020. Fali Engineer

Am a Zoroastrian by birth but a theosophist by inclination; was educated in South India as a civil engineer and worked in Pakistan from 1950.

I learned TM in 1974 from an American teacher who introduced it for the first time in the country. Realizing its great value, I traveled to Switzerland in early 1975 and graduated as a teacher of TM under the guidance of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who had popularized its practice in the West.

As the only teacher in Pakistan initially, I organized the TM Movement there and was its National Leader for 12 years until my wife and I left in 1987 to settle in the US. Several thousand were taught during this period.

In 1981, at Maharishi’s invitation, I visited India and graduated as a TM-Sidhi teacher at his ashram in Rishikesh.

Have been a member of the Theosophical Society for 44 years and am at present the president of the Houston Lodge, which is 98 years old. The motto of the Society is “There is no religion higher than Truth”, to which all seekers would subscribe.

Interview recorded 4/28/2010.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

17 thoughts on “020. Fali Engineer

  1. Dear All,

    I was a little confused as to what Fail was offering as a solution to the current problems he outlined. At first I thought he meant we should all become Muslims, as Islam emphasises “brotherhood”, and then it seemed he was pointing at Muslims as the cause of the “problem”. Perhaps someone can enlighten me. I think I missed something.

    Also, the comments about earthquakes and natural disasters are a little disturbing, as it reminds me of the African witch cults, in which people (usually women) are singled out as the cause of illness, ill luck, and death. Also, I read today in the Guardian that some clerics in Iran state that women who do not cover up from head to toe are the cause of earthquakes in that country. That there is a big earthquake due for Tehran and it will be caused by promiscuous women.

    I personally feel that climate changes is a far bigger threat than the tensions between certain groups, such as Islamists and western countries, although the latter are causing serious problems. I think we can attribute climate change to human activity, but not in the same way as the feared Tehran earthquake.

    I did like what Fali had to say about our being in the infancy of the development of our consciousness.

    If someone could clear up my misunderstandings, I would be grateful. I found I missed the odd word or sentence because of the accent and transmission problems.


  2. Hi Joan
    I understood he was talking about how each faith has within it what is needed. The brotherhood of Muslims, for example. But instead, Muslims often suggest everyone must be like them to fix things. And the other faiths behave similarly, forgetting their teaching.

    As Rick mentioned, Maharishi spoke of how stress building up in the environment results in natural and social disasters. Fali’s concern was that global media can amplify this as we become aware of more and more issues. If we just react with negativity, it just adds more stress.

    Locally, they protested the Iranian clerics by going topless. 😉

    Just consider, if consciousness is fundamental, what is more powerful in consciousness? Emotions or atmospheric gases? Which is closer to source?

    Did that help clarify?

  3. Fali makes a good point about the globalization of news increasing the attention. When people are in a drama about such events, their attention can amplify the drama and increase the stress in the environment. I have heard some speak of the waves of compassion being created for events like Haiti but I agree that others are just spewing negativity without realizing the power of their attention. The same effects then show up in their personal lives.

    Interesting comments on getting the practice out, even from Maharishi. Puranaic mantras in Islam. Recently I read a book on Interfaith. In “Getting to the Heart of Interfaith”, Rabbi Ted tells the story of once again reading the Sh’ma or Jewish “watchword of our faith“, often used as a traditional bedtime prayer. He realized that if he had seen the text in a book on eastern religion, he would have been seeing a description of meditation.

    “Listen Israel, the Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One.
    And you shall love the Eternal your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
    And let these words, which I Am, commanding you today, be on your heart.
    And you shall repeat them to your children, and you shall recite them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

    It’s not hard to hear something like:
    1 Listen (in silence), here is the mantra.
    2 open your heart fully
    3 say His name (the mantra) in your heart
    4 repeat it to your kids, sit and meditate, at bedtime and in the morning. And walking, when you’re not doing something else (called walking meditation)

    After Listen Israel, the Hebrew words are:
    Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad
    In other words, use Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad as the mantra.

    For comparison, here is the Christian King James version. Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 6:4-7.
    “4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
    5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
    6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
    7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

    In Islam, the Bible is also counted as a holy book. Thus, the verses exist in all western faiths. I can also note that “calling the rosary” in Christianity is known as Japa in Sanskrit, counting the repetitions of the name of God.

