Thank you for stopping by. My name is Anand Viakara. As some of you might have guessed from my name, I am originally from India, now an American citizen. I am 70 and still working as a computer programmer. I have always been a problem solver, and I love my job because it is all about solving problems.
My life in India had taken me through a long rough road before I landed in America in 1991. Although my application for Green Card was approved in six weeks, I had to restart my life at entry level, and life was a struggle for a while.
Like everyone, I have had my share of good times and bad times. There were times when I was very happy, but there is no point talking about it. Any one can be happy when life is going good!
What I am talking about, is finding happiness, in its truest form, even while living through the worst times in your life…
For almost fifty years, I was in search of that elusive fixation called happiness. I spent my spare time speaking to many learned people and reading countless books, on topics ranging from self improvement to philosophy to getting rich.
But when I found the truth about happiness, it happened almost suddenly... It was so profound, my life changed for ever! Yet, the fact is, that that profound knowledge finally came from a handful of books!!
My father was a humble doctor practicing medicine. His interests, besides curing the sick, were astronomy and physics. He taught me a lot of it. He also taught me religion, spirituality, Vedic verses in Sanskrit, and a lot of moral values in life. For all of that I am grateful to him.
My mother had graduated from high school but she never worked in her life and was our homemaker. She gave me a lot of love, and great food that helped my weight shoot up to 200 pounds pretty early in life. She also taught me English and math and helped me through all my class work through middle school.
When I was 21 and started my engineering career in a different city, I started living with my grandfather before moving to my own quarters. He was a scholar in Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, that ultimately made him a spiritual master, detached with religion. It was one of my greatest blessings in life to be in his company, although for a short time.
Grandpa had broken a leg and was bedridden. When I returned from work, I would sit by his bedside, give him his dinner and talk to him till it was his sleep time. It was during one of those evenings when he was in a mood to talk, that he spoke to me, I would say “lectured” to me, about his explanation of the phenomenon that we call God!
Many years later, I was to find that very same explanation in one of the greatest books that I had ever come across. I marked the paragraph, and noted in the margin, “my grandfather’s teaching”. That book was “The Power of Now” written by Eckhart Tolle, which my son had presented to me. It renewed my pursuit of happiness in a serious way.
The Congruence of Mind, Body and Soul
As my search for happiness continued over the years, several life events often overshadowed my happy moments. After living in Kansas City and working in a corporate job for a couple of years, an opportunity came for us to relocate to Boston. That led to some traumatic consequences forcing us to move back to Kansas City after just four months!
That whole experience exposed me to the workings of the mind, and its influence on the body. And it helped me gain mastery in the field of psychosomatic disorders, and mind body connection.
A Stint With Psychology
Even during my school days in India I was interested in Psychology. When these unpleasant events started taking a toll on my life, my interest in learning about mind grew stronger. I started reading books on Psychology. I even thought of going back to school to study Psychology!! But I was already past 50 and had to work hard to make a living, that took a lot of my time.
So I ended up being satisfied by pouring over books, like Dr. Aaron Beck’s writings on Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Marty Seligman’s thesis on Authentic Happiness, and a few other great works by similar founding fathers in their fields. I learned so much that I could make impressive conversation with many Psychologists and Psychotherapists whom I occasionally met at some family weddings!
Well, I was growing older all the time, not younger. After 50 you start annual checkups for Prostate (if you are a male!), and then the sigmoidoscopy, and later colonoscopy. You eat too much one night at a party and the next day start having chest pain. You run to the emergency to learn it was only gas!
More doctor visits, add vitamin supplements to your diet, exercise more, watch your fat, and so it went on... Many of these health issues were also killing my sense of happiness. The search for ways to live a healthy life became another major project.
But I was always a believer in holistic healing. I was in India when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. My physician, even as he put me on Procardia XL for life, pointed me to a leaf of a certain plant, the juice of which would bring down BP!
So my search turned to finding natural foods, healthy lifestyles, and non medicinal cures. Finally I found the answers in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s pioneering book "Eat to Live". Now I follow his advise meticulously, 95%. I hope to do 100% someday soon!
As I said, it is only in the last five years that I came across the few books that changed my life. Fifty years back these books never existed! But coming to think of it, the truth had always existed, as I know now, right from the time of creation.
It may be that I never found the right explanation from the time spent with people, or from the type of books I read! Or may be, the time had not come for me to “see” and “grasp” the truth! I think that was it…
Finally, one Sunday morning, as I was looking out my 7th floor window at the cluster of old tress that had grown almost to my eye level, I was struck, very briefly, with a strange feeling. I could sense who I really was! As though I was also a part of everything around me that I was seeing. I cannot explain that feeling, but I was in ecstacy!
In the days ahead, I kept reading and practicing, and I could repeat the experience often at will! Then I knew it was an absolutely achievable shift in the level of consciousness. This liberating experience and the methods to realize it are explained under the section on Soul, the last piece in my expression for happiness:
Happiness = f(Mind,Body,Soul)
which means, Happiness is a function of Mind, Body, and Soul.
It is time to spread some Happiness
I started sharing my thoughts and experiences with many of my friends here, one on one, as well as in small social gatherings. I could sense their fascination as their faces lit up, and see their interest growing. I decided to give a more concrete shape to my thoughts, my learning process, and my practice methods. It had to be my very own experience...my own story retold. That is how this web site was born.
It contains the essence of knowledge gained from the few great thinkers and writers whom I call my master mind group. Their words are sprinkled throughout these pages, with due acknowledgements in every context. In a way this site may be thought of as a convincing review of the works of these great men, whose ideas have the power to transform your life, and change the world.