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#3567 - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

The Nonduality Highlights -      


"If [thoughts] can perpetuate themselves invading our brains and create an illusory self as a complex of ‘memes’, can the world we see be real? Could it not be a mere illusion as our sages expressed it?" -Dr. Vemuri Ramesam in Religion Demystified




A few months ago, when I was consulting for the Science and Nonduality Conference to be held in Marin County in October, 2009, I asked Dr. Vemuri Ramesam of Hyderabad, India, whether he would be availabe to present a talk. He told me he does not travel to the U.S. Here is an introduction to Dr. Ramesam's work. It includes introductury notes and a selection from his book.


“RELIGION DEMYSTIFIED –Understanding Life’s Mysteries in terms of Latest Scientific Findings”


By Dr. Vemuri Ramesam


pp: 130, Dec 2008, ISBN 978-81-7525-971-3, I-SERVE, Hyderabad, India


Cost: US $ 10 (including shipping by Air Mail) per book.  For Copies and any queries write to: [email protected]





(Cover Picture: Naphthalene in Interstellar Space, 700 light-years from Earth detected in September, 2008.  Naphthalene produces many aminoacids which are fundamental to the development of life.  Courtesy: IAC, Spain).


From the Back cover: “In 28 crisp essays Dr. Vemuri Ramesam covers cutting edge scientific developments in a wide variety of fields from Quantum and High Energy physics to Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Anthropology etc. in simple terms.  He relates these to our day to day life trying to tease out the mysticism behind tradition.  The book provides a refreshing look at man and his position in the Universe.  Dr. Ramesam defines ‘comfort’ in terms of energy expended and explains ‘liberation’ as an effortless “zero mind – active boy” state.  He argues for a physiological basis for Nirvana and proposes a testable model for the idea.  The book gives a hope that science may find a way to attain the ultimate goal of “A Happy Individual and A Harmonious Society”, a quest man has been after for millennia of years.”


As with any serious spiritual inquiry, the essays take off to answer the questions: “Who am I and What is this Universe” from a scientific perspective, pointing out the current status of proven thought and the dark areas needing further investigations.  The topics dealt with cover Origin of Universe, Origin of man, man’s evolution, our emotions and why we are the way we are.  Then talks about the human mind, the ‘self’ within us, healing by saints, pain and suffering, effect of meditation on brain, the power of thinking, arrow of time etc.  These are followed by two elaborate essays on a scientific analysis of karma theory and Non-dualism.  The book closes with the life and thought of Dr. Einstein who is descried as a sage in ancient Indian terms.  The book is a veritable goldmine of information on current research, each article infused with Indian spirit.

  Cost: US $ 10 (including shipping by Air Mail) per book.  For Copies and any queries write to: [email protected]    

Excerpt from “RELIGION DEMYSTIFIED –Understanding Life’s Mysteries in terms of Latest Scientific Findings”  


Our great ancient sages maintained that the whole universe is nothing but thought. It is truly an intriguing statement about the world around us. Until recently science had no way of understanding these words. But thanks to the accumulating research on brain and consciousness, we have some insight.  

Brain is the seat for all thoughts. Our brain weighs about 1400 gm (less than 2 per cent of the body weight); but consumes 20 to 25 per cent of our daily intake of energy. There are 100 billion neurons and several billion glial cells in the brain. Each neuron has up to 10,000 connections giving rise to an enormous capacity to process information. Latest studies suggest that glial cells may be nearly as critical to thinking and learning as neurons are. There is a fallacy that we use only 10 per cent of our brain. It is not true. There is no fallow brain capacity lying waste.  

The connections of the neurons are constantly modified throughout life. Some of the wrong connections or extra connections may result either in debility or uncommon skills for the individual. By mere pre-suggestion evoking a positive thought (placebo) or with diversion of attention, pain is not felt by an individual, though the signals of pain are still received in the brain.  

The neuronal activity in the brain associated with thinking, learning, relaxing et cetera, produces electrical fields. An example of waves recorded by Electroencephalograph (EEG) is shown in Figure I. Scientists are now able to harness the energy of these waves to propel a wheelchair by a handicapped person by mere thought like “go straight”, “turn left”, “turn right”, Experiments at Armstrong Laboratory’s alternative control technology lab have unleashed the energy of brain waves, to command a flight simulator to roll left or right. Robotic arms were manipulated by macaque monkeys by mere thoughts to feed themselves without moving their own arms. Says Dr. A. Schwartz of Pittsburgh University, “Just by thinking about picking up and bringing the fruit to its mouth, the animal fed itself.”