    Interesting comment about the awake needing 7 lifetimes to clear all their karma. This contrasts with some of the other things I’ve heard of the mechanics. (roasted seeds vs suitcase, etc) And the number seems arbitrary. I guess it depends on how you define waking and how deep a waking is. For example, Maharishi used to talk of soul awakening which is not an end to karma.

    Overall, I found the interview more theoretical than I preferred. While Rick invited Fali to speak of where he knows from, he only briefly touched on one peak experience. After talking about bringing a practice to all of the world, he then got into forming yet another “third” party in the US. Having a multiparty slate might amplify polarization less but the US political system is not the cause of polarization. It simply expresses the polarization that has been cultured in recent years. In Canada we have 4 parties in the house, but it’s still polarized. Issues are still presented as either/or, black and white, right and wrong. How does another voice reduce polarization? What about getting on the bandwagon of something like the Peace Dept.?

    Thanks Fali and Rick!

  4. David, re your reply to me,

    The earth was a far more tumultuous place before humans came along. Who was to blame then for earthquakes, meteor strikes, gigantic climate shifts. Personally, I think attributing earthquakes, volcanoes, tsnumanis, and other geological shifts to human stress borders on superstition and is very dangerous. It’s called “blaming the victim”.

    Humans have been able to proliferate because the climate has become more stable since the last ice age. However, the earth is a “living” thing and will never be completely at rest, even though it has settled in a more or less predictable pattern. If it is changing now, it is because we are upsetting the atmospheric level, not the emotional level. Or perhaps its the female baby boomers going into menopause and heating the atmosphere with hot flushes :).

    Also, if everything is consciousness, how can the tip of the iceberg, human consciousness, be “closer” to any source than anything else? This borders on hubris.

    I appreciate your comments, David, but they did not bring me closer to understanding what Fali’s main point was, as he gave several solutions, some of them contradictory. Perhaps he was offering several solutions. I certainly recognise Maharishi’s basic teachings amongst them, but I was more interested to ascertain what Fali’s perception was, having listened enough to MMY in my time :).


  5. Hi Joan
    Well, yes but it’s a 2 way street. Environmental changes and our responses to them both effect the result. His point was a concern that increasing our negative responses will not have a good effect.

    Yes, this can be used for blaming, but that’s not the point here. It is to recognize the effect we as individuals can have. We have a responsibility to take care of our own backyard so that we’re contributing to the solution rather than the cause.

    Emotions are a subjective way of experiencing energy. This movement is not confined to the borders of our body.

    I would suggest that changes taking place are occurring as a result of changes on all levels – the environment, in consciousness, in emotions, in our cultural conceptions, and so forth. The more we’re aware of our role in this, the more we can help move it in the most desirable direction.

    So this means transcending, purifying, recycling, resolving emotional issues, and so forth. If we just treat the surface, we may find it a mighty hard slog.

    I was not suggesting one form of consciousness is closer than another. I was suggesting that energy is closer to source than matter.

    Apologies if I did not help you understand Fali’s main point. I’ll leave it for him to explain.

  6. Hi David,

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your points. Yes, I’m very aware of these ideas about the effects of human consciousness on matter and that Fali had brought these ideas into his discussion.

    My recollection of his interview was that he was offering a number of solutions to the problem he perceived, which was basically the tensions between Islam and the West. While I do not perceive this as our main problem, I can appreciate from his point of view the enormity of it, given what is occurring in Pakistan at the moment.

    Yes, I agree that he was saying our increasing knowledge of world events makes us anxious, and this contributes to overall tension in the world, but I fail to see how this causes earthquakes :), given that earthquakes happened even more frequently prior to human development and would continue to happen even if human beings were wiped from the earth.

    You say: “I would suggest that changes taking place are occurring as a result of changes on all levels – the environment, in consciousness, in emotions, in our cultural conceptions, and so forth. The more we’re aware of our role in this, the more we can help move it in the most desirable direction.”

    I agree, so making ourselves less aware of what is going on is not the solution, either.

