Who is Vandana Shiva and why is she saying such awful things about GMOs?

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Vandana Shiva. Vandana Shiva.

Vandana Shiva is a prominent Indian-born environmentalist who, for the past decade, has emerged as an international icon in the movement criticizing conventional agriculture and biotechnology. In the most recent sign of her celebrity status, in January, Beloit College in Wisconsin conferred on her a prestigious honor as the Weissberg Chair in International Studies, calling her a “one-woman movement for peace, sustainability and social justice.”

Whether that accurately describes Shiva is debatable—there appears to be a sizable gap between her self-representations and the subjects she claims to be an expert on. However her status as a celebrity activist is not in question. Shiva’s unbridled opposition to GMOs has made her a favorite in liberal and environmental circles. She hopscotches the globe, making frequent appearances at anti-GMO rallies, on college campuses and on lecture tours, such as in in Costa Rica earlier this year.

Shiva has been referred to as a an “eco warrior goddess” by the e-Zine Punk Rock Permaculture, a “rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds” by journalist Bill Moyers and a “global sustainability expert” by the University of Kentucky. Time Magazine called her an “environmental hero” in 2003 and Forbes  identified her as one of the Seven Most Powerful Feminists on the Globe in 2010. She has more than 23,000 followers on Twitter and 43,000 on Facebook.

Shiva is perhaps best known for claiming that the introduction of genetically modified cotton seeds in India has led to mass genocide by poor farmers seduced by the ‘false promise’ of GMOs.

“270,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered the Indian seed market,” she has said. “It’s genocide.”

That’s a remarkable claim, and if true it is a tragedy of staggering proportions.

Shiva’s celebrity and her claims 

Vandana Shiva was born in the valley of Dehradun in India in 1952. A Brahmin, she was rasied in prosperity. Educated in her homeland, she pursued graduate studies in Canada, receiving an MA at Guelph and a PhD at the University of Western Ontario. A dedicated environmental activist, she eventually founded Navdanya – meaning “Nine Seeds” – more than two decades ago. According to its website, its organizational mandate is “to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, and to promote organic farming and fair trade.” Under her guidance Navdanya has evolved into a national movement.

Shiva is an energetic campaigner against globalization and a vocal critic of agricultural genetic engineering—GMOs, invoking religious imagery rather than science to defend her beliefs. “G.M.O. stands for ‘God, Move Over,’ we are the creators now,” she said in a speech earlier this year. She has written more than 20 books. In Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest and Water Wars, she examined the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate-led globalization. The Violence of Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind challenged what she referred to as the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist Green Revolution agriculture.

Many prominent intellectuals herald her as a forward-thinking scientist and visionary opponent of genetic engineering. When Beloit conferred its honorarium upon her, and in accompanying news releases and the website announcement touting her selection, it prominently noted her “PhD in nuclear physics,” calling her “a recognized expert on agriculture and biotechnology.”

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Are those claims accurate?

Shiva apparently believes so. “I am also a scientist… a Quantum Physicist”, she writes on her Navdanya website. Most of her books claim: “Before becoming an activist, Vandana Shiva was one of India’s leading physicists.” The speakers bureau that represents her identifies her as “a trained physicist.” Hundreds of organizations and prominent journalists, from universities to Bill Moyers to National Geographic (which referred to her as a “nuclear physicist turned agro-ecologist”), have represented her that way.

But those representations are incorrect. She is not a physicist let alone a prominent one. According to the University of Western Ontario, where she received her PhD, her doctorate is not in the discipline of physics, as she claims, but in philosophy. It focused on the highly technical and often politicized debate over a central notion in physics known as Bells’ Theorem, which has been called the “most profound” theory in science.

Perhaps foreshadowing her current contentious views about modern agriculture, Shiva concluded that quantum mechanics in physics was philosophically invalid and factually doubtful. The main thesis of quantum mechanics that she challenged has since been confirmed by experimental physics, meaning that her thesis stands at odds with factual reality. Independent of the quality of her philosophical research, it is a substantive leap to go from earning a PhD in the Philosophy of Science to self-identifying as a “scientist,” “nuclear physicist” or “quantum physicist”—the various ways she refers to herself.

Shiva also claims to have written more than 300 papers—a factoid echoed in almost every article or news release about her, including on Beloit’s site. A query of Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science (research platform for information in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities) returns only 42 records of peer reviewed papers or publications authored by Shiva since 1980.

Shiva subsequently abandoned her formal pursuit of philosophy, switching her focus to agriculture, plant breeding, genetics, biology, toxicology, microbiology, nutrition, social sciences and economics—subject areas about which she has no academic training and has not done any formal research.

Some argue that advances often come from those outside the mainstream of science and therefore she deserves to be heard regardless of her credentials or how they may be represented by her or others. Fair enough, let us consider a few of Shiva’s most prominent arguments.

Failed ‘Green Revolution’?

Golden Rice is rice genetically engineered with higher levels of provitamin A. It was developed by Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg. Shiva calls Golden Rice a hoax, a myth and a false solution referring to it as “a blind approach to blindness prevention…..”

“By focusing on only one crop, rice, which by itself does not provide all the nutrients, including higher quantities of Vitamin A than Golden Rice, the Golden Rice pushers are in fact worsening the crisis of hunger and malnutrition,” she writes on Navdanya. “Promoters of Golden Rice are blind to diversity, and hence are promoters of blindness, both metaphorically and nutritionally.”

Is Golden Rice a “hoax,” as Shiva claims?

Almost 700,000 children under the age of 5 die every year from Vitamin A deficiency disease. Golden Rice has been genetically engineered with enhanced production and accumulation of β-carotene in the grains. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that Golden rice contains up to 35 micrograms of β-carotene per gram of rice. A bowl of ~100-150 grams of cooked Golden Rice can provide as much as 60% of the recommended nutrient intake of vitamin A for 6-8 year old children. As little as 20% of the recommended daily allowance can mitigate or eliminate clinical symptoms such as blindness. Golden Rice also has a better conversion ratio for Provitamin A (which is turned into Vitamin A in our bodies) than leafy vegetables, carrots and other crops.

Shiva’s alternate proposed solution for promoting a ‘diversity of diet’ has not worked for the very poor who cannot afford to buy vegetables or fruits, or cannot devote the land on their subsistence farm to grow more of them.

Golden Rice is a product of the public sector with the realistic hope of saving the lives and sight of millions of children in the developing world. Despite its promise to help alleviate hunger, blindness and malnutrition, the vitamin enhanced rice has been met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists, including Shiva. In August of 2013, activists converged on an experimental field trial of Golden Rice in the Philippines and violently ripped up the plants.

Shiva is equally dismissive of the Green Revolution. That’s the term given to a series of initiatives pioneered by Norman Borlaug beginning in the late 1940s and blossoming in the 1960s that increased agriculture production worldwide, particularly in the developing world, by promoting high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds and making available advanced synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to farmers.

By 1991, Shiva was publicly calling the Green Revolution “a failure.” More recently, she suggested that it has caused hunger. Industrially produced crops, she writes, are “…nutritionally empty but loaded with chemicals and toxins ….” She claims that “The Green Revolution is chemical-intensive, capital-intensive and fossil fuel-intensive. It must, by its very structure, push farmers into debt and indebted farmers off the land.”

She summarily rejects the role of advanced technology in improving yields and reducing the toxicity of fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals. As Michael Specter noted in his profile of Shiva in The New Yorker, “Shiva wrote that the billions of dollars the foundation has invested in agricultural research and assistance poses “the greatest threat to farmers in the developing world.” 

The disjunction between the success of the Green Revolution and the role of modern technology in boosting yields, and Shiva’s disparaging characterizations, is startling, turning reality on its head. Focusing on her native country of India, she has gone so far as to assert that technology has caused problems rather than solved them, repeatedly claiming  that it has brought nothing to India except “indebted and discontented farmers.” She believes that organic farming can literally ‘save the world’. “Until the 1960s, India was successfully pursuing an agricultural development policy based on strengthening the ecological base of agriculture and the self-reliance of peasants,” she writes in “The Violence of the Green Revolution.”

Despite her romantic view of India’s past, in the 1950s, this vast and desperately poor country was a global agricultural basket case. Prior to the introduction of Borlaug’s technological innovations and new seed varieties, it had suffered more than 60 million famine related deaths. After the Green Revolution took hold, between 1965 and 1970 alone, wheat yields nearly doubled in the countries of India and Pakistan as a result of the embrace of modern agricultural techniques.

The agricultural turnaround in India may have saved hundreds of millions of lives. In 2012-2013, the country produced almost 250 million tons (mt) of food grain, and productivity is still growing. Famine has all but been eradicated and farmers can now cope with predictable periods of drought.

Most controversially, Shiva is also a vocal promoter of the much disputed claim that the introduction of GMOs in India has prompted the suicides of hundreds of thousands of impoverished Indian farmers.

Suicides have intensified after the introduction of GMO Bt cotton [in India],” she has written.  “…[S]eed monopolies… the collection of super-profits …has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India.”

As Discover blogger and New York University journalism professor Keith Kloor recently noted, Shiva’s claims have resonated with anti-GMO activists around the world. She is credited with inspiring a 2011 movie called Bitter Seeds which claimed to document the genocide supposedly perpetrated by Monsanto, who developed the Bt cotton seeds. The green online magazine Grist extolled the documentary for revealing the “tragic toll of GMOs in India.” Foodie favorite Michael Pollan, who often recklessly recommends anti-GMO propaganda to his legion of followers, called it “a powerful documentary on farmer suicides and biotech seeds in India.”

But Shiva is flat out wrong. She alleges a link between farmer suicides and the adoption of Bt cotton in India where no causal link actually exists. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reviewed the government data, academic articles and media reports about Bt cotton and suicide in India in 2008 and 2010, concluding that farmer suicides predated the introduction of GMOs, reflect the broader trend in suicides in the general population and have in fact leveled off in the agricultural sector in recent years.

