Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tribute to my dad

The river was hurtling down the acutely descending slope. She was vibrant and alive as she cascaded joyfully. She had a sense of abandon and seemed unperturbed by what the variegated terrain held in store for her. The rapids smashed into a boulder and instantaneously, there was a shower of million little droplets that endeavoured to reach the inviting skies. In the process they scattered the light into it's spectral constituents lending a surreality to her existence. The very next moment she seemed to assimilate again resuming the unending journey as if nothing happened. She breathed life into the banks that showered their gratitude by breaking into a riot of violet and yellow blooms. Further on as she negotiated a bend, she appeared agitated forming eddy currents swirling into a whirlpool with a force that could destroy. This momentary self indulgence soon mutated to a schizophrenic serenity as she calmed down on more even ground. The Self effacing serenity reflected the clear blue skies with high fidelity. The onward movement continued but with a subtlety that mimicked stillness. She could never be still. Stillness in dynamism was her existential philosophy. She was a picture of "joie de vivre" in myriad forms sprouting and sustaining a plethora of life forms. Her life was moving on, imparting a velocity to all that crossed her path. The exuberance was infectious , the velocity making her buoyant and on occasions demonstrating scant regard to any force pulling her downwards. She definitely knew where she finally was headed but made no fuss about minor detours mandated by the unyielding geography. The occasional hurrying was not to reach the destination but rather a sense of urgency to live the moment to it's fullest. The opposing banks at times conspired to get close enough to snuff the life out of her . But after squeezing herself into obscurity she reappeared unfazed as a rivulet with an air of indomitability to resume her relentless journey. The banks could only momentarily obstruct the form but never the ideology of moving on. She appeared formidable and deep in certain stretches where it seemed impossible to know how deep the waters flowed. Here, she seemed to be very introspective and thoughtful, casually unflinching. In shallower stretches, the waters appeared turbid retaining an earthiness about herself . This turbidity became a sediment after a while and she again regained her pristine form about which she never ever had a doubt . As the journey continued, she seemed to be getting larger and more assertive of her presence. The terrain was more level and less undulating. This part saw her develop so much character to be able to absorb all the effluent and impurities that her subjects emptied into her. She was being used by so many rather indiscriminately but she never showed any dissent. Instead, she swallowed all the effulgent ingratitude stoically whilst never for a moment forgetting her inherent nature of moving on. She could not do otherwise. She was programmed to dilute all the toxic additions to her and yet retain the angelic ability to sprout and sustain life. She now seemed to slow down one last time and looked a bit fatigued as she navigated the deposits of sand in the delta. She effaced herself gradually as she merged into the ocean. Her form became imperceptible but she could still be flowing silently, formlessly as a current, true to her nature.
Such was my father,an eternal energy that could at best only mutate it's manifestation and be indiscernible to the uninitiated.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The complete seeking the complete

Science  has relentlessly  diversified into various established and emerging modalities to seek answers for the   hows  whats  whens  and wheres of this phenomenal  creation.These questions are yielding answers, which keep  evolving and  refining  as do our investigative tools  The answers paradoxically seem to generate further questions and the plot keeps  thickening. Scientific researchand technological progress amplify  the range of our sensory perception  to investigate the  realm of the micro, and  also  open a window  into the vast universe. These advances give the  impression  of getting tantalisingly close to the truth . 
This euphoria is aborted by realising that what seemed like the ultimate answer is actually a new set of questions.  " Fractals" discovered by Mandelbrot, are similar patterns repeating themselves at higher orders of dimension. If you magnify a fine area of fractal structure, you get increased information in proportion to the new scale. Thus, the world not only looks different to the observers at different scales, it also measures differently. In every day language, this  means that the deeper your understanding of a complex picture, the more meaningful nuances you can notice in it.
Science  has sharpened  the tools of reductionism and permitted  deeper access  into the microcosm. It is hyper fractioning the tangible  to the  point of intangibility.
The  monochromatic  reductionist approach  of scientific enquiry  may  eventually  have  to  metamorphose into a spectrum  to  throw light on the  "why " of this phenomenal creation.The  ultimate solution and understanding of the "what and how"    make the "why "more pertinent and inevitable. The anthropic principle suggests that  intelligent consciousness  which could comprehend the universe was the objective of creation. Quantum physics underlined the importance of the observer to validate the observed. It has to widen it's scope to  authenticate  the observer in this game of hide and seek where any phenomenon  ceases to exist in the absence of the observer. A  strictly epistemological approach may  explain the modus operandi of creation but it will fall despicably short  of  providing a rationale for creation. The "why" coerces scientific endeavour to introspect and  realise the worthlessness of it's fangs  of enquiry if the venom of how, what where and  when is replaced by a hypnotic potion  of why.  
Science is too egoistic to question it's own existence. It is too preoccupied in preening it's feathers and marvelling at their  splendour. It has the arrogance of " my way or the highway". The conceit of tangibility blinds scientific thought ; a veritable train of intelligence chugging along  on the track of logic  blissfully unaware why it began the journey in the very first place.
Often times, rationalist reductionism gives  the illusion of uncovering the truth. But this truth is relative to  the system attempting to uncover it. The absolute truth includes the seeker. This  unbroken wholeness in which, and through which we exist was brillantly captured by Gödel in the proof of his celebrated Theorem: it is possible to make true statements within a particular system that cannot be proved by use of the elements and logic of that system. This is simply because the system under consideration is organically interconnected with some larger system, which by itself is dissolved into another greater than it, and so on.. The part can never understand the whole.The search for the elusive Higgs Boson is in effect the search for what gives  matter its tangibility and this   is perceived by the intangible consciousness.  As  the adage goes, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, tangibility may  lie in perception and not be  an  apriori  measurable attribute of the perceived.
Chaos and Complexity entirely deniy the idea of analyzability of the world into separated parts. Parts simply do not exist.the Whole consists of Wholes. 
purnamadah purnamidam 'That is complete, this is complete'.
purnat purna mudachyate - 'From that completeness comes this completeness' 
purnasya purnamadaya - If we take away this completeness from that completeness'
purnameva vashishyate: 'Only completeness remains.'
This is a quote from  Upanishads.

