Dr. Laj Utreja
General Director, National Harmony/Peace Academy (NHPA), USA
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Served as President/CEO of NAS, a small business offering engineering services, and provided managerial and technical leadership. Created an organization for effective communication and delegation of responsibilities. Motivated people using simple tools of setting and meeting goals. Facilitated team building and resource development for new technical markets. Directed scientists and engineers involved in cutting edge technologies at Tec-Masters, Inc., Dynacs Engineering and BDM international, Inc. Grounded in the principle that every position offers an opportunity to serve people for the good of people.
We are in Harmony, When -
Our senses shine brightly in the love of others
Our minds are lit with the light of understanding others
Our intellects glow in the light of harmony
Our actions shine in the light of service of the needy others
Our words are sweet for the lonesome others
Our thoughts become adorned with the beauty of harmony
Our presence lights the lamps of love spontaneously
We are devoid of lust, anger, greed, attachment, malice and jealousy
We love generously, care deeply , speak kindly and live in harmony
Living in a multi-faith, race and culture society
We believe and think we are just like beads in a rosary
All connected togetherwith the same divine string of harmony
April 6, 2012
Harmony grows fertile valleys;
Where the collective views grow lush and tall!
Though the saplings we plant may be small;
Together they’d grow to mutual accord and understanding all.
Someone has a birthday today;
It means much more than a happy day!
Within these words lie many things;
That humankind share everyday!
It means we are brothers;
And be thankful for all we do together.
It means we are friends;
And that we care for each other.
We all come from the same spirit;
Shouldn’t that alone be the reason to celebrate?
The spiritual culture that we orchestrate on this day;
Will create a song of harmony and reverberate!
Global Harmony Association Innovative Projects”
By Dr. Leo Semashko and 119 participants from 34 countries.
St.-Petersburg, "Lita", 2009, 255 p.
A book review by
Dr. Laj Utreja, USA
In search for an underlying principle or a law about our observations on the various natural or man-made events and phenomena, we classify our ideas (in their various stages of development) as conjectures, hypothesis, views and theories, etc. That’s how the objective or the physical laws (such as the Newton’s Law of Gravitation, and the Newton’s Laws of Motion), the chemical laws (such as the Law of Conservation of mass and the Dalton’s Law of Multiple Proportions), the astronomical laws (such as Hubble’s Law of Galactic Motion and the Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion) are discovered. The principles and laws are nothing more than an underlying order that the constituent elements obey or follow within the domain of their applicability. The physical, chemical and astronomical laws are objective laws pertaining to the material universe and connote the inherent order for the specific physical, chemical or astronomical phenomenon. It is in following a specific law (by following the underlying order inherent in the specific material domain) that the sustainability of the specific phenomenon is assured. Therefore, it is in following all the known and the unknown laws (by following the underlying orders inherent in the material universe) that the sustainability of the universe is assured.
Just as the objective laws govern the objective universe, so must there be subjective laws governing the subjective universe of human beings. Whereas, harmony is assured because of the inherent order in the objective world, this order must be introduced in the subjective world to assure harmony among all people of different geographies, races, cultures, faiths and genders. The most fundamental of this law is from the Rig Veda, “Vasudeva Kutumbakam – the whole universe is one human family.” The only way to introduce this law into human beings is if they willingly subscribe to this law. This can be done through teaching and training.
It is with this noble intent that one of the great books, ‘Harmonious Civilization’ is written by the 120 Global Harmony Association (GHA) members under guidance of Dr. Leo Semashko, GHA President as one of the leading sociologists of the present era. The book is written for the fragmented world of the 21st century that differentiates people (who are one) as different based on their geographies, races, cultures, faiths and genders. And in that sense it is truly democratic. Stated simply, the core message of the book is that all conflicts can be resolved through mutual dialogs by the principle of respect to the different points of view, originating from the other person’s belief, cultural ideology and political orientation. The message also offers education as a tool to train the present generation for restoring harmonious civilization, the basis for sustainability.
The book starts with a summary of the many harmony associated projects undertaken by the GHA since its inception culminating in endorsing two great projects for the world order: 1) Harmonious Civilization Universal Declaration, and 2) Global Harmony Treaty for Nuclear Disarmament. A critical look into the two documents reveals a very well thought out process for finding an order for the global harmony of the subjective world just as one would do for arriving at an objective principle. The noted sociologist has taken into account the human intention from all walks of life – the artists and the scientists, the philosophers and the mathematicians, and the lawyers and the politicians to arrive at the building blocks of harmony. He is successful in engaging them into a dialog on the various facets of harmony resulting into the development of letters to the two key players at the world stage – the President of the USA and the President of Russia.
Pragmatically, how can thoughts of being different (exploited by the interested groups) would enable human beings to live in harmony? We may have to the basics of our being a human. Human beings are inherently social beings - we survive and grow only in relation to other people, community, the world, and the environment. We do not exist only as individuals; we obtain our sense and value of being humans by belonging to a human community that includes practice of moral values and our faith to live a human-worthy life. Therefore, for our sustainment alone, we need relationships with people and environment. And the process of building relationships is through human values.
The origin of human values is the source at the core of our beings. The source being non-physical, non-material, without any attributes and qualities introduces values through Rita, the universal order. The order does not delimit importance of one element of manifestation over the other, but provides an avenue for the universe to sustain itself. That order is called dharma, the sustaining principle. From that order follow the objective laws that govern the physical universe and the subjective laws that govern human beings. Consider for instance, if the sun decides not to shine any longer, or the earth decides not to revolve around the sun; there would be no world and life that we know of. Revolving around the sun, the earth does not diminish its role, but follows intrinsic value in the performance of the universal order. Similarly, the roles of a child and a wife in a family are not inferior or superior to the father or the husband, so long as all follow their intrinsic values in the performance of family order. The same goes with any relationship: the employer, employee; teacher, student and the like. All human values follow from the universal order.
In the performance of any order however is the underlying human intention. Since human intention cannot be legislated, our actions must be guided by a system of appropriate codes of conduct. Our endeavors for security and pleasure, in the conduct of governance and rule, law and order, education, business, trade, science, philosophy, law, agriculture, performing arts, and other orders of society must be performed according to dharma in space-time continuum. Since dharma is consistent with different cultural traditions, business transactions and trade practices under all social, economic and political conditions, it offers the single most effective choice for global harmony, a sustainable society and global peace.
It is to satisfy dharma for the present times that the eminent sociologist offers his theory of Tetraphilosophy and Tetrasociology: a Science of Social Harmony. Tetrasociology is a synthesis of the industrial (and business) ideologies, with its basis in spirituality. In Dr. Semashko’s words, “Tetrasociology consists of deep integration of Western monistic ideas and the Eastern value of harmony.” Based on his theory, he together with coauthors has presented many concepts such as ‘Alternative Reserve Currency of Harmony,’ and ‘Global Harmonious Education’ and created an organization Youth Global Harmony Association (YGHA) and American GHA to achieve global harmony. To give his theory a practical shape before it is accepted as a principle, the author proposes a World harmony/Peace Festival to be launched in the near future.
Based on my Hindu background I can relate the process selected by the renowned professor thusly: “An old Brahmin priest spoke with his Lord Shiva (the ‘life and death’ principle) about heaven and hell (which is called Narakaloka in Sanskrit and differs from other hells in not being eternal, but a temporary state of souls between births where they undergo suffering). The Lord said to the aging pundit, “Come, I will show you hell.” They entered a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of wonderful smelling vegetable curry. Everyone was famished, desperate and starving. Each held a spoon that reached the pot, but each spoon had a handle so much longer than their arm that it could not be used to get the stew into their own mouths. The suffering was terrible. “Come, now I will show you heaven (which is called Swargaloka in Sanskrit and differs from other heavens in not being eternal, but a temporary state of souls between births where they enjoy comforts),” Lord Shiva said after a while. They entered another room, identical to the first the pot of luscious curry, the group of people, the same long-handled spoons. But everyone was happy and well-nourished. “I don’t understand,” said the Brahmin. “Why are they happy here when they were miserable in the other room where everything was exactly the same?” Lord Shiva smiled, “Ah, it is simple,” He said. “Here they have learned to feed each other.”
