My Introduction to America

mit 3

M.I.T. Dome

My introduction to America (1969 -1970) began with M.I.T., with exposure to the hippie movement and to Dianetics and Scientology. I was 23 years old then. I graduated from M.I.T. in 1971 with excellent GPA. I refrained from taking any drugs despite their popularity in the hippie culture around me. I also had some interesting moments with Dianetics and Scientology.

The following is an account of my introduction to America, which I first wrote on Beliefnet, little at a time, on the dates mentioned below. I shall be commenting on some of these experiences with Scientology later in the Comments section. This blog presents an analysis of Scientology from my current perspective.

Grade0

The Master

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Chapter 1

[11/21/02 11:26 PM]

Well, you guys sure seem to be getting upset with me. I really do not know what has made you guys so bitter. I could count many reasons to be bitter too, but knowledge has always grabbed my attention leaving little attention for bitterness.

I would not hesitate to say that I have probably suffered more hardships than many of you combined. Probably the Hindu ascetic streak within me helped me pull through some very tough times. The inner assurance throughout has been some vague perceptions of truth since my early Hindu upbringing, which suddenly blossomed into my awareness when I ran into Dianetics in the United States.

Vin4

This is a picture with my parents, the day I was leaving for USA in February 1969. I wouldn’t see them for another 11 years because I joined Sea Org after graduating from M.I.T. The reason I decided to go to USA was because I was suffering from the auto immune disease of ankylosing spondylitis, and I was hopeful of finding a cure in USA.

It was February 1969 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a poor student just arrived from India with only $10 in my pocket. Fortunately, I had a full scholarship provided by M.I.T. for its Master’s program in Nuclear Engineering. It was enough to meet my needs.

I still remember those days quite vividly. I was from a very conservative background suddenly thrown into the middle of a full-blown Hippie movement. I was wide-eyed and innocent. I remember being perplexed when somebody exclaimed “far out,” and I looked around and far into the distance to see what he was referring to.

Those were not really very happy days for me because all my hopes for a cure were dashed. I had expected to find a cure in America for the extreme pain I used to suffer from. Soon after I arrived I went to the Mass General Hospital to get examined completely. Only I was told after a few days that I was suffering from Ankylosing Spondilitis and the sedimentation rate was quite high. All I could do was to take ten aspirins a day to keep the pain down. I could look forward to two more years before I was completely bed ridden. This condition usually led to the doubling of the spine with a collapse of the rib cage and the lungs. Chances of survival were minimal.

I continued for a few days with aspirins to suppress the attack of pain, but depression overtook me. Life didn’t seem to be much fun at all. I contemplated the worst when I had the best of the opportunities in this material world. I felt very alone. My family was in India. I couldn’t communicate any of this to them. They could do nothing about it anyway. Why give them worry! I sought help from the student counselor. The counselor directed me to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist gave me some pills.

I took the aspirins and those pills for a few days. I felt spaced out. It was simply horrible. Then something strange happened.

I was walking down with a friend of mine toward the Central Square. I was trying to amuse myself looking at all the hippies with long hair and colorful, ragged clothes. Suddenly, a frizzy haired girl appeared in front of me and thrusted something into my hands. It was about 1” by 4” sized ticket of a yellow color. It said DIANETICS on the top with a fatherly looking smiling face in the center. It said something about PSYCHOSOMATIC ILLNESSES and how Dianetics could handle such illneses easily and swiftly. It invited one to a lecture. The address given on that ticket was close by.

My friend had gotten a ticket too. We looked at those tickets with amusement. It seemed like somebody was out to con people by selling something like snake oil. We decided to amuse ourselves by going to the lecture. We simply expected to see some long haired, drug-happy hippies there.

[To be continued…]

P.S. I hope you guys don’t mind me telling this story and if it takes some time to unfold fully. You may continue with your other discussions in the meantime. I will refer to the number of this post in the next installment to keep some continuity. Here I just wanted to paint the picture of my condition which prompted me to look into Dianetics and Scientology. If I were not so desperate I wouldn’t have given another thought to Dianetics.

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Chapter 2

[11/22/02 10:38 AM]

The last post was simply to paint the picture of the environment I was confronted with when I all of a sudden ran into DIANETICS. I was in a cultural shock being from India. I was attending a tough Master’s program at M.I.T. I had duties as a Teaching Assistant. I was suffering from incredible bouts of pain. I was given not much hope for continued survival. I was acutely depressed.

But I was blessed with a very sane upbringing in Hinduism. I had a warm family back in India who cared for me. I had a bright future ahead of me if I could only make it. I was young and did not mind taking challenges. I was also free of any drugs in my system except for a small amount of medical drugs. There are certainly some advantages coming from a relatively “not-so-advanced” society.

We are talking about the summer of 1969. It was a day at the Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

My friend and I walked into this a medium sized room on the ground floor of a small building. There were three rows of chairs, about 8 chairs in a row. There was a passage in the middle and a rostrum in front. The lecture was about to start. There were about ten people sitting in the chairs, all long haired and scraggly as we had expected, an amusing collection, indeed.

We found our place among the chairs, sat and waited. Soon the lecture started. The topic was BODY, MIND, and SPIRIT. The lecturer was a very presentable young man very unlike his audience. He talked with confidence and enthusiasm. I never expected to find this kind of a scenario, especially what he was talking about. What he said made perfect sense. The data had ring of familiarity from what I knew from Hinduism, only it was dressed up in precise modern vocabulary. It was fascinating.

After the lecture was over, we didn’t stick around. We returned to our dorm in the campus. We didn’t talk about that lecture.

My friend never visited that place again. But I did, this time alone, with some trepidation in my heart. Could there be something that could help me?

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Chapter 3

[11/23/02 10:38 PM]

In the last post I described my first visit to the Cambridge Dianetics Center located at the Harvard Square in an unassuming little building. What I found there was totally unexpected. To hear about the ancient Vedic truths in modern scientific vocabulary was fascinating. On my second visit to this center I hoped against all hopes that Dianetics could help me without knowing what it was.

When I went there I was given an OCA (Oxford Capacity Analysis) psychometric test. They interpreted my scores on that test and told me that it could be improved. I didn’t care about that test or its interpretation. I just wanted to know if my psychosomatic condition could be handled.

Then I found out about Dianetic auditing. It was $40 an hour and I had to buy at least 25 hours of it to get started. I rapidly calculated the cost in my mind and choked. From where will I get these $1000? It was a lot of money. I was just barely surviving as a student and teaching assistant. So, I bought the book, DIANETICS: The Modern Science of Mental Health (DMSMH) and returned to my dorm.

For next several days, I rarely got my nose out of that book. That data was incredible. I had taken quite a few courses on Psychology during my undergraduate years. I knew how mind was treated in Hinduism based on its function. The approach in Western psychology was very different. It was very structured and systematic but also very complex. It was full of different theories that sometimes appeared contradictory and confusing.

But Dianetics was very different. I liked the analogy of the mind with a computer. Having a background in computers I could directly relate to what was described in the book. When it described the Reactive Mind, and presented it as the single source of all aberrations, I literally felt a thrill. I felt like a volcano ready to explode just as the one painted on the cover of that book. All the confusion about my condition seemed to have evaporated. My hope surged. I kept reading. I finished reading the book from cover to cover within a week. I read portions of it again and again. I knew I had to get that auditing at any cost. I knew that if I could only get at that birth engram I would be out of the jam that I was in. Suddenly it all seemed possible.

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Chapter 4

[11/24/02 9:01 AM]

I considered getting $1000 on loan. But I still didn’t know how to go about it. In any case, I wanted to know if I had that money then could I get started on Dianetic auditing right away.

So I went back to the Dianetic Center. I had an interview about my condition. I told them that I was suffering from pain and I was told that there was no medical cure for it. I was taking a lot of aspirins for my condition. I wondered if this pain had psychosomatic origin, and if I could get rid of it.

I expected to get some sympathy for my condition. But I didn’t get any. I was told in a pleasant way that I needed to be free of any current intake of medication for at least 30 days before I could be audited. I looked at the prospects of going without my medication for 30 days. Would I be able to handle my pain through sheer determination!

I was then advised that if I took the HAS course (a course that taught the basics of human communication) then it would help me in my present condition. It cost only $40 and I could be on that course as long as I needed to complete it. It sounded a great deal. I could afford that course right away. I signed up for it.

I worked out a schedule and started on the HAS Course in the evenings and on weekends. It was like nothing that I had ever done. On my first day on the course I was handed a Course Pack of some mimeo’d sheets bound in a manila folder. It consisted of drills called TRs 0 to 4 (Training Routines), and additional material explaining them. I was supposed to do these drills by pairing with other students.