  The  ultimate truth may  be  a state  of oneness (Advaita - Nonduality) , an assimilative   philosophy that realises the wholeness  of  the part    while  scientific enquiry will persist with reductionism  of the whole into  smaller wholes.

Dr Deepak M. Ranade

(The author a Consultant Neurosurgeon, is the co-organiser of the first national conference on Non-duality held by  World Peace Center, Alandi, MAEER'S  ,MIT  Pune on the 30th and 31 Jan 2012.) Details on

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The sine wave of human life

\“What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up.”This is a philosophical truth, that doubles up as a mnemonic aid to memorise the sine curve. The sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical function that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It is a universal wave function that is applicable in pure mathematics,physics,signal processing and many other fields. The sine wave typically has a positive excursion followed by a reversal and negative excursion on the yaxis when time is plotted on the x axis. It very effectively defines the movement of a particle on a circular path when seen from the centre of the circle.
Waves can be viewed as a disturbance in the medium around an equilibrium state, which is generally at rest. The energy of this disturbance is what causes the wave motion. A pool of water is at equilibrium when there are no waves, but as soon as a stone is thrown in it, the equilibrium of the particles is disturbed and the wave motion begins. Personal consciousness (mind body organism) or manifest form could well be a mere disturbance in the impersonal consciousness ( unmanifest )
Schrodinger's equation demonstrates all of the wave like properties of matter and was one of greatest achievements of 20th century science. It is used in physics and most of chemistry to deal with problems about the atomic structure of matter. It is an extremely powerful mathematical tool that rebuilds the basis of wave mechanics.

The human form is consciousness that walks this planet over the period of his/her life span. It is the union of the intangible ‘consciousness’ with the tangible ‘form’. This consciousness generates an identity for the form and of the form.
If the (0,0) co-ordinates of a x-y axis were the starting point of this life form, and a graph were to be plotted , with identity on the y axis and time on the x-axis, it would make a fascinating sine curve. The value for this identity that is generated with relation to the outer world, a relative identity, (objective identity) is given a positive value, and the identity that is generated  from within, or a subjective identity is given a negative value.
The first half of the upper half of the wave represents the gradual development of the identity of this form. Brahmacharyashram. It is in the positive deflection as it is in relation to the outer world. A clear cut demarcation of the self crystallises along with the trappings of insecurity, self-indulgence and selfishness. All these attributes are necessary for the self-preservation of the ‘form’. At this stage, the identity of the form is critical to ensure its survival, for, without this positive identity, the form would hardly be able to ensure its own survival. This self-importance of the ‘form’peaks to the point of a compulsion to replicate itself. . This ensures transmission of the blueprint and also the handing over of the baton of this identity to the next runner. To ensure the survival of this nascent form, the restrictive identification of the self itself decreases.

The downward trend indicates a shift toward self-effacement. However, this ‘self-effacement’ is contextual to ensuring the survival of the progeny. Grahasthashram.The selfless love of the parent is actually a modified nurturing for part of the self. But it does effect in shifting the focus of identity from the ‘self’ to beyond.
As this line intersects the x axis, it modulates the awareness this identity of the self yet again. It unleashes a sense of worthlessness in this contextual frame of relevance once the needs of the offspring and family have been settled. It marks the beginning of an inward journey that looks for a meaning within. Hence, it marks a negative deflection on the y axis of identity. Vanaprasthashram.
The first half of the downward wave shows a gradual tendency to being disillusioned with the relative identity. The identity looks for ‘self-actualisation’, the apex of Maslow’s motivational pyramid. The last upward surge of this curve represents a quest for an absolute identity- or, in other words, a search for the absolute. Sanyasashram. The absolute dispenses the outer and fixates on the inner. It does not require any extrinsic cognizing entity to be aware of itself. Cognizance, after all, is required for the sense of an identity
Its final intersection and merger with the x axis represents the stripping of all the identities and a realisation that all that remains is merely a sense of ‘amness’; the same ‘amness’ that life began with as a new-born.
The ‘peeling off’ of all the acquired identities after the outward former journey and the inner latter journey marks the end of all the excursions of identity. The end of the form as well as its identity is in reality, a merger with the infinite formless from where the form undertook this kaleidoscopic journey of assumed, imaginary identities.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The hard facts of decision making

