Parental Readiness, Compliance with Nature, and Cosmic Consciousness

“If we were to be legitimately afraid of something, it would be the stagnation of the ever-repeating known, because the ever-repeating known catches the attention of Nature as stagnation and change will come whether we want it or not.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

It’s Q&A time once again.

In answer to a young man questioning the timing of parenthood, Thom explains the role the child has in its own incarnation, and reminds us to be led by charm rather than the intellect in our decisions.

He also explains how our intellect interferes with our innate connection with the laws of Nature.

And he tackles two questions on Cosmic Consciousness. One from a listener seeking clarity on his own experiences of Cosmic Consciousness, and one from another listener about the relationship between stress and Cosmic Consciousness.

Something for everyone and, as always, something to inspire us to maintain our practice of Vedic Meditation. 

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Episode Highlights


How Do You Know When You’re Ready to Be a Parent?



A Jiva Who Wants to Be Born



Karma – Unfinished Business



The Shankaracharya Tradition



The Only Safe Move



Great Liberties



Q- Why Do We Need to Learn or Re-learn the Laws of Nature?



Hride — The Layer of Us in Connection With Nature



The Innocent Experience of Charm



Awakening Our Inborn Talent



Culturing the Fine Level of Feeling



Snowed Under By Intellectualism



Q- Can Practicing Vedic Meditation Twice a Day Bring More Clarity to My Experience?



The Fortunate Experience of Cosmic Consciousness



Culturing Your Experience



Attaining Higher States of Consciousness



Q- How Does Cosmic Consciousness Become Permanent?



Cosmic Consciousness is a Natural Condition



Understanding Stress Properly



Two Aspects of Stress



Inability to Accumulate Stress



A Line in the Sand



The Experiencer



I Am Totality Having a Human Experience


Jai Guru Deva


Parental Readiness, Compliance with Nature, and Cosmic Consciousness

Q – How Do You Know When You’re Ready to Be a Parent?

[00:00:45] My name’s Stephan and I’m contacting you from Nelson in New Zealand and I’ve got a question around parenting. I’ve gathered that you’re a father of nine kids, and I myself am looking towards fatherhood or potential fatherhood as a young 23-year-old male and I guess the narrative that’s running through my mind is, that it’s too soon.

[00:01:06] And so I wanted to just ask you for your opinion on how do you know when you’re ready? And as a spiritual person myself, I’d like to get your take on the spiritual angle of raising children. What would drive the project of entering fatherhood in your mind? What would be a noble purpose? Yeah. Thanks.

[00:01:28] Jai Guru Deva.

A Jiva Who Wants to Be Born

[00:01:30] What a great question. And, of course, fatherhood, and indeed parenthood, is not for everybody. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s not for those who remain in doubt about it. I do highly recommend the experience of it.

[00:01:48] For me, and this is me specifically, we have this idea in the Vedic Worldview about Dharma. Dharma means your personal role in the evolution of things, and there’s a calling that calls you, you feel yourself being called, and if you’re feeling a call to parenthood, then, in that particular case, we consider it to be folly to resist it.

[00:02:18] It means that from our perspective, there is some Jiva, J-I-V-A— in Sanskrit, it means the individuated consciousness— there is a Jiva that is examining the potential that you have for you to be its parent, and that will appear inside of you, as a desire to become a parent. And when you feel that impulse, then there’s going to be a phenomenon of cooperative enterprise between you and your partner and the Jiva who wants to be born.

[00:03:02] Very frequently, in the west, we have this idea that children are created by us, that we’re their creator, that we create a life, we create an individuated consciousness, and that the individuated consciousness, the Jiva, has no choice in the matter. And people will sometimes say, “Oh, I shouldn’t have brought this person into being. There’s this going on. There’s that going on, the world, the politics, the wars, the, all of this.”

Karma – Unfinished Business

[00:03:35] And we need to actually step out of our egocentricity in this regard because Jivas also are on the hunt for appropriate parents. They also, from our perspective, likely have some unfinished business with you that needs to be brought to a conclusion in the process of your parenting them, and process of bringing unfinished business into conclusion.

[00:04:10] One of the ways of looking at this is to use the word Karma. Karma, in this case, means the unfinished business left between us and somebody else with whom we may have had dealings sometime in the past.

