upsets the adults. “Where do we fit these children in the list of Good Children, Bad Children, Evolving Children, Children came to liberate us? So it’s pertinent to clear our mind of the ideas that we carry habitually as patterns of conditioning.”
The important point is while all the outer boxes can be ticked, one must not forget to search for something deep within, which is intrinsic, and shining at the core. In some it is coved with too much dust and darkness and in others it’s less obscured. To bring this shining part out is to become more conscious, and to clear all the dust and darkness is to engage in life in a more conscious way. And Parenting is rather a milestone from where this journey becomes much more intense.
We are on an evolutionary journey and don’t come as blank slates, hence this one phase of parenting and childhood is not the ultimate, in our long voyage. Neither the child, nor the parent’s story begins at a point in the present, rather it’s transitory, in the womb of the time immemorial. This becomes clear from the examples of two attendants of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha, named Jaya and Vijaya, who were born as demons Hirakyakasipu and Hiranyakka in Satya-yuga, Ravana and Kumbhakarna in the Treta-yuga, and as Shishupala and Dantavakra at the end of Dvapara-yuga, as part of the bigger plan of the nature for their quick redemptions. Hence what’s most important is to get rid of the idea of “my child” and rather understand that the child is on an ephemeral journey and the role of the parents is simply to facilitate the child in his own journey instead of feverishly trying to manipulate it. What parents can really work upon is not changing the child in order to churn out the best out of him, but rather simply growing within into a beautiful human who is bringing best out of their beautiful self out. Thereby, giving children an atmosphere of love and peace.
The biggest error happens when we do even the best of things out of any fears and they totally give the most dreadful results. What we resist persists. Hence parents don’t have to be afraid of the negative qualities or situations in the life of the child or children making mistakes, until they want perfection of a paralysed child. Life has challenging and brutal side as well, so either prepare the children for facing them or else they will have to be preserved always. That’s the idea of the Monastic Life. Greatness is not about never falling down, but rising every time one falls. Thus children must engage with life and if there are any two most pertinent virtues to be developed in our children it has to be of Courage and Love. They have to learn to deal with injustice and brutalities in life as they grow up and we must not try to shelter them. He shared examples from his clinical practice where he often comes across teenagers with traumatic childhood history, but who have evolved beautifully as a result into people with great empathy, courage, openness and quest for truth. Thus beyond all the complexities of life, there is a wisdom that is working which is far from our plain contemplation. Human being is born as a divine being and can continue to be so. There is no limit of growing inwardly. Each experience is the starting point of a new journey of advancement.
When a question was asked from him about what to do with the adolescents in romantic relationships, he gave a very open answer of not forcefully stopping them, instead of taking that as an opportunity to teach them about love and self. As each romantic relationship arises from the need of exploration of something new and each partner serves more of like a mirror to us, showing us our own shortcomings and strengths. Adolescents need to be suggested to become aware of their actions and the consequences they might lead to. Similarly answering to a question about the excessive use of the mobile phones by the children, Dr Pandey suggested that it’s the adults who first need to check their mobile usage, and become the right role model to the children and become creatively involved with them. There is no point telling a child something that you don’t exercise yourself.
PAPER PRESENTATIONS – 1
CHAIRPERSON: Dr. Shashidhara Gangaiah
COORDINATOR: Dr. Manjubala Dash, MTPG & RIHS
Rutu Baldha: AURO Navjeevan Sanskar Shikshan Kendra – A Revolution towards conscious creation of a being.
AURO Navjeevan Sanskar Shikshan Kendra is situated at AURO University, Surat, Gujrat. This centre is providing free guidance, psycho-education and creative development workshops for the expecting mothers in collaboration with the Government of Gujrat, aiming at the Integral Development of the body, mind, and soul of the unborn child. Pregnant mothers are introduced to various Group Prayers, Garbhadhyan, Garbhsamvad, Prayanam, Music Therapy, Yoga Therapy, Art Therapy, Narrative Therapy for the sound Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual Development of Body and Mind of the mother and the child. Prospective mothers are also motivated for readings of religious and inspiring stories of legends, maestros and divine men, to shape developing mind and body of the child in the womb of the mother and develop specific personality traits and aptitude in them. They are given advices related to Food and Nutrition and various events take place like cooking and sharing recipe of various highly nutritious and tasty dishes. This kind of community participation engages them well, gives support system and ensures their overall wellbeing.
Dr. Nivedita Mondal: A Journey into a Child’s World – The Path of Medicine Lit by the Glow of the Mother.
Neonatologist Dr Nivedita’s presentation was based on Child Development and Parenting. She raised an important question that even though the most menial as well as most advanced positions of work require certain kind of training, why the most arduous full time job of parenting is left on natural instincts alone without any proper training? She emphasised on the fact that prenatal and early childhood years are the most important time of one’s life as the brain grows to its maximum potential by this time. Hence the more stimulation in brain cells, more profoundly it develops. And there are also certain pathways in brain, if not developed until a certain age, may never get developed. Another important thing is early bonding and attachment style between the parent and the child. Hence early stimulation and early bonding based on secure attachment style and active involvement of the primary care givers is of supreme importance in the child development.
She shared the very famous Psychological experiments of “Dr. Edward Tronick’s -Still face experiment done on an infant and his mother” and “Dr Harlow’s -Attachment theory experiment done on the babies of rhesus monkeys”. In order to throw light on the need of emotional and social interaction, starting right from the very early childhood. Also early attachment and care decides at a great scale about their Emotions and Social Interaction and Children who don’t receive enough affection, who are isolated and rejected, when they’re young, will have difficulty developing healthy relationships. It’s a permanent scar that results in affective deficiencies, compelling them to find someone who can give them the affection they didn’t receive in their first few years of life at any price. In other words, it leads to emotional dependence.
Other important tips shared by her were, maintaining close physical proximity with the child, e.g. Kangaroo care, breast feeding, monitoring developmental milestones regularly, teaching children to verbalise their emotions from day one. Teaching them taking turns through play. Play game according to the interests and age of the child and let him lead in the game independently. Praise the child each time, he attends to a task instead of only when he succeeds. Sharing the example of “Ghosts in the Nursery” the metaphor introduced by Selma Fraiberg, a clinical social worker and child psychoanalyst, she highlighted the relationship between a parent’s early, often negative experience of the way they were raised and their own parenting style. She also introduced us with the term “Serve and Return Parenting” coined by researchers at Harvard University signifying the importance of responsive relationships, which are both expected and essential, and their absence pose a serious threat to a child’s development and well-being.
