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founded by S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

 

 

 

 

 

Impact of Vipassana in Government

RESEARCH  REPORT

SUBMITTED  TO

GOVERNMENT  OF  MAHARASHTRA

and

VIPASSANA  RESEARCH  INSTITUTE, DHAMMA  GIRI,  IGATPURI

BY

D.  R.  PARIHAR,  I. F. S.

MAHARASHTRA  CADRE

Executive Summary

You must become the change that you seek in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

The primary aim of this multi-method research study was the assessment and analysis of the impact of Vipassana (a scientific, non-sectarian meditation technique) in Government.

The secondary objective was to obtain the opinions of government officials about the introduction of Vipassana Meditation in government administration.

The main focus of the study was on Central and State Government officials. However, executives, managers, etc. in Public Sector Undertakings and professors, lecturers, etc. in Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education were also included to make the study more comprehensive.

A large number of personnel including high-ranking officials from these sectors have been attending Vipassana courses. Also, some state governments, public sector undertakings and local bodies have been encouraging their officials and other staff to attend Vipassana courses, by granting leave, etc. Therefore, a wide coverage was undertaken throughout the country to better assess the overall impact of Vipassana in government organizations.

The subjects include:

Administrators and officials in various services

(from Section Officers to Principal Secretaries)

Officials from Revenue, Customs & Central Excise, Sales Tax etc.

Professors and Lecturers in Government institutes

Officials dealing with Local bodies

Judges

Police officials

Army officials

Forest officials

Jail Officers

Engineers

Doctors

Scientists

Executives

Managers

Auditors

Analysts

Investigators etc.

 

Services / Cadres of the subjects include:

Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S)

Indian Police Service (I.P.S.)

Indian Forest Service (I.F.S)

Indian Revenue Service (I.R.S.)

Indian Railway Traffic Service (I.R.T.S.)

Indian Audit and Account Service (I. A. & A. S.)

Indian Custom & Central Excise Service (I.C.&C.E.S.)

Many Civil Services of Group A and B

Indian Foreign Service

Indian Railway Service

Judiciary Services

Medical Services

Engineering Services

Education Services

Defense Services

Secretariat Services

Telecom Services

 

Administrative and Technical Services of various Public Sector Undertakings

Teaching Services in Govt. Institutes of Higher & Technical Education etc.

Nature of the duties of the subjects include:

Implementation of various welfare and development schemes

Technical (Medical Engineering and other Technical Fields)

Maintaining law and order

Crime prevention and detection

Judiciary

Administration

Vigilance

Quasi judiciary

Monitory

Supervisory

Inspection

Management

Planning

Auditing

Accounting

Assessment

Budgeting

Teaching

Research

Human Resource Development etc.

Hypotheses:

The following hypotheses were formulated:

1.       Vipassana will have a significant positive effect on the Subjective Well Being (SWB) of Central and State Government officials.

2.       The Occupational Stress (OS) of these subjects will decrease significantly by practicing Vipassana.

3.       The Subjective Well Being of the experimental (Vipassana) group will be significantly higher than that of the control (Non-Vipassana) group.

4.       The Occupational Stress of the experimental (Vipassana) group will be significantly lower than that of the control (Non-Vipassana) group.

5.       There will be a significant difference in the Subjective Well Being of the subjects before the course and one month and six months after the course; the Subjective Well Being of the experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly increase after the course.

6.       There will be a significant difference in the Occupational Stress of the subjects before the course and one month and six months after the course; the Occupational Stress of the experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly decrease after the course.

7.       The potential benefits derived from Vipassana will be significantly greater with regular post-course practice.

8.       The impact of Vipassana will indicate benefits in the personal and professional lives of the subjects.

9.       The impact of Vipassana will demonstrate an increase in efficiency and productivity as well as an increase in harmonious relations among seniors, colleagues and subordinates.

Methodology and Results

The following four studies were conducted in the year 2001 and 2002.

Study I: Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group.

Study II: Pre-course and Post-course Feedback:

Study III: Anecdotal Evidences

Study IV: Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials:

Study I: Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group

This study was conducted using ‘Control Group’ experimental design. The randomly selected subjects were assessed using two scientifically valid psychological instruments. The independent variable was Vipassana meditation. The dependent variables were Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress.

The objectives of this study were:

1. To determine if there is any difference in the Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress scores of government officials who had prior exposure to Vipassana and those who had not attended a course. Both the experimental and control groups were tested with the same questionnaires.

2. To investigate the changes felt by the subjects due to Vipassana and the benefits derived by Vipassana in their personal and professional lives (through the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

The subjects of the Vipassana group in this study were government officials (selected at random) who had completed at least one ten-day Vipassana course. The feedback was kept completely anonymous so as to encourage the subjects to give factual feedback.

The sample consisted of 607 personnel.

In spite of extremely busy schedule of the subjects, exhaustive questionnaires, changes in addresses because of transfers, etc., out of 1103 personnel, 653 (about 60%) responded to the requests, which was considered to be a very high response. 607 responses were found to be valid.

Instruments used for data collection

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index (Vipassana Research Institute, 2001)

Subjective Well Being Inventory (Nagpal and Sell, 1985) and

Occupational Stress Index (Srivastav and Singh, 1984).

1 (i). Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index was used to assess the impact of Vipassana on the professional and personal lives of government officials. This instrument was specially developed by Vipassana Research Institute (VRI) for both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The higher the score, the more the benefits derived from Vipassana (‘Unsure’ responses were categorized as non-beneficiaries).

Results: Majority of the subjects (98%) benefited by practicing Vipassana. The results also show that Vipassana has helped to bring about a positive change in the mental attitude and effectiveness of the subjects.

These results support the eighth and ninth hypotheses.

In addition:

97% of the subjects reported that Vipassana is a scientific technique.

97% reported that Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

About 95% reported that: Vipassana has a direct role to play in improving public administration;

Vipassana should be used as a tool for Human Resource Development, and it would be in the interest of governments and organizations for their employees to take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

1 (ii). Impact of Vipassana, on various aspects of the lives of the subjects, with reference to regularity of post-course meditation practice was analysed using the One Way Anova statistical method.

Results: The potential benefits derived from Vipassana are significantly greater with regular post course practice. These results support the seventh hypothesis.

1 (iii). Impact of Vipassana on various aspects of the lives of the subjects, with reference to years of meditation practice was analysed using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r).

Results: The Correlation Coefficient between the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index and years of Vipassana meditation practice was found to be as high as +0.86. This indicates that the positive impact of Vipassana on the personal and professional lives of the subjects has increased significantly with duration of meditation practice. These results support the seventh hypothesis.

2 (i). Subjective Well Being of Vipassana group was compared with the Subjective Well Being of Non-Vipassana group through statistical analysis. Student’s ‘t’ test was used for data analysis.

Results: Subjective Well Being of the Experimental (Vipassana) group was found to be significantly higher than that of the Control (Non-Vipassana) group at 0.01 level. These results support the first and third hypotheses. These results are in line with the results obtained through the assessment of Subjective Well Being related responses in Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index.

2 (ii). Impact of Vipassana on Subjective Well Being with reference to regularity of post-course meditation practice was analysed using One Way Anova statistical method.

Results: The potential benefits derived from Vipassana on Subjective Well Being is significantly greater with regular post-course practice. These results support the seventh hypothesis.

 2 (iii). Impact of Vipassana on Subjective Well Being with reference to years of meditation practice was analysed using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r).

Results: The Correlation Coefficient between Subjective Well Being Inventory and number of years of Vipassana meditation practice was found to be +0.54 (Longer the practice, higher the Subjective Well Being). This indicates that the Subjective Well Being of the meditators has increased significantly with the duration of meditation practice. These results support the seventh hypothesis.

3 (i). Occupational Stress of Vipassana group was compared with the Occupational Stress of Non-Vipassana group through statistical analysis. Student’s ‘t’ test was used for this analysis.

Results: Occupational Stress of the experimental (Vipassana) group was found to be significantly lower than that of the control (Non-Vipassana) group at 0.01 level. These results are consistent with those obtained through assessment of Occupational Stress related responses in Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. These results support the second and fourth hypotheses.

3 (ii). Impact of Vipassana on Occupational Stress with reference to regularity of post-course meditation practice was studied using One Way Anova statistical method.

Results: Although the stress of the subjects was reduced with regular practice, the potential benefits derived from Vipassana on Occupational Stress were not significant at 0.05 level.

3 (iii). Impact of Vipassana on Occupational Stress with reference to years of meditation practice was studied using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r).

Results: The Correlation Coefficient between Occupational Stress and number of years of Vipassana meditation practice was found to be -0.52 (The longer the practice, the lower the stress). This indicates that the Occupational Stress of the meditators reduced significantly with the years of meditation practice. The results of this analysis support the seventh hypothesis.

Study II: Pre-course and Post-course Feedback:

This study was carried out using a ‘Before-and-After’ experimental design. The subjects were assessed using scientifically valid psychological instruments. Again, the independent variable was Vipassana meditation and the dependent variables were Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress. The objective of this study was to investigate whether there was any positive change in subjects as a result of practising Vipassana.

The subjects were administered the Subjective Well Being Inventory and the Occupational Stress Index before the start of their first ten-day course and Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index, Subjective Well Being Inventory, and Occupational Stress Index after one month and six months of their course.

Post-course feedback was not obtained immediately after the course. Instead, this was obtained after one month and six months of their course. This was to avoid any chance of exaggeration due to over-enthusiasm immediately after the course. Also, this helped the investigator to assess the help that Vipassana gives when the subjects are facing the vicissitudes of life.

The subjects selected for this study were of three categories: senior personnel of Government, Public Sector Undertakings and Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education. Participation in this study was purely voluntary. Even then, average 63% responded to the questionaires.

The sample consisted of 147 personnel in case of one-month post-course feedback and 119 personnel in case of six-month post-course feedback.

Instruments used for data collection

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index,

Subjective Well Being Inventory and

Occupational Stress Index.

 1. Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index was used to assess the impact of Vipassana on the professional and personal lives of government officials. The higher the score, the more the benefits derived from Vipassana. ‘Unsure’ responses were categorized as non-beneficiaries.

Results: Majority of the subjects (average 98%) benefited in their personal and professional life by practicing Vipassana. There was a positive change in their mental attitude and effectiveness. The above results support the eighth and ninth hypotheses.

In addition:

97% of the subjects in case of both, post-course one month and six months report that Vipassana is a scientific technique.

95% in case of post-course (one month) and 97% subjects in case of post-course (six months) report that Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

On the average, 92% in the case of post-course (one month) and 95% in the case of post-course (six months) report that:

Vipassana has a direct role to play in improving public administration; 

Vipassana should be used as an tool for Human Resource Development; and 

it would be in the interest of governments and organizations for their employees to take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

99% want their spouse to take a Vipassana course.

2. Subjective Well Being of the subjects before their exposure to Vipassana was compared with the Subjective Well Being after their first course (one month and six/five/four/three months after the course) through statistical analysis. Student’s ‘t’ test was used to analyse the data.

Results: Subjective Well Being of the subjects increased significantly one month and six months after the Vipassana course. The difference was significant at 0.01 level in both cases. These results support the first and third hypotheses.

3. Occupational Stress of the subjects before their exposure to Vipassana was compared with the Occupational Stress after the course (one month and six/five/four/three months after the course) through statistical analysis. Student’s ‘t’ test was used to analyse the data.

Results: Occupational Stress of the subjects decreased significantly one month and six months after the Vipassana course. The difference was found to be significant at 0.05 level in both cases. The above results support the second and fourth hypotheses.

The results in Study II are consistent with those obtained in Study I.

Study III: Anecdotal Evidences

The randomly selected subjects were requested to send a narrative of their experiences about the impact of Vipassana on their professional work and personal lives. They were also requested to comment whether the government should take steps to implement Vipassana in various Government organizations.

304 subjects were contacted by post/courier, out of which 212 (about 70%) responded and sent their anecdotal reports, which is an unusually high response.

The randomly selected subjects for this study were of three categories: Senior personnel of Government, Public Sector Undertakings and Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education.

Most of the respondents reported that Vipassana had benefited them in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. The experience notes/anecdotal reports include the following points:

Improving the system:

Nearly all respondents reported that by practicing Vipassana they are able to contribute significantly, directly or indirectly, in the improvement of the system of their organizations. The positive change within is manifested as a positive impact on the work environment.

Reducing corrupt practices:

Many report that Vipassana helped them to develop the strength of mind to abstain from all corrupt practices.

Increasing efficiency and productivity:

Majority of the respondents report that Vipassana increased their productivity. Many wrote that Vipassana increased their concentration, which in turn, contributed to better efficiency. In addition, many respondents report that Vipassana helped them to enhance the efficiency of their subordinates as well.

Creating healthy work environment:

Majority of the subjects wrote that Vipassana enabled them to generate loving kindness and goodwill. They are now able to maintain inner peace and harmony, which is helping them to create a healthier work environment.

Imbibing moral values:

Majority reported that Vipassana has the capacity to reform the human mind and character. Many respondents narrated that Vipassana has a significant positive impact on their moral values and this positive change had a tremendous impact on reducing corrupt practices. Many stated that they realized that they themselves were the first victims of any immoral act.

Reducing stress and strain:

Almost all respondents revealed that Vipassana has reduced the stress and strain in their lives. Many narrated that Vipassana has helped them to keep the equilibrium of their mind even in the face of adverse conditions. Many report that the practice of Vipassana had reduced their anger, intolerance, and irritation, which in turn, increased their efficiency. All these contributed in reducing their stress and strain.

Increasing mutual cooperation and harmony among colleagues;

Improving relations with seniors and subordinates:

Many wrote that the practice of Vipassana resulted in significant reduction in ill will, hatred, animosity, anger, and egoism, which helped them to maintain good relations with their colleagues and others.

Reducing physical and mental health problems:

Many gains were reported in various aspects of mental health.

Vipassana reduced tension, anxiety, anger, agitation, restlessness, ego, irritation, fear, impatience, insecurity, shyness, rudeness, laziness, frustration, inferiority complex, nervousness and other psychological problems.

Vipassana helped many respondents to increase positive qualities like forgiveness, brotherly feelings, positive thinking, hopefulness, self-control, and self-confidence.

A few found the strength to face physical health problems. Some reported reduction in their physical ailments and improvement in their physical health.

A few revealed that Vipassana gave them the mental strength to give up unwholesome habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.

In brief, the respondents reported that Vipassana helped them, directly or indirectly, in almost all the above mentioned aspects. They stated that all these aspects are so interlinked and interdependent that it is difficult to isolate a particular benefit in a particular aspect because any improvement in one area is bound to create a significant positive impact in other areas as well.

They also said that, as Vipassana eradicates mental defilements, better results are bound to come and that these benefits are in fact, natural products of a pure mind achieved through the practice of Vipassana.

Recommendations of the respondents to incorporate Vipassana in Government:

There was a general consensus that some sort of special leave should be granted for employees to attend Vipassana courses. The respondents felt that the Government should encourage its employees to attend Vipassana courses.

A majority felt that it would be in the best interest of the Government and other organizations to ensure that their employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals. Some remarked that the effort to introduce Vipassana to its employees would provide significant positive results.

Many respondents recommended that Vipassana courses should be compulsory for all Government employees, particularly senior officers.

However, others felt that it should not be compulsory, as it may become counterproductive. They noted that attending Vipassana courses with “inner urge” can bring a greater positive change and reform. Most respondents recommended that Vipassana should be implemented as a tool of Human Resource Development.

Study IV: Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials:

These randomly selected subjects had already attended one or more Vipassana courses (called ‘old students’ of Vipassana) and furnished information in their introduction forms voluntarily after coming to the Vipassana centre for their next course. These forms were scrutinized and the data analysed to determine whether they were deriving any benefits from the practice of Vipassana. The subjects of this study were other than those covered in Study I, II and III.

Sample size: 1232 personnel.

Results: The subjects reported improvements in physical illness and/or mental temperament and in maintaining harmonious relations with others.

Many reported the following benefits of Vipassana:

Increase in positive qualities such as self-discipline, self-control, positive thinking, mutual trust, cooperation and understanding among colleagues, punctuality, brotherhood, forgiveness, self-realization, honesty, etc.

Reduction of stress and strain, irritation, anxiety, tension, anger, restlessness, laziness, jealousy, ego, depression, frustration, fear, greed, arrogance, impatience, aversion, craving, animosity, mental fatigue, agitation, insecurity, nervousness, inferiority complex, shyness, confused state of mind, etc.

Increase in concentration of mind, enthusiasm, efficiency and productivity.

Development of the mental strength to face the vicissitudes of life.

Happy and peaceful life because of Vipassana.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Which two persons are rare in the world?

One who serves others selflessly without expecting anything in return; and one who is grateful towards anyone who does one a kindness.

These two persons are rare in the world.

-
Gotama the Buddha

I am extremely indebted to Shri S. N. Goenkaji who, in spite of his busy schedule, very generously spared his time to give guidance and explained important aspects of Vipassana. He has been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to me throughout the study.

No words can express my gratitude to the Government of Maharashtra and the Government of India for their kind approval of the project and granting me a two-year study leave as a special case.

I am thankful to Dr. A. P. Singh, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor of Psychology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi for granting me permission to use the Occupational Stress Index.

I am deeply grateful to Prof. P. L. Dhar, I.I.T., New Delhi for his invaluable guidance in the initial stages of the project. His research on the effect of Vipassana meditation provided a major impetus for this study.

Many thanks to VRI for giving me office space as well as financial support for the postal stamps, courier charges, stationary and statistical analysis.

I convey my thanks to all those teachers and assistant teachers of Vipassana and Dhamma servers who contributed directly or indirectly with the study at various stages. My special thanks to the staff of VRI and VIA for their help.

I thank Mr. Avinash Jadhav for the exhaustive statistical analysis. His efforts helped in gaining new insights from the findings.

I am grateful to all the respondents who participated in the study and bore with the exhaustive questionnaires patiently. I am very grateful to those respondents who took enough pain to unhesitatingly write their experience notes in detail. All the respondents were a great source of encouragement to me throughout the project work.

Introduction

When there is darkness, light is needed. Today, with so much agony caused by violent conflict, war and bloodshed, the world needs peace and harmony…. Peace in the world cannot be achieved unless there is peace within individuals. One way to achieve inner peace is Vipassana meditation: a non-sectarian, scientific, results-oriented techique of self-observation and truth-realization.

S. N. Goenka,  Vipassana Teacher

Address to world spiritual leaders,

Millennium World Peace Summit,

United Nations, 2000

Present-Day Environment and Government

Developments in the fields of science and technology, transportation, communications, agriculture and medicine have revolutionized human life at the material level. However, modern men and women are living in conditions of great mental and emotional stress, even in the affluent, developed countries. Although there is no dearth of material comfort, people suffer from restlessness, agitation, fear, anger, etc.

Government plays an all-pervasive role in society. The character and quality of the government is shaped by the people who run it. Hence, for real transformation in the functioning of the government, each individual within it needs to change for the better.

Government and society influence each other and are interdependent. Corruption, lack of ethics, stress and strain, materialism, greed, etc. in society is reflected in the working of government and vice versa. Since society consists of individuals, for true and lasting improvement in society, each individual has to change for the better.

No government can remain unaffected by the problems in society arising out of racial, ethnic, sectarian and caste prejudices and the general decline of moral values. Ultimately, it is the government that has to work hard for preventive and remedial measures of these problems. So much energy, manpower and money are being utilised just to maintain law and order and to prevent crimes in society.

Present-Day Situation of Government Employees

Government employees are public servants who have to work in accordance with the existing laws, rules and regulations. Their lives are generally stressful. There is much dependence on subordinates, colleagues, seniors, political will, set systems, etc. Their jobs involve a high degree of responsibility and accountability, uncertain work priorities, excessive workloads, frequent transfers, and differences of opinion with seniors and political bosses. There may also be family and social pressures and compulsions. All these result in tension, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, fear, frustration, anger, hostility, etc. which can adversely affect the quality of their lives.

Remedy for Positive Change in Government

Reduction of stress and strain, increase of efficiency, strengthening of integrity, etc. are the most common issues being discussed in government organizations today. The decline in mental health because of severe job-related stress is becoming a major concern. Therefore, government policymakers are striving hard to bring about reforms.

Continuous efforts are being made to reform the administrative system through various training programmes and workshops. Importance is being given to reform the government system especially at higher levels. These reforms cannot be accomplished merely by imparting management skills or through lectures, sermons, disciplinary action, punitive measures, etc. History is replete with the failures of such attempts. Reforms in the government can be achieved only when each individual is reformed.

Recognition of Vipassana Meditation by Government

Some state governments, public sector undertakings and local bodies have already adopted Vipassana for well-being of their employees. These organizations are encouraging their officials and other staff to attend Vipassana courses, by granting leave etc. The related Orders and Circulars of Government of India, State Governments, Public Sector Undertakings and Municipal Corporations are as follows:

1.    The Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Education), Government of India has recognized that the Vipassana Research Institute is engaged in fostering national integration and international understanding and is the only institution of its kind that integrates theoretical principles with the practice of Vipassana. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, therefore, has recommended Vipassana Research Institute for training in Vipassana and teaching and research in Pali language. Therefore, this Ministry has recommended that scholars from abroad who get admission to this institute for various courses run by it may be granted student visa. This Ministry has recommended to the Ministry of External Affairs to issue suitable instructions to the Indian Embassies and High Commissions abroad to grant student visa to such scholars (Appendix 17).

2.    The Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India has recognized the Vipassana Research Institute as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) (Appendix 18). The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), Government of India has approved the Vipassana Research Institute for the purpose of clause (iii) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 under the category “institution” to encourage people to donate generously to this institute to support its research work.

3.    The Government of Maharashtra has recognized the importance of Vipassana Meditation and has been a pioneer in introducing Vipassana Courses to the State Government officials since 1996. Initially, this facility was available only to officials of the rank equivalent to or above Deputy Secretary above the age of 45 years. This facility was extended to all gazetted officers in 1998. Recently, the government has further extended this facility to all employees of the state government. The government grants Commuted Leave for 14 days to the employees who attend Vipassana courses. Such leave is granted once in three years and maximum six times in one’s entire service period (Appendix 29). Many officials including senior level IAS officers are attending Vipassana courses and deriving benefits.

4.    The Government of Andhra Pradesh has realized that Vipassana Meditation is very useful for government officials. Therefore, this government after careful consideration, has taken decision to sponsor the officials for Vipassana courses. The government grants Special Casual Leave for ten days to senior government officials to attend Vipassana course (Appendix 19A & 19B).

5.    The Government of Madhya Pradesh has recognized the utility of Vipassana Meditation and has introduced this to its employees for “Stress Management and Spiritual Development”. The employees attending the Vipassana course are treated 

On Duty (Appendix 30).

6.    The Delhi police has also recognized the impact of Vipassana. The Police, Delhi Police has been regularly organizing Vipassana courses for its personnel since 1 January 1999. So far, more than 24 ten-day courses have been organized and more than 3700 police personnel, from the rank of Joint Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police to the constables, have all participated in the courses. Through their post-course feedback and interviews, it has been consistently found that police personnel are able to attain the peace of mind and harmony to handle the pressures of their job much better, serve the people more compassionately and do greater justice to their responsibilities. Training College

7.    The Government of Maharashtra, Social Welfare, Cultural Affairs and Sports Department has taken decision in 1996 to sanction Special leave of 14 days and actual tour expenses (to the entitled class) to the officers/staff members of Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation, Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal, the Vasantrao Naik Vimukta Jati and Bhatakya Jamati Mahamandal and Leather Industry Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Appendix 20).

8.    The Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training, Department of Education, Government of Gujarat has decided that teachers who participate in Vipassana courses would be treated On Duty (Appendix 28).

9.    The Social Welfare, Cultural Affairs and Sports Department, Government of Maharashtra has taken decision in 1995 to organize ten-day Vipassana courses during holidays in government hostels, government-aided hostels, schools, schools for handicapped, workshops, etc. belonging to this department (Appendix 33).

10.  The Government of Rajasthan has also accepted the usefulness of Vipassana courses for police and jail personnel as well as jail inmates. It decided in 1996 that Vipassana courses could be organized for different ranks of jail staff and personnel from various jails (Appendix 21). The government also decided that Vipassana courses may be organized for jail inmates in various prisons of the state. Accordingly, courses are being organized in 11 jails of Rajasthan state: in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Kota, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Tonk, Alwar and Sri Ganganagar.

11.  The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has recognized Vipassana Meditation as a technique to reform prisoners and has introduced it in Central Jails. Vipassana has played a great role in the lives of prisoners in Tihar Central Jail, New Delhi, which is one of the largest jails in the world housing nearly 9000 inmates. Dhamma Tihar, Vipassana meditation center, was established in Tihar Jail in 1995. Many scientific studies have been conducted here to assess positive changes in the inmates.

12.  The Inspector General of Prisons, Maharashtra has observed that Vipassana Meditation has successfully brought about mental purification amongst the prisoners. The authorities decided in 1996 that such Vipassana Meditation courses should be regularly organized for the prisoners, employees and officers of the prison (Appendix 22). State

13.  As decided in the Mahapanchayat, the Additional Director General of Prisons, Delhi Prison Headquarters decided to enhance the diet expenses for Vipassana meditators in the Vipassana Ward. Further, to encourage all the staff members to attend Vipassana courses, they are given T.A./D.A. alongwith Rs 500 as reward as well as DG (P)’s Commendation Roll. The period spent on Vipassana course is treated as On Duty (Appendix 23).

14.  The Maharashtra State Electricity Board is sanctioning Commuted Leave of 14 days to all employees who attend ten-day Vipassana course (Appendix 24).

15.  Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. has realized that Vipassana meditation is excellent for self-development and stress management. The Corporation has observed that Vipassana helps in team-building and teamwork and enhancement of efficiency and productivity apart from discipline and good conduct and behavior. In view of all these benefits, ONGC is sponsoring its executives for Vipassana courses. (Appendix 25) The participants are treated On Duty and they get travelling expenditure as well as one-fourth dearness allowance (since Vipassana courses are fully residential and the expenses are being met by the voluntary donations from the old students, the corporation donates Rs.1500/- per participant).

16.  Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd., M.G.C.C., Nagothane Training Centre has decided that their executives be imparted Vipassana training. This organization is regularly deputing its personnel to attend Vipassana courses. The personnel attending the courses are treated On Duty and are entitled to get travelling expenses and 25% cash allowance as per the rules of the Corporation.

17.  On similar lines, Hindustan Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. is also deputing its personnel to take benefits of Vipassana courses.

18.  Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is granting Commuted Leave of 14 days to its employees who attend Vipassana courses (Appendix 31).

19.  Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is also granting leave of 14 days to its employees so as to enable them to take advantage of this Vipassana meditation technique (Appendix 32).