The first drill (TR 0) had to do with confronting. I was encouraged to use a dictionary to look up any words that I didn’t understand clearly. The word CONFRONT was explained as “to face without flinching and avoiding.” I read the drill. My understanding of that drill was checked out by a supervisor. I was assigned a “twin” (another student) to work with. My twin and I sat facing each other with our knees almost touching. We were supposed to just sit and look at each others face and do nothing else for the rest of the evening.

I had observed other students in the course room doing subsequent drills. The next drill called “TR0 Bullbait” appeared to be a lot of fun. I wanted to get to that stage. So I thought I shall just bear with this drill of sitting and doing nothing for a while.

But the first drill TR0 didn’t prove to be that simple. It was not easy to just sit and be looked at by another person. I was very shy by nature. My condition had made me just keep to myself. I was not very outgoing. I could be categorized as a bookworm. From my childhood, I was encouraged to be good in academics. I had met those expectations of my parents and more. The society I grew up in segregated opposite sexes. The opposite sex was a big button for me. It was unthinkable for me to be looked at not just by another person but also by a girl. I was mortified.

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Chapter 5

[11/26/02 4:40 PM]

I went through the Training Routines (called TRs 0 – 4) quickly and thought I had completed the course, when the course supervisor told me that the first round was merely to get some familiarity with the drills. Now I must sit down and do them for real. For example, I was required to do TR0 (the confronting drill) for 2 hours without moving or doing anything except BEING THERE.

That was tough, but I did it and that really got me involved in the course. I became less shy. I particularly liked “bull baiting.” BULLBAITING was a term that had to do with BUTTONS in a person. BUTTONS were actions or phrases to which the person reacted willy-nilly in a stimulus-response fashion. To get some reality on BUTTONS you may notice that the subjects that become taboo in a society happen to have many such buttons. The society handles such buttons simply by avoiding them. For example, you are not supposed to discuss religion and politics in a polite gathering, as it, more often than not, leads to heated discussions.

In all subsequent drills after TR0, the student was first allowed to do the drill with his twin simply helping him along. When a student acquired a reasonable mastery on a drill, the gradient of difficulty was increased. Now the twin was supposed to distract the student from doing the drill by subtly throwing in actions and phrases to which the student might react. It was to be done on a gradient and never to overwhelm the student. The requirement was to find the BUTTONS to which the student reacted, and then to keep on feeding that button again and again exactly in the same way until the button was flat (the student stopped reacting to it). Then you found another button and flattened it the same way. You never introduced a new button until the existing button was flat. You never introduced a button that overwhelmed the student. The purpose of the drill was to be kept in mind at all times. The idea was to help the student do the drill exactly in spite of distractions that may commonly be encountered in an auditing session.

I still remember a funny incident. I was coaching a student on TR3 as his twin. The drill was to repeat a question until you got the answer to it. The question used for the drill was, DO BIRDS FLY? The student was a thin, young man with thick spectacles. He was very shy. He mostly stayed by himself. I suspected that he was so introverted because of drugs. He was asking me, “DO BIRDS FLY?” and I would sometimes answer the question (which he was supposed to acknowledge), and other times I would say something to throw him off, such as, “You should know that.” (to which he was supposed to repeat the question).

I was bull baiting this student as his coach. I was acting out as a bird by flapping my arms and so on, but I could not get him to react much. He kept on going like a machine. So, I knew there was something not right about him. Once, in answer to his question I said, “Let me show you how birds fly.” I picked up his two arms by the forefingers on his hand and started to flap them. Still there was no reaction. But, then when I let go off of his fingers, he kept on flapping his arms while his face was totally serious and his mouth was asking me the question. It was the most amazing sight I saw. I could not laugh or cry. For a moment I just sat there with my mouth open.

I was on this course for several weeks and was enjoying it. I was observing all kind of human phenomenon that one normally does not encounter in a social setting. But then something happened and I didn’t feel like continuing with the course. My attention went back on my condition. I got depressed. And I stopped going to the course.

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Chapter 6

[11/27/02 1:36 PM]

I soon found out that I had “blown” from the course, and that I needed “ethics handling.” I was called back to the Cambridge Center. This was my first encounter with Scientology ethics.

The Ethics officer was a lady in her late twenties who has recently completed her OT levels. Other staff appeared to be in awe of her. This was the first time I heard of these OT levels. To me OT was probably like being a Yogi, except that the yogis in India led the life of a hermit.

I was quite respectful of the OT status when I met the Ethics Officer (EO). She sat down with me and explained to me the definitions and phenomena of “overts” and “withholds” (O/Ws). Overt was something you did (or failed to do) that resulted in some harm. Withhold was being secretive about it. She asked me to write down all my O/Ws for her as part of the ethics handling.

Nobody had ever asked me to do anything like this. The idea was to “cleanse oneself.” I could see its benefit. I sat down and wrote some things that were bothering me, and then took the sheet to the EO. She was very polite and nice. She read what I had written and then looked at me. “You have more O/Ws to write, don’t you? Go and write all of them down.” I was in awe. “How did she know?” I asked myself. “No wonder she is an OT. She can look straight through me.”

This time I took a bit longer and wrote more O/Ws. I felt better while writing these O/Ws because I could explain to myself why I did those things, and no longer was there any need to feel guilty or ashamed about my actions. I wrote down those explanations too. But when I took them back to the EO she was still not satisfied. I learnt about what justification meant. For each incident that I recalled, I was supposed to write down WHEN, WHERE, WHAT and WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT IT in a systematic manner. I was supposed to write down all the O/Ws as far back as I could remember.

Boy, it was a much tougher challenge than I thought. So, I gritted my teeth and went back to it. I think it took me more than a day. As I wrote down all the transgressions that I had ever committed I felt weight lifting off my chest. “Now it is past, done with, I have learnt my lessons, it is off my chest, and it is no longer a secret that I have to keep.” I thought, “Good riddance.” When I went back to the EO, I handed her a thick sheaf of papers. She smiled at me and then asked me to pick up the cans of an E-meter.

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Chapter 7

[11/28/02 9:02 AM]

I had come to know about this device called an E-meter on my earlier visits, but it was the first time that I found myself connected to it. Being an engineer it was easy for me to understand that the E-meter was a Wheatstone Bridge. The person holding the “cans” made the fourth resistor in that electric circuit. A needle on a dial reflected the resistance offered by the body as compared to other resistors in the circuit. A similar circuit is used in a Lie-detector. However, the needle motion of the E-meter was made to be highly sensitive to the slightest changes in the resistance of the body.

I wanted the function of the E-meter to be explained to me. The EO gave me a demonstration called a “Pinch Test.” She pinched me on my arm while I watched the E-meter dial. The needle suddenly dipped to the right as I felt the pain. She started to talk about other things. A minute or so later she directed my attention back to the E-meter dial and asked me to recall the pinch on my arm. The needle suddenly dipped to the right again but not as sharply as when I was pinched. I then learnt that a person thinking emotionally charged thoughts translated into suddenly dipping motion of the needle. Such needle reactions were used to track down emotionally charged thoughts in a person’s mind. Such thoughts were not necessarily lies. Such thoughts were simply charged with pain and emotion when recalled.

The EO then turned the E-meter dial toward herself so that I could not see it. She went through the sheaf of papers on which I had listed all my O/Ws that I could think of. I had come pretty clean but I knew I had assiduously avoided writing down about this one incident when I was 12, which I felt most ashamed of. Nobody ever had to know about it. It won’t do any good telling it to anybody.

The EO then looked at me. She made sure that I was holding the cans properly, and that the sensitivity on the E-meter was set correctly. She asked me if I was still holding something back and then she looked at the needle on the dial. I cringed mentally. I could not see the needle and I hoped that the needle would not react. But the worst of my fears were realized. My mental reaction was exposed on the E-meter. She looked at me and waited for my response. And I spurted out the incident when I was 12 with my face all red.

But that’s all the courage it took. The EO simply smiled and said, “Thank you. That is all.” And I was suddenly washed with an immense feeling of relief. It was over. I felt almost giddy with relief.

But then I was then told that I was required to go at a street corner and distribute Dianetics fliers to make amends what I had done in the past. I was mortified. I could not imagine me, a student on MIT’s graduate program, distributing any kind of fliers at a street corner. It directly hurt my status.

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Chapter 8

[11/29/02 8:55 PM]

The idea of me distributing leaflets at a street corner did not fit with the image I had of myself. I had always strived to meet the expectations of my parents by being a straight-A student. In spite of my physical condition I was able to maintain A’s in all subjects during my first semester at M.I.T. To be distributing strange fliers at a street corner was way below my dignity. What if somebody from M.I.T. saw me doing this strange thing? I was at first horrified at this thought.