Life is all about decisions. From the moment we begin the day right until we retire, we are constantly faced with the dilemma of choosing. The plethora of options seem to make the task formidable. Sometimes gratification, other times responsibility and quite often a mere adherence to the routine. The vacillations of the mind  do not simplify matters in any way. Very often, it compounds the dilemma . The mind after all is the naughty child within that quite often pushes us to the cookie jar to dip in just this one more time. It conjures all sorts of brilliant rationalism and justification for that moment. And this same devil later on unforgivingly assaults the conscience with strictures that dwarf the self-esteem. Life inevitably becomes a  see saw that rocks between hedonism and virtue, pleasure and duty, between self castigation and achievement.
Most of the decisions that we make are fraught with short term implications. And the stakes are not very high as well. The indulgence may at the most add a few pounds, or harden the arteries a bit. Might just prepone the inevitable.. Albeit, the extra pounds could pass off as a testimony to being well ensconced in our career.
There are times when we are faced with crunch situations. The points that have the potential to alter the course of our lives. The stakes could be high not only personally but also for those in the immediate vicinity. As the stakes rise, so does the hesitation. The head and the heart seem to wrestle for supremacy. The left brain keeps a strict debit and credit account of every alternative. The right brain pops up with very intuitive suggestions. The ego cautions one about what “the others” will say. The maverick within recommends the absurd.  Amidst this din and noise, the voice of the soul is totally hushed. Repeated attempts to evoke audibility makes it barely discernible..
This voice needs to be  amplified. It is a high fidelity(hi-fi) source that metes out an optimised option. Fidel to our true nature and personalities. The voice within is the voice that blends the reality with the dream. It harmonises the internal and the external. It is a holistic mix of practicality and possibility. It often gets discounted by seemingly wiser considerations, but wisdom is always in retrospect. The prospective is always speculation.
The feeling of being in total control while  make a decision is honestly an apparition. This is because our decisions are largely circumstance based. The circumstances are largely out of bound even for the most powerful and mighty. A decision is essentially a way out of the maze of circumstances. This maze is a construct that is unique in every situation. We certainly cannot position the maze as per our choice. The impact of the situational maze  restricts our decision  making  to a very narrow  bandwidth  of exercising our choice. Free will is restricted to an excursion on  this  turf  restricted by the circumstances . Priding ourselves about our achievements very often is a trespass of the uncontrolled  domain by our egos. It certainly makes for a heady high, but we must realise that the high is not solely because of our head.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Faith- An internal phenomenon
The existence of a fixed destiny has always been a source of speculation and fascination . The belief in the presence of an omniscient God who controls this destiny generates an environment of hope and the possibility of rewriting this indelible script. Factors that are beyond ones control contribute substantially to destiny . Faith, religious practices and spirituality serve as shock absorbers to negotiate the uncertainty and unpredictability in the journey of life. It is vital as a source of hope and optimism in trying times. Religion becomes a conduit between man and his faith- the tangible manifestation of the intangible. Faith modulates the internal rather than the external. Faith is fulcrum on which conviction and self-confidence are hoisted. This fulcrum can take any form. The objective is to derive mechanical advantage in accomplishing a task. Faith transforms the individual and not the environment. It lights up a lamp within to dispel darkness and gloom. The faith of an individual can hardly have any effect on this vast external universe, but it certainly is potent enough to transform the universe within. The external universe is largely a function of perception. Faith, effects a change in the perception rather than a change in environment or in the circumstances. Faith that is inherited as a legacy in the form of religious beliefs is a default setting. It is more a matter of conditioning and not necessarily founded on any elective choice. Such ritualistic faith can be a source of disharmony but that would be like arguing about the routes that have a common destination.
A new branch of research called Neurotheology attempts to provide a structural and neurobiological basis to faith, religious beliefs and spirituality. The SPECT images have brought scientists closer to investigating and documenting a transcendent experience. SPECT scanning of a subject in the midst of a prayer or whilst meditating lit up the prefrontal cortex- the seat of attention, situated in the frontal lobes lit up. More surprising was the inhibition or quietening of a bundle of neurons in the parietal lobe, situated near the top and back of the brain. This region, also called "orientation association area," processes information about space and time, and the orientation of the body in space. This area helps delineate the precise physical extent of the body .
The orientation area depends on sensory data to generate this sense of a discrete body. If the pathways carrying this sensory data are blocked, the brain is forced to perceive the self without any discrete limited existence. Deep faith and conviction modify cognition and induce harmony with the environment which mitigates apprehensions and fears. An ability to remain calm and unruffled in trying circumstances is very critical to work out a solution. Success is more often a matter of perseverance rather than performance. Faith and conviction in any benevolent power helps decrease the sense of helplessness and instil a positivity and emotional reinforcement . Meditation induces a state , where the individual self merges with the universe, leading to a so- called state of dissolution of discreteness and limited existence.
This emerging modality of Neurotheology suggests that irrespective of the object of faith and belief, the neural correlates and pathways for their perception are common across cultures, and across faiths. It underlines the fact that faith is generic. It is more an end and makes all arguments on the means superfluous.
Dr. Deepak M. Ranade.( The author is a consultant

Monday, September 12, 2011


It seemed impossible. Jumping over the barbed fence that was about waist high. He again traced back a few yards , took a run up but aborted his attempt on approaching the fence.
These attempts were leading nowhere and was making him increasingly frustrated and despondent. Eventually, he reached out for his wallet and threw it over the fence.
He deliberately forced himself to a point of no return. Cutting off all the options of not jumping the fence.
Often, our free will and sense of insecurity forces us to keep alternatives . Plan B, C and D to every plan A, a kind of insurance against failure of plan A. But this insurance may also tend to blunt the efforts to make plan A successful.
We often read about rags to riches stories of people who overcame odds from the brink of total destruction. Like the protagonist of “ Pursuit of Happiness”. The desire to succeed gets amplified in an inverse proportion to the available options. The ‘no other option’ mindset pushes one to the limit as it becomes a matter of survival. Action and reaction are equal and opposite states a fundamental law of motion. When the forces against are perceived as having the potential to threaten ones survival, the reaction generated is also one that matches these forces. Do we really strive to do our best in every endeavour of ours? Is it necessary for the circumstances to push us to a point of no return to really get the best out of us? The lord has spoken of doing ones best with scant regard to the outcome. When one is pushed to the ground, one is scarcely obsessed with the outcome as what remains is merely the instinct to survive. The success of ones endeavours in such situations is relegated to becoming just a by-product of ones efforts. The strength of our efforts lies in the conviction that we have in ourselves. Faith in oneself surpasses faith in any other, may it be a deity, or any object of worship. Embarking on anything new does involve exiting ones comfort zone. This comfort zone, becomes a sort of bondage. It raises imaginary fears of failure that stymie the will to rise and march forward. There is a very thin line dividing impulse and courage. Most incredible success stories certainly have an element of impulse. But they are also coupled with a strong self belief and never say die attitude. Problems are part perception , largely self doubt and a very tiny bit reality. That is precisely why what appears as a problem to one manifests as an opportunity to the other. Need is the mother of invention. Even serendipity blesses the one who is obsessed with his objective. This obsession might open the proverbial third eye that spots the obvious where conformism and comfort blind the two eyes. Leaving no escape route requires courage and conviction. Having a plan b is what wisdom would suggest. But then wisdom is the luxury of comfort. Security eliminates the thrill of going all out and blunts the cutting edge of all effort. The paradox of a no alternative mindset is that it opens up alternatives within ourselves. We become aware of facets within which we never knew existed. It develops a lateral thinking ability and pushes the bar of our own abilities. That is the reason adversity stimulates our own growth. And the ultimate silver edge to this cloud of ‘no alternative’ is the contribution by this huge unending universe as we tread on this path of no return. Serendipity and help from unexpected quarters are natures way of rewarding the courage and conviction to this traveller on the path of no return.

