Scientific contributors: speakers and workshop leaders


Dr. Pushpa Mittra Bhargava

BhargavaFormer Vice-Chairman, National Knowledge Commission.
Former and Founder Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, India

Scientist, writer, thinker, institution builder, administrator. Former and Founder Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. Widely regarded as the architect of modern biology and biotechnology in India.
Educated at Varanasi and Lucknow. Obtained his PhD at the age of 21. Worked in the U.S.A., U.K., France and Germany.
Travelled in over 60 countries. Delivered over 250 invited lectures in some 125 institutions outside India. In addition, participated (as an invitee) in over 100 international meetings, and delivered over 2000 invited lectures in India.
Over 125 major scientific publications, and over 400 other articles and write-ups in a variety of subjects, in some of the best-known publications around the world. Five books including a 500-page monograph on "Proteins of Seminal Plasma" published by John Wiley, New York; a national integrated science text book for 11-12 years-old; The Saga of Indian Science since Independence: In a Nutshell (Universities Press, 2003); and the highly acclaimed book, Angels, Devils and Science (National Book Trust, 2007). One of the most highly cited Indian scientists.

Over 100 major national and international honours and awards including:
Legion d'Honneur from the President of France (France's highest honour)
Padma Bhushan from the President of India
Fellowship of World Academy of Art and Science
Fellowship of National Academy of Medical Sciences, India
Fellowship of all the three Indian Science Academies, but from which he resigned on matters of principle
Hon. D.Sc (University of Burdwan)
National Citizens Award (India)
Visiting Professorship, College de France
Life Fellowship, Clare Hall, Cambridge
Wattumal Memorial Prize for Biochemistry
FICCI Award for Medical Sciences
Ranbaxy Award for Medical Sciences
SICO Award for Biotechnology
Goyal Prize
R.D. Birla Award for Medical Sciences
BioSpectrum's Life-time Achievement Award for Biotechnology

Prof. Mani Bhaumik

BhaumikOne of the pioneers of the laser technology that made the corrective eye surgery LASIK possible, Mani Bhaumik was born in an Indian village, where he walked four miles barefoot to the nearest school, and endured famine, flood, and armed threat. Education provided him a way out of poverty.
He and his family had the opportunity to live and work with M K Gandhi in his camp, and to absorb lessons about "faith in action".
He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Scottish Church College and an M. Sc. from the University of Calcutta.
He won the attention of Satyendra Nath Bose at IIT (co-creator of the Bose-Einstein Statistics) who encouraged his further studies. Bhaumik earned a Ph.D in Physics from the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) at Kharagpur. His thesis was on Resonant Electronic Energy Transfers, a subject he would have cause to use in his work with lasers.
In his book "Code Name God" Mani Bhaumik considers the balance between science and spirituality, and the loss of man's faith in God, and indicates a way to touch again upon the "source". For him, "science and spiritual experience" are two sides of the same coin, the coin being our consciousness-the window that allows us to perceive all reality.
Last year, the secretariat of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 selected his new book, The Cosmic Detective, a cosmology book written for the general public, as the book of the year.


Merely a century ago, we were not sure if the universes contained anything more than our Milky Way galaxy. That situation has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. With many eyes in the sky for the last two decades, we can study the cosmos as never before, using the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Such an abundance of knowledge has been gleaned that we can truly say we live in the golden age of cosmology. We now have an accurate knowledge of how this vast and busy universe developed since its beginning 13.7 billion years ago from a tiny nugget of space. The confidence in our model is so high that Nobel Prizes are now being awarded for cosmology.
The discovery of the minute changes in the microwave background radiation detected by COBE and WMAP satellites has given us a treasure trove of information about our universe. One of the most significant realizations to result from this discovery is that the primary feature of the structure of the universe we observe today, from the Milky Way to the largest super cluster of galaxies, originates from "quantum seeds." This revelation provides the most direct and compelling evidence that quantum physics and cosmology is inextricably intertwined in the making of our universe. We will be further astonished to infer that this intricate relationship is indispensable for maintaining the very viability and operation of the universe and also that everything in this universe most likely comes from a single source.
When we study the universe, we also study ourselves. Because, the universe is not out there somewhere. It's all around us and we are an essential part of it. For the first time in human history, these studies provide scientific answers to some age-old spiritual questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is behind our existence? The answers are by no means comprehensive, but they are enough to significantly improve the quality of our lives through spirituality anchored in science.

Prof. Michel Bitbol

Bitbol Michel Bitbol is presently "Directeur de recherche" at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in Paris (France), based at the CREA (Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée), Paris, of which he is assistant director. He also teaches the Philosophy of modern physics and Epistemology to graduate students at the University Panthéon-Sorbonne. He was educated at several universities in Paris, where he received successively his M.D. in 1980, his Ph.D. in physics in 1985, and his "Habilitation" in philosophy in 1997. He worked as a research scientist in biophysics from 1978 to 1990. From 1990 onwards, he turned to the philosophy of physics. He edited texts by Erwin Schroedinger, and published a book entitled "Schroedinger's philosophy of quantum mechanics", Kluwer, 1996. He also published two books in French on quantum mechanics and on realism in science, in 1996 and 1998.
More recently, he focused on the relations between the philosophy of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind, working in close collaboration with F. Varela. He published a book in French in 2000 and some subsequent papers on that topic. He is recipient of an award from the "Académie des sciences morales et politiques" (in 1997) for his work in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

Lecture: Schrödinger and the Upanishads

Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) was one of the major founders of quantum mechanics. He was also a brilliant amateur philosopher in the wake of Schopenhauer's neo-kantianism. His philosophy, as expounded in My View of the World and Mind and Matter, was deeply influenced by his extensive readings of various sources of Indian thought and scriptures, with a curious mixture of Advaita Vedânta and Buddhism. The main thrust of his arguments developed as a criticism of two aspects of the Mâyâ veil. He first tried to show how it is possible that most of us are immersed in the illusion of being only one particular mind among many, in spite of the experienced unity of the Mind. He then denounced the belief in a multiplicity of bodies independent of the universal Mind as another piece of illusion, yet the very illusion on which science is based: “…a very interesting Mâyâ with regularities and laws”. But a question arises at this point: did his Indian-like philosophy influenced his theorizing in physics? I’ll show that there was indeed such an influence, but only in his style and vision, not in the theoretical contents.

Dr. Come Carpentier De Gourdon

CarpentierCOME CARPENTIER DE GOURDON is currently the Convener of the Editorial Board of the WORLD AFFAIRS JOURNAL, a quarterly publication dedicated to international issues, sponsored by the Kapur Surya Foundation (a co-sponsor of the "World Public Forum for Dialogue of Civilizations") New Delhi, India.
In previous years he has been associated with various businesses and non-profit organizations. They include the Nuclear Disarmament Forum and the Foundation for Global Dialog, Zug, Switzerland, the Tissot Economic Foundation of Neuchatel, the Global Commission to Finance the United Nations (from 1994 to date), the FEGAWERK Group of Companies, the Business Council for Sustainable Development , the Conference of World Affairs of the University of Colorado in Boulder, and the Swiss Academy of Technical and Engineering Sciences (SATW)(1992-1993) among others. In 1999 he co-founded with some friends in Switzerland the Telesis Academy, dedicated to the study of the ancient wisdom of East and West in the contemporary scientific context.


LECTURE: Local and global in India and elsewhere

As one of the world's longest continuous continentally-sized civilizations, India developed a vast range of experiences and models for political, social and economic governance and organization throughout the millennia.
Given this immensely rich, incompletely known and little explored intellectual and spiritual capital, the country stands at the crossroads of the current worldwide search for solutions to the many global problems and crises which are confronting modern civilization and putting our very survival in jeopardy.
I have talked and written before on the need for "archaeo-futurism": the seamless interweaving of the (very) Old and the New in order to build the best possible future for the planet and its denizens by interpreting many of the current data provided by science in the light of the wisdom and insights accumulated since Vedic times, in India and in many other societies on all continents. A diverse and plural synthesis can thus be arrived at, mid-way between extreme modernism and the unrealistic, nostalgic temptation to return to our past in order to avoid the unpleasant and often frightening prospects we are facing nowadays.
Some of the highlights of the evolution that must take place and is emerging in this direction can be described under the headings of a-Decentralization of governance, technology, economic activity and education, b-Revival of traditional, local ways, means and institutions, integrating the facilities and abilities provided by modern technologies and c-Coordination of all endeavors to heal the planet, establish peace and harmony and spread prosperity and security.
Initiatives and visions adopted and promoted in many countries, from Japan to Bolivia, from Finland to Guatemala and from Kazakhstan to Bhutan can be assessed and used to craft the best possible strategies to address mankind's multifarious crisis.