“[I]t is nonsense to attribute farmer suicides solely to Bt cotton,” wrote Dominic Glover, an agricultural socio-economist at Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands in an article in Nature last year. “Although financial hardship is a driving factor in suicide among Indian farmers, there has been essentially no change in the suicide rate for farmers since the introduction of Bt cotton.”

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 Source: Nature, May 2013

Kloor provides a contextualized deconstruction of the ‘suicide myth’ and an analysis of what really has been going on in India’s farm belt in a superb article in the current Issues in Science and Technology, a publication of the National Academy of Sciences.

Is Shiva a demagogue? 

Mark Lynas, the British journalist who campaigned for years arm in arm with Greenpeace against crop biotechnology, but more recently abandoned his views refers to Shiva as part of the “lunatic fringe” of the anti-GMO movement. A year ago last January, after Lynas renounced what he now calls his ‘anti-science” past, Shiva rebuked him for saying that farmers should be free to use GMO crops, saying it was like giving rapists the freedom to rape.

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“That is obscene and offensive,” Lynas responded, noting a string of bizarre comments by Shiva—many of them eagerly embraced by her followers and disseminated by credulous journalists from Bill Moyers to Bill Maher. In her public statements, he notes, Shiva often oscillates between exaggeration and deliberate falsehoods. Consider her comments on the so-called terminator, the name given to describe seeds that could be designed to be sterile, so they can only be used once. Shiva constantly invokes the specter of “suicide genes” as part of her stump speech criticism of GMOs.

“The danger that the terminator may spread to surrounding food crops or the natural environment is a serious one,” Shiva has said. “The gradual spread of sterility in seeding plants would result in a global catastrophe that could eventually wipe out higher life forms, including humans, from the planet”.

One problem with Shiva’s argument: terminator genes have never been developed; they are a fiction of the anti-GMO movement, perpetuated by Shiva and her followers and the journalists that enable her. As Lynas has written, “You don’t need the intelligence of a Richard Dawkins or indeed a Charles Darwin to understand that sterility is not a great selective advantage when it comes to reproduction, hence the regular observed failure of sterile couples to breed large numbers of children. As Shiva’s case so clearly shows, if we reject data-driven empiricism and evidence as the basis for identifying and solving problems, we have nothing left but vacuous ideology and self-referential myth-making.”

That’s only one of many clearly misleading or outright wrong statements that Shiva makes on her adulatory-laden tours through the anti-GMO movement. One of her favorite gambits is to link GMOs to autism and other diseases, whose incidences have increased in recent years. “If you look at the graph of the growth of G.M.O.s, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it’s literally a one-to-one correspondence,” Specter quotes her as telling an adoring audience in Canada earlier this year “And you could make that graph for kidney failure, you could make that graph for diabetes, you could make that graph even for Alzheimer’s.”

But as Specter writes: “Hundreds of millions of people, in twenty-eight countries, eat transgenic products every day, and if any of Shiva’s assertions were true the implications would be catastrophic. But no relationship between glyphosate and the diseases that Shiva mentioned has been discovered. Her claims were based on a single research paper, released last year, in a journal called Entropy, which charges scientists to publish their findings. The paper contains no new research.”

Shiva confuses correlation with causation. The recorded increase in the incidences of some diseases, but not others, also tracks identically with the increased consumption of organic foods, an even closer correlation. Most experts believe the rising numbers reflect that many of these diseases are being tracked more carefully. Meanwhile, diseases that might credibly be linked to food consumption–stomach cancer for example–are actually trending downward.

Vandana Shiva’s influence in the worlds of politics, agriculture, technology and development shows no signs of waning. She continues to receive accolades in the media, collects humanitarian awards and is regularly bestowed with honorary degrees from universities across North America (most recently an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Victoria in Canada).

Shiva says Golden Rice can’t work but published studies show that it does work. She claims Indian farmers commit suicide because of Bt cotton while careful academic studies show that Indian farmers who plant Bt cotton earn more money per hectare and are no more likely to commit suicide than organic farmers. She claims that seed companies are distributing ‘terminator genes’ that will will bankrupt them when no such seeds exist. She claims that no famine existed in India before the Green Revolution when the Indian government itself has published the data on lives lost to starvation.

In overstating her credentials and in spreading her political agenda, Vandana Shiva asks the public to believe she is an expert in agriculture, crop production and genetic engineering. She influences the public debate. She is called upon as an expert witness as legislators, oh so sensitive to public opinion, debate how to best regulate agricultural technology. That’s concerning. At best, Vandana Shiva is a provocative lay observer. She deserves to be judged and listened to based upon the quality of her arguments and the evidence.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University. Follow @JonEntine on Twitter

Cami Ryan, a Professional Affiliate with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan is a contributing columnist for the Genetic Literacy Project. Her blog is a platform for dialogue around current food and agriculture issues. You can follow her on Twitter at @DocCamiRyan and on Facebook.

 

  • Loren Eaton

    Nice article, Ms. Ryan!
    ‘She claims that no famine existed in India before the Green Revolution when the Indian government itself has published the data on lives lost to starvation.’ That’s chutzpah on steroids!!
    Even the red dot on her forehead fails to lend gravitas to a disgraceful claim like this.
    I’m in my mid 50’s and even I remember the stories coming out of India (and China, for that matter) concerning the famine and the resulting ‘most important job for garbage collectors’. She apparently lived there and missed the entire episode.

    • Cairenn Day

      She is of the wealthy, privileged class. Many of her statements align with that of the very conservative Hindu nationalist party. They tend to reject modern science for their ‘traditional science and medicines. She would like a return to the past, but with women in positions of power, instead of men. The caste system would remain in place.

  • Erasmus

    Any university that confers an honorary degree on this fraud should hang its collective head in shame.

  • RobertWager

    Shiva also won the “BullShit” of the year award during the Johanesburg conference on Biodiversity.

  • Physics Police

    Using actual suicide and hypothetical rape in political rhetoric is pretty darn low.

    • Bernie Mooney

      Especially uttered at a time of a horrendous rape and murder on a bus in India.

      • TVG

        That was a rape, murder and aggravated assault, in which there were two victims, not just the woman. Yes, it bothers me that a man who tried to protect her was beaten with a metal bar to within an inch of his life, yet is forgotten.

        • Bernie Mooney

          Its very telling that someone who touts herself as a “feminist” and is seen as one has been totally silent on the epidemic of rapes in her country. That is a real, clear and present danger.

          • Loren Eaton

            How do you think ANYONE of this ilk would react if someone from the biotech industry drew that analogy??

  • Very well done, Cami! I first learned of her reading Mark Lynas’ speach where he mentioned her comparing farmers using GM seeds to rapists. Just – wow.

  • Bernie Mooney

    Great stuff. She totally rejects western science in favor of Vedic science, read superstition. My favorite Shiva story is one I stumbled across when I wrote about her last year. . Before leaving Alvin to prepare for a 7 p.m. lecture in Houston titled “WTO, Basmati Rice & the Stolen Harvest,” Shiva walked across the road and looked out into a shaggy field. “They look unhappy,” she said. “The rice plants. Ours at home look very happy.” “That,” RiceTec reports, “is because it’s not rice. That’s our test field, it was harvested in August. That’s weeds.”

    • LOL!

    • Loren Eaton

      Classic!! A real heavyweight in our industry. Stacy Malkan should invite her and Jeffrey Smith to join her team of ‘experts’. Then we would have an entire precinct of Keystone Kops.

    • Laurence Topliffe

      Bernie, you are ignorant of the Vedic knowledge and you dismiss anyone who does. That is being very closed-minded. The Vedic knowledge is the oldest body of knowledge about the universe and consciousness and everything. I would say that you do not know that there are 7 states of consciousness, 4 more beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping. If you read The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, you will learn that when one gains the highest state, which is called Enlightenment, moksha, Unity and yoga, they have the ability to command or use the Laws of Nature that are responsible for the order in the universe. If there was no order, nothing would exist. Order always requires intelligence and intelligence is always a characteristic of consciousness. That means that the source of the universe is consciousness. The brain does not create or generate consciousness. It seems logical but it’s wrong. If human brains were doing that, that would mean that the brain of every other living creature was doing the same thing, but some of those brains are tiny, way too small to be able to do that and no scientist has ever been able to find out what the cause of consciousness is. They won’t find anything because nothing exists except consciousness. There are two scientists who have explained this in detail and you can find them at http://www.mumpress.com. Do search for “yogic flying.” You will see photos and a video of people levitating. They are only able to levitate for a short period of time because the way the brain has to function to fly has not become permanent yet. You will find brain research in those books or at http://www.istpp.org, http://www.tm.org, http://www.invincibleamerica.org, http://www.invincibledefense.org, http://www.tmeducation.org, http://www.tmbusiness.org, http://www.globalgoodnews.com. Are you not aware that plants are affected by the thoughts humans have? Do search for “My Plant Just Read My Mind.” If you contact me at forpeace at windstream dot net I will send you so much proof that it would take you a week or two to read it all and longer than that to understand it. At the university http://www.mum.edu everyone practices the Transcendental Meditation technique which comes from the Vedas. There are hundreds of published scientific studies done at major universities all over the world and the military is using it to treat veterans for PTSD. Insurance companies are paying part of the cost of learning because of the proven benefits. http://www.doctorsontm.org. I suggest you learn the basics about something before you denigrate it. Speaking about something you are ignorant about is a very unwise thing to do.

      • C James Townsend

        If Vedic sceicne was so great why did it leave India in poverty, misery and want for centuries?