But somewhere buried within me was a streak of rebellion that surged now and then. I was always a very obedient son as was required by my culture. I used to get praised for that by my relatives. But I had also felt a growing feeling of suffocation within me. Once there was an incident when, in India, we were all sitting at the dinner table and my father tried to micromanage something simple that I was doing. All of a sudden something snapped, and I told my father not to interfere and that I was capable of thinking for myself. He was stunned and so was everyone else at the table. Nobody opposed my father. I left the table very surprised at my own self. It was like committing an OVERT. I went to my room. Nobody followed me. I was a near adult.

It created a great mental turmoil for me. I sat down at my desk and wrote the following poem:

JIGSAW PUZZLE

Everybody
Is a jigsaw puzzle,
Made of a number of pieces
Uncountable.
There are pieces –
Square,
Oblong, and
Of all sort of weird shapes.
It is time’s gradual task
To fit them together
Right pieces at right places.

I,
As a jigsaw puzzle,
Am scattered all around.
Whatever is assembled,
Is forced into places
By inhibiting forces
Which shielded my eyes
With an affectionate but strict hand
Assuming me to be
Too young and incapable
Even to recognize those pieces.

I was not misjudged completely
By those inhibiting forces
For, I was too young
To know their shattering influence.
My opinion
I wonder if it could exist!
For the balance to judge them
They themselves provided.
Thus, they went on fitting pieces
Just as they wished
And I was happy
In my ignorance.

But a jigsaw puzzle
Has only one solution.
A misfit at one place
Causes many at others.
And too many misfits when forced
May shatter the whole assembly.
A misfit far away
When forced into the puzzle
Shattered my assembly,
Making me realize
The obsession created out of affection
Which was guided by a stubborn will.

Now I was faced with a dilemma. I was required to do something that did not fit with my image of myself at all.

But that old rebellion streak surged in me again. Did I like myself the way I was? Not really. Why not then I do something that was totally out of character for me. I decided to distribute the fliers, but at a street corner in Boston, far from the M.I.T. campus.

That was a momentous decision for me. It changed the subsequent course of my life.

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Chapter 9

[12/1/02 8:07 AM]

So, I went out to a street corner in Boston one afternoon and start distributing the fliers. It is hard for me to describe my emotions of the moment. The motto of Star Trek (my favorite show) may describe it somewhat. I was stepping into a territory where I had never gone before. I used to be very afraid of what others might think of me. I was very concerned about my reputation.

At that moment I was being very daring. In a strange way it gave me a taste of freedom. Reaching out to my environment was not as a dangerous activity as I had thought. Nobody criticized me for handing them those fliers. I did not come across any adverse reactions. People were polite. I was not struck by any lightening. By the end of the afternoon I was feeling exhilarated.

I went out to that street corner one more time to meet the quota of fliers that I had to pass out. I was then back on the HAS course with a new sense of freedom. I completed the HAS course and then started on the HQS course that was $80 at that time. The HQS course consisted of TRs 6 – 9. It was a lot of fun. There were some great students on that course. Cultural differences no longer seemed to be a barrier. I was feeling quite at home in the “American culture” by this time.

Interestingly enough this helped me with my life at M.I.T. as well. I felt more at home there too. I earnestly started to plan how I am going to put money together for my auditing. $1000 was a lot of money when translated into Indian rupees. Was that worth the gamble?

So far I seemed to have benefited from Dianetics and Scientology. So I approached my M.I.T. counselor and told him that I needed a loan of $1000. I did not tell him anything about Dn and Scn because I was sure that would not be acceptable as a valid reason for a student loan. So the pretext I gave was that I had to visit my family in India.

More than thirty days had gone by. I had not taken any aspirin or any other medication. I had survived and I was in much better spirits. But I was not out of the woods. I still desperately felt the need for freeing myself from my horrible predicament of being completely bedridden within two years.

I obtained the loan of $1000 from M.I.T. I went immediately to the Cambridge Dianetic Center and signed up for 2 intensives (25 hours) of auditing. I could hardly wait to start. But I had to go through a whole battery of psychometric tests.

Finally the day arrived for my first Dianetic auditing session.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there listening to my adventures!

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Chapter 10

[12/6/02 3:45 PM]

I want to let others know that obtaining the loan of $1000 on a knowingly false pretext was entirely my own idea. Nobody from the Dianetics Center even suggested it. They didn’t know enough about me to have thought of that excuse.

I also want to let others know that I paid back that loan fully with interest without causing any concern to anybody.

That was the only loan I ever took for Dianetics and Scientology services.

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Chapter 11

[12/7/02 8:21 AM]

As I walked toward the Dianetics Center at Harvard Square in Cambridge, I was literally shivering with excitement. I had already taken all the required psychometric tests. I had already paid $1000 for 25 hours of auditing.

I now sat expectantly in a chair waiting for my auditor. My auditor arrived. She was a young, pretty girl with rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes, and a bright, friendly smile. She motioned me to follow her to the auditing room upstairs.

There were two auditing rooms. The access to them was through the stairs built to a side inside the main hall itself. One climbed up the stairs to a low ceiling balcony. One had to cross the length of the balcony to the farther auditing room. A thick, metal hook protruded from the center of the low ceiling of that balcony.

I became aware of that metal hook only after my head struck it as I followed my auditor to the auditing room. I was stunned for a moment and stopped in my tracks. The creaking of the boards under my feet stopped and the auditor turned around to see what happened. She came and held me by my arms and waited for a moment. Somebody else came running up too.

My forehead was not bleeding. The auditor gently pushed my head forward to contact the metal hook again. I was told to let my head contact the metal hook several times exactly the same way that my head struck it the first time, except in slow motion. I had to move back and retrace my steps several times as part of this exercise.

Soon the pain of the impact receded and the fascination with this bizarre exercise captured my attention. It was explained that this action was called CONTACT ASSIST. It helped eliminate the after affects of an injury due to impact. It was same as the Dianetic principle of re-experiencing traumas to eliminate their influence upon oneself. CONTACT ASSIST helped an injury heal much faster. I was given a short description of this procedure to read.

I recalled this Dianetic principle from my study of the book DMSMH (Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health). It was a principle similar to the principle of de-hypnotizing a person. Say, a young man was hypnotized and told by the operator that whenever the operator touched his tie, the young man would feel as if his feet were on fire. The young man was then told that he would not remember this suggestion after he was brought out of hypnotic trance.

Later, let’s say, both the operator and the young man went to a party. Everything was going just fine until the operator touched his tie. The young man immediately started to feel as if his feet were on fire. He had seen the operator touch his tie but did not pay much attention to it as anything significant. However, that feeling of discomfort subsided as soon as the operator took his hands off the tie. But it would come back again whenever the operator touched his tie. Unbeknownst to him, this was a purely stimulus-response type reaction.

Now, let’s say, the operator takes the young man aside and shows him how it is the stimulus of touching his tie that causes the response of discomfort in his feet. As the young man observes this reaction happen again and again in a mechanical way in response to the same stimulus he may suddenly recall this association being established in the hypnotic session he had. At the moment of that realization, that hypnotic suggestion will suddenly lose all its influence to affect the young man. This phenomenon may be called de-hypnotizing.

Dianetics had found that injuries and losses that one suffered in life created traumas (engrams) that had the power to influence the person the way this hypnotic suggestion did. Such engrams created a condition for the individual that was much less than optimum both physically and mentally. A realization of the exact time, place, form and event of the moments of such injuries and/or losses then relieved a person of their adverse influence, thus restoring the person back to an optimum condition. This was the DIANETIC PRINCIPLE.

After completing my contact assist I proceeded to the auditing room. My first auditing session was a short one. I was asked to hold two cans connected to an E-meter. Then I was asked some questions about my present condition. I was allowed to speak all my concerns without interruptions or evaluations. I had the feeling that what I was saying was understood fully by the auditor. It allowed me to look deeply at my condition. The time passed swiftly. When I was done saying all that was on my mind about my condition, the auditor indicated, “Your needle is floating.”

In my naiveté, I understood that to mean that all my problems were now resolved. That was so quick, I thought. At that moment, I felt that way anyway. I went down the stairs with bouncing steps and announced to all the people in the room, “I have a floating needle.”

I was walking on air. But little did I know what was to come next.

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Chapter 12

[12/8/02 7:08 AM]

The next session involved doing TRs 0 to 4 briefly with the auditor. I was being trained into being a preclear. A preclear is a person who is being audited toward a CLEAR, the goal of Dianetics.

Dianetics assumes that the mind is inherently free of making errors in its computations. However, like a held-down seven in a calculator, externally enforced data may get lodged into the circuits of the mind. This creates errors in computation. The process of auditing is designed to CLEAR the mind of these “held-down sevens.” Hence the term CLEAR is used for a mind from which all the “held-down sevens” have been removed.