20.  Pune Municipal Corporation and Pune Vipassana Samiti have undertaken a project to introduce Vipassana in schools in order to bring about transformation in the life of students. This long term project entitled, “Vipassana for Better Education”envisages, first imparting Vipassana training to the teachers so that they can subsequently facilitate Anapana courses (the first step of Vipassana) for the children in their schools. Some lines of the letter of PMC addressed to the Principals/Head Masters are follows: “It’s a great opportunity for the school teachers to experience the manifold benefits of Vipassana and help their students to become good citizens of this country. Anapana enables students in their early age to establish their life on a positive and constructive moral foundation. On practicing Anapana, the children’s outlook, behavior and attitude undergo a positive change, their ability to concentrate improves, and their memory is strengthened. And above all, children acquire something so precious, so valuable, which is of long lasting assistance for the rest of their life. It has been established by now that Vipassana enables students to develop virtues like concentration of mind, discipline, honesty, cooperation, etc.”

21.  Similarly, the Education Department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to participate in children’s courses (Anapana courses) during holidays.

22.  On realizing the utility values of a Vipassana, the Urban Development Department, Government of Maharastra, by its Order No. TPB. 4399/1576/CR-22/2000/ UD-11 dated 7th April 2000 clarified to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai that the construction of Vipassana centre may be permitted in the case of development of lands reserved for Play Ground/Recreation Ground, etc. up to 15% on 10% of the area of the land for said amenity as per the provisions (Appendix 26). Similarly, Pune Municipal Corporation has also by its Circular No. MCO/CE/639 dated 25-10-1999 clarified that construction for structures of Vipassana Centers will be permitted in the case of development of lands reserved for Children Play Grounds, Recreation Grounds, Play Grounds, Parks, Gardens, etc. (Appendix 27). Center

 Background of the researcher:

The researcher is a government servant (Indian Forest Service, 1987 batch, Maharashtra cadre) and has been practicing Vipassana since 1994. A large number of personnel from the government sector have been attending Vipassana courses. Many of them have shared their experiences that they have been benefited from Vipassana meditation. Therefore, the researcher developed a keen interest to assess the impact of Vipassana on government officials in an objective manner and applied for study leave. The government found that the proposed study is of definite advantage from the point of view of public interest and it is for pursuance of studies in subjects other than academic or literary subjects. Therefore, the government was kind enough to grant the study leave as a special case.

Since the researcher has been practicing Vipassana, there may seem to be some personal bias while carrying out the research work. However, the methodology was designed to eliminate such bias.

VIPASSANA  MEDITATION :  AN  INTRODUCTION

Vipassana means insight, "to see things as they really are." It is a logical process of mental purification through self-observation. It is a non-sectarian, scientific, result-oriented technique of truth realization. The technique of Vipassana is a simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and to lead a happy, useful life.

Historical Background

Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered more than 2500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills. During the Buddha’s time, large numbers of people in India were freed from the bonds of suffering by practicing Vipassana, allowing them to attain high levels of achievement in all spheres of life. Over time, this technique spread to the neighboring countries of Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand and others, where it had the same ennobling effect.

This technique flourished in India for nearly five centuries. Gradually, however, it became corrupted and so lost its efficacy, eventually disappearing from the land of its origin, India. The purity of the teaching was lost elsewhere as well. Fortunately, in the country of Myanmar (Burma), it was preserved in its pristine purity by a chain of devoted teachers. Though the number of persons practicing it was quite small, from generation to generation, for two thousand years, this dedicated lineage transmitted the technique in its pristine purity.

In our time, Vipassana has been reintroduced to India, as well as to citizens from more than ninety other countries, by Acharya S. N. Goenka, a retired industrialist and former leader of the Indian community in Myanmar.

Acharya S. N. Goenka was trained in Myanmar by the renowned Burmese Vipassana teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin (1899-1971) who was a senior civil servant (first Accountant General in the Burmese Government). After 14 years of training under his teacher, in 1969, S. N. Goenka was appointed as a full-fledged Vipassana Acharya (Teacher).

Sayagyi U Ba Khin was taught Vipassana by Saya U Thetgyi, a well-known teacher of meditation in Burma in the first half of this century. In turn, Saya U Thetgyi was a pupil of Ledi Sayadaw, a famous Burmese scholar-monk of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There is no further record of the names of the teachers of this technique but it is believed that Ledi Sayadaw learned Vipassana meditation from traditional teachers who had preserved it through generations since ancient times.

Sayagyi U Ba Khin had the strong wish that Vipassana should return to India, the land of its origin, to help it come out of its manifold problems. From India, he felt certain that it would then spread throughout the world for the benefit of all humanity.

Acharya S. N. Goenka took this as the mission of his life and devoted his life for teaching Vipassana. He began conducting Vipassana courses in India in 1969; after ten years, he began to teach in foreign countries as well. He has personally conducted hundreds of courses around the world and has trained more than 700 assistant teachers to conduct courses on his behalf. Today, Vipassana is being taught in more than 90 Vipassana centers spread across Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia and Africa. With the help of these assistant teachers and thousands of volunteers, courses have been conducted in many countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka,Bhutan, Myanmar, UAE, Iran, Muscat, Thailand, The People’s Republic of China, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Mongolia,Russia, U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France, Switzerland, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya,Mexico and all the countries of South America.

All the Vipassana centers throughout the world have same schedule and same instructions during the courses (for details about centers, see Appendix 34). The main center for the training and practice of Vipassana is the Vipassana.International Academy

The technique is non-sectarian and open to all without any distinction of race, caste, religion or nationality. Thousands of people from different backgrounds in India and abroad have attended Vipassana courses.

According to the tradition, there is no fee or charge for the teaching in these courses. Neither Acharya S. N. Goenka nor his assistant teachers receive any remuneration for their services. Volunteers (called Dhamma servers) also serve at the centers without any remuneration. Expenses of the courses are met solely by voluntary donations from students who have benefited from Vipassana and wish others to gain the same benefit.

The Practice

To learn this technique one is required to take a ten-day residential course under a qualified teacher. The students have to arrive at the center before 4.00 p.m. on ‘Day Zero’ (the day the course starts). The course starts in the evening after the registration process.

To begin with, one has to take a vow to observe certain rules of moral conduct (sila). These are:

1.       Abstention from killing

2.       Abstention from stealing

3.       Abstention from sexual misconduct

4.       Abstention from lying

5.       Abstention from taking any intoxicant

Any violation of these rules is bound to agitate and defile the mind. An agitated mind cannot proceed on the path of truth, the path of self-exploration. The observance of sila is, therefore, the foundation for the practice of Vipassana. This first step itself is likely to initiate a positive change in one’s life.

The second step of this training is called Anapana (awareness of respiration). This involves continuous ‘observation’ of the natural flow of the incoming and the outgoing breath. Gradually, the mind gets concentrated on this natural activity and the person gains greater control over his or her mind. Anapana promotes awareness of the present moment, equanimity and tranquility of mind. Respiration is a universal object and can be used by anyone to develop concentration (samadhi). As the mind becomes more concentrated, it starts to calm down, making it fit to practice Vipassana (insight), which removes the roots of all mental impurities.

The third step is the development of wisdom (pañña), which is purification of mind by the practice of choiceless observation of body sensations and development of an attitude of non-reaction. This has a corrective influence on one’s deep-rooted negative habits.

Students remain within the course site for the duration of the retreat, having no contact with the outside world. They refrain from reading and writing and suspend any religious practices or other disciplines. They follow a demanding daily schedule, which includes about ten hours of sitting meditation (with rest periods for meals and walking exercise). They observe Noble Silence: not communicating with fellow students in any form; whether by physical gestures, written notes, sign language, etc. However, they are free to discuss mediation related questions with the teacher and material problems with the management.

The observation of rules of moral conduct allows the mind to calm down sufficiently to proceed with the task at hand. For the first three-and-a-half days, students practice ‘Anapana’ meditation, focusing attention on the natural breath. This practice helps to develop control over the unruly mind. These first two steps of living a wholesome life and developing control of the mind are necessary and beneficial, but are incomplete unless the third step is taken: purifying the mind of its underlying negativities. This third step, undertaken for the last six-and-a-half-days, is the practice of Vipassana: one penetrates one’s entire physical and mental structure with the clarity of insight.

Students receive systematic meditation instructions several times a day, and each day’s progress is explained during a videotaped evening discourse by Acharya S. N. Goenka. Noble Silence is observed for the first nine days. On the tenth day, students resume speaking, making the transition back to a more extroverted way of life. The course concludes on the morning of the eleventh day. For rules and regulations to be observed during a Vipassana Meditation course, see Appendix 16.

Vipassana enables one to experience peace and harmony: it purifies the mind, freeing it from suffering and the deep-seated causes of suffering. The practice leads step-by-step to the highest spiritual goal of full liberation from all mental defilements.

The best way to know about Vipassana is by attending a ten-day course. At the Vipassana centre, there is a suitable environment and a trained guide to support the meditator.

Review of Literature

A number of studies have been carried out to investigate the psychotherapeutic effects of Vipassana. Both clinical and traditional literature suggests that Vipassana “increases self-awareness, promotes integration of subjective experience, and facilitates acceptance and tolerance to sufficiently reduce physical and psychological distress” (Fleischman, 1999).

This study focusing on Government officials, however, is the first of its kind. Numerous research studies helped to provide the necessary framework. Below, a brief review of the general research on meditation is followed by the studies conducted on the various aspects of the effectiveness of Vipassana meditation.

Research on Meditation

Meditation has been practiced in a wide variety of forms throughout the world by many people of different cultural and religious backgrounds. All the world’s major religions have embraced meditation in one form or another. The past two decades have witnessed a marked revival of studies in meditation, with an equally spectacular upsurge of scientific interest in meditation. Meditation is now gaining prominence not only as a self-help and self-mastery technique, but also as an adjunct to psychotherapy (Khosla, 1989).

Though practiced for over four thousand years, a history longer than any other psychotherapeutic endeavor, it is only in recent years that researchers have turned to an objective and empirical investigation of the aspects of human behavior involved in the practice of meditation. This is partly due to the belief of many of the meditation groups that their experiences were ineffable and reflected experiential, non-observable and hence immeasurable events. Changing attitudes coupled with advances in physiological monitoring and psychometrics have ‘opened up’ meditation to more systematic investigation. In 1977, the American Psychiatric Association strongly recommended that “research be undertaken in the form of well controlled studies to evaluate the specific usefulness, indications and dangers of meditative techniques. The research should compare the various forms of meditation with one another and with psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic modalities” (Khosla, 1989).

The studies establish that Yoga and meditation can contribute positively to the overall quality of life. Following are a few examples:

i) Ahmad (1988) conducted a study, which showed that those who engage in a meditation practice often show a higher quality of life than those who do not meditate. He found that overall adjustment and personality organization was higher amongst those who practiced meditation (Khurana and Dhar, 2002).

ii) In a similar study, Jhansi and Rao (1996) investigated the role of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in improving the attention regulation capacity of its practitioners. Their study reveals greater attention regulation capacity among TM practitioners compared to their counterparts due to the regular cognitive exercises involved in meditation practice.

iii) Jin (1992) observed the efficacy of Tai Chi, a Chinese moving meditation, in reducing mood disturbance caused by mental or emotional stress.

iv) A whole series of research projects have been conducted in India to determine the beneficial effects of Yoga on a subject’s stress management, various cognitive processes, and overall mental health (Selvamurthy, 1993). According to Aminabhavi (1996) Yoga training greatly improves the well being of the regular practitioner. Also, Venkatesh, Pal, Negi, Verma, Sapru, and Verma (1994) have observed that male and female Yoga practitioners in the prisons have a more positive attitude than non-practitioners. The Yoga practitioners were more socially desirable than the control group (Khurana and Dhar, 2002).

4. These studies establish that Yoga and Meditation can contribute positively to the overall quality of life. Among the various forms of meditation, Vipassana is well recognized and accepted.

The following additional observations are worth mentioning here before giving a brief account of research on Vipassana.

i) Healing and helping professionals belonging to diverse disciplines like the Naturopaths, Yoga therapists, Homoeopaths, Vaidyas, Allopaths and others, have readily accepted Vipassana as it is free from dogma, experientially based and focused on human suffering and relief (Fleischman, 1991).

ii) Vipassana is a technique of self-examination, a scientific method of self-observation that results in total purification of the mind and the highest happiness of full liberation (VRI, 1990).

Brief Account of Research on Vipassana Meditation

 A. Impact of Vipassana on Health

1) Deepak, Manchanda, and Maheswari (1994) reported that continuous meditation can substantially improve the ‘clinico-electroencephalographic’ measures in drug-resistant epileptics. Chandiramani et al (1994) found that since Vipassana Meditation emphasizes both conscious lifestyle changes in the area of morality and deeper psychological analysis, it affects the contents and processes of the mind in fundamental ways. Mild to moderately severe neurotic cases of anxiety, depression, and adjustment problems show complete recovery as a result of Vipassana (Dhar and Khurana, 2002).

2) In a long-term prospective study, Khosla (1989) reports that Vipassana Meditation induced marked benefits in both “normal” and “mental disorder” groups, which were studied in terms of “personality based hardiness”, “stress-related physiological and psychological symptoms”, and “ways of coping with stress”. By the end of six months of regular Vipassana practice, all the subjects indicated significant improvements in all the psychological parameters like depression, anxiety, coping with stress, personality functioning, etc. Khosla reports that their general complaints about life diminished and the ability to withstand stress increased. These measured improvements were even greater by the end of the follow up study after one year.

3) There are several research reports suggesting the therapeutic utility of Vipassana. Dwivedi (1977), Doshi (1990), Chandiramani (1991) and Fleischman (1986, 1991 and 1999) pointed out the similarities between the principles of Vipassana and psychiatric practice. Sinha et al (1976) have reported improved attention span, alertness and emotional stability in the subjects after attending Vipassana courses.

4) Some of the physiological and biochemical measurements on Vipassana meditators support the obvious hypothesis of built-in relaxation. Udupa et al (1975) found an increase in the R.B.C. acetylcholine, R.B.C. cholinesterase, plasma catecholamines and plasma histamines, and a decrease in the plasma cortisol, urinary corticoids and urinary nitrogen, indicating that the meditators were physically stable and in a more restful state, while mentally, they were more active and in a state of increased awareness. Dillow and Davidson (1988) noticed a significant increase in visual sensitivity and a greater flexibility of cognitive set among the meditators. An electroencephalographic (E.E.G.) study of the meditators revealed novel neuro-physiological processes of synchronization appearing from the midline structures of the brain; these were more pronounced in the experienced meditators than the novitiate.

5) The clinical utility of Vipassana is considered to be more in providing a general psychological pattern of positive mental states rather than as a response to any particular presenting problem, which makes it a perfect anti-stress remedy and an excellent human potential development method (Chokhani, 1986 and 1995).

6) Kutz et al (1985) have drawn and advocated the use of a framework, wherein Vipassana meditation and Dynamic psychotherapy are integrated. They have discussed the synergistic advantages of the combination, considering the psychobiological nature of meditation, the relaxation response (Benson, 1975) and its use as an effective cognitive technique for the development of self-awareness.

7) A case has also been made to use Vipassana as a Consciousness therapy since it helps in exploring the deeper reaches of one’s mind and in developing better insight and self-understanding, known to facilitate healthy and lasting changes in one’s life-style (Chandiramani, 2001).

8) Miller et al (1995), Nathawat et al (1997) report the efficacy of Vipassana in managing anxiety, stress and related symptoms and other emotional problems. Miller et al (1995) reported long-term beneficial effects in the treatment of anxiety disorder patients following an intensive but time-limited group stress reduction intervention based on mindfulness meditation.

9) Several therapists have reported using Anapana (a preparatory step in the training of Vipassana) as a relaxation therapy in clinical practice (Bhamagara, 1990; Curry, 1990; Fleischman, 1991). Ayyar (1990) and Chokhani (1986) have been using Anapana meditation in neurotic and psychosomatic disorders as a supplementary form of treatment with good clinical response.

10) A good response has been observed in rehabilitating alcohol and drug dependants with Vipassana as it tackles ‘craving’ which is the root cause of all addiction (Hammersley and Cregan, 1986; Khosla, 1989; Scholz, 1990-a and 1990-b; Vipassana Research Institute, 1990-a and 1990-b).

11) Studies by Scholz (1990-a and 1990-b) and Hammersley and Cregan (1986) from the “Start Again” drug therapy center in Zurich, Switzerland and from “Cyrenian House” drug therapy center in Perth, Australia demonstrate that Vipassana has been a useful companion to other drug related therapies. They report that Vipassana has assisted drug addicts to conquer their addiction to hard drugs, increase their ‘life-practical autonomy’, reduce and prevent relapses, and develop new perspectives and strategies towards a sober life.

These two addiction therapy centers established in 1982 and 1992 respectively, have worked out an effective therapeutic programme incorporating Vipassana, wherein the addicts are counseled and taught Anapana while they are with the programme (in-house). The addicts are prepared and motivated to pass through a regular ten-day Vipassana course (externally organized); they are supported and counseled after their Vipassana course to ensure that they keep working with the technique properly and regularly. Nearly all the staff members of these centers are meditators and many are ex-addicts too, who with their Vipassana experience and its applied practice in their daily life, serve as effective therapists and excellent role models. Individuals who incorporate this technique into their daily life are found to become highly resistant to threats to their sobriety.

A study by Studer (1999) has rated the addicts’ chances of getting partially and/or fully rehabilitated to be 59 to 69 % in the second year after their leaving the ‘Start Again’ therapeutic programme.

12) Vipassana has been proved to be of value in relieving pain, by reducing the experience of suffering via cognitive reappraisal in chronic pain patients, who had not improved with traditional medical care (Kabat-Zinn J., 1982; Kabat-Zinn and Burney, 1981; Kabat-Zinn et al, 1984). Numerous case reports are available of meditators who suffer from excruciating pain due to terminal cancer or other diseases, yet stay calm and peaceful, not permitting the ‘physical’ pain to become a ‘mental’ pain (Vipassana Research Institute, 1990 and 1995).

13) The effects of Vipassana on physical and psychological health were also assessed on a multi-ethnic population inMuscat, Oman. Ala’Aldin Al-Hussaini et al (2001) examined the subjects’ ‘Before and After’ their Vipassana course. Self-assessments of health-related parameters and physical and psychological symptomatology were collected from them before and immediately after the course. A control group was tested for a similar time interval. The researcher found that immediately after their ten-day training, the Vipassana participants assessed themselves significantly higher compared to their levels prior to the course, suggesting that the ten-day course had significantly improved their physical and psychological well being. The control group did not exhibit such changes. The investigators concluded that Vipassana Meditation might help mitigate psychological and psychosomatic distress (Sultan Qaboos University Journal for Scientific Research: Medical Sciences, Volume 3, No. 2: 87-92, October, 2001).

14) Studies conducted at the Navjivan Nature Cure Center in Gujarat, India examined patients who suffered from asthma, ulcerative colitis, hyper-acidity, hypertension, peptic ulcer, diabetes, renal failure, muscular atrophy, and pamphigus vulgaris. Dr. Sanghvi (1994) reports that his patients who attended Vipassana courses demonstrated many positive signs:

 Meditation hastens the healing process,

The patient’s capacity to endure suffering increases,

Increase in equanimity reduces the agony of incurable patients in the face of imminent death,

Meditation changes the total outlook towards life and illness,

In most cases, the role of mind in the genesis of disease becomes evident,

Patients suffering from many types of incurable diseases were relieved beyond their expectations,

Patients with chronic renal disease showed improvement. (V.R.I., 1995)

B. Impact of Vipassana on Police

1) At the Rajasthan in Jaipur, Sinha et al (1976) found improved attention span, alertness and emotional stability in the subjects, who were police officials. There were measurable changes in their behavior and outlook; they attained a clearer perception of their roles and functions and a greater awareness of their duty towards society. Police Academy

2) Dr. Amulya Khurana, Prof. P.L. Dhar, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Dr. Kiran Bedi, I.P.S., the then Joint Commissioner of Police (Training.), Delhi Police, conducted a series of scientific studies on the impact of Vipassana on Police personnel at the Police Training College, New Delhi in October, 2001. In their final report submitted to VRI, the investigators reported that the statistical analysis revealed significant improvement in the Job Anxiety level of the police personnel. Majority of the participants felt, after doing the course that their job anxiety had reduced. The Subjective Well Being of the participants increased significantly after attending the Vipassana course. The analysis of self-reports and self-assessment also revealed many positive changes experienced by the participants after they attended the Vipassana course. The investigators concluded that the overall results of the study were positive and encouraging, suggesting that the adoption of Vipassana as part of police training culture and regular practice of Vipassana should be encouraged so that the change process initiated after attending a course can be further strengthened.

3) In the Home Department of the Government of Rajasthan, several key officials who attended Vipassana courses showed improvement in their decision-making capacity and interpersonal relationships (Singh, 1997).

C. Impact of Vipassana in Private Sector

Many private organizations like Surya Foundations, Mahindra and Mahindra, Speed Engineering, Toshniwal Instrumentations, Anand Engineers Pvt. Ltd., etc. are deputing their employees to attend Vipassana courses.

1) In a case study of Anand Engineers Pvt. Ltd. (Mumbai), Shah (1994) reports that in the company, having a turnover of five crores (over one million U.S. dollars), it was found that all the directors, members of the senior staff and a majority of clerks and workmen attended Vipassana courses. First, the managing director went for a course, then the other senior staff followed his example. Others noticed changes at the top, and they decided to attend a Vipassana course. Sixty percent of the employees have attended courses. About half of those have done more than one course. Resultant changes in the organization have been a shift from authority rule to consensus decisions taken at a lower level, from one-upmanship to team spirit and from indecisiveness and insecurity to self motivation in the work-force. The ultimate result was an increase in group efficiency and profits accompanied by improvement in mental health and interpersonal relations. Productivity was improved by 20%.

2) In another case study, “Productivity and Harmony through Vipassana”, Gupta (1997) reports enhanced industrial productivity and harmony through the practice of Vipassana meditation during the period 1986-1996 in Anand Engineers Pvt. Limited.

The average increase in the output per employee was 21 percent.

There were no strikes or any other form of labor unrest in the company.

Individual employees reported reduction in anger, calmness of mind and greater tolerance as a result of Vipassana meditation.

These factors are bound to translate into higher productivity and harmony for the company.

 D. Impact of Vipassana on Prison Inmates

1) Several experiments have been conducted in Indian prisons to assess the efficiency of Vipassana in prisons. In 1975, Acharya S. N Goenkaji conducted a course for 120 inmates at the Central Jail in Jaipur, the first such experiment in Indian penal history. This course was followed, in 1976, by a course for senior police officers at theGovernment Police Academy in Jaipur. In 1977, a second course was held at Jaipur Central Jail. These courses were the subject of several sociological studies conducted by the University of Rajasthan. In 1990, another course was organized in Jaipur Central Jail, in which forty life-term convicts and ten jail officials participated with positive results. In 1991, a course for life-sentence prisoners was held at the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad, and was the subject of a research project by the Department of Education, Gujarat Vidyapeeth. The Rajasthan and Gujaratstudies indicated definite positive changes in the attitude and behavior of the participants, and showed that Vipassana is a positive reform measure, enabling criminals to become wholesome members of society.

2) At the Central Jail in Jaipur, where the first ever prison course was organized in 1975, Shah (1976) and Unnithan and Ahuja (1977) found a marked change in the attitude and behavior of the participants, who were hardened criminals convicted of heinous crimes. They regretted their offences and became calmer and more equanimous; in addition, crimes and petty offences in the jail were significantly reduced (VRI, 1991).

3) The adoption of Vipassana in the Tihar Jail, the largest prison in India housing about 9000 prisoners, has been described as the culmination of testing of a wide range of innovative reforms. The positive changes in the inmates and staff indicated that Vipassana could become an effective method of reform. After the success of these courses, the government thought to introduce Vipassana as a reform measure in all the prisons in the country. This led to the establishment of a regular Vipassana center inside Central Jail No. 4, where two courses are being held every month.

4) Two detailed investigations into the effects of Vipassana on Tihar Jail inmates were undertaken under the aegis of the Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS (Dhar, 1994). In the first study, the dimensions studied were well being, hostility, hope, helplessness, personality, psychopathy, and in the case of psychiatric disorders, anxiety and depression. In another study, the dimensions studied were- anomie, attitude towards the law, personality and psychiatric illnesses. Both studies revealed similar results. Immediately after the course, the subjects were found to be less hostile towards their environment and felt less helpless. The psychiatric patients, constituting about 23% of the total subjects, reported improvement in their anxiety and depressive symptoms. Subjects without any psychological symptoms also reported improvement in the form of enhanced well being and a sense of hope for the future. Their sense of alienation from the mainstream, though unchanged immediately after the course, was found to be lower after three months. The follow-up evaluations at three and six month intervals revealed further improvement in many of these dimensions.

5) Chandiramani, Verma, Dhar, and Agarwal (1994) studied the psychological effects of Vipassana on Tihar Prison inmates and reported significant improvement in parameters like sense of hope and well being. They also observed considerable reduction in neurotic predisposition, hostility, and feelings of helplessness amongst the prisoners who had taken a Vipassana course. Khurana (1996 and 1999) conducted field experiments using ‘Before and After’ designs to find out the effect of Vipassana on the Quality of Life and Subjective Well Being of undertrials in Tihar Jail. She found a slight improvement, but recommended that the study be repeated using a Control Group design. Chaudhary (1999) analyzed the efficiency of Vipassana Meditation to ameliorate stress and promote reformation among adolescent prisoners. In her study, she reported that both ‘state anxiety’ and ‘trait anxiety’ reduced significantly in Vipassana meditators. She also stated that there was a decrease in aggression among the undertrial prisoners who had taken the course, and an increase in positive emotions such as hopefulness, self-control, conformity, and compassion.

6) Khurana and Dhar (2002) conducted a series of five studies and investigated the effect of Vipassana on the Quality of Life, Subjective Well Being and Criminal Propensity among inmates of Tihar Jail, Delhi. They conducted the studies using both ‘‘Control Group’’ and ‘Before and After’ experimental designs on the effect of Vipassana. They found that Vipassana Meditation significantly improved Subjective Well Being and reduced Criminal Propensity of inmates of Tihar Jail.

7) Chandiramani (2000) conducted a multi-method qualitative research, “A Study of the Attitudes of Prison Staff towards Use of Vipassana Meditation for Behavioral Change within Prison”. This study explored the feelings, interpretations and the opinions of the prison staff regarding the use of Vipassana meditation in prisons. The investigator visited some prisons in India where Vipassana was already being practiced by jail inmates and found that Vipassana was seen by the prison staff as a scientific method, which could be employed without much difficulty and extra cost for bringing about a positive change in prisoners’ behavior in different cultural settings. The investigator found that it would be desirable to use Vipassana meditation for behaviour change among prisoners, particularly in treating minor psychiatric problems: anxiety, depression, adjustment problems, social isolation and other stresses of imprisonment. The investigator also found that about one-third to a half prison population suffered from significant psychiatric problems. The existing mental health resources will continue to be insufficient in the foreseeable future. The option of drug treatment has a major limitation of dependence liability, as many of the prisoners are a high-risk group for addiction. The conventional non-drug treatments (psychosocial therapies) are labour-intensive and would require a large number of mental health professionals. Spiritual practices like Vipassana could fill this gap and has the following advantages:

The ethico-moral aspects appear quite appropriate for the needs of prisoners.