        • Laurence Topliffe

          Excellent question. The answer is that Life on Earth goes through two ages, kali-yuga and sat-yuga. The first is an age when the Vedic knowledge is not well known and is not known to the detail needed for people to benefit from it. That age has been the one we have been in for a few thousand years. When the correct knowledge fades away, then misunderstandings happen. Buddha knew about it and was teaching some of it but since I’m not knowledgeable enough to say what he was teaching or how correct it was I can’t tell you much.. Jesus was also teaching the Vedic knowledge. It’s why he said “the kingdom of heaven is within” and “Even greater miracles that these (the ones he did) can ye do.” He was a yogi and a yogi is a human being who has developed the highest state of consciousness. Anyone who gains that state can do all of the thing he did and more. What happened when the correct knowledge was lost is that life became based ONLY on what we could learn from science. When a human being gains that state of Unity Consciousness they have the benefit of learning through science of the relative world and also learning through Vedic science, which looks at things from the inside of objects. Everything is the expression of the infinite field of pure consciousness that is the basis for human consciousness. If that field of consciousness didn’t exist or wasn’t the basis for the universe, no living entity would have consciousness. What happened when Jesus was stopped (which he could have stopped or avoided if he wanted to) is that a lot of religions were created. Since then life has been based on beliefs and beliefs are often wrong but when one’s actions are based on wrong understanding, lot of problems occur and problems cause suffering. Right now humanity eats things it shouldn’t, grows foods to eat in harmful ways, cooks food that reduce or remove the nutrients. Businesses and people pollute out of ignorance and some refuse to stop because of stupidity or greed or both. The thing you need to understand about why life is this way is that the body is not the person. The “person” is the soul that incarnates in a body so it can evolve spiritually which happens as a result of what it learns from all of the things it does. Good actions creates good karma and bad actions create negative karma. Karma is what Jesus described when he said “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” What you do in one life will create an influence that will come back to you in a future life. Since a soul is an eternal being, it will have the time it needs to develop that state of consciousness that stops reincarnation. That is the goal of LIFE. All of this is explained in the Vedic knowledge. Read the Bhagavad-Gita commentary by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and How to Know God which is a rewrite of The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali.

          • Loren Eaton

            And maybe the answer is that everything you say is complete woo-woo BS….and there was starvation and famine because the haves stuck it to the have-nots they judged to be inferior. Sounds suspiciously like the caste system…and I get the impression that Dr. Shiva ended up on the winning side of that struggle even though she can’t recognize it.

          • Tomáš Hluska

            That’s just a nice excuse for being incompetent and unable to help the starving people.

          • Clifford Ageloff

            You lost me at kali-yuga. You are touting a belief system. It has nothing to do with any reality other than your own.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            Kali-yuga is not a belief. You just choose to ignore the proof because of what you believe. This knowledge goes back thousands of years before any religion. Religions are belief systems and the basis for them is the knowledge in the Vedas. But because of the passage of time, the truth faded. There are thousands of people around the world who are levitating and there are hundreds of scientific studies that show what happens in the brains of the levitators when they levitate. The coherence within and between the hemispheres is maximum. Continued practicing the mental technique results in the brain functioning that way permanently and when that state is gained, the individual has achieved a specific state of consciousness called Unity, Moksha, Enlightenment and Yoga. All these names refer to the exact same state. It is what Jesus referred to when he said “The kingdom of heaven is within,” and the state one needs to have to be able to do the things he did that are called miracles. They are all listed in a book entitled The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. You can continue to say this is all ridiculous for the rest of your life and I guarantee that one day you will realize you were wrong. The scientific studies have been done by reputable scientists at universities all over the world. You would have to believe that every one of them is a liar or very stupid, or both, to think that the proof is fake and a fraud and all the people, who include scientists, business leaders and teachers and others who work at major educational institutions and businesses and are much more knowledgeable and smarter than you are all pretending to levitate and that is just plain stupid and shows a wilful state of ignorance on your part. The ones who are levitating and experiencing the bliss know it’s true. It’s only the ones who are ignorant who do. You can continue to stay ignorant by not looking at any of the proof or you can prove yourself wrong by looking at it. Many people who say things like you do won’t do the research because they would have to admit they were wrong and they don’t want to do that. That’s your choice but one day you will realize it was the wrong one.

          • Clifford Ageloff

            I see…so anyone not ascribing to Unity, Moksha, Enlightenment and Yoga, Vedas, etc. are ignorant. I studied those intently and it did nothing for me. It is all based on fantasies like any other religion. I’d say you are hugely arrogant in asserting that only your belief system is the Truth. I don’t need to read any book about Yoga Sutras or some other malarkey. Anytime someone says they have It all dialed in I can assure you do don’t. It is you my friend who is willfully ignorant (and incredibly offensive) by adhering to a belief system that casts all non-believers as ignorant. I guess there is no arguing with you as you are always right since your religion tells you so. Not sure you have any basis to assert that scientists at universities, etc are much smarter than me. Your insults are outrageous. I am a trained scientist which is part of why I reject your phantasmagorical beliefs which seem to make you believe you are infallible. Got it.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            Nothing I said is a belief and saying so does not make it true. Just because you studied something does not mean that you understand it. You haven’t looked at the brain research that shows the way the brain functions when one is meditating or levitating or experiencing or has a higher state of consciousness. You can read all about strawberries but until you eat one you will never be able to describe the experience of eating one or what it tastes like. You can detect what happens in the body when you eat one but reading about it will never result in you having the same experience. I’m not arrogant. I’m knowledgeable about what happens during meditation. You could go to a university where they have the ability to detect what happens in the brain when one meditates and see for yourself. Same for what happens in the brain when one is doing the levitation technique. To think that all of this ancient knowledge is false just because you won’t do the research to prove it’s false is not what a scientist should do. You may not be able to prove a negative but you certainly can disprove what’s claimed to be true if it isn’t. So try to do that. If you are a scientist you should have the resources to do that or can find others who do.

          • Clifford Ageloff

            You are a cult member. Get help.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            You’re very ignorant and want to stay that way. If anyone needs help, it’s you. You are not able to respond to any of the statements I made about science, That suggests you are also a liar. I don’t know what your age is but everything I have said and all the science which is already accepted around the world is known to be true and if you are young enough, you’ll see more governments using this knowledge to create a peaceful world. It’s already being used by Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Switzerland and many more. The US government is using it to help vets with PTSD. Court judges are using it to prevent crime. Schools are using it to stop bullying. Doctors and health insurance companies are using it to prevent and cure heart problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. So if you continue to believe you’re right and tell everyone that this is all a big hoax one day you will be known for being completely wrong. If I were you, I would print this out and date it. The question is whether you could ever admit you were wrong.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            The practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique and sidhi techniques, (look up siddha online) is NOT a religion. Religions are belief systems and no part of this knowledge is based on belief. You are saying that all the solid scientific proof is fake but what you believe is true but you have no evidence at all. You are going outside the field of science to make a claim that you can’t back up, no matter how much you say. If it’s false, PROVE IT!

        • shenendoah

          Indian poverty–the direct result of the pig-headed English colonizers-rapists-murderers!

      • Loren Eaton

        ‘…oldest body of knowledge about the universe and consciousness and everything.’ As determined by whom exactly? Those who have acquired the ‘consciousness’ then the ‘knowledge’? I think I’m starting to understand. That is what we call a circular argument.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          This is not a circular argument. People who are in an undeveloped state of consciousness are often dismissive of anything that is beyond their ability to understand and/or accept. Instead of studying the knowledge enough to understand it before they say anything they base their statements on their unfounded beliefs. The Vedic knowledge is thousands of years old and in its original form is in Sanskrit which is not a man-made language. Where did it come from? When a human being gains the state of Unity Consciousness, their individual consciousness is united with the infinite field of consciousness that is the source of the universe. That field of consciousness is a field of infinite possibilities and is a field of dynamic silence and unbounded energy and it vibrates. The vibration is what creates the particles out of which the orderly universe is made according to the Laws of Nature which reside in that field of consciousness. That vibration is a sound that someone who has gained that state of consciousness where they are one with that field of consciousness are able to “cognize” it within their own consciousness. There are two scientists who have explained this in detail, Dr, John Hagelin, who provided crucial knowledge necessary for the development of Unified Field, and Dr. Tony Nader, who has detailed knowledge of the human body. They have written books that describe in detail the connection of the human body to the Vedic knowledge. Until you read them enough to understand this knowledge you have no basis for dismissing this knowledge and once you do, you will not be able to dismiss it because it’s so exact. The books are available at http://www.mumpress.com. If you were to experience that field of infinite consciousness that is the source of the universe, you would not be able to deny that although people who don’t want to admit they are wrong might do it anyway. Look at: What if animals could talk to you? | Openhand (Fantastic). (Do search.)

          Also, look at: http://omtimes.com/2014/01/interview-anita-moorjani/. It’s about a woman who was dying from cancer and had an experience that cured her. There are thousands of people who have developed enough of their consciousness to be able to levitate for short periods of time. There are groups of them around the world. There is a video of them on Youtube. It would be absurd to think that thousands of people would pay to learn this technique and then find out that it was a scam and then joined in groups to pretend to levitate for an hour or more at a time. it would be equally absurd to think that the Ecuador government would have its entire military taught this technique if they weren’t certain of its validity.
          It seems to me that you do not understand what is meant by a higher state of consciousness. People have a hard time learning something sometimes If they have a different view of life. Children are unable to learn some things that adults find easy. People who dismiss this knowledge do not know enough about it to reach any conclusion but that is the way some people are, because they are so sure that they know everything that they reject anything out of hand and refuse to look into it, perhaps because they think they would be shown to be wrong and they are not willing to take that chance.

          • Loren Eaton

            ‘People who are in an undeveloped state of consciousness are often dismissive of anything that is beyond their ability to understand and/or accept.’ Who, EXACTLY decided this?
            ‘is in Sanskrit which is not a man-made language. Where did it come from?’ If you don’t know where it comes from, how do you know it’s not man-made?

