The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Where the mind is alert, yet calm

Who said meditation is for sadhus in the Himalayas' Faced with high burnout rates and complaints of fatigue from executives, corporate companies are now turning to this ancient Vedic practice. Propagated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, transcendental meditation (TM), after wooing Fortune 100 companies in the West, is now the buzzword in Indian business.

“There has been a surge of interest over the past three years,” says Lane Wagger, director, Maharishi Corporate Development Programme in India. The Delhi-based American is a direct disciple of the Maharishi and is in town to teach TM to executives in AirTel and The Kenilworth.

“TM involves a simple technique that allows the mind to settle down until one reaches the least excited state, where one is alert yet calm. Since this has a spill-over effect through the day, people feel relaxed, efficient and confident of taking on challenges,” Wagger says. General Motors, he adds, has a policy of financing employees wanting to learn TM, be they line-level staff or top executives, since research has shown that TM practitioners fall ill less often. “That is a huge saving in a company, which spends more on healthcare than on the steel they make their cars with,” Wagger laughs.

Corporate India is catching up fast on the meditation scales. Wagger’s clientele is comprehensive — Hero Honda, Tata Tea, Siemens, the RPG group, TVS Motors, Ranbaxy, Williamson Magor… Putting the popularity in perspective, Deepak Gulati, CEO, AirTel, says: “Corporates have realised that people are the biggest assets, especially in the service industry. If employees are happy and composed, they will be able to add value to the company and serve customers better.” Gulati, who learnt the “excellent way of destressing” during AirTel’s first workshop in Delhi about five years ago, still practises it.

“With competition and the pressure of numbers on the rise, and turnaround time being shortened, TM is really helping us by taking away anxiety and increasing concentration,” adds AirTel chief marketing manager Anupam Verma, after attending the five-day TM workshop.

Also appealing to executives is the simple technique. Roshan Joseph, director, Eveready, attended the company TM workshop six years ago, and still finds the 20 minutes to do it “whenever and wherever”. “I can meditate while travelling in a car or during a flight or even an intermission of a play. All it needs is a comfortable posture,” he smiles.

Raju Bharat, managing director, The Kenilworth, has the last word: “My father, who set up the hotel, had to work really hard. But his generation never complained of stress. Ever since globalisation has paved the way for competition, stress has become a part of life. So, it is of utmost importance that our employees are at their peak to take the right decisions. For that, just skill enhancement is not enough.”

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