[00:04:27] And we can go, obviously beyond, in this case, beyond looking simply at the individuated life that we’ve lived right now.

[00:04:36] We, I think, need to respond to the call when that call appears. And as I said, I want to reemphasize this is not for everyone. If the call hasn’t appeared, if you don’t feel the charm to become a parent, then there’s so much you can bring to the world leading a single life. A single life also is a very highly spiritual life.

The Shankaracharya Tradition

[00:05:02] The tradition of teachers and masters who brought Vedic Meditation in its pure form to the current day is known as the Shankaracharya tradition.

[00:05:18] Something like half, or perhaps slightly more than half, of all of the teachers who are mentioned by name when we perform that ceremony of gratitude at the commencement of someone learning Vedic Meditation, there’s a ceremony of gratitude that lasts three minutes or so, that we ask people to witness, and we name all of the Masters who have been, those who ushered in the knowledge of this meditation, along with the entire Vedic worldview that is the theoretical underpinnings of our technique and our practice.

[00:05:57] About slightly more than half of those were what we refer to as householders, householder gurus. A guru, a teacher, a seer is a Rishi. So these masters of the highest possible degree, slightly more than half of them were householders. That means they had children. And of those, quite a few of them, the knowledge went from the parent to the child. So the child was the next guru in the tradition in several cases.

[00:06:32] Also, there is great representation in our Holy Tradition of Masters who chose the single life. And there are several who had it both ways. They spent a period of their life as a householder, and including the raising of children, and in relationship, and spent the latter part of their life as a reclusive, someone who didn’t participate. And this is after, of course, the responsibilities of caregiving and parenting had come to a conclusion, and their offspring were self-sufficient. So, there it is.

The Only Safe Move

[00:07:13] And we need to step bravely and adventurously into parenthood if that’s our calling, just as we have to step bravely and with great enthusiasm into single life if that’s our calling.

[00:07:26] In other words, moving from the ever-repeating known into the unknown is the only safe move. The unknown sometimes appears to be a little daunting, but the fact is if we were to be legitimately afraid of something, it would be the stagnation of the ever-repeating known, because the ever-repeating known catches the attention of Nature as stagnation and change will come whether we want it or not.

[00:08:01] And so when we make a move from the known to the unknown, we are consciously designing for ourself the way in which change will be constructed, and that conceiving and constructing of change, when that’s done consciously by us, then this satisfies Nature’s demand for progress, for progressive change.

Great Liberties

[00:08:28] If we don’t heed the call for change, then what happens is change comes anyway, but it comes in a way that is not by our design and this is not preferable. What is preferable is for us to have conscious design of change.

[00:08:49] So my suggestion would be, it seems to me as though the calling is there, why not go ahead? And I can tell you from my perspective that the joys of parenthood are easily as great as the joys of a single life, whomever is in one of those roles in life always considers their own role in life to be perhaps more joy-filled than the other.

[00:09:15] Single people very often feel that having not engaged in the responsibilities of parenting may have given them great liberties. And people who have engaged in parenting very often feel as though parenting has given them great liberties to enjoy and experience the collective life. That’s my answer. Jai Guru Deva.

Q- Why Do We Need to Learn or Re-learn the Laws of Nature?

[00:09:39] Hi Thom. This is Karen in New York. I’m wondering why we as human animals need to learn or relearn, connect or reconnect with natural law, the laws of Nature. Why don’t we know already?

Hride — The Layer of Us in Connection With Nature

[00:10:00] It’s a fabulous question, Karen. And the fact is there is a layer of us that does know already. Our brain has become so big and capable of dissociating with the fine level of feeling that our intellect has been encouraged, and this is a societal thing, it’s a social thing that’s been passed along for many generations.

[00:10:29] And the age that we’ve found ourselves in is an age that has enormous problems because of our fascination with purely intellectual approaches to interacting with the environments in which we find ourselves.

[00:10:44] We are indoctrinated, and then we are rewarded, and if not rewarded, then our indoctrination also has embedded in it some punishments for not being solely intellectual animals.

[00:11:04] We take a solely intellectual approach to almost everything. And, in fact, deep inside of us is a thing which in Sanskrit we call Hride, H-R-I-D-E. Hride is the fine level of feeling. The fine level of feeling means that layer of us that is permanently adjacent to and in connection with the totality of natural law.