Healthy brain architecture depends on a sturdy foundation built by appropriate input from a child’s senses and stable, responsive relationships with caring adults. If an adult’s responses to a child are unreliable, inappropriate, or simply absent, the developing architecture of the brain may be disrupted, and subsequent physical, mental, and emotional health may be impaired. The persistent absence of serve and return interaction acts as a “double whammy” for healthy development, not only does the brain not receive the positive stimulation it needs, but the body’s stress response is activated, flooding the developing brain with potentially harmful stress hormones. Thus comes into picture “Circle of Security” of a child, that allows him “Going Out- exploring the world with complete freedom”, “Coming In- seeking comfort and guidance in the parents in the time of rejection or challenge” and “Hands on- parents remaining ready for protection and nurturance while standing in the side-line and giving him secure opportunity to learn and grow”
Ms Rubai Saha: True Maternity from a Spiritual Perspective.
Indian tradition puts the ‘mother’ as the centre of the family. And she is considered as the visible manifestation of the god on earth. She shared The Mother’s thoughts on the importance of the role of the mother and in conceiving, giving birth and nurturing a child by sharing the following lines:
The education of a human being should begin at birth and continue throughout his life.
Indeed, if we want this education to have its maximum result, it should begin even before birth; in this case it is the mother herself who proceeds with this education by means of a twofold action; first, upon herself for her own improvement, and secondly, upon the child whom she is forming physically. For it is certain that the nature of the child to be born depends very much upon the mother who forms it, upon her aspirations and will as well as upon the material surroundings in which she lives. To see that her thoughts are always beautiful and pure, her feelings always noble and fine, her material surroundings as harmonious as possible and full of a great simplicity- this is the part of education which should apply to the mother herself. And if she has in addition a conscious and definite will to form the child according to the highest ideal she can conceive, then the very best conditions will be realised so that the child can come into the world with his utmost potentialities. How many difficult efforts and useless complications would be avoided in this way! – The Mother
(Ibid.Vol. 12, p.9)
Therefore a mother needs to become conscious of her own physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual stability before conception. Role of the father and the institution of marriage become significant to be united not only physically but also invested mentally and spiritually in each other throughout the rest of their lives. In ancient society life was divided into four parts, Brahamacharya, Grahastha, Vanprastha ans Sannyasa. After living the life of Brahmacharya and completing education, one was supposed to return home as Samavartana and start a family life, dispensing his duties towards his wife, parents and the society at large. Therefore the house holders are the pillars of the society on which the other three states take a resort. She discussed briefly about the 16 sanskāras for the house holders, i.e. garbādhāna, pumsavana, simantonayana, jātakarma, nāmakarana, nishkramana, annaprāshana, mundana, vidyārambha, karnavedha, upnayana, yagyopaveeta, vedārambha, keshānta, samāvartana and vivāha sanskāra.
Just like a painter first draws a rough draft, farmer first plough the field, similarly, parents first need to prepare their mind-body& soul with the help of sanskāras as a purgatory force, in order to take on the sacred task of conception. State of consciousness of the parents at the time of conception and their vices and virtues are transmitted invariably to the child. Swami Vivekananda in his book, Ideals of woman has categorically stated that, “In India, Mother is the ideal woman where as in the west it’s the Wife.” Marriage in India which is not based on prayer but rather based on sheer sexual enjoyment is apt of adultery. The texts put it in this way that, Aryan are born out of prayers and Non-Aryans born out of sexual desires.
Animals soon become independent of their mothers but in humans the mother concerns remains the same for her child throughout the life. Swami Vivekananda’s preposition that only those can attain god, who have been trained and educated by the mother, clearly shows the relevance and power of a mother’s influence in shaping the character and fate of the child. He was taught by his mother at home until the age of 10 years. He was born out of 2 years of rigorous fasting and prayers done by his mother in the aspiration of a pious son. Swamiji has glorified his mother’s character with these words: “…the love which my mother gave to me has made me what I am and I owe a debt to her that I can never repay… I believe whatever religious culture I have, I owe to her. Whatever little good impulse I have, it was given to me by my mother, and consciously, not unconsciously.”
According to the Mother, it is the duty of the husband to educate his wife if she lacks it in the literal sense, so that she is capable of bringing up her children in the desired manner.
SUMMARY OF PAPER PRESENTATIONS – 2
CHAIRPERSON: Dr. François Gerland
COORDINATOR: Dr. Nivedita Mondal
Dr. Usha Rani: Development of ‘Matru Shishu Yoga’ (Mother Baby Yoga) module for mother infant dyads when the mother has a mental illness.
Dr Usha shared her experience of working as a Research Officer at the Perinatal ward in the Mother and Child Unit of NIMHANS. She worked with the mothers with diagnosed mental disorders from the period of their third trimester to post-partum period along with their infants to establish the Affective Ties (long term bonding) between them. The cases along with demarcated characteristic threatening response of the patients are as follows:
Depression: Avoidant, Anxiety: Intrusive, Compulsivity: Withdrawn, Psychosis: Infanticide
And a big challenge was the fact that during pregnancy very restricted or no psychiatric medications could be given to them. There was high Anxiety recorded in the Third Trimester. And as a result they were introduced to simple yoga in the form of joint rotations and deep breathing. This helped in making them self-motivated. After which they were given an infant size doll and they were trained to practice “Itsy- Bitsy Yoga” and Om chanting with it. Risk Assessment was done based on monitoring their behaviour with the doll. And finally mothers did it with their 3 months and older infants. They were reported to have scored high in self-efficacy, followed by a sense of achievement as they were able to emotionally bond with their child well. However no follow ups could be taken as they were discharged.
Dr. Nutan Pandit: Bach Flower Remedies: Harmonising Body Mind & Soul
Edward Bach believed that illness was the result of a conflict between the purposes of the soul and the personality’s actions and outlook. This internal war, according to Bach, leads to negative moods and to “energy blocking”, thought to cause a lack of “harmony”, thus leading to physical diseases. Bach’s remedies focus on treatment of the patient’s personality, which he believed to be the ultimate root cause of disease. Bach derived his solutions intuitively and based on his perceived psychic connections to the plants, rather than using research based on scientific methods. If Bach felt a negative emotion, he would hold his hand over different plants, and if one alleviated the emotion, he would ascribe the power to heal that emotional problem to that plant. He imagined that early-morning sunlight passing through dew-drops on flower petals transferred the healing power of the flower onto the water, so he would collect the dew drops from the plants and preserve the dew with an equal amount of brandy to produce a mother tincture which would be further diluted before use. Later, he found that the amount of dew he could collect was not sufficient, so he would suspend flowers in spring water and allow the sun’s rays to pass through them. If this was impractical because of lack of sunlight or other reasons, he wrote that the flowers may be boiled. The result of this process Bach termed the “mother tincture”, which is then further diluted before sale or use. Bach was satisfied with the method, because of its simplicity, and because it involved a process of combination of the four elements: The earth to nurture the plant, the air from which it feeds, the sun or fire to enable it to impart its power, and water to collect and be enriched with its beneficent magnetic healing.