I learned that the auditing process was made up of the auditor asking the preclear certain questions. These auditing questions evoked a certain response in the mind. I was required to simply look at that response and report it to the auditor.

TR0 was very important in facing whatever appeared in the mind in response to the auditing question, and not to get scared. The way out was the way through. However bad the reaction was, it would go away if I simply confronted it. If nothing appeared in the mind in response to the auditing question then I was supposed to report just that. TRs 1 to 4 were there to communicate clearly to the auditor what I was observing in the mind.

The auditor then picked up the book SELF-ANALYSIS and went through a series of auditing questions from it. The idea was to understand the process of RETURNING. This was a very important concept in Dianetics. It was different from remembering. The mind simply returned to a past event and you observed that event somewhat like watching a movie. For example, one could have a general memory of sleigh riding in one’s childhood. But if one really went back to a moment of sleigh riding, one could really experience the snow getting down one’s collar and the motion of the sleigh and so forth.

To me auditing appeared to be like sitting back and enjoying the ride. This was real to me because, being a Hindu, I looked at myself as being different from the body and the mind. To me, my mind was like a personal computer, and the body was like a peripheral.

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Chapter 13

[12/9/02 9:38 PM]

My first few auditing sessions had to do with learning to be a preclear. I approached it with same alertness as I approached my engineering subjects at MIT. I made sure that I understood every action to the finest detail. Then I was ready for the “roller-coaster” ride.

Those were adventurous days for me. I kept jumping into the most bizarre situations with both feet first. I remember going to Connie Island with my friends who encouraged me to try out a Roller Coaster ride. I had no idea what I was getting into. They arranged me to sit in the front seat of the first car. The ride started slow and I sat with a smug smile on my face, but as the cars plunged downward my stomach rose to my mouth. I was holding hard to my glasses to prevent them from flying off into oblivion. The cars kept plunging downwards for the longest time. I remember thinking, “When will this downward plunge end.”

The auditing started slow. Once I understood the commands of the updated procedure of Dianetics called R3R we started straight looking into incidents of injury to my back. It was easy for me to recall the incident that happened just before my back pain started. It was in the fall of 1964 when I was in my second year of the five-year engineering program at IIT, Kanpur.

IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Kanpur was one of the most prestigious Engineering schools in India. (It still is.) It was set up in 1960 by a consortium of nine American Engineering Institutions. About 90% of the faculty at that time was made up of Americans. The whole curriculum was American. All the textbooks were American. The school campus was like a mini-America. It boasted the first ever computer in India, an IBM, that occupied a huge room. It had colored lights blinking on the consoles, huge tapes rotating back and forth briskly, sorters feeding punched cards data into the computer memory, and printers hammering away cryptic data onto reams of wide green-striped paper. The computer building was the only place that was air-conditioned on the entire campus. It was very inviting for us students in that hot Indian climate. I used to spend most my spare time there and got really hooked to computer programming.

Anyway, the incident took place at a tennis court. I was hitting hard while I was being heckled by boisterous students on the sidelines. All of sudden the ball of my left foot landed in a crack in the side of the cement court as I was peddling back to hit a backhand. It was a funny angle and a shock went through my body starting from the foot through my spine all the way to my head. I was stunned for a moment. I shook myself out of it, didn’t think much of it and continued with the game. I still felt dazed after I finished the game, but I thought it was temporary and didn’t think of that incident again, until that Dianetic session in late 1969.

Well, it was interesting to recall that incident and many others but there was no relief to my painful condition and I started to feel more and more anxious as the sessions grinded away. I could recall no further incidents of injury to my back and my physical condition was still pretty much the same as when we had started.

Soon we completed an intensive (12 ½ hour) of auditing, and started on the next one. I had expected some positive results by then but there were none. I started to think where will I get more money from if this second intensive was over without any relief. Thoughts started to cross my mind that this was just a scam after all. I had just gambled away $1000 (a big sum of money for me) for nothing. It was useless. I was now stuck with loss. My earlier euphoria was all gone. I was rushing headlong into apathy.

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Chapter 14

[12/10/02 8:00 PM]

About 14 hours of my auditing were used up. I felt like being on a long runway but unable to take off. I needed just a little more push. The auditor kept on asking for an incident when I hurt by back. “Why isn’t something coming up?” I sat and waited. Various thoughts swerved in my mind to and fro. “ Didn’t the Dianetics book talk about the birth engram? Didn’t it say that getting the birth engram would resolve a big part of the case? How can I get the birth engram? What do I have to do to get the birth engram? Oh! Hell this is not working. I am just stuck in this situation. It is just a scam. There is no way out. How will I pay back the debt? Oh! If I could just get this birth engram all the situations would resolve. I am ready to take off. I am ready to fly. If I could only get a little bit more push…”

Suddenly, I woke up and looked around. My body was slumped in the chair. I still had the cans in my hand. The auditor was peering at me over the shield of the E-meter. Had I dozed off? How long had I been this way? I asked my auditor, “What was all this? What happened to me?”

The auditor simply said, “Let’s go through this incident again. Go to the beginning of this incident and tell me when you are there.” I was perplexed. What incident could she be talking about? What am I supposed to do? Let me just wait and see what happens. I noticed a feeling of tightness around my head. I told that to the auditor. She simply said, “Continue.”

That tightness kept increasing until it formed a tight band around my head. Then that tight band start to move slowly downs my face. It took a few more moments before this thought hit me like a lightening. “I am being born! Oh, my God! I am being born…” A big shudder went through my body. I looked at the auditor. She was looking intently at me. She must have seen all that confusion followed by amazement and then excitement on my face. “I am being born!” I blurted out.

The auditor acknowledged me and sent me through the incident once again. I felt a great feeling of relief. What was happening was beyond my wildest imagination. Yes, I had read about the birth engram in the book. But it was just an interesting idea. Everybody was born so I expected to have a birth engram too. But this encounter was so sudden and unexpected that it took my breath away. I had come face to face with an engram. It was uncanny. It was just by the book. All my doubts about Dianetics were swept away.

The session ended. I felt very light in my body. I staggered down the stairs. I found it bit hard to keep my feet steady. I felt as if I was drunk. But my mind was fully alert.

I walked out of the Dianetic Center, stopped, looked at the sky, and took a long breath of fresh air. I started to walk toward MIT campus to my dorm. My feet didn’t seem to touch the ground. Soon I found myself running.

I was off the runway. I had finally taken off.

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Chapter 15

[12/15/02 10:06 AM]

I was off the runway, but I was not quite flying yet.

I had tasted the validity of Dianetics but I was a long way off from being rid of the pain in my back. I was still apprehensive about my predicament. But my hope had doubled, I felt more certain that I am on the right path and I dived into further auditing with a passion. And here I went wrong.

I knew from the Dianetics “Book One” to expect prenatal engrams. So, I deliberately start looking for prenatal engrams. This was wrong. I was no longer sitting and watching my mind to see what came up. I was now actively imagining what might be there. I was trying to control my auditing. My auditing went into sort of a grind again.

During this period I read the book SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL. It was interesting but it did not have the same impact on me as Dianetics “Book One” had. I then read the book HISTORY OF MAN, and I found it to be unreal and more like a science fiction. But then I came across the book SELF-ANALYSIS and I felt I could do something with it. I wanted to try it out on somebody.

I had always had a keen desire to understand the subject of the mind. At IIT, Kanpur (INDIA) an elective was allowed every semester to do with Humanities. I had elected courses in Industrial Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Experimental Psychology, etc. I still remember the experiment I had designed for my Experimental Psychology class.

I was fascinated by the idea of a Lie Detector. So I took an ordinary Ohm Meter, which measures resistance, and connected two wrist plates to it. I could then put these wrist plates around the wrists of a person and measure the resistance of his/her body. The idea was to notice the reactions in a person to certain stimuli. I knew how suppressed the subject of SEX was in the Indian society. I theorized that I should get maximum reaction to the word SEX when spoken to a person. I designed a strategy to spring this stimulus on a person in an unexpected manner to get maximum reaction.

The idea was to approach other students on the campus. Tell them that I was interested in finding out what associations came up most commonly in the mind in response to a list of words that I had prepared. I expected antonyms to appear mostly, such as, “day” in response to “night,” “girl” in response to “boy,” etc., but other responses could come up too. Then, I prepared a list of common words and somewhere in the middle of that list I embedded the word SEX.

