I am Ved Prakash Gupta, a retired scientist and now I am developing the science of Yog.

My Beginnings

I started my career in 1977 as a scientist in the reputed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, India. I studied Particle Physics and Quantum Electrodynamics in my post-graduation from Delhi University. During the studies I was very much fascinated by the wave-particle duality and I used to contemplate for hours to understand Physics behind this behavior. I realized that the Physics only explains the behavior of matter, it does not explain the nature of matter and how it evolved. I wished to pursue research in this direction but in a government owned organization you cannot choose the field of your interest as funds are provided for the sanctioned projects only.

Consequently, I became associated with a project named Indus-I which is a Particle Accelerator developed to work as a booster for Synchrotron Radiation Source, Indus- 1. I was heading a team responsible for developing very high power pulsed supplies for powering the electromagnets for injecting and extracting the electron beam at various input and output ports. I had to veer off from Physics to Electronics, but since Electronics is my second love after Physics, it was not difficult for me to carry out this work.

The work was challenging and I was enjoying it thoroughly and I was successfully heading towards completion of the project. Unfortunately, I became a victim of lobbying, internal tussle and ego of higher authorities. I had to work under extreme stressful conditions which continued for more than a year and because of this I was in the grip of extreme depression. I had to undergo psychiatric treatment and simultaneously I was learning relaxation techniques from a mentor, a clinical psychologist because my breathing had become fatally irregular.

I  practiced relaxation techniques, a kind of Meditation, religiously for 2 years but still I was not able to relax because I could not focus my attention as guided by my mentor. The discursive thoughts continued distracting my mind and my breathing problem escalated further. I discussed the problem with my mentor many times. He told me unless the thoughts subsided I couldn’t focus my attention and I took charge of getting a solution to the problem for which I began  reading books and literature.

At the same time, I came to know about the beginning of a new research field known as the Science of Consciousness by Francis Cricks, winner of the Nobel prize for the discovery of helical structure of DNA. The objective of this research was to explore empirically the nature of consciousness by using brain imaging techniques such as functional MRI and PET scan and for which a concept of Neural Correlates of Consciousness was introduced. On the basis of my experience during meditation I had realized that consciousness can be studied better by subjective experience rather than by any physical means. I was already thinking of switching from Engineering to Physics because of problems in my job at RRCAT.  When I found that the nature of Consciousness can be explored from the perspective of Physics through Meditation, I committed to pursue the new field wholeheartedly. 

The Journey

One day, I came across a book on positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale in which the author explained that mind wandering occurs because the mind searches for the solutions  to problems you face in your environment and if an appropriate solution is provided to mind by auto-suggestion, it stops wandering. When I incorporated this idea of auto-suggestion with relaxation practice, it really worked. Within a month, I was feeling remarkable improvement in me. I stopped taking psychiatric medicines and my depression had cured to a large extent and I was feeling energetic as before.

Being a scientist, I did not follow any spiritual guru or online channels blindly and I explored the field of meditation first.  I found that there is no scientific approach in the practice of meditation and the channels and the spiritual gurus are making tall claims on the benefits of meditation.  These claims were false according to my earlier experiences.  There was a study on the claims of Meditation in universities like Howard and John Hopkins and the study did not endorse the claims.  I also found that meditation has developed into a market and nothing better can be expected.  Most spiritual gurus used Meditation as a medium to become popular and to attract crowds to their Ashrams.  The crowd, too, is least interested in learning meditation and they are more interested in seeking blessings from guru and Meditation is no more than a cult and one cannot go against the teachings of guru.

I began to explore this subject and found that the books of Swami Vivekanand on Yog, Bhagvadgita and Vedant can provide the true guidance.  I became convinced that the popular meditation techniques are not useful to develop the control over mind, that is, to develop the concentration of mind because it is not based on spirituality.  A complete control over mind can be attained by the practice of Yog developed by ancient Rishis of India and is described in the text “Patanjali Yog Sutra.”  I began decoding PYS and simultaneously started the practice of Yog according to eight limbs of Yog as described in PYS.  I also began studying Vedant and Bhagvadgita.  I contemplated what I studied.  After a long time I could find something as interesting and engrossing as Physics.  I was really learning new concepts and I was surprised to learn that in ancient India the Rishis were far ahead in exploring Nature than the modern scientists.

After practicing the Yog for a few months only, I found that not only the depression but all old diseases, such as the migraine, severe asthma and repeated infection, have begun to cure and the number of regular medicines which I was taking have begun to reduce.  This experience was dramatic and it was inspiring the scientist in me to explore scientifically the cause of this dramatic change.  My mental as well as physical health was improving as if I am undergoing some medical intervention.

In addition to all these improvements, I experienced and also observed carefully that during the practice of Yog my breathing rate is reduced by a noticeable amount.  I have read in a research paper on meditation published in America, according to which breathing slows down during the meditation.  My father was a spiritual person and he used to do meditation for a long time.  He was initiated by a Saint of Radhaswami philosophy, Sant Kirpal Singh Maharaj ji.  I got my first exposure to spirituality from my father.  He used to tell me the feats done by yogis in ancient India.  Once he told me that in ancient India yogis used to practice Yog in an underground pit covered with a thick layer of soil and used to spend days in the pit without oxygen. 

I became convinced that there is a strong relationship between the rate of breathing and the concentration of mind.  While studying philosophy, I came to know that there were discussions among philosophers on Mind-Body Relationship.  My favourite philosopher, Rene’ Descartes, was also a mathematician and a scientist who has written a book on meditation titled Meditations On First Philosophy.  He also introduced the system of Cartesian Coordinates in Mathematics.  Rene Descartes was first to propose the Mind-Body problem scientifically.  According to him, Mind can only be studied by its effects on the body and reduction in breathing rate during the concentration of mind was such an effect.          

I was overwhelmed to find that I have got a new and unique research field in which I will be able to study Yog with the help of devices and instruments.  So far the meditation and Yog was discussed on the basis of subjective experiences which cannot be recorded by the instruments. I began the development work to make devices and instruments to record the breathing pattern during the practice of Yog.

I employed my past experience in the field of electronics for developing sensors and the instrumentations for recording the breathing pattern which was necessary for assessment of progress in Yog Sadhana.  When I reached near attaining Samadhi, I experienced one more strong physiological effect which I have named WBC, short name for Whole Body Contraction.  When the concentration of mind increases, the muscles of the body begin to contract.  The contraction of muscles of the body makes the practice of Yog very gruelling in the advanced stage of Yog.  This contraction of muscles was found almost linear with concentration of mind.  Therefore, I developed devices and instrumentation to monitor the contraction of the muscles.  Now I have two parameters that are independently and directly related with concentration of mind and I call these parameters as the Yog parameters because these two parameters, namely Breathing Pattern and WBC are used to assess the progress in the practice of Yog.  My friend H.S. Vora who also retired from RRCAT developed the necessary software for recording the signal in a laptop.  The progress in the practice of Yog will be assessed by comparing the present signal with the previous signal. I am now developing a theory of mind that could establish a relationship between the Yog parameters and the concentration of mind. As I am progressing in the practice of Yog and attaining higher states of mind, known as Samadhis in PYS, I am developing a theory of mind to explain the various physiological effects in respect to the concentration of mind. For this I am studying Neuroscience, Physiology, Molecular Cell Biology. Spirituality is the basis of practice of Yog for which I am studying a commentary on Vedant written by Adi Shankaracharya Ji “ Brahma Sutra Bhasya ” and books of Swami Vivekanand Ji on Yog. I hope I will be able to develop a complete theory of mind by applying the philosophy 0f Advait Vedant to neuroscience.

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