Wes: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast, where we talk to wellness professionals from around the world to gain their insights into healthier living. I’m your host, Wes Malik. Our Guest today is Dr. Krishna Bhatta, who is an author, surgeon, and inventor. He is currently practicing as Chief of Urology at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor Maine. Dr. Bhatta began his life in a small Indian village, he attended Patna Medical College in India and continued his education in the UK. He completed his research and medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston before settling down in Maine. Dr. Bhatta takes joy in sharing what he’s learned and earnestly hopes to further the spiritual discoveries of generations to come. He dreams of a world where Eastern wisdom and Western discoveries embrace each other to make the world a better place. Let’s welcome Dr. Krishna to the Lifelong Wellness podcast. Dr. Krishna Bhatta, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?
Dr. Krishna: I’m doing very well this morning
Wes: Fantastic. I try to look up the history of each one of our guests and I found where you live very interesting and very intriguing. Number one, you work and live in Bangor, Maine which is a very, very beautiful city to live in and work in. Number two, it’s very close to where I grew up. Number three, you live in the hometown of my favorite author. So now I probably have two favorite authors.
Dr. Krishna: Stephen King
Wes: Yes! (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: Yes, of course
Wes: Have you ever run into him?
Dr. Krishna: No, I haven’t run into him, but the second author I don’t know who you were talking about, but there is one other Maine author who’s quite famous, is Tess Gerritsen.
Wes: Yes! I was actually talking about you. You’re also an author from Bangor, Maine so that puts you in very good company. Great authors from there. (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: So, yes.
Wes: Tell us a little bit about your work before we get into health and wellness and your app, and all the work that you do. We’d love to know a little bit more about your work as Chief Urologist in Bangor.
Dr. Krishna: Yes. It’s a very nice hospital actually. It’s the second biggest hospital or it’s big city in Maine is Bangor. Portland is the number one and we have a decent good size hospital and good size urology unit which is quite up to date. We have the robotic surgery and everything that can be done anywhere, we do it there. And we always feel we do it well, we give good service to the community. Our group, I say happy, hard-working group and it’s a really, really nice staff that I work with. I often say that my work inspires me, my colleagues inspire me and my patients inspire me.
Wes: That’s wonderful, Dr. Krishna. Now, I ask this question of every single guest. I believe we are into our 58th episode this year. What does living healthy and well mean to you personally? On top of being a medical practitioner for so many decades, what does it mean to you?
Dr. Krishna: Thanks for asking this question because I have been trying to put that in perspective through my app, through my writings, that we are born with three assets. One is the body and the body is very, very important. Body has two important components. One, is the ‘Food Body', which is whatever we eat translates into body, so it’s important to watch what we eat. The other one I call the ‘Energy Body'. In Sanskrit they call Prana, Prana Mycos. So that Energy Body is also something that we should pay attention to like conserving energy, creating energy or sharing energy. How you channel your energy.,
Wes: When you say energy, are you referring to the positive energy that human beings have and the negative energy they exude from their bodies, things that we can’t calculate or measure but we can feel?
Dr. Krishna: I mean that’s one way to express that which we always say, positive energy, negative energy. But also there is a description of energy like the Chinese call it “Chi” and they have several routines and exercises that are out there.
Dr. Krishna: Chi Gong. I mean, there is a whole institution developed on Chi energy. The Japanese call it “Qi” and in India, there is like Eastern in all of them, they call “Chakras” and how those centers of energies in the body you can work on and create, activate those chakras to help you. So, I think from the physical body point of view, both of these assets are important, that we should work on both of them, not just the physical body. The important one, which is the most important component of our existence because if we don’t have a physical body, the mind doesn’t mean anything, can’t do anything.
Dr. Krishna: So the body is essential, important, should be taken care of and not just the physical body but also the energy body.
Wes: How do you take care of both?
Dr. Krishna: So energy body, the physical body, of course, you know, I mean exercise or yoga or pranayama. I mean, those things work on the physical body and what you eat is important. I usually say when we have food, we tend to overeat. So Overeating is our kind of, becomes our normal desire or normal existence. So we sometimes work on not doing that overeating, listen to the body that, yes, it’s too much. And the intermittent fasting used to be a practice in ancient India or ancient, not just India, I think the whole of the ancient East, where they will have some sort of fasting routine. Like today is Sunday, so I won’t eat or I’ll fast for Sun god or some Saturday, Saturn god. So some excuse to fast once a week and now because we come in intermittent fasting as an established helpful practice.