    I hope to hear from Fali. He made some interesting observations about Sufism, and I would like to hear his views on how mainstream Islam might incorporate some of the Sufi ideas and practises. Not easy, given the suspicion and often hostile attitude of Islam towards Sufism.

    Thanks David, and yes, we should all go topless in the face of lunacy. 🙂

  7. The only way the “stress in collective consciousness causes earthquakes” thing makes sense to me anymore, and I tried to interject this into the discussion, is that collective consciousness makes a place like Haiti much more vulnerable than a place like Los Angeles, in the sense that an impoverished country won’t have the building codes that an affluent one will, so the same magnitude quake will be much more devastating.

    I can accept that the quake might have delivered the Haitians’ karma, and I can accept that the historical exploitation and enslavement of those people by western imperialists, which devastated their culture and economy, might also be their karma, but that is just philosophical speculation. The more significant point is that such exploitation should be resisted and abolished, and suffering people everywhere should be helped as much as possible. The philosophy of karma should never be used to excuse indifference.

  8. Yes, Rick. I appreciated your interjection about this in the discussion with Fali. I would also add that if it’s the karma of some people to suffer, then it’s the karma of the rest of us to help.

    What I can no longer accept is that, in instances of human cruelty, it is the karma of the sufferer, who “asked for it”. Then the murderers become the victims in order to reap their own karma. If there is any truth in that, then we a doomed, for where is the way out? If a muderer becomes a victim then a murderer again, it’s murderers all the way down.

    I sometimes think that our understanding of karma is at kindergarten level, and hence I responded very strongly to Fali’s assertion that human consciousness is in its infancy. We are outgrowing our “Santa Claus” and Old Testament notions of god, so perhaps it’s time to out grow our “eye for an eye”, interpretation of karma.

    Cheers, and where are you, Fali?

  9. Hi Joan
    Good points. I tend to look at karma more as energy. Karma means action not retribution. As you say, that’s a very simplistic view of it.

    The issues we have with karma tend to be about the energy we’re resisting rather than some good/bad judgment.

  10. Right, David. It seems the human being has an inbuilt need for justice, and we used to hang people in public to teach people a lesson. Most of us have outgrown that, thank the goddess. We also have an inbuilt need for the universe to make sense, hence karma – action and reaction.

    When I try to explain karma to people who cannot accept reincarnation, I say it is like a child who has an experience, and that experience helps to form that child and it influences the adult it will become. We can all trace certain of our characteristics back to our childhood; we don’t have to regress to a previous life. So in my understanding, karma consists of the formative processes that create individuals. We are all who we are because of our karma, and it’s not a good vs bad situation. I’m very partial to the Buddhist concept of the 5 skandhas and the principles of causation. One thing leads to another, so they say :).


  11. I am grateful for your comments. I do not recall talking about tensions between Muslims and the West. I was trying to account for the marked polarization in our society here. When billions react simultaneously to an event that evokes strong emotions, the contrasting energies generated will inevitably cause stresses, mostly unknowingly, and then displayed locally in actions that are both unexpected and unfortunate. So while the visible, regrettable action is local, the underlying causes are global. It is in our national interests to ‘cool’ hot spots that generate invisible tsunamis of stressful currents of hostility, causing even normal persons to become irrational , something that is being witnessed here today; if not reversed, these extreme levels could build to explosive levels.
    Meditation is a panacea for stress, which is why I suggested a campaign to instruct enough Muslims in Allah Meditation using Quranic (not Puranic) mantras to reach1% levels. This is not alien to Islam as their Sufi practices rely heavily on meditation. This would itself cause Muslims to self-correct, to which we would respond with a more understanding and conciliatory attitude. Reducing international tensions abroad will diminish the flow of negativity here, averting any crisis situation. The proposed Dept. of Peace and blanketing USA with meditators would put us permanently on the path that Maharishi envisaged.
    KARMA: We know that non-physical stresses cause physical illnesses. Since humans are a microcosm of the macrocosm, and Nature is not a stress-producing source, it is reasonable to propose that the dynamic power of our negative thoughts and emotions (non-physical) would cause physical cataclysms witnessed today. Just as all physical illnesses do not originate from non-physical causes, not all global upheavals are caused by humans. But proximity to inhabitated areas would indicate national karma at play. We are told that those with no karmic links to the place/population are those who are saved.
    PEOPLE’S PARTY: This registered party open to all of voting age @ $1 per month, would NOT run for any elected office or support any candidate. The funds would be utilized to prepare tapes by the best brains in the country on all areas of personal welfare and distributed free to every household in the country. In this way, the potential of the best talents in every sphere of national life would be shared by all its citizens for the national good. This is the essence of democracy where the ‘by the people for the people’ part is actualized. Envisioned also is thousands of ISLANDS OF PEACE throughout the land where one could go for ‘quiet time’ to and fro from work, with cubicles playing relaxing tapes, guided/visual meditations or just space for silent meditation. This de-stressing would restore our true nature which is positive and progressive. Also, if it became unavoidable, to file class action lawsuits to correct practices detrimental to our welfare. In short, WE THE PEOPLE come alive with self-controlled tools of power, within the laws of the nation, but outside the ambit of the three branches of government, to pursue life, liberty and happiness as defined by the Founders. To expect perfection in this venture is to ignore realities, but as a work in progress, it will accelerate the evolution of our consciousness, the present poverty of which causes us to struggle with life, violate the laws of Nature and failure to be responsible custodians of the welfare of the planet.
    Again, thanks for your comments to which I can respond only as I see it, with no certainty that what I say is the only or best way.