The experiment was quite popular and highly successful. Other students would happily put those metallic wrist bands around there wrist and would be curious to find out about what came into their mind as a reaction. I would call out the words, note down their response, and also note down the reaction of the needle. The Ohm Meter was not that sensitive. Most responses didn’t read, some caused just a little flicker in the meter’s needle. But the word SEX always caused a movement of the needle all across the dial. It was fascinating. I would watch the expressions on the face of the subject. They would be eagerly responding to the words, but no sooner did I call out the word SEX, they would immediately withdraw within themselves in a seeming effort to hide any reaction, but the reaction would be clearly visible on the dial of the Ohm Meter. It was so revealing. And the person would then be more on guard when responding to subsequent words. It showed how the subject of SEX was so much suppressed that even thinking about it evoked a sense of guilt.

When I came across the E-meter in Dianetics, I seem to understand the function of it. I understood how it could peer into the suppressed thoughts in the mind. But I also looked at it as just an aid which had no more significance than that. The real significance lay in the answers that the mind presented to the consciousness in response to the questions.

I wanted to try out the questions of SELF ANALYSIS on somebody on the MIT campus. The opportunity soon presented itself.

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Chapter 16

[1/26/03 12:35 AM]

I ran into my would-be preclear in the cafeteria on the MIT campus. She was in the second year of the undergraduate program. She was from New Delhi, India. She was still finding it very difficult to adjust to the campus life in America. She was homesick and depressed. Her studies were suffering as a result.

I briefly talked to her about Dianetics and my experiences. I told her that this might help her pull out of her depression. I explained to her the self-analysis procedure of Dianetics, which was simple and easy to understand. She agreed to meet for a session on the next Saturday morning.

I met her in the lobby of her dorm after breakfast. It was a large lobby with very few people there at that time of the day. We sat down at a table in the corner. I took out the Self-Analysis book. I gave her brief instructions about what we were going to do.

Basically, it was a procedure called “straight memory.” I was supposed to ask her simple questions, such as, “Can you recall a time when you ate something good?” She was supposed to tell me whatever appeared in her mind in response to the question. If nothing came up in the mind that was ok too. When some incident did come up, she was to focus on one perceptic (visio, audio, taste, smell, touch, etc.) that I asked her to. Then we would see if she could get the earliest incident of that type. The whole effort was to be kept very light.

We started the session. I ran the session just by the book. The preclear was in apathy at the start. But as she started to recall incidents she got somewhat interested. We continued the session for half hour. There was no visible improvement in her tone, but she liked the session and agreed for another one. I gave her couple more sessions in the next few days. The sessions were pretty mild. There were no surprises or big changes. I asked the questions, and she answered them. At the end she felt sort of better.

The study schedule caught up with me and there were no more sessions. Couple of weeks passed before I ran into her again in the student cafeteria. “Vinay,” I heard her bubbly voice, “I have been looking for you. I want to tell you that since those sessions I haven’t felt depressed again.” My jaw dropped, but I recovered fast and congratulated her.

“Wow!” I thought to myself, “This stuff works!”

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Chapter 17

[6/7/03 8:08 AM]

The last time I added anything to this story was in January. I think it is high time that I end this hiatus. This is a weekend with no Math tuition. So I can sit still, ruminate and type.

The period is the summer of 1970 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. I was living in the Ashdown house on MIT campus pursuing my Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering. I was feeling more and more cheerful about life and getting more involved in it. I was feeling more hopeful about a future for me. At this time there were interruptions in my auditing. I was making new friends and getting more involved in social activities.

I heard of an event being planned in Los Angeles which was supposedly the largest event in the brief history of Dianetics & Scientology. Scientologists from all over the world were expected to converge to this event. A chartered flight was being arranged for all Scientologists from the New England area. I was asked if I was interested in coming to the event.

The price was fair. It was a great opportunity. I had a week off from my duties so I could take off for that event. And my curiosity had been building up too, with all the rumors about L. Ron Hubbard and his mysterious ship on high seas somewhere with a band of adventurous souls. I wanted to see first hand what it was all about. The organization for this chartered flight introduced me to more Scientologists at the Boston Organization of Scientology across the Charles River.

I remember this one evening when I was at the Boston Org. I was attending a briefing for all those who were taking this chartered flight to LA. After the briefing I was in the reception area when something caught my eye. It was a little magazine lying on a table. It was opened to a page on which was written:

“Think of infinite space in front of you.”
“Think of infinite space behind you.”
“Think of infinite space on your left.”
“Think of infinite space on your right.”
“Think of infinite space above you.”
“Think of infinite space below you.”

It was part of some Scientology process. I picked up the magazine and read all that was written on that page. I felt curiously attracted toward this process. There was a churning in my stomach. But I knew that I could not run this process on myself without the help of an auditor.

I placed the magazine back on the table and headed toward the door. But my mind kept thinking about this strange process. I had a long walk ahead back to my dorm. I remember being in very high spirits that evening. I was cheerful. I felt energetic. It was a beautiful summer evening. It was late. The full moon was brightening up the sky. I kept thinking about that process. Soon I found myself running over the bridge across the Charles River toward my dorm.

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Chapter 18

[6/7/03 2:45 PM]

I arrived back at my room dead tired but elated. I flung my shoes into a corner and myself on the bed. “I am just going to take a breather,” I said to myself, “before I change my clothes and turn the light off. A strange drowsiness came over me. The events of the day were going through my mind. But in the background was the thought about that infinite space. I closed my eyes.

I felt light and weightless as if I was detached from the body. I started to lose my sense of orientation. It felt as if I was churning inside my body… first slowly… and then faster. I couldn’t open my eyes. It was as if I was caught in a rapid current of water. I couldn’t help but be carried away. There was a strong sensation of motion. I had never felt this kind of a force before except, maybe, on a roller-coaster.

I didn’t panic. This is one thing I had learnt from TR 0 (confronting drill of Scientology) and auditing. Just be there and confront. Don’t resist. Fully experience it. The way out is the way through.

Then, suddenly, that feeling of rapid motion abated. It was like after coursing through a narrow tunnel at high speed I got spit out into a large chamber. I may still be moving just as fast, but the space around me was so large that I didn’t have that feeling of rapid motion. A feeling of absolute calm washed over me. I slowly looked around. It was like being in a very large chamber, only the dimensions of that chamber seemed to be infinitely large. It was neither dark nor light. It was like having an impression of night sky full of distant bright stars all around you.

I became aware of infinite space in front of me, infinite space behind me, infinite space on my left, infinite space on my right, and infinite space above me. Till now I had assumed that I was “standing” on something. But a sudden fear started to creep upon me. I didn’t want to look down because I was afraid what I would find. I forced myself to look down and then I caught my breath. There was infinite space below me. If I was falling I could not know. Neither gravity nor direction seemed to have any meaning in this situation. That’s when the panic hit me.

“My God! I am out here in space all alone; I don’t know how far away I am from earth. I don’t even know the direction of earth from here. I am completely lost. What am I to do now? I have a quiz tomorrow at MIT. I must attend that quiz. I must maintain my 4.0 average. I must do something to get back. What can I do? What can I do?”

I tried to calm myself down. “OK, just experience what is happening. Be there and confront. It is simply a phenomenon like any other phenomena you have gone through in your auditing. Ok, calm down. There has to be a way out of this dilemma.”

As soon as I was able to regain some semblance of control, I just knew in which direction the earth was. Again, I was caught in the grip of that irresistible current. But this time it didn’t take long. I found myself back in my room looking down at my body lying on the bed. I heaved a sigh of relief.

“Thank God! I am back… just a few feet more to my body and it would be all right.” I was still shaken up.

Suddenly, another wave of panic hit me. I couldn’t move toward my body. It seemed as if I was stuck to the ceiling. “Oh! I shouldn’t have stopped to look at that magazine.” I admonished myself, “Look what mess you have gotten yourself into!”

“But I could not have known that any of this would happen,” I told myself, “Just apply the formula that has gotten you so far. Don’t resist. Be there and confront. The way out is the way through. Be willing to experience anything.”

As soon as I decided to experience it I found myself descending toward my body slowly and slowly like a feather making its way through air. The moment I touched my body, I sat straight up in my bed.

“Whew! That was a close one. What was this experience all about?” I looked at my watch. Only ten minutes had passed since I had entered the room. But it felt like an eternity.

Even today the recall of this incident is as vivid as it can be.

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Chapter 19

[6/14/03 8:12 AM]

I found out that what I had experienced was called exteriorization in Scientology. I had heard about “out of body” experiences, but now I had a first hand reality on it. I did not expect the experience to be so scary. I still did not understand what had happened. The experience brought home to me sharply that I was not my body, but I still didn’t feel or think any different when I was out there in “space.” I was still the same person subject to my thoughts and emotions. All that mental baggage was still there with me “outside” the body. Was that experience for real?