Wes: It’s pretty new in North America. It’s kind of a newfound discovery here, whereas in the East, now your conversation drifts towards what’s happening in the East as you’re explaining Chi and Qi and Prana and Chakra and energy concepts. And these are only relatively in the last several decades’ concepts that have come out in North America and especially intermittent fasting. This is all the new wave. We see all the blogs and all the articles and the YouTube videos about how people are adopting intermittent fasting whereas religion, culture, and people in the East have been doing it for thousands of years and documenting it.
Dr. Krishna: Right. And they did not even associate that with religion always. I mean, sometimes they will. They tag it on some god.
Dr. Krishna: But most of the time it was just more like a custom, rather than a religious practice. So some excuse to fast was there. I mean, it has been prevalent for long time.
Wes: So these are the things you do and they’re good for your body.
Dr. Krishna: Well, I tried to do it. I mean, you know, we can always do better right?
Wes: Right. That’s true. (laughing) We’re always in the pursuit of doing better and that’s what this podcast is about. We all want to do better and we take inspiration from people like you, especially such knowledgeable medical practitioners who have or are in the field for such a long time.
Dr. Krishna: Yes
Wes: How do you take care of your energy? You told us about the body, but how about the energy? Your prana?
Dr. Krishna: So I do Chakra-based meditations and there are many of them in this Relaxx app. Relaxx with two “x”, R-E-L-A-X-X. And those Chakra meditations are really profound. I think it’s always good to do that to nourish your chakras which is part of the body.
Wes: I don’t think I’ve ever been, you know, exposed to one. What is it like? What does it entail?
Dr. Krishna: So basically these are, there 3 or 4 kinds of chakra meditations that I have created and each chakra…So there are 7 chakras that we work on. The first chakra is the root of the spine.
Dr. Krishna: The second one is just below the belly button. The third one is just above the belly button. And the fourth one is the heart chakra, which is close to the heart. The fifth one is in front of the neck. Sixth one is between the two eyes and behind that.
Dr. Krishna: And the seventh one is crown chakra.
Wes: The top of the head?
Dr. Krishna: The top of the head, yes. Basically, I think 1 to 7 numerical is easier to remember, rather than to trying to have a lot of information about the nomenclature or what it does or what color. I think as long as you remember the 7 chakras and the locations. I have created one with the music which travels from the first chakra to the seventh chakra and it is based on which frequency aligns with which chakra. Frequency of sound, I mean.
Dr. Krishna: Yes.
Wes: So sound actually affects the energy?
Dr. Krishna: Yes, that’s the premise
Dr. Krishna: And that’s my feeling and that’s how it is. One of the meditations, I call it chakra twenty, which is one cycle of going up and then coming down. And then there is another one which causes three times. Just try it. I mean, download the app. It’s easy to download from Relaxx, with two x, dot org (relaxx.org)
Wes: Let me ask you about the app. You have an app it’s called Relaxx with two x’s at the end. You briefly mentioned that it’s for meditation but could you give us a little bit more details? What is the whole app?
Dr. Krishna: So, it does classify into 5 elements, like 5 picks or 5 tabs. Body, Mind, Flame, Flame of Consciousness. I think we started with the body and having progressed from there but the Flame of Consciousness. And then there is Intermittent Silence and then there’s Meditation. And with each of them, there are routines there that are described and you can practice. I mean, it’s like lots of meditation so you can choose. Whoever is downloading can choose which one they want to do. We will be improving it a little more about giving more guidance but at the moment it’s the first verse that we have come up with. In the meditation section, there are Chakra meditations or Chakra-based meditations.
Wes: So this is basically your knowledge of Eastern culture and medicine transposed to the West because of your work here. How do Eastern concepts of well-being about the body and the mind, the soul, or your energy relate to Western medicine now?
Dr. Krishna: So Western medicine, even in the East, we practice Western medicine.
Dr. Krishna: We do surgery, we go to medical school, become doctors. I mean, East and West, like yoga has become popular in your city
Dr. Krishna: So yoga has come into the mainstream
Dr. Krishna: But meditation has come like a tagalong with yoga. Like you do recite an omen and said you have meditated. Or there are some feel-good meditations where somebody guides you through to a forest or a beach and brings you back.
Dr. Krishna: So those feel-good meditations exist and I have taken it to a deeper level. It’s in the app.
Wes: So, in your app and in your teachings there’s also something called Intermittent Silence and I’m very intrigued with that. We talked about intermittent fasting and meditation. What is Intermittent Silence?