Dr Deepak Ranade

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bose Einstein Samadhi

Scientific Basis Of Mediataion

Matter and energy are interconvertible. This was a path –breaking contribution by Einstein and was unequivocally proven albeit in very morbid and destructive circumstances. Thus, matter is present in various energy states. These energy states were found to be temperature dependant. The higher the temperature, the greater the energy. A simple example of this would be water that boils upon heating to higher temperatures. This increases the disorder in the molecules as they are energized. This disorder is referred to as entropy. It represents the excitability and chaos of the molecules that constitute matter. Satyendra Bose, a reputed Indian scientist proposed to Einstein that if matter was cooled to very low temperatures (Absolute Kelvin- minus 273 degrees ) then the entropy of that matter should decrease and matter should come down to a zero energy state. This remained only in the realms of hypothetical speculation until it was proved much later on. This zero energy state is now known to physicists as the Bose –Einstein condensate. This state of matter is also called a superatom as the entire mass behaves as if it were a single atom. It loses all its characteristics of shape, charge, polarization etc. It probably reverts to a shapeless attributeless phenonomenon. De-evolution of matter, reverting back to just the potential to manifest as anything and everything.
Our brain is as aggregate of close to a 100 billion neurons. The various thoughts that constantly crowd our minds are the sum- total of simultaneous activity of different neurons. No wonder that there is such chaos in our awake state. These thoughts then translate into various biological changes mediated by the hormonal apparatus at the pituitary interfacing system. The complex interconnections that abound the nervous system ensure that even a small impulse rapidly spreads seismically via this dense network. Certain individuals have innate higher entropy levels and therefore find it harder to concentrate. They are known as distractible in common parlance. They have fleeting thoughts and are very restless. The sensory organs serve as an important pathway to increase the entropy as they stimulate various neuronal circuits adding to the entropy. Therefore closing the eyes helps in the process of concentration. Continuous stimulation of the neural networks is what happens in awake states.Sleep is therefore necessary for minimizing these constant excitatory inputs. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue of the neural networks
When one concentrates, there is a resultant decrease in the disorder of the neural system. As concentration increases, the tendency of the mind to waver and scatter decreases. The mind is more sharp focused. We all have experienced the need to concentrate when we are studying or performing some important activity. So when we concentrate, we are increasing the synchronicity of a specific group of neurons and silencing unrelated neuronal activity. In scientific parlance, concentration decreases the entropy of the neuronal apparatus. Reverting to the earlier example, as we approach the Absolute Kelvin, just as the entropy of matter drops to near zero levels, similarly, the neuronal disorder keeps waning as we concentrate. The neuronal firing decreases in amplitude as well as frequency. So would the propagation across various networks.
In awake states, when one consciously attempts to decrease the entropy of the nervous system, it is referred to as meditation. As the entropy of the neurons keeps decreasing, a state of calmness is perceived. As this progresses further, the neurons start becoming synchronous. That is, they neither modulate or amplify any incoming signal. They just resonate in harmony. As this orchestra starts becoming more in synch the subject experiences varying states of bliss and happiness. Till what is presumably the final state of zero entropy, where all 100 billion neurons function in total unified quantum coherence . This Bose Einstein condensate equivalent of the neuronal system is what may be termed as Samadhi.

Dr Deepak Ranade
(The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moving On

Moving On.

One of the hallmarks of evolution has been the increase in the ability of the progressively evolved forms to move. Beginning from the single celled amoeba, which has very restricted motility, creation has ‘moved’ a long way in bestowing speed and agility to its descendants. One of the reasons for this mutative upgrade was to access a wider range of resources like food and water. Restricted motility puts immense strain on the limited resources in an area. When the particular life form moved on, it sought out newer pastures, water holes, and, possibly, a more varied genetic material to conjugate with. The ability to move on became a condition for survival. Movement assumed even greater significance as the various forms started depending on one another for their survival. The agility and speed settings of the predator and the prey having been set very precisely, both were given equal opportunity for survival. Life seemed to be measured by the ability to move.
‘Moving on’ is as critical to our own survival in today’s day and age. . However, man’s obsession with permanence tends to become the source of inertia that resists his ability to move on. An ever-looming uncertainty adds to this very strong desire to cling to the known and the familiar. . The ability to deal with change and adapting to it becomes a tool for survival. . Life , people and circumstances are as ephemeral as the designs in a kaleidoscope. We might love a particular design immensely but all that is needed is just a tap and the design changes, never to be the same ever again. Being emotionally mobile or in other words being able to move on could help us reach out to greener pastures. “ and to tap into better resources within ourselves.
Being constantly aware of change is best illustrated by the fable of this King. He was perpetually facing trying situations and hence consulted a learned sage about how he could deal with his problemsThe sage gave the King a piece of paper and asked him to open it and read the contents only if he was in the midst of an insurmountable difficulty.
As the days passed, there came many a moment when the King was tempted to open the paper but he desisted . Eventually, one day, when he was on the verge of ending his life because of a situation he was in, he finally opened the paper. In it was written, “This too shall pass”. If one doesn’t choose to move on, life anyway does. So our attempts to keep trying holding on to are also futile. As futile as probably scooping up water from the river and believing one has held it. Reluctance to move on makes us susceptible to predation by despair, despondence and pain. These are the emotional predators, that don’t deliver the killing bite. They just gorge on the vitality and render the victim helpless and incapacitated. Moving on assumes life- sustaining importance. If moving on is so crucial, we must find joy in the movement, which is very dynamic and therefore, refreshing. Movement is redemption. If inevitable, then it cannot be wrong. Evolution triggers changes that are meant for the betterment of the race and form.
If evolution demands movement, it must pave the road for our betterment. Perhaps, moving on is the prerequisite for transcending our consciousness to the next level. To realise and identify ourselves as being that which does not change, “the observer”.
Dr Deepak M. Ranade

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Internal Jury

Despair and dejection are among the most common negative emotions that we have to deal with in our daily lives. . These emotions arise as a result of our own judgemental approach. We all have an in-built judicial system that conducts its own trials. The act of prosecution begins as soon as something unfavourable happens or when our ego gets hurt. There are usually one of four verdicts that are passed.
1) I am ok, you are not ok
2) I am not ok, you are ok
3) I am not ok and you are not ok either
4) I am ok, you are ok.