The universe is imbued with the Vedas (knowledge) and Rita (order); correspondingly it is sustained with intrinsic dharma (sustaining principle) of its constituent elements. Protection of dharma for shanty (harmony among the constituent elements or global harmony) is very important for the world perpetuity and sustenance. Our planet earth came into existence without any borders and preferences. Any disorder (inconsistent with shanty) in the social, economic and political systems breaks the entire system into disharmony and the world falls apart. Vedas state, “Dharmo rakshti rakshitah (the law and order protect one when one protects the law and order).” Therefore, order is of utmost importance for global harmony.
The above essence is scientifically explained in the reviewed book, in which harmony social actors – sphere classes of the population – are unfolded. All sphere classes can exist (in harmony) only if all produce necessary resources for each other, and all make available these resources to each other.
Laj Utreja, Ph.D.
Laj Utreja’s professional experience includes hands-on engineer to CEO of a small company related to the U.S. space and defense programs. Laj has also accumulated training and experience in yogaasana, praanaayaama, dhyaana and ayurvedic healing. He is founder of the Institute of Spiritual Healing (ISH) where he teaches Vedic disciplines related to wellness, healing, harmony and peace. He is the author of Who Are We? (2006) and What Is Our origin? (2007). Webpage: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=353
January 23, 2010
8 Letters about GHA, YGHA and AGHA
Dear Dr. Dalia Steiner, Dr. Leo Semashko and friends of Harmony:
Whereas, it is not the titles, but the deeds for a cause that determine who the person is, yet an unprecedented letter may have an inherent need for an introduction. I speak on behalf of the AGHA (American Global harmony Association).
It is good to make an acquaintance with you and your fine organization, CESJ.
I maintain a view that being part of the universe with intrinsic order, nothing can work without order. The greatest hindrance for the sustainment of any order is its abuse. The greatest abuse of the order is by the rich (because they are necver satisfied by their greed, and are able to justify their greed by the power of words and by manipilating and buying the law in their favor to satisfy their greed) and the powerful (because they can do it by their sheer arrogance and are able to justify their arrogance by the power of words and by manipilating and buying the law in their favor to satisfy their arrogance and because it can do so).
Can any thinking human being say with all honesty that the CEOs of any financial institution or buisnesses really earned the hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and the rest of the world sit quiet and accept. I think the rest of the world has demonstrated an order (and not the other way around) to the utter shame of people receiving those bonuses.
Can any thinking human being say with all honesty that any powerful person or a country has no choice but to annihilate a powerless person or a country and the rest of the world sit quiet and accept. I think the rest of the world demonstrates an order by not retaliating (and not the other way around) to the utter shame of those powerful people or the countries.
The above two are examples of the 'jungle law' where the dictates are the 'power of monetary and military strength' and not the 'power of law.'
There cannot be a real harmony until there is unproportional wealth gap among the Haves and Have nots and the unilateral decision(s) of the powerful person(s) or country(ies) to launch attack(s) against the weak person(s) or nation (s).
One can always manipulate words to justify any wrong act. To enforce a law, the law must be immune from influence. Immunity can come only if the law is strong and cannot be influnced, when it is the same law for all.
The above are the most fundamental and the only problems and solutions applicable for all space-time-human conditions.
Your sojourner in peace.
Laj said: "Now back to your subject:
WHY CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG?
Whenever we’ve to share with others what we have, we may choose not to get along with the other.
WHY CAN’T WE HAVE HARMONY?
Because there is no subjective order in place! The objective world has inherent order – an atom of sodium will always have the same physical
and chemical properties because of the same chemical structure in all sodium atoms, inherent harmony.
WHY MUST WE onLY HAVE onE U.S. DOMINATED INTERNET?
Because China , India and others haven’t come up with tactical internets to overpower the current internet!
WHY CAN’T WE HAVE CHINESE AND OTHER INTERNETS AS WELL?
There is no reason they can’t!
WHY CAN’T WE HAVE REGIONAL INTERNETS THAT OVERLAP?
There is no reason they can’t!
DIFFERENT INTERNETS CAN ACCEPT AND RESPECT EACH OTHER. THIS WAY THE DIFFERENT INTERNETS CAN EXIST WITH UNITY IN DIVERSITY.THAT IS WHAT HARMONY IS ALL ABOUT.
There are no problems with the internets (?) because they are material avenues for the expression of thoughts. It is only when the
subjective opinions (policies) get in the way that may (depending upon the versatility of the individual internet) tap the other (internets) for other viewpoints
and block the other (internets) for tactical benefit that may be tactically put in place (ordered!) Whosoever said that the powerful really likes to endorse harmony!
HAVEN'T WE HAD ENOUGH OF onE DEVASTATING COLD WAR ALREADY?
But that’s what had our (perceived) economy going.
DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER COLD WAR?
For economic reasons, yes! We’ll be naïve to think that it is not in the works.
COULDN'T OUR REGIONAL INTERNETS INTERACT FREELY IN HARMONY?
That depends upon the regional governments!
What really is or will be has nothing to do with what should be for harmony and that’s where we come into picture – the like minded subjects
willing to do whatever it takes (?) to establish harmony.
Your sojourner in peace and harmony,"
American Global Harmony Association (AGHA)
Introductory Meeting, January 6, 2010
Dr. Laj Utreja, AGHA President
Attendees: Arlester Mcbride, Laj Utreja, Charles Merceica, Noor Gillani, Dominica Mcbride, Lana Yang (on skype)
Meeting Objective: Develop AGHA charter - next steps
Summary of the views expressed:
- We are living in times marred by great insecurities from the warmongering nations and the terrorists alike. Question is how do we go about creating harmony among people already divided based on their faith, race, culture, gender and geographical origin with the threat of uncertainties?
- Sent letters to Pres. Obama and Pres of Russia to starting a peace academy.
-The letters and responses were published in Harmonious Civilization.
- In support of the vision to ultimately open a Global Harmony and Peace Academy to provide Peace Education as the ultimate goal, the immediate goals for today’s meeting are to: present a working slate of officers; create a vehicle in which to work; begin with concrete, practical and “doable” goals, for example, a project for 2010
- Executive Committee:
President – Laj Utreja
Vice President-General Administration – Arlester McBride
Vice President-Youth Programs – Noor Gillani
Vice President-At Large – Lana Yang
Advisor (IAEWP) – Charles Merceica
YGHA Liaison – Dominica Mcbride
- How to increase membership over and beyond GHA members in the USA – We should reach many people using a vehicle that can reach a large audience.
-Each member involved should recruit 10 competent and peace-oriented people to join AHGA by the end of 2010.
-Initially one person from each of the 50 states should be recruited.
-It was proposed that Lana Yang could be a AGHA liason for China, but Lana the following:
- Consider consolidating organizations with similar goals and objectives by placing our collective energy around fewer projects and focusing on improvement and enhancement (e.g., placing collective energy into IAEWP instead of having 4-5 organizations and spreading ourselves thin).
- Need emphasis on membership and funding.
-Use internet to generate membership and funding.
-An issue was raised on how IAEWP resources would be utilized in achieving AGHA goals. (One view was that membership fee for one organization may buy complementary membership into the other). The other views are listed below:
- One view was that GHA and IAEWP should merge.
- The principles of merger of the two organizations should be adopted and the logistics can be a continued discussion.
- The essence of the organizations should be sustained without losing the identity of either one of them.
- What are we really trying to accomplish with both organizations? We must be neutral when we push our agenda. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we don’t defeat our purpose.
- IAEWP has done many wonderful things but has also met many oppositions.
- Digest all the information and make an informed and well thought-out decision keeping in mind all the time and energy being exerted into present organizations.
- One source of funds is membership annual fee.
