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Transcendental Meditation: relaxation or smokescreen?

Article written by Indira Gilbert (Pillay)

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is being introduced in many schools in South Africa (and abroad) under the name of CBE (consciousness-based education) claiming that it assists the learner to concentrate and subsequently produce improved academic results. Not only is its religious nature withheld from those it is planned to recruit – its religious nature is actually denied. The TM movement plans to get into an education system (they report however, that they are already functioning in many schools in South Africa – the names of the schools can be obtained from them) by training educators to meditate. The educators will then meditate with the learners for 15 minutes at the beginning and again at the end of the school day. The school is required to amend its time-table in order to accommodate the programme. Nothing is mentioned about the rights of learners concerning TM or the modifying of the time-table for the entire school.

The TM movement promotes their agenda by:

  1. disguising with the name – CBE (consciousness-based education)  - when approaching the education fraternity;
  2. highlighting the so-called benefits which were conducted by their organization,  their followers, or research funded by them; and
  3. not explaining exactly what their method of improving school behaviour/performance is, nor how it is done.

On gaining the interest of those addressed in improving our schools (and everyone wants to improve the school set-up), educators are asked to sign-in for training. The training too is not explained. Only when those interested in the programme go in for training are they exposed to what actually happens.

Those who have signed into the programme are asked to bring an “offering of thanks” to the fathers of the programme – the gurus of the past. The offering has to be cloth (a handkerchief), flowers, fruit, and camphor. A payment too is necessary (all in the name of “an offering of thanks” – how scientific can that be?). A ceremony of initiation is conducted – the Puja ceremony (not a ceremony or ritual of thanksgiving as claimed). The prayers are done in Sanskrit so that the persons interested in the programme do not understand what is being said nor do they realize that they are submitting to deities. Camphor is burnt, water is sprinkled, and flowers, cloth (white handkerchief) and incense, sandal paste, rice, flour, incense, fruit, betel leaf and coconut are offered to the gods and goddesses while the invocation is read. All these have significance to the Hindu faith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camphor; http://www.india-crafts.com/articles/puja-items.html; http://www.hinduwebsite.com/rituals.asp). The Hindu ritual of worshipping a deity (Puja/ Pooja), is an elaborate, holy ceremony (http://www.india-crafts.com/articles/puja-items.html). The English version of the puja chanted during the ceremony can be obtained by writing to the address below.

Persons of Indian origin are usually aware of the meaning of such offerings, of the puja ceremony and Sanskrit prayers – and those who do not belong to the Hindu faith usually back down from the programme. The other ethnic/racial groups do not have any such point of reference and go along with the programme on the basis of what is said to them viz. that it is not a religious practice – only an offering of thanks.

Those who continue in the programme are each given a mantra (individually and secretly) and are led to believe that theirs is a unique mantra which must not be disclosed to anyone lest it lose its significance. How scientific can this be? In reality there are only 15 mantras. Hence 1/15 of the TM practicing population (6.67%) shares the same mantra.

Well-meaning educators (with the consent of governing body members) will subsequently take this programme to their learners who will readily accept it as it comes from their educators and the education system. The parents likewise do not question the programme. If they do, educators who know no better will positively market the programme to them.  Even if parents are addressed by the movement itself, they will be provided the same incorrect information as were the educators. This is exactly how the TM movement is moving into various countries. I have been led to believe that they have already entered many so-called “black” and “white” schools in South Africa, and a few of the so-called “Indian” schools. A list of the mantras and the English version is attached.

 

TM is a religious practice. Beside this aspect being withheld from all whom the movement targets to recruit, when confronted they actually deny the religious nature of TM. They insist that people from any religion can and do practice it. While this may be true it is because the true nature of TM is withheld – people are being misled. This is the worldwide propagation strategy. According to the Maharishi (the founder of TM) TM is:

  • “a path to God.”
  • “the only way to salvation and success in life; there is no other way.”
  • “a very good form of prayer which leads us to the field of the creator, to the source of creation, to the field of God.”
  • a means whereby “a sinner very easily comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man.”
  • the wisdom of transcendental meditation, which is the knowledge of the integration of life established in the Absolute, came to lotus-born BRAHMA from LORD NARAYANA. (http://www.lightlink.com/trance/secrets/puja/tradt.shtml)

 

 

 

 

The Maharishi’s motivation in promoting TM as non-religious is “shrewd opportunism”:

“Whenever and wherever religion dominates the mass consciousness, transcendental deep meditation should be taught in terms of religion….Today when politics is guiding the destiny of man, the teaching should be primarily based on the field of politics and secondarily on the plane of economics…… . It seems, for the present, that this transcendental deep meditation should be made available to the peoples through the agencies of government.”