Dr. Krishna: Intermittent Silence is another ancient practice that people used to, they will say “Okay, I won’t speak on Sunday. I will keep quiet on Sunday”. That’s one of those things that I found very useful. And silence has been known to be a useful tool, even in the West for a long time. Google ‘silence' and then like Louis the XIV used to say “We shall see”. I mean, that will be all he will say to somebody in a big discussion or a big legal presentation or case and “We shall see”. People are still mysterious about what he’s going to do?
Dr. Krishna: Silence has been used in negotiating tools in most like, “The person who breaks the silence first loses”. Some people say that in negotiations.
Wes: Right. There are Silent Retreats around the world that I’ve heard of. In fact, one of our guests had been there and urged our listeners to actually attend one. One day, three-day, five-day. But there’s a lot more to just staying quiet. There’s many more aspects to it.
Dr. Krishna: That’s exactly. I mean, I have been to retreats where we have done seven days of no speaking.
Dr. Krishna: So I understand the value of it. But how can you bring it into the mainstream? My effort is to bring meditation, Intermittent Silence into the mainstream. And people say, okay, mindfulness. Practice mindfulness, but how do you practice mindfulness? I mean, just watch every step or everything you do for 10 minutes? So that’s mindfulness.
Dr. Krishna: So this Intermittent Silence is 10 minutes of your life a day. If you can be silent and then, you know, it guides you through 10 specific steps. When you close your mouth, you are without words for 10 minutes and all the brain centers that are associated with processing those thoughts
Dr. Krishna: You can get a rest for 10 minutes
Wes: I see.
Dr. Krishna: And then you close your eyes so all the visual pathway in the brain is at rest.
Dr. Krishna: And then the third one is, listen silently to all the sound that is around and no sound is a distraction. So, I prefer to do it when I’m hiking or going on vacation.
Wes: I see, like in nature.
Dr. Krishna: Yes, in nature. I will go up the hike, lie down on a rock there or a bench, close my eyes, close my mouth, and listen there to all the sound that is around. And those beautiful sounds like the trees, the leaves bristling or wind blowing or birds chirping. And the fourth one is all the thoughts, just let it pass through.
Wes: That might be the most difficult part
Dr. Krishna: It is and it isn’t because once you start saying you have to be perfect, then it becomes difficult
Dr. Krishna: But once you say, “Okay. If my thoughts come and hijack my mind that’s okay”. When I recognize it, I come back.
Wes: So what are the benefits to Intermittent Silence? What will we experience if we start doing it?
Dr. Krishna: So two or three things happen. One is, as you said it’s difficult in the beginning. You know, we don’t want to do. When is this 10-minute going to be over?
Wes: Alright. It seems like 10 hours, right? (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: How much is left, you know?
Dr. Krishna: So once you get over that, you start enjoying the silence. Then you start really, like as I said, you lie down in your beautiful surroundings from a closed eye. I mean, yes, it may be beautiful when you have open eyes, but you really can feel the whole area, whole existence as if it is for those 10 minutes and you start enjoying it. So this itself becomes fulfilling. The second part is, this 10 minutes you’re also practicing mindfulness because apart from these whole steps you have to be mindful to be able to record things that you are experiencing.
Dr. Krishna: So that also becomes part of you and these 10 minutes then starts staying with you within the rest of the time, so the rest of the 24 hours and that’s where the beauty is. Now, somebody comes to you and says something and you won’t respond quickly or react quickly. Somehow you get this little pause which comes from the practice of Intermittent Silence and now you can give a strategic response rather than…
Wes: An emotional, like an emotional response.
Dr. Krishna: Just reacting right now.
Wes: Right, right
Dr. Krishna: Yes
Wes: That seems very useful because our lives are very quick, fast-paced, multi-tasking all the time. Looking at one screen with the phone in the hand and maybe talking or eating all simultaneously. Whereas maybe we didn’t design, our bodies and mind didn’t design for so much stimulation and now we are possibly overstimulated. This seems a good way to get back to singular thought like you said mindfulness.
Dr. Krishna: Yes. And the other beautiful part of it which I think, I sometimes make it a fifth component…
Dr. Krishna: …is how you deal with your emotional storms. And somehow this practice if you do it, it does help you in dealing with emotional storms and you can take it one step further and say, because the situation that we talked about, you can create that artificially, right? You can find a quiet place, you can lie down, you can close your eyes, close your mouth. All those things are do-able and in your control. Emotional storms are not in your control. Usually, it happens when you don’t want it to happen. You become angry or you become depressed, you become frustrated. When that happens, you can say, “Okay this is an opportunity. Now I’m going to practice my Intermittent Silence here”. But even if you don’t have that determination to practice, the practice of intermittent silence kind of gives you that little separation from those emotional storms.