- The annual membership fee for the two organizations could be combined so that a member can pay one fee for membership in both organizations
- GHA related intentions were solicited in December; we’ll select an intention from all presented that will be disseminated to all GHA members. The intention should be a practical intention that is needed in current global affairs. Our intent is to mobilize all people and the environment through our intention.
-The intention will be spoken in unison on a preselected date and time,
-The same activity can be duplicated in YGHA.
- Meetings should be held biweekly.
-Next meeting tentatively scheduled for Jan. 27, 2010; location TBA.
-Agenda will include:
-Our central intention for the year towards harmony.
-Need to give priority for structuring a budget.
-Several points that Charles raised about the two organizations in a separate email.
-In private conversation Lana suggested to reconsider the name AGHA in lieu of the fact that AGHA is the American Chapter of the GHA.
-Leo should be informed of the meetings contents and possible next steps.
American Global Harmony Association (AGHA)
Dr. Laj Utreja, AGHA President
American Global Harmony Association (AGHA) is a subsidiary of Global Harmony Association (GHA) in the USA. The mission of AGHA is consistent with its parent association, GHA which partners with individuals and groups, working in diverse disciplines, who have crafted creative solutions to various environmental and socio-cultural problems rooted in shared core values, including whole systems, (anticipatory) thinking, a view of all life as interdependent, and sustainable mutual aid.
Within the scope of the GHA mission, specifically, the mission of the AGHA is to promote harmony and peace through education and understanding. AGHA envisions partnering with individuals and groups from all walks of life in the USA to collectively craft holistic solutions for a harmonious society leading to a peaceful and sustainable world. The crafted solutions will be promoted through teaching and training via many available state-of-the-art Information Technology (IT) modes. AGHA places equal regard for contributions from all disciplines of physical and social sciences, philosophical and religious thoughts, political and economic systems, and faith and cultural traditions, all connected together as sub-systems of the same one system, called knowledge. The collective knowledge becomes wisdom if infused with human values to share and utilize the earth’s resources in an equitable and responsible manner so that we leave our children a world better than we inherited from our parents.
The major objective of the AGHA is to build American Harmony and Peace Academy (AHPA) offering curriculums suited for harmony and peace. Many goals will be considered and evaluated to select and execute those that meet the highest expectations of all involved.
An organization of such a scale has the potential to make and can make an effective and meaningful impact in the world to fulfill its objectives. But the objectives or the organization is as good as the people willing to carry its goals to fruition. It is, therefore important that the members commit to an organizational structure with procedures in place to designate, assume and execute responsibilities so that the objectives of the association are carried forward in a meaningful and time-effective manner. The members continually challenge the organization to further the cause of the association by taking responsibility based on personal interest and acquired skills to make AGHA a vehicle to promote peace.
The members fulfill the following criteria:
1.All participants, who are in agreement with the mission and objectives of the association.
2.All participants, who actively vote for Harmony Action Plans (HAP) either via web-based or face-to-face meetings to be determined.
Organization Structure and Procedures:
1.The governing body ofAGHA will be comprised of: a) The Board of Trustees, and b) The Executive Committee
All affairs of AGHAwill be managed by the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee.
2. The Board of Trustees shall consist of: 1. Founder of the GHA, ex-officio President, and 2. Members (international appointees as advisors and consultants interested in the works of AGHA as vehicles to bring peace in the world). There is no upper limit to the members of the Board of Trustees. The responsibility of the Board is to solicit national and international cooperation that would emphasize both, technology and humanity to benefit the entire human race to cultivate harmony and sustainability, and in that regard solicit venue(s) and funding for the AHPA.
Founder of the GHA is Dr. Leo Semashko
3.The Executive Committee shall consist of: 1. President, ex-officio member to the Board, 2. Vice President, General and Administration, 3. Vice President, Youth activities, 4. Vice President, Business and Finance, and 5. Secretary. In addition, there will be several Standing Committees (such as information technology (IT), programs, membership, fund-raising, publicity and public relations). The Committee Chairs are selected by the Executive Committee based on their demonstrated outstanding volunteerism and time commitment to Committee activities. The responsibility of the Executive Committee is to execute the objectives of the AGHA to further its cause in association with the Board Members.
The first nominated and elected president is Dr. Laj Utreja
Vice President, General and Administration nominee is Dr. Arlester McBride
Vice President, Youth activities nominee is Dr. Noor Gillani
4. An election for the new Executive Committee shall be convened by the Past President prior to the end of his/her term for replacement of one or more of its officers and/or outgoing Committee Chairs.
5. The term of the Executive Committee and each of the Committee Chairs shall be for four years.
6. The voting of officers shall be done by the popular consent of the members.
7. A mid-term vacancy in any of the Committee Chairs can be filled by either: a Board Member, or by a member of the Executive Committee.
8. Any member of the governing body (excluding the founder) for failing to fulfill the responsibilities of their respective offices can be removed of their tenure by a majority vote of the members.
9. The outgoing president and/or advisor to the president shall be available as advisor for the Board for the following year.
10. The Board Members would oversee the General Body Meeting convened by the President of the Executive Committee. The president must apprise the General Body of the agenda for the AGHA and the HAP prepared by the Executive Committee and the membership for their review, input and adoption.
Responsibilities of the Board:
- Selecting, nominating and facilitating the AGHA.
- Appointing, and nominating, once a year, a GHA representative at the AGHA.
- Appointing advisors, consultants, and others interested in the works of AGHA.
- Opening dialogs with agencies known to have ideologies different from the objectives of GHA (but regarding them as such) for the purpose of finding common grounds.
Responsibilities of the Executive Committee:
- Preparing HAP for the AGHA. The HAP will be ratified by the members before submitting it to the GHA.
- Maintaining activities, schedules, HAP resolutions, accounts and archival documents on the GHA website to ensure open sharing of information.
- Taking steps to ensure that the HAP resolutions include inputs from all members who contribute constructive ideas, plans, and approaches for peace.
- Taking steps to ensure that the HAP resolutions reach the international agencies responsible to look at such resolutions as voices of the international bodies.
- Nominations for the new and vacant Committee Chairs.
- Ongoing GHA communications (including HAP) by email and on the website.
- Engaging an external organization officer (an Advisor to the President) to audit the activities of the AGHA.
General Body Meetings:
1. General Body shall be composed of members as defined above. The current list of membership is the US based members of the GHA furnished by Dr. Leo Semashko.
2. The Executive Committeeshall conduct three web-based General Body Meetings during a calendar year. Additional General Body Meetings can be called by the Executive Committee at its discretion or by an email signed request of 10% of the membership.
3. Notice of General Body Meetings will be posted by the secretary. The first general body is on January 19, 2010. Agenda will be emailed to the membership
4. Announcement of the General Body Meeting and proposed amendments approved by the Executive Committee shall be posted at the AGHA website, communicated via email to the membership not less than 15 days nor more than 45 days prior to the meeting date.
5. For passing HAP, a minimum of one-tenth of voting members must be present at a General Body Meeting or a simple majority of votes shall carry the motion. Approvals by the General Body can also be obtained by a documented electronic process (returned emails or documentation on a webpage).
I'll express my views on GHA and YGHA and the project YCHA.
The essential idea behind GHA is trusting the other person from a different background and if we trust the other person then we can live with the other person in harmony. YGHA offers GHA a vehicle in which to start the process of trust at an early age.
Earlier this year I was selected for 'Leadership Huntsville' program offered by the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. In the very first class they made us undergo certain civil defense exercises (such as jumping from a 30' pole, swinging from a rope 80' high, and walking on a rope 30' high). The idea was to develop trust (of the person who will rescue you), listening (for instructions) and communication (to express your preparedness). It was a good team building exercise.
In YCHA, we need to come up with practical set-ups (games, disciplines, etc.) in which people from different ethnic, national racial, cultural and religious backgrounds interact with each other and have to depend upon the other for some thing or the other. This exercise internalizes trust in addition to any theoretical training we may offer. Moreover, anything outside and practical gives them (children, younger folks and the young adults) an opportunity to mingle and interact on many levels over and above a classroom instruction.