Bach flower remedies (BFRs) are solutions of 50:50 mix of brandy and water—the water containing extreme dilutions of flower material developed by Edward Bach, an English homeopath, in the 1930s. Bach claimed that the dew found on flower petals retains imagined healing properties of that plant. It is claimed that the remedies contain “energetic” or “vibrational” nature of the flower and that this can be transmitted to the user. The solutions are described by some as vibrational medicines, which implies they rely on the concept of water memory. Each solution is used alone or in conjunction with other solutions, and each flower is said by advocates to impart specific qualities. The solutions are also used on pets and domestic animals. Remedies are usually taken orally. The solutions may be recommended by a naturopath or by a trained Bach flower practitioner after an interview. The Twelve Healers are the plants that Dr Bach associated with personality types. They are supposed to associate with one’s essential nature and are the most common starting point for selecting essentials. For e.g. Clematis for Day dreamers and absent minded; Mimulus for those who are nervous and fearful, etc.
Monica Gulati: Looking at the Light in disguise of Darkness
Dr Monica shared her Story of Rebirth through. Being an Immunologist and while perusing her PhD in Neuroimmunology , her topic was Autoimmune disease. And by the end of her research she was able to understand that only medicines and science cannot heal auto immune diseases. And though she completed her degree yet some of her questions still remained unanswered. Like, why auto immune diseases are present more commonly in women? Why normal remedies are not good enough to cure them completely? She also realised that in order to design any intervention for such patients, is it pertinent to learn about their daily life situations, thoughts and emotions.
She shared her own life journey of being an independent, liberal and free woman, falling in love and entering wedlock, not mentally prepared to accommodate with the added expectations and validations that come in an Indian Marriage, where you don’t marry a man but a whole family. This resulted in a gradual shift in Monica from being a woman who would follow her heart to a woman who was caught up in restrictive Roles in the family systems based on external approvals such as to be a good wife, a good daughter in law, etc. After three years of her marriage she gave back to back birth to her two boys but felt her to be emotionally misplaced and disconnected with self, caged within her body and mind. During the time of her second pregnancy something dreadful happened, i.e. she started to have “pink urine” a classic symptom of cancer.
She was hit with normalcy bias, unable to relate to something like this happening to her in such a crucial time of her life. As she was hit by the reality of the diagnosis of Urinary Bladder Cancer, she felt helpless, disconnected with the whole world, as if it did not matter at all, a feeling of timelessness as she got totally soaked inside herself. The disease gave her a much needed pause to introspect and reflect upon self, her me-time that was left somehow after marriage. Another gift of the disease was extremely vigilant mind, withdrawn from outside, and ready to take care of the situation at hand. Third thing was Grace and development of a kind of trust that something beautiful is going to come from this.
Hence she did no go through any surgery and for the first 3 months after the diagnosis, she started exploring her inner being with the help of her mentor. She went through Past Life Regression Therapy to understand what kind of thoughts and emotions were creating this reality for her. She started recognising her supressed emotions like Anger, Jealousy, Hatred, Disgust that one is able to point in others but carelessly ignores in ourselves. It was as if embracing an abandoned child after ages and that itself was enough to dissolve such feelings completely. She got this vision in one of her meditations that she need to let go of her brick-cemented wall personality and rather become porous like mud to embrace and welcome Grace within, instead of blocking it out. And this gradually gave her a taste of psychic or opened her heart. Thankfully cancer served the role of an eye opener to her, else she could have just slept through the life as an abandoned child. This helped her to realise her Swadharma– her inner calling and the true purpose of life only after connecting with her heart. Finally after gaining stability and learning the lesson for her life, she underwent surgeries.
Some of the authors that she read during this time were Anita Moorjani, Joseph Murphy, Saurabh Ranjan, She Volunteered at the Gnostic centre Delhi, and also came across Integral Healing by Mother, and naturally has taken up to writing. She could finally understand the Mother’s idea of an “Aimless life is a miserable life.” Every setback like abortion, miscarriage, bad marriage or a fatal disease is a gift in disguise. And cancer revealed her purpose in life, and helped her to remain in constant touch with her thoughts, emotions and body. Her life became centred within herself and she stopped looking for external validations and approvals and knew deep from her heart what needs to be done. No more playing the mentally restrictive role plays. But being carefully aware of thoughts and guarding the mind against any irrelevant or unworthy thought by consciously rejecting it. The experience of her disease made her realise that the cells of her body were in anxiety and fear, which she never knew earlier due to living in oblivion, and meditations helped her to relieve that cellular fear and replace it with peace and rest. And answering how do you know your cancer is not going to return, she put forth the most candid reply that she does not care anymore as this has turned out to be the best gift of life to make her life disciplined and purposeful and if that’s the will of almighty, she wouldn’t mind embracing it again.
Saify Saraya: Health without Medicine.
Saify Saraya conducted an interactive session involving all the participants of the conference where he talked about the concept of Zero Medicine. And explained different feelings of distress in body as the indicators of self-healing, like Pain as a marked of restoration, fever as a marker of fight against foreign body, fainting as recovery of rest and vomiting/ diarrhoea as flushing off the system of the unnecessary toxins, and when we try to supress such symptoms with the medicines, they turn into chronic problems. He raised the question whether Mind controls the body or Body controls the mind. And as he got a collective answer that it’s the Mind that controls the Body and hence posed a counter question, “If Mind is controlling the Body than whom are you giving Medicine to?” Thus stating that the medicines only serve as a Stimulus for the Mind, telling it that you want to be healed. And the causes for the diseases are distressing emotions and the healing involves getting rid of these distressing emotions:
He also talked about the Cognitive Need that drives people and how fulfillment of those needs positively or negatively influences us, as illustrated below:
PAPER PRESENTATIONS – 3
CHAIRPERSON: Dr. Nutan Pandit
COORDINATOR: Dr. Gurvinder Ahluwalia
Dr. Shashidhara Gangaiah: Living in the Present as a Scientific Way in Creating Conscious Beings.
The first foundation of living in the Present is living in the Relative Existence. It’s unimaginable to understand the creation in its microcosmic as well as macrocosmic states. We still have no explanation of the ever expanding universe full of n-number of galaxies and continuous process of cell division, catabolism and metabolism in our body, all this happening on its own intelligence. All we know is everything is made up of atom and each atom is 99.9% empty. Still it has n-number of sub-atomic particles like electron, proton and neutron and we barely know how they are generated, exist and function. Hence our knowledge is limited. And that’s the first and the most important realization needed to ground us in our Present.
