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EFFECT OF SARAL MEDITATION —
Comparative Study of Short and Long Term Practice

AH Shah, SV Joshi, Naina Potdar, HL Dhar,


Long term (1 1/2 years) practice of Saral meditation for 20 minutes a day without mantra has been shown to significantly improve intelligence, performance and reduce tension. However, Saral Meditation reduces the reaction time at 2 months without significant change in other parameters.
Consciousness of breathing when mind is free might contribute to early mental alertness.
 
INTRODUCTION
Saral meditation is the fi rst known meditation without mantra1 with universal a c c e p t a n c e . 2 It has been demonstrated that practice of Saral meditation for nearly 1 1/2 years significantly improves intelligence and academic performance as well as reduces tension and improves confidence.2-4 There were also considerable changes in psychomotor ability and cardiopulmonary functions.3 practice.
Purpose of present study was to compare short term effect of Saral meditation with long term practice.

METHODS
All the 2nd year students (42) of Nursing College of Bombay Hospital were included in this study with prior consent during Sept. 2001. Following parameters were studied among the students aged 17-19 years - reaction time, mental status
questionnaire and cardiopulmonary functions along with assessment of examination results so far. This was followed by 3 days of training of saral meditation, recording step by step progress. Details procedure had been reported earlier.3 In short, students were asked to sit in a comfortable position in a chair with doors closed in a quiet room. They were instructed to close eyes with back straight and asked to offer prayer with total submission to the God almighty, according to their own belief and express their own desire to be achieved for a minute. Then they were instructed to observe their
breathing and remain conscious of it to reach a stage where the individual is unaware of breathing but conscious within, a stage of complete silence and absolute tranquility. This stage will come after years of practice of saral meditation. This is a state of self awareness, once this state is reached mind is elevated from gross level to finer aspect. Since body is veda5,6 when mind is elevated body will take it up and both body and mind will be regulated by Law of nature whereby all regular and normal impulses will be received by body and mind and abnormal or harmful impulses will be eliminated.
Every individual so awakened acts by Law of Nature to achieve perfection in all aspects of life including decision making. Consciousness of breath is a constant process to be practised even at other time when mind is free.

RESULTS
Results show that there is significant increase in intelligence, based on general knowledge and academic performance after 18 months of practice of saral meditation. However, short term practice for 2 months does not produce any significant change in these parameters (Table 1 and Figs. 1 and 2). Cardiopulmonary functions did not alter significantly either with short or long term practice of meditation (Table 2). Pulmonary function (PEFR) also did not show any significant difference. No such study has been reported elsewhere. We had also reported effect of Saral meditation on reaction time.2 Present results show that there is significant improvement even after short term practice of Saral meditation (Table 3).
 

Fig. 1 : Development of intelligence (GK).
 

Fig. 2 : Academic performance.
 
 DISCUSSION
Present results show that short term meditation for 2 months does not produce any appreciable change either in terms of increased intelligence as well as academic performance compared to 18 months of practice. We had earlier studied long term practice of Saral meditation for 18 months showing significant improvement in above parameters. Cardiopulmonary functions were also studied without any significant change.



Transcendental meditation (TM) had been shown to improve intelligence, performance and tension after 11 months of regular practice of meditation. Blood pressure and pulse rate had also been shown to be significantly reduced. However, in our study, we could not find any significant change either in BP or heart rate. OM meditation also has been shown to reduce pulse rate but not BP.7,8 It seems that BP and pulse rate were reduced when they were elevated. In the present study, subjects were normal and healthy young girl with absolutely normal BP and pulse rate which were not expected to be reduced markedly although marginal change was observed. Effect of meditation on pulmonary function (PEFR) has been studied for the first time by us and no data is available for comparison. However, there has not been any significant improvement after short and long term practice of Saral meditation. It may be explained on the same basis as in BP
and pulse rate. In young subjects, without suffering from any ailments, PEFR was not expected to rise significantly although there has been marginal improvement. From the trends it appears that if BP and pulse rate are raised and PEFR is reduced due to any reasons, Saral meditation will bring these parameters towards normal. Plan has been made to study these aspects in patients suffering either from hypertension and/or tachycardia and pulmonary disorders. Reaction time however, has been significantly reduced in our study even after 2 months of practice of meditation. Insignificant change after 18 month’s meditation in earlier study was due to less number of subjects (N=10) against (N=42) in 2 months study. Mental alertness based on simple reaction time has been reported with TM.8 Indirect evidence of mental alertness in terms of wakefulness has also been shown both by TM and OM meditation based on alpha wave changes in EEG.5,9 Mental alertness might be a contributory factor for increased intelligence and performance. Unlike other meditations Saral meditation is practiced once a day for 20 minutes, however, one has to be conscious about breathing whenever mind is free.
 
 REFERENCES
1. Dhar HL. Saral meditation. BHJ 2000; 42 : 605-7.

2. Dhar HL. Saral meditation - a unique technique for health, intelligence, performance and confidence. BHJ 2001; 43 (3) : 357-60.

3. Shah AH, Joshi SV, Mehrotra PP, Naina Potdar, Dhar HL. Effect of Saral Meditation on intelligence, performance
and cardiopulmonary function. Ind J Med Sc 2001; 55 (11) : 604-8.

4. Dhar HL. Meditation, health, intelligence and performance. APICON 2002; 202 : 1376-9.

5. Tony Nadar. Human physiology, expression of veda and vedic literature. Maharishi vedic University press, Vlodrop,
Holland, 1993.

6. Dhar HL. Veda in relation to human physiology and health. BHJ 1996; 38 (2) : 354-7.

7. Shirley Telles, Nagarathna R, Nagindra HR. Autonomic changes during ‘OM’ meditation. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol
1995; 39 (4) : 418-40.

8. Appelle S, Oswald LE. Simple reaction time as a function of alertness and prior mental activity. Perceptual and Motor
Skills 1974; 38 : 1263-8.

9. Shirley Telles, Nagarathna R, Nagindra HR. Autonomic changes while mentally repeating two syllables - One Neurology, 2003; 2 : 375-78.

 
 
CONSENT TO THROMBOLYSIS IN ACUTE ISCHAEMIC STROKE

The process of obtaining consent informs patients about the treatments and their risks and respects the patient’s autonomy’

The use of intravenous alteplase to treat acute ischaemic stroke has recently been approved in the EU and is already approved for use in the USA. The patient’s consent to the treatment is needed before it can be used. There are, however, only poor guidelines on how consent to this treatment should be obtained. In a Personal view in the June issue of The Lancet Neurology, Alfonso Ciccone tackles several important issues, such as the difficulties of informing patients about a medical therapy and obtaining their consent in emergency treatment, substitutive and waiver of consent in life-threatening situations,and advance directives.

Lancet Neurology, 2003; 2 : 375-78.

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