It is cheap and practicable because it can be administered to a large number of individuals at one time (a few hundred).

Vipassana can have a preventive role as it reduces distress of even normal individuals and sub-clinical population.

It is a scientific technique free from rituals and dogma.

8) Vipassana is now being practiced in many prisons in India on a regular basis. Thousands of prisoners have so far learnt this technique. Vipassana courses have also been organized in prisons in USA, UK, Spain, Mexico, Thailand,Taiwan, and New Zealand.

9) In addition, many other studies have reported positive changes in the behaviour of jail inmates, due to Vipassana Meditation (Hammersley and Cregan, 1986).

E. Impact of Vipassana in Burmese Government

The civil service career of Sayagyi U. Ba Khin, Acharya S. N. Goenka’s meditation teacher, is an example of the transformative effect of Vipassana on government administration. Sayagyi U. Ba Khin was a renowned Vipassana Teacher. He was also the first Accountant General of independent Burma, now Myanmar. Many times he worked as head of several government departments.

Sayagyi used Vipassana as an instrument of change and reform. He succeeded in instilling a heightened sense of duty, discipline and morality in the officials working under him by teaching them Vipassana meditation. As a result, efficiency dramatically increased, and corruption was eliminated. His outstanding achievements in reforming the administration indicate clearly that Vipassana facilitates quick decisions based upon sound judgement (Appendix 15).

F. Impact of Anapana (first step of Vipassana) on Children:

Since 1986, thousands of school children ranging between the ages of 8 and 15 have attended Anapana meditation courses tailored to meet the specific needs, interests and capabilities of the children. In their studies on the impact of these courses, Adaviyappa (1994), Shah and Katakam (1994) explain that the immediate and long-term benefits are clearly significant in helping children to become established in lives of positive action with a strong moral foundation at an early age. The academic performance of those children who continue to meditate at home or at school improves because the meditation helps to improve their concentration, memory and self-control.

Methodology of the study

The fruits of meditation are innumerable—those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of purity and the power of the mind backed by insight into the Ultimate Truth of Nature, one may be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind.

Sayagyi U Ba Khin

3.1 Selection of the Psychological Measures and Research Design:

As mentioned earlier, Vipassana meditation is not a psychological or physical treatment modality, but a scientific technique for total purification of the mind. In fact, health-related benefits are byproducts of the purification process. It is said that if one practices it regularly and properly, one is bound to show significant improvement in one’s mental health/state. Therefore, the ideal psychological scales for studying the benefits of Vipassana should be to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the difference in the level or amount of each defilement or impurity (e.g. tension, anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, ill-will, jealousy, animosity, passion, guilt, ego, etc.) ‘Before and After’ Vipassana. In addition, the pre and post Vipassana assessment of the qualities of a pure mind like love, compassion, sympathetic joy, happiness, peace of mind equanimity, etc. should be made. Unfortunately, this cannot be done at this stage because of the lack of reliable and valid psychological scales to measure both sets of qualities. Hence, at present, the benefits of Vipassana cannot be measured satisfactorily, and so, its beneficial effects have to be studied indirectly.

For such assessment, time being, two strategies were available to the investigator.

Firstly, to investigate the changes that the subjects felt within themselves due to Vipassana, and to what extent Vipassana benefited them in various aspects of their personal and professional lives. This could be achieved by collecting relevant information through specific questionnaires, anecdotal reports, and to some extent, through incidental feedback available in the introduction forms of old students.

Secondly, to investigate the changes through scientific psychological tests.

Therefore, a multimethod approach was adopted to collect both and analyze qualitative and quantitative data.

The Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index was specifically developed by the Vipassana Research Institute for comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of Vipassana.

Both ‘Control Group’ and ‘Before and After’ (after one month and six months of the course) experimental designs were employed to find out the impact of Vipassana Meditation on Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress of government officials. The subjects were assessed with the help of scientifically valid psychological tests, that is, the Subjective Well Being Inventory (Nagpal and Sell, 1985) and the Occupational Stress Index (Shrivastava and Singh, 1984).

Anecdotal personal experience note evidences were collected from randomly selected subjects. They were requested to report the benefits they derived from Vipassana in various aspects of their professional and personal life.

Information was also collected from the introduction forms of government officers who had attended Vipassana courses in the past.

Description of the above instruments are given in “Tools for Measurement”, which will justify their rationale. The following four studies were conducted:

 STUDY I : Anonymous Feedback of old Meditators:

 Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group

This study was carried out using ‘Control Group’ (With And Without) experimental design. The subjects of the Vipassana Group were government officials who had completed at least one ten-day Vipassana course. The samples were selected randomly by sorting out their introduction forms. These subjects were contacted by post/courier and informed about the objective of this study. They were requested to answer the enclosed questionnaires. The subjects were assured that their identity would not be disclosed in any way and no one, including the investigator, would know who had answered the questionnaires. This was to help them answer factually, so that accurate conclusions could be drawn from the study. They were also assured that all the information given by them would be treated as confidential and would be used only for research purposes. A postcard was sent as a reminder and a second postcard was sent after two months. Officials throughout the country were contacted.

The sample consisted of 607 personnel.

In spite of many constraints like extremely busy schedule of the subjects, change in their addresses because of transfers, exhaustive questionnaires, etc., out of 1103 personnel, 653 (about 60%) responded to the requests. 607 responses were found to be valid.

One of the reasons for such a wide coverage throughout the country was to examine whether Vipassana gives the same results irrespective of cadre/service and nature of duties.

Demographic data was collected through demographic data sheet (Appendix 1).

The instruments used for data collections were:

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index (Appendix 2),

Subjective Well Being Inventory (Appendix 3) and

Occupational Stress Index (Appendix 4).

Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress of Vipassana group and Non-Vipassana group was compared through statistical analysis.

STUDY II: Pre-course and Post-course Feedback:

This study was carried out using a ‘Before-and-After’ experimental design to determine if there is any change in subjects as a result of VM. The main aim of this study is to investigate the changes in the overall mental health of the subjects after attending the Vipassana course and regular meditation practice for one month and for six months. Post-course feedback was not obtained immediately after the course. Instead, this was obtained after one month and six months of their course. This was to avoid any chance of exaggeration caused by over-enthusiasm immediately after the course. Also, this helped the investigator to assess the efficacy of Vipassana while these subjects are facing the vicissitudes of life.

The subjects for this test were of three categories (senior personnel of Government, Public Sector Undertakings and Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education).

Pre-course Feedback:

The subjects were administered Subjective Well Being Inventory and Occupational Stress Index before the start of their ten-day course at Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri. Participation in this study was purely voluntary. The subjects were informed about the objective of the study and were assured that the information shared by them would be treated as confidential and would be used only for research purposes. This exercise was started in January 2002 and continued until September 2002. In all, 238 subjects participated and gave their pre-course feedback.

Post-course Feedback:

This study is divided into two parts:

Study IIA – One month Post-course feedback and

Study IIB – Six months Post-course feedback.

These subjects were contacted by post/courier after one month and six months of their Vipassana courses to get their post-course feedback.

The instruments used for data collection are:

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index

Subjective Well Being Inventory

Occupational Stress Index

A brief description of the variables, “Subjective Well Being” and “Occupational Stress” is given below:

Many authors have utilized the concept of Subjective Well Being to analyze people’s reflection of their own mental status. According to Goldenson (1984), mental health is a state of mind characterized by emotional well being, relative freedom from anxiety or other disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish a constructive relationship with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.

Ryff et al (1995), on the other hand, have proposed a theoretical model of well being which encompasses six distinct dimensions of mental health: autonomy, environment mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. Similarly, Sahoo and Bidyadhar (1988) state that at least four dominant factors influence the way people evaluate their own subjective mental health. They call these elements evaluation of positive affective experience, evaluation of negative affective experience, feeling of personal competence in handling negative experience, and a feeling of personal competence in deriving positive experience.

Thus, Subjective Well Being is an important aspect of one’s psychological disposition. It is a mental state that helps a person to maintain equilibrium, anchored in hope and optimism, even during the adversities of life (Khurana and Dhar, 2000).

Stress is “a state of mental, emotional or other strain” (Oxford 1999). Occupational Stress, a problem that is being widely considered by social and psychological researchers, is seen as an unpleasant interaction between a person and his or her work environment. Morgolis and Kores (1974) defined occupational stress as a condition where “psychological and physiological homeostasis” is disrupted. In addition, McGrath (1976) writes that stress arises “when an environmental situation is perceived as presenting a demand which threatens to exceed the person’s capabilities and resources for meeting it, under conditions where he expects a substantial difference in the rewards and costs from meeting the demand versus not meeting it.”

Government officials are subject to tremendous work-pressure and severe stress and strain. It is evident from the aforementioned research that yoga and meditation practices reduce stress, enhance mental health, and have an overall positive impact on one’s well being. Government organizations organize regular refresher and reorientation courses for their officials to enhance their professional competence. However, very little has been done to enhance the Subjective Well Being and to reduce the Occupational Stress of these officials.

Study IIA – Post-course feedback (one month)

This exercise was started in June 2002 and continued until February 2003. If the person did not respond within a month, a postcard was sent as a reminder and a second postcard after two months.

Participation in this study was purely voluntary and subjects were free to withdraw at any time. Even then, out of the initial 238 subjects, 166 (70%) responded to the questionnaires. However, only 147 responses were found to be valid.

Study IIB – Post-course feedback (six months)

Post-course feedback after six months could not be obtained in all the cases because of time constraint. Therefore, in some cases (total 25%), feedback was obtained after three, four and five months after the course and included in the study. Out of the initial 228 subjects contacted, 129 (57%) in this study responded to the questionnaires. Such an overwhelming response is considered to be unusually high. 119 responses were found to be valid.

The detailed demographic profile of the subjects (showing distribution on the basis of age, service, cadre, rank, length of service, nature of duties, objectives of attending the course, etc.) is appended as Appendices 12 and 13.

STUDY III: Anecdotal Evidences

The randomly selected subjects of this study are also of three categories only (government officials, the executives, managers, administrators, etc. in the public sector undertakings and the professors, associate professors, readers, lecturers, etc. in institutes of higher & technical education). Randomly selected subjects who had completed two or more Vipassana courses were requested, by post/courier, to write their experience-note about the impact of Vipassana on their professional work. The following topics were suggested:

Improving the system

Reducing corrupt practices

Increasing efficiency and productivity

Creating healthy work environment

Imbibing moral values

Reducing stress and strain

Increasing mutual cooperation among colleagues

Improving relations with seniors and subordinates

Improving physical and mental health

The subjects were requested to write in any manner they were comfortable with—the above points were just hints. The subjects were also requested to suggest steps that the Government should take to implement Vipassana in Government, Public Sector Undertakings and Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education. The subjects were assured that the information shared by them would be used only for research purposes. If the subject did not respond within a month, a postcard was sent as a reminder. If the subject still did not respond, a second postcard was sent.

Out of the 304 subjects requested, 212 (about 70%) responded and sent their personal experience note reports. Such an overwhelming response is considered to be unusually high.

Subjects, including high ranking officials sent their Anecdotal Evidences/Experience-Notes about the positive impact of Vipassana on their personal life and professional work. The subjects also recommended steps that the Government should take to implement Vipassana in various organisations.

STUDY IV: Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials:

When Vipassana meditators arrive at a Vipassana center to attend the next course, they have to fill in an old students’ introduction form. These forms have the following important information:

1.       Regularity of Vipassana practice,

2.       Any physical or mental illness, at present or in the past,

3.       Any changes that the meditators noticed within themselves by practicing Vipassana:

a) Changes in physical ailments and mental temperament, 

b) In dealing with other people and solving their problems, 

c) In the use of intoxicants, etc.

4.       Short personal introduction: state of mind, any major crisis, etc.

The randomly selected subjects of this study are government officials, employees of public sector undertakings and institutes of higher & technical education. These subjects (called old students of Vipassana) have earlier attended one or more Vipassana courses and furnish these information voluntarily after coming to the Vipassana center for their next course. Their introduction forms, available at Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, were analyzed to find out whether they are deriving any benefits by the practice of Vipassana.

3.2 SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS

STUDY I

In ‘Experimental Group’ and ‘Control Group’ (with and without) comparison, it was important to ensure that the groups to be compared were similar on all relevant factors, other than the experimental factor (Vipassana Meditation). As mentioned in the foregoing para, the Experimental Group in this study was randomly selected from the subjects who had undergone one or more Vipassana course/s earlier. This group is termed as Vipassana Group (N=607).

The researcher discovered that it was not practicable to get the exhaustive questionnaires filled up by the Non-Vipassana group officials of rank and number exactly similar to that of Vipassana Group. Therefore, the subjects before their first Vipassana course are treated as ‘Control Group’ (Non-Vipassana) group (N=238). Incidentally, except the total number of subjects, the groups to be compared (Vipassana Group and Non-Vipassana Group) are similar on almost all relevant factors.

The following Pie Chart presentation shows that both the Vipassana and Non-Vipassana Groups have nearly the same demographic composition. The detailed demographic profile of the subjects showing distribution on the basis of age, gender, service sector, rank in the service, educational background, length of service, nature of duties, objective of attending Vipassana course, etc. is appended as Appendix 11.

Pie Chart presentation of the demographic profile of the subjects:

1. Distribution on the basis of Age

       

  2. Distribution on the basis of Service Sector

       

3. Distribution on the basis of Educational Background

         

 4. Distribution on the basis of Length of Service

        

 5. Distribution on the basis of Nature of Duties

       

The profile of subjects demonstrates that the subjects represent all age groups, sectors, ranks etc. (though the majority are from the government).

6. Distribution on the basis of objective of attending Vipassana course

         

(Multiple objectives stated

STUDY IIA

The sample consisted of 147 subjects

In this ‘Before and After’ study care has been taken that the same subjects (N=147) are compared before the course and one month after their course. Therefore, the subjects before and after the course are similar on all relevant factors, other than the experimental factor (Vipassana Meditation).

The detailed demographic profile of the subjects is appended as Appendix 12. The profile demonstrates that the subjects represent all sectors (though majority are from government),. age groups,. ranks, etc.

STUDY IIB

The sample consisted of 119 subjects.

In this ‘Before and After’ study also care has been taken that the same subjects (N=119) are compared before the course and six months (five, four and three months in 25% cases) after their course. Therefore, the subjects before and after the course are similar on all relevant factors, other than the experimental factor (Vipassana Meditation).

The detailed demographic profile of the subjects is appended as Appendix 13.

STUDY III

The sample consisted of 212 subjects

The detailed demographic profile of the subjects is appended as Appendix 14.

 STUDY IV

 The sample consisted of 1232 subjects.

 3.3 TOOLS OF MEASUREMENT

The following instruments are used for data collection and are explained below:

Subjective Well Being Inventory (Nagpal and Sell, 1985),

Occupational Stress Index (Srivastava and Singh, 1984),

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index (V. R. I., 2001),

In addition, information is also collected through:

Personal Experience Note Evidences and

Old students Feedback through Introduction Forms.

Subjective Well Being Inventory:

This instrument developed by Nagpal and Sell (1985), is used to measure an individual’s mental status regarding overall feeling about life. It has forty questions (Appendix 3). The scale has been found to have high inter-rater, inter-scores, and test-retest reliability. Also, it has proved its validity through many experiments, and was therefore considered appropriate for this study.

Subjective Well Being is a composite measure of independent feelings about a variety of life concerns in addition to an overall feeling about life in positive and negative terms. Not surprisingly, general well being in its positive affect and, to a somewhat lesser degree, in its negative affect, appears to be stable over time, to the extent that it can be called a personality trait. The Subjective Well Being Inventory is designed to measure feelings of well being or ill being as experienced by an individual, or a group of individuals, in various day-to-day life concerns. The inventory gauges eleven factorial dimensions:

1) General well being positive affect:

This factor reflects the feelings of well being arising out of an overall perception of life as functioning smoothly and joyfully. The items reflect our theoretical construct of positive affect only in what we had called its overall perspective (Nagpal and Sell, 1985).

2) Expectation-achievement congruence:

The items in this factor refers to feelings of well being generated by achieving success and the standard of living as per one’s expectation, or what may be called satisfaction. The factor confirms expectation-achievement harmony.

3) Confidence in coping

This factor relates to perceived personality strength, the ability to master critical or unexpected situations. It reflects what is sometimes called positive mental health in an ‘ecological’ sense, i.e. the ability to adapt to change and to face adversities without breakdown. It confirms mental mastery or inadequate mental mastery.

4) Transcendence:

The items in this factor relate to life experiences that are beyond the ordinary day-to-day material and rational existence. They reflect feelings of subjective well being derived from values of a spiritual quality. The factor confirms rootedness and belongingness.

5) Family group support:

This factor reflects positive feelings derived from the percentage of the wider family (beyond the primary group of spouse and children) as supportive, cohesive and emotionally attached.

6) Social Support:

This factor contains items describing the social environment beyond the family as supportive in general and in times of crisis.

7) Primary group concern:

This factor covers feelings about the overall well being of family life.

8) Inadequate mental mastery:

All items with significant loadings on this factor imply a sense of insufficient control over, or inability to deal efficiently with, certain aspects of everyday life that are capable of disturbing the mental equilibrium. This inadequate mastery is perceived as disturbing or reducing subjective well being. Most of the items of this factor reflect mental mastery over self and environment. It is noteworthy that the items on sadness and on anxiety/tension have significant loadings on this factor only. This factor is clearly similar to the factor ‘lack of self-confidence’, as described by Bryant and Veroff (1984), which also is related to depression, and the factor ‘irritability’ in neurotic out-patients described by Lipman et al. (1969).

9) Perceived ill-health:

This is a one-dimensional factor since happiness and worries over health and physical fitness are highly correlated, and both load significantly here. Worry over disturbed sleep has significant loadings on this factor as well as on the factor of inadequate mental mastery.

10) Deficiency in social contacts:

The common feature of the items constituting this factor are worries about being disliked and feelings of missing friends.

11) General well being-negative affect

This factor reflects a generally depressed outlook on life.

Question-wise Scoring

According to the manual of the inventory, the scoring is as under:

In 19 of the 40 questions (questions 1-15, 21-23 and 28),

Value 3 was given if the respondent has selected the category 1 (very much)

Value 2 was given if the respondent has selected the category 2 (to some extent);

Value 1 was given to category 3 (not so much).

In the remaining 21 questions (questions 16-20, 24-27 and 29-40)

Value 1 was given if the respondent has selected the category 1 (very much)

Value 2 was given if the respondent has selected the category 2 (to some extent);

Value 3 was given to category 3 (not so much).

However, for questions 14, 27 and 29

If the respondent has selected category 4, value 0 (zero) was given.

All the values were added to get the total score. The maximum score is 120. Higher the score, higher is the Subjective Well Being of a person. The total score can be interpreted summarily in the light of three broad score ranges: 40-60, 61-80 and 81-120 to have an overall picture of the well being status. The mean score on normal adult Indian samples is 90.8 with standard deviation of 9.2.

Minimum, Maximum and Middle values of scores in each factor is as under:

Factor

No. of items

Question No.

Min score

Max

Score

Middle value

1.        General Well being Positive Affect

3

1, 5, 6

3

9

6

2.        Expectation-Achievement Congruence

3

2, 3, 4,

3

9

6

3.        Confidence in Coping

3

7, 8, 9,

3

9

6

4.        Transcendence

3

10, 11, 12

3

9

6

5.        Family Group Support

3

21, 22, 23,

3

9

6

6.        Social Support

3

13, 15, 28,

3

9

6

7.        Primary Group Concern

3

14, 27, 29

3

9

6

8.        Inadequate Mental Mastery

7

16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 30, 31

7

21

14

9.        Perceived Ill-Health

6

34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

6

18

12

10.     Deficiency in Social Contacts

3

32, 33, 40

3

9

6

11.     General Well being–Negative Affect

3

24, 25, 26

3

9

6

Total

40

 

40

120

80

Rationale behind the use of the Subjective Well Being Inventory:

The Subjective Well Being Inventory was chosen because it shares some common principles with Vipassana. This scale has features covering positive and negative aspects of life such as overall feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, feelings of well being generated by achieving success and standard of living as per one’s expectations. It also covers one’s ability to accept the realities of life, the ability to maintain a balanced state of mind in any situation, self-confidence and capability to face unexpected situations and adversities without breakdown or disturbing the mental equilibrium, adequacy of mastery over the mind, well being derived from values of a spiritual quality, happiness or worries over health, etc. These Subjective Well Being factors correlate well with both mental impurities and qualities of a pure mind. All negative emotions (such as anger, fear, anxiety, tension, ill feelings, worries, etc.) are byproducts of deep-rooted mental impurities and all positive emotions (such as love, compassion, peace of mind, equanimity, sympathetic joy, etc.) are the qualities of a pure mind. As the impurities get eradicated from the mind through regular meditation, positive emotions and positive feelings are generated naturally. This also results in achieving a balanced state of mind in any situation.

Occupational Stress Index (OSI):

This scale developed by Srivastava and Singh (1984) is used to measure the extent of job-related stress which government officials perceive as arising from various constituents and conditions of their jobs. The items on the scale relate to most of the relevant components of a government official’s daily official work that can potentially cause stress. The authors explain that the instrument may be conveniently administered to employees of all levels operating in various organizations. However it is more suitable for the employees of supervisory level and above. This scale has been found to have high reliability and has proved its validity through experiments—therefore, it was used for this study.

This index examines 12 particular dimensions:

1.      Role overload

2.      Role ambiguity

3.      Role conflict

4.      Unreasonable group and political pressures

5.      Responsibility for staff

6.      Under-participation

7.      Powerlessness

8.      Poor peer relations

9.      Intrinsic impoverishment

10.  Low status

11.  Strenuous working conditions

12.  Unprofitability

Scoring

Occupational Stress Index consists of 46 items, each to be rated on the five-point scale (Appendix 4). Out of the 46 items, 28 are ‘true-keyed’ and the remaining 18 are ‘false-keyed’.

The following table provides two different patterns of scoring for ‘true-keyed’ and ‘false-keyed’ items:

Categories of response

True-keyed items

False-keyed items

Strongly disagree

1

5

Disagree

2

4

Unsure

3

3

Agree

4

2

Strongly agree

5

1

Following the principles of normal distribution, the scores are divided into three categories:

Score

Level of Occupational Stress

46-122

Low

123-155

Moderate

156-230

High

Rationale behind the use of Occupational Stress Index:

This index was chosen because it shares some common principles with Vipassana. This scale covers many components of the job life of a government officials that cause stress, such as role overload, role ambiguity, role conflict, group and political pressures, accountability, feeling of powerlessness and low status, poor relations with colleagues, feeling of exhaustion, strenuous working conditions, etc. These factors have been found to be positively correlated with the mental (ill) health; the symptoms of which are free-floating anxiety, obsessive traits and symptoms, phobic anxiety, somatic concomitant anxiety, neurotic depression, hysterical neurosis, etc. All these symptoms and stressful state of mind are byproducts of deep-rooted mental impurities. As these impurities get eradicated through meditation, stress is reduced and a balanced state of mind is achieved naturally. This helps in maintaining mental balance even in stressful situations in the work environment.

Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index:

This instrument was developed specifically to assess the benefits of Vipassana meditation derived by the subjects in their personal and professional lives and to evaluate the impact of Vipassana qualitatively and quantitatively. The meditator is the best judge to assess the impact of Vipassana in various aspects of his/her life. This instrument was designed to determine the feelings and experiences of the government officials who practice Vipassana. It contains questions assessing the efficacy of Vipassana, usefulness of Vipassana in government and improvement in mental health by reducing anger, tension, irritation, anxiety, stress, etc. Questions pertaining to deep psychological introspection and facing adverse situations with a balanced mind are also included.

Other features are related to sharing the benefits and happiness of Vipassana by recommending it to others. This is one of the important aspects of Vipassana. As one benefits from it, the natural inclination is to share this happiness and harmony with others. One suggests to others to test and taste the benefits of this technique themselves. This is an indirect assessment of the reduction of negativity and increase of positive emotions.

In brief, all the aspects of the index are closely interrelated. Therefore, improvement in one aspect is bound to show improvement in other aspects of life.

The index consists of 23 items, each to be rated on a five-point scale (Appendix 2). All the items are ‘true-keyed’ and are straightforward questions.

Scoring

The following table provides the pattern of scoring on the basis of response categories:

Categories of response

 Score

Strongly disagree

-2

Disagree

-1

Unsure

 0

Agree

 1

Strongly agree

 2

The maximum score for each question is 2 and the minimum score is –2.

Therefore, the total maximum score is 46 and the minimum score is –46.

The higher the score, more beneficial is Vipassana.

The total individual score is divided into three categories:

Total Score

Interpretation

Up to 0

Not Beneficial

1 to 23

Beneficial

24 to 46

Highly Beneficial

This index measures the following seven factorial dimensions:

Potential of Vipassana based on their experience

Improvement of self-awareness by Vipassana

Application of Vipassana in Government for improvement of systems

Benefits of Vipassana in improving mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance, irritation, etc.

Benefits of Vipassana in improving family life and interpersonal relationships

Benefits of Vipassana in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations

Impact of Vipassana in improving efficiency and productivity

Factor-wise score of the index:

Factor

Q. No.

No. of items

Minimum score

Maximum score

Middle value

1-     

1, 5, 7

3

-6

6

0

2-     

2, 6, 12

3

-6

6

0

3-     

8, 18, 23

3

-6

6

0

4-     

9, 10, 15, 17

4

-8

8

0

5-      

3, 11, 20

3

-6

6

0

6-      

4, 16, 19

3

-6

6

0

7-      

13, 14, 21, 22

4

-8

8

0

Total

 

23

-46

46

0

The results for each individual were computed as under:

A - For Factor 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 (scores for each factor)

Up to 0 = Not Beneficial

1 to 3 = Beneficial

4 to 6 = Highly Beneficial

B - For Factor 4 and 7(score for each factor)

Up to 0 = Not Beneficial

1 to 4 = Beneficial

5 to 8 = Highly Beneficial

C - For total 7 factors (score for all seven factors)

Up to 0 = Not Beneficial

1 to 23 = Beneficial

24 to 46 = Highly Beneficial

Anecdotal/ Personal Experience Note Evidences:

This study covers the changes experienced by the meditators as a result of Vipassana meditation. These reports are useful in assessing the impact of Vipassana in reducing negative emotions such as tension, stress and strain, greed, jealousy, etc. and increasing positive emotions such as happiness, tolerance, patience, mutual trust, equanimity, etc.