A mantra is a religious syllable from the Sanskrit language. Mantras are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Mantras are interpreted to be effective as vibration, which may include verbal repetition in the form of chanting or internal mental incantation. For this reason great emphasis is put on correct pronunciation. Mantras originated in the Vedic religion of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition. Mantras are used in Eastern spiritual traditions to divert the mind by focusing it on a spiritual idea. (http://www.indiaclub.com/Shop/SearchResults.asp?ProdStock=26294). Regular chanting is expected to create certain vibrations in the body and mind which would facilitate the spiritual transformation of ones ordinary self. http://www.hinduwebsite.com/rituals.asp

The TM mantras are not “meaningless sounds,” – they are inseparable from the names of religious deities!According to scholar Sir John Woodroffe’s Garland of Letters TM mantras have been widely available throughout India for centuries. The Maharishi himself, in a quote from the Bea­con Light of the Himalyas, explains mantras to be a spiritual tool to be used to call on spiritual beings “on other levels of creation.” He explains the deeper, religious purpose of the mantras:

We do something here according to Vedic rites, particularly, specific chanting to produce an effect in some other world, draw the attention of those higher beings or gods living there. The entire knowledge of the mantras or hymns of the Vedas is devoted to man’s connection, to man’s communication with the higher beings in different strata of creation.”

“For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal gods and make us happier in every walk of life.”

“The mantra has always been there, recognized as the most effective means among the Hindu religious disciplines” (Swami Ritajananda).

“The Hindus believe that one can purify oneself from sin by meditation on the mantra, be liberated and attain bliss. This is salvation” (Swami Ritajananda).

“The sound Om is very important – the Divine Shepherd, i.e. God, Himself becomes the mantra Om” (Swami Ritajananda).

The mantra is the sound symbol of the Supreme Lord.  The Name of the Lord [Om] and the fact of repeating it with faith ensure that the devotee attains all he is searching for (Swami Ritajananda).

Om (AUM) is considered to be a very sacred word. It is the universal name of the Lord. It imparts divinity to every thing it touches. When it is joined with another word as prefix, the word becomes divine in nature and when it is uttered it creates certain vibrations which have the ability to transform the consciousness. Therefore in Hinduism all chanting is preceded by the use of this sacred syllable  (http://www.hinduwebsite.com/rituals.asp; http://sanskritdocuments.org/articles/Hindu_Rituals.pdf).

 

 

 

 

 

The mantras are in Sanskrit – this prevents those who are initiated from realizing that they are actually mediat­ing on names of deities. The list of the mantras can be obtained by writing to the address below.

 

Documented side-effects of TM

It also needs to be noted that there are documented side-effects of TM which, for obvious reasons, is not spelt out. Reported negative effects include muscle twitches, convulsions, headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, inability to focus, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, dissociation, depersonalization, nervous breakdown, and suicidal inclination.

(http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/transcendental_meditation-harmful-personal.htm)

There are various implications arising from the practice of TM (http://minet.org/Documents/German-Study).

Claims Refuted

As an aside, while their many claims sound impressive, an analysis of their studies presents an entirely different picture of the ‘Maharishi Effect’. (http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/transcendental_meditation-harmful-personal.htm).

 

Court Ruling

Transcendental Meditation was ruled a religion by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey (October 19, 1977) and the TM group and their literature was removed from all schools. A detail of the court ruling is attached.

 

Other Issues of concern concerning the introduction of TM into the schools

Permission being obtained from parents for learners to participate in the TM programme will make no difference as most of our parents (and the public) are not aware of what TM really is. Parents will subsequently be giving uninformed permission. As educators (guardians of our children), and should protect our children from any offer which is not open and which intentionally mislead in their presentation.

Some principals/educators in schools in Chatsworth have come together to train for the implementation of the programme despite being advised that the practice is deeply religious-based. I am not against the teaching of religion at school – all religions should be taught at school, but they should be taught as religions. Once TM is accepted into the school system, yoga (another form of Hindu worship) will be introduced for the physical education classes, and we will not even be aware that we are actually practicing Hinduism.