In this relative existence, whatever we see, hear, smell, touch, think and conceptualise, everything is our reaction to the reality, and is subjective to the persevere. The second foundation is realizing that the truth of life is only living in the Present. “We believe in past, present and future, but forget the fact that they are only points in a given series of ‘Present’” For easy understanding of the present, we can divide it into Outer Present, which is Sakara, and Inner Present is Nirakara. Everything that exists in the outside world that we can see and touch, is primarily made up of atoms, which are 99.99 % empty. Thus the wholeness of Present exists in a given moment in the form of coexistence of inner and outer present. The third foundation is the realization of the ever present, Inner Present, which is universally same in all of us thus becoming the centre of our being, while its representation in the form of Outer Present varies due to multiple factors, and thus form the periphery, which is exclusive and dependent of the Past.
Thus the experience of our existence can be understood best as follows. And all we need to do is to make a shift from Human Being to Being Human. As the inner Present is universal, it is not only ‘Your Being at the Centre’ rather it’s the centre of whole universe and spirituality. Therefore only at the periphery of our existence we are different, but as we start moving towards the centre, we are one:
Nature of Inner present or the Being is ever present.
We are the combination of the Body, the Mind and the Ever Present (Soul). Body is inherited from the parents (Sthula), Mind is cultivated by the influences of the society (Sukhsma), Soul is ever present and universal (Karana) which is the real ‘I’.
Therefore the realization of the Inner Present and our Centre Being is inevitable for Conscious Birthing. The harmonious state of our inner and outer present was described by our ancestors as Satchiananda. Where Sat is Body and Ecosystem, Chit is Mind and Anand is Soul. And to reach this state of harmony, one needs to follow certain steps like, refining our ecosystem, body and mind. If mind and body are in distress, we can’t talk about spirituality. We need to stop practicing misery. We need to take practice Body Spirituality, Mind Spirituality, Eco Spirituality as we have a relative existence. The fourth foundation of living life is realizing the Unique Design in each of us and also cherishing our own power of creating and procreating and drawing satisfaction out of it.
Practicing to live in the present can help us in Being Human, Effectively utilizing both the parts of the brain and the present, creating a meaningful life based on our Unique Design and celebrating the satisfaction of the power of creation and procreation.
Sheela Govindharaaj: Conscious pregnancy and celebrating motherhood.
Ms Sheela shared the success story of her Pregnancy Care Centre- Sankalpa-for a Conscious Parenting located in Coimbatore. The centre teaches Infant massage, dipper care, handling baby, every day creative activities, celebration of festivals, practicing positive affirmations, parental counselling, group yoga sessions, prenatal and postpartum counselling, and to train fathers to help their wives during labour process. They also provided psycho-education on the importance of Epigenetics, reading stories of mythological characters like Praladh are shared with the expecting mothers to teach them the importance of Inner and Outer environment of the women to totally control the final reality. Creative involvement in Art, Craft, and other activities provide right kind of cognitive stimulations, resulting in enhanced neural connections and increased neuroplasticity.
Teaching the importance of first 1000 days, the nature of uterus muscles is involuntary thus the only way to overcome stress in them is through practicing relaxation and deep breathing. Centre has been also educating about the importance of colostrum and breast feeding for the new born. Along with providing guidance regarding nutrition, seemantonayan seremony or bangle ceremony to enhance auditory stimulation of the child, Lamaze technique, post-delivery care and parenting techniques.
Ms. Divvya Nirula: Seven Questions Guiding Us towards the Sustainability of the Self and Human Relationships.
Ms Nirula presented the seven questions that have been significant to her in the last 10 years of her spiritual as well material journey and conducted an interactive session with the participants based on them. She shared the perspective of looking at Life as a treasure hunt. And we all have our own locks and their keys in our lives, provided by our parents, divine, effects of karma from present and past lives, etc. But the question is how to find it and use it? So the seven questions can help an individual in finding those keys and learning how to use it. She made it explicit to use the language of the heart to be better connected to each other. Through a series of activities, she led the participants to experience the oneness among each other.
Q1 What is our fallibility and vulnerability and what are the tools that we can use to fortify them?
Though her first exercise she touched upon the existential instincts such as vulnerability, fear of loneliness and death. Realising that everyone around us has similar vulnerabilities helps us give up our armours and embrace each other.
Q2 Do we want to live in isolation or networks?
It resonated with our need to connect and exchange ideas, knowledge, and feelings. And emphasised on taking individual initiatives to connect and help our own selves as we embrace others.
Q3 Do you want to become extinct or want to become a protector?
This exercise reinforced the feeling of unconditional acceptance by welcoming people from all around, learning to expand our circle of trust and connectedness. By being non-judgemental and not being threatened by the others and rather willing to be the protectors and caretakers, a joyous state of being is attained which nourishes the soul and sets us free.
Q4 What I am as an Individual, what are my needs, and how can I fulfil them sustainably without harming other?
We are complex, dynamic, individuals, and our needs as young and old, men and women, culturally and religiously and in so many ways might be different. But it’s important to realise the true value and meaning of sustainability and non-violence in our lives. We need to learn the importance of respecting every being as equal to us and neither us or neither anyone else being superior to each other in any way. Respecting unique strengths and weaknesses of everyone and not taking undue advantage or hurting another living creature to fulfil our needs and desires.
Q5 In acknowledgment of my complexities, what do I hold sacred?
Our vulnerability makes us open and connected, and we learn to help ourselves as we help others, this makes up feel unthreatened and be the protectors, feeling nourished and free and as a result help us to look deep within and recognise our own complexities that also make us unique individuals even in groups of similar people. The promise of sustainability and non-violence teaches us not to snatch from others and rather acknowledge, all that has been bestowed by the divine and relishing the sweetness, bitterness, sourness and the blandness, all together.
Q6 Now what am I getting, how can I inculcate it into my material and spiritual practice for sustaining not only myself, but others around me?
Even after aspiring to fulfil our own desires based on our unique complex needs, we still have a need to network and stay connected. After learning to unconditionally love and accept others, we also start learning to unconditionally accept our lives. This self-love gives way to an enhanced feeling of connection with the others, thus motivating us towards ‘Sewa’. One starts thinking to share whatever one has in his hands, to nurture other people, our families, our communities, and finally the globe in a sustainable and non-violent way. It becomes a source of greater shared joy.
Q7 How do I embrace whole world as my family?
And finally we truly start living the in the principle of of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, the world as one family.
Hence these Seven Questions show us a part of shared self-discovery as an individual and global citizen to become a conscious being and shaping a conscious humanity.
SUMMARY OF PAPER PRESENTATIONS – 4
CHAIRPERSON: Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni
COORDINATOR: Rutu Baldha
Dr. Geeta Auropremi: Ayurveda and Conscious Creation of a Being.