I think while preparing instruction material for the YCHA project we need to bear in mind how:
1) we'll develop their listening comprehension, 2) their ability to participate and interact among each other, and finally 3) how we can make them trust each other.
Your statement, 'for there to be successful non-violent action, one has to keep in mind that there must always be a second act for which one must be prepared' has motivated me to address certain factors that may be neede for the 'second act' or for that matter what that 'second act' must be.
Mahatma Gandhi left a legacy through living what he believed in and challenged the future generations to attempt to embrace and practice this moral virtue of nonviolence as an alternate possibility of sustaining societies, nations and civilizations. He did it through the sheer power of truth by walking the talk.
In that sense, nonviolence is not a standalone action for a world already plagued by the class structure of the 'Haves' and Have Nots' and the 'Powerful' and the 'Powerless' by further subjecting it to the cures of 'free economy' and the rampant denial of truth by the forces of the 'Haves' and the 'Powerful' in conducting their abuses against the voiceless vast majority. Some are even brainwashed by the politicians to an extent that even those affected are unable to fathom the abuses done to them and adhere to the partisan views without using common sense.
Nonviolence without an 'individual' and 'collective will' to adhere renders the principle useless. Leaving it for the victim as a defeatist idea and a display of weakness builds societies and nations into a 'reaction continuum' tearing the moral fiber that weaves the society into a healthy society. The universe is sustained by underlying laws intrinsic to each element of the universe. Consequently, the world we live in cannot be sustained through 'two laws under one rule' (another quote of Mahatma Gandhi), one for the 'Haves' and one for the 'Have Nots.'
Whereas it may not be practical to write a legislation against 'greed' and 'arrogance of power' (and both have been regarded as demonic values in the Bhagavad Geeta), I don't see any reason for a democratic country not to have the same income tax (or a sales tax on one's use age of resources) for all citizens without provision for any deductions. Nor do I see any reason for a democratic country not to make available of the same education and health care for all citizens. These initiatives are the building blocks of the moral fiber that will weave into a society ready to practice the higher value of nonviolence.
Nonviolence is neither an impractical 'inaction' nor an impossible virtue to practice. It requires our collective will to resolve any issues through a dialog with an intent to understand the other side rather than framing or branding the other side and thus brainwashing those affected (for lack of participation) against the other side. If the people of the world are mobilized through the 'second act' of adopting nonviolence as the only means to resolve conflicts and urging their respective governments to declare wars to be illegal, I don't see any power that can stand against human will.
I'm willing to work with you to find the 'second act.'
Founder, Institute of Spiritual Healing
A non-prescriptive way of life to total health and happiness
in harmony with the environment
Founder, Institute of Spiritual Healing
Ayur-Living fulfils a long-felt need in non-prescriptive life-style by providing theory and practice for the most possible perfect health for an individual through a step-by-step program. Consistent with Vedic philosophy, the author, Laj Utreja shows how simple disciplines of postures, breathing, concentration and regard for the environment can be cultivated. Irrespective of the individual’s past history, the disciplines bring about subtle and physical changes with marked improvements in the individual physical and mental health generally not possible by other programs.
Ayur-Living present disciplines which with practice rejuvenate the body, balance the mind, sharpen the intellect and help mature the person to accept their circumstances. Major health benefits of the practice include relief from stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. The practice fights fatigue and laziness, restores body’s immune system, and inhibits extraneous thoughts leading to mental peace and happiness. Laj Utreja practices and teaches the disciplines of Ayur-Living with measurable success.
Published by Xlibris Corporation; will be available at book stores, December 2009; Copyright.
Two books based on the eternal precepts:
Some of the fundamental question that sooner or later each one of us grapples in life is whether there is more to life than our mundane existence. Some of the common questions such as “Who are we? Where are we coming from?” are too universal to ignore. Dr. Laj Utreja has endeavored into the search for answers to these questions through his life experiences, his engineering and scientific background and deep faith in the Bhagavad Geeta.
Over the span of his professional career in engineering, Laj has accumulated considerable training and experience in praanaayaama, yogaasana and ayurvedic healing and has developed a system of Healing Consciousness for wellbeing. He is founder of the Institute of Spiritual Healing where he teaches certain Vedic disciplines for the body to heal itself by developing healing consciousness. Healing consciousness is a state of effectiveness in any situation of health or sickness. For enquiry about the book, or healing, visit the website: www.instituteofspiritualhealing.com or write to: email@example.com
Laj has been an ardent student of Sanaatana Dharma for most of his adult life. He has given a myriad of talks on the various aspects of Sanaatana Dharma as part of cross-cultural understanding in many parts of the world. Laj often says, “Simplicity, common sense and faith are all you need to understand life.” He has practiced those principles during his endeavors in engineering, science, business and now in wellbeing. He enjoys walking on the beach, cooking vegetarian cuisine, painting in oil, studying and teaching Bhagavad Geeta. Laj lives in Madison, Alabama.
Who Are We?
Is there rebirth? How do we reappear? Do we have a choice in destiny?
We live in denial about death as if it would never happen to us. Yet it is the ultimate truth of life. But just as death is certain, so is life after death. Reincarnation is as real as we witness children being born and the others are dying. ‘Who are we?’ takes a provocative look at the Science of Reincarnation. In his book, “Who are we?” Dr. Laj Utreja explains in simple words the faith, science and philosophy of reincarnation.
The book is available at Amazon.com, AuthorHouse.com and can be ordered through Barnes and Noble bookstores.
What Is Our Origin?
What is the origin of this all? Does God have a form? Is our origin both, without and with form?
Are there consequences of our actions, or we just go away unchecked in life? We wonder about this facet of life especially when we witness disparities in life: some people getting away with murder and the others being imprisoned for doing good deeds; some undeserving people getting ahead in life and the other hard working people not getting what they deserve. “What Is Our Origin?” takes a critical look at the least understood ‘cause and effect’ principle called the Law of Karma.
The book is available at Amazon.com, AuthorHouse.com and can be ordered through Barnes and Noble bookstores.
- Provided managerial leadership for 5 years as President/CEO of a small business in developing corporate vision and strategic planning, organization planning, continuous improvement and change management and received George M. Low award, NASA’s highest honor for quality and technical performance to a small business.
- Provided technical leadership for 15 years as Technical Director/Program Manager in people management, team building and resource development. Directed scientists and engineers involved in aerospace technologies. Delivered quality products and won customer satisfaction.
- Conducted hands-on technology research and engineering studies for 15 years in the general areas of system studies with emphasis on launch vehicle technology, interceptor technology and system safety and reliability. Specific involvement included application of computational mechanics codes to compute field variables on complex aerospace configurations, protein crystal growth and human coronary arteries; hypervelocity impact analysis of space debris and mitigation, analysis of hypervelocity guns to accelerate mass to hypersonic speeds, lethality assessment following a kinetic impact of solids and liquids using impact mechanics codes; aerodynamic interaction studies; design of infrared systems and other components for interceptors and space vehicles; and engineering tests (e.g., aerodynamic wind tunnel tests, engineering bench tests) demonstrating competence in technology research and application.
- Taught graduate and undergraduate schools in mechanical engineering for 10 years and continuing education in philosophy for 15 years.
- Provided community leadership for 20 years in several civic and technical organizations. Participated extensively in interfaith dialog and cross-cultural understanding to strengthen the community.
Dr. Laj Utreja’s professional experience covers a wide range of disciplines related to the space programs and peace activities. He has worked in various capacities, as hands-on engineer, as technical leader in people management, and as CEO of a small business in developing corporate vision. In 2001, he received the George M. Low award, highest honor for quality and technical performance to a small business. He has taught courses in the Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has also taught courses related to Vedic Philosophy and Wellbeing for the Continuing Education at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Currently, he is a consultant with Tec-Masters, Inc., a small engineering services company in Huntsville, AL.