That experience brought about a turning point in my auditing. I was put on a Scientology process called INT/EXT RD (Interiorization/Exteriorization Rundown). The idea was to handle any trauma associated with past experiences of “going in” and “moving out” of places and things. Such trauma is obviously associated with the experience of DEATH when one is forced out of a non-functional body. A similar trauma may also be associated little before BIRTH when one is “sucked into” a fetus.

INT/EXT RD was an interesting process. I recalled incidents as a teenager when I was growing up in this little town inIndia. One time I went to a movie with some friends of mine. We were five of us. After the movie we were riding on our bicycles back toward home. It was night and quite dark. The street lights were few and far in between. We passed through a section of the road which was so dark that one couldn’t even see the hand in front of one’s face. It was a narrow road and we were riding five abreast. Lights were far in the distance. We were chatting and laughing. I remember being right in the middle of all the riders. We were swerving into each other. I could feel my the handle of my bicycle touch the handles of my friends’ bicycles on either side. But we never got entangled into each other. There was a strange feeling which a bird might have flying in a flock. The flock moves as one entity. While riding through that dark stretch of road the five of us were moving as one entity. I do not know if my friends were aware of it. But that awareness is still very sharp in my mind.

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Chapter 20

[6/14/03 12:44 PM]

I recalled another incident of “exteriorization” from my childhood. I was about 10 years old then.

We lived in a huge mansion built by my grandfather 20 years earlier. We lived in the upper portion of this mansion. The larger lower portion was divided into two symmetrical parts where my father’s two elder brothers lived with their families. My grandmother lived with us. My grandfather had passed away before I was born in 1946.

This mansion had a grassy lawn in front. A path from the front of the mansion circled around the lawn on both sides and then met at the far end. It then went straight out to an iron gate 100 yards away. There were two smaller mansions on either side of that wide straight path. These additional buildings were also a part of the same property. They were rented out. This big residential compound had many servant quarters where the servants lived with their families. My brother and sisters, our cousins, and the servant’s children made a large playful group where we hardly knew the difference in status. We played on the lawn, fought at times, and then made up, as children often do.

At the time, when this particular incident took place, the winter had just ended and the days were getting longer. The evenings were beautiful. The air used to be full of all kind of fragrances from flowers. We just couldn’t wait to get out of the house and play on the lawn. There was lot of energy. We used to run and play till it was well after dark. A favorite game was called “Pum-pum-padi-ki-deel-dilo.” It was an Indian version of “I spy you.” A person was elected to go and touch the iron gate. During this period everyone else used to hide. When that person returned his job was to discover everyone’s hiding place, while others tried to touch his back without being discovered. There were lots of hiding places behind the bushes and trees and in the portico and veranda in front of the building.

This one evening it was my turn to go and touch the iron gate. I started to run. It was pitch dark around me. I reached the gate and then turned around. The mansion loomed in the distance with a tube light burning in the portico brightening up part of the lawn in front of it, and creating many long dark shadows in the veranda  To my little body, all the trees, bushes and buildings appeared huge. I felt elated and full of energy. I ran back as fast as my little feet could carry me.

The wind brushed past my cheeks. I couldn’t see my feet in the dark, but I felt that they were far below me. I felt very tall. My body seemed be happily running underneath me. I felt very relaxed. I found myself not exerting at all. “Hey, I am having a nice ride here sitting on top of this body.” This thought flicked through my head.

Then I was back at the lawn in the thick of the game.

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Chapter 21

[6/14/03 2:18 PM]

My INT/EXT RD sessions were going quite well. I was getting much better reality on the subject of exteriorization. It was easy to recall incidents that did not contain much pain. I was running out of them. I had now to confront incidents that were painful.

I have a clear recall of this incident when I was about 9 years old. I was a sickly child. At this young age I had already suffered through cholera, influenza, and typhoid. India was not so hygienic. But then one just took it in one’s stride. My father was a general physician. He had established a small nursing home in one of those two smaller mansions I mentioned earlier. He took care of me whenever I was sick.

The summer of 1955 was just ending. The monsoon rains were coming down hard. The rains continued day after day for weeks unabated. I was instructed by my mother not to go out and get myself wet in the rain. Most of the time I obeyed, but this one time I didn’t. It was too tempting to just sit at home and watch other kids running around outside in the rain. I ran out and joined them. Ah! it was a riot. It was so much fun. My clothes were soaked through and through. But we kept running and dancing in the rain that poured down hard from those dark monsoon clouds full of lightening and thunder.

I got a good scolding when I came back in. I changed my clothes, had dinner, and went up to the “penthouse” on the, otherwise, open roof where the beds were placed at this time of the year. All the children slept there. This room had a door and two large, screened windows on each of the four sides. The awnings above the door and windows protected us from the rain water. The frequent lightening and thunder appeared to be much closer and frightening though. Moisture laden, cool drafts coursed through the room. There were thick quilts on the bed.

As soon as I went up, I felt cold and queasy. So I dived into my bed. Everybody else was downstairs. But my old servant had followed me to tuck me in the bed as usual. He used to tell me stories which you may recognize as Aesop’s fables. Listening to those stories I used to go to sleep. But that night I felt awfully cold. I didn’t feel like gazing out the windows at the rain and lightening, or listening to the stories. I asked my servant to put more quilts over my body.

I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness. One time I heard a lot of anxious voices around me. My father and mother were there too. There were five or six quilts piled on top of my body. My grandmother, brother, sisters and others were all there around my bed. Then I lost track of what was going around me. It was a long uneasy sleep. When the night was over I didn’t seem to wake up. I found myself floating in some kind of haziness. It was getting brighter around me. I kept rising up through that haziness, until I popped out above the clouds.

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Chapter 22

[6/14/03 2:21 PM]

That was an entirely new sight to me. I had no idea what it was like being in and above the clouds. But I was there. It didn’t seem to bother me. It was all dreamlike. I soon found that I could propel myself simply by thinking. It was fun. It was a new freedom. I soon was zipping around among the clouds. At times the sensations were very clear but at other times I seem to drift back into a kind of queasy sleepiness. This went on for quite some time.

Finally, I opened my eyes. I was in a hospital bed in my father’s nursing home. There was fluid being supplied to my body intravenously. I felt very weak. It was hard to even turn my head. It was a bright morning. The rain seemed to have stopped long ago. The sun was filtering through the windows. The nurse saw me open my eyes. She ran out to call my father. Soon everybody was there. I could not talk. I was still drifting in and out of a sleep like state. My mother seemed to be asking me some questions anxiously. My brother and sisters seemed to be just standing there and staring at me curiously. My father was busy preparing injections to pump into my body.

It was sometime before I came around fully. I then discovered that I had been totally out a night, a whole day and then another night. My body temperature had gone as high as 108 degrees. Everybody was just holding their breath to see if I was ever going to come out of it. They were thankful that I did.

I was thankful that nobody scolded me.

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Chapter 23

[6/15/03 8:35 AM]

I believe that the purpose of INT/EXT RD is to bring an individual to a realization of what one truly is in relation to the body and to the MEST universe. This realization comes in gradients. As this realization occurs, one’s dependence on the body, and on the MEST universe, reduces to that degree.

Probably, the first gradient here is to remove the charge associated with “going in” and “moving out” of spaces and objects. One may extend it later to “going in” and “moving out” of time streams too, but that is only a speculation on my part. Maybe one is handling that already by moving up and down the Time Track.

By removing charge from incidents of “going in” and “moving out” (such as those few described in the last few posts) I felt quite comfortable with exteriorization and interiorization but it was some time before I could really assimilate the true understanding of it. What was it that was exteriorizing and interiorizing? How did it relate to Scientology Axiom # 1? Who am I?

I am not a thing. I am not what I create. I am not this MATTER or ENERGY. I am not even this TIME or SPACE. I am not even the postulates or considerations of these things. Am not I THAT which is putting out these postulates and considerations in the first place?

I am not something that comes out of the body at the time of exteriorization. I am not something that can be picked out from the head with forceps. What the hell is going on then at the moment of exteriorization?

Then all of a sudden it dawned on me that I AM LOCATED WHERE I CONSIDER MYSELF TO BE LOCATED. The visual perceptions from the eyes seem to be focused behind the eyes near the center of the head. Similarly, the audio perceptions from the ears are also focused near the center of the head. The entire nerve channels in the body seem to be unloading their perceptions near about the same location in the head. And if I am not considering it consciously then I am probably assuming that I am located in the center of my head.

So, it is just my consideration that I am located at the center of head!!! Flick… something happened. My viewpoint suddenly expanded incredibly. I had completed the INT/EXT RD.

But, that was only the first gradient of an incredible realization. I am now jumping ahead of the story but I think this is the appropriate place to mention the following.

