Short Overview and Summary of Research on Mahendra Trivedi
Conducted at Penn State University in 2009
Dr. Tania Slawecki
Mahendra Trivedi was welcomed eagerly at our laboratory when he first arrived, for he came backed already by thousands of webpage documentation of “experiments” that “proved” he was able to affect physical materials with his unique abilities. Our investigative team was eager to substantiate his claims. We proceeded with open minds and spirits, very much wanting to be impressed or “wowed”. We were left underwhelmed.
Mahendra Trivedi was tested extensively at the Penn State University’s Materials Research Laboratory on several occasions from June – September 2009, and we did not observe any changes in materials or their properties as a result of his “blessings”. We tested MANY solid, powdered and liquid materials, including radioactive materials. “Blessed” samples were unchanged. While there were sporadic changes to a handful of water samples as observed with 785 nm Raman spectroscopy, it must be understood that the changes (a) were not reproducible, (b) occurred sometimes to the blessed samples and sometimes to the control samples and (c) were most likely due to a problem we were having with an unstable laser source on the Raman spectrometer, which was known to fluctuate in intensity and produce the kinds of sporadic results that were observed.
As we are most well-known for our work on the structure of water, we used all of our instruments, including UV-spectroscopy and surface tension measurements to test water “blessed” by Trivedi. The Trivedi “blessed” water was no different from the unblessed controls. It is important to note here that we WERE biased in our study: we WANTED to see a difference, even hopefully EXPECTED to see a difference, but, to our dismay, found nothing. For a few months, Prof. Rustum Roy believed that the Raman spectroscopy results – although not reproducible – indicated Trivedi might be changing something in water, but the more data we collected, the less substantial the evidence, as mentioned previously: the sporadic changes observed were due to a problem with the instrument and were shown to also occur in other experiments unrelated to Trivedi.
Our team took a close look at some of the materials data posted on Trivedi’s website at that time to try to identify samples he had blessed and changed that we could then replicate in our laboratory. A careful examination of the x-ray diffraction data and the FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopy data posted on his website failed to show any differences of merit between blessed and unblessed. YES, there is a ton of data there, but we couldn’t find anything that showed a meaningful change. There was some BAD data there – samples that had been packed too thickly and therefore the spectrum looked dramatically changed, but any expert in the field recognizes such spectra as what you get when you pack the sample too thick (e.g., in FTIR). Tiny changes in the x-ray diffraction peaks are known to arise from the way the sample is loaded into the holder or the way the powder material is packed in the sample cell. Nothing in his database showed anything extraordinary.
Lots of data. We found nothing meaningful.
Trivedi reported to us that he had turned antimicrobial sensitive E. coli into antimicrobial resistant E. coli, but our university E. coli expert, Dr. Chobi Debroy, found no changes to the virulence of the E. coli samples he blessed here. When she reviewed the data on Trivedi’s website, she found that while one would expect that antimicrobial resistant E. coli would be blessed to become sensitive to antimicrobials, Trivedi’s blessing actually had the reverse effect: he blessed normal antimicrobial sensitive E. coli and it became antimicrobial resistant! This is not a desirable outcome if you wish to be able to heal a patient. It is quite possible that they tested contaminants that were antimicrobial resistant in the culture. It is also common for sensitive bacteria to turn resistant if treated with low concentrations of antimicrobials for a short time. In other words, there may be reasons, other than because of Trivedi’s blessing, that the antimicrobial sensitive E. coli were found to become antimicrobial resistant. No surprises here.
Trivedi’s group showed seemingly impressive photos of blessed, prosperous farm fields of cashews and a handful of sliced ripe mangos, as well as photos of a single squash plant compared to another unblessed equivalent. As materials scientists, we were not trained to think critically about agricultural applications, but I happen to be a long-time organic biointensive mini-farmer and a member of the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture. While detail is presented in the full research report I hope to eventually post, in short, one can conclude NOTHING from a single blessed vs. unblessed plant. Trivedi claimed to have turned one kind of squash into another based upon one seed germination. There is a lot of genetic variation in seeds, and large numbers of plants need to be planted to begin to ascertain true differences between plants. Depending on the source of the seed, it may or may not replicate “true to type” from one generation to the next. Thus, there is no significance to this case except as a curiosity that would warrant further study to be able to draw any conclusions.
As for the blessed fields, the experiments did not have proper controls. Four parameters were varied: sprayed, unsprayed, blessed and unblessed. They contrasted only two of these: (sprayed + unblessed) vs. (unsprayed + blessed). It must be noted that the (unsprayed + blessed) fields had previously been sprayed as all the others. Spraying the fields with herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, etc., greatly damages the soil microbes. If one ceases spraying, the soil microorganisms can again thrive and begin to produce healthier, more robust plants for some period of time (even years) before diseases and pests rediscover the field. This is a technique known in industrial organic agriculture: take a field that is surrounded by others that are sprayed, stop spraying that one field and call it “organic” and it does well for some number of years, shielded from pests and diseases because it is surrounded by other fields that ARE sprayed. The organic plants are healthy and vigorous for some time. No blessings are required.