Dr Geeta raised a valid question, “Why human body is vertical when most animals have horizontal body?” and reasoned it with the potential of the evolution of the human consciousness for the manifestation of the Superamental, highlighting the importance of silencing the physical mind to get in touch with the intuitive mind. And shared The Mother’s views of Health as, Health is equivalent to Harmony and diseases are any kind of imbalances present in physical, mental and vital planes of body. Ayurveda also has very similar view on the manifestation of diseases as a result of the imbalances in Tridosa.
Ayurveda and the Rishis like Charaka, Sushruta, the research scientists of ancient Indian traditions have developed a very profound understanding of Human Anatomy and Physiology. This is based on the following various principals:
Role of vāta is movement (Air), Five types of vata, Prana-Respiratory System, udana-Nervous System, apana-Excritory System, vyana-Circulatory System, samana-Digestive System,
Role of pitta (Fire) is the Process of Transformation
Role of kapha (Water and Earth) is Easy Movement and Binding Tendency
“yathā pinde tathā brahmānde, yathā brahmānde tathā pinde”. That is –“As is the individual, so is the universe, as is the universe, so is the individual” or “As is the human body, so is the Cosmic Body, as is the cosmic body so is the human body”
When the energy is conserved and not wasted, it gets converted into Ojas at a sublet plane, while other transformations take place at physical plane. This transformation takes place under the effect of 13 types of Fire present in the body. 1 jatharāgni present in the stomach, 5 bhutāgni, from 5 basic elements & 7 dhātvagni present one in each of the 7 dhātus
- Tri-malas: Stool, Urine and Sweat.
The word ‘Swastha’ means living by being connected with the self and only then live in harmony is possible. If a person is away from the self, the will tend to experience conflicts and disharmony manifesting as diseases. Thus it becomes important both from the perspective of health and conscious conception to aim at uniting with the Psychic being. But as Sri Aurobindo emphasises it is only possible with the Purification of mind, vital & body to harmonise inner and outer atmosphere, and to call the divine soul upon earth. “An unpurified heart, an unpurified sense, an unpurified life confuse the understanding, disturb its data, distort its conclusions, darken its seeing, misapply its knowledge; an unpurified physical system clogs or chokes up its action. There must be an integral purity.”
Ayurveda stresses on the importance of āhāra, nidrā and brahmacharya as the three pillars of health. So taking care of all the pillars of health is equally necessary for conscious conception. Preparation and purification of body and mind of the parents before conception needs to happen by the help of refinement of āhār- vihāra, vichāra by doing prayers, yoga, meditation, pranayama, etc. Ayurveda calls for 5 to 3 years of practice for the preparation of conscious conception. Hence parents need to do this preparation to invoke a divine soul. This can also help in healing and reliving any health complications or disorders creating impediment in child birth. We must remember that the soul has the power to choose the parents and parents have the power to choose the soul.
Dr Geetha has been practicing as an Ayurveda physician for around 20 years and have developed her own prenatal, pregnancy and post natal management plan which includes Case History taking, counselling, guidelines for lifestyle and diet, 21 days of panchakarma, and naturepathy practices for purification of body, mantra chanting, prayers, yoga and meditation, pranayama, and practicing bramacharya as per the willingness of the parents. She shared her approach of making parents more purely and consciously involved in the process of conception where the Father is asked to draw and paint the sperm beautifully in order to aspire for a healthy child, and the mother is introduced to prayers in order to touch in touch with the psychic being, using the power of imagination, thoughts, and speech. The parents ultimately also need to learning the importance of aspiration, rejection and surrender in the light of conscious conception. And finally start trusting that all can be done, if the soul touch is there.
Dr. Manjubala Dash: Exploration of Spiritual Health and its impact on Unborn Foetus.
Dr Manjubala beautifully recollected her own pregnancy experiences and realisation that unconsciously the spiritual and religious connection and practices have always been there as a routine in her life and same is true for the many other pregnant women who also practice religion unconsciously. But emphasised that we only need to become consciously engaged in it at the time of pregnancy, in order to increase it’s positive effects many ford.
Becoming aware of spiritual health during pregnancy and taking care of it will not only elevate the temporary problems at the time of child birth, but also correct the permanent damage done to the society by the birth of children who later grown up to become rapist, criminals, and terrorists. She suggested the scope of doing a research work on the parents of criminals finding out about what they were thinking during the time of their pregnancy in order to find any co-relation. She also advocated for taking the concept of spirituality to all people not restricted as an old age affair and rather it should be a part of young and adolescents, whose mind is supposed to be most restless.
Spiritual health is an evolving practice in the medical sector and more researches needs to be done on the spiritual effects on the unborn child, maternal and prenatal health. Health is defined by the WHO as, “Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being, which is marked not only by the absence of disease or infirmity.” National Institute Of Health And Family Welfare defines Spiritual Health as, “The State of being where an individual is able to deal with day-to-day life in a manner which leads to the realization of one’s full potential; meaning and purpose of life; and happiness from within.” And hence we need to give more importance to Spiritual Health, especially in context of birthing.
She stressed that Physiological changes during pregnancy along with the Hormonal changes causes distressful changes but that does not make pregnancy as a disease. Some of these Changes could however be deeply accepting the life style of pregnant woman, like, sleep deprivation, fear of labour, anxiousness and thus learning to cope up with the changes is important, otherwise it can comes as a psychological disease. Therefore counselling and spiritual practises can help very well in coping with such changes in the functioning of the body. Otherwise persistence of such psychological state of the mother can have serious detrimental effect on the development and life of the baby in womb, further putting her long time in labour, prolonged distress, resulting in birth trauma. Such aggravations can lead to postpartum psychological disorders, making the mother develop negative attitude towards the baby and father, blaming them to be the reason of her plight and can also harm her child.
We call women, Devi in our tradition but do we really treat her like Devi? Hence we need to bring that change especially in antenatal to postnatal period of women’s life where the husband, whole family and community takes care of her, providing support and assistance. The best preventive measures for distressful pregnancy and maternity are spiritual practices, as the process of birth is still the best kept secret of Mother Nature that science is remotely close to unravelling. Hence the final advice that came from Dr Dash was becoming self-reliant and faithful to the divine. And stopping all expectations, and rather accepting the external circumstances and attitudes, without any ill feelings, and thinking only about the best for the child. And putting one’s complete faith in the supreme, as when no one can help, only the god can help. And when we surrender, we feel relaxed.
Dr. Gurvinder Ahluwalia: The Role of Spiritual Practices by Expecting Mothers in Creating Awakened Civilization.