The meditator is considered to be the best judge to assess the impact of Vipassana in various aspects of his/her personal and professional life. An additional advantage over assessment through questionnaires was that the meditators were free to narrate their feelings and experiences in their own words.

The anecdotal reports/experience-notes cover the benefits of Vipassana meditation in: improving the system, reducing corrupt practices, increasing efficiency and productivity, creating healthy work environment, imbibing moral values, reducing stress and strain, increasing mutual cooperation among colleagues, improving relations with seniors and subordinates and improving physical and mental health, etc. The reports also cover the opinion/recommendations of the subjects for incorporating Vipassana in Government.

Old students’ feedback through their introduction forms:

These introduction forms are filled up by old students of Vipassana, who have already attended one or more Vipassana courses, before their next course.

This instrument includes the following  vital information:  

Changes meditators noticed in themselves by practicing Vipassana;

Changes in physical ailments and mental temperament,

Changes in dealing with people, etc.   

These parameters enabled the investigator to assess the impact of Vipassana meditation in reducing negative emotions and strengthening positive emotions through improvement in mental health. The advantage of this feedback is that it is given voluntarily. On perusal of these forms, it became clear that the majority of meditators had furnished factual information by disclosing their personal problems and openly describing their state of mind.

Results and Discussions

This is the age of Science. Men of today have no Utopia. They will not accept anything unless the results are good, concrete, vivid, personal, here and now.

-Sayagyi U Ba Khin

STUDY I: Anonymous Feedback of Old Meditators:

Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group.

The purposes of this study were:

To determine if there would be any difference in the Subjective Well Being, and Occupational Stress scores of government officials who had prior exposure to VM, and those who had not attended a course. Both the Experimental (Vipassana Group) and ‘Control Group’ (Non-Vipassana Group) filled out the same questionnaires.

To investigate (through the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index) as what changes the subjects felt within themselves due to Vipassana, and to what extent Vipassana benefited them in various aspects of their lives.

1.1: ANALYSIS OF IMPACT OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION INDEX (IVMI)

Table 1: Responses of subjects about Impact of Vipassana Meditation 

(Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score) N=607

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as….

Particulars

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

Overall Impact of Vipassana Meditation (on the basis of IVMI score)

476

(78.4%)

123

(20.3%)

8

(1.3%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ was interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. Answers of ‘Unsure’ (score = 0) were included in the category of ‘Not Beneficial’.        

The results show that 98.7% subjects benefited from Vipassana.

Table 2: Factorial Dimension-wise Impact of Vipassana Meditation

(Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score) N=607  

FD No.

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as….

Factorial Dimension

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

1

Potential of Vipassana based on their (subjects’) experience

469

(77.3%)

127

(20.9%)

11

(1.8%)

2

Improvement of self-awareness by Vipassana

465

(76.6%)

135

(22.2%)

7

(1.2%)

3

Application of Vipassana in Government for improvement of systems

456

(75.1%)

137

(22.6%)

14

(2.3%)

4

Benefits of Vipassana in improving mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance, irritation, etc.

440

(72.5%)

146

(24.1%)

21

(3.4%)

5

Benefits of Vipassana in improving family life and interpersonal relationships

343

(56.5%)

224

(36.9%)

40

(6.6%)

6

Benefits of Vipassana in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations

381

(62.8%)

201

(33.1%)

25

(4.1%)

7

Impact of Vipassana in improving efficiency and productivity

309

(50.9%)

237

(39.0%)

61

(10.1%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ was interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. Answers of ‘Unsure’ (score = 0) are included in the category of ‘Not Beneficial’.

Factorial Dimensions

FD1 :  Potential of Vipassana based on their (subjects’) experience.

FD2 :  Improvement of self-awareness by Vipassana.

FD3 :  Application of Vipassana in Government for improvement of systems.

FD4 :  Benefits of Vipassana in improving mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance, irritation, etc.

FD5 :  Benefits of Vipassana in improving family life and interpersonal relationships.

FD6 :  Benefits of Vipassana in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations.

FD7 :  Impact of Vipassana in improving efficiency and productivity

Note : ‘Not Beneficial’ includes ‘unsure respondents.

Table showing factorial dimensions wise Threshold values, Average score and results (on the basis of IVMI score) is appended as Appendix 6. The results of this table demonstrate that, at average, in all the factorial dimensions and in overall, Vipassana has proved to be highly beneficial to the meditators.

The following information further indicates the potential benefits of Vipassana meditation

Table 3: Responses of the subjects on the Impact of Vipassana Meditation. (N=607)

 

 

% of respondents who….

Sr.

No

Statement

Agree or Strongly Agree

Not sure

Disagree or Strongly Disagree

1

Vipassana is a scientific technique.

94.9

4.0

1.2

2

To improve the outside world, I must first improve myself through self- purification.

97.9

1.6

0.5

3

Vipassana has helped me to improve quality of my family life

89.0

9.6

1.5

4

 Vipassana has helped me to develop a positive and optimistic attitude.

93.4

5.8

0.8

5

Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

96.2

3.6

0.2

6

My awareness about mental defilements has increased due to Vipassana meditation.

90.0

7.4

2.6

7

Decline in moral values because of a polluted mind is the root cause of many problems in my profession.

85.7

9.2

5.1

8

Vipassana has direct and important role to play in improving public administration.

88.6

10.7

0.7

9

Because of Vipassana, my general health, and in particular, my mental health has improved.

90.3

7.7

2.0

10

Vipassana is very effective for reducing stress and strain.

96.9

2.8

0.3

11

Vipassana has helped me to improve relations with my subordinates, colleagues and seniors.

87.5

10.7

1.8

12

Vipassana has inspired and enabled me to recognize my mistakes and improve upon them.

89.3

8.2

2.5

13

Vipassana has increased my efficiency and productivity in work.

83.2

14.8

2.0

14

Vipassana has helped me to take quick and right decision.

77.3

19.9

2.8

15

Vipassana has reduced my tension and anxiety.

91.3

6.9

1.8

16

Vipassana has helped me in maintaining my moral values in spite of adverse conditions.

87.8

10.0

2.1

17

Vipassana has reduced my anger, intolerance and irritation.

90.9

7.2

1.8

18

Vipassana should be used as an instrument for Human Resource Development.

93.9

5.6

0.5

19

Vipassana has helped me to keep the balance of my mind even in adverse conditions.

89.1

9.7

1.2

20

Vipassana has improved my ability to motivate and guide my subordinates.

81.1

16.3

2.6

21

Vipassana has enhanced my initiative and planning ability.

77.1

20.3

2.6

22

Because of Vipassana, I am more objective and impartial in execution of my duties.

83.2

14.3

2.5

23

It would be in the interest of government/organization if employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

94.9

4.1

1.0

 

Average

89.1

9.2

1.7

The results of the above table show that the majority of subjects benefited immensely in all aspects of their life by practicing Vipassana.

The results also show that Vipassana has helped to bring about a positive change in the thought, intentions and actions of the subjects. The results also indicate that Vipassana is a scientific technique and has the capacity to reform human mind and character and to bring about positive changes in the lives of meditators.

The results of the above tables support:

The eighth hypothesis: The impact of Vipassana will indicate benefits in the individual’s personal and professional life and

The ninth hypothesis of this Study: The impact of Vipassana will demonstrate increase in efficiency and productivity as well as increase in harmonious relations among seniors, colleagues and subordinates.

Table 4: Impact of Vipassana with reference to regularity of post-course meditation practice.

Group

Type of

Practice

Sample size (N)

IVMI

(Mean Scores)

Group 1

Regular practice

303

35.5

Group 2

Irregular practice

166

31.9

Group 3

No practice

138

23.8

Total

 

607

31.8

 

The differences were tested for significance using One way Anova (Analysis of Variance) statistical method and differences were found to be statistically significant at 0.05 level (see Appendix 9)

It is evident from the above statistical analysis that the potential benefits derived from Vipassana are significantly greater with regular post course practice.

These results support the seventh hypothesis of this study.

Impact of Vipassana with reference to years of post course Meditation practice:

The dependence of the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index on the number of years of practice was studied using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r). The findings were as follows:

The Correlation Coefficient between the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index and number of years of Vipassana practice was found to be + 0.86, indicating strong positive correlation between Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index and the number of years of practice (Longer the practice, more the benefits of Vipassana). This indicates that the positive impact of Vipassana meditation increases significantly with the number of years of meditation practice.

The results of this statistical analysis also support the seventh hypothesis of this study.

1.2 ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WELL BEING INVENTORY (SWBI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to Subjective Well Being Inventory

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to Subjective Well Being Inventory score. It can be seen that the data of Subjective Well Being Inventory is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Subjective Well Being of the ‘Control Group’ (Non-Vipassana Group) is clearly seen skewed to the left, whereas the ‘Vipassana Group’ is towards the right, indicating that the Subjective Well Being of the Vipassana Group is higher than that of the Non-Vipassana Group. This change is summarized in Mean Subjective Well Being Inventory values.

Table 5: Significance of difference in the mean scores on Subjective Well Being between Vipassana (N =607) and Non-Vipassana (N = 238) groups.  

Vipassana

X1

Non-Vipassana

X2

Difference

XD=X1–X2

t

96.8

92.0

4.8

5.18

t obtained = 5.18

Degrees of Freedom (df) = 843

Examining the one-tailed ‘t’ criticals at 843 degrees of freedom, we find: tcritical 0.01 level

2.326 < 5.18

The results demonstrate an appreciable difference between the Subjective Well Being of those who had previously practiced Vipassana and those who had not. The difference between the two groups is statistically significant at P <.01 level. The Experimental Group (Vipassana meditators) scored significantly higher, and thus they could be said to be calmer and more balanced, with more positive, responsible thinking than their peers.

The results of this table support:

The first hypothesis: Vipassana will have a significantly positive effect on the Subjective Well Being of the subjects, and

The third hypothesis: The Subjective Well Being of the Experimental (Vipassana) group will be significantly higher than that of the Control (Non-Vipassana) group.

The results of the above analysis are in line with those obtained through analysis of Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. It is evident, from the feedback of the meditators, that they have been immensely benefited on aspects related to Subjective Well Being (statements 3, 4, 9, 11 and 19 in Table 3: Response the from Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

Table 6: Impact of Vipassana on Subjective Well Being with reference to regularity of post course meditation practice. 

Group

Type of

Practice

Sample size (N)

Subjective Well BeingI

(Mean Scores)

Group 1

Regular practice

303

99.2

Group 2

Irregular practice

166

94.9

Group 3

No practice

138

93.8

Total

 

607

96.8

The differences are tested for significance using One way Anova (Analysis of variance) statistical method and differences are found to be statistically significant at 0.05 level (Appendix 10).

It is evident from this statistical analysis that the potential benefit (in terms of subjective well being) derived from Vipassana is significantly greater with regular post course practice.

The results of the above table support:

The seventh hypothesis: The potential benefits derived from Vipassana will be significantly greater with regular post-course practice.

Impact of Vipassana on SWB with reference to years of post-course meditation practice:

The dependence of the Subjective Well Being Index on the number of years of practice was studied using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r). See next page for the findings:

The Correlation Coefficient between the Subjective Well Being Index and the number of years of practice was observed to be +0.54 indicating a strong positive correlation (the longer the practice, the higher the Subjective Well Being). This implies that Subjective Well Being of the meditators has increased significantly with the years of meditation practice.

The results of this statistical analysis also support the seventh hypothesis.

1.3: ANALYSIS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS INDEX (OSI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI:

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI scores. It can be seen that the data of OSI is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Occupational Stress of the ‘Control Group’ (Non-Vipassana Group) is clearly seen skewed to the right, whereas Vipassana Group towards the left, indicating that the Occupational Stress of the Vipassana Group is lower than that of the Non-Vipassana Group. This change is summarized in mean OSI values.

Table 7: Significance of difference in the mean scores on Occupational Stress between Vipassana (N =607) and Non-Vipassana (N = 238) groups.

  

Non-Vipassana

X1

Vipassana

X2

Difference

XD=X2– X1

 

T

130.7

123.0

–7.7

–5.11

tobtained = –5.11

Degrees of Freedom (df) = 843

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 843 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.01 level

2.326 > – 5.11

The results demonstrate significant difference between the Occupational Stress of those who had practiced Vipassana and those who had not. The difference between the two groups is statistically significant at P <.01 level. The experimental group (Vipassana meditators) scored significantly lower, and consequentially could be said to be under less stress than their peers. On the whole, it can be concluded from these results that Vipassana has reduced the stress and strain of the subjects.

The results of this table support:

The second hypothesis: The Occupational Stress of these subjects will decrease significantly by practicing Vipassana and

The fourth hypothesis: Occupational Stress of Vipassana group will be lower than that of the Non-Vipassana Group.

The results of above analysis are in line with results obtained through Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. It is evident, from the feedback of the meditators, that Vipassana has reduced their stress and strain, tension and anxiety, anger, intolerance and irritation to a great extent (statements 10, 13, 15 and 17 in Table 3: Responses from the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

The differences in OSI on the basis of regularity of practice of Vipassana are tested for significance using One way Anova statistical method. Although the stress is reduced in case of regular practice, it is not statistically significant at 0.05 level.

Impact of Vipassana on Occupational Stress with reference to years of post course Meditation practice:

The dependence of OSI on number of years of practice is studied using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r). The findings are as follows:

 The correlation coefficient between OSI and years of Vipassana practice is found to be –0.52, indicating a strong negative correlation between years of practice and OSI (Longer the practice, lower the stress level). This implies that Occupational Stress of the meditators has reduced significantly with the years of meditation practice.

The results of this statistical analysis support the seventh hypothesis of this study.

STUDY II: Pre-course and Post-course Feedback:

This study was carried out using a ‘Before-and-After’ experimental design. The main objective was to investigate the changes in the overall mental health of the subjects after attending the Vipassana course and regular meditation practice for one month and for six months.

In general, the subjects for this test are of three categories only (senior personnel of Government, Public Sector Undertakings and Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education).

Pre-course Feedback

The subjects were administered the Subjective Well Being Inventory and Occupational Stress Index before the start of their first ten-day course at Vipassana International Academy, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri.

Post-course Feedback

Post-course feedback after six months could not be obtained from all subjects because of time constraint. Therefore, in 25% of the subjects, feedback was obtained after three, four or five months and included in the study.

Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress of the subjects before the Vipassana course were compared with the Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress one month and six months after the course through statistical analysis.

STUDY IIA

Results Of Post-Course (One Month) Feedback

2A.1: ANALYSIS OF IMPACT OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION INDEX (IVMI)

Table 8: Responses of subjects about Impact of Vipassana Meditation (Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score) N=147

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as . . .

Particulars

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

Overall Impact of Vipassana Meditation (on the basis of IVMI score)

110

(74.8%)

36

(24.5%)

1

(0.7%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ is interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. Subjects answered ‘Unsure’ (score = 0) are included in the category of Non beneficiaries:

Therefore, 99.3% of the subjects benefited from Vipassana in their personal and professional life.

Table 9: Factorial Dimension-wise Impact of Vipassana Meditation (Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score) N=147

FD

No.

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as….

 

Factorial Dimension

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

1

Potential of Vipassana based on their (subjects’) experience

101

(68.7%)

46

(31.3%)

0

(0.0%)

2

Improvement of self-awareness by Vipassana

108

(73.5%)

35

(23.8%)

4

(2.7%)

3

Application of Vipassana in Government for improvement of systems

101

(68.7%

45

(30.6%)

1

(0.7%)

4

Benefits of Vipassana in improving mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance, irritation, etc.

98

(66.7%)

48

(32.7%)

1

(0.7%)

5

Benefits of Vipassana in improving family life and interpersonal relationships

78

(53.1%)

65

(44.2%)

4

(2.7%)

6

Benefits of Vipassana in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations

83

(56.5%)

63

(42.9%)

1

(0.7%)

7

Impact of Vipassana in improving efficiency and productivity

61

(41.5%)

79

(53.7%)

7

(4.8%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ is interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. Subjects answered ‘Unsure’ (score = 0) are included in the category of Non beneficiaries.                                           

See Appendix 7 for table showing factorial dimensions wise Threshold values, Average score and results (on the basis of IVMI score). The results of this table demonstrate that, in all the factorial dimensions and overall, Vipassana has proved to be highly beneficial to the meditators.

The following information further indicates the benefits of Vipassana meditation

Table 10: Response of the subjects on the Impact of Vipassana Meditation (N=147)

Sr.

No

 

% of respondents who….

 

Statement

Agree or Strongly Agree

Not sure

Disagree or Strongly Disagree

1

Vipassana is a scientific technique.

97.3

2.0

0.7

2

To improve the outside world, I must first improve myself through self- purification.

98.0

2.0

0.0

3

Vipassana has helped me to improve quality of my family life

91.8

6.1

2.0

4

 Vipassana has helped me to develop a positive and optimistic attitude.

98.0

2.0

0.0

5

Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

95.2

4.8

0.0

6

My awareness about mental defilements has increased due to Vipassana meditation.

88.4

8.2

3.4

7

Decline in moral values because of a polluted mind is the root cause of many problems in my profession.

84.4

10.9

4.8

8

Vipassana has direct and important role to play in improving public administration.

90.5

7.5

2.0

9

Because of Vipassana, my general health, and in particular, my mental health has improved.

93.2

6.8

0.0

10

Vipassana is very effective for reducing stress and strain.

98.6

1.4

0.0

11

Vipassana has helped me to improve relations with my subordinates, colleagues and seniors.

89.1

10.9

0.0

12

Vipassana has inspired and enabled me to recognize my mistakes and improve upon them.

92.5

6.1

1.4

13

Vipassana has increased my efficiency and productivity in work.

86.4

13.6

0.0

14

Vipassana has helped me to take quick and right decision.

76.9

21.8

1.4

15

Vipassana has reduced my tension and anxiety.

96.6

3.4

0.0

16

Vipassana has helped me in maintaining my moral values in spite of adverse conditions.

91.2

8.2

0.7

17

Vipassana has reduced my anger, intolerance and irritation.

93.2

5.4

1.4

18

Vipassana should be used as an instrument for Human Resource Development.

95.2

4.8

0.0

19

Vipassana has helped me to keep the balance of my mind even in adverse conditions.

90.5

8.8

0.7

20

Vipassana has improved my ability to motivate and guide my subordinates.

82.3

17.7

0.0

21

Vipassana has enhanced my initiative and planning ability.

80.3

19.0

0.7

22

Because of Vipassana, I am more objective and impartial in execution of my duties.

85.0

13.6

1.4

23

It would be in the interest of government/organization if employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

95.9

4.1

0.0

 

Average

90.9

8.2

0.9

These results show that Vipassana has helped in bringing about a positive change in the thought, intentions and actions of the subjects. The results also indicate that Vipassana is a scientific technique and has capacity to reform human mind and character and to bring about positive changes and happiness in the lives of meditators.

The results obtained in this study using ‘Before-and-After’ (after one month of the course) experimental design are similar to the results obtained in Study I using ‘‘Control Group’’ experimental design.

The results of the above tables support:

The eighth hypothesis: The impact of Vipassana will indicate benefits in the individual’s personal and professional life.

The ninth hypothesis: The impact of Vipassana will demonstrate increase in efficiency and productivity as well as increase in harmonious relations among seniors, colleagues and subordinates.

2A.2: ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WELL BEING INVENTORY (SWBI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to SWBI

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to Subjective Well Being Inventory score. It can be seen that the data of Subjective Well Being Inventory is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Subjective Well Being before Vipassana course is clearly seen skewed towards the left, whereas after one month of the course, it is seen skewed towards the right indicating that the Subjective Well Being of the subjects after one month of course has moved towards higher side. This implies that the Subjective Well Being of the subjects has increased after one month of the course. This change is summarized in Mean SWBI values.

Table 11: Significance of difference in the mean scores on Subjective Well Being, ‘Before and After’ one month of the Vipassana course (N =147) 

Pre-course 

X1

Post-course (one month) X2

Difference XD=X2– X1

t

93.1

96.6

3.5

2.71

tobtained = 2.71

Degrees of Freedom (df) = 292

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 292 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.01 level

2.326 <2.71

From these results, it is evident that the government officials scored significantly more on Subjective Well Being after one month of their Vipassana meditation course as compared to before the Vipassana course, and the difference is statistically significant at 0.01 level. We can thus conclude that Vipassana did have a positive effect on the Subjective Well Being of the subjects. Results of this study are in line with the results of Study I.

The results of above table support:

The first hypothesis: Vipassana will have a significantly positive effect on the Subjective Well Being of the subjects.

The fifth hypothesis: There will be a significant difference in the Subjective Well Being of the subjects before the course and one month after the course; The Subjective Well Being of the Experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly increase after the course.

As mentioned in Study I, the results of the above analysis are in line with results obtained through Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. It is evident, from the feedback of the meditators, that they have been immensely benefited on Subjective Well Being related aspects (statements 3, 4, 9, 11 and 19 in Table 10: Responses of the subjects from Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

2A.3: ANALYSIS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS INDEX (OSI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI score. It can be seen that the data of OSI is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Occupational Stress before Vipassana course is clearly seen skewed towards the right, whereas after one month of the course, it is seen skewed towards the left, indicating that the Occupational Stress of the subjects after one month of course has moved towards lower side. This implies that the Occupational Stress has reduced after one month of the course. This change is also summarized in mean OSI values.

(Study 2A)

 

Table 12: Significance of difference in the mean scores on Occupational Stress, ‘Before and After’ one month of the Vipassana course (N =147)

Pre-course X1

Post-course (one month) X2

Difference XD=X2– X1

t

130.5

126.4

–4.1

–1.84

tobtained = –1.84

Degrees of Freedom (df) = 292

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 292 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.01 level

–2.326 < –1.84

The overall results show that although the experimental group scored lower and hence, the stress level is slightly reduced, it is not statistically significant.

However, at 0.05 level, the critical value is –1.645

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 292 degrees of freedom:  tcritical 0.05 level

–1.645 > –1.84

The results from this study indicate that the difference in the mean scores in Occupational Stress ‘Before and After’ the Vipassana course is statistically significant at this level. The subjects scored significantly lower after one month of their course, and consequentially could be said to be under less stress than before the course. On the whole, it can be concluded from these results that Vipassana has reduced the stress and strain of the subjects. The result of this study is in line with that of the first study.

The results of this table support:

The second hypothesis: Occupational Stress of the subjects will decrease significantly by practicing Vipassana Meditation.

The sixth hypothesis: There will be a significant difference in the Occupational Stress of the subjects before the course and one month after the course; The Occupational Stress of the Experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly decrease after the course.

As mentioned in the Study I, the results of above analysis are in line with results obtained through Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. It is evident, from the feedback of the meditators, that Vipassana has reduced their stress and strain, tension and anxiety, anger, intolerance and irritation to a great extent (statements at Serial Number: 10, 13, 15 and 17 in the Table 10: Response of the subjects about Impact of Vipassana Meditation).

STUDY IIB

Results Of Post-Course (Six Months) Feedback

B.1: ANALYSIS OF IMPACT OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION INDEX (IVMI)

Table 13: Responses of subjects about Impact of Vipassana Meditation 

(Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score) N=119  

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as . . .

Particulars

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

Overall Impact of Vipassana Meditation (on the basis of IVMI score)

97

(81.5%)

20

(16.8%)

2

(1.7%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ is interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. Subjects answered ‘Unsure’ (score = 0) are included in the category of Non beneficiaries:    

The above results show that 98.3% subjects have been benefited by Vipassana in various aspects of their personal and professional life.

Table 14: Factorial Dimension wise Impact of Vipassana Meditation 

(Results obtained on the basis of IVMI score)

N=119

FD No.

 

Number and percentage of respondents reporting* Vipassana as….

Factorial Dimension

Highly Beneficial

Beneficial

Not Beneficial*

1

Potential of Vipassana based on their (subjects’) experience

89 

(74.8%)

28 

(23.5%)



(1.7%)

2

Improvement of self-awareness by Vipassana

85

(71.4%)

33 

(27.7%)



(0.8%)

3

Application of Vipassana in Government for improvement of systems

92 (77.3%)

25

(21.0%)



(1.7%)

4

Benefits of Vipassana in improving mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance, irritation, etc.

84

(70.6%)

33 

( 27.7%)



(1.7%)

5

Benefits of Vipassana in improving family life and interpersonal relationships

66 (55.5%)

50 

(42.0%)



( 2.5%)

6

Benefits of Vipassana in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations

77

(64.7%)

40 

(33.6%)



(1.7%)

7

Impact of Vipassana in improving efficiency and productivity

53 

(44.5%)

61

(51.3%)



(4.2%)

*Index of ‘Zero or less’ was interpreted as ‘Not Beneficial’. ‘Unsure’ responses (score = 0) were included in the category of ‘Not Beneficial’.

See Appendix 8 for table showing factorial dimensions wise Threshold values, Average score and results (on the basis of IVMI score). The results of this table demonstrate that, in all the factorial dimensions and overall, Vipassana has proved to be highly beneficial to the meditators.

The following information further indicates the benefits of Vipassana meditation

Table 15: Response of the subjects about the Impact of Vipassana Meditation (N=119)

Sr.

No

 

% of respondents who….

 

Statement

Agree or Strongly Agree

Not sure

Disagree or Strongly Disagree

1

Vipassana is a scientific technique.

97.5

0.0

2.5

2

To improve the outside world, I must first improve myself through self- purification.

100.0

0.0

0.0

3

Vipassana has helped me to improve quality of my family life

90.8

9.2

0.0

4

 Vipassana has helped me to develop a positive and optimistic attitude.

97.5

2.5

0.0

5

Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

97.5

2.5

0.0

6

My awareness about mental defilements has increased due to Vipassana meditation.

93.3

4.2

2.5

7

Decline in moral values because of a polluted mind is the root cause of many problems in my profession.

84.0

11.8

4.2

8

Vipassana has direct and important role to play in improving public administration.

96.6

3.4

0.0

9

Because of Vipassana, my general health, and in particular, my mental health has improved.

92.4

6.7

0.8

10

Vipassana is very effective for reducing stress and strain.

99.2

0.8

0.0

11

Vipassana has helped me to improve relations with my subordinates, colleagues and seniors.

93.3

5.0

1.7

12

Vipassana has inspired and enabled me to recognize my mistakes and improve upon them.

92.4

5.9

1.7

13

Vipassana has increased my efficiency and productivity in work.

88.2

10.9

0.8

14

Vipassana has helped me to take quick and right decision.

84.9

14.3

0.8

15

Vipassana has reduced my tension and anxiety.

95.0

3.4

1.7

16

Vipassana has helped me in maintaining my moral values in spite of adverse conditions.

93.3

5.9

0.8

17

Vipassana has reduced my anger, intolerance and irritation.