          • Laurence Topliffe

            Where does it say I didn’t know where it came from?

          • Loren Eaton

            Then make a statement instead of asking a question.

          • Sanskrit is a useless language. It was practiced and is used by people from my caste, in India. The Brahmins, the upper caste priestly clan. As of the 2011 cencus out of 1.2 billion people in India, at most 14000 use sanskrit.

            Thats not even a drop in the ocean. Sanskrit is as useful a language as a wart in a persons genitalia 😛

          • // human being gains the state of Unity Consciousness, their individual consciousness is united with the infinite field of consciousness// -> Right there, this is Deepak Chopra bullshit material 😀

          • Laurence Topliffe

            With the loss of insight into Yoga, the
            other five classical sys­tems of Indian philosophy lost their power. They
            remained on the theoretical level of knowledge, for it is through Yoga alone
            that knowledge steps into practical life.

            Thus we find that all fields of
            religion and philosophy have been misunderstood and wrongly interpreted for
            many centuries past. This has blocked the path to the fullest development of
            heart and mind, so precisely revived by Shankara.

            Interpretations of the Bhagavad-Gita
            and other Indian scrip­tures are now so full of the idea of renunciation that
            they are regarded with distrust by practical men in every part of the world.
            Many Western universities hesitate to teach Indian philo­sophy for this reason.
            The responsibility for this loss of Truth to the whole world lies with the
            interpreters of Shankara’s teaching; missing the essence of his wisdom, they
            have been unable to save the world from falling ever deeper into ignorance and
            suffering.

            This age has, however, been fortunate.
            It has witnessed the living example of a man inspired by Vedic wisdom in its
            whole­ness and thus able to revive the philosophy of the integrated life in all
            its truth and fullness. His Divinity Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the
            inspiration and guiding light of this commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, adorned
            the seat of the Shankaracharya of the North and, glowing in divine radiance,
            embodied in himself the head and heart of Shankara. He expounded the Truth in
            Its all-embracing nature. His quiet words, coming from the un­bounded love of
            his heart, pierced the hearts of all who heard him and brought enlightenment to
            their minds. His message was the message of fullness of heart and mind. He
            moved as the living embodiment of Truth and was addressed as Vedanta Incarnate
            by that great Indian philosopher, now President of India, Dr Radhakrishnan.

            It was the concern of Guru Deva, His
            Divinity Swami Brah­mananda Saraswati, to enlighten all men everywhere that
            resulted in the foundation of the world-wide Spiritual Regeneration Move­ment
            in 1958, five years after his departure from us.

            India is a country where Truth matters
            most and Indians are a people to whom God matters most. Indian soil has
            witnessed many times the revival of life’s true philosophy. The people of India
            have never hesitated to return once more to the right path whenever it was
            convincingly pointed out to them that their way of life had taken a wrong
            course. This receptiveness to Truth of the Indian people has always been a
            source of inspiration and a signal of hope to all movements aiming at the
            revival of true life and living.

            May the present commentary on the
            Bhagavad-Gita produce the desired effect in response to the historical
            necessity of today. The purpose of this commentary is to restore the
            fundamental truths of the Bhagavad-Gita and thus restore the significance of
            its teaching. If this teaching is followed, effectiveness in life will be
            achieved, men will be fulfilled on all levels and the historical need of the
            age will be fulfilled also.

            MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI

            The Old Manor, Aldbourne, Wiltshire,
            England

            12 January 1965

          • Sean

            Swap out your book for the Bible, and this is just like having an argument with a bible thumper. Magic is not real.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            Here is a
            partial list of abilities that humans have
            when they have gained Unity Consciousness..

            The full list is in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a yogi. The only reason a human beings could do these things is if they had access to the Laws of Nature, which are responsible for the existence of and orderliness in the universe. The Laws of Nature are all within that infinite field of pure bliss consciousness that is at the deepest level of everyone’s mind. When one goes within their individual consciousness by meditating, they will experience it and as a result of experiencing it enough times it becomes permanent. At that time the individual identifies him or herself as an expression of THAT, the field of infinite consciousness. You can deny this as much as you want but then explain how it is that people who practice the TM-Sidhi programs are able to levitate for short times. This is happening all over the world. There are groups of yogic flyers in almost every country.

            40. By controlling the
            nerve-currents that govern the lungs and the upper part of the body, the yogi
            can walk on water and swamps, or on thorns and similar objects, and he can die
            at will.

            41. By controlling the force
            which governs the prana, he can surround himself with a blaze of light.

            This is the force which
            regulates the various functions of the vital energy (prana). One of the
            brother-disciples of Sri Ramakrishna actually had this power; and it is
            recorded that he once used it to light the path for Ramakrishna on a dark
            night. However, Ramakrishna later found it necessary to take the power away
            from him because it was making him dangerously egotistic.

            42. By making samyama on the
            relation between the ear and the ether, one obtains supernatural powers of
            hearing.

            43. By making samyama on the
            relation between the body and the ether, or by acquiring through meditation the
            lightness of cotton fiber, the yogi can fly through the air.

            44. By making samyama on the
            thought-waves of the mind when it is separated from the body-the state known as
            the Great Disincarnation-all coverings can be removed from the light of
            knowledge.

            Like aphorism 39, this refers to
            the yoga power of Withdrawing the mind from one’s own body in order to make it
            pass into the body of another. In this state of withdrawal, the “Great
            Disincarnation,” the mental coverings composed of rajas and tamas dwindle
            away and the light of sattwa is revealed.

            45. By making samyama on the
            gross and subtle forms of the elements, on their essential characteristics and
            the inherence of the gunas in them, and on the experiences they provide for the
            individual, one gains mastery of the elements.

          • Zack

            You keep referring to the “orderliness” of the universe. Have you seen the universe lately? It’s a mess!

          • Laurence Topliffe

            Are you trying to make a joke? Or some point? I don’t get it. If you eat spoiled food or one that has one of the known deadly bacteria in it, you’ll get sick and die unless you get treated in time. I think you’re trying to argue without having any way to refute the statement.

          • Laurence Topliffe

            I’ve had wonderful results in my
            active life from Transcendental Meditation — clearer thinking, more energy,
            more success — but I’ve had very few experiences while meditating. A couple of
            times a year I might have a few moments when the thoughts thin out enough for
            me to sense there is a field of silence underlying them. Very rarely I’ve
            glimpsed a bit of glow coming from that underlying field. I treasure these few
            moments.

            I recently visited the community
            that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi built at the central point of India, the Brahmasthan.
            Two thousand Pandits live there, meditating and performing Vedic ceremonies. In
            my first program in the yogic flying hall I felt deep silence as soon as I
            started meditating. And it didn’t go away as it always had before. It lasted,
            and it glowed. When I started the [TM-Sidhi program], it got better.

            I gradually became aware that the
            silence had an energy to it, an inner dynamism. As I went on, joy began
            radiating from it like sunlight.

            When I started yogic flying, I
            could sense this whole field was alive, filled with divine Beings. There was
            Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, and others whose names I didn’t know. There was
            Maharishi, Guru Dev, and Shankara. As I made great leaps, they told me, “We are
            bringing you up! We are bringing you up!” They were raising me into the air,
            but like cosmic parents they were also raising me into the full adulthood of
            higher consciousness. And amazingly enough, as good parents, they loved me.

            I could perceive that they weren’t
            dwelling only in the transcendent but were permeating the whole atmosphere of
            the Brahmasthan. Then they weren’t just permeating the place but also
            permeating me. Then they were me. At this, I was totally enveloped in divine
            love. I was divine love. The unity of creation became a living reality. I had
            heard this statement before, but now it was no longer abstract. It was me. And
            this is going on all the time in full glory whether I’m perceiving it or not.

            For the next four weeks I didn’t
            perceive it at all, just my usual [experiences.] Then at the end of the final
            Vedic chanting ceremony of my visit, I felt a sensation in the area of my
            heart. It was Maharishi! He was suddenly there, as if he’d just popped in. Then
            I realized he had been there all along, but I had only now become aware of him,
            as when a statue is unveiled and you can finally see it. This was no statue
            though, but a living presence. I remembered the section of [a performance] that
            describes the [teacher] as “ever-dwelling in the lotus of my heart.” I could
            see this wasn’t a figure of speech but a statement of fact. Devotion poured
            from me to him, and I basked in his approval.

            People were leaving the hall, and
            as I stood up, his presence expanded to become like a hollow tube running from
            the top of my head to the base of my spine. My awareness was centered inside
            the tube, and I was perceiving everything from this inner core of silence. This
            is my Brahmasthan, I suddenly knew. People too have Brahmasthans, a
            transcendental center out of which activity manifests.

            I started walking, but I wasn’t
            walking. I ate a prasad banana, but I wasn’t eating. Walking was happening and
            eating was happening, but I wasn’t doing them. I was observing it all like a
            king on a throne enjoying the activity of my kingdom but not involved in it,
            totally free within myself. This is delightful, I thought, but what is it?

            This is the Self, Maharishi
            explained. The one great Self that enlivens the universe. You are in the Self
            now, and that is separate from activity.

            That sounds like enlightenment,
            cosmic consciousness, I thought. Yes, Maharishi told me. Just a glimpse of what
            awaits you.

            Gradually the glimpse faded, and my
            real identity became overshadowed by relative activity. Now that I’ve had these
            experiences, though, I know my deeper reality and I’ll never be the same again.

      • Steve Page

        “You will see photos and a video of people levitating. They are only able to levitate for a short period of time…”

        That’s called jumping or, occasionally, falling.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          People who levitate are not jumping. The TM-Sidhi technique they practice results in the body lifting up with no help from the legs. But obviously they are going to come down if they have not yet developed enough of their consciousness to be able to hover, which will be the next stage.