Dr Ahluwalia talked about the difference in being religious or ritualistic and spiritual, as the meaning of Spirituality to be able to connect with our own true and higher self. It facilitates a change from materialistic existence to existential existence. She has developed a Scale of Spiritual Intelligence as part of her doctoral thesis, devising an operational definition of Spiritual Intelligence as, “Developing S.I. includes personal growth, reaching to the highest level of cognitive, moral, emotional, and interpersonal development.” The final state being equivalent to Shunya a non-empty state of the pregnant void. And as she interacted with different Spiritual Leaders and seekers as part of her research and recorder their experiences, she was able to derive a pattern in the form of cycles of never ending elevations and depressions based on the life experiences of misery and joy, continuing for birth after births, unlit reaching the stage of Sthir pragya, or equanimity. Therefore the state of pregnancy can be used for having a meaningful purpose in life and creating spiritual environment around ourselves to realise it. Moreover we can use this time of pregnancy to spread spirituality around the world, making it a collective process. A pregnant woman can take the help of Seva for purifying her heart. And practice Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Dhyan Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, or a combination of all to deepen their practice of spirituality or connecting with the self.
Summary of the Plenary session on The role of education in preparing conscious humanity coordinated by Ms Pragya upadhyay with the following Participants: Dr. Prabhjot kulkarni, Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Shivakumar ji
Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni: Role of Teacher as a Yogi in Preparation of Conscious Humanity
Self-reflectively Dr Kulkarni told that her career as a teacher in education institutions were a time full of Inner restlessness, Anger, Impatience and Frustration and Dissatisfaction from the education system and only later in her life she got introduced to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother after which she found a settlement. Hence she personally connects with the topic and looks at the opportunity of being a teacher as supporting ground for being a yogi. Her paper was based on the deliberations of the National Curriculum Framework 2005. She proposed for the radical change in the role of the teacher in the following ways:
By giving the examples of the different responses, she pointed at the popularity of the third response given by the 3 history teachers who were asked the same question, i.e. What do you do?
The first one said, nothing much, just a teacher; the second said I am in the business of education and the third one said I shape the future of India and teach my students how to write history. Thus we still want such teachers, full of enthusiasm, strong values, courage, aspiration to be true and sincere, and even teachers want to become the same but, very few teachers are able to live up to their ideals, to prove the exceptions and be the unsung heroes. But the teacher’s influence is limitless and they can at any time and in so many ways inspire the students and change their course of life.
She discussed that the advancement in Technology from the point of view of providing information is making the role of the teacher redundant as an information provider. Therefore there are new demands from the teachers now, i.e., to be an influencer, motivator, facilitator, co-learner, visionary, and a reflective practitioner and a true exemplar and ideal before his students to inspire him to lead a meaningful life. Teachers need to be more aware and sensitive towards children and the skills and content being imparted. She also presented us with the ideas of paradigm shift in the following ways:
- From the teacher centric educational designs to the Learner centric flexible processes.
- From teacher’s direction and decisions to learner’s autonomy.
- From Teacher’s monitoring to facilitation of learning.
- From learning in group to cooperative learning.
- From learner’s receptivity to learner’s participation in learning.
- Knowledge as given fixed to knowledge as evolved.
- From common learning tasks to individualised learning tasks.
- From disciplinary focus to multidisciplinary focus.
- From Teacher’s training program to Self-development programs.
- Training the teachers to preparing the teachers
“Education will be based on what we hope to know about the future and not what we know from the past. What we want to teach is not only a mental idea but new idea of life, and the realisation of consciousness.” In Indian traditions, the place of the teacher was considered highest in the society due to the highest aim attached to the ancient Indian education, i.e. the aim of self-realization. Because in the purest of sense, to be a true teacher is to be a true yogi. Hence all the problems of harmony, balance and peace can find a solution, in the well-defined role of a teacher and his practices. Hence the true roles of the teachers need to be the following:
To become conscious of oneself, to be aware and sensitive towards one’s own life and the life of others, learn and grow oneself, know ones, nature, habits, attitudes, and rejecting the inner and outer tendencies that hamper the growth as a teacher. This needs practicing self-discipline by following the four steps as Self-observation, Self Awareness, Self Control, Self Mastery, “The teacher needs to be the living example of what she asks the students to become”
The growth of consciousness takes place in its three-fold ways i.e. widening, heightening, and deepening, and gives way to the following possibilities:
- Finding the true purpose of life, the aspiration and urge to grow inwardly and to peruse higher goals of life. To have an aim of living within, in the presence of the soul or psychic being
- Looking at one self and others as growing soul and not mere body
- Teaching or working as the form of self-consecration, a means of inner growth
- Taking all difficulties and challenges as an opportunity for inner growth to be faced with equanimity without restlessness
“First know thoroughly what you teach, try to get a good understanding of your students and their particular needs, be very calm and be very patient and never be anger. One must be a master of oneself in order to be a master of others.” Thus those who choose the profession of teaching are choose on the path of yoga- the path of perfection. They should aim at developing self-awareness towards their interests, potential, and drawbacks, in the students through utilizing their own inner resources by facilitating the activities, like games, yoga, art, science, craft, story writing, drama, and also listening to the stories of spiritual heroes and relating to a character and learning to stay calm.
Teachers of present and future need to dedicate time and practice self-reflection and inner silence, in order to observe the many hidden elements of one’s own nature to be surfacing out, and coming as a shock to others and ourselves as the outcome of dynamic life of a teacher and thus building a bond with their own selves, before aiming to build it with the students.
Mr Shivakumar: Education for Conscious Development in Early Childhood
Mr. Shivakumar threw light on the early childhood education (birth to 8 years) and education in general that continues for the entire life. In the Light of the mother, “The education of a human being should begin at birth and continue throughout his life. Indeed, if we want this education to have its maximum result, it should begin even before birth.”
He raised the question on the purpose of the education. And highlighted how most of the education imparted in our classrooms has been based on just Information overload. Given the nature of any information is to be forgotten if not being used. Thus such information overloads and rote learning is temporary and useless, giving us no returns in our entire life. In contrary, Experiential learning based on growth oriented education aiming at the building of capacities, talents and values are permanent and serve the purpose in our day to day life at any age. Thus in order to do justice with the education we need to develop an understanding of Growth oriented learning catering to the needs on the child that will be make the his future life the best. We can consider the examples of riding a cycle, singing, painting, developing aesthetic sense, appreciation for music, etc. to be such skills developed in us due to experiencing a change within us, which stays over the time. The first and the most easily monitored aspect of growth in Early Childhood is Physical Development but Emotional Development is equally important followed by Mental Development. Therefore Growth signifies the holistic development of these areas and Education needs to cater to the need of the growth of oneself in these three areas unanimously. Education need not be always didactic but sometimes it needs to be simply creative.