The ‘you’ in this verdict could be a person, a situation, an event, the planetary position, practically just anything outside of the self.

The people whose internal jury deliver the first verdict are typically egoistic, not introspective, rigid, and also slow learners. They are very confident but largely self indulgent and not easily amenable to suggestions. They may also be control freaks and are invariably complaining about most issues and people. They can be intimidating at times and very haughty. They are quite creative and innovative and they remain in a positive state of mind even after an occasional setback.
The individuals whose internal jury deliver the second verdict are the ones who are low on self-confidence. They are the ones who will introspect for hours, and are often more inclined toward some kind of persecution mania. They will learn from their mistakes as they have the sincere desire to learn. However, they are very prone to having bouts of despair and depression and take much longer to recover from a setback.
The ones in the third category are the pessimists, whose criticism can be annoying to those who are at the receiving end of it. . They just do not seem to find anything right. They could be among the nagging sorts and, often, non-creative. They are the least likely to venture out of their comfort zones for any reason and prefer the confines of whatever security is afforded by their reluctant, self- imposed contentment.
The last category are the ‘Edison’ category. These will never reprimand either themselves or anyone for their failures. They have an indomitable spirit and are very adventurous. They seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for life and could be very creative. They are incredibly positive and are extremely perseverant. However, they can become very egoistic when successful because, innately, they have a very high opinion of themselves.
The most advanced and philosophical are the ones that rise above this fourth category. They are the enlightened ones who never have an internal jury. The internal jury is replaced by an observer who merely observes without getting involved. They are the ones who do not believe in having any ‘doership’. Doership not as in ability to do or act. Doership is the conviction of having the wherewithal to effect the desired outcome of ones action.
Actions are most often directed towards a prefixed objective; the commonest being gratification of the senses or of the ego in some way or the other. The last category comprises of those who are less self-indulgent, more selfless. They set out doing what they have to but accept the outcome without any grudge or judgement irrespective of whether they sought the gratification or did not.
This intrinsic contentment is a state of realisation. Living life without passing a verdict of any sort either on people, circumstances or the self is deliverance from unhappiness and despair.
(This is not meant to be a verdict by the author)
Dr Deepak M Ranade
(The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon-

Monday, May 23, 2011

ENTANGLEMENT- A fascinating phenomenon

Entanglement- A state of Advaita.

Reductionism, as a means of solving the mysteries of creation has since long been the quest of physics. Molecules gave way to atoms, which paved the way for quarks, and then further on to bosons, the quest continues unabated. Presently the flavour of the reductionist approach is the ‘string theory’. It hypothesises all different types of particles being merely differing frequencies of the same elementary building block –‘the string’. The ‘string’ that weaves all creation.
Einstein, proved the inter-convertibility of matter and energy. His E= mc2 revealed the interconversion of matter and energy states. His amazing grey cells could have gone even further to integrate ‘consciousness’ in the equation. The entity that not only spawns energy and matter but along with the cognising entity , cognition itself. An equation that factors consciousness might just be the TOE (theory of everything) that has been the holy grail of Physicists.
Einstein could never digest the fact that “ God played dice”, and so he relentlessly proposed various hypotheses that questioned the integrity of Quantum Physics. One such attempt was the EPR paradox that he proposed along with Rosen and Podolsky . Heisenbergs principle of uncertainty precluded the possibility of accurately predicting both, the position and velocity of a particle. The EPR paradox suggested that if one knew the position of one of the two entangled particles, and the velocity of the other, then it would be possible to know exactly both the variables of the two particles. Since the two particles were entangled,( a term suggested by Schrodinger) they travelled at the same velocity but in opposing directions. The information about the other particle would be got instantly, faster than the speed of light. Einstein called this effect ‘spooky’ as it defied existing laws of Physics. This non-locality was scientific heresy, not just a paradox. It violated Heisenbergs theory and questioned the very foundations of quantum physics. This thought experiment subsequently got verified in the laboratory.
In 1997, Nicholas Gisin and colleagues at the University of Geneva used entangled photons to enable simple - but instantaneous - communication over a distance of seven miles. Quantum entanglement allows particles that are separated by incredible distances to interact with each other instantaneously, faster than the speed of light. The mechanism behind it cannot, be fully explained by any theory. One theory suggests that all matter was once compacted together in a unified state, and hence the connectedness. A oneness, a primordial non-dual state.
Entanglement may be the greatest testimony to Advaita or non-duality. Instant relay of information over a large distance presupposes a separation that may well be just illusory. Time and space could just be deceptive programs of the perceptive apparatus. The apparent duality being just a distortion of the observer. As the great scientist saint –Dnaneshwar has suggested – the trinity of the observer observed and observation is in reality a unity . A more astonishing aspect of entanglement is that the spin of the particle when not being observed is just one of many possibilities. It actually takes up a value only when it is measured. At that very instant this information is relayed to the entangled particle that instantaneously acquires the appropriate reciprocal value. Here, the observer, the observed and the process of observation are all mutually dependant and affect one another. The particle taking on a value when it realises it is being observed makes it as much conscious as the observer. Preposterous to imagine consciousness being an attribute of the sub-atomic world. Transmission of this information instantaneously to the entangled particle instantaneously might seem inexplicable in the realm of duality mediated by our perceptive senses. This apparent separateness may after all be the illusion that our scriptures allude to. Entanglement may eventually qualify the statement ‘Aham Brahmasami,” – I am Brahma, or “Tatvamasi”. I am that. There exists no separation, or difference in the myriad forms of consciousness. The state of realisation could very well be seeing the entire gamut of creation in another dimension – a state of quantum super-entanglement.