Years later (in 1992), I was taking a walk all alone and just musing to myself. I had been out of Sea Org since 1983. I was completely off the official Scientology lines since that moment too. But I had been off and on studying two books… SCIENTOLOGY 8-8008 and THE PHOENIX LECTURES. These books contained fascinating material.

So, I was taking a walk. Suddenly, this thought came to my mind, “OK, so I am not considering myself to be inside my head… so where am I considering myself to be then? Am I not assuming myself to be within the physical universe?”

Flick… something happened. I went into an uncontrollable laughter. I am glad nobody was there to watch me. They would have thought that I had gone crazy.

At that moment I knew that I had now completed the INT/EXT RD for real.

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Chapter 24

[8/14/03 8:13 AM]

Oh! Heck!!I have been holding myself back from relating this experience up until now, but I may as well get over it. This was the icing on the cake. After this experience I knew that I was out of the woods. The medical predicament of “I have only two more years to live” did not bother me anymore.

It was the fall of 1970. I was in the second year of my post graduate studies at MIT, Cambridge. I had done well in my studies as far as the grades were concerned. My Teaching Assistantship was renewed. I felt much more comfortable compared to a year and a half ago when I had first arrived at MIT from India. I thought less of back home. I was now more interested in future.

As far as my auditing was concerned I was back on Dianetics (R3R) running the chain on “pain in the back.” I had already gone through the surprise of the birth engram which had established my reality on the power of this process. I found the idea of TIME TRACK fascinating. I was asking my mind to give me incidents from the prenatal period. I was running incidents from that period but I was not sure if they were real incidents. I could have been dreaming them up. I ran them anyway. There seemed to be some somatics accompanying those recalls, but no real “fireworks.” It was more like a period of searching, searching and searching… always trying to find something earlier and earlier toward the direction of the “sperm dream” as I had read in the book on Dianetics. The idea of past lives was too remote during those sessions. It was not there in my mind.

Then all of a sudden something happened. My neck went out of my control. My head jerked backwards and seemed to get stuck there for a moment. Then it jerked forward. That took me completely by surprise. There were no pictures of any kind of recall.

The auditor sent me back through the incident again. By now I had learnt not to force my mind to look or imagine. I waited patiently to see what developed. I felt I was outside my head calmly looking at the developments. The auditor asked me to locate this incident on the time track. I had learned not to second guess whatever the mind gave me even when it seemed outrageous. I patiently related the impressions that came to me.

The incident appeared to be in some arid region… it was all brown as far as I could see… felt like sand blowing all around me… yes, it was a desert… couldn’t place it on the time track very well yet… I appeared to be chained… there were other people… we all were connected to each other by chain… captives? A chain gang?… we were made to march… I was stumbling forward…this can’t be an incident from this life time… where am I getting these impressions from? They are so real…How far back does it seem? A few centuries ago? A bit more recent…FLASH!!! My whole body jerked… a searing bolt of electricity seemed to pass through my spine… It seemed like an explosion in the center of my body… a heavy, tingling sensation ran outward through my hands and feet… I had a distinct impression that if I touched something metallic there would be sparks coming out of my fingers and toes.

When it was all over, a sudden calm descended over me. I opened my eyes. I savored the present time. All the sensations were crisp and clear. I had never been so much in the present time before. I just sat there. I was back.

.

Epilogue

[Back to present – February 2012]

From today’s perspective, all this stuff happened 43 years ago. Scientology was not much known at that time. Also, these experiences took place at a small mission run by common enthusiasts, away from any meddling by the Church of Scientology. Money was not the focus at that small mission. The focus was on this “new” approach to addressing the mind and on camaraderie.

I am glad that I had that experience. I am also glad that I am not associated with the Church of Scientology in any way today. I also have a better understanding of what underlay those experiences. That knowledge has existed since Buddhism. The Church has no monopoly on that knowledge. I am now documenting those principles on this blog as KHTK, as I understand them from the perspective of Buddhism.

I shall be discussing my experiences with Scientology in the Comments Section below.

Thank you for reading my introduction to America.

.

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Comments

  • vinaire  On February 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Here are some comments as I look back at my experience of 43 years ago.

    I was an engineering student at that time. I was suffering from the condition of ankylosing spondilitis. I was attracted to Dianetics because of the promise of a possible cure. That attraction was reinforced by well organized presentation of simple eastern concepts (that I had familiarity with) in the subject of Dianetics.

    When I read the Dianetics Book One, I found the analogy of a computer applied to the mind to be quite fascinating. All one needed to do was to remove the “bugs” from the mind, making it clear. The concept of engram as the single source of all aberration seemed plausible and seem to restore hope for a cure.

    But now, as I look back at the conjectures in Dianetics, I find them to be in error. There is some truth in the concept of the engram as I have presented it in KHTK 6: INCONSISTENCY, but it is not all what it is made out to be in Dianetics.

    An engram is an inconsistency at the level of perceptions. There do not seem to be many actual engrams in a person. It is possible to imagine engrams through suggestion. There is no such thing as a basic engram (basic-basic), which, when cleared, would also remove from the mind all reasons for psychosomatic illnesses to continue or be precipitated.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 1, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    I describe the basic TRs (Training Routines) of Scientology briefly in my entries of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. Let me go over how I look at them today.

    I find that my perception of TR0 has always been different from most other scientologists because of my eastern background. In Scientology, the whole purpose of TRs is to train a person to audit. So, the purpose of TR0, in Scientology, is to make a person confront another person without reacting. TR0 encourages a person to develop a personality that is pleasant but firm and totally under its own control. It is like assuming the role of an auditor and be totally absorbed in it. It is what good actors do.

    I didn’t know it, but I did TR0 totally differently. I approached it the way Buddha taught Vipassana meditation. I didn’t resist and simply experienced fully whatever came up during straight TR0 and TR0 bullbait. I have documented this approach in KHTK 1: INTRODUCTION TO LOOKING. Basically, I laid myself fully open to myself. It was like cleaning any behavior patterns that I may have unwittingly assumed in the past. It was opposite from developing any auditor persona.

    I thought that I was doing what I was supposed to do on TR0. I found it to be very therapeutic. But, what I was doing was later termed as a “squirrel” practice by official Scientology. “Squirrel” is a derogatory term used in Scientology for those who alter standard Scientology practice.

    Today, I do not subscribe to Dianetics and Scientology. I find their approach in TR0 as part of a subtle conditioning. I prefer the approach I naturally took, which actually was taught by Buddha 2600 years ago.

    I find that Scientology approach actually leads to conditioning, Whereas, the eastern approach of “looking at what is there and spotting inconsistencies,” leads to mental and spiritual liberation.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 1, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    In the entry of Chapter 6, I describe my encounter with the ethics system of Scientology. The first two concepts that one encounters in this system are “overts” and “withholds.” These two concepts sum up to the personal feelings of guilt that hold a person back from fully participating in life. Please see Guilt.

    The feeling of guilt is the punishment that a person inflicts upon himself after being a party to some wrondoing. Here a person has unwittingly created an inconsistency, which totally goes against one’s natural tendency to minimize inconsistencies. So, this is very bothersome to the person

    A conflict comes about because one does not want to be punished, or thought badly of, by others. The person then holds himself back. That contributes greatly to lowering his potential. Thus, a great improvement can be brought about by relieving the feelings of guilt. But, this happens to be a very sensitive area to tread on.

    The simplest way to address the feelings of guilt is to have a person look at those feelings without resistance, and then to spot the underlying inconsistencies non-judgmentally. Fortunately, I was asked to do just that by the ethics officer in this case, which brought about a tremendous relief. No further action was needed.

    From todays perspective I have the following comments to make regarding this first experience with Scientology ethics.

    The actual relief came when I looked at that incident which occurred at age 12. Relaying the details of my transgression had nothing to do with that relief.

    Thus the practice of writing down one’s overts and withholds, or relaying such details to an auditor, or ethics officer, who then writes them down, is unnecessary. No details of one’s transgressions need be divulged to bring about spiritual relief.

    Unscrupulous priests and religious organizations, in the past, have misused such details, gotten from confessionals, to blackmail people or control their behavior in some way. The current Church of Scientology has been accused of doing that to suppress any criticisms of itself by its members and ex-members.

    But the truth is that details of one’s transgression need NOT be given out to relieve oneself from the pestering feelings of guilt. Simply look at your transgression non-judgmentally per KHTK principles. If you must share your thoughts while looking at these transgressions, you may do so in the presence of somebody you can trust. It does not have to be a priest, or an ethics officer, or an auditor. Please see KHTK 18: Helping Somebody in Need

    The idea that one must divulge the details of one’s transgressions to relieve the feelings of guilt is incorrect and unnecessary.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 11, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    Actually, forcing a person to talk, or write, about his transgressions in detail, after he has honestly looked at them, is nothing but an attempt to degrade that person.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 11, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    I would like to say something more about the E-meter used in Scientology. Please refer to the entry of Chapter 7.