This may account for the agricultural results. To properly conduct the test, they would also have needed fields that were (sprayed + blessed) and (unsprayed + unblessed) as controls. Without the proper controls, one cannot conclude that the blessing accounted for the differences observed.
Here at Penn State, Trivedi “blessed” some corn from Dr. Surinder Chopra, a Professor of Maize Genetics. These were evaluated in the laboratory relative to controls and no genetic changes to the corn were found.
When he arrived at our office, he was reportedly drinking 17 liters of water a day and rarely using the bathroom [we did not count the liters: his chelas (followers) reported this to us; we did note he did not often use a bathroom]. According to his followers, this was an improvement over the 30 liters/day he used to consume! We observed that he often visibly perspired on his forehead and wiped his forehead often or the water literally ran down his face. He constantly cleared his throat, as if chronically congested, and his voice was often gruff as if choked with phlegm.
His followers said he never slept – I observed his eyes were often bloodshot, yet he did not seem tired. Supposedly his physiological parameters were astounding: he should be in a diabetic coma or dead and yet he was not! His pituitary was the size of an egg! We had no way to confirm the medical data about Trivedi, but based upon his unusual water consumption alone, there seemed to be something physiologically different about him.
From a scientific viewpoint, to know for sure if the blessing was responsible for the observed healing effect, one would truly have to do carefully controlled experiments with groups of people having the same health ailment: some blessed, some told they were blessed but were not, and some who were not blessed. The results of this testing would give a sense of the role of the placebo effect: the ability of the person’s own mind to affect a healing response, which is quite valid a response in instances as this one.
Prof. Rustum Roy
I worked with the late Prof. Rustum Roy. At age 85, he could have passed for a man in his 60’s. His skin was smooth and wrinkle-free. His mind was sharp, his eyes bright – truly with a twinkle in them! - and his energy enviable to all of us much younger. When he learned of Trivedi, he was eager to prove to the world that gifted individuals (of which he believed Trivedi to be one) could perform extraordinary phenomena – alter physical properties of materials, heal plants or humans, etc. Trivedi provided him with that opportunity and, when the laboratory results failed to show anything extraordinary, Rustum believed Trivedi perhaps was most gifted in affecting living things – bacteria, plants, humans. He (Rustum) subjected himself to many, many “blessings”, both in person and remotely (over the phone), to use his personal experience as a judge of whether Trivedi was real. While he had no major health issues, he fished around to see if he felt “better” inside and, when I questioned him, he was a little wishy-washy… nothing profound. I have in my notes that he reported to me he felt “more normal.”
We tested Trivedi, gratis, on several occasions, June – September 2009, after which Trivedi was spending time in Arizona and California. Trivedi came to our lab again in mid-December to see Rustum. Thereafter, Rustum began to ail with one thing after another, but most notably a terrible pain at the base of his spine. All kinds of testing failed to reveal the source of his agonizing pain. He continued to get “blessings” through February or so, after which he seemed to really cool it on his support for Trivedi, for various reasons. He passed his 86th birthday in early July 2010 in a wheelchair, on pain-killers. As he ailed more, he asked that his name be removed from the Trivedi Foundation website. After many nagging e-mails sent on his behalf, they complied for awhile, but then re-posted his early endorsement again once he passed away. Rustum passed away on August 26, 2010.
Because of Prof. Roy’s interest in the structure of water, in recent years we had tested many therapeutic waters for various companies. In general we followed a policy whereby if we could not substantiate the claims made by the company, they would not mention that our lab tested their water, and we would not share our null findings with anyone. It was a kind of courtesy to not bad-mouth anyone. We acted the same way on behalf of Trivedi. Not finding anything, we just didn’t say anything. The data were archived or deleted and most participants involved will not waste further time on it. Rustum leaned more and more on the existing data the Trivedi group offered because our own data did not substantiate anything. His early endorsement of Trivedi was taken by many of his esteemed colleagues without question: if Rustum says this guy is for real, it must be!
At this point it is important for everyone to take a more careful look at the reported “science” being promulgated by Trivedi and his team. As time permits, I will provide further substantiation for the scientific aspects we tested at Penn State – check back here.
To be very clear: there is nothing in this for me. I wasn’t paid to do the testing of Trivedi in 2009, and I’m not being paid to work on dredging up all of this stuff again now, in 2011. It is not something I particularly wish to focus on, but I can appreciate that it is of value to those who are evaluating Trivedi for themselves at this time.
More information is posted at www.purqi.com
A few photos from our testing are shown below.