95.8

2.5

1.7

18

Vipassana should be used as an instrument for Human Resource Development.

95.0

2.5

2.5

19

Vipassana has helped me to keep the balance of my mind even in adverse conditions.

91.6

7.6

0.8

20

Vipassana has improved my ability to motivate and guide my subordinates.

89.1

10.1

0.8

21

Vipassana has enhanced my initiative and planning ability.

84.9

12.6

2.5

22

Because of Vipassana, I am more objective and impartial in execution of my duties.

87.4

10.9

1.7

23

It would be in the interest of government/organization if employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

95.8

2.5

1.7

 

Average

92.8

5.9

1.3

The above results show that all the subjects have been benefited immensely in their personal and professional life by practicing Vipassana.

The results show that Vipassana has helped in bringing about a positive change in the thought, intentions and actions of the subjects. The results also indicate that Vipassana is a scientific technique and has capacity to reform human mind and character and to bring about positive changes and happiness in the lives of meditators. The results obtained in this study using ‘Before-and-After’ (after six months of the course) experimental designs are similar to that of results obtained in Study I using ‘‘Control Group’’ experimental design and Study IIA, using ‘Before-and-After’(after one month of the course) experimental design.

As in the case of Study I and Study IIA, the results of the above table support:

The eighth hypothesis: The impact of Vipassana will indicate benefits in the individual’s personal and professional life.

The ninth hypothesis: The impact of Vipassana will demonstrate increase in efficiency and productivity as well as increase in harmonious relations among seniors, colleagues and subordinates.

2B.2: ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WELL BEING INVENTORY (SWBI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to SWBI

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to SWBI score. It can be seen that the data of SWBI is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Subjective Well Being before Vipassana course is clearly seen skewed towards the left, whereas after six months of the course, it is seen skewed towards the right indicating that the Subjective Well Being of the subjects after six months of the course has moved towards higher side. This implies that the Subjective Well Being of the subjects has increased after six months of the course. This change is summarized in Mean SWBI values.

Table 16 : Significance of difference in the mean scores on Subjective Well Being, ‘Before and After’ six months of the Vipassana course

(N =119) 

Pre-course X1

Post-course (six months) X2

Difference XD=X2– X1

t

91.5

95.7

4.2

2.71

tobtained = 2.71

Degrees of Freedom (do) = 236

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 236 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.01 level

2.326 < 2.71

From these results, it is evident that the government officials scored significantly more on subjective well being after six months of their Vipassana meditation course as compared to before the Vipassana course, and the difference is statistically significant at 0.01 level. We can thus conclude that Vipassana did have a positive effect on the Subjective Well Being of the subjects. Results of this study are in line with the results of Study I and Study IIA. The result of this study also suggests that since Vipassana helps people in self-introspection and perceiving thoughts objectively, it is likely that a state of well being is experienced subjectively by the practioners of Vipassana meditation.

The results of the above table support:

The first hypothesis: Vipassana will have a significantly positive effect on the Subjective Well Being of the subjects.

The fifth hypothesis: There will be a significant difference in the Subjective Well Being of the subjects before the course and six months after the course; The Subjective Well Being of the Experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly increase after the course.

As mentioned in Study I and Study IIA, the above results are in line with the results obtained through Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. The feedback of the meditators prove that they have been immensely benefited on Subjective Well Being related aspects (statements 3, 4, 9, 11 and 19 in the Table 15: Responses from Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

2B.3: ANALYSIS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS INDEX (OSI)

Distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI

The following chart shows the distribution of subjects (grouped frequency) according to OSI score. It can be seen that the data of OSI is normally distributed about the average value. In the chart, the Occupational Stress before Vipassana course is clearly seen skewed towards the right, whereas after one month of the course, it is seen skewed towards the left indicating that the Occupational Stress of the subjects after one month of course has moved towards lower side. This implies that the Occupational Stress has reduced after six months of the course. This change is summarized in Mean OSI values.

Table 17: Significance of difference in the mean scores on Occupational Stress, ‘Before and After’ six months of the Vipassana course (N =119)  

Pre-course X1

Post-course (one month) X2

Difference XD=X2– X1

t

130.4

125.1

– 5.3

–2.18

tobtained = –2.18

Degrees of Freedom (df) = 236

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 236 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.01 level

–2.326 < – 2.18

The overall results show that although, the experimental group scored lower and the stress level is slightly reduced, it is not statistically significant at 0.01 level.

However, at 0.05 level, the critical value is –1.645

Examining the one-tailed tcriticals at 236 degrees of freedom: tcritical 0.05 level

–1.645 > –2.18

The results from this study indicate that the difference in the mean scores in Occupational Stress ‘Before and After’ the Vipassana course is statistically significant at this level. The subjects scored significantly lower after six months of their course, and consequently could be said to be under less stress than before the course. On the whole, it can be concluded from these results that Vipassana has reduced the stress and strain of the subjects. The result of this study is in line with that of the Study I and Study IIA.

The results of this table support:

The second hypothesis: Occupational Stress of the subjects will decrease significantly by practicing VM.

The sixth hypothesis: There will be a significant difference in the Occupational Stress of the subjects before the course and six months after the course; The Occupational Stress of the Experimental (Vipassana) group will significantly decrease after the course.

As mentioned in the Study I and Study IIA, the above results are in line with results obtained through Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index. It is evident, from the feedback of the meditators, that Vipassana has reduced their stress and strain, tension and anxiety, anger, intolerance and irritation to a great extent (statements 10, 13, 15 and 17 in Table 15: Responses from Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

STUDY III

Anecdotal Evidences

The randomly selected subjects of this study are of three categories only (Government officials, The executives, managers, administrators, etc. in the public sector undertakings and the professors, lecturers, etc. in government institutes of higher & technical education). The subjects were requested to share their experiences on the impact of Vipassana in their professional and personal lives.

Out of 304 subjects requested, 212 (about 70%) responded and sent their anecdotal reports.

Subjects, including high-ranking officials sent their Anecdotal Evidences about the positive impact of Vipassana on their personal life and professional work. The subjects also recommended steps that the Government should take to implement Vipassana in various organizations.

A summary of each response was made to highlight the pertinent points. Where necessary, responses were translated from Hindi or Marati into English prior to their summarization. Fifty-six summaries were selected as a cross-section representation of the whole, and are included below. The summaries are in first person in order to maintain the originality of the author’s communication, experiences or feelings. Minor corrections in grammar were made. In some cases, sentences were re-arranged for purposes of clarity, continuity and flow.

The following summarized responses represent the findings of this study.

SUMMARIZED  RESPONSES

(Cross-Section Representation)

(1) Senior Official, Ministry of Government of India: I am maintaining control of my mind. Staff members who attend Vipassana show reduced negativity with positive changes in behaviour and work.

Vipassana helps individuals understand the negative impacts of an uncontrolled mind. At the same time, it gives a technique to control the mind and make oneself internally pure from negativities. I experience the miracle of this technique when I encounter differences of opinion with my subordinates, colleagues and superiors. Prior to Vipassana, I used to indulge in lengthy, argumentative discussions but now I am able to convince or get convinced without losing the balance of my mind, the time spent arguing, or any other extraneous factor, which creates stress on the mind. Vipassana is fully capable of equipping individuals for maintaining complete cool in any circumstance. That is the real benefit of this technique.

Another aspect of Vipassana, which is working in my life, is that it promotes a positive attitude towards everything: my family, the organization where I work, people and all creatures. These qualities enable me to work as a better team member, as well as team leader. Day-by-day I am experiencing better mind control, better internal purity and a better state of egolessness. Vipassana also helps me have higher, nobler goals in life.

The introduction of Vipassana in Government reduces negativity and makes Government officials more positive and pro-active. This is proving itself true. With this objective, I persuaded my top management to send personnel to the 10-day course. Six people were sent and their experience was excellent. They showed a more positive outlook in their behaviour. When I changed posts, I encouraged my staff to undergo Vipassana to improve their efficiency. About 500 people attended (half were under my jurisdiction, half were not). Each one showed positive changes in his behaviour, as well as in his government work. Vipassana is very useful in making people efficient all-around.

When a number of people, especially those in the upper hierarchy, are equipped with Vipassana, efficiency and productivity increase automatically. Vipassana meditators help create a healthy working environment by bringing their moral values into the workplace. Stress and strain in offices automatically reduce, ultimately improving the physical and mental health of the individuals, as well as the over-all organization.

The introduction of Vipassana in Government reduces negativity and makes Government officials more positive and pro-active.

(2)Senior Engineer, Central Govt.: Vipassana gave me strength. Otherwise I would have collapsed. I am becoming a better person. Due to Vipassana I am leading a happy and healthy life.

I had been a university merit scholar of a prestigious University. A self-made person. Whatever I got in life was through honest, sincere means. I worked abroad and received name and fame, then I returned to India. I never repented having left a very prosperous life-style and material wealth, although at times, I used to get shaky. It was at this juncture, at the age of 40, that I took Vipassana.

I was in one of the worst offices. There was turmoil, irregular practices, office pressures and financial crisis. With various odds at hand, Vipassana gave me strength. Otherwise, I would have collapsed.

I realised that in order to improve the system outside, one has to first improve oneself. After a Vipassana course, one changes: his perceptions change and new methods evolve. On the fourth day of my first course, I realised that I was not the same person—there was a dramatic transformation.

Vipassana taught me to work selflessly. I also learned that there is a reservoir of creativity within. Creative ideas and designs started pouring forth.

As for corruption, the field staff, site engineers and contractors realise that the office cannot be influenced by money/material means to their purpose. Thus, I have my own say and there is no compromise with the quality and design. I am considered to be very tough and I do not allow any malpractice.

Vipassana meditation has given me unlimited strength. Now, I really feel that I get guidance from within. I used to be a highly emotional, sensitive and anxiety-prone person. I was a workaholic. In this I have benefited to a great extent. I am becoming a better person. I have found a new way of life and in every situation, I feel it is all due to Vipassana that I am leading a happy, healthy life.

(3)Senior Engineer: Hardworking, non-corrupt, worrying person. May have become corrupt without Vipassana. Is now confident of never becoming corrupt. Physical and mental health improved greatly.

Vipassana has given me many benefits, both personally and academically. From my childhood, I’ve had a habit of worrying. The years 1994 and 1995 brought many mental tensions and depression. Because of the mental problems, I started getting physical ailments, as well, e.g. acidity, constipation, irregular sleep, increased heart-rate, etc. I was extremely frightened and went to a lot of doctors, but in vain. In 1996, I took my first Vipassana course. I stopped taking my medications during the course because I no longer needed them. During that first course, I could feel a lot of changes taking place.

I have always been a hard-working officer, but after Vipassana, I came to know that my ego and clinging were my reasons for working. After the course, I started working without ego and clinging, which resulted in better work that was tension free and easier to do. I started to enjoy work. My work quality and methods changed radically. My work efficiency increased.

Previously, while working with a group of people, I would get tense and irritated. This caused trouble with my colleagues and family. But now my way of talking to my seniors and juniors has totally changed. Towards the people for whom I felt aversion and hatred, I now had love and sympathy. Now there is an environment of friendliness and playfulness. The situations that previously caused trouble now bring me happiness.

Similarly, there used to be a lot of arguing and misunderstandings that caused quarrels. Now, I listen to the other side and try to understand.

I was never corrupt, but I feel that if I had not taken Vipassana, I might have become so if situations had demanded. But now, I am quite confident that, in the future, I will never become corrupt and will oppose corruption around me.

I used to go to work without any enthusiasm and return home in the evening tired. But now I go to work with a lot of enthusiasm and even after working the whole day, I am not tired. There is great improvement in my physical and mental health, as well. Before, I used to take a lot of medicine and medical leaves. In the last four years, I have had nearly no need for medicines and I have not taken a single medical leave.

All government organizations should grant special leave for Vipassana courses. People should also be informed of its benefits, so they will take advantage of the leave.  

(4)Senior Police Official:  Learning self-awareness puts him in control of his own future.

What I find most appealing about this technique is its simple, purely scientific rationale—no religiosity of any kind, no gods, no mumbo-jumbo, no false promises of a great hereafter, and no form of escapism into some blissful never-never land! In fact, the definition of Dharma is understanding the laws of nature, understanding the world of mind and matter and then living according to those laws. Vipassana helps you to do just that.

The whole concept of Karma is shorn of all its superstition and one is able to experience it as cause and effect, action and reaction. The universality of the method, its total lack of any kind of sectarianism makes it truly scientific and acceptable to any human being irrespective of caste, colour, creed or sex.

The technique is an effective instrument for attitudinal changes, management of stress and strain and instilling such qualities as compassion, high integrity and the inculcation of efficiency in the discharge of one’s duties and responsibilities. It removes all the unnecessary and accumulated mental load that one carries all the time. One develops detachment and equanimity. We become observers of ourselves. One is amazed to realize how our body and mind have become the storehouse of innumerable and unwanted impressions.

Regular meditation is as important as eating our daily food in the morning and evening. Vipassana is a form of meditation, which, more than anything else I have ever known or tried, helps you to understand yourself. As you go deeper and deeper into the practice, the more you understand and see how your mind and matter function, how they interact and influence each other. Gradually, you are able to observe the patterns of your own behaviour, your own reactions, your aversions and cravings, in other words, you can see how you tick. It is a very good way of learning self-awareness and gaining self-knowledge, even at the deepest levels of one’s subconscious mind.

The other things which appeal to me are that you are constantly aware and in the present, in possession of all your faculties and not asked to surrender yourself or your mind to some great guru or teacher who will do your thinking for you. Instead, the technique constantly emphasises how one is responsible for one’s own actions and their consequences. As one’s present actions and behaviour will determine what one becomes in the future, I find it tremendously appealing that I can be in control and responsible for my own future. What more can one ask for?

Vipassana is the art of living happily and harmoniously. In life, wanted things don’t always happen. Unwanted things frequently happen. It is impossible for all our desires to be fulfilled in spite of the abundance and the extent of resources at our command. We give in to our emotions and lose the balance of our mind. We should conquer our emotions, we should remain equanimous. Vipassana makes this possible. It enables us to live a happy, harmonious and peaceful life.

You learn how to re-programme yourself with total awareness and understanding in Vipassana. There is neither suppression nor rejection of one’s deepest, and often ugliest, drives. Vipassana teaches us how to be responsible without developing attachment. It does not make us indifferent, it makes us more aware of our responsibilities. Vipassana trains us how not to react involuntarily but how to be properly pro-active. It does not make us unambitious, it makes us more resourceful. Vipassana develops our will power to persist with right actions; it makes us more patient, more persevering.

 Vipassana teaches how not to react in the face of provocation. Friendly meetings turn into shouting matches. Nice customers suddenly get angry. Employees don’t do what they are told to do. Workers make impractical, unrealistic demands. Bosses give unreasonable, impossible tasks. Do we get provoked and react with a fit of temper? That’s what we do and make the situation worse for ourselves and for others. Unless, of course, we are trained in Vipassana meditation and have learned to observe our sensations, the natural vibrations within ourselves.

One anxiety that I had for quite some time was, would Vipassana make me want to leave the problems, tensions and frustrations of daily life and work and make me want to escape to a peaceful and secluded world? Would it make me more and more inwards at the expense of my work? But what I am discovering is that the inward journey complements the outward life and in fact, is helping my work.

Present-day life is full of stress and tensions. Our efficiency goes down substantially due to these tensions. It is often said that it is not the workload, but the load on one’s mind, which affects one’s performance and efficiency. After I was introduced to Vipassana, I discovered that it enables one to gain concentration of mind, right attitude and clear thinking, which go a long way in improving one’s output and efficiency. This technique does not make you believe in pre-conceived notions, but properly guides you to see the reality of things as they really are and not as they appear to be. This scientific technique of mind purification eventually leads to happiness for yourself and for others.

In these modern times, the true wealth of a nation is gauged by the mental health of its people. Without improvement at the individual level, it is not possible to think that human development and individual development are possible only by the purification of mind and its intelligence. This can be done only with concentration, discipline, devotion, dedication and faith as taught by the Vipassana Institute in its courses.

Nothing has given me the hope and confidence that this technique has. To know that I can understand myself and then be able to change myself and that I do not rely on anything or anyone else to achieve this, is, at once, the greatest gift and the greatest responsibility that I have been given. I am the laboratory and I am the specimen!

A whole new universe that I was totally oblivious to has opened up to me and I am on a new and meaningful journey.  

(5)High Ranking Officer, Govt: of India:  Now lives life with dignity, prosperity and happiness.

 As a matter of fact, Vipassana meditation makes a person undergo a thinking process at the root-cause level of problems faced in organizations. This brings results in time and process, which used to cause undue delays. For example, after only two courses, I was able to devise standardized formats for progress evaluation and analysis at State levels. We could also get basic key data related to the important areas of development and industrialization in rural areas on a monthly basis. Similarly, standard formats were devised for performance evaluation regarding developmental work. As a result, the overall system improved. Remedial corrective measures can now be taken for system improvements, which increase both effectiveness and productivity.

The monthly monitoring of output-input ratios reduced corrupt practices through a speedier disposal of the officials’ work. This, too, helped increase the efficiency and productivity of the overall system.

The very fundamental/essential Vipassana meditation course enlightened me to build a healthy environment and seek out healthy-minded people in the organization, as well as society. A healthy environment helps to maintain harmony, mutual understanding and cooperation and also helps to deliver the desired results within a stipulated period.

Meditation helps a lot to reduce stress and strain in the office, realizing that each is responsible for one’s rise or fall in life, progress or setback, peace or a disturbed state of mind. It gives me a sense of understanding and responsibility to generate positive wavelengths, which bring self-satisfaction and also prevent acting against the conscious state of mind.

The Vipassana meditation course has helped me maintain a good physique, regular meditation and exercise, resulting in a reduction of weight.

There is a very important change taking place in my life. By developing cordial relations with seniors and subordinates, I enable myself to live life with dignity, prosperity and happiness, and to make others prosperous and happy, too.  

(6)Chief Engineer, Public Sector:  Resolves management/union disputes; turns arguments into agreements.

I was born in a very poor family. My parents always conditioned me to live a moral life. Since my childhood, I have had an attraction for devotion, sat sang, and the concept of ‘truth always wins’. I took my first Vipassana course in 1993 and have taken a course every year since.

 In my department, there were many differences of opinion between the management and various worker unions. This had adverse effects on the daily routine of the employees, officers and engineers. Instead of arguing with the employees, officers, engineers and worker unions, I transformed their arguments into agreements. I got this strength from Vipassana, which brings equilibrium, peace and awareness. Wherever these exist, arguments, rebellion and quarrelling cannot coexist. Vipassana creates changes on the conscious, semiconscious and unconscious levels, which transform human tendencies (strategies).

Vipassana makes one realise that each person is responsible for his own happiness and unhappiness. Instead of looking for the reasons of happiness and unhappiness outside, one realises at the experiential level that the reasons are within oneself. Because of this, instead of reacting to physical and mental stress and tensions, one gets the inner strength to start facing them with equanimity.

In whichever organisation or country there are honest and unyielding decision-making officers, employees, engineers, doctors, citizens and ministers, then in that organisation or country efficiency, creativity and industrialisation will flourish. If in every act there is gratitude and a feeling of service to all, it will contribute to the building of the nation.

The demons of corruption and unpeacefulness, which are devouring the world, can be totally eradicated with Vipassana. It will be the beginning of a happy, peaceful and contented era.

(7) Senior Official, IAF:  Dealt with corruption of thought.

I was a very impulsive, domineering, short-tempered individual lacking patience and in-depth thinking. I hardly had any regard for others’ viewpoints. I was almost a non-communicator. Today, I can say that I have been successful in reducing most of these flaws. I am no more short-tempered; I am able to apply myself even in adverse conditions; and have developed enough patience to listen to others and still make my point. I am more or less open for criticism even in a military environment.

Definitely, Vipassana has given me the vision to see flaws in the system and the perseverance to make changes. In the military, one can improve only the system under one’s command.

In the IAF, at my level and type of work, corruption hardly exists. But there is corruption of thought, compromises in procedures, things being taken for granted, etc. I have become sensitive to these things and make conscious efforts to reduce these in my subordinates and myself.

I was harsh with my subordinates and they were unhappy due to the tension and strain. Later, after taking Vipassana, tensions have decreased and I can remain patient. My senior now looks to me, even in the most complicated situations.

If covert activities, backbiting, etc. is avoided, the environment becomes positive; this is my experience. I have developed the courage to do plain-talk, good or bad. People under me slowly are becoming more interactive amongst themselves.

(8)I.I.T. Professor:  Learned to accept failure and come to terms with current circumstances.

Vipassana opened my eyes to true wisdom. I had great difficulty in accepting failure and could not come to terms with it. I felt restless, worthless and depressed. This was, as I realised later, because I had never learned to handle failure, since I had tasted success with almost all of my previous attempts and endeavours. The first benefit of Vipassana was that it helped me accept my failure and come to terms with my current circumstances.

At work, my ego melted and a sense of goodwill and concern for the welfare of others began to develop. My outlook towards the students changed: I viewed them with much more compassion and love. I persisted written off (failures) with patience and compassion and they completed their studies, leaving the institute in a positive frame of mind.

Earlier, I used to brood over things for a long time and had developed anger and animosity towards a few colleagues. There has been a marked reduction in such feelings. Despite being cheated, backbitten, and mistreated by a few colleagues, I do not have anger or feelings of revenge towards them; rather I have a sense of pity and compassion for them. Thus, there is no feeling of ill-will or animosity in the office, which has created an almost perfect working environment there.

My level of patience for handling unpleasant situations in my office has also increased. Because of not reacting to situations immediately and being considerate and compassionate, the environment has become very peaceful and calm.

The hunger for comfort and the lust for money are responsible for desires to misuse office facilities and equipment for personal gain. After self-introspection through Vipassana, I have controlled this urge. The hunger for comfort and the lust for money have greatly diminished.

I am handling projects that require a lot of physical and mental strain, including frequent travel and a large amount of co-ordination and interaction with other people. I can confidently say that if I did not have the support of Vipassana to enable me to ‘re-set’ myself and ‘re-charge’ my batteries once in awhile, I would have suffered a serious nervous breakdown. Only after taking another Vipassana course, was I able to bring myself to a state of self-observation and continue working with detachment. This has immensely benefited the progress of the projects as well as my own mental well-being.

Personally, I have been an extrovert all my life and had never sat down to introspect or look back at my deeds or actions. With Vipassana, I realized the power of silence and introspection, and the benefits of reflecting upon one’s actions without guilt or a sense of achievement attached to them. I have become much more compassionate, considerate, and careful in my speech and actions.  

 (9)Manager, Public Sector:  After 2 courses, has new awareness and duty-consciousness.

An hour of meditation each morning gets me to the office with a calm, quiet and balanced mind. If my mind is disturbed, clashes take place with others, but if my mind is cool, I can tackle problematic situations without creating further complications. I also feel more energetic and enthusiastic.

I treat others with dignity, affection and kindness but if someone acts egotistically or against me, I no longer generate anger towards him. I can also tackle unfavourable situations without getting disturbed or creating trouble for others. My experience is that if Vipassana is not practiced, then such controls cannot be easily maintained and I land up in an awkward situation.

Vipassana put me onto the path of mind purification and helps me control bad thoughts. It has built a watchman in my mind that restricts me from doing immoral things. At the same time, I have energy to do good things and love and affection for others. I am quite confident that there is an improving positive trend in my tolerance, behaviour, attitude and overall personality.

In the office there are two types of stress and strain: physical and mental. If the mental health is sound, one can easily overcome physical stress and strain. With meditation, my mental health remains strong and sound.

Vipassana has brought me a kind of awareness and duty-consciousness so that I have become very particular about the output of my section. Reports now have more details and are ready on the dot, with punctuality. Even if there is a heavy workload, I can finish it off coolly, without much anxiety. If mistakes occur or a schedule gets upset, my mind remains in control and I try to tackle the problem smoothly. This results in reduced stress in the office.

In offices, there are people who often play psychological games. This gives rise to complex problems and results in reducing the work efficiency of the whole office. This may also result in affecting health problems: acidity, headaches, vomiting, etc. In my experience, Vipassana meditation enhances the abilities of managers and gives insight into resolving such problems.

Proper respect to superiors, obedience, discipline and enthusiasm in work, these qualities are increased in my personal life due to Vipassana meditation, which in turn, results in better relations with my superiors. While dealing with others, I look into myself and check for any type of impurity.

My mental health has improved. My determination has substantially increased to a higher level. I was attracted to Vipassana meditation because of a vision problem. After the course, I realized that cures for physical problems are by-products of the main process of mind purification. As I started meditating daily, my vision started improving slowly. I learned to look at each difficulty objectively, as it is, without anxiety and worry. This reduced the pressure in my eyes. I also gave up drinking liquor, which helped to bring normalcy to my vision. 

(10)Official, Secretariat:  Headaches from childhood gone, efficiency improves.

From the age of 12 or 13, I used to vomit and have terrible headaches. I underwent household remedies as well as doctors’ treatments. I went to the city for college. The problem with the headaches was still there. My studies were often interrupted. I had X-rays made and took a lot of medicine, but the affects were slight. I moved to Mumbai for work and got married, but still the headaches troubled me. I then went to a specialist for my treatment and got a C. T. Scan, but no cause could be found.

My nature from childhood was doubting, impatient, short-tempered and angry, which lasted for long periods of time. I was very egoistic. Since my childhood, I had heard that one’s nature has no cures. From my first Vipassana course, however, I saw miracles happen. First, my belief that one’s nature has no cure was proved wrong. The cure is Vipassana. Vipassana brought basic changes in me.

The doubtfulness, impatience, and short temper slowly started reducing. I started doing all my work with an aware mind and then I took action on it. Previously, after quarrelling with my wife I would not speak to her for 8-10 days. But now there are no quarrels.

Similarly, because of the headaches, I could not work properly at my office. I could not go through the files in detail, so there was a lot of time wasted. Vipassana has miraculously made my headaches go. No work stays pending now.

Now, at the office, I do not speak with anger or impoliteness with my authorities. I can understand their difficulties too. All this has brought speed in my work. I discuss all matters with my superiors with a calm mind. Hence, there is no pressure on me now and I can make decisions properly.

A ten-day Vipassana course should be compulsory before recruiting new officers, with a special leave for one course per year thereafter.

(11)Branch Manager, Public Sector:  Now works with a peaceful mind. Found ways to reduce corruption.

When I came to this sector, I took a personal interest in improving the system. I encouraged people to work collectively and to be polite and responsible with clients, as public contact is the basis of our business. All of the above is due to the impact of Vipassana in my life.

Corruption is like a cancer in the whole world. I found ways to reduce it.

I used to be very tense but Vipassana brought me back to normal.