Dr. Krishna: And you can watch it from outside and see what’s happening to your body. What’s happening to your mind.
Wes: Right. Okay
Dr. Krishna: Once you can see that, it helps you deal with that emotion.
Wes: Okay and you can, you know, subjectively look at it from afar
Dr. Krishna: Yes
Wes: And say “Okay!” and then discuss with yourself, I guess, what’s causing that emotional storm or what the issue, what the real issue might be.
Dr. Krishna: Yes, and sometimes you may need some of those. You may need to show your anger and yes, but that is you’re not under the control of anger but you are using anger.
Wes: Is this, is intermittent silence prevalent in the sub-continent in the East? In countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India? These kinds of places. Do a lot of people practice that there?
Dr. Krishna: Intermittent silence is something that I coined the term.
Dr. Krishna: So, I can’t say that they practice in the same way that I am describing it.
Wes: So this is a new, a newer concept.
Dr. Krishna: Newer's concept or yes, I mean, the concept is not totally new. As you said that there are retreats that do silence practices, right?
Wes: They go on for many, many days which sounds very, very difficult.
Dr. Krishna: Yes. I mean, it is difficult. Yes, most people who…Yes, they last.
Dr. Krishna: I know some people have left some of those retreats halfway
Wes: Really? (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: Yes, halfway. 10 days of silence.
Wes: Sometimes it could be too much for the mind
Dr. Krishna: It’s a great experience because you also practice other things like Vipassana meditation or whatever meditation they do. I went to one that was Zen meditation.
Wes: Tell us about it.
Dr. Krishna: That was a unique experience. We were in the Himalayas
Dr. Krishna: A place which is about 11,500 feet, that’s the base.
Dr. Krishna: So me and my wife, we are going to that place. It’s called Leh and there you need to acclimatize. So we signed up for this Zen meditation for three days.
Dr. Krishna: So basically we were all resting, quiet, no talking, no communication, no looking at the mountains and the beautiful scenery. We had 90-minute sessions where you sit facing the wall with your eyes half-open, looking at the wall, doing nothing.
Dr. Krishna: And all day you do 90-minute sessions. In between, you have breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleep, and look at the wall.
Wes: How did that help you?
Dr. Krishna: It was amazing. You need to do one of these sessions to be able to experience what we experienced.
Wes: It sounds amazing and it sounds very, very interesting. And I’m sure there are places anywhere in the US and Canada that can provide these services. But back to your app, where can I get your app from? Is it on my computer? Is it on my phone? Where can I get it from?
Dr. Krishna: The best way or the easiest way is to log into, well you don’t need to login to go to relaxx.org
Dr. Krishna: And there is on homepage, there is download link for iPhone and Android.
Wes: Okay, so we can just click on the link, and then it will take us there?
Dr. Krishna: Yes
Wes: Okay. And tell us about the book you wrote.
Dr. Krishna: I will, but let me complete that. You mentioned that this Zen meditation will be available in the USA or Canada.
Dr. Krishna: India is not the center for Zen meditation. Our teachers were from Dallas, USA.
Wes: Oh, okay. So they went from the US to over there to teach Zen meditation. That’s amazing. (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: Yes. That was an interesting piece and half of our participants were from Europe and the USA.
Wes: Wow! It truly shows the world is getting smaller and more global, becoming a global village more and more. Maybe those things that the East has forgotten about, the West is picking up and slowly reviving,
Dr. Krishna: Yes. It was fascinating, fascinating
Wes: Very interesting, from Dallas on top of that (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: The other trivia of that group…
Dr. Krishna: …Or that experience was, one of our participants, he was from Bollywood in Bombay.
Wes: Really! Is it a famous actor?
Dr. Krishna: No. He was not famous but he was an important person.
Dr. Krishna: And he fell down the stairs
Dr. Krishna: But we were all in silence so he sat there for 2 hours (laughing)
Wes: In silence and in pain! (laughing)
Dr. Krishna: I think they changed the rule. If there is an emergency, then you can be sought for help.
Wes: It wasn’t Shah Rukh Khan, was it?
Dr. Krishna: No. It wasn’t Shah Rukh Khan.
Wes: Okay. All right. That’s amazing. That’s a commitment to your program. That is called commitment. You know, going through pain just sitting there. Very very interesting. Tell us a little bit about your book?
Dr. Krishna: The book is called, Journey from Life to Life: Achieving Higher Purpose. It exactly describes what the title says. Let me just talk about Achieving Higher Purpose. I was reading recently a book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and this is a book which talks more about the holocaust, somebody is in there and how he survives.
