Delhi: Dr. Narendra Kumar Arya is the first PhD graduate from IIT-Delhi in the area of Yogic Sciences. In his PhD thesis, which was awarded in November 2018, Dr. Arya, found Heartfulness meditation based programs to have a significant impact on the well-being in his research.
His thesis comprised of three sub-studies. These were conducted under the guidance of Prof. Kamlesh Singh and Prof. Anushree Malik at National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering (NRCVEE), IIT Delhi.
The first study, published in International Journal of Research in Management & Social Science in 2017, was conducted at CREST Bengaluru. The findings showed a significant improvement in the mental health, flourishing, positive experiences and Sat-Chit-Ananda of the participants.
The second study, published in the International Journal of Indian Psychology in 2017, was carried out at the Himalayan Ashram of Sahaj Marg. It was found that their meditation program has a positive impact on mental health and its dimensions such as emotional and social well-being, positive experience, Sat-Chit-Ananda, and was also negatively associated with depression anxiety and stress. However, psychological well-being, flourishing and mindfulness did not show any significant change after the meditation sessions.
The heartfulness-based meditation programs at CREST and the Himalayan Ashram of Sahaj Marg were residential programs that spanned for 5 days. Daily activities for the participants included heartfulness meditation, cleaning, prayer, volunteer work, golden silence, physical activities etc.
The third study, published in the Indian Heart Journal in 2018, examined the impact of heartfulness cleaning and meditation on heart rate variability of the participants. It was carried out in collaboration with Dr Rahul Mehrotra, Head Non-invasive Cardiology Laboratory at Max Super Specialty Hospital, located in Saket, New Delhi (India). This study revealed that Heartfulness cleaning and meditation has a positive effect on sympathovagal balance.
These studies open new avenues for scientific inquiry on meditation and related practices in our culture. There are a number of spiritual practices prevalent within India, and empirical studies such as the ones mentioned above can help ascertain the impact of these practices on our physical as well as mental health.
NRCVEE actively pursues the agenda of value education in engineering across the nation. The center considers spirituality, meditation and related practices as one of the ways of inculcating values among engineers and improving the well-being at the same time. NRCVEE has been running various courses related to value education in IIT Delhi and has been organizing workshops and lectures related to positive life amongst the students of IIT Delhi.
Prof Rahul Garg, IIT Delhi, who is currently heading NRCVEE, said: “The center has also started Ph.D. in Yogic sciences with the objective of taking the ancient Indian wisdom and combining it with the best scientific methods to create a platform where the ancient Indian wisdom may be viewed with a modern scientific temperament.”
He also believes that NRCVEE can play a leading role in combining spirituality with science and spreading the values desired among engineers across India and the world.
Dr. Narendra Kumar Arya said, “I pursued the path of research in effect of meditation based programs so as to combine the good effects of spirituality with science and develop disciplines like Spirituality backed management and Happiness forever”.
Heartfulness and other forms of meditation such as Vipassana can play a significant role in enhancing the well-being of people while inculcating values at the same time.