The early childhood education begins with Sensory development and its refinement, gross motor development, autonomy, and something within us knows and pushes us towards mastering different milestones gradually gaining the required muscle strength out of practice. Other thing that needs to be educated to them at this age is development of healthy eating and sleeping habits thereby syncing their body clock with the nature. Till the age of 3-4 years children’s state of being is physically dominated, and later they develop Emotional understanding with age. But right āhāra (Intake of energy)-vihāra (Expression of Energy) is necessary not only for the child’s physical sense but also emotional and mental sense. Therefore just as nutrition and balanced diet along with good physical activity is necessary for physical development, surrounding the child with all possibly beautiful emotions and teaching them number of ways for its creative expression in of utmost importance for his emotional growth, like drawing, music, craft, dancing, etc. And then comes the third stage of mental growth, which requires the diet of unique and beautiful thoughts and exercise of independent thinking, problem solving and decision making to shape up analytical thinking. This can lead to holistic development of a person.
But there is also a problem with this holistic development, i.e. conflict between Physical, Emotional and Mental aspects and thus we need the development on another most important aspect that is the Growth of the Psyche Being in order to harmonise and channelize our other three aspects. Therefore Psyche Being is the seat of the highest truth of our existence and has the ultimate power to steer our life and lead to the flowering of specific aptitude, interests, and personality traits needed to shape a person based on his own divine purpose. The three most pertinent questions to ask ourselves are- what am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to do? When am I supposed to do? And the purpose of education is only to facilitate the flowering of these innate capacities and to help in putting the child in the touch with his Psychic Being.
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra: Understanding Man & Woman Relationship: A necessary condition for creating conscious humanity
Dr Mishra opened the session by asking the question, “What is relationship?” And the answers received in response to this were- connectivity, comradeship, interdependence, coexistence, collaboration, etc. and the nature of relationship being constantly evolving. He also challenged the most prevalent concept in the society that man-woman is incomplete without each other and marriage completes them, declaring it as a wrong education. And further asked the participants; are man and woman incomplete without each other? And who is a man and who is a woman? And since people don’t have clear answers to these questions, we are living a life of unconscious humanity. Thus this becomes the reason for having this conference on creating a conscious humanity. Mostly the relationships in today’s world are, unconscious, mechanical, accidental, artificial and not standing on solid foundation. So what should be the basis on which the relationship should stand to be real and pure? How to create solid foundation for a real relationship? What marriage means? What’s it purpose?
Any ‘samyoga’ or connecting at deeper level can be marriage, and not only physical union between a man and a woman. But traditionally the answer to the question to the purpose of marriage after brahmacharya was “prajātantu” i.e. extending and not breaking the thread of progeny and giving birth to the child. And Kama had been given an important role in such a relationship. But Kama also has been distinguished as dharma-viruddha–kāma and dharma-avirudsha-kāma. And lust for mere sexual enjoyment is discouraged. After the birth of the children, man is supposed to treat his wife as his mother and not as an object of enjoyment. The Mother has said that the children need to be born out of the result of intense aspiration and not conjugal pleasure. And Woman has to make herself free from these three slaveries as, “no law can liberate woman unless they liberate themselves.” What makes them slaves is:
- Attraction towards the male and his strength
- Desire for home life and its security
- Attachment to motherhood
Whereas Men also have three slaveries:
- Spirit of possession, attachment to power and dominance
- Desire for sexual relation with women
- Attachment to the small comforts of married life
And he finally read a passage on Marriage and the secret of the lasting union given below:
To unite your physical lives, your material interests, to become partners in order to face together the difficulties and successes, the defeats and victories of life — that is the very foundation of marriage, but you already know that it is not enough.
To be united in your sensations, to have the same aesthetic tastes and enjoyments, to be moved in common by the same things, one through the other and one for the other — that is good, that is necessary, but it is not enough.
To be one in your deeper feelings, to keep a mutual affection and tenderness that never vary in spite of all the blows of life and can withstand every weariness and irritation and disappointment, to be always and on every occasion happy, extremely happy, to be together, to find in every circumstance tranquillity, peace and joy in each other — that is good, that is very good, that is indispensable, but it is not enough.
To unite your minds, to harmonise your thoughts and make them complementary, to share your intellectual preoccupations and discoveries; in short, to make your sphere of mental activity identical through a widening and enrichment acquired by both at once — that is good, that is absolutely necessary, but it is not enough.
Beyond all that, in the depths, at the centre, at the summit of the being, there is a Supreme Truth of being, an Eternal Light, independent of all the circumstances of birth, country, environment, education; That is the origin, cause and master of our spiritual development; it is That which gives a permanent direction to our lives; it is That which determines our destinies; it is in the consciousness of That that you must unite. To be one in aspiration and ascension, to move forward at the same pace on the same spiritual path, that is the secret of a lasting union.
Summary of Panel Discussion with Obstetrics and Gynaecology Nursing Students on the Topic: Bringing Consciousness approach into Medical Education, Implications for Patient Care- moderated by: Ms. Pragya Upadhyay
Conscious Approach towards the patient care – Algeshwari
Ensuring mother to have the best experience in the time to child birth, without neglecting her feelings as otherwise it becomes Birth Trauma. An expecting mother generally has mixed feelings of Helplessness, Fear and Pain and often are kept in Isolation at the time of labour. They experience Lack of Communication with the Doctors. Also the procedures of labour pain, artificial rupture of the membrane, or medicinal emergencies, limited physical movement, are moments full of threat, agony and discomfort. These are the times when delivering mothers require consciously empathetic, human-centred approach towards patient care. Medical staff in their service needs to treat them with utmost respect and understand their utter helplessness. Negligence often happens due to over work-load and staff shortage.
Conscious Approach used in Medical Education- Vasanthi
She started with mentioning the importance of competent teachers and actively listening students. Knowledge of the teacher is important but making teaching methodology more engaging and individualizing it is also equally significant for imparting that learning to the students. One without the other is incomplete. Mixing the use of audio-visual learning, field trips, project based learning, research work, along with lecturing and ppt presentation can be a well balanced approach in this direction.
She put fort an important point of Equality vs Equity, that instead of teachers delivering same content to everyone in the class in one way, they much realise that each student has unique strengths and weaknesses. Thus they must develop individual rapport with the students and facilitate learning based on their level of understanding, considering their likes, values, potentials.
Making competent teachers appears easy to Vasanthi than making students focus and actively listen due to various distractions like excessive mobile usage. Thus she suggested ways of developing self-awareness in the students about the scientifically proven harmful effects of their mobile usage, monitoring of the time of mobile usage. This can serve as a positive shift towards conscious and effective communication and medical education.
Consciousness in Health Professionals- Shanthini
Importance was laid that in comparison with any other professional, medical professionals need to be more conscious in their approach as they deal with saving human life. She gave an example of doing Virginal Examination on an expecting mother by a midwife. Every mother has to go through this process, but it definitely comes as a breach of privacy and makes the patients highly uncomfortable and embarrassed. She shared the findings of her research work done on the Attitude of Antenatal mothers towards Virginal examination which revealed that nearly 75% of women had negative attitude towards it, greatly out numbering 25% of women who showed positive attitude towards it. Out of this 25% most of them have been pregnant before and hence were familiar with it. Thus the main reason behind negative attitude was the fear of the unknown.