[00:11:33] It’s that layer of us which is, in fact, constantly in contact with the intentionality of Nature itself, the place where our individuality and Nature meet. The layer where our individuality which we can call the small self, is in permanent contact with the big Self. And that layer is a layer into which we dive and through which we pass on our way in towards transcendence during our practice of Vedic Meditation.

The Innocent Experience of Charm

[00:12:12] As the mind settles down in meditation, the intellect fails to rule the show. In fact, it’s very interesting that during our practice of Vedic Meditation, our individual human intellect is not invited to the party. What do we mean by that?

[00:12:30] In the proper practice of Vedic Meditation, we have learned from a qualified teacher, a mantra or sound. That mantra, though it’s been matched to our individual vibration, it resonates with us, is not based on meaning.

[00:12:49] One of the first questions that people ask Vedic Meditation teachers after the student has received her or his mantra is, “What does it mean?” And though spoken as a word in learning it, in fact, it rapidly turns into a sound in the mind when you simply think it effortlessly.

[00:13:13] But the answer that a teacher gives is, it doesn’t work on the level of meaning. Meaning is not involved. It has no intended meaning. It’s a sound. A little bit like a note on a piano. When you play a particular key on the piano, it might make a pleasing note.

[00:13:34] Then if somebody said to you, “Well, what does it mean?” The answer would be more along the lines of “Well, how does it make you feel? How does that sound make you feel?”

[00:13:44] So in Vedic Meditation, when we close our eyes to meditate right away, we’re not inviting the intellect. We pick up that beautiful resonant charming sound, and we allow the mind innocently to experience it. And this draws the mind into softer layers, more abstract layers.

Awakening Our Inborn Talent

[00:14:06] We call it abstract because the kinds of thoughts that tend to appear on our way in, as we’re going deep, are thoughts that may have no particular logical sensibility, no logical sequence.

[00:14:20] Some people would refer to such thoughts as dream like, but in fact, we’re not dreaming. Our mind is simply letting go of the strictures of the indoctrinated intellect, where the intellect is in charge of everything.

[00:14:37] And as our awareness is drawn further and further inward, effortlessly by the increasing charm of the sound of the mantra, then we arrive at the layer, which we call the fine level of feeling, Hride.

[00:14:52] Just beyond the fine level of feeling is absolute transcendence, the field of Being, pure consciousness. Now that talent of allowing ourselves to experience that layer is an inborn talent of, as you referred to it, the human animal, but as with many talents, if we don’t culture it, it doesn’t become useful.

Culturing the Fine Level of Feeling

[00:15:19] Just as, for example, every human has the capacity as an infant to learn to speak. But if nobody ever speaks to a child and the child grows up without having learned or having cultured any form of language, then what happens? Well, an individual may come up with their own words, their own nouns, their own verbs, their own grammar, but nobody else can understand them.

[00:15:49] And so, although it’s perfectly natural to be able to speak, unless we culture it, speech does not become, in any sense, practical in an applied sense. It can’t be applied. And so, we end up not being able to explore and exploit that natural inborn talent.

[00:16:13] Similarly, the capacity to step beyond intellectual thinking and to experience the fine level of feeling, where we have access to intuition and instinct, to be able to sense what Nature is up to so that we can be in the right place at the right time with greater frequency, and in the wrong place at the wrong time with less frequency.

[00:16:42] That inborn talent is not emphasized culturally. It’s been forgotten. It was indeed a part, anthropologically, of our culture as humans, once upon a time in every culture, but as intellectual development grew, the tendency to ignore that fine level of feeling also grew.

Snowed Under By Intellectualism

[00:17:08] And along with the indoctrination and the intellectually elite approach to life and living, we’ve had to learn how, once again, to do a thing, which should have been an inborn natural talent, and that could have easily been cultured, had our parents simply known how to teach us this, or our teachers. But instead of that, we were taught other things, and those are the things that were given greater importance than that fine level of feeling value.

[00:17:41] So we are once again learning, as humans, how to restore our awareness of our ongoing and permanent connection with Nature. It’s always there under the surface. “I feel it should be so. I feel it’s not so,” and so on. “I knew to go this way because my fine level of feeling told me.” Those are the fortunate ones.