  12. Thanks Fali,

    Yes, I do remember these points, and you have straightened me out on the Islamist issue. The transmission had some static, which prevented me from hearing a few things.

    I enjoyed what you had to say, although I would have liked to hear more about you, personally, and your experience.

    Also, the research I’ve done on Sufism tells me that it is not well-received in orthodox Islam, except perhaps in some places, such as Konya, home and burial place of Rumi, and the more liberal parts of Turkey. North African Sufism is rapidly being exclipsed by fundamentalist Islam and the sharia state. However, I do agree with you that if Sufism could be integrated with mainstream Islam, the Muslims would benefit enormously as it would provide a missing dimension in the mainstream religion.

    Best wishes, and thanks for the clarification,

  13. Interesting interview, but it seems off-topic. I thought Buddha at the Gas Pump was exploring the shape of awakening as it’s actually taking place. Instead, Fali, you used the platform to share ideas about how to relieve stress on the globe. It’s a worthy topic, but it’s not what BATGAP is dedicated to exploring.

  14. I’m sorry if portions of my interview were outside the purpose of this site, which “was exploring the shape of awakening as it’s actually taking place.”
    I would submit that at our present state of evolution, any perception of truth
    would be relative and not absolute; the resulting awakening would then be a
    snapshot of our consciousness at a particular moment and its verbal description
    (such as on this forum) would be inapplicable the next moment.

    A quote by Madam Blavatsky may clarify this:

    ”Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things
    belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities. As
    we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages
    through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the
    upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each
    advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have
    reached “reality;” but only when we shall have reached the absolute
    Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the
    delusions produced by Maya.”

    The main cause of pain on the spiritual path lies in our perpetually seeking the permanent in the impermanent, and not only seeking, but acting as if we had already found the
    unchangeable in a world of which the one certain quality we can predicate is
    constant change; and always, just as we fancy we have taken a firm hold upon
    the permanent, it changes within our very grasp, and pain results.

    So it would be wise to consider truth as relative that changes
    as we evolve, and only when 100% evolved, can one say
    that Truth is absolute AT THE HUMAN LEVEL, but is still
    relative at the cosmic level, as there are three higher kingdoms of Nature beyond
    the human that have to be traversed by us – the domain of deities.

  15. Hi Fali
    That’s very perceptive of you. I have noticed this myself, forever thinking I have reached something only to find it too fall away. Eventually, I got the hang of it and now its more Whats Real Today? This being open to the process helps speed it up.

    I’ve also found it very useful to have a general idea of the process so you understand from where someone is speaking. Whats their truth? Then its not about who’s right and wrong but rather what variation in experience can they add to my understanding?

  16. What a great point succinctly stated Rick, “The philosophy of karma should never be used to excuse indifference.” Thank you sir.

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