Thus this research demarked the importance of prenatal education regarding Virginal Examination before conducting it to make them familiar with the procedure. Other reasons for negative attitude in the mothers were not having adequate privacy at the time of VE or feeling of being Verbal Abused. Both of these concerns can be erased by having conscious approach of medical professionals towards the mothers by understanding her psychological state before being in a hurry of ruling out the pathological state.
Therefore it’s pertinent to take Informed consent of the mother and maintain positive relationship with the patient, thus making them relaxed and more cooperative for the procedure, while maintain their dignity. It does not put a lot of pressure on the doctor-patient ratio or shortage of time to console a mother as it just takes two minutes of empathetic positive affirmations and quickly engaging and listening to her pain instead of discarding it and telling her to be quiet.
Cost Consciousness in Patient Care- Chandraleka
In order to provide Quality care to the patients, the professional needs to include all the above mentioned points in addition to another significant point of the cost consciousness or cost effectiveness. One major challenge in medical domain is diversity in socio-economic status of the patients, some being poor and not capable enough to afford certain services. Thus not only the subsidies needs to be given to such patients, rather medical education also needs to teach it’s students Cost effect patient care and respecting the dignity and supporting the financially challenged ones, so that when the time comes, they are ready to take a stand for it and practice it. Cost effectiveness in Medical system needs to be based completely on the principle of Equity rather than Equality. And a system needs to fall in place to provide same services to rich and poor on equitable fares.
Skills of a Clinical teacher- Arya
In medical studies, aside to class room teaching, clinical teaching becomes much more relevant, giving practical experience to the professionals. This happens in the hospitals in order to understand the patients and their problems, like physical examination, case history collection, etc. Therefore some of the main traits of a Teacher imparting Clinical Training to the professionals must be passionate about his profession, than only one can be a positive influence on the students. Teacher needs to be highly organised, supportive and compassionate, able to provide positive clinical environment to the students to learn freely and provide positive patient care.
Routine planning and regulating strategies need to be there, communication needs to be clear and consistent. And developing the knack of non-verbal communication like touching comfortably, having open and welcoming body language, smiling and maintaining eye-contact is very important. Self-evaluation and external evaluation of both students and teachers need to be motivated, to improve on certain skills. Regular and honest feedbacks can only suggest what and how the teachers can improve.
Roles and responsibilities of a Clinical Teachers – Madhubala
It’s important to fill the gap between theory in the classroom and practical in the clinical setup. It becomes a big challenge to bring the Therapeutic touch, and Psychological Support during the routine medical practice despite of knowing its importance. Hence a lot of controlled exposure is required to develop it in the professionals. Time efficiency, selecting appropriate patients, Exchange of learning amongst seniors and juniors, quizzing, lectures and workshops with the experts, Clinical teachers rather need to be the Role model to their students as more than from their words, students learn through observing their actions.
Having regular follow up with the stakeholders; case presentation, history; looking at the real problem of a real person in a real situation; not labelling based on diagnosis; debriefing and clearing doubts; giving feedbacks based on direct observation; aiming at the holistic and humanistic care to the person; and building strong humanistic bonding can help in easy follow ups and feedbacks.
Principals that a clinical teacher needs to follow while training students in medical setup –Pradeepa
Purpose of learning, active participation and motivation of the student, like the new experience of attending a panel discussion. Creating various opportunities for the students to test their learning. Having holistic approach to deal with a case, like seeking the help of psychologist, yoga therapist, etc. when needed. Clinical learning needs to be more effortful and involved, this can be boosted by working in teams of seniors and juniors. Frequent assessment to enhance learning. Constructive feedback from the teachers to the students. Inculcating theoretical knowledge into practical practice. Preparing the students about the evidence based challenges related to the field. Case presentations and role play can also play a great role.
Integrating various lessons from this conference- Stella
Importance of Sex education right from the adolescents by parents and teachers.
Understanding that aborting foetus is equal to a murder until done in inevitable medical conditions.
Spiritual and humanistic angles need to be freely incorporated in medical education for the betterment of all stake holders.
Concentrating more on building capacities and values than gathering information.
Most important points raised in the panel discussion were as follows:
- Choosing Equity over Equality in Medical systems and recognising the importance of individual needs.
- Importance of Sex Education: While talking about the need for developing consciousness in medical education, we can’t begin with the end of the spectrum, i.e. medical professionals, rather we need to start with the starting of the spectrum, by educating our Adolescents. From the beginning of our education system some kind of change needs to be cultivated to give a systematically perspective to our Adolescents in this direction.
- Importance of Feedback in every industry is unquestionable for further improvement, especially in the field of life sciences, where it’s given not only by people but also for the services provided directly to people by people, but feedbacks in medical profession can’t be ignored at all, as they are a question of life and death.
- Importance of alliance and interdependence between medical professionals like nursing staff, psychologists, ayurvedic doctors, acupressure therapists, etc. is the golden hope to take our medical system to wards Integrative Medicine.
- Though we have learned so much from the conference, the true success of this conference would be when we incorporate these leanings in our personal and professional life and transact it with others where ever we go.
A brief summary of the conference was presented by Ms Anupama Shivashanka. She briefly shared the takeaway points from the presentions made by the experts coming from scientifically, scholastically and geographically diverse set of 23 speakers. Every session was followed by an engaging discussion by the speakers and participants which brought in more clarity of the concepts and insights making it a more meaningful interaction.
Diversely positive feedback was received by the participants coming from different fields, culture and nationality, making it evident that the conference topics touched every individual’s inner being and helped them to connect and reflect upon the knowledge gathered, at the same time encouraging them to become the advocates and agents of change through their own professional practices and positive contributions in the lives they will touch.
The valedictory address was given by the chief guest, Dr. Ananda Reddy, Director, SACAR, who brought in a lot of insights from Sri Aurobindo and mother related to transformation, conscious creation of a being, purpose of education and possibility of a new Supramental body.
Dr Julie Gerland and Dr Sampadananda Mishra addressed the participants of the Three days, International Conference on Spiritual Perspectives on Creating a Conscious Humanity, in the Valedictory Session thanking them for their active participation. Both of them applauded the contribution of speakers who came from diverse backgrounds such as Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Neonatology, Midwifery, Nursing, Yoga, Psychology, Ayurveda, Education, Kalaripayattu, Maternal and Child Health Care, etc. for brining multidimensional insights on the topic. They also prayed for starting the change from within for brings the change outside. And invited the participants for living a conscious life and transacting the knowledge gained from this conference in their day to day life and spreading it to others.
Dr Mishra presented the elaborate vote of thanks to entire SAFIC Team. And the Co-ordinators and Moderators, Team BTNH and the Chief Guest were presented with a token of appreciation.