[00:18:06] The unfortunate ones are the ones who don’t know what we’re talking about when we say fine level of feeling.

[00:18:13] So there it is. We’re having to relearn, or learn how to take heed of something that is always there, but is covered up, it’s snowed under by all kinds of intellectualism. That’s the answer.

Q- Can Practicing Vedic Meditation Twice a Day Bring More Clarity to My Experience?

[00:18:34] Hi, Thom. My name is Juan. I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. I recently found your podcast on Spotify. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had a strange experience I can’t really explain but it seemed to have done something really weird to me. Fast forward to today, I tend to mainly perceive life from a place as a witness or as an observer, as some would say.

[00:18:53] All of the time, my own thoughts, my emotions that used to feel like a part of me, seems like they are not attached to me anymore. I don’t have much meditation experience, but the overall sense of not really knowing anything and just feeling pleasant and happy most of the time.

[00:19:07] My question is, can practicing Vedic Meditation two times a day bring more clarity to what I’m experiencing. Thank you so much. Look forward to your answer.

The Fortunate Experience of Cosmic Consciousness

[00:19:16] Well, my answer is that you are one of the very fortunate ones who has spontaneously had an experience, which we refer to in the language of Vedic Meditation as Cosmic Consciousness. That’s all-inclusive awareness. Cosmic means all-inclusive.

[00:19:36] The all-inclusivity of it is the fact that there is an underlying state of Being, pure unbounded consciousness, which ultimately is the innocent witness of all other, of our individuated functions, the body, its sensations, the emotions, and so on.

[00:19:57] Not that those things are in any way illegitimate, but there is a fine, quiet state underlying all of those that is the innocent witness of all of those things. It’s more that, “I am a state of Being having a human experience,” rather than, “I am a human who occasionally has a state of experience called Being.”

[00:20:29] Somehow, maybe due to all kinds of factors that we could only explain if I knew more about you, you’ve awakened that state of Being inside, even without the regular experience, intentionally of culturing it through the practice of Vedic Meditation.

Culturing Your Experience

[00:20:52] Certainly, the next step is to formalize it and to learn how to culture it. To culture, it means two things. More direct experience of what that underlying consciousness state is. And that will certainly be something that comes to you through your twice-daily practice of Vedic Meditation.

[00:21:15] And the second thing is a deeper and greater intellectual understanding, as I’m trying to apply now. Intellectual understanding liberates us because it allows us to know that this is an experience that’s been had in the past and in the modern day by thousands of people. It is not in any way a pathological stage or anything wrong or anything.

[00:21:43] And you’ve said it yourself you’re experiencing a kind of backdrop of bliss. This is what meditation is designed to create and, in the case of you already having it, to enhance it.

Attaining Higher States of Consciousness

[00:21:56] There are higher consciousness states than Cosmic Consciousness. And those consciousness states also deserve to be explored by you and can be awakened through adding a regular practice of Vedic Meditation to your repertoire.

[00:22:13] And so then let’s look into that and let my team help you find someone who can instruct you in our methodology and take you from where you are… you’ve already gone a fair way toward the goal innocently without knowing even how you did it.

[00:22:33] But if we can add some intellectual understanding to this and enhance that, there are higher consciousness states that can be attained to very quickly and stabilized.

[00:22:46] We want to stabilize Cosmic Consciousness, and we want to add to it the two higher levels of experience that are known by the names of God Consciousness and Unity Consciousness. And I’ve gone into these seven states of consciousness, and what their meanings are, what their experiences are, in quite some detail and some of my podcast material. Please look into this and see to what extent you can enhance your already existing fabulous experience.

[00:23:21] Jai Guru Deva.

Q- How Does Cosmic Consciousness Become Permanent?

[00:23:26] Hello? I am Ted from Washington DC. Can you explain how Cosmic Consciousness becomes permanent? What happens to the individual physiology, psychology, and spirituality that maintains enlightenment? If Cosmic Consciousness is created in the individual by removal of stress, can stress remove Cosmic Consciousness from an individual?

[00:23:54] And then, as an example in extreme stress, is a person in Cosmic Consciousness immune from breaking under torture? Thank you for your answer. Jai Guru Deva.