Article written by Indira Gilbert (Pillay)

  • Dr. Jean Tobin

    You ask a great question, how scientific can this be?

    I think we as educators agree that for something to be scientific it must be repeatable, systematic and verifiable. To date, there have been 348 published peer-reviewed studies validating the wide range of benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Technique, conducted over the past 40 years. As all the researchers in your readership will know, this published peer-review process is what makes “the world go round” in the scientific community. It is what allows the scientific community to have a clear standard of rigor and what allows the scientific community to have an intelligent discussion.

    Of these 348 published peer-reviewed studies 32 of them are Random Controlled Trials considered a “gold standard”. To put this in perspective, to bring a drug to market, drug companies, who fund the research departments of almost every major university doing research on new drugs, are required to have 2 Random Controlled Trials that show their drug is at least slightly more effective than a placebo and they are not required to publish any Random Control Trials which showed negative results.

    Of these 348 published peer-reviewed studies, 6 of them are meta-analyses comparing the Transcendental Meditation Technique to every other mental technique on which there has been published research. For example, TM is found to be at least twice as effective in reducing anxiety than any other mental technique considered in any published research and if only rigorous research is included then TM is found to be 3 to 4 times as effective in reducing anxiety.

    The Puja performed before The Transcendental Meditation Technique is taught, is absolutely a ceremony of gratitude performed by the teacher of TM to remind him/her of the ancient tradition from which this technique comes. Every name that is mentioned and given thanks to during the puja was a human being who walked the earth! The Puja is a kind of “trademark” or “patent” that continues throughout the millennium.

    When you look up the word religion or religious the word that is repeated most frequently is “belief” or a set of “beliefs”. One of the most refreshing things I heard when I went to an introductory talk on TM was that it was not at all necessary to “believe” the technique would work. In fact TM works, even if you think, “this won’t work”. Again and again people begin TM thinking “I don’t think it will work for me” and again and again they find that it does. I was extremely skeptical when I started. This skepticism had no ability to prevent the benefits that began to accrue to my life from the first meditation. I felt deeply rested, had a lot more energy and it greatly increased my ability to concentrate, even though the technique itself involves no concentration.

    Please keep asking the question, how scientific can this be? That is the right question!

    • http://www.teachersmonthly.com Adrian Marnewick

      “This skepticism had no ability to prevent the benefits that began to accrue to my life from the first meditation. I felt deeply rested, had a lot more energy and it greatly increased my ability to concentrate, even though the technique itself involves no concentration.”

      … try one sachet of Vita-thion a day. Much quicker and no documented side-effects.

      • Dr. Jean Tobin

        Let’s follow the lead of the serious researchers amongst us and base our conversation on published peer-reviewed studies. Please let me know if any of your concerns are not addressed at the following link.

        http://www.TruthAboutTM.org/truth/IndividualEffects/DoesTMDoAnyHarm/index.cfm

        • Pervin

          Maybe you should check this out as well – will broaden your view
          http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/transcendental_meditation-harmful-personal.htm

        • http://comingtolifestories.com Gina

          The TM studies do not compare Transcendental Meditation technique to other methods of deep rest and relaxation. Bernard Benson found the practice of TM to be as effective as the practice of traditional Christian or Jewish prayer, or the merely sitting and self chanting any meaningless word.

          Transcendental Meditation Movement consciously promotes itself as a nonreligious practice, while the TM teachers (e.g. Initiators) are fully award of the spiritual devotional nature of the TM instruction process — which includes a Sanskrit religious ceremony and bowing to Maharishi’s teacher, His Divinity Swami Swaraswati of Jyotir Math.

          The Transcendental Meditation Movement is run by
          Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation (MVED).

          Consciousness Based Education, by the David Lynch Foundation was founded by David Lynch .. a deeply devoted and wealthy devotee of Maharishi. Lynch’s organizations raised funds to sponsor TM into schools.

          Once someone has learned TM, a slow recruitment continues to lure students to study Maharishi’s “Vedic Science” (mythology), special advanced techniques for levitation, and prolonged meditation programs which promise world peace and control of the weather.

          For a beneficial ‘meditation’ method, that lacks a hidden recruitment agenda, please refer to Dr. Herbert Bensons’ Relaxation Response. Dr. Benson originally studied TM, but avoided becoming involved with the TM Movement because of it’s religious cult-like culture.