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            You could argue that Transcendental Meditation (TM) is an even bigger fraud than Vandana Shiva.

          • Camiel, The movement around TM can be questioned, surely, as it has a cult feel to it, but transcendental meditation itself is pretty rock solid from am empirical perspective. I myself, a science savant, learned the TM technique in the 1970s, and have found it enormously beneficial. It’s like taking a power nap. There have been dozens of studies showing that it induces intense relaxation and rest in a very compressed time frame, and has substantive benefits–health benefits. We have to be careful about distinguishing the pseudo religious cult (and the huge money making empire) that have grown up around it from the very straightforward technique, which is akin to yoga.

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            I was not referring to the TM-cult Jon. That cult is bad enough alright but the technique is also a fraud. Being an ex-TM practitioner myself I have found that these health benefits do not amount to much at all.

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            But the lack of health benefits was not what made me stop TMeditating. When I found out that the supposed meaningless mantras do actually mean something I felt betrayed, never TM’ed since.

          • Rohin

            One of the physiological benefit of TM i read is that it increases the brain grey matter density.

            A week ago, read in nature neuroscience that, Video games also helps for that

        • Loren Eaton

          ‘What goes up must come down
          spinning wheel got to go round’
          –Blood Sweat and Tears

          A classic!

          • First Officer

            Neunundneunzig Luftballoonen ?

          • Loren Eaton

            Yup. And your level of consciousness is directly proportional to the length of time it takes you to hit the ground when your balloon pops!!

      • First Officer

        I don’t know. Yogic flying sounds good but unless you got EZ-pass, you still run into the rush hour backups over the GW Bridge.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          The world is going to change in a very profound way. Many of the things that you are certain of now will be shown to be either a little bit or a lot wrong or irrelevant or non-existent. Many of the problems of today will no longer exist because humans will stop creating them. As long as humans violate Natural Laws, they will create problems that will reduce the quality of life for themselves and others. In the state of Enlightenment, we will have the benefit of the scientific discoveries that have improved the quality of living at the relative level but we will not create the pollution that has reduced the quality of life of millions of people and ended or harmed the life of millions of animals. The basis for being able to fly is that the individual consciousness is consciously connected to the infinite field of consciousness that is creating the universe based on the Laws of Nature that are within that field of consciousness. Since that consciousness is actually infinite, meaning that it’s wherever there is a habitable planet (or one that is not) for humans and other beings and you are one with that field of consciousness, you are not limited to staying on this planet. The problems we have now are way out of mind, One also understands that the evolution of the universe is going along exactly as it should and every living creature is going along for the ride and will enjoy arriving at the goal.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          The value of this knowledge is beyond anyone’s ability to appreciate or even understand for more than one reason. Until one has developed some of their consciousness it’s hard to do either of them. When one has gained the higher state, it’s as natural as walking or sleeping.

        • yessss

          I love you.

      • Babu Gogineni

        Such absolute rubbish about yogic flying and states of consciousness and oldest body of knowledge. It is clear that this post is written by one who has not read any of those books he lauds, or if he has, has not applied his mind to what he has read.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          You are speaking about something you do not have any or the right knowledge of. The reason this knowledge is not known can be found by doing a search for “kali-yuga” and “sat-yuga.” These are two ages that pass on Earth and during the first one, this knowledge is not very well known and what is known is often wrong. That is why we have wars, crimes, do not live according to the Laws of Nature, etc. This age has lasted for thousands of years and it is coming to an end right now and the second age is starting and it will also last thousands of years. This age of ignorance is ending and the age of Enlightenment is starting. The Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa teaches this and other knowledge from the correct interpretation of the Veda. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali lists the abilities that humans have when they develop the state of Enlightenment, also known as Unity Consciousness, moksha and yoga. Yoga means union. The individual has united his individual consciousness to the home of the Laws of Nature, the infinite field of consciousness that is at the deepest level of everyone’s mind and when they do this, they have access to the Laws of Nature. Here is a partial list from the book:

          40. By controlling the nerve-currents that govern the lungs and the upper part of the body, the yogi can walk on water and swamps, or on thorns and similar objects, and he can die at will.

          41. By controlling the force which governs the prana, he can surround himself with a blaze of light.

          This is the force which regulates the various functions of the vital energy (prana). One of the brother-disciples of Sri Ramakrishna actually had this power; and it is
          recorded that he once used it to light the path for Ramakrishna on a dark
          night. However, Ramakrishna later found it necessary to take the power away
          from him because it was making him dangerously egotistic.

          42. By making samyama on the relation between the ear and the ether, one obtains supernatural powers of hearing.

          43. By making samyama on the relation between the body and the ether, or by acquiring through meditation the lightness of cotton fiber, the yogi can fly through the air.

          44. By making samyama on the thought-waves of the mind when it is separated from
          the body-the state known as the Great Disincarnation-all coverings can be
          removed from the light of knowledge.

          Like aphorism 39,
          this refers to the yoga power of Withdrawing the mind from one’s own body in
          order to make it pass into the body of another. In this state of withdrawal,
          the “Great Disincarnation,” the mental coverings composed of rajas and tamas dwindle away and the light of sattwa is revealed.

          45. By making samyama on the gross and subtle forms of the elements, on their essential char­acteristics and the inherence of the gunas in them, and on the experiences they provide for the individual, one gains mastery of the elements.

          46. Hence one gains the power of becoming as tiny as an atom and all similar powers; also perfection of the body, which is no longer subject to the obstructions of the
          elements.

          Not only can the yogi become as tiny as an atom but as huge as a mountain, as heavy as lead, or as light as air. And the elements cease to obstruct him. He can pass through
          rock. He can hold his hand in the fire, unburned. He can walk through water,
          unwetted. He can stand firm against a hurricane.

          Here is a video of people levitating for short periods of time. The reason they can’t stay in the air is because they have not fully developed that state of consciousness. Repeatedly doing this results in the brain maintaining the brain functioning that allows one to fly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHwhGUo90jw
          There are groups of yogic flyers all over the world. Ecuador is teaching its entire military this technique and so are other countries, as well as their students. Mexico, Argentina are two examples. You will find more at http://www.tmeducation.org, http://www.mum.edu, http://www.globalgoodnews.com. Dr. Hagelin, a physicist and Dr. Nader, a very smart physiologist have both written books proving the connection humans have to the Vedic literature. You will find those books at http://www.mumpress.com. Before you ridicule something, you should know what you are talking about. Or you will be seen as very foolish and ignorant. Laurence Topliffe

          • Clifford Ageloff

            You realize that self-referential information proves absolutely nothing?

          • Laurence Topliffe

            I have no idea what you mean. Everything I have said comes from the Vedas and if you don’t know anything about what they are or how they came into existence, then you can’t criticize me for anything I have said about them or what the Vedas say Do a search for “kali-yuga” and “sat-yuga.” Read the books you will find at http://www.mumpress.com. If you read them, you will not be able to criticize them except by claiming they aren’t true which would be based on nothing except your belief. You would have to ignore all the proof or call it all lies, but without actually doing anything to determine the validity of what the Vedas say.

          • //You are speaking about something you do not have any or the right knowledge of.// -> Nice try. I come from a brahmin family in India and my father literally runs a temple as a preist in his home town. I have studied the scriptures quite well. So if anyone is authoritative here, i can fairly say i know the vedic scriptures well.

            Tell me something? How do you find and agree with the definition of the Varna (Caste System) in the Rig Veda?

          • Laurence Topliffe

            How do you know what I know? That statement is a clear sign of a know-it-all, someone who thinks they are better and smarter than anyone else.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          Here is an experience of the state of Enlightenment:

          I’ve had wonderful results in my
          active life from Transcendental Meditation — clearer thinking, more energy,
          more success — but I’ve had very few experiences while meditating. A couple of
          times a year I might have a few moments when the thoughts thin out enough for
          me to sense there is a field of silence underlying them. Very rarely I’ve
          glimpsed a bit of glow coming from that underlying field. I treasure these few
          moments.

          I recently visited the community
          that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi built at the central point of India, the
          Brahmasthan. Two thousand Pandits live there, meditating and performing Vedic
          ceremonies. In my first program in the yogic flying hall I felt deep silence as
          soon as I started meditating. And it didn’t go away as it always had before. It
          lasted, and it glowed. When I started the [TM-Sidhi program], I gradually
          became aware that the silence had an energy to it, an inner dynamism. As I went
          on, joy began radiating from it like sunlight.

          When I started yogic flying, I
          could sense this whole field was alive, filled with divine Beings. There was
          Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, and others whose names I didn’t know. There was Maharishi,
          Guru Dev, and Shankara. As I made great leaps, they told me, “We are bringing
          you up! We are bringing you up!” They were raising me into the air, but like
          cosmic parents they were also raising me into the full adulthood of higher
          consciousness. And amazingly enough, as good parents, they loved me.

          I could perceive that they weren’t
          dwelling only in the transcendent but were permeating the whole atmosphere of
          the Brahmasthan. Then they weren’t just permeating the place but also
          permeating me. Then they were me. At this, I was totally enveloped in divine
          love. I was divine love. The unity of creation became a living reality. I had
          heard this statement before, but now it was no longer abstract. It was me. And
          this is going on all the time in full glory whether I’m perceiving it or not.

          For the next four weeks I didn’t
          perceive it at all, just my usual [experiences.] Then at the end of the final
          Vedic chanting ceremony of my visit, I felt a sensation in the area of my
          heart. It was Maharishi! He was suddenly there, as if he’d just popped in. Then
          I realized he had been there all along, but I had only now become aware of him,
          as when a statue is unveiled and you can finally see it. This was no statue
          though, but a living presence. I remembered the section of [a performance] that
          describes the [teacher] as “ever-dwelling in the lotus of my heart.” I could
          see this wasn’t a figure of speech but a statement of fact. Devotion poured
          from me to him, and I basked in his approval.

