The Symposium offered in honor of Swami Swaroopananda’s birthday celebration focuses on timeless issues on the nature of reality, the role of the mind and non-dual consciousness. The presenters bring together perspectives from quantum mechanics, ancient Vedic truths, and non-dual paths to weave an integrated vision of human spirituality in the present times, a vision that is corroborated by modern science theories and experiments. The door to the underlying reality of universal Consciousness was scientifically opened with 20th century quantum mechanics through the role of observation and measurement.
What is common to the ancient truths and the scientific paradigm is the role of the mind in shaping our views of who we are and how we fit in the cosmos. The mind creates one’s reality. However, going beyond the mind, the underlying principle of existence, which we identify as non-dual Consciousness, leads us beyond conceptions of the mind, which by their nature are ever-changing.
The questions remain the same for humanity since antiquity. What does science say about the nature of reality, what do the scriptures say, and how are the common findings relevant for humans in our search for meaning in our lives?
Menas Kafatos, PhD, is a quantum physicist, cosmologist, and climate-change researcher who works extensively on consciousness. He has 44 years of experience in undergraduate and graduate teaching and research, and he holds seminars and workshops for individuals and organizations on the natural laws that apply everywhere and are the foundations of the universe.
Menas is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics and Director of the Center of Excellence of Earth Systems Modeling and Observations at Chapman University in California. He is an international scholar with the Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering also serving as an advisor on the BK21 Plus Eco-Leader Education Center at Korea University in Seoul, Korea as well as an affiliated researcher at the National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
Menas has authored 310-plus articles and published or co-authored 19 books, including The Conscious Universe and Looking In, Seeing Out, and maintains several Huffington Post blogs. He is also co-author with Deepak Chopra of the New York Times bestseller You Are the Universe, which has now been translated into 18 different languages, the latest being Greek. Menas is often interviewed for international television networks, newspapers, and radio.
Subhash Kak is Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University. He has translated several texts from Sanskrit to English, done extensive work on the emerging science of consciousness, and discovered a long-lost astronomy of the Vedic period which he later published. He currently serves on Indian Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Council, and was awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, Padma Shri, in 2019.
Prantik Kundu is a neuroscientist and biophysicist with specialities in magnetic resonance imaging and psychiatric disease. A senior scientist in a startup to make MRI technology more accessible, he draws from years of expertise from many years in academia and research.
He was an assistant professor in psychiatry and radiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine for several years, where he still serves as adjunct professor.
Prantik received his training at the Brain Mapping Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK, and the Section on Functional Imaging Methods at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC. His papers have been published in Cerebral Cortex, NeuroImage, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Kundu also has strong interests in Indic philosophy, having completed an undergraduate independent study on the theoretical implications of Kali and having been a Research Fellow at the Mind and Life Summer Institute, where the interface between the Buddhist philosophy and the neurosciences is investigated and practiced.
Swami Brahmananda is Manager of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and senior staff of the Sivananda organization. A long-time practitioner of yoga, he regularly teaches yoga philosophy and meditation for the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Courses as well as meditation immersion courses. He is a much-loved, inspiring, and knowledgeable teacher.
Panel Discussion with all presenters