          Instead, Benson’s group went on to provide the IDENTICAL benefits, without risk of further involvement nor cult recruitment.

          Dr. Herbert Benson’s research:

          http://www.relaxationresponse.org/publications.htm

          The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine provides meditation methods that are scientifically beneficial without the hidden woo-woo agenda associated with Maharishi’s “Vedic Science.”

          http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/bhi/

        • Ethan

          This list of possible side effects compiled by John M Knapp and I would like to share his findings with those interested in finding out the truth about TM. If Transcendental Meditation were a drug, it would have long ago been yanked from the shelves.

          No one experiences every symptom listed below. In fact, I’m not clear how many TM practitioners experience any. But I’ve dealt with hundreds of sufferers myself — and compared notes with other critics. It’s clear to me a significant percent experience at least one negative side-effect.

          Possible Physical Side-Effects
          • uncontrollable fatigue, sleeping during the day
          • insomnia and hypersomnia
          • withdrawal-like symptoms when stopping or missing meditation
          • sleep paralysis (often understood as one form of “witnessing sleep”)
          • night-time hallucinations (hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, often understood as “visions”)
          • possibly narcolepsy
          • eating disorders, including anorexia, binge eating, morbid obesity
          • stomach and bowel complaints
          • chronic neck and back pain (especially among “Yogic Flyers”)
          • chronic headaches
          • difficulty with the menstrual cycle
          • involuntary body movements (twitching, spasms, head shaking, etc. in, and out, of meditation)
          • serious health effects, including death, when TMers turn to Maharishi Ayurveda and ignore traditional medical treatment.

          Possible Emotional Side-Effects:
          • anxiety or fear
          • obsessive ideas
          • pathological guilt
          • dissociation (trancing out, spacing out, staring into space, forgetting what one is doing, losing a space of time, feeling as if one is not real, inability to remember events or periods in one’s life, feeling separate from one’s body or mind)
          • pseudo-identity (possessing both cult and non-cult personalities, similar to multiple personality disorder)
          • unusual difficulty remembering names or words, frequently forgetting in mid-sentence what one is saying, being aware that others are speaking but not understanding what they are saying
          • suicidal ideation, gestures, or successful attempts
          • “nervous breakdowns” (lay term for depression or other mental illness that results in inability to function normally — or hospitalization)
          • identity confusion: rapid changes in core beliefs such as spirituality, sexuality, personal interests; inability to settle on a career; unstable interpersonal relations
          • psychosis (most likely an already-present tendency to this disease is triggered by excessive meditation)
          • depression
          • unusual avoidance of difficult people, situations, memories — frequently resorting to meditation or sleep to deal with them
          • derivative narcissism
          • delusional thinking
          • auditory and visual hallucinations
          • divorce, frequently multiple (frequently attributed to rapid spiritual growth and “outgrowing” one’s partner)

          Possible Cognitive Side-Effects:
          • significant difficulty with memory and/or concentration
          • incessant jumping from one thought or action to another, constant activity without accomplishing a goal, distractibility

          Possible Social Side-Effects:
          • significantly decreased job or educational performance
          • difficulty obtaining or maintaining a job, jumping from job to job
          • relocating frequently, to the detriment of the individual

          Possible Spiritual Side-Effects:
          • conflict with birth religion (Judaism/Christianity/Islam: puja, use of graven images, mantras are names of Hindu gods, yagyas to Hindu deities; Buddhism: conflict with tenets such as anatta or no-self)
          • spiritual confusion
          • replacing birth religion with TM/Hinduism or other spiritual practices

          John M. Knapp, LMSW is a counselor, therapist, cult recovery expert, consultant, and speaker. He has counseled over 2,000 former cult members in the last 13 years. He founded three web sites well known in cult recovery: TranceNet.net, TMFree.blogspot.com, and KnappFamilyCounseling.com.

          • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

            Like you, Ethan, I’ve talked with many individuals who have experienced (and who deny they are experiencing) one or sometimes more of these symptoms. TM, 2×20 (for 20 minutes twice a day) might be relatively safe for nearly everyone. But, despite Mahesh’s clear knowledge and observation from teacher training course after teacher training course, more than 2×20 can and very often does result in distress with short- or long-term issues.