Dr. Amit Goswami

GoswamiAmit Goswami, Ph. D. is a professor of physics (retired) at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR where he has served since 1968. He is a pioneer of the new paradigm of science called science within consciousness an idea he explicated in his seminal book, The Self-Aware Universe where he also solved the quantum measurement problem elucidating the famous observer effect. Goswami has written six other popular books based on his research on quantum physics and consciousness. In The Visionary Window, Goswami demonstrated how science and spirituality could be integrated. In Physics of the Soul he developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. His book Quantum Creativity is a tour de force instruction about how to engage in both outer and inner creativity. Goswami's book, The Quantum Doctor integrates conventional and alternative medicine. His latest book, Creative Evolution is a resolution between Darwinism and intelligent design of life. Finally, in his book God is not Dead, Goswami demonstrates science's re-discovery of God.
Goswami's books have been translated in nine languages.
In his private life, Goswami is a practitioner of spirituality and transformation. He calls himself a quantum activist. He was featured in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know?" and its sequel "Down the rabbit hole" and in the documentary "Dalai Lama Renaissance" and the upcoming "The Quantum Activist."


Lecture: Consciousness, Quantum Physics and the Motivation for Change

There is a paradigm shift in science going on from the primacy of matter to the primacy of consciousness, which is inviting us towards planetary transformation.
At the same time, we are encountering huge societal & environmental problems such as economic meltdown, terrorism, the health care crisis and global warming which can all be traced to the current material based paradigm.
In this lecture, quantum physicist Amit Goswami will talk about the paradigm shift as the solution to the current crisis. He will show how a paradox-free interpretation of quantum physics leads to the replacement of the conventional matter-based metaphysics by one based on the primacy of consciousness.
He will then show how the new science charts out the path of transformation for us, in particular where our motivation for transformation comes from.

Dr. Bernard Lietaer

Lietaer1987- end April 1991: Co-founder, Director, General Manager and Currency Trader for Gaia Corp, a currency management firm. In this context he had full responsibility for the overall management of four funds including Gaia Hedge II, which was during that time period the world’s top performing managed currency fund as well as the top performing off-shore fund (Micropal survey of 1800 off-shore funds).
1978-1983: Head of Organization and Electronic Data Processing Department of the National Bank of Belgium (the Belgian Central Bank); responsible for the design and implementation of the ECU, the convergence mechanism to the Euro, the single European currency; President of the national Electronic Payment System, the world’s most comprehensive and cost effective of such systems according to the BIS (Bank of International Settlements). He has had more than 12 years experience in international management consulting and as advisor to several Latin American governments and European Institutions, as well as major multinational corporations in oil, chemicals, banking, mining, and manufacturing in four continents. For the first three of these years he was Senior Consultant with Cresap, Mc Cormick and Paget Inc., the New York based management consulting firm.
Chairman of the ACCESS Foundation, an educational non-profit organization relating to monetary innovations aiming at re-aligning sustainability and global financial interests. (
Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Resources of the University of California at Berkeley. ( ); Member of the Club of Rome; Fellow at the World Academy of Arts and Sciences; of the World Business Academy; and of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; Founding Member of the Global Futures Forum (


Dr. Shakti Maira

MairaArtist and author, New Delhi, India

Shakti Maira is an internationally renowned writer, artist, sculptor and thinker. His book, Towards Ananda - Rethinking Indian Art and Aesthetics, was published by Penguin Viking in January 2006. Unlike most books on Indian art and aesthetics which emphasize the "glorious past" of the classical traditions, Towards Ananda is centered on the present and the future - on contemporary art and its place in the emerging global art world.
In 2005, Shakti helped organize the "Learning through the arts" in the Asia symposium in New Delhi, and was subsequently invited by UNESCO to prepare the Asian vision statement for "Arts in Education: Learning Through the Arts". In 2006 he was appointed as a consultant by The India Foundation of the Arts (IFA).
In his career as an artist and sculptor, Shakti has had many shows in India, the US and in Europe. Trained as an economist and business manager, Shakti has balanced his career as a professional artist and author with assignments with multinational banks and corporations in the US and in India.
In the last few years, since his return to India after living in the US for more than two decades, Shakti has created and exhibited two series of paintings – the Beej series (2003) and the Pilgrims’ Path series (2001). While the former explores the magic of potentiality inherent in each one of us and celebrates the energy of growth and regeneration, the latter is a meditation on the very nature of the spiritual path. Shakti recently completed a set of twelve bronze sculptures that are his first castings in India, and are part of a new sculptural series, The Seekers (2006-7). Through them, Shakti has attempted to express "the inner experiential textures of the spiritual journey", and each figure represents a moment of introspection and insight on the path.


LECTURE: Beauty: a fundamental organizing system in the 'relational' world

Beauty has become trivialized and de-legitimized in the last couple of hundred years. The word itself has lost much of its meaning having become a general and amorphous adjective.
'Is beauty skin deep?' is a question that has been asked, and the answer collectively given is 'yes' because we locate beauty on the surface of things, on visible forms, and even literally on the skin.
Two other widespread confusions about beauty are: 1) the subjectivity associated with it - captured by the popular adage, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', and 2) fixed definitions of beauty - which qualify some things and some people as beautiful and others as not, with all the attendant problems of who decides what is beautiful, and the cultural and gender issues that are wound up with the idea that beauty is fixed and definable. It isn't. Moreover, these are related misunderstandings.
In the knowledge systems of India some these problems are obviated by an important concept about beauty: it is an experience and not the property of any object or thing. Objects, or other stimuli, cause the beauty experience, which like all experiences, is temporal and relational.
If beauty was understood as a cluster of organizing values for all relational systems, whether in nature or man-made, we would not have many of the systemic problems we face today such as the environmental crisis, economic systems that lead to increased disparities of income, wasteful consumption, and the depletion of resources.
Beauty may well be a vital master key in the new thinking about nature, environment, technology, health, sciences and economics. It offers us a much needed relational 'value' or 'quality' framework.

Prof. Sangeetha Menon

MenonProfessor, National Institute of Advanced Studies Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, INDIA

Prof. Sangeetha Menon is a philosopher with a doctorate awarded for the thesis entitled "the concept of consciousness in the Bhagavad Gita" a major text of Indian philosophy. After graduating in science (zoology) she took her postgraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Kerala. She is a Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, in the campus of the Indian Institute of Science. Dr Menon has been working in the area of consciousness studies for over eighteen years. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology published an article on her research work and unique contributions (2002) to bring consciousness studies into the Indian psychological context addressing scientific and spiritual questions. Her book "Dialogues: Philosopher meets the Seer" (2003, Srishti Publishers) is a set of nine dialogues with her spiritual teacher on socio-cultural issues of contemporary importance and the common concerns of science and spiritual quest. "The Beyond Experience: Consciousness in Bhagavad Gita" is Menon's latest book (2007, Blue Jay Books, New Delhi).
She has been awarded two prestigious national awards for her achievements in the field of consciousness and Indian contributions. A few years back she was awarded the coveted national award of "Young Philosopher Award" (2003) from the Indian Council of Philosophical Research for her research work. Dr Menon has visited and spoken at several Universities and academic institutions in her country and United States, Germany, Paris, Italy, Spain, England, Taiwan and Japan. More recently, she was a Visiting Professor at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), Oxford University, for the Spring (Trinity Term) of 2007, and a Visiting Fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Japan (October, 2007).


LECTURE: Self and Immortality: Nachiketa, the young student's dialogue in the Katha Upanishad