Dr Deepak M Ranade- (The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon-

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Decimating Osama- A Pyrrhic Victory?

A Pyrrhic Victory

The frail and debilitated body was a tragic caricature of its pre-morbid healthy and strong disposition .Surgical excision of the malignancy ridden parts had taken further toll of the dwindling vitality. Cancer had totally ravaged major portions of the body and rendered it impossible to perform even basic activities of day to day living. The irony of the situation was that the body itself had manufactured this lethal cell producing factory, that gradually destroyed itself.
Modalities like chemo-therapy, or surgery are available, but effect a sort of Pyrrhic victory. Using toxic drugs, or surgical excision are extreme measures, and can never be remedial by any stretch of imagination.
When malignancy strikes, and spreads to different sites, how many extensions can be excised? Delivering toxic drugs does impact the normal tissues as well. How long will the body bear such insults?
Terrorism is like a malignancy. Once a few cells escape the sovereignty of the organism and become autonomous, they continue to multiply, at the cost of the host and wreak havoc till finally the host succumbs. Paradoxical that these cells end up killing the very host that nourished them.
One of the etiological factors that triggers this metamorphosis from normal to malignant cells is chronic irritation. Repeated abuse of the tissues destroys them. The regenerative apparatus ensures periodic repair and replacement of the damaged cells. When a threshold is crossed, the repair mechanism gets deregulated and then goes in a frenzy of producing new cells, which eventually overwhelm the host. Every organism is in essence, a conglomerate of cells functioning with extreme synchronicity and order. The body is a symphony, produced by the orchestra of different systems and organs working in tandem and in an orderly manner. Entropy or disorder is introduced due to repeated abuse and irritation. The body has a great amount of tolerance and innate ability to deal with insult, but when this limit is also transgressed, it is left with no option but to destroy itself. Destroying terrorist organisations or terrorists is like merely excising part of a rapidly spreading cancer. Using force or weapons is analogous to using cyto-toxic drugs. Such measures destroy normal cells also which are in the functional vicinity of the malignant cells. It is a very temporary respite and does nothing in terms of effecting a cure. Ideologies (religious or otherwise) take the form of instruments of irritation and abuse. They spread insidiously and propagate with an absolute conviction of their own virtue. They have scarce regard to the diversity of the host factors. The success of an ideology in one micro-environment does not ratify its universality. Other environs deal with this foreign ideology as an antigen and react violently. This response is not the fault of the host. Its the fault of the antigenic stimulation. The body works on an “all or none” program. It will either not react at all or then react with full throttle. This response transcends all logic and cannot be reversed once put into motion. Not initiating it is far more prudent than attempts to negotiate after triggering it. The transformation of orderly functional cells into an autonomous mass with the potential to destroy the host has to be stopped rather than focussing on means of containing these transformed cells. Once they are transformed, they evolve and become refractory to all modalities deployed to reign them in. The microcosm provides us insights to deal with the macrocosm. Just that we have to be smart enough to observe and learn from these time-tested cues.

Dr. Deepak M. Ranade
(The author is a consultant

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An interesting take on Free will and Destiny

What if ...........

The most common indulgence of the thought process. What if I had not married this partner? What if I had studied law instead of Medicine? These are the journeys undertaken by our imagination had one taken the other road when at the crossroads of life. There apparently is no limit to this rather futile extrapolation into the past. It would lead to the most bizarre point of “What if my parents were not to have met at all?” The rational conclusion after such preposterous deliberations is that there surely is some deterministic programme that effects itself to unfold our existence and what follows.
If one were to keep extending the “what if” thought process, the creation of the Universe would also be just one of the limitless possibilities. The conditions required for creation of the universe are so specific and exacting ; like the mass of the proton, the value of gravity, and all the rather critical values of the various forces. This line of thought inspired the now famous anthropic principle in 1973. The Participatory Anthropic Principle states not only that the Universe had to develop humanity(or some intelligent, information-gathering life form) but that we are necessary for its existence, as it takes an intelligent observer to collapse the Universe’s waves and probabilities from superposition into relatively concrete reality.
This principle shifts the focus to a program that deliberately effects creation. If this determinism was vital to creation itself and also to the past( like our parents meeting inevitably) then it stands to reason that it must also play a critical role in unfolding the future. This brings us to the oft debated issue of free will. Do we truly exercise free will in our lives ? Is the future also predetermined? Logically , for any event to take place, there are so many factors out of our control that must complexly interact to yield the expected output. As is oft quoted “ Man proposes and God disposes” At an individual level, what makes one think and then work in a specific direction? The so called free will may just be an illusion when in reality, the thoughts and actions gravitate towards a pre-fixed path. This line of thought surely deals a body blow to our ego. When viewed very dispassionately, one cannot help but realise that even being alive tomorrow is a presumption. Free will therefore is also based on certain assumptions and conditions. Therefore, unconditional free will may not exist . The free will that we so pride ourselves is actually restricted to making a choice within the framework and circumstances that are tossed up by factors beyond our control.
All our thoughts, actions and decisions are based on the identity that we have generated as we course through the journey of life. The destiny that we talk about is of this identity. The desire to know what is going to happen tomorrow stems largely from a deep sense of insecurity that is fuelled by the ego. Is the identity that is purely a subject of perception our true self? The true nature of our self is merely consciousness that observes. Time and space are apparitions necessary for the unmanifest consciousness to become manifest as sentient beings. Past present and future are correlates of time. They are imaginary compartments that help establish a chronology.
They are as much a figment of the imagination as time itself. The free will that we talk about remains the free will of an imaginary entity and its ego. Whether the future is scripted or not becomes a moot issue if the true nature of the self becomes clear- a speck of that unqualified consciousness that exists beyond the apparitions of time and space.
Dr Deepak M Ranade
(The author is a consultant

Friday, April 15, 2011

Moving On in Life.

