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JANUARY 8, 2012 • ISSUE 151

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MUM PhD student Karen Aoki


Karen performing at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center
(photo by Werner Elmker)


Karen playing bansuri flute
at the 2010 Summer Celebration with her teacher Binay Krishna Baral on tabla
(photo by Werner Elmker)


Karen was a teacher’s assistant for Professor Gerry Geer for the undergraduate course Higher States of Consciousness

Karen Aoki — The Sounds
of Flute and Sanskrit

Karen Aoki, a PhD student in Maharishi Vedic Science,SM grew up in Japan and trained to be a classical flutist from a very young age. For her junior and senior years in high school, she attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in music and flute performance from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Karen learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique during her second year in college and enjoyed her experience of pure consciousness so much she wanted to learn more. As soon as she graduated in 2005, she enrolled in the MA in Maharishi Vedic Science program.

In 2008, Karen began her PhD and decided to do her research in reading the Vedic literature in Sanskrit. “As soon as I started to read the Vedic literature, it fulfilled the very same experiential value that music used to fulfill,” said Karen. “It’s like performing. I am feeling the quality of the sounds. It’s like a piece of music.” Karen also learned to play the bansuri flute and now finds playing music more fulfilling and enjoys performing.

In addition, Karen discovered that reciting the Vedic literature brings her more in tune with nature and herself. “When I am reading, I am tuning my nervous system and brain, just like when I am tuning my flute,” she said. “By the time I finish an hour of reading, I am a different person, a different state of consciousness. I will be more coherent, feel more stable, and I feel greater fulfillment in activity.”

Karen completed the Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course in 2010 and now teaches the TM® technique to first-year MUM students. She also enjoys teaching undergraduate Sanskrit and Maharishi Vedic Science courses.

“Karen is excellent at everything she does—playing the flute, speaking Japanese, reading Sanskrit, teaching students,” said Thomas Egenes, professor of Maharishi Vedic Science. “MUM is fortunate to have someone of her quality.”

Along with MUM alumnus Corey Morrow, Karen is the co-owner of Earth & Water Tea Lounge and Pottery Shop opening soon in Fairfield and offering an extensive collection of high quality teas and handmade pottery.

Listen to Karen play the classical flute:

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