Kathopanishad is the story of the conversation between Yama, Lord of death and Nachiketa, the young 12 year boy, pre puberty age (anagata smasru), who left home in search of the meaning of death and beyond. Nachiketa was a truth seeker and couldn't tolerate his father's deceptions while performing a yajna (giving old infertile cows as gifts to brahmins) and challenged him with searching questions in the open assembly. On this the father got offended and sent him away from home. As a parting shot the father shouted, "go to hell" and Nachiketa went in search of the Lord of death and hell. He reaches the abode of death and was told that Yama was away. The young seeker waits outside without sleep or food and when Yama returned from tour was amazed to see this determined, fearless boy in contemplation. The pleased Yama offered Nachiketa three boons in lieu of the three days that he spent waiting.
First boon was encashed for the peace of his father. Nachiketas knew that his father would be upset and anxious about his whereabouts and welfare. Second boon was encashed for the community's sake. He knows from Yama the secret of fire sacrifice by which he could bring progress and prosperity to the community. The third boon was used to ask a spiritual question.
What is beyond death? Is there any soul, if so does it survive the disintegration of the body? Nachiketas pleads that this question has been plaguing humanity and that he wanted an answer. Yama, the merchant of death, was slightly startled. He didn't want to reveal the secret of death that easily. Yama tries to dissuade Nachiketa from asking such difficult questions whose answer the young boy may not grasp. But the more Yama insisted, the more Nachiketa persisted. Yama tries to scare, tempt and distract Nachiketa from pursuing that question. Finally pleased with the resolve of the boy, Yama yielded and started instructing him.
First Yama said that there are two paths that tempt humans--one that of material pleasure/preyas and the other that of spiritual bliss/shreyas. The earlier leads to death and the latter to immortality. By a process of detached thinking the clear minded choose the path of immortality and the muddle headed fall for the path of pleasure and eventual pain and death.
The great awakening call: uttishtata jagrata praapya varaan nibodhata (arise awake and stop not till the goal is reached), is found in this Upanishad. Life is like walking on a razor's edge, says Katha Upanishad. Somerset Maugham took this phrase as a title for one of his novels. Another famous imagery in the Katha, is that of the chariot, and the tree with roots upward. The imagery of the tree that has its root growing upwards, branches downward, indicates the tree of life with roots as eternal consciousness and branches as the visible sensible worlds.
Nachiketa further clarifies his query: Is there anything that is beyond good and bad, beyond past and present, beyond doing and non doing? He seeks for a ground that supports all these flow and flux - A changeless support for the changing world.
This Upanishad reveals a self that lights up the body-mind-senses complex, but untouched by their limitations. It also talks about the millions of subtle channels/naadis that branch off from the heart through which the life energy flows. It again reiterates that everything in this universe is an expression of that universal spirit, the Brahman. The main theme is the spiritual foundation of the material universe - consciousness, and unity of all life forms. Senses are higher than the objective world, feeling mind is higher than senses, discriminating intellect is higher than mind, higher than the intellect is the collective conscious, higher than the collective conscious is the collective unconscious and higher than the collective unconscious is pure consciousness. That is the final destination. Therefore resolve words in mind, resolve mind in the pure heart, resolve pure heart in the higher self.
Its philosophy and psychology aside, Katha Upanishad is an interesting text because of the language, style and humor in it as a literary piece. Nachiketa's use of sophisticated sarcasm on Yama the god of death inspires us to give otherwise metaphysical ideas, a context of lived experience and enquiry. The method of dialogue, like in many other Indian texts, brings in different points of views.

Prabha Mohanty

Fashion designer

A post graduate in History and a fashion designer having qualified from a world premier fashion institute like F.I.T New York USA, Prabha Mohanty's name evokes the spirit of a fiercely dynamic woman who has worked relentlessly and passionately to uplift the lives of artisans and weavers who have protected India’s traditional and heritage crafts since centuries. She was recognized as the pioneer designer of the country responsible for converting the humble sack cloth "JUTE" into an eco-friendly fashion fabric in the 90's that was raved about in the international fashion market. The popularity of jute as a natural fibre attracted the largest funded UNDP jute project to this country. Having been assigned many prestigious posts in the Government and international agencies to handle grassroots developmental craft and textile projects, Prabha was able to assist thousands of artisans in earning sustainable income. She authored the first complete book on Jute in the name "Jute the new look" that was raved about by domestic and international media. She has been coveted with 'best achievement' award by Ministry of Textiles and international women’s organisation for her dedicated work in the field of jute, handicrafts and handlooms across the length and breadth of the country. She was actively involved in establishing an handicraft activity centre at Bhopal, M.P where around 2000 gas tragedy victims were supported in generating income earning opportunities. In order to promote the master artisans of the country and their exotic crafts and textiles around the globe Prabha has published Craft&Life magazine the very first informative magazine on crafts and life around it.

Prof. Joseph Prabhu

PrabhuProfessor of Philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles and Visiting Professor of Religion at University of California at Berkeley. He is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions and is co-editor of Revision, a journal of consciousness and transformation. He is completing a book entitled, Gandhi and a Culture of Peace; Reflections on Contemporary Crises (2004).


CLASSROOM: Fullness of Life

This class deals with various kinds of life, neuro-biological, mental, and spiritual. Each of these is teleologically structured around certain goods, vitality, consciousness and freedom and joy. The title is taken from a saying of Christ:"I have come that you may have life and life to the full." What might this mean concretely, when mediated through the various kinds of life.

Prof. Chandra Kant Raju

RajuC. K. Raju was a faculty at both Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Pune  (1981-88). He then joined C-DAC (1988-95), and was a key contributor to the first Indian supercomputer, Param. After fellowships at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and NISTADS, he resumed university teaching as Professor and Head of Computer Science at the National University of Journalism, Bhopal (2001-06). Currently he is a Distinguished Professor.
In mathematics, he worked with infinity, using non-standard analysis to define a product of Schwartz distributions, with which he developed new junction conditions for shock waves and a new method of renormalization in quantum field theory. In Cultural Foundations of Mathematics (Pearson, 2007) he challenged the existing mathematical philosophy of formalism, arguing that mathematics incorporates no universal or certain knowledge. His alternative, realistic philosophy of mathematics called zeroism, akin to Buddhist sunyavada, accepts mathematics as fallible.
In Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer, 1994), he proposed the structured-time interpretation of quantum mechanics relating quantum logic to mixed-type functional differential equations (FDEs). He pointed out that many physicists, including Einstein, long failed to understand a key aspect of relativity (noted by Poincaré), that physics after relativity must use FDEs (of some sort). Raju's equations make physics non-mechanistic and better suited to biology.
In The Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage, 2003) he studied how science, religion, and ethics interact through time beliefs. Political attempts to manipulate human behaviour, by manipulating values, led to the transformed time beliefs in post-Nicene Christian theology, which have penetrated current physics. He also related his new picture of tilting time to a new ethical principle, now called the harmony principle.
Raju has amassed evidence to show that calculus was transmitted from India to Europe, where it sparked a debate due to epistemological differences between practical Indian and spiritual European mathematics. Newton's failure to comprehend the imported Indian calculus led to his mistake about time in physics, partly corrected by relativity. In his "5-day course on calculus", Raju demonstrated that math learning can be made very easy by eliminating the theology of infinity currently loaded on it.
In Is Science Western in Origin? (Multiversity, Penang, 2009) he argued that, even before racist and colonial historians, the Western history of science was fabricated during the religious fanaticism of the Crusades and the Inquisition.
Raju’s five books have been critically acclaimed (several reviews of his work are at . Another six books are forthcoming together with a popular-level book explaining how mathematics related to religion across two religious wars. His current research includes hybrid quantum computing.


LECTURE: Mathematics, infinity and cosmos

Orientalists saw India as spiritual. However, Indian ganita was entirely practical over a 3000 year period. In contrast, Western mathematics was spiritual. Deriving from mathesis, it involved beliefs about soul and cosmos. Socrates questioned the slave boy about geometry to demonstrate mathesis as a way to wake the soul and make it recollect its knowledge from previous lives.
Early Christianity had the same notion of soul, but the church later cursed it along with the belief in past lives, when it banned mathematics and philosophy in the 6th c. CE. Mathematics was accepted back during the Crusades, minus its spiritual ideas, and purely as a tool to teach reasoning and persuasion useful to the church. Western philosophy incorrectly supposed that metaphysical deduction is certain and universal, and superior to empirical proof, or induction. However, deductive proof varies with logic which varies with culture and physics as in Buddhist, Jain, and quantum logic. Consequently, theorem-proving mathematics is not universal, unlike practical mathematics.
Europeans tried to understand ganita as mathematics when Indian arithmetic, trigonometry, and calculus went to Europe. A key problem related to the infinities of the calculus. Newton mistakenly thought he had resolved the problem with his doctrine of fluxions, which made time metaphysical, and supposed that it flows smoothly. Newtonian physics hence failed and had to be replaced by relativity. Nevertheless, Western mathematics was globalised by colonialism, and it is today taught that the infinities of the calculus can only be handled by set theory, and by supposing that time must be like the “real line”!
Indians, who first solved differential equations in the 5th c., later summed infinite series by order counting. This rigorous process involved a novel notion of discarding “infinitesimals”. Indians treated polynomials like numbers, and ratios of polynomials like ordinary fractions. (On formal mathematics, such rational functions are like fractions, except that the “field” they make is “non-Archimedean” and admits infinitesimals and infinities.) This makes “limits” non-unique or inexact (up to infinitesimals). Acceptance of inexactitude, by discarding (or zeroing) the “negligible”, is the key to Buddhist śūnyavāda, which rejects ideal notions as erroneous simplifications, incapable of grasping an ever-changing reality, where a unique entity does not exist for two instants. Zeroism is a de-textualised version of this philosophy, which enables the calculus to be taught rigorously (and easily) without limits, today.
Curiously, this down-to-earth and practical philosophy of mathematics, coupled with the rejection of the Western metaphysical ideas of time coming down from Augustine and Newton, leads to a better physics. This new physics is non-mechanistic and admits spontaneity (as distinct from chance) as real, allowing a better physical model of biological organisms. Even more curiously, while the underlying notion of time, in this new physics, is locally similar to Buddhist paticca samuppāda, globally it allows (but does not guarantee) the physical existence of a quasi-cyclic time-reversing) cosmos of the kind assumed in the Upanishads or the mystery or the sūfī tradition.