Moving on – The testimony of Life

A wise man was a participating in a conversation. He contributed by telling the group a joke. All those present were highly amused and appreciated the humor. After a while, he narrated the same joke again. This time the response was more tempered. After some time, he repeated it. . There was hardly any response this last time around and people were, in fact, slightly irritated. When he told the same joke yet again after a few minutes, one of the persons in the group retorted “Why are you repeating the joke so often? It now ceases to
\amuse us and we are getting irritated”, The wise man responded-“ If the same joke ceases to amuse us after a couple of repetitions, why then does the repeated remembrance of something painful elicit equal or sometimes higher degrees of sorrow and resentment?”
The way a person deals with unpleasantness in the past influences largely, his .attitude and approach to dealing with the present. Carrying too much emotional baggage certainly does not augur well and could affect the person’s self-esteem embarking on a self deprecatory behaviour. He is convinced that he is at the root of all the misfortunes that have befallen him and will mope and indulge in an unforgiving criticism of himself. The already low levels of self esteem ebb even further and makes the person very sceptical and cynical.
The embers of all unpleasant memories get fanned by self- pity and self -criticism to keep burning. It is akin to being a jury at one’s own trial., and about being obsessive about fixing the blame rather than the problem. Moving on with life after an unsavoury incident requires one to relegate the event as one out of the limitless possible outcomes.
Que sera sera - whatever will be, will be. Reminiscing and Reacting to the past is as futile as attempting to resuscitate a corpse. Most people try and strive to uproot the weeds of unpleasant memories. This is not possible as selective amnesia is still in the domain of science fiction. The memories will remain and one needs to let them. It is far more important not to be reactive about the long buried past and use that as a scale to measure oneself. The past should never be empowered enough to affect the present. Passing a verdict about oneself based entirely on the events of the past deals a body blow to growth and development. Such a verdict is like putting on blinds that force one to view the present with self-imposed imaginary limitations. It would be very egoistic to implicate oneself and hold one entirely responsible for any event or decision taken in the past. Every event is the outcome of a complex factors most of which are not entirely predictable or controllable. Such indulgence converts a person from a possibility thinker to a probability thinker. The possibility thinker is very positive and has faith in himself believing that any dream is possible. The probability thinker, in contrast, is a sceptical individual teeming with self-doubt and fearing the probability of failure.
A farmer had a couple of horses that he used for tilling his land. They would be tied the whole day to plough the field or draw water \from the well to irrigate the fields. At night the farmer would leave the rope tied round their necks but never bothered to tie the other end. It was free. A n onlooker enquired “ Why don’t you tie the other end ? Wont the animal run away?”
The farmer replied “ The end round their necks is enough to make them believe that they are captive. They are convinced that the other end is secured.”
The unsavoury memories of the past should not become such convictions that bind us and restrict our freedom to evolve and grow.

Memories of events should serve to navigate the present rather than end up being an instrument of self accusation.
The present has to be treated like a ‘present’, a . gift that should never be vitiated by the festering past. Like the wise man said , “ hsome point we ought to get bored and refractory to the nightmares of the past and wake up to dream about the wonderful future that beckons us.”

Dr Deepak M. Ranade
Thpe author is a Consultant Neurosurgeon

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Liberation from Personhood, TOI- SPeaking Tree-7th March 2011

Deepak M Ranade

The brain's various centres are each designated for a specific function. The senses take cognition of the environment. The anthropological basis of the nervous system was to facilitate an interaction with the environment, based on the individual's awareness of being separate from the environment. All senses subserve the function of underlining a sense of discreteness. Touch, taste, sound, smell and vision are instruments of discrimination. The entity that integrates these inputs and collectively coordinates them as a subject is the assumed 'identity'. The coordinated output of separateness that the senses keep generating is ego.

The brain also provides a data bank that stores previous interactions with the environment. These are categorised and stored for reference in the bandwidths of likes and dislikes. The brain helps fragment awareness into the subjective 'self' and objective 'non-self' - the observed world. This split awareness is switched on continuously and both the 'self' and the 'non-self' are vital for each other's symbiotic existence.

Our own identity relies on our ability to perceive our self as uniquely different and distanced from the environment. Various decremental states of consciousness, such as feeling drowsy, deep sleep, semi-consciousness or even an unconscious state are familiar. Therefore, it is only logical to believe in states where there is an incremental increase in the level of consciousness.

If identity was based merely on a deep-rooted sense of discreteness that the senses generate, would a person, alone in a dark, quiet room - whose brain is not being fed with sensory inputs - consider himself as non-existent? An unconscious person doesn't interact with the environment but might be assumed to possess an 'am-ness' that is partial and aware of only the 'self' without comprehending or interacting with the environment. It's a state of partial awareness.

A seizure that arises in the portions of the limbic system - phylogenetically one of the oldest group of neurons - could give rise to profound spiritual experiences. Repeated bursts of abnormal electrical activity can facilitate a new pathway within the complex network of neurons. This is called 'kindling' - where consciousness may be getting defragmented leading to an un-split awareness, without the usual fragmentary approach.

All sense organs route their inputs through the limbic system and to various designated areas. The sensation of extreme bliss generated by un-split awareness gets triggered by the limbic system and not in the frontal lobes, the seats of intelligence and logical analysis. Such experiences are hence states of altered awareness rather than conclusions arising as a result of intellectual thought processing of the brain. The experience or realisation that the am-ness of subject and object are of the same essence could be that final frontier of consciousness evolution, the attainment of state of superconsciousness.

Faith and devotion as ways to salvation rely on the dismantling of the worshipper's identity and becoming one with the worshipped. That is, perhaps inputs that serve to generate and maintain a separateness of the self are modulated or filtered within the limbic system - a state of comprehensive, unrestricted oneness.