    (1) E-meter responds to the inconsistencies in thinking, which one has become aware of. If there is an inconsistency in one’s thinking, but one is not aware of it, then the E-meter would not respond to it.

    (2) E-meter may be needed in the Scientology approach that “digs” into the mind. The E-meter may simply be replaced by “attention” when the mind is allowed to unwind itself as in the KHTK approach.

    (3) E-meter is just a fancy and expensive device that is not necessary for making spiritual progress.

    (4) The “Lie Detector” works on the same electronic principles as the E-meter. It is used under circumstances when a subject is unwilling to look at his her inconsistencies for the fear of being prosecuted.

    (5) Scientology seems to assume a similar scenario as in 4 above. This assumption, as well as the E-meter, don’t really belong in a practice concerned with encouraging spiritual progress.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    I would like to say something more about the CONTACT ASSIST used in Scientology. Please refer to the entry of Chapter 11.

    The basic underlying principle is that of LOOKING as covered in KHTK. One looks at the impact, which just took place, and which is fresh in the mind. Retracing the motions up to the point of impact helps one clarify how the impact happened. It is paying attention to what just happened non-judgmentally, without adding any further considerations. It is clarifying how the impact occurred that clears up any mental trauma.

    The same principle applies to an engram, which is basically an inconsistency created when incoming perceptions are not sorted out, For example, in a car accident, the incoming perceptions occur too fast to be sorted out. The raw impression of those perceptions persists as a trauma until it is sorted out at a later date. This later sort out is best done using KHTK principles.

    Please see KHTK 6: INCONSISTENCY.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    For ease of reference, I have marked the various posts in MY INTRODUCTION TO AMERICA as chapters.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 22, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    In Chapter 11, the Dianetic Principle is described as follows:

    “Dianetics had found that injuries and losses that one suffered in life created traumas (engrams) that had the power to influence the person the way this hypnotic suggestion did. Such engrams created a condition for the individual that was much less than optimum both physically and mentally. A realization of the exact time, place, form and event of the moments of such injuries and/or losses then relieved a person of their adverse influence, thus restoring the person back to an optimum condition. This was the DIANETIC PRINCIPLE.”

    This is a special application of the PRINCIPLE OF LOOKING of KHTK as described in KHTK 21.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 22, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    In Chapter 12, the Dianetic CLEAR is explained as follows:

    “Dianetics assumes that the mind is inherently free of making errors in its computations. However, like a held-down seven in a calculator, externally enforced data may get lodged into the circuits of the mind. This creates errors in computation. The process of auditing is designed to CLEAR the mind of these “held-down sevens.” Hence the term CLEAR is used for a mind from which all the “held-down sevens” have been removed.”

    However, the mind has these “held-down sevens” embedded at various levels described in KHTK 6:

    Perception
    Experience
    Information
    Hypothesis
    Theory
    Principles
    Axioms
    Self

    Engrams are cleared only at the top level of perception. Therefore, a Dianetic CLEAR would need further clearing on the remaining seven levels.

    Actually, in Dianetics and Scientology, the layer of “self” is never cleared. It is, instead, built up further on the secret OT levels of Scientology.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    In Chapter 12, I described how I applied TRs as a preclear:

    “TR0 was very important in facing whatever appeared in the mind in response to the auditing question, and not to get scared. The way out was the way through. However bad the reaction was, it would go away if I simply confronted it. If nothing appeared in the mind in response to the auditing question then I was supposed to report just that. TRs 1 to 4 were there to communicate clearly to the auditor what I was observing in the mind.”

    However, there are many scientologists who would disagree with the above description. For them, “confronting” means “to force oneself to be there and not move away.” Here one is resisting the reaction to move away. This gets tricky, because one is then not confronting the reaction.

    Actually, “force” or “resistance” has no part in confronting to understand something fully. If one is resisting then one is using force; and that is not confronting.

    Per KHTK 21:

    “Being there” actually translates as “putting no resistance there.” When you are not putting any resistance then any and all distractions will simply flow through you and discharge. The distractions, such as reactions, will persist only if you resist them.

    Confronting doesn’t mean that you resist either. Actually, when you resist then you are not confronting. When you do not resist mentally, nothing can push you around.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 30, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    In Chapter 12, I mentioned the difference between REMEMBERING and RETURNING:

    “The auditor then picked up the book SELF-ANALYSIS and went through a series of auditing questions from it. The idea was to understand the process of RETURNING. This was a very important concept in Dianetics. It was different from remembering. The mind simply returned to a past event and you observed that event somewhat like watching a movie. For example, one could have a general memory of sleigh riding in one’s childhood. But if one really went back to a moment of sleigh riding, one could really experience the snow getting down one’s collar and the motion of the sleigh and so forth.”

    I find that REMEMBERING involves effort. It is trying to visualize what was there at some past moment. It is not a true reconstruction of what occurred. On the other hand, RETURNING is effortless visualization, brought up automatically by the mind in response to looking.

    Returning occurs spontaneously. Returning does not work when effort is made to return. When returning does not take place then there are reasons for it. The main reason being that there is some inconsistency related to the subject of recall, which is preventing the needed indexing among the various layers of the mind. Please see KHTK 5: MEMORY & RECALL

    When returning fails the mechanism of remembering comes into play. Remembering is the mind’s effort to visualize what took place at some past moment. There is speculation involved in this type of visualization. This is to make up for the lack of free indexing among the layers of the mind.

    Free indexing is prevented by the presence of inconsistencies. One should then discuss the subject of recall to bring inconsistencies to the surface and resolve them. One should then be able to return on that subject.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 30, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    In Chapter 12, I wrote:

    “To me auditing appeared to be like sitting back and enjoying the ride. This was real to me because, being a Hindu, I looked at myself as being different from the body and the mind. To me, my mind was like a personal computer, and the body was like a peripheral.”

    My current understanding is that body, mind and spirit are different aspect of the same system. They are not independent of each other. These three aspects, ideally, should be in harmony with each other. Fixation on any one aspect results in inconsistency.

    The harmony is maintained when one observes whatever is there without expecting and resisting. This applies to observing any reactions that appear in the body-mind-spirit system.

    .

  • vinaire  On March 31, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    The incident related in Chapter 13 was initially obtained through remembering. The incident of Chapter 14 was, however, pure returning. It was letting the mind replay its perceptual recording of the time period of actual birth. It could not be reached until I, somehow, sorted out the inconsistencies in my mind about the subject of birth, beginning of life, etc. I now remember studying that area at that time.

    So, it helps to acquaint oneself with an area one feels troubled about. One should start as broadly as possible, and start spotting inconsistencies. For example, if one is having problems in the area of “relationships” then one should read up on that area, as needed, and start looking at that area broadly, using KHTK principles. Any hidden traumatic incidents in that area will then show up automatically without even trying,

    If there are no inconsistencies in one’s understanding of an area, then memory of that area will come up in the form of returning.

    .

  • vinaire  On April 14, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    The following video from BBC provides a current look at Scientology.

    http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/ancient-civilizations/the-secrets-of-scientology—full-film.html

    This kind of atmosphere was not so visible when I first came to USA. But looks like the seed of it was there. I was simply not aware of it.

    .

  • vinaire  On April 17, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    When I started my Dianetic auditing back in 1969 at the Cambridge mission, I was asked to do TRs with my auditor just before my first session. What I got out of that little exercise was, “I am supposed to be simply there in the auditing session and report to the auditor what comes up in my mind in response to the auditing question. I am to do nothing else. If nothing comes up in response to the auditing question then I simply wait till something comes up.” This went along with my implicit understanding of mindfulness, which I did not quite work out until recently. Please see the article below.

    12 STEPS OF MINDFULNESS

    I feel that this kind of mindfulness is not applied generally in Dianetic and Scientology. If it were, there would be no corrections lists necessary.

    .

  • vinaire  On April 17, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Back around 1978, I was removed from the post of TRs Word Clearer at Flag Land Base in Clearwater. I discovered recently that it was ordered by David Mayo because I was “being too thorough”. Taking too much time in word clearing TRs was apparently delaying auditors from quickly going into session.

    As far as I recall, my success rate of debugging students on the TRs course was very high. The primary reason for this success was that I was word clearing students not only on TRs but also on mindfulness. Being from India, that is how I had understood TRs to be. Apparently, the concept of mindfulness didn’t sit well with the executives in Scientology. It was considered “squirreling.”

    .

  • The Oracle  On September 21, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Great reading! Thanks for the stories!

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