Recently Prof. C. M. Higgins of Arizona University and his coworker exploited the electrical signals from a single neuron in the rice grain size brain of a moth to move a robot.  

A group thinking together has more strength to influence an outcome. By their concentration, the group could achieve a specific picture to be produced by a computer out of many that could be randomly generated. Sports managers exploit this aspect of ‘group thinking’ to motivate their teams to win a game.  

Prof. Gardenfors (a Swedish linguist) says in his book How Homo Became Sapiens (2003), "First came sensations, then attention, followed by emotions, memory, then thoughts, then planning, and later the self." Thoughts are the internal representations in our brain of the external world. Though organisms acquire new adaptation skills over millennia of years, they have to constantly face "here and now" dangers in their life. If they fail to meet the challenges posed by changing environmental and other ambient conditions within their life period, they become extinct.

Psychologist Plotkin referred to this as the "un­certain futures problem." An organism's chance of survival and reproduction would be improved if it could somehow solve the uncertain futures problem by changing its behavior to adapt to changes in the environment. The cortex (top layer' of the brain) is the place where a repre­sentation of the world is created. That allows the brain to use the representation of an object or a situation (as a thought) rather than the object or the situation itself and process the information in a remote/detached fashion. It is observed that thinking about an action and actually doing it appear to be almost the same. When people are asked to picture an object and then rotate it mentally, their brains act as if the object were actually turning in front of them as established by fMRI studies.  

Continued stress in the brain or a feeling of utter desperation or even anticipation of such a condition can bring about permanent damage to the body. Extreme stress produces cortisol, which kills brain cells. A recent study at the University of Wisconsin showed that the negative and depressing thoughts produce activity in the right prefrontal cortex of the brain and cause reduced levels of antibodies. Positive happy thoughts produce activity in the left prefrontal cortex and cause higher levels of antibodies, which help the body in its resistance to infection. Dr. Peter Elias and his colleagues at the University of California, “have in late 2007 characterized a mechanistic link in mice between psychological stress and increased susceptibility to skin infections. Mice subjected to conditions of psychological stress were found to be more susceptible to group A Streptococcus. Psychological stress induced increased production of glucocorticoids and these caused a decrease in the secretion of vesicles that contain antimicrobial peptides.”

As remarked by Prof. Cziko in The Things We Do (2000), Darwinian evolution with the three major principles of overproduction, variation, and selection each play an essential role. Overproduction is evident in the production of excess thoughts; variation is achieved by the random recombination and mutation of several thoughts; and selection occurs as only those thoughts that ensure survival are retained as knowledge and passed onto the next generation.  

Dr. Kornhuber and Dr. Libet found out in the seventies that two areas light up in the brain in a PET scan when you wiggle your finger. EEG poten­tial kicks a second to three-fourths of a sec­ond prior to your actual finger movement, even though your conscious intention of moving the finger by your 'self' coincides almost exactly with the wiggle of the finger. Such experimental re­sults throw a doubt on the conscious decision of your "self" as preceding the brain activity and led some scientists to ask enigmatically, "Do we think or Are we thought?"  

Prof. Richard Dawkins coined the term "memes" in 1976 as those thoughts/concepts that persist selfishly in their own interest like the genes. The whole human culture can be seen as a vast new evolutionary process based on memes. Dr. Susan Blackmore in her book The Meme Machines (1999) talks of the human beings as machines that store, copy and recombine the memes and our "self" is nothing more than memes invading our brains. In her book, Consciousness (2004), she writes, "Selves are biological products just as spiders' webs are. Like spiders, it doesn't have to know what it is doing; it just does it."  

If thoughts have power as demonstrated in the examples given above, and if they can perpetuate themselves invading our brains and create an illusory self as a complex of ‘memes’, can the world we see be real? Could it not be a mere illusion as our sages expressed it?  

~ ~ ~


“RELIGION DEMYSTIFIED –Understanding Life’s Mysteries in terms of Latest Scientific Findings”


By Dr. Vemuri Ramesam


pp: 130, Dec 2008, ISBN 978-81-7525-971-3, I-SERVE, Hyderabad, India


Cost: US $ 10 (including shipping by Air Mail) per book.  For Copies and any queries write to: [email protected]


Further selections from Religion Demystified are here:


Dr. Vemuri's blog is here:

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