Story of transformation in Anand Engineers

“I was a rather angry person,” confesses Bhadresh Patel with disarming candor. But the 47-year-old managing director of Anand Engineering says that after practising Vipassana meditation, his anger melted away. The most important change was in my attitude towards my co-workers,” Patel says. “I now realize that I did not trust them earlier. Once I started trusting them, there was a lot of positive change in our organization. Actually, it was like a chain reaction.”

The creator of that chain was Jayantilal Shah, the 74-year-old chairman, who set up Anand Engineers in Mumbai in 1976 to manufacture heat exchangers and pressure vessels for the chemical industry. In 1983, Shah, who was suffering from severe depression, was advised to take a course of Vipassana meditation. Seeing the marked change in Shah after practising Vipassana, Patel also decided to try it, since he was afflicted with chronic asthma. Patel says: “I got much more than relief from asthma, which totally disappeared after my fourth Vipassana course. I became a changed person, more compassionate, understanding and much happier.” When others in the company noticed the positive changes in Shah and Patel, they too became interested in Vipassana.

“The breakthrough in our company came when two of our workers who were alcoholics decided to take a Vipassana course,” says Patel. He says the two greatly benefited from their decision. Now almost 80% of the company’s employees practice Vipassana meditation. Adherents claim that Vipassana meditation works by changing the individual internally, in turn improving his work productivity and interaction with other employees.

Introducing Vipassana Meditation 

Vipassana, in the ancient Pali language, means “insight” or “seeing things as they really are”. Historians say it was re-discovered by the Buddha, who lived in India 2,600 years ago. Over time, India lost the ancient technique, but it was preserved intact in Burma from where it was returned to India in 1969 by Shri S. N. Goenka, a successful businessman who became a great teacher of the discipline.

Vipassana is usually taught in 10-day residential courses and there are about 180 Vipassana centers worldwide. Participants maintain silence for 9 days of the course which helps them to calm the mind. During the first three days, participants focus on the natural breath – observing the incoming breath and the outgoing breath; this sharpens and concentrates the mind. This practice is called Anapana Meditation. After this, Vipassana meditation is taught, which, simply explained, involves observing sensations in the body without reacting to them. The idea is that by observing these physical sensations (whether painful or pleasurable) in a detached way, participants experience the impermanence of these sensations and this helps them overcome complexes and negative habits.

Vipassana exponents say that in daily life, whether at home or in the office, the subconscious mind reacts blindly to sensations produced in the body, even though it seems that we are reacting to external circumstances. For example, if a colleague says: “How can you be so stupid?”, the mind evaluates this as a negative comment, a biochemical flow is triggered and an unpleasant sensation arises in the body. The subconscious mind feels the sensations and says: “I don’t like this, I don’t want this”, and reacts to this unpleasant sensation with anger. Similarly, an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol not because he likes the taste, but because his subconscious mind craves the sensations produced in the body when he drinks alcohol.

Since the practice is non-sectarian, people of all religions participate in the courses. These also include a large number of businessmen, who are discovering that Vipassana enables them to run a profitable business without having to suffer the inevitable by-products such as tension and anxiety. These include the heads of respected Indian companies such as ICICI, Lupin Labs, Zee Telefilms and Thermax. It is interesting to note that when a number of employees in the same company practice the technique, the results are even more rewarding than usual.

In the case of Anand Engineering, productivity per employee has risen 21% after the introduction of Vipassana. Sales have gone up, post-Vipassana, by an average of 68% per year (excluding 1993-94 when there was a sharp dip due to economic recession)  compared with a growth of 10% in the pre-Vipassana period. It’s enough to take your breath away.

 

You can practice 10 minutes guided breath meditation, “Ana Pana Sati” audio by Vipassana Master S. N. Goenka.

For more information, see the Vipassana Research Institute’s website at www.vri.dhamma.org



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