            Yet, Mahesh, again and again, urged people to meditate in groups for longer and longer periods. Sometimes people strictly adhered to the 20 minute sittings; most often, sittings got longer and longer and Mahesh brushed aside the results as “something good is happening”, claiming that “stress” was being released — when in fact, stress was being caused. TM is about as unscientific as most dull-witted notions. Where it is obvious that stressing a piece of metal will cause it to break, stressing humans, somehow, was turned into “something good is happening” (yes, an exact quote of Mahesh’s response to the suffering he was letting happen and was instrumental in causing). Mahesh’s universal response to any “complaint” that TM wasn’t good: you must be doing it wrong.

            I know individuals with long-term side-effects, still plaguing them, that were set off back in the 70′s on one of Mahesh’s teacher training courses. If you see it just right (Mahesh’s way, I suppose), this exposure to long periods of intense practise of TM certainly weeds out the weak from the strong. But so would a dose of arsenic, which we wouldn’t want to condone.

            Thank you for your research, Ethan. I hope your endeavours will be of benefit to everyone considering where an involvement with TM can lead. And, so sadly, so often has lead.

            Sudarsha

          • ETHAN

            Paranoid Thinking: In his final decades, the Maharishi’s thinking and policies became increasingly paranoid. He railed about the Movement being in danger from Rakshasas (Hindu demons) — who can only enter buildings from south-facing entrances, while gods enter buildings from east-facing entrances. He claimed the Transcendental Meditation Movement was infiltrated by the CIA, American Medical Association, and pharmaceutical companies. He complained about poisoned food. When confronted with allegations of child molestations on his Indian facility, he claimed these stories were planted by his enemies.

            Constant Emphasis on Money and Empire: The Maharishi charged $2,500 to learn the basic meditation technique. Initiates take about 1 hour to learn the technique, indistinguishable from traditional japa learned from a book. He charged ever larger amounts for succeeding advanced courses, the most advanced of which costs $1 million dollars. This is particularly ironic in that the Maharishi was not a Brahmin and was forbidden by Vedic law to initiate or charge money. Most spiritual teachers taught for the love of God, never charging their followers (for example Buddha, Christ, Mohammed). In addition to hundreds of millions raised through course fees, the Maharishi pressured wealthy followers to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to fund his dreams of empire. Press reports estimate the TM Movement’s net worth in the billions of dollars.

            Recruitment over Charity: Despite collecting billions of dollars, the Maharishi never engaged in charity among the world’s poor, choosing rather to surround himself with the ultra-wealthy. And rather than minister to the sick, the Maharishi attempted to cash in on health care with his very expensive Maharishi Ayurveda “medicines” and therapy. TMers were encouraged to avoid the poor and sick because it was believed meditators could be affected by their “stress” and low level of spiritual development.

            Inherent Danger in Isolated Communities: The Maharishi pressured followers to congregate in isolated communities. Course participants, often sequestered in out-of-the-way locations, may not mingle with non-participants. TMers are pressured to move to Fairfield, Iowa or other Movement enclaves to bask in the “purity” of an all-meditator community. TM Sidhas are encouraged to attend courses in Third World countries to avert an impending “World War III.”

        • joshua

          Transcendental Meditation®

          I will give you the word today [Nov. 16, 2005], and elaborate on it after a month or two, when I have produced the results. The word is that there is a program now involving one trillion dollars to eradicate world poverty and to establish permanent world peace. The project cost is one trillion dollars. –Maharishi

          Transcendental Meditation® or TM® might best be described as the meditation technique introduced to the Western world by a man born in India on January 12, 1917, who was raised in a Hindu family and given the name Mahesh Prasad Varma.* He resided in the Netherlands at the time of his death in 2008, and was known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He was dubbed the “giggling guru” because of his habit of constantly giggling during television interviews.* According to Brittanica, his organization, which includes real estate holdings, schools, and clinics, was worth more than $3 billion in the late 1990s. A TM supporter claims that the Maharishi was not the owner of the TM organization and maintained no financial holdings. The blogger may or may not be editor Tom McKinley Ball, a TM teacher who claims his blog is “independent.” He notes that the TM folks own real estate assets and property they plan to develop, but he doesn’t hazard a guess at its value.