Prof. Ariel Ruiz i Altaba

RuizAriel Ruiz i Altaba was born in Mexico City, grew up in Barcelona, has spent half of his life between New York and Boston and now resides in Geneva, Switzerland. He is an artist and scientist. As an artist, he focuses on photo-based work and issues of identity and meaning. His works are in collections in the US and Europe and has exhibited worldwide in galleries and museums, most recently in Quebec, Beijing, Delhi and Kolkata. He is the author of /Embryonic Landscapes/ (Actar, 2001) and was founding director of WetLab, a forum for the interaction of artists and scientists in New York City, USA.
As a scientist, he is professor of stem cell research at the University of Geneva School of Medicine, Switzerland. He is the founding director of the Swiss Stem Cell Network and has received numerous honors and awards. He holds a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from Harvard University.


Dr. Clifford Saron

SaronCliff Saron, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Research Scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California at Davis (, and faculty member of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999 studying interhemispheric visuomotor integration under the direction of Herbert Vaughan, Jr. Dr. Saron has had a long-standing interest in brain and behavioral effects of meditation practice and has been on the faculty at the Mind and Life Summer Institute for the past three years. In the early 1990's he was centrally involved in a field research project investigating Tibetan Buddhist mind training in collaboration with Jose Cabezón, Richard Davidson, Francisco Varela, Alan Wallace and others under the auspices of the Private Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the Mind and Life Institute. Currently, in collaboration with Buddhist scholar Alan Wallace and a consortium of scientists at UC Davis and elsewhere, he is Principal Investigator of The Shamatha Project, a unique longitudinal study of the effects of intensive meditation training based on the practice of meditative quiescence (shamatha) and cultivation of the four immeasureables (loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity) on attention-related skills and emotion regulation. The Shamatha Project is the most comprehensive and multimethod study to date regarding the potential effects of long-term intensive meditation practice on basic mental and physical processes related to cognition, emotion, and motivation. His other primary research interest focuses on investigating brain and behavioral correlates of sensory processing and multisensory integration in children on the autistic spectrum.


LECTURE: The Shamatha Project: Training attention and emotion-regulation during the course of intensive meditation.

Together with Alan Wallace and three-dozen collaborating researchers, we are investigating how attentional, emotional and physiological processes are modified over the course of three months of intensive full-time training in meditative quiescence (Shamatha) and emotional balance (loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity), in a longitudinal randomized wait-list controlled study known as “The Shamatha Project.” Scientific measures include established paradigms in cognitive and affective neuroscience, stress and affiliation-related biomarkers, EEG, autonomic physiology, facial expressions of emotion, self-report, daily journaling, and thematic analysis of structured interviews. Our initial findings, focused on trait effects, demonstrate improvements in adaptive psychological attributes, perceptual and attention-related skills, brain activation changes in related to visual perception and attention, improvements in inhibiting habitual responses, decreased mind-wandering, changes in the emotional response to the perception of human suffering, diminution of habituation to positive emotional stimuli, and changes in biomarkers associated with stress and cellular repair. These findings demonstrate wide-ranging benefits of the retreat experience. The presentation will be framed within a discussion of the complex methodological issues confronting research in contemplative practice, the need for an interdisciplinary perspective, and consideration of the essential requirement of internal consolidation of contemplative insights and experience.

Prof. Rudolf Schmitz-Perrin

PerrinRudolf Schmitz-Perrin, is a psychotherapist and former Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Strasbourg in France. He was a long-term visiting professor at universities in Spain, Rome and Jerusalem and is currently at Northern Arizona University. Since 2006, he has been instrumental in creating the University of Human Unity in Auroville, Southern India. He has published and lectured internationally in the fields of medieval philosophy, studies on mysticism, phenomenology and contemporary psychoanalysis.

CLASSROOM: The Art of Realizing a Unifying Spirituality

1. From different perspectives we are getting aware of the urgent need to give answers to the world-wide crisis that manifests as a crisis in our natural environment and that is felt to be deeply linked to a spiritual crisis of contemporary mankind as a whole. Crisis means uncertainty and also a renewed chance of birthing into conscious self-evolution. Let’s have a creative look at exploring the foundations of an evolutionary network and spiritual forum to meet the challenges of our times. There is a special time in history (kairos ) when the spark of the Spirit lifts our spirits up to a higher level of consciousness and propels us to acknowledge our thoughts and inspirations as not being mere ‘theory’ but embodied collective Intention. As cultural creatives we can now recognize the chance to convert our often felt aloneness into all-oneness, our individual and idiosyncratic inspirations can constructively converge into a common Aspiration, acknowledging the spirit of interdependence of our institutions and centres in their desire to ‘conspire’, and ‘co-enlighten’ one another in a transdisciplinary and transpersonal perspective.

2. A ‘philosophy of creative spaces’ may serve to manifest the space of the ‘inter‘ : inter-spiritual as based on intersubjective, interaffective, interdisciplinary, interreligious, intercontextual, interconnecting, interrelating, international... experiences; and the ‘cross-‘ : cross-cultural, cross-paradigmatic; and the beyond: acquiring experiential wisdom beyond knowledge, seeking spiritual insights that are universal in nature, existing in and beyond creeds and religions, exclusivist or inclusivist; and the ‘trans-‘, transdisciplinary, transformative, transpersonal..., seen as ways of integration, as transformative practices to experience and live (more) wholeness. As never before we are connecting with worlds of cultural differences, constantly crossing frontiers; and, as never before our identity is being challenged, undergoing permanent philosophical and psychological deconstruction and reconstruction work. Seeking our identity, we are becoming ‘pilgrims’ in a secular world, on a quest to find a space to define as our own. The space that manifests in the experience of the inter-, cross-, beyond and trans-, highlights that space where crises are experienced, where life-changing transformations happen and many forms of transitioning through feelings of inner fragmentation or temporary lack of existential poise ; ‘normalcy’ is not supportive anymore ; deep inner completeness and fulfilment seem to be a fake and the ‘soul’ inaccessible. However, this same space, delineating what separates and defines us on a three-dimensional level, is at the same time that space where we tap into the luminous universal wisdom, are transported into subtle states of altered consciousness, connecting with the ‘akashic field’, the ‘noosphere’, Spirit. Experiences of crisis and change turn into experiences of enlightenment and open up to the transpersonal field of archetypal resources that have a unifying momentum. A universal space of interconnectedness becomes accessible, a space to experience unity in diversity and diversity in unity, by safeguarding the space for each one’s uniqueness to blossom. Only an ethics that gives room for the unfathomable otherness of the other allows for the individual to breathe.

3. Art is expressive of freedom. More freedom from internal conditioning and outside determination, as much as possible, is as much the happy result of a grace received as an arduous endeavour of transformative practice, of contemplative concentration. The Art of Creating a Unifying Spirituality does not endorse any aesthetics of resistance to reality, of the distant uninvolved observer or of spiritual bypassing. It departs from the open sensitivity to the world in both its exciting beauty and existential dramas of inequalities calling for compassion and commitment. As knowledge discerns but also separates and isolates elements and parts, love ‘sees’ the whole, combines opposites and resourcefully invents new forms of human harmony. The Art of Creating a Unifying Spirituality is based on the experience of freedom, of the artful unfolding and playful use of personal resources indispensable to establish a unity in oneself and in the collective fabric – l’unité fait la force. The part of genius in each of us, the God within, provides and provokes the specific contribution needed for this planet to heal. The mystics of all traditions affirm the presence of the divine wisdom at the heart of reality with each of us constituting the subjective hub of a worldwide net in which we communicate and that is held together, also, by the sum total of individual efforts and generosity. In such a panentheistic perspective, we self-evolving conscious beings manifest the unfolding of Divine Consciousness.

4. Integration is what yoga (from Sanskrit “yuj” to unite) is tending to achieve, the union with oneself, with others, with the Other, the Divine. This project is about a yoga of integration, comprising all aspects of life as a path of spiritual integration. No technique will do this, no fixed rules can bring forth what only the art of individual integration can achieve. We are all artists of our yoga of integration. The art of creating a unifying spirituality is the art of integration : to integrate the poetry of our heart into the prose of everyday existence ; to integrate the highest intuitions of our consciousness into practices of transforming ourselves and our environment. Today’s urgent need is to enhance the conditions of integrating the plethora of data that are now instantly available to us via the world wide web. To existentially deal with this acceleration of time and the overflow of information, to flow with it without being carried away, integrative transformative practices of mindful awareness help to keep us in the flow, on a yogic path, drawing from the resources of the wisdom and contemplative traditions of the East and the West. The paths are as many as there are human beings. Enlightenment can not be organized, but the light that shines in every human can be highlighted in a way that the dormant potential of personal freedom is found more easily accessible. In support of such a vision, an evolutionary network and spiritual forum is a chance to function as an independent interface at the service of yet unforeseen synchronicities waiting to manifest.