          People were leaving the hall, and
          as I stood up, his presence expanded to become like a hollow tube running from
          the top of my head to the base of my spine. My awareness was centered inside
          the tube, and I was perceiving everything from this inner core of silence. This
          is my Brahmasthan, I suddenly knew. People too have Brahmasthans, a
          transcendental center out of which activity manifests.

          I started walking, but I wasn’t
          walking. I ate a prasad banana, but I wasn’t eating. Walking was happening and
          eating was happening, but I wasn’t doing them. I was observing it all like a
          king on a throne enjoying the activity of my kingdom but not involved in it,
          totally free within myself. This is delightful, I thought, but what is it?

          This is the Self, Maharishi
          explained. The one great Self that enlivens the universe. You are in the Self
          now, and that is separate from activity.

          That sounds like enlightenment,
          cosmic consciousness, I thought. Yes, Maharishi told me. Just a glimpse of what
          awaits you.

          Gradually the glimpse faded, and my
          real identity became overshadowed by relative activity. Now that I’ve had these
          experiences, though, I know my deeper reality and I’ll never be the same again.

          There are thousands of these kind of experiences by those who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. They are in books available at http://www.mumpress.com.

      • ITS CALLED SCIENCE

        Really? So… all of physics and chemistry and biology and statistics is wrong? It is called thermodynamics. You might want to learn some actual science. Like, any, like simply the first two rules of thermodynamics which govern everything and are fundamental in understanding, well, pretty much any science and quite a few math subjects.

        • Laurence Topliffe

          Dr. John Hagelin is a physicist and he knows the how and why humans consciousness have consciousness and the how and why humans have the proven ability to develop higher states of consciousness. If you don’t know anything about the higher levels of consciousness and how the brain functions for those who have developed them you are in no position to say anything about any of this, especially if what you say is criticizing those who have devoted their life to research and understanding. Before anyone dismisses this they need to read the scientific research. Sometimes ignorant people think they know it all when they know little to nothing and won’t do any research at all to make sure if what they are sure of is true. Some ignorant people are also arrogant and don’t think they are or can be wrong. Why don’t you tell the thousands of yogic flyers they aren’t really levitating. Why don’t you look at the research that shows how the brain functions when someone is levitating? Are you so arrogant that you don’t want to be proven wrong so you ignore the research? There are thousands of people all over the world who do the yogic flying in groups. Ecuador is teaching its entire military the technique and other countries are preparing to do the same. The Transcendental Meditation technique is the most thoroughly studied meditation technique in the world. The published research is online and in many scientific journals. It would be plain stupid to think that the science that proves the brain functions in a more orderly way is fake and it would also be stupid to think that it was true but then the organization that teaches this knowledge then starts to lie with the scientists joining in. Look at http://www.invincibledefense.org, http://www.istpp.org.

      • As a (ex) Hindu living in India, born in a brahmin family (read upper caste, upper class priestly clan) i find it funny when westerners peddle the bullshit my people in my community have been successfully peddling for thousands of years.

        The only commonality is that bullshit attracts stupid people. As per the vedic scriptures (Rig Veda) a woman is intellectually inferior. I wonder if this westerner would agree with the Vedic Scripture.

  • I suspect she had Helen Caldicott as a mentor. They both use similar approaches to supporting their dearly held but misled causes. (Caldicott’s fetish is stopping nuclear)

  • Gyanendra Shukla

    How would one explain farmers volunteering to buy seeds with technology? Nobody can force a farmer – they choose high yield seed season after season because it helps them raise yield, offer convenience and more income to lead better life. Bt Cotton is one of the shining great examples for farmers. Farmers need more such products and it doesn’t matter who develops them private or public.

  • lilikoi744

    Hawaii gets to have her come here nearly every year to preach to her disciples the BS that she spreads. It’s disgusting the amount of ignorance we have here thanks to people like her. This kind of stuff needs to be exposed more and more.

  • Dave Wood

    It seems to have escaped notice that V. Shiva’s opposition to the Green Revolution and Bt cotton in India favours North American farmers. The Green Revolution allowed India to escape dependence on US exports and Bt cotton allows India to compete with US cotton exports. Beloit College is simply rewarding a person who is protecting North American exports. And she must be coining money with all her lecture tours in North America. However, notably, V. Shiva failed in pushing back the Green Revolution and also failed in her attempt to “Cremate Monsanto” with Bt cotton in India. Why reward failure?.

    • Loren Eaton

      ‘Beloit College is simply rewarding a person who is protecting North American exports.’
      I hope that’s tongue in cheek!!
      ‘Beloit College in Wisconsin conferred on her a prestigious honor as the Weissberg Chair in International Studies, calling her a “one-woman movement for peace, sustainability and social justice.”’
      I wonder where North American exports are on their list of priorities.

  • Seppi Wackes

    Excellent analysis.
    There should be many more of these to stop that extraordinary
    crockery named Shiva.

    It is simply
    unbelievable and appalling that VS can receive so much attention and
    honor(s).

    Read her writings,
    listen to her speeches and declarations and, if your brain is in
    order, you will understand in less than a minute that her’s is not.
    One may even wonder whether she has one.

    What is sure, is
    that she has no ethics. She actually deserves a prize yet to be
    established : the Alternative IgNobel.

    She has used
    farmers’ suicides to club public and political opinion on modern
    agriculture, GMOs, patents, plant breeders’ rights, a modernized seed
    legislation and, of course, globalization. Some of these – patents
    and PBRs – were the cause of suicides at a time when there were
    none on or relating to seeds. The new Indian seed legislation was
    not even in draft, she announced it would cause suicides…

    If you read
    French :

    http://www.imposteurs.org/article-ogm-et-viol-shiva-pas-non-par-wackes-seppi-114981740.html

    http://www.imposteurs.org/article-vandana-shiva-l-oraison-de-la-colere-a-quand-les-ig-nobel-alternatifs-par-wackes-seppi-60684016.html

    And I have a
    question : does anyone know what her Navdanya is in reality ?

  • Who is Vandana Shiva? It’s pretty simple really. According to Hinduism, she is the goddess destroyer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes things need to be destroyed. But since Vandana Shiva isn’t actually a goddess, it would be nice if she would enter into a debate with her opponents so as to test her ideas. Otherwise she’s just another anti-EVERYTHING blabbermouth.

  • Science 1.0.1

    No change in suicide rate for farmers? Really? Let’s take a look at these number again, would you? About 15.000 suicides per year from 1997 to 2007. Looks like no change, doesn’t it? Yet, according to census data from the Indian government (relayed through an article of the International Business Times, May 2013), the number of farmers in the country plunged by 9 million since 2001. So if there is 9.000.000 less farmers, but still 15.000 suicides, wouldn’t you say the suicide rate increased? Hum… I wonder what other mistake we can find in this article by using our brain 🙂

    • urnotscience

      The number of farmers in the US has also declined during this time period. Are you saying they all committed suicide?

      • Science 1.0.1

        No. Of, course not. If the 9.000.000 less farmers in India all commited suicide between 2001 and 2013, the number of suicide a year would be slightly higher than 15.000 😉 Keep up with the Math please.

        • Vm

          that assumes everything else is equal. an increase in suicide percentage could have been caused by worsening economic conditions. you have to rule that our before fixing the blame on GM’s

          and you also would have to explain the economic hardship in african cotton farmers since they dont use GM cotton

    • First Officer

      There are 100’s of millions of farmers in India, so 9 million wouldn’t have moved the average much.

      • Science 1.0.1

        If you have the same number of suicide per year, but the number of farmers decreased about 9%. There is a 9% increase of suicide rate among farmers. Please, do the math.

        • First Officer

          15e03/2e8 = 7.5e-5 15e3/1.91e8 = 7.853e-5. It’s a approx 9 percent increase of a very small amount.

          • Ek Chakkar

            Number of farmer households in 2003: 89,350K
            Suicide rate in 2003: 16.8 per 100K (15K / 89,350K)

            Number of farmer households in 2013: 81,850K (89,350K – (750K/year * 10 years))

            Suicide rate in 2013: 18.3 per 100K

            Source for calculating farmer households: page 10, http://planningcommission.gov.in/sectors/agri_html/Indebtness%20of%20farmer%20household%2059%20round%202003.pdf

            This is how crime statistics are presented as well (per 100K). If these Indian-farmer-suicide statistics were ranked in the list of suicide rates by country, 2013 rates would place between Russia and Moldova at 15 and 16 respectively out of 110; the higher the rank, the higher the suicide rate.

            Now then, changes in all those suicide rates are also changes of very small amounts. What is the implied meaning of “a very small amount” in your post? Please be very precise in explanation.

          • Vm

            the increase in suicides per 100k population can be explained by GM’s only if you rule out other factors. Like what if the economic hardships got worse at that time

            and you also would have to explain the economic hardship in african cotton farmers since they dont use GM cotton

          • Ek Chakkar

            This graph relies on flawed government data. In one late-2000s year, one relevant state reported no suicides because the state’s Chief Minister had, in the previous year, declared that farmer suicides would be eradicated.

            The Iam Plewis article you link does not even acknowledge the possibility of bad data leading to assailable conclusions. For that reason, I’m highly sceptical of it.

            Anyway, I was asking for the implied meaning of “a very small amount”. Still waiting.

          • Vm

            \The Iam Plewis article you link does not even acknowledge the
            possibility of bad data leading to assailable conclusions. For that
            reason, I’m highly sceptical of it.\

            well if you apply that criteria to ALL articles and studies including articles that are anti-gmo then there’s nothing wrong with that attitude

          • Ek Chakkar

            I pointed to a specific reason for scepticism. There is a good case for the suicide data being flawed and suicides being under-reported. So I am sceptical of the Plewis article on well-reasoned basis.