Over the span of his professional career in engineering, Laj has accumulated considerable training and experience in praanaayaama, yogaasana and ayurvedic healing and has developed a system of Healing Consciousness for wellbeing. He is founder of the Institute of Spiritual Healing (ISH). ISH has developed several programs such as Ayur-Living, Healing Consciousness, Living in Harmony, Peace Consciousness. Two special programs, the Art of Ayur-Living (AAL) and Seven Weeks to Ayur-Living (SWA) have been developed for people, who may not have dedicated time for specific disciplines for total health and rejuvenation. Both, ASM and SWA comprise several disciplines that can be worked into their daily routines. Major health benefits of the practice include relief from stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. The practice ASM and SWA fights fatigue and laziness, restores body’s immune system, and inhibits extraneous thoughts leading to mental peace and happiness.
Laj has been involved in leadership roles for several civic and technical organizations: The Huntsville Helpline, The EST Steering Council of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, The North Alabama International Trade Association, The Huntsville Association of Technical Societies, The Huntsville India Association, The Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the International Academy of Astronautics. He is also a recipient of two U.S. patents. Currently, Laj serves on the Board of Interfaith Mission Service (IMS) in Huntsville, AL.
Laj has been an ardent student of Sanaatana Dharma for most of his adult life. He has given a myriad of talks on the various aspects of his faith as part of cross-cultural understanding to various groups and organizations in the USA. His reverence for Bhagavad Geeta has in part motivated him to write his two books, “Who are we?” and “What is our origin?” He has taken concepts and ideas from Vedic philosophy and integrated them with personal experiences to explain universal precepts in his books. The books are available at www.amazon.com and www.lajutreja.com.
January 1, 2009
Keynote Speeches in 2008:
- The University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL, April 1, 2008.Topic; Just War – A Sanatana Dharma Perspective
- The Light of Christ Center, Huntsville, AL, Sept. 6, 2008. Topic: Healing Consciousness
- 18th IAEWP World Congress, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 29-31, 2008, Distinguished Speaker
Topic; Dharma – The Most Important Consideration for World Peace
- Geetam University, Vizag, India, Nov. 4, 2008. Invited speaker. Topic; Healing Consciousness in Management
- Andhra University, Vizag, India, Nov. 5, 2008. Invited speaker.
Topic; Intellectual Property Protection and Human Values
- Gayatri Temple, Vizag, India, Nov. 6, 2008. Invited speaker. Topic; Healing Consciousness
Speeches in 2008:
- Sanatana Dharma and its Practice, Calhoun Community College, Huntsville, AL, Jan 31, 2008
- The Hindu Trinity and the Associated Potentials, Hometown Pilgrimage, The Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama, Huntsville, AL, February 2, 2008
- Manifestation According to the Hindu Faith, Pilgrims from the Church of Nativity, Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama, Harvest, AL, April 21, 2008
- The Hindu Belief system, Madison Academy, Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama,Harvest, AL May 12, 2008
- Diversity of Faiths in Huntsville, Chinese Students, Office of International Programs, University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Multicultural Center, Huntsville, AL, July 28, 2008
- Science of Reincarnation, Alabama Association of Physicians from Indian Origin, Huntsville, AL, August 2, 2008
- The Hindu Pilgrimage, The Visitors from St. Paul Church, New York, the Multicultural Center, Huntsville, AL September 21, 2008,
- Pranayama, Global Mala, Flying Monkey Art Center, Huntsville, AL, August 7, 2008
- Pranayama, India Day, Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN September 27, 2008
Short Courses in 2008
- Principles of Ayurveda and Ayurveda Cooking, Unity Church on the Mountain, Huntsville, AL, Jan 19, 2008
- Seven Weeks to Rejuvenation, Unity Church on the Mountain, Huntsville, AL, March 2 –April 13, 2008
- The Cause of This All, Continuing Education Department, University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL April 3 – May 8, 2008
Seven Weeks to Rejuvenation, Trinity United Methodist Church, Huntsville, AL, May 7 – June 18, 2008
Vedic Principles of Harmonious Living for Peace Education
Laj Utreja, Ph.D.
Institute of Spiritual Healing, Madison, AL
The Vedic civilization predates history and existed over a landmass called Aryavarta (from the present day Turkey in the west to Mongolia in the northeast to the Indonesian islands in the southeast). The Vedas comprise pieces of knowledge revealed to Rishis (the ancient seers), who passed on their wisdom through the oral tradition (from a teacher to his disciple) that continues to this day. At a specific time in the history of the cyclic world the Vedas are codified by a certain sage, known as Vyaasa. In the current cycle, the Vedas were written approximately 5100 years ago by sage Vedavyaasa.
The Upanishad part of the Vedas cover common human concerns about life and death, happiness and suffering, prosperity and poverty, the eternal and the transient in question and answer form. The four Vedas are essentially divided into two portions, ‘knowledge’ and ‘action.’ The knowledge portion describes the existence, potential and completeness of the ‘eternal,’ which is same in all beings and the action portion throws light on human actions to discover the transient nature of the material things of the world and the ultimate goal of human beings.
The knowledge and action of the Vedas cannot be studied in isolation; they produce merit only when practiced just as one would compose music for a new lyric or compose a new piece of art. only when an action is performed that the underlying thought draws its energy and both thought and action become subject to consequences. This is the basis of the continuity of the universe and its contents. That is why, the concepts such as, ‘karma,’ ‘dharma,’ ‘reincarnation’ and ‘oneness of everything’ may initially sound hard to understand, but they are as amenable to scientific enquiry as are physical laws for physical actions. The universe according to the Vedas is summarized below.
There are two fundamental entities in the universe – Purusha (the conscious principle) and Prakriti (the unconscious principle). The entire universe is a manifestation of Purusha in accordance with the associated Prakriti. Purusha enters into beings through Shiva (the life and death principle) and possesses associated Shakti (potential) of its being. Each element of the universe possesses its nature (bent of mind and physical attributes and properties) through a specific combination of the three modes of prakriti – sattva (thoughts, purity, balance of energy and matter), rajas (energy, action and mobility) and tamas (matter, inaction and inertia) and expresses its nature through ichcha (intention, will or desire), gyana (knowledge) and kriya (action).
Once manifested, the universe is sustained on dharma (the sustaining principle). The concept of dharma lies in rita, the law and order of the world and its progression that follows a course of events. Rita stems from Sanaatana Dharma (eternal precept) and is therefore eternal. Sanaatana Dharma introduces rita as the ultimate order for maintenance and preservation of the manifested universe. The application of Rita in vyavahaara (established rules and practices) of human beings (also an outcome of manifestation), in their various stages of life and stations in a society, is dharma.
Correspondingly, dharma represents practical approaches for adopting Sanaatana Dharma in different family traditions, business transactions and trade practices, under all social and political conditions. All aachaara (behavior) and vyavahaara during the human endeavors for artha (security) and kaama (pleasure), in the conduct of governance and rule, law and order, education, business, trade, science, philosophy, law, agriculture, performing arts, and other orders of society, performed according to dharma in space-time continuum provide the natural course of living in harmony and with the least impact on the environment.
The Vedic philosophy of living in harmony with the environment is clear from the statements such as, “Vasudeva Kutumbakam” – The whole world is one family; “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu” – May all worlds live in peace; and “Sarve bhavantu sukhina, sarve santhu niramayaha, sarve bhadrani pashyantu, ma kashchid dukha bhag bhaveta” – May all living being be happy, free from pain and suffering, and may all see good in others and find peace. Vedic culture maintains a great regard for women, the environment and nature. The vedic verse says, “Matri devo bhavah” – Respect your mother as god. The Earth is symbolized as mother as well; mountains, rivers and trees are considered sacred. Every Vedic deity is associated with a particular animal as its vehicle.
The Vedic seers had mastered both the science of the spirit and matter and through that knowledge some sages had built masterpiece cities such as Indraprastha and palaces such as Sone ki Lanka, developed airplanes such as Pushpak Vimaana, fire-producing missiles such as Agni-baana, and rain producing missiles such as Megha-baana, etc. However, the application of sciences was such that the products never caused any environmental damage.