Prof. Renuka Singh

SinghSociologist and an Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Renuka Singh is a sociologist and an Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
She has travelled extensively and had experience at various Universities abroad. She has authored and edited ten books on the theme of Gender, Culture, Development and Buddhism. Some of these books have been translated into the major world languages. She is also the Director of Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, New Delhi.

Prof. B.V. Sreekantan

SreekantanNational Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, India

Professor B. V. Sreekantan, born June 30, 1925 is a distinguished High Energy Astrophysicist, who was associated with Dr. Homi Bhabha from the early stages of balloon-based research in the field of Cosmic Rays at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).
Professor Sreekantan started his research career at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1947 and later did his doctoral work at TIFR, with which he has been associated for the past 50 years serving as its Director from 1975 to 1987. He has been a Visiting Scientist at MIT during the periods 1954-1955 and 1965-1967. He was a JSPS Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo in 1977 and a Visiting Professor at MIT and the University of California at Irwine and San Diago during 1993-1994. He is currently Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Banglore. Professor Sreekantan was awarded the Homi Bhabha Medal for Physical Sciences by the Indian National Science Academy in 1978, the R.D. Birla Memorial Award by the Indian Physics Association in 1982, Distinguished Alumni Award of the Indian Institute of Science in 1987 and was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by President of India in 1988.
He has published over 170 papers in the fields of Cosmic Rays, High Energy Physics and Astronomies. He has co-authored a book on "Extensive Air Showers" to be published by World Scientific and is currently writing a detailed monograph on "Cosmic Rays". In recent years, he has been interested in the scientific and philosophical aspects of Consciousness on which he has written and lectured extensively.
Professor Sreekantan's project for the Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council was to write a book on "Cosmic Rays : Current Status and Future Directions".


Brother David Steindl Rast

SteindlBrother David Steindl-Rast (born 1926-06-12) is an Austrian-American Roman Catholic theologian, notable for his active participation in interfaith dialogue, and his work on the interaction between spirituality and science. He was born in Vienna, Austria and raised in Austria. He received his MA from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and his PhD from the University of Vienna (1952). He emigrated to the USA in same year and became a Benedictine monk in 1953 at Mt. Saviour Monastery in Pine City, New York. In 1966, he was officially delegated to pursue Buddhist-Christian dialogue and started the study of Zen with masters Haku'un Yasutani, Soen Nakagawa, Shunryu Suzuki, and Eido Tai Shimano.
He continued creating bridges between Christian spirituality and eastern wisdom and, through interdisciplinary social commitment, contributing to understanding and peace in the world, for instance by co-founding the Center for Spiritual Studies, together with Jewish, Buddhist, Hinduist and Sufi teachers.
Brother David’s original thought has spawned significant research, from the first interfaith symposia (1972) comparing methods of meditation, to the modern scientific research in positive psychology as developed by Robert Emmons, Martin Seligman, and others. Among the vital findings which have forced changes in the scientific view of spiritual practice are: the role of gratefulness in political and altruistic action, the relationship between gratefulness and happiness, and the application of contemplative practice in character development and health. He is a member of the Lindisfarne Association.
Widely published as a writer, with more than 500 articles and 30 book chapters published, Brother David was included in The Best Spiritual Writing 1998 and cited in the 2002 volume. His books include Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, The Music of Silence (with Sharon Lebell), Words of Common Sense, and Belonging to the Universe (co-authored with Fritjof Capra). His most recent achievement is co-founding A Network for Grateful Living, an organization dedicated to gratefulness as a transformative influence for individuals and society.


Workshop leaders

Lokesh Bharadwaj

BharadwajLokesh Bharadwaj is one of the finest young male Bharatanayam dancers in India today. With a commanding stage presence, Lokesh is a very sensitive, intelligent and an athletic performer with superb grasp of technique as well as musicality. Bharadwaj grew up in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, where he pursued an array of interests: martial arts, theater, tabla, music as well as swimming. In 1997, he started his training in Bharatanatyam under Sh Justin McCarthy, at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, at New Delhi, and graduated the Post Graduate Diploma course with distinction, in 2006. Alongside, Lokesh has been a serious student of yoga under Navtej Johar for several years now. Apart from pursuing a career in dance he now teaches both dance and yoga at Studio Abhyas, at New Delhi.

Dr. Simona Bocchi

BocchiSimona Bocchi was born in Monza in July 1972, there she attended "Liceo Artistico Terragni". She continued her study in sculpting at the "Accademia di Belle Arti" in the following sites: "Nuova Accademia NABA" with Nagasawa, “Accademia Belle Arti di Brera” with Gino Legnaghi, "Accademia di Belle Arti di Sassari" with Pinuccio Sciola. In 1995 she won a prize in Carrara and attended the Wimbledon School of Art during period 95/96. She graduated in 1996 in Carrara (110/110 "cum laude").
She has been featured in several international exhibitions in Italy, Britain, Norway and India, among other countries; she has has created and installed monuments in public locations in several cities and is now preparing an exhibition under the patronage of the Italian Embassy in New Delhi, India.
Presently she lives and works between Verona, Carrara and India.


Workgroup: sculpture

We will use Jaisalmer stone that comes from the city of Rajastan. It's yellow like desert sand, soft and easy to work with. This stone is ideal for the amount of time that we have.
The workshop will last a whole week and every participant should dedicate 4 hours a day.
In order to coordinate mind and movements that are necessary for a good result, we will learn that the body is an extension of the tool that we are using. This will be introduced the first day also with an explanation of the tools and how to use them.
The second day will be focused on the idea that we want to recreate; studies of the volumes and drawing on the stone.
On the third day we will start to rough-hew the stone.
On the fourth day we will clean and define our creation with another tool called gradine.
The fifth day will be dedicated to the use of the chisel that makes the stone smooth and precise. After that, we will polish with the rasp.
During the last day, we will finish our work using stones with different grains and sand paper.
Every participant will be the owner of his creation and can take if home. It will be a memory of this wonderful experience.

Dr. Marie Eve Celio

CelioMarie Eve Celio (Scheurer) is a doctor in history of art, holding a PhD from the Sorbonne University Paris IV. She spent part of her life in Switzerland, where she was born, and Paris. Since 2002, she has been in India with her family. She lived first in Hyderabad (2002-2004), where she was curator for two exhibitions at the Salar Jung Museum and where she had worked with the Nawab Mir Moazam Husain for the preservation of the "Aga Hyder Mirza Museum". Since 2005, she has been in Delhi, where she works as a consultant for UNESCO on questions related to the Museum's collections in India.


The workshop consists of a presentation of a private collection, the "Aga Hyder Mirza Museum" and of its owner, the Nawab Mir Moazam Husain.
We will visit the "Aga Hyder Hasan Mirza Museum" in Hyderabad which represents a remarkable historical heritage of pre-partition India and we will meet the Nawab Mir Moazam Husain, a man providing a rare and unique testimonial of the old culture of the Deccan at the beginning of the 20th century.
The items kept in this collection are diverse and represent a fine testimony of the deccan culture and of the story of the family through the history.

The collection encompasses:
  • historical photographs of the end of the nineteen century and beginning of the twenty century showing narrow links between the Nawab's family and personality from India or Europe;
  • manuscript letters of famous people;
  • printed and manuscript books in sanskrit, hindi, urdu, persian;
  • fine examples of calligraphy and wedding contracts;
  • objects d'art and objects of every day life;
  • collection of rosaries;
  • old coins;
  • miniatures and paintings from the Deccan;
  • court dresses worn for the Durbar.

We will be able to discuss of the problematic question of heritage preservation in India.

Swati Chopra

swatiSwati Chopra is a New Delhi-based writer and poet. She is author of Dharamsala Diaries (Penguin India, 2007), and Buddhism: On the Path to Nirvana (Brijbasi Art Press, 2005) a contemporary guide to Buddhism. She has worked as editor of a quarterly journal, Life Positive Plus, as contributing editor of Life Positive magazine, and as spirituality correspondent of The Times of India.
Through her writing and editorial work, Swati seeks to explore ancient wisdom in a modern context. Her writing has appeared in journals in India and abroad, including Resurgence, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Arabesques, The Hindustan Times, Daily News and Analysis, among others. Her essay on the Dalai Lama’s dialogue with modern science appeared in the anthology, Understanding the Dalai Lama (Penguin India, 2004).
Swati is currently working on her next book that documents contemporary women’s spirituality.