Cosmic Consciousness is a Natural Condition

[00:24:08] Jai Guru Deva. So Cosmic Consciousness is a natural condition. It is, in fact, normality. Cosmic Consciousness is nothing super normal. And Cosmic Consciousness is the state of consciousness that we should naturally have been evolved into at the end of our adolescence, had we had a technique to remove accumulated stress.

[00:24:33] Let me be very clear; stress is not the enemy of Cosmic Consciousness. Stress, having a stress reaction to an overload of experience, is part of the natural human repertoire. If we remove the capability of fighting or fleeing in extremely dangerous situations where our body was in danger of extinction due to some overload, then we may not, as a species, we certainly wouldn’t have survived.

Understanding Stress Properly

[00:25:06] And as individuals, we may not have survived to the age where we can have this discussion. It’s very important to understand stress properly. Getting stressed is not actually the grave danger. It is getting stressed and then staying stressed beyond its relevance.

[00:25:30] And so when we get stressed, if we don’t have any kind of methodology whereby we can dissolve the legacy of having been stressed, where we can dissolve the premature cognitive commitments, that is to say, the way that our mind and brain have formed prematurely, a commitment to the danger signal value of some innocent perception that happened to be around at a time when we were having a stress reaction…

[00:26:00] This is the way that under stress, we might attach the sensations of being stressed to a color that was dominant at the time, or a smell, a particular fragrance, or a sound, some chord changes playing in your car while you were witnessing or engaged in a car accident, or flavors, or tactile sensations.

[00:26:27] So, our brain will prematurely attach danger to those what were, in fact, peripheral phenomena that happened to be around at the time of our getting stressed. Then when we don’t have a methodology for releasing and dissolving the legacy of the stress experience, those premature cognitive commitments act as prompts to cause us to go into a stress reaction later on in situations where in fact, there are no dangers to our lives.

Two Aspects of Stress

[00:27:03] There’s just a color present, or a fragrance, or a tactile sensation, or a sound, or a flavor, or something like that, and we end up having irrelevant stress reactivity in situations where there’s, in fact, no danger to us whatsoever.

[00:27:21] So legacy of having become stressed, stress accumulation. So when we talk about stress, we talk about two aspects of it.

[00:27:31] One, the initial stress reaction, and then two, the after effect of that, which, if we don’t have a technique like Vedic Meditation, it’s going to take years, if at all ever, we release all of the distorted memories in the cells that were the leftover from the initial reaction. So now somebody in Cosmic Consciousness is somebody who has removed, layer after layer, accumulated stress.

[00:28:05] Accumulated stress meaning the now irrelevant distorted memories in the cells have been removed, layer after layer, like peeling away layers of irrelevancy, peeling away layers of irrelevant reactivity, until eventually there are no more accumulated layers of past experiences of overloads.


[00:28:29] So the individual in that state has had normality restored. And what’s been restored, we refer to it as Cosmic Consciousness, but it’s, in fact, just normality.

[00:28:41] Normality means, “I am experiencing my baseline of Unified Field consciousness while simultaneously experiencing all of my individuality. My individuality is being experienced fully, so I have a hundred percent of that, and my universality, my cosmic viewpoint, also is being experienced by me simultaneously.”

[00:29:11] Cosmic Consciousness is the simultaneity of the level of Being, pure consciousness, no longer being overshadowed by experiences of the relative world, that channel through our mind, through our senses, and through our body.

[00:29:29] And so then what happens is our level of adaptation energy becomes so high that it would take an enormous level of demand being made on us to cause us to maladapt, to cause us to go into a reaction of either wanting to fight for our lives or flee.

Stress Reaction in Cosmic Consciousness

[00:29:53] But it’s not impossible for someone in Cosmic Consciousness to have a stress reaction.

[00:30:00] A stress reaction is still possible. It would take a lot, but it’s still possible. The big difference is the legacy isn’t there. Someone could get stressed but no longer have the repercussion of having become stressed. There’s no accumulation possible.

[00:30:23] And the reason for that is that the mind and the brain and the body of someone in Cosmic Consciousness perpetually is in the maximum state of restfulness that’s possible to be in given a current demand on your body.