I’ve been practicing Vipassana regularly since 1997 and automatically, change came into my life. Now I work more than 10 hours a day. I also make quick decisions for each and every problem. I feel that my mental and physical problems are also reduced. Now, I work with a peaceful mind. Vipassana automatically creates a healthy working environment and imbibes moral values in daily life.

(12)Engineer, State Government:  Mental health improves.

My mental state was extremely bad before I attended my first Vipassana meditation course. I had psychological problems and was under the treatment of a psychiatrist. But as I finished my first course, I knew the reason of my mental problems and negativity. My way of thinking was very wrong—I always blamed others for my problems. After the course, I realised that I, only, am responsible for all the pain and anger. With the regular practice of Vipassana after my first course, I stopped the treatments with the psychiatrist.

Before Vipassana, I had a lot of hatred and ill will towards my seniors. I was also very frightened of them. Regular practice of Vipassana changed this hatred and fear into compassion. I now cooperate with my colleagues and seniors, so our relations are improving. I also help others with their work. My colleagues are also helping me and the work is now being done with everyone’s cooperation. All important jobs are being done jointly. All are now working cooperatively in a friendly atmosphere. This is changing the entire office environment. Similarly, there is a radical change in my family life. My way of thinking is changing totally for the better.

I cannot speak lies at all. With Vipassana, my capacity to work is increasing and I have started to work more hours. With the improvement in my awareness, I make less mistakes. My capacity to make decisions has increased. I can now make my point clear and put it in front of my colleagues and seniors without fear.

Before Vipassana, I felt that the whole world was against me and that they were trying to separate me out. I also had the unnecessary habit of worrying about my family and office affairs. My psychological problems affected my physical health and I was continuously having health problems, laziness and lethargy. The regular practice of Vipassana is increasing my awareness, hence reducing my habit of worrying. It is making me physically and mentally healthy. Now I am rarely sick.

This is the way Vipassana is helpful to all.

(13)Senior Manager, Public Sector:  Freedom from mental turmoil

I was under tremendous emotional strain and I was enjoying neither my personal nor office duties.

I tried several techniques, but I could not be healed. Finally, it was suggested and arranged for me to take a Vipassana course. On the tenth day of the course, I got a tremendously relaxed feeling and I felt that my emotions had been operated on. I want to impress upon you that with very little time and practice with Vipassana, I was mentally cured.

I am very comfortable in the office, in my circle of friends and with my parents. My relations with subordinates and seniors are much better.

Due to Vipassana, I do not experience the extra burdens/pressures that are experienced by my colleagues. I am very calm in my heart. Practicing Vipassana has taught me to see the other side of the coin. I never get quickly irritated and if I do, it lasts only for a short time.

Vipassana has taught me how to live with awareness. It has helped to unpeel the layers of stress. It has certainly created harmony in my department and helped me produce more results. The benefits are so many that I am not able to detail them all.

 I strongly recommend Vipassana in Govt. organizations.

(14)Income Tax Commissioner, I.R.S.:  Physical and mental problems resolved.

On the officer level of senior middle management, I am responsible for executing and implementing the policy decisions of top management. As a result of Vipassana, I have introduced transparency in my office, which has helped to improve the system and to motivate the officers and staffs.

Due to Vipassana my stamina has increased. I am able to concentrate more on work. I have become sharper and more focused. The craving for appreciation for my work and the aversion against unpleasant duties has reduced a lot. This helps me maintain my cool and concentration. Therefore, I do not lose my temper, even when things do not move as per my expectations. This has increased my efficiency and productivity. I am able to sit in the office for longer hours and work overtime also.

Before doing Vipassana, I was a very reserved person. I did not interact much with colleagues, bosses or subordinates unless officially required to do so. I have been able to dissolve my complexes and ego to some extent. Now, I interact with all of them without any hang-ups. Any of my subordinates can approach me anytime for their office as well as personal problems. Similarly, whenever I have any doubts, I speak to my superiors and bosses without any hesitation. I have become very friendly with my colleagues, irrespective of the fact that we differ on a lot of issues. This has helped to create a healthy work environment, as well as better my relations with seniors and subordinates.

Prior to Vipassana, I was quite stressed and used to feel a lot of strain in the office. I felt totally exhausted at the end of the day. Now, in spite of sitting for late hours and doing much more work than before, I remain relaxed and cheerful. Since Vipassana has reduced tension to a great extent, efficiency and productivity have increased compared to the days when I was not doing Vipassana.

I have become a more sensitive person, which helps me better appreciate the problems of others and to express myself openly and freely. I share the problems of my colleagues and try to help in whatever way I am able. Thus, the mutual cooperation and harmony among my colleagues has increased.

I used to have a lot of physical, as well as mental problems. I’ve been hospitalised often: once for pancreatitis; twice for malaria; for fever; and gastroenteritis. I used to consult physicians, a dermatologist, cardiologist, chest specialist, gastroenterologist, optholmogist, ENT surgeon, dentist, orthopaedic surgeons, psychoanalysts and a psychiatrist. In a nutshell, I can say, there is no body part, starting from head to toe, for which I did not consult a doctor. Yet, I was not cured. Since I’ve been meditating, most of my physical and mental problems have been eradicated automatically. Except for minor problems like bad throat and allergy, etc. there are not many problems now. Since Vipassana has greatly reduced my physical and mental health problems, it has improved my efficiency to a great extent.

My experience with Vipassana has been wonderful. It has changed my life towards the better. It has made me a very happy person.

The various academies and institutes that train civil servants should encourage Vipassana meditation. This will greatly help the beaurocracy and, therefore, our country, to achieve all-around progress at a faster speed.

 (15) Chief Research Chemist: Fear, insecurity, anger and rigidity are gone; remarkable increase in tolerance.

Basically, I was a rigid, short-tempered and angry person who got irritated over nothing. After my first ten-day course, I felt a tremendous change in myself—physically, as well as mentally. It was like a metamorphosis. My family members also recognized it.

I’ve taken more courses since and it has brought drastic changes and improvements. My anger and rigidity have decreased, making my mind, and me, peaceful and balanced. A type of witness has also developed so I can see my anger and happiness objectively. If I narrate wrong, it indicates, ‘you are telling a lie’. Due to the development of a positive attitude, the graph of my irritation has declined. Additionally, the feelings of fear and insecurity have been depleted.

With these attitude changes, I am improving my work patterns at home as well as in my office. Now I behave in a friendlier manner, without caring about ego and bossism. It provides a healthy work environment, where everyone can work without tension. Previously, my subordinates avoided talking to me. For them to work, I had to order them. Now, without any orders, they do their jobs with serenity. When a hard talk is essential to maintain discipline, I feel mental balance, coolness and tranquillity within. The remarkable increase in my tolerance promotes forgiveness for their mistakes.

Now I do my job without any fear of higher officials. It has developed an inner strength, which convinces me to say ‘no’ to wrong decisions.

Efficiency has improved 2-3 times. One of the most significant factors is that I am never bored now, even when I am alone. Since I no longer spend time gossiping, my mind is kept fresh and healthy. The overall effects of these qualities help increase one’s authenticity.

Vipassana has reduced the greed for momentary happiness and monetary desires. I feel happier and more grateful for what I have. This is how Vipassana can help to reduce corruption. 

(16)Lecturer, Post-Graduate Department. of Management: Grievances of employees handled calmly

I used to democratically agitate with management, government, courts, local bodies, etc. for genuine reasons. I was restless, worried, suffered from stomach pains, severe headaches and spondylosis due to all the stress and strain. It was miserable working all the time with tension, fear and agitation. At times, I could neither eat nor sleep. I had also been a chain smoker for over 15 years.

 A friend suggested that I read The Art of Living by William Hart and asked me to attend a Vipassana meditation course. I argued, ‘How can my problems be solved with meditation? I don’t believe in simply sitting and doing nothing.’ I wasted six months arguing against it. My friend asked me to attend a course, then argue. During the course, my stomach pain and headache disappeared. My appetite increased, sleep improved and my anger reduced to some degree. I also gave up smoking.

I had to face conflicts while dealing with the grievances of employees. Before Vipassana, I dealt with employee grievances with anger and hatred. Afterwards, I handled them calmly and quietly.

My approach in dealing with problems has changed from negative to positive. Hatred against the management has reduced and I have started communicating with them with kindness. Negative emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy have lessened and positive thoughts like sympathy, compassion, equanimity are developing to some degree.

Since practicing Vipassana regularly, concentration, memory, will-power and self-confidence are developing. After taking another course, my mental and physical health improved even more.

I suggest that Vipassana be compulsory for training new recruitments and promotions. Paid leave should be sanctioned for employees who wish to attend the course. It will help to improve productivity, honesty, integrity, teamwork, work quality, customer responsiveness, and thus reduce inefficiency and corruption.

(17)Research Engineer: Overcoming differences in caste

Because of age and caste factor, some people tried their best to disturb me mentally, harassing me by not doing their work, etc. But having taken the Vipassana course, I could tolerate the misbehaviours, as well as think positively towards them. I enhanced the limit of my patience, as well as my work capacity, to such an extent that everyone was astonished. They are also astonished to see my positive behaviour towards them, even though they are aware that I know how they really feel towards me. I can only do this because of Vipassana meditation.

I brought transparency in the working of the office and make decisions by considering their opinion. This improves the cooperation among the staff, enhances the efficiency of the entire system and reduces corrupt practices in the office. I appreciate good workers verbally, with small gestures, by writing a good C.R. or by arranging get-togethers, which creates a healthy work environment. Even if I am told someone is thinking negatively about me, I say only positive things about him. All this results in imbibing moral values.

I used to suffer migraine headaches. Medicines could not eradicate them completely. But when I do a 10-day course, I don’t have to take any medicines. I believe Vipassana meditation is the best thing to eradicate migraines and all other causes of mental stress.

I suggest that 12-day special leaves be available to all cadre people and it should be made compulsory.

(18)Officer, Engineering Research:  Long-time meditator controls aggressive anger.

Since taking Vipassana, I am of the opinion that a boss should be sensitive enough to understand the difficulties of his subordinates. This has led to increased cooperation/harmony between me and my colleagues.

I always tell them that words reflect attitudes, that words can hurt feelings and destroy relationships. Words spoken out of bitterness can cause irreparable damage. So, choose what you say, then say what you choose. I can proudly say that this is the impact of Vipassana meditation. It really helps me in bettering my relations with subordinates and seniors.

In the early period of my service, I was very aggressive. I could not control my temper. But since I attended Vipassana, there has been a considerable change, which everybody notes.

I feel that staff members should be sent to Vipassana courses as soon as possible--it would help to reduce corruption.

(19)Manager, Public Sector:  Impartiality and transparency clean organisation of corruption.

I first took Vipassana in 1993 at the advice of a friend. I was so happy and felt I had received something new in my life. I immediately convinced my wife to take it and we have both taken a course every year since.

I find that the regular practice of Vipassana helps me from all angles. Before I make any decision, I check to see if it will harm anybody or cause any injustice to anyone.

I have definitely found that Vipassana helps me to improve the system in my public sector organisation, as my dealings are transparent and totally impartial. This also helps to reduce/stop corrupt practices.         

Vipassana helps to increase efficiency and productivity as it creates a sense of belongingness in the organisation. I clear all pending/allotted work without any tension, in spite of extra responsibilities.

I have a good image with my subordinates and higher authorities only because of Vipassana. I have also not faced any union problems in my dealings with subordinates. I find a difference in my dealings before and after Vipassana. I have also totally abstained from non-veg food and alcoholic drinks.

Regular Vipassana meditation has also brought me full relief from asthmatic attacks, without any medication. I give the entire credit to Vipassana for the changes in my personal as well as professional life.

Ten-day Vipassana courses must be compulsory for the employees of any organisation, as they build confidence and honesty, improving productivity.

(20)Chief Chemist, Public Sector:  Changed behaviour brings happiness.

I am a transformed person since taking the Vipassana course. It has given me a high level of concentration, peace, and harmony and helps me in every way. It increased my level of confidence, improved my decision-making abilities and makes me more alert and attentive to do things with perfection, without tension or worry. When we start anything with purity of mind and without fear, actively and attentively, we are going to get the best results with the greatest satisfaction.

My behaviour with seniors and subordinates has completely changed. I never get angry at unjustified demands. I put myself in their place to understand their request. I always do my duty with dedication and never give cause for confusion, suspicion, etc. My seniors and subordinates are always praising me for my positive attitude, dedication, sincerity, helping nature, peaceful nature, quality of output, straight-forwardness and truthfulness.

My friends/colleagues appreciate me more now because of the transformation in my views, attitudes and helping habits. Many are very close friends now, who weren’t happy with me before. I shall make others good and happy if I am good and happy.

Vipassana removes craving and aversions and purifies the mind of negativities. We gain energy, strength, will power, etc. by observing its moral precepts. A true meditator will never think of doing corrupt or wrong practices and will follow only the right path. The right path is always difficult in the beginning. It is ignorance by virtue of which craving and aversion invite the individual to follow the wrong path.

I gained a spirit of doing things without attachment and learned a disciplined life with morals. The precepts also help with compassion. I now have the habit of helping everyone and I receive help in the same proportion, as ‘you reap what you sow’.

I have learned to live life with power and joy. A healthy environment automatically formed when I started contributing towards it. I am now very happy and satisfied at home and in the office.

In the office, I realised that I am my own master; I am responsible for all my actions and decisions. I am vigilant and continuous towards my responsibility. I discharge my duty in such a way to neither have nor give stress and strain keeping in mind that nothing is permanent. Why should I worry for such transitory things?

In the beginning, it was difficult for me to sit even for 15 minutes, due to arthritis and rheumatism problems in my legs. But after the ten-day course, I was able to meditate for an hour without any problems. I am now more confident, stable and healthy in all walks of life. It has been a boon to my physical and mental health.

Vipassana is a code of moral ethics based on science, logic and rational wisdom. It is the practice and adaptation of moral values. There is no Vipassana without moral precepts. I have become so conscious that I cannot even think of doing any harm to anyone.

Vipassana improves the productivity and work culture. Therefore, I recommend to all government/public/private organisations to send their employees to a Vipassana course.

(21)Divisional Engineer, Indian Railway Service: Improved interpersonal skill resolves disciplinary problems.

Vipassana has helped greatly to improve my interpersonal skills. My work is basically ‘Man Management’, as I am in charge of 1500 people. In this regard, Vipassana has helped me recognize my own biases and those of others with whom I am dealing. It helps me to recognize why a particular person is acting in a particular fashion and why I am behaving as I am. It has not only helped me to recognize/accept my own mistakes but also to generate compassion when others are wrong.

This technique has helped me to respect the individuality of a man while rejecting his particular behaviour. As it helps to generate equanimity, it helps me make better decisions, though my decisions are sometimes termed ‘bold’. I feel that my ability to express my opinion and views without fear is due to Vipassana, only.

It has helped me to reduce my personal need; hence, I feel greed for materialistic things has also greatly reduced.

I had disciplinary problems with my subordinates but dealt with them objectively and developed mutual faith.

(22)Scientist and Joint Director:  Enjoys work now, rather than feeling burdened.

My passion has always been ‘improvements’, either at work or at home, but I always faced resistance. Family members resisted my every action. I wanted to bring discipline and human values by force into the family, which always left a bitter taste for my wife, son and daughter. I always used to preach, which people did not like. I was very short-tempered. If my instructions were not followed, I used to feel extremely disappointed and restless, even with trivial concerns. Whenever my seniors at work said something harsh to me I was too sensitive, it would remain for a long time in my mind and cause stress. I never enjoyed additional workloads as they caused pressure and dislike. In view of the above, I was searching for some type of stress-relieving technique.

Then, a friend told me about Vipassana. I attended a course with full devotion and returned with charged energy and self-determination to remain unperturbed in all situations, but it lasted only a few months. I did not practice the technique regularly, so once again; I was gripped by evil thoughts. Therefore, I did another course the following year and have been practicing it regularly since. It has had a tremendous impact on me.

Being a scientist, I always analyse. I found that Vipassana is a scientific technique of mind concentration and training of the mind. It has nothing to do with any religion or cult. With continuous training, one can order his mind to do any kind of job without any impulse. Mind cannot run away from an allotted job. The law of impermanence always reminds me that the workload will go quickly, thus, additional workloads no longer create stress. Sometimes my senior officer becomes very angry with me or the staff. My mind then sees him objectively and feels that he is temporarily not in good shape, he is unaware of his actions, thus, I don’t react.

My seniors have also changed, and seeing me in a cool state of mind, they no longer react violently. The practice of Vipassana has resulted in a stress-free work environment and increased my capacity to work. I now enjoy performing whatever work is given me, rather than feeling it is a burden.

I also look with kindness on my subordinates as human beings. I am more concerned with their comfort and their concern for each other. When my family members do something wrong now, I no longer get disturbed. I’ve also seen that the day I miss my meditation, I get slightly diverted from my thoughts and principles.

(23)Professor, Science, Govt. Institute:  Astonished that the unconscious mind can be so influenced by such a simple technique.

Due to a number of personal circumstances, I was in a terribly disturbed state of mind when I took the Vipassana course, but my intuition told me that I must attend in order to come out of my current misery. The results were much beyond my expectations. There was a dramatic transformation in my state of mind.

Most importantly, the working of my own mind was revealed to me quite clearly, and also the causes of its misery. I had heard and read much about the conscious and the unconscious mind, and was convinced that it is the working of the unconscious mind, which dominates the conscious. But it was really astonishing to experience that the unconscious mind can be influenced so dramatically by a simple technique like Vipassana. More importantly, the answers to my troubles automatically started flashing in the mind.

The course helped me a great deal in developing greater harmony in my work environment. I used to feel a strong sense of aversion (hatred) towards doing certain things, despite knowing that these things have to be done. Immediately after the course, I noticed a marked decline in this aversion. As a result, I was able to accomplish more work in less time, and without feeling worn out.

I have been a patient of hypertension in the past, but after the camp, barring occasional instances, my B.P. has been very stable. I clearly feel that there is an irreversible change, which will stay with me forever.

Any effort to introduce Vipassana in educational institutions or government organizations should be at an informal level. People should be encouraged to attend it for the sake of the personal/professional benefits they may derive out of it.

 (24)Scientist, Indian Institute of Technology:  Depression from abusive childhood goes.

I have been practicing Vipassana regularly for the past year and have noticed many good changes in myself.

Earlier, my muscles were chronically stressed. I looked very tense and suffered from chronic depression as the result of a very suppressive and abusive childhood. I never enjoyed life. I was physically very weak. I was a mediocre student in the classroom until my seventeenth year. My memory and comprehension in the academic field were very poor and my mind was nearly blank in the classroom. Somehow, faced with such difficulties, I managed to achieve my degree and the post of Research Scientist.It took several Vipassana courses before the entire grossness of my past melted away. My mind was very unbalanced and the pain was severe in the beginning. When I began meditation several years ago, I couldn’t even sit for 30 minutes, so I stopped meditating for a period of time. Last year I took Vipassana again and have been practicing very seriously ever since. The ultra gross sensations have melted and I am able to meditate for longer periods of time.

Earlier, my relationships with people were not satisfactory. Off and on I would get feelings of aversion for people with whom I associated closely. Now, I am much better and the degree of tolerance has increased considerably.

Previously, I had to put a lot of pressure on my mind to recall things and to speak my mind. Presently, the coordination inside the brain is better and I need not put the same amount of stress on the mind. I also used to get fatigued very quickly, even after working a small amount of time. Now, I feel a lot better. My mind also used to get quite agitated, even over small issues. Now, my mind is relatively balanced and equanimous.

I have made up my mind to spend the rest of my life practicing this technique very seriously, while doing purposeful things for society and for environmental protection.

Anyone who practices this technique will definitely benefit. 

(25)Senior Administrative Officer, Public Sector: Now copes with heavy workloads.

I would like to bring to your attention that Vipassana needs to be experienced. Therefore, I may not be able to communicate my experiences properly, but you may take some points from my sharing.

Before doing Vipassana, I implemented rules and I used to hate those who broke them. Now, I have regard for them, because maybe they have some problems. This has been giving good fruits and they are now following the rules.

Vipassana teaches to put all your effort into whatever you are doing. I now give my work importance. Naturally, the staffs under me is also sincerely working so ours is a good team, hence, efficiency and productivity have increased. I learned in Vipassana that man cannot change others; therefore, you have to change yourself. I practice to change myself and find that everybody is changing. Automatically, the atmosphere is changed in my department and it is good. I have experienced that when you follow the rules and practice Vipassana, your morals are boosted. Accordingly, my morals have boosted up.

Due to many things, stress and strain increases. If you concentrate on your breath, you will get relief. I have experienced that my stress is released. Practicing Vipassana, we automatically respect others. We also stop protecting ego, hence, mutual cooperation is built up. Since the sadhak practicing Vipassana does not hate others, he always helps needy people. I have also started practicing this in my department, and everybody is cooperative with me.

I started giving respect, irrespective of category. My seniors and subordinates are happy, which helped change the atmosphere and hence, it helped better the relations in my department.

I would like to state that I was suffering from blood pressure problems before practicing Vipassana. Since I have started Vipassana, I have no BP problems and my health has improved. I was under a heavy workload and was not able to cope with the work. Since I’ve been practicing, the stress has been reduced.

I practice Metta Bhavana [lovingkindness] and Vipassana, therefore, everything is smooth. I feel I have changed because of Vipassana only. 

(26)Head of Department and Lecturer, Selection Grade: Able to change established, stereotyped system.

I was a National Scholar and I was a continuous Rank Holder from Std. I to M.Sc.

Vipassana meditation helped me much in preparing my mind for responsibilities to be accepted later on. I was able immediately to modify the entire departmental system from its stereotyped practice of 30-35 years. I was able to set up all the activities without giving any importance to the criticism, which came from different corners.

Later, it helped me to face serious problems at the time of the opening of the college. I could withstand the rough and tough situations created in my daily work. I have stopped many corrupt practices. Additionally, most of the colleagues have become more punctual about their duties and services that are to be rendered.

I have received many benefits. I am handling problems very keenly. I am rendering my administrative work with utmost satisfaction. I must say that the efficiency and productivity have been increased to an appreciable extent. Vipassana has helped me to increase the mutual co-operation among my colleagues. My casual practice of Vipassana has made me think about my daily life in a positive way irrespective of my physical, mental, professional or family problems.

At least one course should be required before joining services in educational institutions and compulsory for students entering higher education.

(27)Professor and Head of Department, Science:  Achieved much with small staff and infrastructure.

After my first Vipassana course, I was fully convinced that this is the technique I must choose from the many being practiced. After my second course, I was convinced that nothing is so important to upset me. Hence, I am much more balanced, honest and sincere in my dealings with my colleagues, staff and students.

Earlier, those who had reservations about my decisions and resisted their implementation resorted to conniving others to create problems. Now they are, more or less, following them, as the decisions made by a pure mind are more down-to-earth and unbiased. They are now convinced that the sincerity of the decisions is in the best interest of the department. There is much more cohesion in the department’s activities than before and the tendency to create mischief has almost vanished.

Though the first course had made my belief in the five moral precepts stronger, it was only after my second course that I fully realized that for my betterment, I must adhere very strictly to them. I do not use office funds for personal purposes; I do not take personal visits/trips as official visits/trips. I believe others have also reduced the misuse of office facilities/funds for their personal use.

I have stopped taking departmental issues/problems to higher authorities for resolution and more often resolve them through discussions with the concerned persons. It has increased confidence in each other and has created a family-type atmosphere. Once you are convinced that no other person or unforeseen incident can harm your real interest and only your own wrong actions (physical and mental) can harm you, the fear of others and of unforeseen events evaporates. For this reason, you depose confidence in others, which is amply returned. You do not take others or events as hindrances, they become part of your effort.

I have also been able to reduce my liking and disliking of people. For the reduced negativities of the mind, I am much calmer, more patient, purposeful and energetic. People have commented on how I have achieved so much in the department with such a small staff and infrastructure.

I was always considered to be a good teacher, but since Vipassana, the desire to give my all, more precisely and accurately, has increased tremendously. Now, my students have more confidence in the information I provide and have increased their desire to attend my lectures.

In the end, I can say that Vipassana meditation has given me abilities, which have brought the affection and confidence of my colleagues, staff and students, making us a small family.  

(28)Income Tax Officer:  Manages stress and strains of office life.

Even before Vipassana, I had a firm belief that most physical diseases are nothing but a by-product of mental ill health and are psychosomatic in nature. I had been searching for a technique that could purify the mind and free us from the inherent deficiencies developed over time. After attending the first course in Vipassana, I was convinced that it is possible to remove most of the negativities deep inside the mind. It develops a balanced mind, which would not unnecessarily react to external provocation.

The greatest benefit that I derived from this technique was that I realised the impermanence of any situation, good or bad. My reaction to every situation became neutral and natural.

As a Government official, the technique helped me to manage the stress and strains of office life. Once the greatest killer, ‘stress’, is managed, efficiency in the workplace automatically goes up, apart from the benefits we get from the improvement in our health. I could contain the stress levels and not allow the tensions of the office to penetrate my family life.

By the practice of Vipassana, another big enemy, ‘ego’, could be contained to a large extent. This created a healthy work environment and the relationship with both seniors and subordinates improved. Though it is difficult to achieve egolessness for ordinary mortals like us, it can be kept under vigil and the benefits are immense.

When every human being realises the importance of ‘sheela’ and the true nature of happiness, which exists within oneself, the craving for materialistic luxuries will diminish and the contentment level in life will increase. The character building by the practice of Vipassana is the biggest benefit to society. Corrupt practices would be greatly reduced, if not eradicated, by learning this technique.

 There is urgent need to inculcate the course in the office curriculum. The Govt. officials and family members should be encouraged to attend at least one course. Incentives can be granted to inculcate the course in the office curriculum. Vipassana can be part of training schedules for government officials.

 (29)Senior Manager, Public Sector:  No longer worries about problems.

Why am I so late, at the age of 40 years, in getting such a beautiful opportunity? If Vipassana would have come earlier, I think I would have been better than what I am today.

The course was a tough journey, but for one’s life, I believe it is MUST. The 10 days of meditation make the remaining years of life easier because:

There is a tremendous power to fight the problems in life.

Problems were earlier, and now also, but now there is no worry.

There is an understanding ‘within’ beyond imagination.

There is an ocean of courage.

Simplicity becomes an area of focus rather than a blind run of materialistic developments.

I have explored my own potential for working hard, my own efficiency. I can now work 12 hours, get up regularly at 4 a.m. with limited sleep of 6-7 hours and still feel fresh. Facing any situation with ‘Anitya bhaav’ is not a quote from a book, it is now a realization.  

(30)Class I Gazetted Officer, Court: Gave up drinking habit, no prejudices, more adjusting with others

I have accepted Vipassana as the permanent path in my life. Due to its effect, my attitude towards life has changed tremendously. Now, I look with a more positive angle towards my own life, personal, social and professional, as well as that of my family.