          TM is said to bring the practitioner to a special state of consciousness often characterized as “enlightenment” or “bliss.” The method involves entertaining a mantra. Trainees pay hundreds of dollars for their mantras. Novices may be led to believe that their mantra is unique, though many practitioners will share the same mantra. In April, 2007, the cost for TM training was $2,500. [new] In July 2010, the cost had dropped to $1,500 for adults and half that for full-time students.[/new] This is a one-time fee and financing is available.*

          TM is a spiritual business whose proprietors claims it is a program that is scientifically validated.* Technically it is a non-profit organization, according to the TM independent blogger.

          The TM movement began in 1956 in India and is now worldwide, claiming millions of followers. Meditation, of course, has been practiced in India for centuries. Many know of TM because of the Beatles and other celebrities like Mia Farrow and Donovan, who hung out at Mahesh’s ashram in the 1960s and ’70s. It may be that the Beatles found that money and fame weren’t all they’re made out to be, and like many others they turned to the East for help in finding the happiness and fulfillment they couldn’t get from fame and drugs. Many think meditation offers a way to a high higher than any drug and a power higher than all others, the power of self-control. It also has the pleasant side-effect of leaving one feeling relaxed and content, as long as one’s guru isn’t charging too much for the lessons, financially or psychologically.*

          One of the main appeals of TM seems to be its claim to be a scientific means of overcoming stress. TM claims to be based on the “Science of Creative Intelligence,” in which one may get a degree at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM, formerly Maharishi International University) in Fairfield, Iowa. MUM offers “a Full Range of Academic Disciplines for Successful Management of All Fields of Life.” Maharishi Ayurveda sells a number of health and beauty products for those who want a perfect body to go with the perfect mind.

          TM recruiting literature is full of charts and graphs demonstrating the wonders of TM. Things like metabolic rate, oxygen consumption rate, bodily production of carbon dioxide, hormone production, brain waves, etc. are measured and charted and graphically presented to suggest that TM really takes a person to a new state of consciousness. Some of the studies done by TM scientists simply show that some of the same physiological results you can achieve by relaxing completely are achievable by TM. Nevertheless, according to TM advocates, tests have shown that TM produces “neurophysiological signatures that are distinctly different from relaxation and rest “[Judy Stein, personal correspondence]. Critics disagree.* The particular value of these physiological changes one can achieve by meditation have not been shown to be unique to transcendental meditation.

          Probably the least believable claim of TMers is that they can fly—well, not really fly, more like hop. TM loudly promoted levitation in its early days.* Television news programs featured clips of TMers hopping around in the lotus position, claiming to be hovering. Apparently, this claim was too easily disproved and now TMers do not claim to be able to fly or hover, but say they believe that they can advance so that some day in the future they will be able to truly levitate and gain other super powers (sidhis) as have many holy ones before them.

          One of the demonstrable powers claimed by TM is the “Maharishi effect.” According to TM scientists: “collective meditation causes changes in a fundamental, unified physical field, and…those changes radiate into society and affect all aspects of society for the better” (Barry Markovsky). James Randi writes in Flim-Flam! (pp. 99-100):

          Early in October 1978, a Dr. Robert Rabinoff…addressed a small group at the University of Oregon. He is an assitant professor of physics at Maharishi International University [MIU]….Dr. Ray Hyman was there and was determined to press Rabinoff on the subject of levitation….

          The audience perked up when Dr. Rabinoff preached the Maharishi Effect, claiming that any city in which one percent or more of the inhabitants are TMers becomes a haven from crime. This, he told the folks, was an established fact, “scientifically demonstrated.” Fairfield, Iowa, home of MIU, is unique in that some 13 percent of the populace are heavy TMers!…The crime rate is so low, we are told, that the chief of police has now put several officers on part-time duty. Unemployment is nonexistent….[and] crops are growing beyond the most optimistic hopes. The automobile accident rate in Iowa is now the lowest in the United States! And TM is to be given total credit for all this, according to Dr. Rabinoff.
          Randi checked with the Fairfield Police Dept, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Motor Vehicles and found that Rabinoff’s claims were not true (Randi 1982, 99-108). The chief of police told Randi that he was hiring more officers. However, a study of crime data for Fairfield and other small towns done by a TM supporter found a significantly lower rate of violent crime and property crime in Fairfield,* although one student did stab another to death on campus in 2004.* And MUM claims a decrease in crime in the Netherlands as TM increased during their World Peace Assemblies.*

          Data supplied by the Department of Agriculture showed no increase in crop production. And data on car accidents, including fatal car accidents, did not support Rabinoff’s claims. Finally, Job Services of Iowa reported that the amount of unemployment in Iowa varied at essentially the same rate as the U.S. in general. According to Randi, “Dr. Rabinoff described the sidhis program as a system that enables one to achieve ‘whatever one desires’…” (p. 101).