Dr. Krishna: Then think that we all live for the meaning of life. We all have a, are looking for a meaning. And that is, I think, very true when you go through difficult times. You may want to live to meet your mother or meet your brother or somebody else. But when you live a life of plenty, that is happening now around the world
Dr. Krishna: Then what is the purpose of life? Or is there a purpose of life? That’s where I think the higher purpose comes in. So when you read in ancient times people wanted to get enlightened. That was their goal in their life and that goal didn’t sound very, what is it called, very lucrative to many of us when we were growing up. But the more you start fulfilling everything else, you can get anything you want. And in that situation, is there something higher, you know, something more to life than what we see or what we can achieve or obtain? That portion comes in. Life has a different meaning and purpose. The story of Journey from Life to Life, I mean, my inspiration came from my real-life encounters. I mean, I remember my grandfather.
Dr. Krishna: I was in medical school.
Dr. Krishna: And I thought we can treat everything and we should treat everything
Dr. Krishna: And my grandfather comes from my village. He was sick, he had what we in medical terms call hematemesis, which is, you know, he was vomiting blood.
Dr. Krishna: And he comes to our house in Agra from the village, lies down and he says, “I’ve seen everything in my life. I’m very happy. I’ve had a happy life. My sons have done well. My grandkids are here and I want to go now. I don’t want any treatment”. He was close, he looked like late ’80s or ’90s.
Dr. Krishna: And that did not sit well in my young age. Just admitted to medical college and I thought we could do something. But my father had the big say, and he always respected his father.
Wes: I see
Dr. Krishna: So he said, “Okay, let's read Gita”. And there you are, so slowly and slowly my grandfather passed away.
Dr. Krishna: Then I come and now I’m a little older. Of course, I’m a surgeon, I’m a Urologist and I did a big surgery on a patient, bladder cancer. He was 87 years old.
Dr. Krishna: He does well, he goes home.
Dr. Krishna: A few months later he comes back and I got to see him. He had some infection and then one thing led to another. He was not doing very well.
Dr. Krishna: He called me one day, looked into my eyes and said, “I want to go now”. This time I didn’t feel so bad, but I didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know where he was going
Dr. Krishna: These kinds of incidences made me think. Should we explore? Should I explore more and learn more about it? I’ve been meditating for a long time and I had lots of experiences here and there. So I started putting these together and that’s what became the book Journey from Life to Life: Achieving Higher Purpose.
Wes: That is very interesting. So your experiences as a young man in India and what your grandfather said to you, your patients telling you made you write this book. Where can we find it? Where can we obtain a copy of this book?
Dr. Krishna: amazon.com. I mean, that’s the easiest way. It is available on other places but probably that’s the easiest one, too.
Wes: Just remind all, is there an audio book version as well or just a print?
Dr. Krishna: Yes, there is an audible as well.
Wes: Okay. Wonderful.
Dr. Krishna: And if any of your readers wanted, I have some codes that I can share with them.
Wes: Okay. That’s wonderful! Where can we get them? Do we have to get in touch with you?
Dr. Krishna: Yes. The best way to get in touch is through the website relaxx.org
Dr. Krishna: Or you can, if they write to you, you have my contact details.
Wes: Right. Dr. Krishna Bhatta, you have an app, you have a book. You preach about achieving peace and happiness and tranquility and relaxation. And you’re trying to better the world through the app and giving people a way to use mindfulness and intermittent silence and focus on the chakras which you’re adding to your app slowly because it always works and develops. That is a fantastic purpose to your own career in helping others. That’s one of the highest callings. Of course, your occupation is to help others through your Hippocratic oath, of course, and you’ve been doing it all your life but this is even better.
Dr. Krishna: Thank you. Thank you for putting it so nicely and simply. I really, really enjoyed talking to you.
Wes: And we enjoyed talking to you as well. Considering your life’s work, is there any parting wisdom or advice you would like to give to our listeners?
Dr. Krishna: The same advice that I find useful for me. I say this almost everywhere I talked to. There was a 5,000 years ago Arjun asked Krishna a question. My mind is wavering. I can’t control it. How do I control it? And Krishna’s answer was (foreign language) “Practice, Arjun. Practice”. So listening is one thing. You may like it, you may find it soothing or something worth noting but start practicing.
Wes: Wonderful advice! Dr. Krishna Bhatta, thank you so much for being on the Lifelong Wellness podcast today.
Dr. Krishna: Thank you
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