I am now more attracted to my family, office, relatives and friends. I have permanently given up a drinking habit. I have given up non-vegetarian food. My attitude has also changed and I have developed higher moral values.

Since regularly practicing Vipassana, my day-to-day working methods have changed. Now, I feel comfortable and enthusiastic and remain fresh till the end of the day. Now, I find no prejudiced attitude towards my colleagues, clients and advocates. My relations with them have been enhanced. I no longer find stress or strain on my mind while working in the office. I receive cooperation from my colleagues due to my cooled down nature. It has helped me in developing my physical and mental health. My life has changed.  

(31)Manager, Public Sector:  No longer focuses on others’ mistakes; ego has disappeared.

Before doing Vipassana, I used to focus on others’ mistakes, but now this tendency is minimized, resulting in the utilization of my energy in constructive things. I used to get tense and irritable because of the mistakes of my subordinates, but Vipassana has made me courteous towards them, hence the tone of the office has improved and more work is being accomplished. Presently, all projects under me are advancing well before time. Positive thinking has also increased.

After Vipassana, fearlessness developed such that I now express myself rightly during conversations with superiors, which is good in the interest of the institution. After Vipassana I turned/became realist. In government, the personal ego is the greatest hindrance or enemy. Since Vipassana, this ego has totally disappeared

I dearly recommend that all public servants be put in Vipassana before starting service and twice a year after that.

(32)Professor and Head of Department, Government College:  Faced discrimination from superiors.

This meditation technique has taught me that the root cause of a problem lies within oneself; hence, it needs to be resolved there, first. This perception helped me face the difficulties of jealousy from subordinates and discrimination and bias from my superiors.

When I joined this department, a few of my subordinates were reluctant to accept me as their superior. I could work with my subordinate staff to deliver the right kind of work without a biased attitude. Now, there is mutual cooperation among all of us.

I don’t hesitate to admit that there could have been very strained relationships with my seniors, if I had not been a Vipassana meditator. Being the most senior in the department, I was assigned menial work; the prestigious assignments went to my juniors. I was given heavier workloads than my juniors, but under the wrong precepts. In no governmental set-up would such discrimination be accepted/tolerated.

Whenever I set out for some interview or lecture, etc. I meditate prior to the session; it relieves me completely from the stress/strain of the occasion. If I meditate regularly, I can keep myself from any towering tensions.

During my tenure, the students get direct access to me, and I listen to their grievances patiently. This establishes a level of confidence with them and they end up taking more initiative.

Vipassana has really helped me greatly during all ups/downs. It requires one to identify the power of the Truth, which is eternal.  

(33)    Manager, Nationalised Bank:  Improved relations with subordinates, increased output.

The practice of Vipassana Meditation has helped me a lot. Before attending the course, I used to become angry for petty reasons. My anger subsided after the course. The calmness improved my concentration, resulting in fewer mistakes. I started accepting each situation ‘as it is’, which helps me face situations firmly and confidently. This has all happened because of meditation.

After attending the course, my work efficiency improved. Concentration of mind improved the speed and accuracy of my work. Because of the improved efficiency, the time required for particular jobs was reduced. The time saved then became available for other work. Naturally, my output was increased. More work was entrusted to me and I could complete the work as per the expectations of my bosses. Naturally, my annual performance was rated excellent. As such, I automatically got promotions with the first attempt.

Meditation changed my attitude. Before meditation, though I was giving importance to moral values, I could not visualize their benefit. However, after meditation, ‘Vairagya’ became a part of my life.

I can definitely say that my mental and physical strength has improved and I started living true life. My interpersonal relations with others improved. My behaviour with my subordinates changed also. Earlier, I used to blame them for any petty fault. I now try to understand their difficulties. Earlier, subordinates were under stress and strain. With improved relations, their work output increased and their stress and strain decreased. Naturally, the performance of the department/branch improved. 

(34)    Officer in the Government Secretariat: Reforms/Positive change towards good habits; Quick recovery from grief. First heard about Vipassana in 1990. Attended different types of meditation courses. Attended first Vipassana course in 1998. Subsequently, the benefits after practice of Vipassana are:

1.     Totally abstain from liquor, non-veg and corrupt money

2.     Govt. devotee—what will be the result in my file as per govt. rules and also in the interest of society?

3.     Noting as per rules, not caring about party or minister

4.     Neutral nature as to what is going on—watching as per rules

5.     Spare time used for Vipassana meditation, thinking 1st to change myself, not worrying about relatives, their prarbhadas

6.     If depression thought arises, mind becomes alert and I start watching respiration and sensations, so no depression

7.     Efficiency has doubled.

8.     Doing preventative care and if happens, accept the truth

9.     Feeling of satisfaction

(35)    Senior Manager, Nationalized Bank:  Now has greater awareness, not blind reaction.

Before Vipassana, I was very short-tempered, highly egotistical and full of desires. My relations were strained and life was miserable despite all comforts. During my first course, I was thrilled with joy and relief to find that, at last, I found a real cure for ills within.

The practice of Vipassana meditation has brought about the following changes in my life:

1.    Reduced mental agitation, tasted peace of mind.

2.    Arrested mind’s propensity to react blindly, with greater self-awareness.

3.    Relations with family and friends thawed, and are appreciably better.

4.    In the office, work efficiency improved remarkably. Could discharge responsibilities as Senior Bank Manager, with unbelievable ease and enthusiasm.

5.    Faced staff’s inter-union rivalry dictating adverse terms. There were two options: to yield or to fight. But avoiding both these extremes, what appeared preferable was to bow out without a trace of aversion towards either.

6.    My wife, son and daughter have also attended Vipassana courses.

(36)    Senior Technocrat, O.N.G.C.:  Now has natural feeling of wellness.

I used to read a lot about meditating to relieve stress. At one time, I struggled with the stress and tension associated with a new post and also on the home front. I remembered a colleague/friend who had once told me he practiced Vipassana meditation. I always found him very calm and cool. I wrote and asked him to send me the address so I could also learn a meditation technique. Later, I took the course.

For the first time in my life, I could differentiate between organized religions and the meaning of ‘Dharma’, which is the true essence of life. During deep meditation, however, I experienced terrible fear, so much so that I felt ‘I am going mad’. In my college days, and afterwards also, I used to watch a lot of horror movies, as I wanted to experience fear and see how tough I was to handle such stuff. Regardless, nature helped me complete the 10-day course, but when I returned home, fear was still in my subconscious mind. I could not eradicate it completely. Later, I attended another course, and with the able assistance of my teacher, I could eradicate my fears to a greater extent.

I also found the answers to many experiences in my life. Afterwards, I could better cope with the stress and tensions of life. I found virtue in having compassion towards others, helping others, respecting other people’s views, and understanding things from different angles.

Before Vipassana, I used to take hard drinks frequently. Now I have a very, very feeble temptation for drinks. I no longer smoke, nor have any other vices. Most of the time after meditating, I have a natural feeling of wellness. ‘Metta bhavana’ exceptionally enhances one’s happiness.

I strongly believe a true practitioner of Vipassana will neither encourage, nor be tempted by, corruption, as one knows the futility of it.  

(37)    Medical Officer in Health Department of Rural Community: Positive Change—Treating patients with compassion in place of irritation.

Rural people are uneducated, so they have many blind beliefs. While giving them medical services, I had to face many problems. When tribal (rural) people are sick, they do not go to the doctor but treat themselves with home remedies, hence, their sickness increases. They come to the dispensary in acute conditions. After giving them medicine and knowledge of hygiene, however, the medicines are not taken on time, so they show no improvement. They keep repeating the same mistakes again and again. After repeated warnings on hygiene they still don’t listen. All this causes depression and irritation in me; so I feel agitated.

After taking a Vipassana course, I started feeling compassion for them and started thinking that these rural people are uneducated; hence, they are suffering mentally, physically and economically. To treat them at least physically is my duty and moral responsibility.

I started talking to them with love and, hence, noticed that more people were visiting the dispensary and getting well faster. Patients who were repeatedly falling sick now showed signs of improvement. Their feelings also started changing. This gave me the insight that instead of changing the rural people, I had to change first.

At the dispensary (health centre), my colleagues in government services do not always work efficiently. Since Vipassana, I tell them compassionately and remind them of their duties. This has brought a change in the whole working environment. All these changes have happened without my getting angry or using harsh language. All the credit goes to Vipassana.

My hate, anger, lust and greed have also reasonably reduced. Now when I get angry, the intensity is reduced. My working capacity has also gone up. Due to an increase in concentration, my mental and physical abilities have increased. My home has become a happier place.  

(38)    Lecturer:  Mental health restored after personal traumas.

Vipassana is India’s great gift to the world. I found Vipassana to be the ultimate technique. Before Vipassana, my mental and physical conditions were in a very bad state. I was taken over by anxiety and worry. Because of insomnia, my mental condition became very bad. ‘I shall die’ was my feeling. Then my mother expired and my younger brother married in the same year. Twenty days after the wedding, my brother suddenly died. My whole family was in a state of shock. Then my superior died, in whom I had total faith. Additionally, my wife, son and two daughters suffered continuously from illness, then my superior tried to remove me from my job. In such a state of depression and mental tension I took the path of Vipassana.

First, I accepted my present situation. Then, I started becoming truly friendly with my co-workers and colleagues with whom I did not get along well. I will not accept bribes and live a life of a simple teacher. I try not to hurt others and, if necessary, I ask their forgiveness. Hence, I have become a more responsible person. My senior now knows my intentions and gives me due respect, consulting me for important decisions.

Vipassana is now helping me to solve most of my mental and physical problems. I take care of sila very scrupulously so that others are not harmed. I now have compassion arising in me. I have started loving my students and take them as my own children. I am being paid to teach the students in my school so I should do my duty well. Now I am not afraid of death.  

(39)    Engineer, Irrigation Department:  Work improved, Confidential Report improved after Vipassana.

 Vipassana has changed me greatly. Before taking the course, I lacked the courage to talk to higher officials and put forth my intentions. Because of being dependent on others my entire life, my relations with senior officers were not cordial. Also, mistakes were made in my work. As a result, the annual confidential reports were not good. Since Vipassana, my confidential reports are always good. There is improvement in my work. Others in my office took the course also and the work time is improved, more work is done. And the annual confidential reports of the staff also improved.

It has also been helpful in stopping corrupt practices in the office. There has also been a reduction of complaints in comparison to other offices. During meetings and office work, there is a good mental balance, which was missing earlier. By simplifying the work, people get done quicker. As a result, the standard of living of the poor agriculturists in the area is improving. Due to this, I have mental peace. Small problems of health are also being removed.

I feel mentally that this kind of change should come at every level of society. If the government takes the responsibility of spreading this noble technique among the office staff, the habits of the employees; corruption; timely disposal of work; internal relations; bad habits; mental balance in work, etc. will be improved to a great extent. Accordingly, there will be progress in every field.  

For positive administrative changes, permission needs to be granted to all, from Class IV employees to officers, to participate in Vipassana courses. Instead of travel expenses granted every four years for government servants and their families, the money should be spent to reimburse the employees for travel expenses to and from the Vipassana centre.

(40)    General Manager, Bank:  Moulded self as a team member instead of senior/junior.

Vipassana has helped me to keep my temper in Samata [equanimity]. I used to get angry and annoyed with colleagues and subordinates. Now I can realize my temper cooling. I never get suddenly upset or suddenly happy. I believe in equanimity.

Earlier, I used to fire my subordinates for their negligence or inefficient manner. Now, I explain to them about their duties and the opportunities available to them. This has improved my lifestyle by adding calmness and equanimity.

When I discharge my duties at work, I try to implement the principle of not too much affection and not too much distance—with no high liking or high negativity. This helps me create a good environment for everybody. My section got recognition in the Department for its good team spirit.

Now, whenever I get stressed, I keep quiet for a moment and stay in Samata. By this, I am reducing the stress and strain both in my office as well as at home. I have realised the plusses and minuses about my nature and accepted them.

I have moulded myself as a team member of a working group, rather than a senior officer or juniors. Every staff member contributes an equal share of responsibilities and received high regard from higher-ups.

I have developed a better understanding of my colleagues and higher-ups also. We have done excellent work since and set a good example in the bank for the highest output of quality and quantity.

Nature’s law of change has reduced my mental/psychological weaknesses. It supports me in making bold decisions, which has been appreciated by both seniors and juniors. This has brought tremendous changes in my attitude.  

(41)    Scientist, Atomic Research Centre:  Serious meditator finds creative solution to accumulation of uranium

It is only after progressing in Vipassana that I found a creative solution to a critical problem. My mind became very balanced and I found that many day-to-day process problems did not disturb me anymore. I gained a great deal of clarity.        

I have become not only highly disciplined, but without any feelings of ego and I have started enjoying the confidence of my colleagues. Today, I am in a position to delegate the work to subordinates as they regard me as a good initiator of work, not evading my responsibilities. My attitude has become very impartial in discharging my duties. Now there is no element of greed in the allocation of work and in discharging my duties.

I do not encourage any kind of malpractice and corruption. I have no worry about my promotions as they are just following my performance nor have I any negative feelings against my colleagues who get promotions.

I used to have problems mingling with colleagues due to attitudinal problems, which is now mostly gone. I enjoy taking things, as they really are, whether they are good or bad. I also started accepting any criticism in the right direction. I have become very positive and now accomplish 8 hours of work in only 7 hours.

I realise now that I am fed by one billion people. The realization is very strong that if I waste time or government property, I will be wronging one billion people (people of this country). In the same way, whatever contributions I make, I will get punya or goodwill from 1 billion people.

Due to my close work with uranium dust, my lung count of uranium went up. The count became normal, however, within six months after taking Vipassana, which is very encouraging.

I can see the difference that Vipassana has brought me in terms of personality changes and attitude. Only Vipassana can bring such changes, for it changes the habit patterns of the mind. 

(42)    Government Officer, Agriculture Department:  Aggressiveness, laziness and short-temper reduced, peaceful mind helped in proper relations with subordinates/seniors.

Since I started Vipassana meditation tremendous changes have come in my behaviour. Vipassana purifies the human mind towards good happenings and good tendencies.

From my teenage years, I have always cursed during stress and strain. I was very short-tempered. I was minding trifle things and that’s why I became more and more aggressive. It was harmful to my health. Now, I realize immediately what is going on and I can control myself at the proper stage. Meditation rids me of laziness and brings alert, quick actions, always keeping me fit for duty. This position is helpful in reducing physical and mental health problems, thereby, increasing efficiency.

Vipassana helps employees as well as employers to follow good practices, which provide proper services to the public. Corruption comes from a corrupt mind and here; the learning of Vipassana keeps the mind alert, fresh and healthy. Anapana makes the mind sharper, more sound and alert, increasing concentration so it improves efficiency and increases productivity. I am never tired, lazy or drowsy. I feel fresher; therefore, I can work for a longer time without any stress and strain. If the mind is fresh and fine, so the total atmosphere remains fresh and healthy.

In the present position of human life morality is a vanishing art. Humans have become more and more aggressive and that’s why we don’t find moral cooperation in society. But now, due to Vipassana meditation, it’s becoming safer. It helps with social welfare and also keeps moral values in their proper means. My basic nature is to cooperate with others. But after learning Vipassana, it has excelled more and more, helping in every life transaction with other people, family members and office colleagues.

 At the beginning of my service, due to my short temper, I could not keep proper relationships with my subordinates or seniors. Since I started meditating, I have been able to keep proper relationships with both. On this, my subordinates remark that I am ‘in a proper mind, very cool and peaceful’.

There should be Gazette Reports for the whole staff to take Vipassana, whether they are Governmental or non-Governmental organizations. 

(43)    Manager in Reserve Bank of India:  Learning Vipassana brought answers to many questions.

According to Darwin’s law, the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest, every individual has to struggle for meeting the needs of life and, therefore, to go through mental tensions. In the present socio-economic situation, every human being is experiencing physiological and psychological problems. I had to go through these stages. I felt insecure. I approached the doctors, but of no use. I read many books and attended many lectures of all kinds of sects, delivered by so-called saints, religious leaders. I found their preaching theoretically in order, but they were not the path I wanted to take. Finally, I found Vipassana.

Vipassana is the only technique that can convert an impure mind into a pure mind. It is a self-realization and practical experience. After completing three Vipassana courses, I realize the importance of Vipassana meditation in the life of every human being. It is nothing but the art of living.

Vipassana has helped me a lot. Fear has gone from my mind. The technique taught me to keep calm and quiet. Vipassana has given me a positive attitude in life. I now apply my mind positively towards the events of day-to-day life.

In particular, it helps in my office work; in keeping good relations with all the members of the staff and keeping a healthy atmosphere in the office; in making immediate and appropriate decisions; in giving more output than usual; and it gives inspiration and energy to do more work. I don’t feel tired. Vipassana has also helped in keeping a happy and healthy atmosphere at home; and my IQ and memory have gone up.

I got the answers for the following questions through Vipassana meditation:

1. How to overcome a difficult situation?

2. How to solve domestic, social and economic problems?

3. How to keep ourselves calm and quiet in a difficult situation?

4. How to win friends and make enemies?

5. How to eradicate impurities from the mind?

6. How to control emotions and negativities of the mind?

(44)    Officer in the Secretariat: Perception of life and events totally changed.

Irrespective of the field in which a person is working, everybody has to face the common problems with reference to corruption and malpractice. As a result of attending the Vipassana course, I found that my way of thinking totally changed about the events that happen in life.

As a first instance, I did not get a promotion for three years. After taking Vipassana, however, my sight and vision towards the then officer changed. As a second instance, my daughter got married, a civil marriage. Even though it was not acceptable to parents or society, it did not disturb me. I believe that the main force behind this is the effect of Vipassana meditation, which changes my way of thinking regarding incidents that happened in the past as well as the present.

Vipassana meditation teaches the balancing of mind towards physical pains also. The mind can be strengthened, which will reduce mental and physical problems, ultimately improving efficiency. Before Vipassana, I suffered from high blood pressure. At present, I feel my body totally free from the fear of high blood pressure.

Vipassana shows the exact root cause of happiness and unhappiness, which is not related to the happening of incidents, but purely and totally related to the way of thinking and practicing of a Balanced Mind. If this way of thinking were created in the mind of officers/servants serving in government or organizations, it would naturally be helpful to improve the system. Individuals will accept incidents as the truth of the moment and nobody will think to take a reward. The negative effects will be minimized, which will reduce tension/stress and strain for both. Additionally, if Vipassana meditation training courses are introduced in government/organizations, it will surely be effective for increasing the mutual cooperation/harmony among colleagues.   

It would help to improve the system if officers/servants in Government and organizations learn Vipassana meditation. It would also be beneficial to powered persons, high-ranked officials and politicians.

(45)    Senior Government Official:  Used to boil in anger for hours/days with thoughts of revenge; had poor relations with everyone, including wife.

How has Vipassana brought changes in my life? I may not be able to put it in words. Prior to Vipassana, I led a very unhappy life. I was full of sorrow and agony. I did not have good relations with my parents; even my marital life was disturbed. In the office, I used to become very irritated by miscellaneous matters. I used to boil in anger for hours/days and always thought of revenge. I used to go to see Maharajas (religious gurus), but they gave very temporary relief.

When I went to my first Vipassana course, during the 4th or 5th day, I had a violent movement in my body, as if somebody had shot me down! Oh! But it gave me instant relief from chronic right knee pains. This increased my dedication.

Gradually, my cruel nature changed. Now, a feeling of pity, rather karuna, comes to my mind. I have even developed the patience to hear others’ views and my colleagues and staff treat me respectfully due to my non-corrupt life.

 I experienced that if one lives a pure life, others work more speedily and efficiently. This way you can improve the administration.

When my wife got pregnant the second time, the doctor insisted on a test to see if the foetus was a female since we already had one daughter. The doctor told us to get the pregnancy terminated and advised us of the many ways. We staunchly refused. We had the child and she is very beautiful and understanding. When she was in her mother’s womb her mother did her first course, she got Vipassana before birth.

My colleagues think me an odd man out. They, even my juniors, have acquired properties. Once, when I discussed this with my wife, she said, ‘So many people cannot get food for two times a day, we are fortunate that we have enough!’ I realised another way Vipassana helps: she is content with what we have.

Lastly, I would like to say that definitely a real change has come in my life, otherwise, how would I have experienced the peace within!   

(46)    Professor:  Improved a system full of quarrels, politics and injustice.

Vipassana changes lives . . . completely. It removes traces of pain, trauma, incompetence, if any, and any other negativities that grip the human mind. I am completely convinced that the debris of karmic reactions gets dissolved gradually and a new self emerges . . . shining, joyous, painless at facing negative circumstances, and strong. This has been my experience.

Due to some personal tragedies, I sank into an abyss of despair, agony and unbearable pain, when a friend suggested Vipassana. So paramount was the trauma that befell me that I could not handle life. I gave up my career. No solution was in sight. I was in an endless dark tunnel. One can achieve some goals professionally only if one’s mind is in a proper condition to deal with tough situations.

I did the course. It was tough, very tough. But, on the tenth day, I could not believe what I was feeling. Miraculously, the scars of all the pain seemed to have HEALED. Thereafter, life changed. The circumstances of darkness are still there, but I have marched ahead.

I went back to my career and was given the additional charge of a Hostel. It was in the Hostel that my daily practice of Vipassana worked wonders. Any endeavour works better if we are endowed with love, compassion and unconditional caring for others. I have always had these qualities so Vipassana worked great things for me.

I was able to improve an administrative system that was hitherto filled with quarrels, politics and injustice. Subordinates became very receptive and enjoyed carrying out my orders. The atmosphere improved beyond recognition and peace was all around. Since the person at the top determines the way others take, corruption faded fast.

Efficiency had increased enormously. When you work with love, you create peace and efficiency. That’s what happened.

I introduced regular interaction with the students, speaking to them about the importance of ethics and morality. The changes that came about in them surprised me.

Stress and strain vanish from the environment when work is done with love. It is very natural that harmony gets promoted as Vipassana teaches us non-reaction and acceptance of the present ‘as it is’.

Health certainly improves when the mind is at rest and efficiency increases beyond our wildest imagination. I am still unable to believe that out of the 24 hours, I barely have 5 to 6 hours of sleep and devote the rest of the 18 hours to work and meditation. Believe me, I have never been so hardworking in my life before.

Yes . . . Vipassana changes life beyond recognition. But one must practice regularly and couple the meditation schedules with other positive qualities like unconditional love, concern for others and truth. The results then are mind-blowing.

I want more and more people to come out of their suffering by practicing this great technique.

(47)    Deputy Manager, Nationalized Bank:  Motivation, concentration and respect replace blind ambition, self-importance and criticism.

The impact of Vipassana on my work and life has been amazingly positive.

Before Vipassana:

·       Though I was sincere to my duty and work, I used to be very proud, egocentric and self- centered, giving little importance to others.

·       I used to think that what I did was correct. Let others not change me.

·       I had blind ambition and self-importance, which created artificial stress and tension. My relations with seniors and colleagues were weak.

·       Instead of getting to the root cause of a problem and solving it, I became a sceptic, finding fault with my seniors and colleagues.

·       Because of my negativity, I developed diseases like constipation, joint aches, loss of energy, restlessness, loss of concentration power, etc.

·       Although my sincere efforts resulted in the betterment of my department, I remained dissatisfied and frustrated.

·       I used to drink liquor and eat non-veg food.

·       I often got angry with my wife, children and parents.

·       In short, my life was neither happy nor peaceful. It was full of misery.

After Vipassana:

·       Vipassana has brought not only awareness but also an unbelievably remarkable and inexplicable change in every facet of my life, i.e. personal, social, and official. I am a changed person altogether!

·       I have started respecting others.

·       I have become more aware of my follies.

·       My patience has increased and I hardly get angry at anyone.

·       My health has improved a lot! I have not taken any medicine since I started practicing Vipassana! Laziness and tiredness have drastically reduced even after I reduced my sleeping hours!

·       Now, no craving for liquor, non-veg, tea or coffee, spicy food, etc. Now, I lead a better family and social life with my wife, children, mother and other relatives.

Impact on work and office life:

·       Vipassana has helped me a lot to improve the work culture in my department and, hence, the system within my department.

·       I got motivated to work effectively to the best of my ability.

·       The work environment has become homogenous, open, co-operative and healthy unlike other places in our bank.

·       No more ego class; inter-jealousy; internal bickering; and there is almost no stress and strain in our department. I have been able to concentrate better on my work.

·       My colleagues, staff and seniors have started respecting me more.

Prior to Vipassana, I never even dreamed of the peaceful, happy life that I am living today. I don’t feel any hitch to say that the day isn’t far when this sapling of Vipassana will grow into a tree in the corner of our country to provide a shadow of peace, love and happiness for all living beings.  

Employees should be given special paid leave as an incentive for attending a Vipassana course. Vipassana can also be part of HRD training.

(48)    Medical Officer:  Came out of depression and despair; has stronger work ethics.

Vipassana meditation is one of the most wonderful things that have happened in my life and I am deeply grateful to the Almighty to have shown me this path.

 It has certainly helped me stick to my principles and carry out my work efficiently, honestly and sincerely. It is only one’s own principles that can make a person work and Vipassana meditation has greatly helped me in this.

My relationships with both seniors and juniors are harmonious, as meditation has made me more flexible to, and understanding of, others’ problems.

The greatest help meditation has given me is in my personal life. I joined meditation when I was in a state of depression and absolute despair as I had lost my only son suddenly at the age of 18 years. I had lost my husband when my children were very small. My son was only 3 years old then. Life as a widow was not easy and it was with great difficulty that I brought up my children.

 Vipassana meditation helped me come out of my depression, to pick up the threads of life and, today, I can honestly say that my daughter and I are leading a very peaceful, happy and harmonious life.

 Vipassana has helped me regain my physical health. I had terrible backaches, fluctuating blood pressure, and a high tri-glyceride cholesterol level. My blood pressure now is 120/80, I have no backache and my tri-glyceride level too has stabilized.

Every government servant should do at least one Vipassana course. He/she should get special leave with T.A. and D.A. It will also be helpful to have a room set aside where one can meditate undisturbed.

(49)    Income Tax Officer, Central Government:  Moral values become part of response system and thought process.

Vipassana has helped me to understand the true meaning of life. Whenever any negativity surfaces, my system becomes aware and most of the time I manage to come out of it. I am constantly effortful to change my response system to events, situations, behaviours and tensions. I think I am an improved father, husband, brother, son and citizen.

I am trying to improve myself. When I succeed, the system will stand improved to that extent. When one is better behaved, the response of juniors and seniors starts changing. The work place becomes healthier, better and more responsive.

Vipassana helps to internalise the value system. Moral values that we cherish start becoming a part of the response system and thought process. When one remains aware of the activities within the body one does his best and leaves the rest to nature. That helps balance the pressure of things and stabilize behaviour resulting in a decrease of stress and strain in the office. One becomes more sensitive to other peoples’ requirements and sensibilities. The rigorous practice of Vipassana in a continuous way helps in the sound development of one’s personality. Your health starts becoming your responsibility.