          Similar claims have been made by Dean Radin and other parapsychologists regarding what they call “field consciousness” or “global consciousness.” Roger Nelson, for example, thinks that if enough people want good weather, they will get it:

          Reunion and commencement activities at Princeton University, involving thousands of alumni, graduates, family and others, are held outdoors, and it is often remarked that they are almost always blessed with good weather. A comparison of the recorded rainfall in Princeton vs. nearby communities shows that there is significantly less rain, less often, in Princeton on those days with major outdoor activities. (“Wishing for Good Weather,” The Journal for Scientific Exploration Vol. 11, No. 1.)
          Radin believes that the outpouring of feeling shown while millions watched the funeral of Princess Diana caused random event generators to come to attention in an orderly fashion.* Maybe someday we’ll bring about world peace just by getting enough people to think about it at the same time. My guess is that the effect will be about the same as it’s been when millions have prayed for peace.

          Not everybody who has gone through TM has come away a satisfied customer. One disgruntled former TMer is Patrick Ryan, a graduate of MUM and a practitioner of TM for ten years. He founded a support group for former members (TM-Ex). Some former members have posted their stories. Ryan also claims TM is not simply a “harmless way to relax through meditation.” He writes:

          In its advertising, TM emphasizes the practical benefits of meditation – particularly the reduction of stress. TM promoters show videos of members from all walks of life testifying to its benefits. TM sales pitches are full of blood pressure charts, heart-rate graphs, and other clinical evidence of TM’s effectiveness. Not mentioned is the fact that scientific tests show similar benefits can be obtained by listening to soothing music, or by performing basic relaxation exercises available in books costing a couple of dollars. After a TM student pays up to $400 and receives his own personal mantra to chant, he is told never to reveal it to another. Why? Because the same “unique” mantra has been given – on the basis of age – to thousands of people.*
          What other relaxation program has a support group for ex-relaxers? The TM folks respond by claiming that there are many studies that prove TMing is more effective in many ways that listening to relaxing music or doing relaxation exercises.*

          TM’s political agenda

          There have also been attempts to introduce TM into public schools. For example, The March 1, 1995, edition of the Sacramento Bee (p. B4) reports that John Black, director of a TM program in Palo Alto, California, tried to persuade officials in San Jose to let him teach TM in the schools. Meditation in the classroom, he claims, will increase test scores, reduce teenage pregnancies, rid campuses of violence and drugs, and diminish teacher burnout. This powerful message was delivered at a free forum for teachers and meditators titled “Solving the Crisis in Our Schools.”

          It may be true that people such as John Black really believe that TM can do all these things, but they do not have strong proof that TM in the schools will accomplish any of these noble goals. John Black says that “the crisis in the schools is that people are stressed out.” He may be right, but it is doubtful that the claim is even intelligible. Wisely, school officials have remained unpersuaded. Even a newspaper ad in which Mahesh himself offered “A Proven Program to Eliminate Crime in San Jose” for a mere $55.8 million a year couldn’t convince City Hall. Similar ads were placed in several major newspapers around the country. There were no takers.

          Who said you can’t trust City Hall?

          Many people find great benefit in meditation and yoga. Many communities offer classes in both at a reasonable fee.

          See also Ayurvedic medicine and Deepak Chopra.

          further reading (note: all links below, except to reader comments, go offsite and are not the responsibility of Robert T. Carroll. I have no control over their content and, while I have no knowledge that any of these sites contain falsehoods, I cannot be held responsible for any factual errors that they may contain.)

          reader comments

          further reading

          books and articles

          Austin, James H. (1998). Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness. MIT Press.

          Blackmore, Susan (2003). Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.

          Bainbridge, William S. and Daniel H. Jackson. (1981). “The Rise and Decline of Transcendental Meditation” in Bryan Wilson, editor, The Social Impact of New Religious Movements. Rose of Sharon Press.