Workshop: WAY WITH WORDS - Creative Being through Creative Writing

Words form the matrix of our being, the ground on which we ideate, communicate, interact, impact. As people find their feet in the world, they also attempt to find their voice, their language, which becomes their tool to engage with those around them, and also themselves. In which they will frame their thoughts and feelings, and articulate these to the external world, which is a 'creative' process.
Way with Words aims to facilitate this creative journey, by enabling participants to explore and expand their imagination through language and words. Using appropriate exercises and tools, participants will be encouraged to get into the flow of writing, and become familiar with the process of giving words to thoughts and ideas.
Way with Words is not only a writing workshop; it is an introduction to the creative life. A creative life is not just one that occurs in what are normally perceived as creative professions, like writing, painting, etc. A creative life is one that is woven with sensitivity, mindfulness and compassion, that is fulfilling because it sources its pleasures and delights from one's own resources, one's imagination, one's inner world, while being attuned with the work of living in the world.
The daily workshop sessions will combine writing with creative mindfulness exercises. Participants will be playfully familiarized with the process of writing and using words and language creatively, with exercises such as 'stream of consciousness' writing, and will explore and use forms such as poems, short stories and short essays. Each session will begin with 10-15 minutes of meditation (breath/walking/eating).
Participants will be encouraged to find their feet in the writing process with 'mindful stream of consciousness' exercises, where they will write mindfully and in awareness of the connection between the words they choose and the thoughts that are passing in their minds, as well as deepening their observation of metaphors/themes/emotions, or excavate their current state of consciousness for writing ideas. Some sessions will focus on collective creating such as collective poetry, where a poem is begun, and it goes around with each participant adding a line, or a story that grows with each participant adding an incident or a twist in the tale. A balance will be sought between writing for oneself and sharing with the group.

Uta Christ

ChristUta Christ- Milz, born in 1954, MA in science of education, psychology, political sciences and American studies (Universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, Berkeley); licensed Feldenkrais-practioner, certified in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, J. Kabat-Zinn) and Esalen bodywork; in depth studies of somatic therapies; since 1994 in private practice for somatic education in Bavaria, Germany; mother of three adult children.


WORKSHOP: MIND IN MOTION - Awareness through Movement

Our human nervous system has evolved for millions of years to organize our upright posture, our equilibrium, breathing and movement for efficiency in the gravitational field on earth. The way we move and interact with the world around us is influenced by our evolutionary and cultural heritage.
Mind in motion refers to our natural condition when mind/body function in a unified way.
Sensations of ease, lightness and pleasure can be our natural way of moving, feeling and thinking. We all know those original, childlike sensations of curiosity and flow when exploring something new and exciting or feeling in harmony when playing and working are not felt as opposites. In times of stress or great demand we tend to lose our natural grace and ease and allow dysfunctional habits of tension and misuse override us. Yet, we can use the brain's innate capacity for learning and awareness to alter these self-defeating habits.
Whatever one believes or practices, we are bodily, physical beings. The path to the infinite and eternal begins here and now, in the way we breathe, sit, walk and move and experience our self at every moment. It is not surprising that, the word "grace" describes both spiritual attainment and aesthetically satisfying movement. In this workshop we practise "Awareness through Movement" according to the "Feldenkrais Method" to reawaken our sense of wholeness, our grace, of being fully alive and rediscover lost or forgotten ways of interacting with our self and others.
You can learn to move more freely and spontaneously, create conditions that enable you to enhance your self-image, to help you grow and gain access to a greater range of possibilities.

Marion Colomer

ColomerMarion Colomer is a young French painter, 24 years old. She lives and works between Paris, in France and New Delhi, in India since 2003. Portraits, and question of identity is her most important theme in painting.



In this class you will experience working on a self-portrait, composition and painting. You will be working on a large canvas, inspired by the painting of Veronese, "Wedding at Cana". The composition of the original painting will be use, but you will be replacing the faces of Veronese's painting with your self-portrait.

Paolo Veronese - The Wedding at Cana, 1562–1563. Louvre

Nitin Donde

DondeNitin Donde established his Angles Audio Visual Studio in 1986, to work in all visual art forms, but specializing in video film and animations across numerous genres. Armed with a BSc. in Physics and an MBA, he also conducts animation and film workshops, particularly for children, and his own works together with those of his students have been screened at the Hiroshima International Film Festival (2005); featured as part of ASIFA; Association Internationale Du Film D'Animation - Animation Workshop Group collection; the Annecy International Film Festival (2003); The World Of Animation (a festival at the India International Center-2003); UNESCO Festival of Documentary Films (New Delhi, 2002); Dooradrshan National Broadcast Channel; ZAGREB 2000 World Festival of Animated Films; Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (2000); Goat Island Film Festival; Max Muller Bhawan; Friends Club of Channel Yes, and so on. The Friendly Alien, a film created by him in a workshop-format with school-children, is acknowledged by many to be India's first film made by children, and is used by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, as a representative film about Indian children, for which a copy was sent to every Indian embassy in the world. The film has been publicly screened by the Lalit Kala Academy Festival of Art Films, Shanghai TV and Kenya TV.
Nitin has also produced more than 20 documentary films on social issues and appropriate technologies for rural development with leading NGOs.
He is presently producing and directing "A pot of Gold", using the Warli tribal art form of Maharashtra, as part of an Indo-Scottish animation film project that applies traditional tribal Indian art forms to narrate Indian folklore under the series title "Tales of the Tribes".


Workshop: bring together multiple art forms and sciences through digital media

The art of animation filmmaking combines the traditional classical art forms with modern technology to develop new mediums of expression and communication. New Media requires expertise in multiple fields of knowledge to evolve into its next form.
Since it is so dependent on non-linear processes, film, animation and special effects have become a potential global tool of communication and self-expression capable of visualizing and co-relating simple and complex issues.
The ability of superimposing multiple resource materials and bringing them together in a single frame of reference has opened new areas of experimentation for all the arts and sciences.

Workshop details:
  • Screening of the experimental film, “Shadow of time” and a discussion on the importance of a “Change of perspective” to bridge the gap between art and science.
  • Creating an original story or narrative or cartoon character. Discussion on the “Creative process”.
  • Creating puppets, sets, locations for making an animation film. Discussion on “hands-on art application” and the tragedy of “never having all the resources”.
  • Camerawork – shooting the animation film
  • Computer based Non Linear Editing. Explaining multi layering, compositing and composition.
  • Creating, recording and inserting sound for the animation film.
  • Screening the experimental film, feedback and open discussion.

Doris Laesser

LaesserDipl.Psych.FH, with over thirty years of psychotherapeutic counseling and group leadership with a focus on transpersonal process. Her work draws from C.G. Jung analysis, Gestalt therapy, Bodytherapy, Insight Meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. She has led breathing workshops at Cortona Conference, Italy for 22 years, and Seminars in America and Europe, including retreats for healthcare professionals in association with George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health.


Breathing workshop:

The integration of breath, body and consciousness is part of many spiritual and personal disciplines.
The method offered here is distinct from breath control (the yogic practice of pranayama), nor is it intended as a therapy session. Participants focus and relax into deeper breathing supported by an expansive collection of world music.
By introducing experiences in the personal and transpersonal dimensions, this workshop helps cultivate new insights and awareness.
Assisted by Michael Stillwater, songwriter, author of Graceful Passages and currently producing the film, In Search of The Great Song.

Preeti Lal

LalBorn and brought up in Allahabad - a city of cultural and musical heritage in Uttar Pradesh, India - I am now based in Hyderabad where I have been working as a teacher in Vidyaranya High School for the past 25 years. During this period I have not only been involved in teaching subjects such as English, History and Geography, but also in fostering interest in painting, drama, puppetry and music. I am a self trained music lover and have pursued this interest by keenly following and understanding different music styles like Ghazals, Bhajans and light folk music.

Singing workshop:

In this workshop I would like to introduce the participants to our Sacred Chants, Shlokas and Bhajans, and hope to impart an understanding into their significance. Participants will be encouraged to sing along as well as play the simple accompanying instrument - the kanjira.

Dr. Shakti Maira and Prof. Ariel Ruiz i Altaba


WORKSHOP: Dialogues on Art, Science and Spirituality

Themes covered will include:
-The purposes of art in classical Indian aesthetics;
-The nature of Buddhist Aesthetics;
-The concept of 'Integral arts'
- across the levels of engagement and of experiences;
-Beauty? What beauty?;
-Perception, truth and justice;
-Has science replaced spirituality, and art lost transcendence?

This workshop will emphasize an exchange of thoughts and ideas across disciplines and cultures among all participants and will be guided by Ariel Ruiz i Altaba and Shakti Maira.

Shakti Maira is an artist and philosopher from India.
Ariel Ruiz i Altaba is an artist and scientist from Switzerland.
They are both speakers of Cortona-India 2010 conference.

Tony Majdalani

MajdalaniTony Majdalani is Palestinian, born in Haifa, and has lived in Europe for the last 25 years. He is a musician with many years of experience as a drummer and percussionist, doing individual lessons, group classes, and seminars, often in combination with movement, dance and communication.
He has toured as a percussionist with wide variety of music and dance troupes in Switzerland and abroad. For many years he accompanies African dance classes.
Today he lives in Zurich, Switzerland with his wife and his two daughters.