          • Vm

            okay if the suicide data is under reported i.e. its GM cotton’s fault then you would find corroborating evidence like economic well being among non GMO cotton growers in poor countries which have no subsidies

            “The desperate plight of Africa’s cotton farmers
            The skewed nature of cotton production means that American and European growers receive subsidies while many Malian growers are earning barely £200 a year”

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/14/mali-cotton-farmer-fair-trade

          • Ek Chakkar

            I read the whole article and found no mention of suicides, so you appear to be projecting your bias into the £200 earnings connected to no or low number of suicides. While you may be correct, I don’t see the evidence in the article you linked. Can you prove that suicides in Mali are fairly reported and do you believe its suicide rate of 4.6/100K? Perhaps you have access to all the evidence or are connecting disparate pieces of peer-reviewed data-driven conclusions. Possible, but unlikely.

            Scepticism on Plewis’ article remains well-reasoned.

          • Vm

            \I read the whole article and found no mention of suicides\
            yes because the culture and the debt laws of the african farmers is different so they dont do suicide even if they also suffer economically

            \While you may be correct, I don’t see the evidence in the article you linked.\

            its very simple. the claim is that GM cotton causes poor cotton farmers to become poorer/in debt/in economic hardship and hence kill themselves. If that were true then you should not see economic hardship among poor cotton farmers who dont use GM cotton

            on the other hand if the economic harsdship of the indian farmers is due to economic conditions which are global in effect then you should see effects on poor cotton farmers worldwide even among farmers who dont use GM cotton. And thats what the article shows. There was economic hardship among the african cotton farmers although due to various reasons the response of the farmers in africa is not suicide but other lines of action

            \Scepticism on Plewis’ article remains well-reasoned\

            yes but holding onto one anomalous piece of evidence in the face of multiple pieces of evidence against your stand i.e. cherry picking isnt well reasoned

          • Ek Chakkar

            “yes but holding onto one anomalous piece of evidence in the face of
            multiple pieces of evidence against your stand i.e. cherry picking, isnt
            well reasoned.”

            Anomalies disprove the rule. An alternative explanation must fit all observed points. Because reasonable grounds exist in challenging reported suicides in India, I challenged the reported suicide rates in Mali. The anomalies in India should prompt anyone to check suicide reporting mechanisms in poor countries. I am sceptical of 4.3/100K suicides in Mali, placing it below the entire — yes, the entire — developed world.

            “there are many anti-big industry pro farmer groups like FairTrade which also echo…”

            Appeal to authority is not a substitute for explaining away anomalies.

          • Vm

            \Anomalies disprove the rule. An alternative explanation must fit all observed points\

            its easy to debate people like conspiracy theorists and creationists and the like because they use the same logical fallacies again and again

            in a perfect world yes. but this is not a perfect world. anomalies may exist not because the accepted explanation is wrong but also because of human error and random factors.

            “Pseudoscientists – those pretending to do science (maybe even sincerely believing they are doing science) but who get the process
            profoundly wrong, use anomalies in a different way. They often engage it what we call anomaly hunting – looking for apparent anomalies. They are not, however, looking for clues to a deeper understanding of reality. They are often hunting for anomalies in service to the overarching pseudoscientific process of reverse engineering scientific conclusions.

            What this means is that pseudoscience almost always works backwards –
            that is its primary malfunction, starting with a desired conclusion and then looking for evidence and twisting logic to support that
            conclusion.”

            “In real science an anomaly is only declared so after exhaustive efforts to explain it within existing theories fail.”

            “What pseudoscientists often fail to recognize is that if you take any
            complex natural phenomenon, historical event, object or process and you
            look for apparent anomalies (broadly defined), you will find them. Humans are great at pattern recognition, and so if you look for coincidence in the data you will detect them. You will also find features that resulted from a complex interplay if unique events and therefore will be impossible to prove a specific explanation.”

            http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/anomaly-hunting/

          • Ek Chakkar

            You have just shifted goalposts. The claim that suicide rates in India are not related GMO-seed economics is one made by defenders of GMO-seed economics. Reading through the material presented in defence of that claim, reasonable objections about data adequacy arise.

            In my view, the claim does not stand scrutiny. If I find information that proves the claim, I’ll be glad to change my view. By shifting goalposts and by strongly implying that I am engaging in pseudoscience, you have avoided the question of reasonable scepticism. That’s your prerogative and, in my view, poor-spirited debating; even intellectually dishonest.

            This is my last post to you. Thank you for engaging in discussion.

          • Vm

            \reasonable objections about data adequacy arise.\

            even if we assume that the indian cotton farmer statistics are tampered with, the hypothesis that GMO’s are at fault cannot explain the problem of african cotton farmers also having economic problems in a similar time frame and indian farmers of other cash crops like cotton also experiencing a rash of suicides

            if you have evidence that proves the african cotton farmers of that time frame did not suffer economically and indian coffee farmers dont have high suicide rates then lets hear it

          • Vm

            \, I challenged the reported suicide rates in Mali. The anomalies in
            India should prompt anyone to check suicide reporting mechanisms in poor
            countries. I am sceptical of 4.3/100K suicides in Mali, placing it
            below the entire — yes, the entire — developed world.\

            other african countries also have low suicide rates like liberia, niger, algeria, morocco, tunisia

            and being developed or not is not predictive. south korea and russia rank high while kuwait and israel rank low.
            http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/suicide/by-country/

          • Vm

            \Anomalies disprove the rule. An alternative explanation must fit all observed points\

            if you really believe that then you must explain the anomalies to the “gmo cotton causes suicides” hypothesis. lets even ignore the drop in indian cotton farmer suicides after the media attention since as you say there is doubt about its veracity. So all of the below anomalies are not affected by any coverup

            * other poor cotton farmers like in africa who dont use GM cotton were similarly affected. they dont kill themselves due to various factors like religion and culture but they suffer the same economic hardship

            * indian suicides started occuring right after the subsidies were dropped, which is some time before GM cotton was introduced

            * indian farmers who grow other cash crops which are not GMO like coffee, pepper, ginger, but which like cotton have unstable prices also have high suicide rates
            http://www.ipsnews.net/2011/12/india-more-suicides-than-reforms/

          • Vm

            and how come farmers themselves in poor countries are liking it

            “April 3, 2014

            ..

            Says Garikai Msika of the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union: “After seeing
            Bt cotton trials here in Malawi, I feel strongly that as farmers we
            need to make a lot of noise to adopt this technology.”

            http://www.herald.co.zw/bt-cotton-debate-rages-on-in-africa/

          • Vm

            if GM cotton is to blame and we do as you suggest – ignore the above data as possibly flawed – then we should find no significant number of suicides among non cotton farmers in india

            “Those who killed themselves were overwhelmingly cash
            crop farmers – growers of cotton, coffee, sugarcane, groundnut, pepper,
            vanilla”

            http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/02/12/the-largest-wave-of-suicides-in-history/

    • Vm

      google “plight of african cotton farmers” and you can see that in the same time period there are many many news reports from reliable new agencies about african farmers who dont use GMO cotton but still suffer from economic hardship, as well as side effects from pestdicides. They dont kill themselves because its not in their culture

      since they both suffer economic hardship but they dont use GM cotton then its not GM cotton’s fault

  • TVG

    So, this would be Jenny McCarthy without the Playboy spread?

    • Loren Eaton

      I could have gone the rest of my life without reading that…Thanks a lot.

  • First Officer

    Just who is funding her and why aren’t they using that money to actually feed people ?

  • First Officer
  • Feanorr

    If suicide genes don’t exist, would someone who knows more about them like to edit the Wikipedia entry? It confuses proposals and development; even the citation uses an article about the proposal as evidence to back up the supposed development of the tech, which seems wrong-headed to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_use_restriction_technology

  • Plantiful

    GMO’s belong in a laboratory, not on anyone’s food plate.

  • Ek Chakkar

    That graph, “A Steady Rate of Tragedy”, is not just misleading but inaccurate. In one of the years, one of the state governments reported zero suicides because it had committed to eradicating the suicide problem in previous years. With farmer suicides being politicized, the issue of bad data is valid.

    Further, the number of farmers in India has actually declined. If the number of suicides has remained the same, that alone casts doubt on the presented graph.

    The facts on farmer suicides favour Shiva’s analysis, not those presented in this article and mirrored in publications like Forbes. I hope the publishers of this website will allow for a fact-based challenge to Cami Ryan’s analysis.

    What is rather disappointing is that anyone can look up the criticism to the underlying data of the so-called steady rate of farmer suicides. Why didn’t the editors pick up on Ryan’s claims? Where is the trust-but-verify principle?

    • Ek: Please provide any direct citations from a peer reviewed article (similar to the Nature article cited in the piece) or a first line non ideological journal that provides empirical evidence to support Shiva’s discredited claims. Again–non ideological. Just today, yet another article came out written by an independent scientist providing hard evidence challenging Shiva’s politicized claims: It’s written by Ian Plewis, who received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council and from UK government departments–no industry connections. Here is his analysis: http://theconversation.com/hard-evidence-does-gm-cotton-lead-to-farmer-suicide-in-india-24045 There is not one reputable independent source that supports Shiva’s outrageous claims…not one.

      • Ek Chakkar

        I have no such articles to cite. They may exist but I haven’t come across them. Presumably, you’re more tuned to the literature on the topic, so I’ll defer to your claim.

        In this study dated March 2008, author Nagaraj makes a case for understated suicides. See page 8.

        http://www.macroscan.org/anl/mar08/pdf/farmers_suicides.pdf

        It’s quite unfortunate that a March 2014 article does not, in absolutely any form, address the issue of bad data because of under-reporting. So quick to pick up on under-reporting of rapes because of social taboos but if it’s farmer suicides, under-reporting is somehow an anomaly unworthy of scrutiny. (Suicide is also a taboo subject, by the way, in the litany of India’s social problems.) Hypocrisy!