Vedic thinkers were aware of the human mind, its perceptions of reality and also limitations of the spoken word. So they proclaimed the maxim, “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudah Vadanti” – “Truth is one but the learned ones express it in different ways.” The statement essentially accommodates all religious interpretations of the same God.
Today’s world is replete with conflicts, sectarian violence, corporate greed and arrogance of power; only the Vedic philosophy can bring about a positive change. Therefore, in today’s polarized world of the Haves and Have-nots, and the powerful and powerless, because we have to share our resources in global trade to fulfill our common need for food, water and energy, dharma offers the single most effective choice for global peace and a sustainable society.
Reflections on Peace from Vedic Perspective
The Vedic Concept of Peace is summarized by Swami Bhaskarananda as follows: The rulers think that punishing the peace-breakers will bring peace. The oppressed think that eliminating the oppressors will ensure peace. The nations think that destroying or subduing the enemy nations will create peace. But the wise say that ever-enduring peace can never be obtained through external means. one who has found inner peace has indeed found peace that abides forever. Through spiritual discipline alone this inner peace can be acquired. one who has found peace within transmits peace to others by one’s own life’s example. Therefore, say the wise, may all try to create peace within, before trying to create any temporary or superficial peace in the world through external means.
The Vedic seers saw the wisdom of affirming peace for any activity, such as at a meeting, a meal or a prayer. It is a common practice to utter the word Shanti (Peace) thrice at the end of every prayer. The practice indicates the three dimensions of peace, namely the individual peace (for the soul), peace from the gods (for the mind) and peace from the five elements, namely, the earth, water, fire, air, and the ether (for the body). When all these are in peace, they make a person's life peaceful. The Vedic seers did not see life in isolation. They considered themselves as part of the whole. Hence they sought peace in the whole universe. A quotation from the Vedas reads, “Vasudeva Kutumbakam – The whole world is one family.”
We cannot talk about peace in isolation or without context. The philosophy of inequitable utilization of the Earth’s resources by the military and economic powers is flawed; the notion that humans everywhere may not aspire to equal rights is exacting its full price. The same is true of attacks anywhere symbolized by the events of 9/11 and violation of human values: if there is a war, there would be a consequence; if there is injustice, there would be a consequence; if consumerism is imposed on cultural values, there would be a consequence; if we put a blind eye on arrogance of the powerful, scandals of politicians and greed of people and corporations, there would be a consequence. It is only in the purview of the powerful person, community or nation that justice can and must be maintained. Otherwise it goes against our creed, “In God we trust.” Will we still believe in an almighty God who is unjust?
Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparti in India says, “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character there will be harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home there will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” He further says, “Through world peace, individual peace too can be cultivated. When food is taken by the hand to the mouth, chewed and swallowed, the essence spreads to every part of the body. So also, if the hands are changed in acts promoting peace, and the tongue engaged in prayers for peace, by these two means the essence of peace will spread to all parts of the world, which is but the body of the Lord. The peace of the world is the basis for genuine peace.”
The development of mind to live in peace with the environment (family, society, nation, the world and the objects and the events therein) is prerequisite to living in peace. The simple philosophy of “live and let live” alone can change our mindset to look at others just as us. History can testify that no powerful nations, no oppressors, and no terrorists have been able to achieve their objectives or change the minds of people except satisfying their arrogance, supremacy or blind faith, besides the destruction of life and property. The Vedic peace invocation reads, “May the creator, cosmos, space, earth, waters, herbs and vegetation be at peace; may there be peace and only peace that may enhance my peace.”
The quality of living in harmony or balance with the environment around us in peace is possible by our willingness to do so. While willingness to live in peace may not come natural to all, a certain life-style can assuredly transform any human mind to accept the other and develop an attitude of forgiveness. We live in a world full of deep-rooted ignorance, hatred, jealousy and delusion that: the only way to bring order is through military action; free global-trade without rules and regulations can by itself stabilize economies; only one way of thinking and belief can bring personal salvation; amassing unneeded material wealth can bring happiness and to do so one can lie, cheat and break the laws so long as one is not caught. These delusions can only disturb harmony and create unstable societies. These negative thoughts can be mitigated only through certain training that may attune people to their divine origin and arouse the sense of eternal connectivity that is forgotten. That is exactly what is missing in today’s world.
The Real World and Conflicts
We live in a complex world with extremes in the standards of living in the midst of primeval strong beliefs. on one side we witness an awe-inspiring technological progress and weapons of mass- destruction (WMD) with capacity to annihilate cities and nations. on the other we face our willful denial of human values. While we are pushing our ability to adjust in the world of contrasts, commonsense thinking is being brainwashed with provocative selfish rhetoric by politicians. So how are science and technology and politicians impacting an individual and the society?
The application of science to commercial products has impacted individual life in a very profound manner from adding creature comforts to improving human performance in practically all aspects of life and pursuits of endeavor: food, energy, transportation, sports, medicine and entertainment. Simultaneously, in military applications, it has afforded us weapons that individuals, societies and nations can use to cause destruction of infrastructure and property, wipe out vast populations and inflict suffering on the survivors. War monger individuals, communities and countries have created the belief that disputes can be settled only by violence and war.
Effect of the misuse of science on human psyche is immeasurable and seems irreversible. The wars deplete enormous resources and cause unimaginable destruction; their effects persist for a long duration of time. They affect all: the instigator, the warring parties, and the vast mass of innocent people who are not responsible for these decisions, but live in areas controlled by the other two. Therefore, we must not use science and technology to invent such weapons to enforce our ideology on those who differ from us and expose the human species to the threat of extinction. So what are we up against?
All human beings do not think alike or feel alike. Consequently, there is no escape from having to encounter differences. Any difference can lead to intolerance, buried intolerance can lead to confrontation, and sometimes confrontation can become hostile leading to conflict. The objects that put one on the path of confrontation and conflict are therefore very important in understanding 'conflict.' Equally important are the means (tactics and instruments) that one uses to engage in conflict. Both, the objects and the means of conflict affect the individual as well as the society or the nation in which, or on behalf of which one (individual or a country) wants to engage in conflict. Simultaneously, the problems due to differences cannot be solved simply by saying that conflicts are inevitable in the life of the individual and the society.
Many of our conflicts result from: a) Economic disparity that has created wasteful affluence and extreme poverty, b) Technological progress that has created human isolation and depersonalization of mega-cities, c) Computer simulation of virtual pleasures that has created extra-human emotional gratification, d) Religious, cultural, and ethnic hatred and intolerance, e) Sale of technology and WMD that has created rogue nations, and f) Sharp decline in the practice of human values in favor of greed and arrogance. We need to understand the very basis of conflict, which is difference. The differences that really cause conflict are: human suffering, injustice and religious superiority.
How to resolve conflicts?
One of the most exploited values in the world is ‘human rights.’ While the underprivileged are being denied of the basic human rights for mere survival, many in the mainstream take advantage of the system by abusing human rights. Politicians further exploit the term by arousing human emotions by connotation. on the contrary, if we all did our duty, the question of rights does not arise, because individual rights are taken care of through the duties performed by the rest. Citizens render their duties mainly through their natural and acquired skills. Their other duties are consistent with their particular station and stage in life. However, human values of righteousness, love, nonviolence, peace and truth must never be violated during the performance of duty.
Duty of the head of a household or a country, on the other hand, is to protect their family or the citizens respectively against any aggression (armed or other). A president, for example, may call upon its armed forces to defend the country under situations that warrant defending his country. However, nonviolence or non-harming is the highest human value and the highest duty. How can this be duty if no action is to be performed? The answer lies in developing an attitude of harming no one even those attacking us. Is it passive? Just think, does it not require tremendous effort to resist a reaction if provoked?
Nonviolence draws strength from moral principles by using courage and fearlessness to protect the good, destroy the evil and maintain law and order. In that sense, one may have to commit violence out of compassion to protect the good, to destroy the evil and to maintain law and order so that justice prevails. That is the right use of violence and is still called nonviolence because that action (employing violence) is duty and results in nonviolence. Consequently, there is only one reason for which a war can be fought, if it is fought for dharma (to do justice for the stability of the society). What is justice? It is equal and same law for all people. So, war may be fought to maintain order and justice.