Drumming as self-experience and communication workshop

The participants will have the opportunity to drum, make music and improvise using elements from African and Arabic rhythms.
The goal is not only self-experience, but also communication: how playing in a group touches various aspects of being part of a community.
Drumming creates the possibility for certain experiences to happen, such as a whole body experience, a sense of the flow of energy in the group or a redefinition of what it means to be an individual in the group.

Prof. Helmut Milz

MilzHelmut Milz, MD, born in 1949, holds specialty degrees in psychosomatic medicine, general medicine and behavioral therapy; honorary professor for health sciences (University of Bremen); former inhouse consultant to the WHO; longstanding studies in somatic therapies; Esalen teacher, international lecturer; author of several books; works in private practice in Bavaria, Germany.


WORKSHOP: Embodied communications

Our living bodies are the foundation of our interactions with the world and with others. Personal life experiences are incorporated as different memories, which are distributed over our whole body. “Body-maps” (such as the mirror neuron system) act as the dynamic, self-organizing memory structures in our nervous system and brain. Our subjective “body image” reflects how we see ourselves and what we believe about our body. It influences what we pay attention to and which attitudes we may take. Bodily sensations and perceptions are not mere passive experiences. Our predictive memory constantly compares new sensations with what we already know, expect or believe. These comparisons may be helpful or hindering for us. They interpret our own and the others bodily signs and signals. Interpersonal communications are enactive and embodied processes.

In this workshop we will to explore how body tensions and tonus regulation, as well as subtle movement practices, can influence our mental states. Vice versa, we will experience how images, feelings, thoughts and memories alter our bodily perceptions. Particular attention will be given to the change potentials of mental imagery and motor imagery. They largely operate on the same regions of our brains as active body performances. The experiences of this workshop can facilitate cross-cultural communications, as well as personal health and healing. We will mainly work with western concepts of the living body (“Leib”) and explore recent techniques of body-mind integration, such as the work of E. Jacobson, Sensory Awareness, Eutony, Body-Mind Centering, et al.. In addition we will touch cultural differences in understanding emotions and body language.

Johar Navtej

NavtejNavtej Johar is India's leading Bharatanatyam exponent and a choreographer, whose work is unique in that it freely traverses between the traditional and the contemporary. Trained at Kalakshetra, Chennai, the Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, he did academic studies at the Department of Performance Studies, NYU. Johar's work is layered and draws on plural vocabularies of Bharatanatyam, yoga and physical theater. Widely traveled, he continues to perform at prestigious venues all over the world, has worked with several prominent dancers/choreographers including Chandralekha, Leela Samson, Bill T. Jones, Peter Sparling, Janet Lilly, Muzaffar Ali, Keith Khan among others, and has several international collaborative ventures to his name. A dancer, actor, yoga practitioner and an activist he is the founder of Studio Abhyas, a non-profit organization dedicated to dance, yoga, humane urban design and the care of stray animals, at New Delhi.


Outline of Dance Workshop:

The workshop will introduce the form of Bharatanatyam (a form of classical Indian dance from Tamil Nadu, South India), and also provide space to explore it. Dividing time between its formal technique as well as the dramatic component of abhinaya, or gesture and facial expression, the workshop will focus on methods used to physically and psychologically prepare the dancer-actor's body within this traditional dance-theater form. Apart from offering the participants an opportunity to experience the grammar and geometry of this very angular form, emphasis will also be placed on breath-training as a tool of generating energy within the body to project emotion and create dramatic tension.

Outline of the Yoga Sessions:

The yoga sessions will incorporate a practice of both asana and pranayama. Where as asana helps with muscle toning, strength, alignment and endurance, it is the refinement and lengthening of the breath that allows for the subtle energies to flow freely and preserve and protect the body. The chief focus of the yoga sessions will be to facilitate the working of the body and breath in tandem." The short course hopes to offer rudimentary knowledge of yoga through a series of practices designed to progressively limber the joints, lubricate the glands and lengthen and strengthen the muscles, as well as calm the mind through the mindful technique of "pranayama in asana."

Dr. Stefanie Overbeck

OverbeckStefanie studied and graduated from the international school of architecture - the Architectural Association in London. She went on to gain her experience at international firms including "sauerbruch hutton" architects in Berlin and working with "ove arup" in London. She has designed projects including the Swiss eco tower "swissalpine", the first energy "passive" house transformation in French speaking Switzerland as well as the eco dream house in Belmont which perfectly encapsulates the fusion of modern living, design and ecology. Stefanie is a keen skier and wildlife lover who is at home in the alpine region and has become active in its conservation. She is head designer at zo2 and passionate about simple functional yet sensual design. Stefanie is actively involved in the industry on an academic level, supporting the idea of interdisciplinary freedom of thought in the context of artistic, manual, technical and scientific projects. The aim of her student projects like the «Tower of Babylon» workshop is foremost to support and inspire young people towards a more interdisciplinary freedom of thought and «Thinking outside the box».

WORKSHOP: Building the «Tower of Babylon» in the 21th century?

Interdisciplinary workshop to enhance complex holistic thinking in a sustainable context.
towers have always fascinated mankind. They speak of power and leadership on an economically as well as on a knowledge level.
today’s situation: financial crisis, economical forces shifting, war for oil towers, know-how becomes power, global cities look more and more homogeneous, urban density increases
means in Hebrew language confusion. Today's situation: information is growing exponentially, but hasn’t helped to communicate terms such as e.g. «energy»
(e.g.: ask a physicist, a mathematician, a chemist, an engineer and an artist what energy means and you will get 5 different answers)
«context workshop»

We all share a living room, our Earth, which we help to shape, investigate and build. We are all comfortable in our own territory. We are happy to develop it, to discover new things, to achieve something unique and above all to understand it better. In the process of searching, discovering and creating we are all aware that no one can understand everything.
To achieve global understanding we need to work together. We can place our area of specialty in a broader context by interacting and being inspired by others.
This applies to people all over the world, globally as well as regionally and is unaffected by race, gender, education level, religion and politics. We are all facing a problem – our living room is running out of space. The last century has produced more natural disasters than ever before. And we are all aware that it can’t go on like this.
What does technology based solution to us and our society? How high do we want to aim? What does sustainability mean for our lives? Can we manage to organize ourselves, to unite our thinking and to use our creativity to reach a joint solution?
The Tower of Babylon workshop is setting itself apart from the concept of sustainability in today’s global context and is focusing on inspiration, networking and collaboration.

Each team should consist of approximately 8 members. 2 teams will be formed, they will be in direct competition of each other within the workshop week.

to create a tower like the tower of Bablyon (as tall as possible?)
to make a clear statement formalized by something built on site

    Phase I - design
  • set up team identifying the site,
  • materials,
  • potential problems etc.
  • looking for inspiration

    Phase II - teamwork, acquisition, organization

    Phase III - realization
  • know-how and craftsmanship skills
  • the actual construction
  • the dismantling and «recycling» of tower Babylon

On the last day there will be «testing» of what was built - public viewing.

Shirin Punjwani

PunjwaniShirin Punjwani is the founder president of A B C Laughter Club- Hyderabad.
A successful business woman who has been influenced by her elder brother Mr. B P Hirani, Vice-President, International Laughter Club, Bangalore and was supported by her husband to do the social service.
She is the life member of A P Red Cross Society as well for Senior Citizens Forum in the twin cities.
She is on the Board for marriage counselling and Arbitration and Conciliation for the community of Shia Imami Ismail Council.
She conducts Yoga and Laughter Therapy for senior citizens at Jamat Khana (Prayer house for community)
She is referred to one and all as Laughter Mother.

WORKSHOP: Laughter-yoga (A B C Always Be Cheerful)

Shirin Punjwani on behalf of our Laughter club have been invited here by the college management to share and spread awareness about laughter benefits derived from Laughter Therapy. I hope this particular duration of next 45-60 minutes will be very lively and we do seek an equal participation from you all for an interactive session of joy, fun and of course laughter.
Before enlightening you with the need and benefits of laughter, I would like to introduce you to my fellow Laughterians.

Laughter is very much basic natural thing synonymous with human beings and this is only action which segregates the human community from animals.
You might be wondering as to when its natural why should there be an need for organizing clubs for laughter. Well, I'll say that this same basic and natural human feature is getting rare and distinct day by day with depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders, stress and strain of modern life taking a heavy too on human minds.
A past research has indicated that a child laughs 300 times a day whereas an adult only 15 times which in the present scenario is reduced to 6 times average a day.
Life has become quite mechanical and success is often weighed and defined in terms of monetary gains.
With laughter as an routine it develops positive attitude, optimism and will power and thus for inculcating this habit of laughter in our daily routine, we need to assemble and make an habit of completing this necessity on every day basis.
A Japanese saying goes as : Time spent with laughter is time spent with God.
The one main benefit everybody gets is a sense of well being. After 15 minutes of laughter in the morning, you will feel fresh throughout the day.
Laughter is more of a supplementary and preventive therapy.