Inability to Accumulate Stress

[00:30:43] So, for example, if you had two people running a 50-yard dash, one of them, a regular, when I say regular, I mean commonplace, stressed person running the 50-yard dash and a cosmically conscious person running a 50-yard dash.

[00:30:58] During the dash, both people’s physiology rise, their heart rate will go up, and breath rate will go up, their oxygen consumption will go up. At the end of the 50-yard dash, the person who has a stressed physiology will continue to have high metabolism, high level of oxygen consumption, perhaps for hours after that exertion.

[00:31:24] The person in Cosmic Consciousness will be able to go right back into the least excited state rapidly. Both can rise to the occasion. Both can perform the 50-yard dash, but one of them straight away afterward will have restoration to normality, a return, as we say physiologically, a return to homeostasis, that means the entire and full repertoire of all the cell mass of the body.

[00:31:52] The trillions of cells in the body, 70 trillion, will all go back into their normal wide-open mode of full repertoire. They won’t have a restricted repertoire, whereas the stressed person will continue to show signs of, having been that exertion, will continue to show signs because they had to take all their stresses with them in the 50-yard dash, their muscles weren’t performing at optimum level, and their capacity for athletic excellence was somehow muted.

[00:32:26] So like that, someone in Cosmic Consciousness could have a stress reaction, but they can’t have stress accumulation.

A Line in the Sand

[00:32:36] One of the ways in which my teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught this was through an example that exists in one of the Vedic texts known as the Upanishads.

[00:32:47] And the text states this, and it’s a very long story, I’ll shorten it for you. We take a rusty steel chisel and we use the steel chisel to carve into granite, a deep line, just a straight line, carve a line into the granite. Then what happens, the rusty steel chisel has now made a line which, a hundred thousand years later can be found by an archeologist who says somebody carved a line here once.

[00:33:21] Now we take the same rusty steel chisel to the beach, and we carve an equivalent line in some sand. Now we have the same steel chisel, same demand level, but the medium in which it’s carving its line is sand. The line is there, but maybe a day later, you can’t see the line anymore. Maybe a few hours later, you can’t see the line anymore.

The Experiencer

[00:33:48] Now we take the same rusty steel chisel and we go into a placid lake in our little boat, and we put the rusty steel chisel into the water and draw a line with it. The rusty steel chisel is still creating a deep line that can be seen for a second, but then it’s gone. You can put the steel chisel into the water again and again, and keep on digging, and although it will make a line, but the line disappears almost instantaneously.

[00:34:20] In our analogy, the rusty steel chisel is the demand level of the world, the world making its demands on the experiencer. But who is the experiencer?

[00:34:32] If the experiencer is someone whose entire life is, “My individuality, my individuality, I’m only a body. I’m only an individual, and my existence is all determined by this flimsy little squishy body that, by the way, has accumulated thousands upon thousands of memories, distorted memories in the cells called stress, then when the world makes another demand on me, it takes a very tiny demand, a very tiny rusty steel chisel, to make a deep groove in that.”

[00:35:08] That experiencer level is the medium in which the groove or the line is being made.

[00:35:14] As we continue meditating, the experiencer and the physiology that’s printed out from that experiencer starts to become a more malleable substance akin to the sand where we’re putting the rusty steel chisel into the sand.

I Am Totality Having a Human Experience

[00:35:32] As we arrive in Cosmic Consciousness, normality consciousness, and we’ve restored the state of Being, which should really, from the time that our brain reached maturity should have been our natural experience, if we’d been meditating through our childhood, then it’s like a line on water.

[00:35:52] The rusty steel chisel is still there. What is that? It’s made that way, that kind of grizzly imagery of the provocation to the experiencer, because it’s not the provocation that’s in charge of how long lasting and limiting the effect of the chiseling is. It’s who is experiencing it.

[00:36:15] In Cosmic Consciousness, “I am Totality having a human experience through this human body.” And when a massive reaction has to be had, let’s say in the case that you gave, torture, then naturally there’ll be an expression of stress at the moment, but then instantaneous erasure, just like rusty steel chisel going into the water and drawing the line. Line is there. Line is gone.

[00:36:46] So like that, accumulation can no longer happen. It’s been a very good question that you asked because it awakened an entire world of knowledge for you to contemplate and for all of the other listeners to contemplate. Thanks for your question.

[00:37:03] Jai Guru Deva.

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