Violence is a reflection of our lower mind, which stores instincts – fear, anger, greed, jealousy and hate. They all have a basis in our ego that separates us from the rest of the world with the thoughts of mine and yours, success and failure and winner and loser. Peace, on the other hand, is a reflection of our common origin (universal consciousness). It happens when our higher mind takes charge of the lower mind and convinces it about our human connectivity with the universe and underlying oneness. Peace is the natural state of our mind, but because of ignorance, we look for it outside considering the others to be different from us. A troubled mind is not suitable to resolve a conflict and achieve peace. Therefore, we must undergo those practices that calm our mind.
Until we have peace in our own heart, we can’t hope for peace in the world. Since peace is inside all of us, it needs to be experienced, realized, discovered in meditation, maintained through self-control, and then radiated out to others. The non-injury is the first and foremost ethical principle. It is gentleness and nonviolence, whether physical, mental or emotional. It is abstaining from causing hurt or harm to all beings. In the light of the above discussion, the following factors must be understood to resolve and mitigate conflicts and achieve harmonious living:
- There is no difference and no conflict that cannot be resolved through discussion alone. Would any one of us kill our brother, sister, parents or children if they disagree with us? People, who give their lives for a cause (such as their country, community, or family, or a principle such as justice or peace) are also brothers, sisters, parents and children to their relatives.
- Fundamental obstruction to peace is injustice. Would any one of us be satisfied if injustice is done to us? There are oppressed and powerless people including the poor, illiterate, sick and elderly folks who do not have a voice in the mainstream. If a concerned person, group or a nation picks up their cause, they do not become outcasts or terrorists.
- Trust can be built only through love that provides a suitable environment for a dialog to understand conflicting viewpoints. In every family there are differences and misunderstandings. If we care for each other, we refuse to bring up issues that would further aggravate the situation and wait for suitable times when the anger cools down and we are able to talk to each other without losing temper. In the same manner, larger social and political issues can be solved by easing tensions and then engaging into dialogs, rather than provoking hostility by regarding the other unsuitable for negotiation.
- The core human values in all faiths, races and cultures are same. Human values are expressed through human conduct. We are different, because we are born in different geographical locations, different climates, different faiths, different cultures, and different political conditions. Irrespective of our origin, if we treat the other with respect, the chances are very high that the other will treat us with respect as well. The golden rule for human interaction is, “Do not do unto others, what you may not like to be done unto you.” It is a common sensical principle without regard to our affiliations.
- The United Nations Manifesto 2000, called for this decade to be a “Culture of Peace for the Children of the World”. It calls for: Respect all Life, Reject Violence, Share with Others, Listen to Understand, Preserve the Planet, and Rediscover Solidarity.
- Ayur-Living Education Ayur-Living is a mode of living that allows satisfaction in life by attaining perfect health compromised by the man-made environmental effects and living in harmony with one’s environment (people, objects and events) altered by misinterpreted meaning of freedom. In the sense of satisfaction, perfect health implies physical wellbeing, mental balance and spiritual awareness; living in harmony suggests achieving one’s potential without destabilizing the environment.
Ayur-Living begins from the basic understanding of who we are, recognizes the importance of being in harmony with the environment and prepares us to develop a sense of what a healthy body, calm mind and a sharp intellect can do to realize our natural potential. The sense of perfect health is developed through a set of disciplined actions that allow one to activate body's natural healing processes.
When thinking is clear and no universal values are compromised, there is no basis for mistakes or sickness and no impediments for pursuits.The practice of Ayur-Living results in an increase in energy and inner strength to bring out inner beauty. It propels individuals to endeavor into realizing their fullest potential by building character and integrity without compromising dharma and promoting harmonious living with the environment.
Whereas an appropriate resolution can be offered once the cause is known, Vedas offer some basic value system that affords means so that conflict may not even occur. The real answer lies in following rita (natural law and order) and dharma (code of conduct in human interactions). Rita appears as intent to follow the law and order; and dharma is satisfied by rendering individual duties.
Om maa bhraataa bhraatram dvikshan maa swasaaramutasvasaa,
Samayam chah saptataa bhootvaa vaacham vadata bhadryaa.
May we have good understanding with our neighbors and the members of our community! May our intellect lead us along the path of righteousness and generate the attitude of truth, service and cooperation in us.
Vedas have long professed, Aatmavat sarvabhooteshu – Look upon all beings as your own self.
The conflicts originate because of believed differences in the mind. It is in the mind alone that the differences are perceived. Therefore, in the mind alone one can reconcile differences. The mind should be prepared to accept the benefits of peace through education. Most people are still living in conditions unsuitable for developing minds to grasp the benefits of living in peace. They are ignorant about their faiths, human values, and the progress made in science, technology and medicine. only through education, they can become attuned to the spirit of good will, cooperation, and harmonious living.
The education must prepare us with a capability to revitalize our faith in the strength of moral principles so that collectively we help restore the social order. The intent of our actions must be pursuit of individual excellence without disrupting the harmony. To achieve that goal, we must develop a mind to assimilate only the good, the auspicious and the divine.
Purpose of Education
The purpose of education is to gain knowledge in the area of endeavor. Knowledge is gained by the transfer of information in the desired discipline. Information is the source of truth about people, objects and events. So the information on truth is the real purpose of education. According to Swami Vivekananda, education is the manifestation of perfection in human beings. Perfection in education is wisdom. Wisdom leads to oneness, unity and peace. Wisdom is not taught in schools because it is not in the curriculum.
Unlike the days of the distant yore, when children were sent to the gurukuls (the house of the teacher) at a very young age around 7, and would not return home until they completed their education (including wisdom), the education systems of today do not incorporate the teaching of wisdom as part of the curriculum. If we could only teach children the universal principles such as love, tolerance, and compassion from day one, both at home and at school, not only by word, but by example, by our conduct and behavior, the citizens of tomorrow would have those principles ingrained in them.
Our conduct and behavior must exemplify human values of the righteous conduct, love, nonviolence, peace and truth, which, according to Sai Baba, are the five pillars of human character. Character is build through love and security. While character is tested in dire situations of hunger, poverty and injustice, love and security are the only two viable means to impart any education with understanding. Children raised under the security of loving parents, who reward the children for good conduct and punish them for bad conduct grow up to be good and caring members of society. Just as at home, if reward and punishment are associated with the practice of human values in human conduct in all aspects of their interaction with the environment, people will have a motivation to practice those as well. And that would be real education.
When children are raised with love and care and sensitivity toward others in the family, in the society and the environment, they will exhibit love and care for all they come in contact with. If children are raised with a goal to excel in their natural talents and to compete in the sense of demonstrating excellence in their skills so that their excellence in their area of pursuit is in the spirit of service to the community they will correspondingly imbibe excellence in their endeavor for service to the community. If children are raised with certain disciplines and guidance they will be able to deal with any situation in life which demands the best out of them without unnecessary waste of mental energy. Such children will be more calm and peaceful. A society with such children will be more peaceful.
Finally, the purpose of education is not only to: teach the student a trade; prepare the student for productive careers; enable a student to earn a good income, compete to stay ahead of the other communities or nationsin technology, to preserve a particular doctrine, or to create good citizens, but to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the environment (people, objects and events).
The purpose of peace education must be to produce socially responsible citizens. A socially responsible person is one who is sensitive toward fellow human beings and the environment so that the society as well as the environment is sustained. The only sustaining principle is Sanaatana Dharma (the eternal precept), which does not change with space, time or human mind. one of its offshoots, called Samaanya Dharma (the general precept) reads, “Do not do unto others what you don’t want to be done unto you.” Let us take for instance the universal expectations: no one wants to be lied to; no one wants to be cheated; no one wants to be stolen from; no one wants to be hurt; no one wants to killed; and so on and so forth. Well then, should we therefore not: tell a lie, cheat, steal, hurt, or kill others?
