A Tata group company Tata Tea, and its creative agency Lowe Lintas, set off a 38-day bus journey 'Jaago Re Vrath Yatra' to connect young people with an anti-corruption campaign. It's part of the change for truth and honesty slowly but surely sweeping India.
India is experiencing a robust anti-corruption wave - from busy Right to Information Act petitioners, push for greater accountability and transparency from political leaders, government officials, even Supreme court judges, to anti-bribery cell phone text messages that government vigilance departments are flooding the public. Credible corporate houses have to be part of this clean-up. The Tata Tea 'Jaage Re' (meaning 'to awaken') was on its second edition. The first edition urged young people to vote.
But mere anti-corruption publicity campaigns would be sermons entering an ear and exiting the other. The mind must be made strong to resist temptation, weakness and delusions that breed corruption. Vipassana strengthens the mind by cleaning it. People of all religions practice this universal, non-sectarian, purification process in over 100 countries. Residential courses - from beginners 10-days to advanced 60-days - are taught free of cost in over 150 Vipassana centres worldwide, and in many temporary locations.
One such Vipassana centre is Dhamma Pattana (meaning 'the Harbour of Dhamma') in Mumbai, where 10-day courses are held for business executives and government officials - the two crucial focus groups at the epicentre of corruption. Many government departments and leading corporate houses like Mahindra and Mahindra offer paid leave to employees to take a 10-day Vipassana course.
Vipassana is the best investment in time. Dhamma Pattana in Mumbai is usually fully booked two months in advance. The wide acceptance of Vipassana in India's financial capital is no coincidence. It's the wiser rich who understand that life is not about merely accumulating wealth. Business leaders who try Vipassana experience the difference.
Mumbai, India's financial capital, has six Vipassana centres in its vicinity. Dhamma Pattana is in the Global Pagoda complex in Gorai island in suburban Mumbai. As the largest pillar-less stone dome in the world, the Global Pagoda enables over 8,000 Vipassana practitioners to meditate together in one-day courses inside a structure that has never before existed in human history.
Since 1969, when Sayagyi U Goenka arrived from Burma and began teaching Vipassana in what was then Bombay, Vipassana has reached all sections of Indian society - students, government administrators, corporate leaders, teachers, scientists, priests and nuns from all religions, movie stars, house wives etc.
The connecting need is to be master of a wandering, wavering, weak mind. Greater the purity of the mind, steadier and happier it becomes.
Effective, anti-corruption efforts must start with taking a 10-day Vipassana course, to acquire the practical know-how to strengthen, steady, purify the mind.
Vipassana opens our eyes to a fundamental, life-changing realization: that the outside world is not actually responsible for our misery or happiness. The real cause of suffering lies within.
The deeper reality is that we are constantly reacting to an unpleasant or pleasant bio-chemical flow within the body, the pleasant or irritating sensations caused by reactions to our sense doors coming in contact with a taste, touch, sight, sound, smell and thought.
Vipassana trains the mind to objectively observe this changing biochemical flow of physical sensations, as it happens from moment to moment. The earlier habit pattern was to blindly react to these sensations, without even being aware of the sensations - such as burning sensations in the stomach caused by an angry argument.
The resulting blind reaction of hasty words, actions or decisions lead to a ugly mess, and then regret, repentance. Vipassana is the best practical cure for anger - the most self-destructive of all human emotions.
Conventional meditation practices work only at the surface of the mind, giving a certain superficial calm and concentration. But Vipassana is strictly not a 'meditation' practice; Vipassana is a continuous self-observation of the constantly changing truth within. With equanimity to the changing bio-chemical flow of bodily sensations, one gradually changes impure habit patterns and negative thought processes of the mind.
Vipassana is garbage cleaning of the mind, at the deepest level.
Fruits of a purer mind are wisdom, happiness, and a compassionate volition to share this happiness with all beings. A pure, compassionate mind cannot be corrupt.
Vipassana, though, involves very hard work and crossing pain barriers. Negative habit patterns in the mind rebel and kick back at this purification process. Yet the committed Vipassana practitioner works with determination, patience and courage to conquer the biggest inner enemy - the ego.
More one's ego dissolves, more one's problems dissolve.
Slips and falls will happen in the long journey, the prolonged battle - but the Dhamma warrior learns from mistakes and continues walking the path of Dhamma, or true laws of nature.
One enters, or re-enters, the inner world of pure, true happiness by first taking a ten-day Vipasasana course. Then with determined discipline, Vipassana practice is continued daily every morning and evening, for minimum one hour. Daily Vipassana practice is utmost importance. Otherwise, the old dangerous habit patterns of the mind resurface again, like weeds whose roots have not been plucked out.
The serious Vipassana student takes least one 10-day Vipassana retreat is every year. After three Vipassana courses, the meditator wishing to progress offers voluntary Dhamma service in courses, to dissolve the ego, and serve others selflessly. Then go deeper with taking long Vipassana courses of 20-days, 30/45 days and 60-days. Every step in this Dhamma journey brings both immediate and long-term benefits.
Vipassana practice enables seeing how much our best friend and worst enemy is within, not outside. And just as the greatest enemies (the impurities in the mind) are within, a country's biggest threat does not merely come from any foreign terrorist group, a neighboring country or an alien super power. The biggest danger is the corruption within that external enemies use.
More individuals undertaking the practical reality check of Vipassana can defeat the enemy. Then the purity of Dhamma provides the safest security of all, to all.
* Directions to reach the Global Pagoda
* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Global Pagoda Developmental Projects - Phase Two