It's a paradoxical situation of the observer becoming the observed without the mediation of sense organs, by expanding awareness to a supra-sensory level.

Realisation may well be a modulation and 'kindling' of the neural pathways leading to a perception of oneness with the entire cosmos. It would then really be more a liberation from the person rather than of the person.

The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon.

Flower Lessons- Speaking Tree, Sunday 27th Feb

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By : Deepak M Ranadeon Feb 26, 2011 | Views (404) | Post response
Appreciation from others feeds the ego, but it should not steer our actions, writes Deepak M Ranade

As we trudged along the steep mountain path and reached a clearing, the landscape evolved into a picturesque panorama. The tall pines stood erect in attention as if in a military drill.

A solitary wild flower caught my attention, as it swayed merrily in the breeze. It seemed oblivious to my presence and appeared to be in some sort of a private celebration — its bright yellow colour eloquently reflecting its vibrant mood. It appeared strangely assertive of its uniqueness, and yet blended harmoniously into the orchestra of colours that surrounded it. I don’t know if it was blissful indifference or whether it was some intrinsic, stoic, self-assurance that never mandated any cognisance.

It seemed to have no questions or doubts about its existence; neither did it seem to care whether it was appreciated or even noticed. Scarcely intimidated by the riot of colours around, it seemed sure of its own little place on the vast landscape. As it swayed gracefully, its suppleness made its movements seem more like a dance than like any form of submission to the whims of the unpredictable breeze. It did not seem anxious about the overcast conditions that could stamp out its very existence. Rather, it seemed to be making the most of the given moment as its petals fluttered noiselessly.

Quantum theory would deny its very existence in the absence of an observer. I wondered, then, whether it would be considered to have existed at all, had I not seen it, and whether it would behave differently had it been aware of it being noticed. The casual disdain with which it basked in the meadow did not suggest that it cared for recognition.

Appreciation and approval is vital to every one of us. Response from the environment is what generates and maintains our identity. Our joy and happiness is most often based on recognition and it tends to direct our actions, making our existence relative.

The relentless interactive behaviour constantly generates varying coefficients of self-esteem. Fluctuation in self-esteem impacts our confidence, happiness and the sense of well-being. The need for approval and appreciation increases our vulnerability. Equanimity and being at peace with oneself warrants being unflinching and unaffected by the inconsistencies of responses.

Such an attitude was aptly illustrated by the protagonist of the novel Fountainhead, Howard Roark. When Peter Keating asks Howard what he thinks about him, his terse reply, “I don’t think about you” reveals a personality that does away with the need for any struts of approval to stay upright. This can, at times, be interpreted as being insensitive but it reflects more of a conviction in one’s own persona and script of existence. It portrays a casual self-assurance without a trace of self-doubt; an assertive awareness of the surroundings, that is neither submissive nor dominating — an awareness that merely observes and is not spectator-sensitive. The awareness that remains unruffled, metamorphoses into a state of bliss. Happiness is more an intrinsic phenomenon than being an outcome of any subject-object interaction.

Does the equation of happiness always need to factor in external response? The manifestation of that original, undivided, universal consciousness into myriad forms was for that consciousness to become aware of its own self. It was not programmed for the various forms to depend on one another for acceptance or acknowledgement. Appreciation feeds the ego, but it should not steer our actions. The image of that petite yellow flower remained imprinted in my mind — probably against its wishes — long after it unobtrusively dropped out of my field of vision.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The net.
The trapeze artistes were at it. Keeping the crowd spellbound with their death defying leaps and acrobats. The spectators were gaping open mouthed as they looked upwards. Stunned by the gravity defying acts. But they were oblivious to the net that was stretched much below the line of vision. It was stretched tautly to arrest any misjudgement. It was visible only from above as the gymnasts flung themselves from dizzying heights, to be caught by a colleague in the nick of the moment.
The net was totally self-effacing, and could hardly be called a participant in that spectacle of human stunts. But no matter how much it underplayed itself, it was crucial for the entire act to unfold.
The presence of that net merely eased the nerves rather than improve the skills. The visual cue of that net eased the grip of every performer , as letting go of the bar or a colleagues hand was as important as holding on tight in this acrobatic orchestra..
Many achievers in life very often steal the spotlight as they go about their lives making the onlookers stare in disbelief. Their confidence, devil may care attitude, risk taking ability, and tremendous gumption for life appears enviable. Very rarely is mention made of that invisible net that gave these achievers the liberty of taking off. A kind of security which initiated and propelled them towards their achievements. The uniqueness of that person or force is his unobtrusiveness and being virtually a non-participatory observer. Very often, involvement and concern in a dear one prompts interference or meddlesome behaviour. This concern at times becomes counter-productive as it can stifle and extinguish the spirit of exuberance.
Love and concern for a dear one often is like a tight rope walk. Something like the art of holding a serpent as revealed by a herpetologist. The grip should be loose enough so as not to frighten the animal and tight enough to prevent it from escaping. Anything less than or more than that optimum and you have lost the plot. Concern or love that restricts can never be conducive to growth. Very often, extreme form of love becomes an exercise of ownership or control. And getting the object of ones affection yield, resorting to a form of emotional blackmail is quite commonplace. Having a very magnanimous mind-set that releases rather than holds captive is what a true relationships are all about. As is oft quoted, -If you love someone, set him free.
An important aspect of nurturing involves letting go. Like the proverbial haemoglobin that carries oxygen. The selection of this complex molecule to transport oxygen to the tissues is not because it binds very strongly to oxygen, but more importantly, its ability to release oxygen at the opportune place and time.
The most genuine of relations are the ones that never need constant reaffirmation. They are ones that transcend dependence, and never beg reciprocity. They remain uncharacteristically somewhere in the background, and serve to stimulate and encourage silently. Bordering on selflessness. Till that day of reckoning when the trapeze artistes would perform without that net. That would be the defining moment and disappearing totally would be the nets only salvation.
Dr.Deepak M. Ranade
(The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon-, blog-www,