Laughter Therapy is one of the finest anti-stress measures ideally suited for today's stress ridden lifestyle and also easiest form of meditation, a form which brings you instant relaxation.
Laughter has benefitted many people who were on heavy tranquillizers and sleeping pills. They get better sleep and reduced depression.

Lastly a word of caution : Refrain from laughter exercises if you feel unwell or distress after exercises.
Forceful laughter is strictly not advisable for patients with hernia, piles, and pregnant ladies.

Last but not the least, any health benefits can be attributed to positive thinking. Genuine cheerfulness comes from a sense of humor which helps a person see things in their true perspective and enjoy life truly. Laughter as we call it as an therapy because when in the motion of laughter, a human body releases an natural endorphin in the body which helps in boosting the immune system and taking care of many irregularities of the body system.
Our daily practice are result oriented with many persons benefitted through practicing and attending the sessions daily at our clubs at different places.
The daily sessions we do is of an hour which consists of an start with stretching exercises followed by Pranayama for the first half hour followed by action filled laughter for the second half of the hour.

Dr. Jörg Rasche

RascheJoerg Rasche MD is a Jungian Psychoanalyst and Child psychiatrist. He is the former vice president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology IAAP. He and his wife Beate Kortendieck-Rasche, have published papers and books about mythology, culture and psychoanalytical dream interpretation.

WORKSHOP: The dream interpretation of C. G. Jung and its roots in Indian Traditions

Already in his first important study about unconscious processes „Symbols of Transformation“ 1912 the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung showed himself deeply influenced by Indian culture and philosophy. The concept of the “Self” as the centre of the individual as well as of the Wholeness of reality he developed from ancient Indian patterns of thinking. So he says with the words of a Chandogya-Upanishad: “Man is my soul (atman) in my innermost heart, smaller than a little grain of rice or the kernel of a corn of a rice grain, or a grain of millet or the kernel of a millets grain or a grain of mustard seed or the kernel of mustards grain – it is my soul in my innermost heart, bigger than the earth, larger than the space of air, greater than heaven, larger than these worlds.” As Jung wrote this paradox expression is a result of thousands of years of experiencing the reality and non-reality of human psyche, as well as of a special introverted Indian tradition of philosophy. Western traditions with the emphasis on the rationalistic individual are much more extraverted, and the people have much more problems in introspection. There is a pattern of unconsciously projecting ones shadow side onto people from other cultures. This may be dangerous when western technology opens unforeseen ways of destruction. In this seminar and workshop we will study the Jungian dream interpretation and compare its patterns with ancient traditions of India. The participants are invited to tell own dreams, and we will try to find out its meaning, the archetypal patterns and the modern symbols.

Hans-Peter Sibler

SiblerStudies Qigong and Taiji since 1975 in Europe, USA, Asia.
Trained in psychology, body- and energy-work.
Led workshops in creative communication, art of moving and energy-flow since 1972.
As of 1977, he teaches Qigong and Taiji and founded the “school for Taiji and Qigong” in Zürich – the first specialized institute in this domain in Switzerland. He leads seminars and trainings, and offers lectures and projects in institutions and companies.
Author of the Qigong book and DVD: “Stärkendes Qigong: Yi Jin Jing”.
Co-author of the book: “Die Welt der Fünf Elemente”.
Producer of several Taiji teaching DVD’s.
Hans-Peter Sibler lives in Zürich.


Morning Activity

In China as in many other countries all over the world lots of people start the day with Taiji and Qigong Exercises. The beautiful venue gives us an ideal environment to spend half an hour before breakfast on gentle movements, to wake up and to experience the pleasant effect of Taiji and Qigong: the alignment between heaven and earth, centering, strength, energy-flow, concentration and relaxation, inner calmness and serenity, clarity.
Awareness and aliveness will grow by the interplay of inner and outer movements. Simple exercises revitalize our body and mind by opening the energy (Qi-) channels. Qigong and Taiji will stimulate everybody, irrespective of age, fitness or precognition - a joyful and easy way to wake up and start a fresh new day.

Taijiquan afternoon workshop

We practice the Yang-Style - one of the most popular Taiji Forms - and learn a sequence in order to practice for ourselves. We enjoy the beautiful movements and their impact on the body and mind. In addition we play with pushing hands, the interactive exercise of Taijiquan.

No precognition and experience needed.

Alok Ulfat

UlfatAlok Ulfat has received his M.A in English literature from Garhwal University. He studied speech & drama and completed his teacher training at Emerson College, U.K. He has served at the National School of Drama, New Delhi, and at the Film and Television Institute of India.
As an extensive traveler, he has taught in schools, conducted workshops, acted and directed in India, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Canada.
Avikal "Initiative for Active Learning", Alok Ulfat Centre for Performing Arts AUCPA and Avikal Theatre Company are the outcome of Alok Ulfat's many years of soul searching, widespread adventures and studying in various centers of learning.
Alok is engaged in designing, conducting and developing courses for actors, teachers, social workers and the corporate sector in India and abroad. Alok is presently developing centers for Performing arts, youth and cultural activities in Dehra Dun and Mumbai.


WORKSHOP: Discovering the self through performing arts

Most of us feel the need to grow from the present stage to the next. We strive to find perfection. To become 'Avikal' which in Hindi means indivisible, uncut, whole and complete. Here is an opportunity to embark on a journey of rediscovering and replenishing yourself.
Within our physical body there is an entire universe. But it is not so easy to get in touch with our subtle energies and therefore many of us do not even make an effort to find what is missing. We are not complete unless we have discovered our selves fully. Art, imagination and intuition are amazing vehicles of self realization.
You don't have to be alone on this journey. We are here to mirror each other and discover our unlimited potential. We learn and unlearn to find the right relationship with all beings and things.
We shall delve in the unknown of ourselves to touch subconscious impulses through what is better known to us like our physical bodies.

Process and Tools of the Workshop.
The process and content of the workshop is to help individuals to observe and work with themselves through the marvelous medium of performing Arts.
During the week we shall work with 'Avikal Kriya' (a process created by Alok Ulfat) that helps in observing the qualities of five elements; like Earth, Water, Air Fire and Space to perceive our own innate qualities.
We shall further strengthen our awareness and Imagination by playing games and doing theatre improvisation. We will work with movement, explore our senses and enrich each other by sharing our talents and perceptions.
We will also working spontaneously with voice, speech, and silence. and try to go beyond the world of measurements and calculations. We will observe ourselves and the world around us with utmost attention.
If all agree we will give a presentation at the end of the workshop.
You don't need to be an experienced artist. Just come and join us and let us together find out what we have.

Adrian Wirth

WirthAdrian studied environmental science at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. After he received his masters in 2001, his curiosity about life and the human mind has led him into many different realities: He was a science teacher for the project "Science meets Dharma" in a Tibetan monastery in southern India, a member of a Zurich based art collective and a poi apprentice with Nick Woolsey ( in Vancouver. Adrian currently deepens his experiential knowledge of Yoga and shares his enthusiasm about this old Indian holistic system in many different contexts. Poi has further deepened his knowledge about the human body and mind. It is a perfect and playful way to get in contact with one's body again: That's what his wife and assistant Paola Deprez, a former Molecular Biology researcher at the ETH Zurich, also experienced. To live a healthy and happy life, one needs to carefully balance play and work, mind and body, structure and freedom.
Adrian loves to feel the flow of Poi-Dance: It is a non-intellectual, holistic experience, where body and mind merge to dance as one. Adrian currently lives with his wife Paola and their young son Manuel in Switzerland.

Workshop: Exploring our coordination and creative expression with Poi

Poi is a form of dance where balls on the ends of ropes are swung through rhythmical patterns. It originates with the Maori people of New Zealand, who originally used poi to develop grace, flexibility, and combat skills. Poi was popularized throughout the world largely by fire spinning, spawned when traditional poi met modern day dance parties. It has since spread around the world as a popular movement art, merging with other art forms and borrowing from Tai Chi, Yoga and modern tribal dance in the process.
In this workshop, we will use the basics of poi as taught by Nick Woolsey ( as a vehicle for exploring coordination, spatial perception, body alignment, self-awareness, rhythm, and creative expression. It is a journey on which we experiment with the communication between body and mind and on which we explore ones limits and expending boundaries. The format of the class will be participatory and playful, with a great selection of music. We will learn much about ourselves and have a lot of fun at the same time! At the end of the week all the participants will be able to do some basic and fun moves: The beginning of Poi-Dance, the merging of body and mind.