Samaanya Dharma is the only principle that can assure peace and a sustainable society assured to last forever. Therefore, teaching of samaanya dharma is peace education. The purpose of peace education should be to sensitize the coming generation of students to rise above the artificial divisions of caste, color, creed, faith, race, culture, and others, which form the basis of disputes, and to lay the foundations of a just human order. The peace education must prepare the graduating students to rise above the narrow vested-interest of the various social, political and economic groups they become affiliated with when they join the workforce or become the members of a profession.
Samaanya dharma dictates that we should look upon all beings as our own self. The demonstrations and the real results that we’ve witnessed since 9/11 and the measures taken in response bear testimony to the new awareness of the futility and dangers of violent conflict, and the revulsion to war as a weapon to settle disputes. The real learning, therefore, is that we must not let our differences precipitate into violent conflict or war. once we perceive a conflict, it easily becomes prone to violent conflicts because of poor understanding of the other or the superiority of our own.
People everywhere have become conscious and concerned about the risks that conflicts bring and are interested in resolving conflicts. Conflicts lead to violence that leads to the destruction of life and property. But some powerful nations, extremists and fundamentalists have vested interests, so they instigate differences by brainwashing the masses or the economically marginalized by:
- building the feelings of fear, insecurity and/or hate thru clever propaganda
- making available the weapons of war easily
- building the sense of martyrdom and eternal glory
Any one of the actions listed above can only violate peace and only spread unrest and instability. If we look upon the other as our own self, we would only follow and teach samaanya dharma. Peace education, therefore, while it may teach about different geographical locations, climates, races, cultures and faiths, but it must teach the truth of human oneness. The concept of hurting the other is hurting oneself marks the foundation of global harmony and the world peace.
What should be included in peace education?
Peace is a state of when all are happy (justice prevails); there is rule of law (order prevails); all behave properly (righteousness prevails). Isn’t this true that only when we are at peace that we are able to think about peace or the rest. Therefore, before promoting peace, we must appreciate peace first. Correspondingly, we need to create an environment of peace that must begin at homes and in schools.
Situations of conflict arise when there is domination of an individual or a group over the other along the lines of class, caste, gender, nationality, religion, race or age. Conflicts also arise because of perceived biases, preconceived prejudices and misunderstandings based on sheer ignorance and unwillingness to know or understand the other. We live in an age of global economy in which people of different caste, gender, nationality, faith, race, culture, age and gender work together in a family or a business setup for a common goal. How should we create a harmonious society in which everyone excels in their nature-born talents and are rewarded in a socially responsible manner? Whereas any education system must create curriculum to make us more civilized, peace education must enable us live in harmony with the rest of the environment.
The environment must provide us a sense of community, in addition to our individuality. Peace education must provide us a sense of human responsibility rather than human rights, which are violated only when we deviate from human responsibility. Let peace be the natural outcome of education. Therefore, peace education must begin with programs conducive for creation of an appropriate environment. The peace education in particular must:
·Prepare students to be sensitive to the needs of the other human beings. It is possible only when students are in good physical and mental health and are focused in learning.
·Enlighten students about the practice of human values in human conduct in all aspects of life so that they develop the sense of respect for all life. They must be taught similarities and differences among different faiths, races, and cultures, so that collectively they can respect individual freedom in belief, worship and pursuit of the means of living.
·Afford students respect for law and order equally applicable to all independent of individual economic status and position of power. It is possible when they see the reward for the practice of human values in following the law and serving the community.
·Challenge students to their responsibility for the environment. It is possible by emphasizing the destabilizing effects of: human greed, arrogance of power and wealth for personal gains. They must also be taught how media is being used to by the businesses to orient their mind toward, sex, violence and consumerism.
·Empower students with the strength of character and integrity to resolve any conflict through the power of discussion alone. It is possible when all conflicting parties are brought together on the discussion table to gather all the facts. It is once again possible by emphasizing the destabilizing effects of arrogance of power and wealth for unilateral actions.
It is envisioned that the following five programs would lay the foundation for peace education in any system of teaching. However, their implementation in the various grade levels (K-12, and college level) would require planning taking into account the local factors.
IPrograms that mold the children to receive peace education must start with their physical and mental health. Besides their natural inclination for particular sports, maintenance of their general physical and mental health, including relief from any addiction, substance abuse, ADD and ADHD can be assured only through programs such as Ayur-Living:
1.The daily practice of the various techniques of Postures for physical health in Ayur-Living.
2.The daily practice of the various techniques of Breathing for physical and mental health in Ayur-Living.
3.The daily practice of the various techniques of Meditation for concentration and focus in Ayur-Living.
IIPrograms that prepare the children to receive peace education must instruct them on human values that will inculcate good attitudes, good behavior and good actions in their conduct. Simultaneously, they should learn about diversity of faith, race, and culture.
4.Development of courses in ‘human conduct in human interaction’ (a) at home, (b) in schools, (c) in social situations, (d) in business, and (e) in politics, and (c) the possibility of resulting personal and interpersonal emotional problems, and human responsibility.
5.Development of courses on diversity issues such as (a) different faiths and cultures and associated customs and traditions including food, clothing and festivals, (b) religious and cultural freedom, and (c) the possibility of personal, interpersonal social problems, and human responsibility.
6.Development of courses on social concerns such as (a) social (faith, race, culture, and gender) conflicts and human responsibility, (b) social (faith, race, culture and gender) justice and human responsibility, and (c) stress, psychosomatic illness that arise from social conflicts and their management.
IIIPrograms that prepare the children to receive peace education must provide instruction on rewarding good behavior and service to the community.
7.Development of courses on how to reward appreciation for human values.
8.Development of courses on competition in serving the community and how to reward those who serve the community.
9.Development of courses on collective responsibility and spirituality in every aspect of life: business, management, administration, and politics and so forth.
IVPrograms that prepare the children to receive peace education must instruct them on human interaction with the environment, a balanced view of human ingenuity and human neglect of responsibility. They must be taught factual knowledge about human progress in science and technology that has brought comforts and effectiveness into human life in addition to its impact on the environment. They must also be taught how the current economic state overpowered by greed and arrogance and compensation structure violates human dignity and human value degradation.
10.Development of courses on the use of our natural resources in a responsible manner. The courses must include: (a) environmental pollution of the earth, water and air, human responsibility in creating a safe environment (b) the well known effects of greenhouse effect and global warming and human responsibility, (c) the advent of plastic, the disposal of plastic waste, its impact on marine life and human responsibility, (d) agricultural chemicals and additives in food products, their effect on human health and human responsibility, and (e) the other day-to-day technological products, their impact on the environment and human responsibility.
11.Development of courses on (a) big businesses, their disproportional profits and human responsibility, (b) influence of big businesses on scientific freedom and law and human responsibility, (c) global trade, its impact on local businesses, and human responsibility, and (d) the use of media to orient the young minds into sex, violence and consumerism, because of its impact on human development..
12.Development of courses on (a) meaningful discussion on the understanding of capitalism, free trade and need for rules and regulations (c) meaningful discussion on the disproportionate salary structure for CEOs, actors, fashion models and human responsibility.
VPrograms that prepare the children to receive peace education must instruct them on strategy of all nations to defend and protect against attacks from other nations and human responsibility.
13.Development of courses on (a) questions of war and peace, (b) need for building weapons of war (conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological), the cost to build weapons of war, their effectiveness in reducing tensions, causing destruction of life and property and human responsibility, and (c) effectiveness of dialog to reduce political tensions.
14.Development of courses on protection against common human enemies (a) human greed, self interest above the other (b) desire to dominate the other, (c) arrogance of power and wealth.
15.Development of courses on rewarding the nations for (a) engaging into dialogs to resolve conflicts, (b) teaching of peace education in their countries, (c) need for building weapons of war, (c) effectiveness of dialog to reduce political tensions, and (d) building a global network of people for peace.