Slowly a sense of responsibility starts seeping into the system. I am more aware of my work, my surroundings and my responsibilities.

Vipassana is the way to reach the centerpoint. It is a technique to gain the Brahmic qualities. It is a way to experience heaven in this very body.

(50)    Medical Officer, Municipal Corporation:  Overall system improves.

Vipassana is the most important and constructive thing that has happened to me since my birth. Because of Vipassana, I was able to perform my duty as a doctor and as an administrator with efficiency and a balanced mind.

I was able to motivate a few of my staff to attend a Vipassana course. Their efficiency and mutual cooperation at work also improved. There are many positive things that have happened to those who have attended courses.

As for me, it has definitely helped me to improve myself as a human being. My level of anger and frustration is going down. Because of the positive effects of Vipassana, the work environment has improved, it helps in reducing corrupt practices, it helps in dealing with stress and strain at work and at home. It definitely improves moral values, creating a healthy work environment. My relationship with the staff has improved. Overall, Vipassana definitely and positively helps to improve the system.

I am 100% convinced that this is the only way humans can achieve the ultimate aim in life, peace of mind and enlightenment.

I strongly recommend Vipassana in all government and semi-government organizations, for the peaceful co-existence of all mankind.

(51)    Officer, Atomic Research Centre:  Personality changes bring promotion.

Vipassana has changed my entire life. Earlier, I was a short-tempered, full of ego, adamant, rude person. I gave no importance to my family members or colleagues in the office. I listened to others without paying attention. Though I was doing my work properly, I was not very popular in my office circle. People didn’t avoid me, but they kept their distance in social meetings. I had a complex.

With regular meditation, the entire picture changed. I no longer have a complex. I listen well to and help everyone who comes to me, if possible. As a result, I was promoted.

Vipassana meditation has had the following effects in my life:

1.    When you cannot change the system, you can get adjusted yourself. I changed myself.

2.    When one follows samyak ajivika (right livelihood), there is no chance of corruption.

3.    When the mind become pure, it gives an inner energy to the body, which increases efficiency and productivity.

4.    When I think about the welfare of others, a healthy work environment is created.

5.    I have good relations with my subordinates and seniors.

6.    Physical and mental health problems are interrelated. When the mind is stable and pure, it leaves a positive effect on your physical health, thereby improving your efficiency.

7.     I can now interact with different kinds of people.

8.     I feel more energetic in day-to-day life.

9.    I have a positive angle towards life. I take life as it is. Therefore, I do not feel any burden and stress and strain are reduced.

10. My requirements in life are minimized.

11. Material gain is secondary to spiritual gain.

(52)    Deputy Manager, Public Sector:  Effective communication skills, executive empowerment, emotional stability.

In the present scenario, successful organisations are those, which are able to apply the creative energies of individuals towards constant improvement, which cannot be imposed on people. It has to come from within the individual. The only way to get people or employees in the office to adopt constant improvement and innovation as a way of life in doing their daily work is by empowering them.

Empowerment is a process through which you create conditions inside to conquer the constraints outside to achieve growth. It frees people from excessive dependency on positions of power. It is a movement from ‘excuse to excellence’, ‘inaction to action’, ‘control to coaching’; and ‘complacency to competitiveness’, which is only possible with Vipassana.

A Vipassana meditator is a good and effective communicator, which is a vital aspect of effective management and problem solving. He develops inter-personal communication skills to enhance the effectiveness with individuals at all levels. He understands the essentials of social and business etiquette and develops the power to choose his attitudes even under unfavourable circumstances. He also develops awareness of key areas of management: planning and organization, problem solving, decision-making, communicating, motivating, delegating and time management. This has been my actual, personal experience.

My boss appreciates my work. He says he has seen a lot of changes in me, like increases in efficiency, ability, decision-making, handling subordinates and higher-ups without stress and achieving the goals and target set-up for the year.

Before I took the Vipassana course, I had a pain in the back of my head, which was a sign of paralysis. It is now normal and there are no complications. I obtained so many good things like changes in attitudes, effective communication skills, executive empowerment, emotional stability and reduced stress, which helped me succeed in my daily, social, as well as official life.  

It is my humble request to the Government that they start sending employees to the ten-day Vipassana course, enabling them to work more efficiently and to develop in such a way that they can succeed in social and office life by achieving their goals.

(53)    Commissioner:  Decision-making process is now transparent and fast.

I have witnessed many beneficial effects of Vipassana in my life. Its uniqueness is its ability to entirely transform one’s attitude, mind-set and pre-conceived notions about oneself and others. It is a unique technique for the purification of the mind, which enables one to see things in their correct perspective.

I’ve noticed that the quality of patience, tolerance and especially Maitri one cultivates with the regular practice of Vipassana, definitely helps, not only in day-to-day decision-making, but also in enabling one to extract the maximum output from subordinates.

Before Vipassana also, I received results in most of the posts where I had worked. However, after a few Vipassana courses, I realized that I was a bit harsh while extracting work from my subordinates I certainly feel that this has undergone some change.

t is possible for a Vipassana meditator to ensure proper teamwork by keeping the morale of his team high and on a more solid foundation. The administration within the organization/office is much better.

Vipassana has enabled me to develop empathy for others. It is possible to understand and appreciate the limitations of the staff while estimating the maximum output that can be derived from them. By less frequently getting restless, impatient and losing one’s temper one definitely saves energy, which can be fruitfully utilized for much better, more productive purposes. By remaining cool and composed, clarity is at a much higher level, enabling one to think more about one’s job, priorities, planning, system improvements, etc.

 Since Vipassana makes one realize the impermanent nature of things, cravings and greed automatically reduce, substantially. In fact, craving and greed are at the root of corruption in public life.

Vipassana makes one realize the importance of the virtue of right livelihood, Samyak Aajivika. It, thus, helps one to preserve the moral principles that enable one to set high standards while discharging one’s duties. One makes sincere efforts to streamline the system in such a way that the decision-making process becomes transparent and fast. If a Vipassana meditator is head of the organization/office/branch, he definitely sees to it that transparency is maintained throughout, and he does not allow anyone to indulge in corrupt practices.

Apart from improving the system, which minimizes the chances of corruption, I feel that the Vipassana meditator sets an example by setting high standards for himself. This, directly or indirectly, influences those who come in contact with him.

(54)    Professor and Head of Department, Government Medical College:  Increased tolerance and stability of mind.

I have practiced various meditation techniques and was benefited by each in one way or another. But Vipassana is the purest meditation system I’ve found, and benefits a person’s entire life. It improves one’s physical, mental, psychological, social and spiritual health.

Corrupt practices reduce, as one starts behaving with others as his own self. With Vipassana, one becomes more efficient and working stamina increases. Concentration and punctuality increase, ultimately increasing productivity. One’s approach with seniors and subordinates becomes positive, cordial and helpful, reducing tension among workers in the office. It also corrects minor illnesses, increases tolerance and gives stability of mind.

I help organize Vipassana courses in my local and medical community and I see people from all spheres of society keenly attending the courses—students, farmers, farm-labourers, doctors, lawyers and auto rickshaw drivers, too. Everyone is having good results as far as their physical, mental, social and spiritual health is concerned. Several students were psychologically disturbed and on the verge of leaving the medical college, but settled down and passed their M.B.B.S. course due to Vipassana meditation.

Vipassana meditation should be included in the syllabus of primary to university education facilities. The government should also promote Vipassana in its organisations to build and strengthen the national integrity, communal harmony, the national economy and our nation.

(55)    Senior Manager, Nationalised Bank:  Controlled anger and increased concentration, improved efficiency and relationships with seniors/subordinates.

More and more people are doing Yoga, gymnastics, etc. to keep physically fit for their physical health. The same is happening with Vipassana. It helps to keep one morally fit and mentally sound, thereby bettering one’s social behaviour and efficiency at work.

Vipassana is a systematic process to purify the mind just like yoga improves physical health. Physical and mental health goes together. By improving one’s physical health alone, one can certainly attain a higher HP (Horse Power) and be able to carry heavy loads, but his mental power and efficiency will remain undeveloped. One cannot become morally sound unless proper moral training or behaviour modification training is given. Mere class instruction or listening to saints and sages does not serve the purpose. It is Vipassana, which teaches one how to practice a moral life. Without Vipassana, personality development is incomplete, one-sided.

Abstaining from actions that go against the interest of others, i.e. stealing, telling lies, sexual misconduct, killing, etc. is found in Vipassana. In no other departmental training programme or public/private sector undertakings in the country is such practical training imparted. If one takes his Vipassana training seriously, he tries to improve his bad habits in day-to-day life and, thereby, have sound, moral behaviour within society.

The most important thing that I notice after taking Vipassana is control over my anger. Many times in the past, I spoiled my work because I got angry. I just cried out in anger at people.

Concentration of mind is another important change that I notice in my work. Also, the officers/employees who work under me are quite happy and content. In meetings and seminars, my superiors praise my work. My practice of Vipassana has inspired increased efficiency in my staff.

Vipassana should be made compulsory for all employees, from peon to top-grade officer cadre. There should be provisions for 10-day Vipassana courses every 2 or 3 years in all private and public sector organisations, with a separate meditation room for group sittings.

(56)    Senior Officer, Government of India:  Realizes values are more important than material gain, treats subordinates with compassion.

There’s no doubt that Vipassana has helped me. It has helped me cope with the pressures of my job.

I try to improve the system and remove corruption in official matters by setting a personal example. People sometimes say things like, ‘in your office, everyone is honest—they dare not ask for bribes because they are scared of you’. When someone is posted to my command, he gets congratulations from others—or so the concerned officer says.

Vipassana has taught me to treat everyone with love and compassion, even those known to be corrupt. I tell them, quite blatantly, that I know they are unable to resist temptation and have a reputation for being corrupt, but I expect them to change and be honest henceforth. I also tell them that I trust them but if they betray my trust, I will not hesitate to make mention of their lack of integrity in their A.C.R.

Whenever there is an occasion for speaking to them from a platform, I make it clear that values are more important than material gain. I tell them stories; I quote great men who have lived noble lives. I treat my subordinates with affection and, at the same time, am firm when the occasion demands. They, in turn, share their problems, both official and personal, with me, and I help them whenever they are in trouble.

STUDY IV

Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials:

The randomly selected 1232 subjects of this study are government officials, employees of public sector undertakings and government institutes of higher & technical education. These subjects are other than those covered in Study I, II and III. These subjects (called old students of Vipassana) have earlier attended one or more Vipassana courses and furnish information, in their introduction forms, voluntarily after coming to the Vipassana center for their next course. Their introduction forms have been scrutinized and data analysis is carried out to find out whether they are deriving any benefits by the practice of Vipassana.

Sample size = 1232

Findings and Conclusions:

Proportion of physically/mentally ill subjects

Number of subjects reporting:

Any physical or mental illness, at present or in the past = 333 (27.03%).

This indicates that 899 (72.94%) subjects attending the course were not suffering from any physical or mental illness, at present or in the past. This reveals that majority of the subjects attending Vipassana course are physically and mentally healthy.

Impact of Vipassana on physical/mental health and interpersonal relationship

Table 18: Meditators reporting improvement

N=1232        

Number and percentage of subjects reporting changes in …

Physical illness / Mental temperament

Dealing with People and Solving the problems

Improvement

No Improvement

NA

Improvement

No 

Improvement

NA

965 (78.33%)

78     (6.33%)

189 (15.34%)

944  (76.62%)

12         (0.97%)

276      (22.4%)

 

Results of the above table demonstrate that majority of the subjects have been benefited in physical illness/mental temperament and in maintaining harmonious relations with others.

Impact of Vipassana with reference to Regularity of Meditation

Table 19: Regular practice and Potential benefits of Vipassana

N=1232

Group

Total Number and % of Subjects

Number and Percentage of Subjects reporting changes in…

Physical illness / Mental temperament

Dealing with other People and Solving the problems

Improvement

No Improvement

NA

Improvement

No Improvement

NA

Practicing

1007 (81.73%)

823 (81.72%)

58   (5.75%)

125 (12.41%)

808 (80.23%)

6    (0.59%)

191 (18.96%)

Not Practicing

 225 (18.26%)

142 (63.12%)

 20  (8.88%)

63 (28%)

136 (60.44%)

8     (3.55%)

84 (37.33%)

The above table indicates that percentage of subjects reporting improvements is higher in case of those who have been practicing the meditation.

In addition, the following conclusion are drawn on the basis of information furnished by these subjects in various columns:

Majority report many gains in various aspects of their life.

Many report that Vipassana benefited them in:

Increase in qualities like – self-discipline, self-control, honesty, mutual trust, cooperation and understanding among colleagues, punctuality, brotherhood, forgiveness, self-realization, positive thinking, etc.

Reducing – stress and strain, irritation, anxiety, tension, anger, restlessness, laziness, jealousy, ego, rudeness, depression, frustration, fear, greed, arrogance, impatience, aversion, craving, hatred, animosity, mental fatigue, ferocity, agitation, insecurity, nervousness, inferiority complex, shyness, confused state of mind, etc.

Many report that because of Vipassana, their concentration, enthusiasm, efficiency and productivity increased.

Many report that Vipassana gave them the inner-strength to face the crises and hardships in their lives.

Many report that because of Vipassana they are leading a happy and peaceful life.

Conclusions

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

-Quoted by Stephen Covey

Vipassana meditation is currently encouraged by some State governments and Public Sector Undertakings with positive results. Prison systems in India and abroad are offering Vipassana courses to their inmates and report a significant increase in hope, well-being, self control and compassion as well as a significant decrease of neurosis, hostility and feelings of helplessness in those practising Vipassana. Even healing professionals such as Allopaths, Psychiatrists Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Vaidyas, Yoga Therapists, and Counselors are encouraging Vipassana as it is free from dogma, experientially-based, result-oriented, and focused on the relief of human suffering.

The main objective of this multi-method study was to investigate the impact of Vipassana on the personal and professional lives of government officials, The secondary objective was to obtain the opinion of government officials about introduction of Vipassana in government administration.

The main focus of the study was on Central and State Government officials. However, executives, managers, etc. in Public Sector Undertakings and professors, lecturers, etc. in Government Institutes of Higher & Technical Education were also included to make the study more comprehensive.

A large number of personnel, including high-ranking officials, from these sectors have been attending Vipassana courses. Morever, some state governments, public sector undertakings and local bodies are encouraging their officials and other staff to attend Vipassana courses, by granting leave, etc. Therefore, a wide coverage was undertaken throughout the country to assess the effectiveness of Vipassana. An attempt was made to investigate the changes that the subjects felt within themselves and the benefits of Vipassana that they gained in their personal and professional lives.

Four studies were conducted in 2001 and 2002 on randomly selected officers of the above-mentioned categories from a wide spectrum of ages, educational backgrounds, length of service and nature of duties. Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered and analysed.

Study I: Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group

This study was conducted using the ‘Control Group’ experimental design. The randomly selected subjects were assessed using scientifically valid psychological instruments. The independent variable was Vipassana meditation. The dependent variables were Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress.

The objectives of this Study were: 1) to compare the Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress levels of officials who had prior exposure to Vipassana verses those who had not attended a course; and 2) to investigate the changes felt by the subjects due to Vipassana and the benefits derived by Vipassana meditation (through the Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index).

Sample consisted of 607 personnel. The collected data was statistically analysed.

1. Assessment with Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index

Majority (98.7%) of the subjects reported significant benefits from Vipassana in various aspects of their personal and professional lives.

97% subjects reported that Vipassana is a scientific technique.

97% subjects reported that Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

About 95% subjects reported that Vipassana has a direct role to play in improving public administration, it should be used as an instrument for Human Resource Development, and it would be in the interest of government and other organizations if their employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

2. Subjective Well Being of the Experimental (Vipassana) Group was found to be significantly higher than that of the Control (Non-Vipassana) Group, showing them to be calmer, more balanced, positive and more responsible thinkers than their peers.

The One-Way Anova test showed increased benefits with regularity of practice. The Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient demonstrated that the increase of benefits is proportionate to the years of practicing the technique.

3. Occupational Stress levels of the Vipassana Group measured considerably lower than the Non-Vipassana Group, exhibiting decreased levels of stress, strain, anxiety, anger, intolerance irritation, etc.

The Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient indicated that the Occupational Stress of the meditators reduced significantly with increase in number of years of meditation.

Study II: Pre-Course and Post-Course Feedback

This study was carried out using a ‘Before-and-After’ experimental design. The subjects were assessed using scientifically valid psychological instruments. The independent variable was Vipassana meditation. The dependent variables were Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress. The objective of this study was to investigate whether there is any positive change in the subjects as a result of practicing Vipassana.

Two studies were undertaken here, one measuring the benefits of regular meditation one month after taking the initial Vipassana course (147 randomly-selected subjects), and the other measuring the benefits after six (five/four/three/ in some cases) months (119 randomly-selected subjects).

1. Assessment with Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index

Majority of the subjects (average 98%) reported benefits in their personal and professional lives by practicing Vipassana. There was a positive change in their mental attitude and effectiveness.

97% of the subjects of both post-course studies (one month and six months) reported that Vipassana is a scientific technique.

95% subjects of post-course (one month) and 97% subjects of post-course (six months) reported that Vipassana has the capacity to reform human mind and character.

An average of 92% of the subjects in case of post-course (one month) and 95% of post-course (six months) reported that Vipassana has a direct role to play in improving public administration, it should be used as an instrument for Human Resource Development, and it would be in the interest of the government and other organizations if their employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

99% of the subjects wanted their spouses to take a Vipassana course.

2. Subjective Well Being increased significantly both one month and six months after taking the course.

3. Occupational Stress decreased significantly both one month and six months after taking the course.

4. Impact of Vipassana Meditation Index results of Studies I, IIA and IIB were nearly identical. The following combined (averaged) results show the impact of Vipassana meditation in different aspects of their personal and professional lives:

      Potential of Vipassana based on their experience (98.8%)

      Improvement of self-awareness (98.4%)

      Application of Vipassana in government to improve the system (98.4%)

      Improved mental health by reducing anger, stress, tension, anxiety, intolerance and  irritation (98.1%)

      Improved family life and interpersonal relations (96.1%)

      Benefits in maintaining mental equilibrium and optimism even in adverse situations (97.9%)

      Improved efficiency and productivity (93.6%).

Study III: Anecdotal Evidences

Randomly selected subjects were requested to send a narrative of their experiences on the impact of Vipassana on their professional work and personal life. They were also requested to suggest various steps that could be taken to implement Vipassana in various government organizations.

This study was based on the personal, experiential testimonies of 212 randomly selected subjects. They were free to share any information in their own words that they deemed to be worthy and significant. However, they were given the following topics as suggestions:

      Effectiveness of Vipassana in improving the system

      Reducing corrupt practices

      Increasing efficiency and productivity

      Creating a healthy work environment

      Imbibing moral values

      Reducing stress and strain

      Increasing mutual cooperation and harmony among colleagues

      Bettering relations with seniors and subordinates

      Reducing physical/mental health problems.

The results were positive and substantial for significant improvement and applicability in all areas. Many subjects remarked that a particular benefit in any one area is bound to create a significant, positive impact on other areas, as well.

Many elaborated on significant events in their life and how they were now able to handle them calmly, with confidence and a balanced mind.

A brief list of benefits realised by the respondents is as follows: increased concentration, better decision-making abilities, fewer mistakes at work, boredom eliminated, greater efficiency, more energy, better time management, more patient, harsh language eliminated, more compassion, better communication skills, diminished ego, more tolerance, less critical, more focused, reduced stress and strain, reduced mental agitation, improved physical health, less worry, less prejudice, more respectful of others, less anger, greater insight for problem-solving, improved memory and less nervousness.

Study IV: Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials

The randomly selected 1232 subjects of this study had attended at least one Vipassana course. They had furnished information in the course registration forms of their subsequent Vipassana course.

78.3% reported improvements in physical health and/or mental temperament; 76.6% reported improvement in maintaining harmonious relations with others.

Many reported the following benefits:

Reduction of stress and strain, irritation, restlessness, laziness, anxiety, tension, anger, jealousy, ego, rudeness, depression, frustration, fear, greed, arrogance, impatience, aversion, craving, hatred, animosity, mental fatigue, ferocity, agitation, insecurity, nervousness, inferiority complex, shyness and confused state of mind.

Increase in positive qualities such as self-discipline, self-control, positive thinking, mutual trust, cooperation and understanding among colleagues, punctuality, brotherhood, forgiveness, self-realization, and honesty. Increase in concentration, enthusiasm, efficiency and productivity

The development of mental strength to face the crises and hardships of life.

Many reported that they are now leading happy and peaceful lives because of Vipassana.

All the studies demonstrated higher percentages of improvement in the cases of those who regularly practiced Vipassana. The longer the practice, the more were the benefits.

 On scrutiny and comparision of the results of each study, several conclusions became evident:

Vipassana helps meditators to abstain from unwholesome actions and inspires them to perform wholesome actions;

Vipassana helps meditators lead happier, more peaceful and harmonious lives; and

Vipassana helps one develop a positive attitude towards life.

A majority of the subjects in Studies I, and II remarked that Vipassana is a scientific technique and has the capability of reforming the human mind and character.

An average of 94% of all Study I and II subjects felt that Vipassana has a direct role to play in improving public administration and should be used as a Human Resource Development tool. They further stated that it would be in the best interest of government organizations if the employees take Vipassana courses at regular intervals.

The respondents in Study III further emphasised these points, while many provided concrete suggestions for incorporation and implementation. A majority of them recommended that Special Leave be granted for employees to attend Vipassana courses on a regular basis. Many remarked that the effort to introduce and encourage Vipassana among its employees would provide significant, positive results in the overall effectiveness of government systems. The benefits would flow from the individual to their families, to the workplace, society and the government—to the nation as a whole.

The following is a summarised table of the results of the four studies:

SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS 

Study No.

Experimental Design and Sample Size

Reference

Variable

Conclusion

Remark

I

Assessment of Vipassana on the basis of IVMI score (N=607)

Table – 1

Impact of Vipassana Meditation (IVMI score)

98.7% meditators report Vipassana as Highly Beneficial or Beneficial in their personal and professional lives.

Impact is Highly Significant.

I

Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group

Table – 5

Subjective Well Being (SWB)

SWB of meditators Higher than that of non-meditators.

Statistically Significant at 0.01 level.

I

Comparison of Vipassana Group with Non-Vipassana Group

Table – 7

Occupational Stress (OS)

OS of meditators Lower 

than that of non-meditators.

Statistically Significant at 0.01.

IIA

Assessment of Vipassana on the basis of IVMI scores (N=147)

Table – 8

Impact of Vipassana Meditation (IVMI score)

99.3% meditators report Vipassana as Highly Beneficial or Beneficial in their personal and professional lives.

Impact is Highly Significant.

IIA

‘Before and After’

[Pre and Post-course (1-month)]

Table – 11

Subjective Well Being (SWB)

SWB Increased after one month of the course.

Statistically Significant at 0.01 level.

IIA

‘Before and After’

[Pre and Post-course (1-month)]

Table – 12

Occupational Stress (OS)

OS Reduced after one month of the course.

Statistically Significant at 0.05 level.

IIB

Assessment of Vipassana on the basis of IVMI score (N=119)

Table – 13

Impact of Vipassana Meditation (IVMI scores)

98.3% meditators report Vipassana as Highly Beneficial or Beneficial in their personal and professional lives.

Impact is Highly Significant.

IIB

‘Before and After’

[Pre and Post-course (6-months)]

Table – 16

Subjective Well Being (SWB)

SWB Increased after six months of the course.

Statistically Significant at 0.01 level.

IIB

‘Before and After’

[Pre and Post-course (6-months)]

Table – 17

Occupational Stress (OS)

OS Reduced after six months of the course.

Statistically Significant at 0.05 level.

III

Anecdotal Reports / Personal Experience Notes (N=212)

Anecdotal Summaries

 

Majority of the meditators report that Vipassana is benefiting them in various aspects of their personal and professional life.

.

IV

Analysis of Vipassana course forms of Government officials:

N= 1232

Table - 18

 

78.33% meditators report improvements in physical / mental health. 

76.62% report improvements in dealing with other people and solving problems

 

Limitations of the Study

A scientest never tries to prove anything. He attempts only to find the facts.

Stefansson

Ideally, the researcher should have full control over the physical and social environment of the participants, with no one interfering or doing anything to modify the impact of corrective efforts. However, this was not possible as the subjects were in their respective positions, discharging their official duties.

This being a time-bound project, long-term follow up at regular intervals could not be carried out in the case of Study II. This would have thrown more light on the relation between potential benefits of Vipassana with sustained and intensive meditation practice for a longer duration.

 Since there were no standard psychological scales to measure in-depth the direct changes due to Vipassana in the negative and positive qualities of mind, psychological instruments were used to indirectly measure the impact of Vipassana on the Subjective Well Being and Occupational Stress.

Ideally, changes in each individual should have been observed objectively at regular intervals for a longer period of time.

Suggestions for future Research

It is a common belief that a man whose power of concentration is good and who can secure a perfect balance of mind at will can achieve better results than a person who is not so developed. There, are therefore, definitely many advantages that accrue to a person who undergoes a successful course of training in meditation, be he a religious man, an administrator, a politician, a businessman or a student.

Sayagyi U Ba Khin, Former Accountant-General of Burma and Vipassana Teacher.

 Greater control over the physical and social environment must be attempted so as to ensure the continuity of practice.

Future studies should include:

1. Observation of compliance/non-compliance with the course instructions

2. Observations about meditating in the proper way.

Long-term follow-up studies at regular intervals should also be undertaken.

Standard psychological instruments should be developed to measure in-depth the direct changes in negative and positive qualities of mind. It is a challenge before the scientific world to confront all areas of the human mind including interactions of mind and matter and develop better tools/medical tests to assess the direct impact of Vipassana with greater reliability.

Officials attending courses at regular intervals and practicing Vipassana regularly should be studied separately at regular intervals to assess the specific effects of sustained and intensive meditation practice.

Many respondents of this study reported that there is no suitable environment at their residences to practice meditation regularly. Therefore, a congenial atmosphere should be provided in the government premises for Vipassana students. This can be achieved by reserving one room for meditation to enable the students to meditate before and after their duty hours.

The impact of Vipassana differs from person to person. Therefore, individuals should be studied. Changes in each individual should be observed thoroughly and critically analyzed at regular intervals for a long period of time. The individual should be encouraged to observe the changes in himself or herself objectively and to keep a record. A long-term, more intensive quantitative and qualitative study should be carried out by a team of investigators using ground theory approach and pattern of field research.

Long-term prospective studies are required for measuring the direct psychological benefits of Vipassana in homogenous groups in the general population, and in specific groups having special psychological problems.

References &10. Appendices