        Why can you not acknowledge the possibility of the problem of bad data leading to quite-assailable conclusions?

        I will state this again: the facts favour Shiva’s view on farmer suicides. And add this: so does the circumstantial evidence.

        • Vm

          speaking of circumstancial evidence

          \Farmers at highest risk have three characteristics: those that grow
          cash crops such as coffee and cotton; those with ‘marginal’ farms of
          less than one hectare; and those with debts of 300 Rupees or more.
          Indian states in which these characteristics are most prevalent had the
          highest suicide rates. In fact, these characteristics account for almost
          75% of the variability in state-level suicides.\

          http://scienceblog.com/71807/n

          is GM coffee a major product in india? if no then thats evidence that GM cotton is not at fault

          more from the article

          \Areas
          such as Gujarat, in which cash crops are mainly cultivated on
          large-scale farms, have low suicide rates. This is because wealthy cash
          crop farmers have the resources to weather difficult economic periods,
          says Kennedy, without falling into debt and ruin.

          Another outlier
          is West Bengal, which has high numbers of smallholders but an average
          suicide rate: but this is an area in which the Communist Party of India
          (Marxist) – who have an “unrivalled commitment” to improving the lot of
          poor farmers – have had a strong political influence over the past four
          decades.\

          • Ek Chakkar

            From the same study:
            ” “Many believe that the opening of markets
            and scaling back of state support following the liberalisation of the
            Indian economy led to an ‘agrarian crisis’ in rural India – which has
            resulted in these shocking numbers of suicide among Indian agricultural
            workers,” said lead author Jonathan Kennedy. ”

            We are viewing same information in different context. Liberalisation of economy also brought in GMO availability and those seeds cost more. So, debts went higher for those farmers who were on the brink of economic ruin and with a propensity to commit suicide. Main problem is GMO-seed economics.

            CPIM has done more harm than good to West Bengal, imho. They are two-faced on agriculture when they allow uncontrolled illegal immigration from Bangladesh (10M in 40 years) and then allow those immigrants to suck precious funds that were meant for agricultural schemes. Also, why did authors have to put ‘unrivalled commitment’ in quotation marks? Are they writing copy for advertisement or scholarly paper? I view this as almost deceitful. That small phrase gives away the political bias of the study, so it is unreliable for me. Just because names of prestigious universities are associated to study, conclusions are not reliable for me. You will have your own reasons for accepting what I see as bias. Those reasons are most likely in narrow context.

            Circumstantial evidence still supports Shiva’s view on farmer suicides in India.

  • Jeremy Rawley

    If Golden Rice were made available in the U.S., I’d buy it!

    • Tomáš Hluska

      I’d be a little cautious. It’s still possible to over-dose with vitamin A.

      • Alex J Goldhill

        Which is why Golden Rice uses β-carotene rather than pure vitamin A. The body only converts as much of it into vitamin A as it needs. The worse that an overdose of β-carotene will do is turn your skin orange.

  • nikita

    the pathetic variety of food on any meal plate in north america is proof enough of your ignorance. and furthur to those who ignorantly talk about the vedas and yogas, its a science of experienc which obviously is beyond your grasp so let alone the upanishads, the state of your societies and food and factory farms inspite of the so called wealth and advanced systems, you guys know jack. good luck

  • Vm

    google “plight of african cotton farmers” and you can see that in the
    same time period there are many many news reports from reliable new
    agencies about african farmers who dont use GMO cotton but still suffer
    from economic hardship, as well as side effects from pestdicides. They
    dont kill themselves because its not in their culture

    since they both suffer economic hardship but they dont use GM cotton then its not GM cotton’s fault, its caused by economic factors

  • Vm
  • Vm

    \Farmers at highest risk have three characteristics: those that grow cash crops such as coffee and cotton; those with ‘marginal’ farms of less than one hectare; and those with debts of 300 Rupees or more. Indian states in which these characteristics are most prevalent had the highest suicide rates. In fact, these characteristics account for almost 75% of the variability in state-level suicides.\

    http://scienceblog.com/71807/new-evidence-of-suicide-epidemic-among-indias-marginalised-farmers/#40Uw5TeYChOtlddg.99

    is GM coffee a major product in india? if no then thats evidence that GM cotton is not at fault

    more from the article

    \Areas such as Gujarat, in which cash crops are mainly cultivated on large-scale farms, have low suicide rates. This is because wealthy cash crop farmers have the resources to weather difficult economic periods, says Kennedy, without falling into debt and ruin.

    Another outlier is West Bengal, which has high numbers of smallholders but an average suicide rate: but this is an area in which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – who have an “unrivalled commitment” to improving the lot of poor farmers – have had a strong political influence over the past four decades.\

  • Vm

    “Almost 90 percent of the farmer suicides in Kerala between 2000-2007
    were reported from Wayanad district, which is particularly susceptible
    because a large number of people here depend on agriculture for a
    living. One major reason for the high farmer suicide rate is the crash
    in prices of locally grown crops such as coffee, pepper, ginger, and
    areca nut, and diseases that killed off the crop.”

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2011/12/india-more-suicides-than-reforms/

  • Vm

    “Burkina Faso cotton output soars 57.5 pct due to GMOs -producers

    OUAGADOUGOU
    Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:00pm EST”

    Burkina Faso, which relies on cotton as one of its major exports, approved the planting of Monsanto’s Bt cotton GMO variety in 2008.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/burkina-cotton-production-idUSL5N0B0G2W20130131

    “In 2013-14 season, braving
    difficult and poorly distributed rainfall, farmers in Burkina Faso
    produced 750,000 tons of cotton, making the country the largest cotton
    producer in Africa”

    http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=163440

  • Whether or not this woman has a degree is not important. She is probably doing more for future generations that will have health problems do to GMO foods.
    All those that throw stones, I ask, Have you the guts to stand up to the world and speak up for the things you think is wrong in this world?
    No I do not think so. You are to busy glued to the TV to watch your mindless reality shows,while the real reality is outside your man made caves. Future mindless Zombies are here posting negatives comments, the true effect of GMO.

    • Actually, Shiva’s policies would devastate the poor. She already has blood on her hands for delaying the introduction of many life saving/life enhancing GM crops and foods.

    • Miles Stockdale

      I do have the guts to stand up against things in the world that are wrong. I stand against Shiva. She is not only a liar and an ignorant fool, but she tries to stop progress, to keep poor people in poverty, and to stop environmental improvement through technological advances.

    • Larkin Curtis Hannah

      How will spreading lies and falsehoods help future generations?

  • First Officer

    Considering there are 100 to 200 million farmers in India, that makes for an unusually low suicide rate to begin with!

  • shenendoah

    About this article–many clearly false and misleading statements. (1) Not only have terminator seeds been developed, Monsanto has patents on them. (2) In the dawning era of massive restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, which are clearly required by carbon’s effect on the climate, the green revolution is going to prove to have had extremely bad effects, by increasing the use of fossil fuels by agriculture. (3) The green revolution has also massively increased the use of pesticides and herbicides, causing the deaths of many farm workers (!), the poisoning of very many ecosystems, and human cancer, endocrine disruption, and other health problems on a massive, unknown scale. (4) The unknown dangers of disrupting the Earth’s genetic heritage are potentially massive–and your science utterly fails to reasonably allay this concern… In short, this article utterly fails in its attempt to remove the big negativity that properly attends GMO’s. GMO’s are an attempt to become more efficient exploiters of the biosphere, when what is so much needed is for people to become enhancers of the biosphere.

  • Country
  • TheLastSurvivor

    This woman believes in ‘selective’ reality. The truth is what SHE says it is. Not FACT. She makes it up as she goes along, and her supporters do the same and ‘believe’ it even when it’s been strongly disproven.
    Sick, no?

  • RobbiePaul

    The caste system is alive and well.. “they” just expect it to remain so in unearned opportunity…

  • Maddy

    It is interesting to me that a discussion on the validity of Shiva and science has turned into a debate over levitation and consciousness.

    I, for one am glad that Shiva influences the public debate. We are in need of people questioning what is just and what we need to do to grow and thrive as a global community. Maybe instead of trying to discount Shiva based on her credentials, we should be looking into what she is saying and the science behind it.

    The issues that Shiva is fights for are detrimental to farmers and the environment. The effect on the environment only acts to turn around and make us less healthy. Rather than having me sit here and give my spiel on the negative effects of mono cropping, the depletion of ground water, and the horrific human rights violations of MNC’s, I encourage you to look into it for yourself and to look into it with open eyes.

    • Madly, read the story again. Shiva is wrong on the science and a demagogue. Her views are contributing to poverty–the very people she purports to support.

      • Maddy

        Jon, if your only support for your argument is this one article then I am afraid that you are misguided. Her views are contributing to longevity. Movements such as the Green Revolution may have saved lives up front, but do irreversible damage to us in the long run. These practices are not sustainable in any way.

        • Maddy, actually there are hundreds of articles in top flight journals and many science journals. Here is just one from The New Yorker.: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/seeds-of-doubt
          Shiva is widely known as a complete fraud. She is not a scientist and has no working knowledge of how genetics works. She misrepresents the Green Revolution. You may want to believe that it has done “irreversible damage” but the facts don’t support that. There is a reason that Dr. Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize and Shiva goes around collecting $40,000 a talk and flies first class speaking to college campuses; one has saved more than a billion loves while the other wants the world to return to a time when hunger was rampant and the life expectancy was 40 years lower in the developing world, most especially in her home country India, which was a famine belt before the Green Revolution. Best to study some history and science and not just embrace the latest rightwing fad–yes, Shiva is one of the most right wing/reactionary demagogues around.

  • Farmer Sue

    Andy, as a female I find your reference to women, using the ‘C’ word, highly offensive.
    Can you please make your point without such offensive language?