          Bromley, David G. and Anson D. Schupe. (1981). Strange Gods: the Great American Cult Scare. Beacon Press.

          Fenwick, P. (1987). Meditation and the EEG. In M. West (ed.) The Psychology of Meditation. Clarendon Press.

          Gardner, Martin. “Doug Henning and the Giggling Guru,” Skeptical Inquirer, May/Jun 1995.

          Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1990.

          Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1982), chapter 5, “The Giggling Guru: A Matter of Levity”.

          West, M. (1987). (ed.) The Psychology of Meditation. Clarendon Press.

          websites

          On Transcendental Meditation I: Nature Support

          Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interviewed by Larry King – May 12, 2002

          Problems with TM Research

          Research Demonstrating Harmful Effects From TM

          Ex-members support group

          Lies My Guru Told Me (For my own good, of course) By Michael D. Coleman, Ph. D.

          The Maharishi Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals by Andrew A. Skolnick

          Maharishi Ayur-Veda: guru’s marketing scheme promises the world eternal ‘perfect health.’ Skolnick, Andrew A. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association Oct 2, 1991; v266: p1741(6)

          Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole: How TM Really Works – a Critical Opinion by Joseph W. Kellett

          Various Implications Arising From The Practice Of Transcendental Meditation

          What is a cult? What is a sect?

          Holmes, David S. (1987). The influence of meditation versus rest on physiological arousal. In M. West (ed.) The Psychology of Meditation. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 81-103.

          Mahesh asks wealthy Americans to send him a billion dollars

          Prayer, TM and African-Americans – Funk 17

          Information on TM – Freedom of Mind resource center

          FactNet – TM news

          John Knapp’s Trancenet for the latest research on TM

          TM Dissenters FAQ

          Meditation Information Network

        • rocky

          MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2010
          Who Are These People? The Backgrounds of David Lynch’s “Researchers”
          Today’s events sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation, which I’ve dubbed “Billionaires for TM,” begin at 11 am today, Eastern time, with a conference that was announced in this press release. A sales pitch offering the Transcendental Meditation program as yet another form of panacea, this time, as a treatment for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, can be expected.

          As is standard practice for promoters of Maharishi-branded products, full disclosure of the backgrounds, and prior associations with the TM program, of the people who’ll be present and/or presenting at this conference seldom occurs. While it may appear that the medical doctors and other individuals may be independently employed, many have long been closely associated with the TM organization.

          You can’t keep track of them all without a scorecard, so I’ve done a bit of digging and made one, of sorts. If you happen to be a reporter unlucky enough to have to cover this thing, you can download a printable copy of the list below, from here.

          As I wrote in my last posting here, the promoters of TM today generally tend to come from a rather narrow demographic, recruited while relatively young, and during a particular period, the late ’60′s and early-mid 70′s, when recruitment into TM was supported by the influence of American popular culture. Likewise, there’s a striking sameness among the fourteen individuals involved with this conference. Only two of them are clearly younger than 50 years old. Among those whose date of initiation into the TM program can be identified, they were all initiated between the years 1970 and 1975, except for one younger person initiated last year.

          My added details about the conference participants appear in italic below. Names and initial descriptions that are not highlighted are from the original David Lynch Foundation press release announcing today’s conference.
          • Clint Eastwood
          Film actor, director, producer. 80 years old. Initiated into the Transcendental Meditation program about 1970. No demonstrated qualifications to evaluate a treatment for PTSD.

          • David Lynch
          American filmmaker, aged 64. Initiated into the Transcendental Meditation program on July 1, 1973. No demonstrated qualifications to evaluate a treatment for PTSD.

          • Martin Scorsese
          American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. 68 years old. TM initiation date unknown (presumably mid-70’s or earlier). No demonstrated qualifications to evaluate a treatment for PTSD.
          • Russell Brand
          English comedian, actor. 35 years old. Initiated into the Transcendental Meditation program in 2009. No demonstrated qualifications to evaluate a treatment for PTSD.

          • Colonel Brian M. Rees, M.D., M.P.H., command surgeon, 63d Regional Support Command, with 34 years of commissioned military service, who recently completed his fourth deployment in Afghanistan. Col. Rees serves as co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness.
          Rees is a teacher of TM and has been closely associated with the Transcendental Meditation organization for over twenty years. He wrote a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association supporting Maharishi Ayur-Veda products in 1989, and was later identified as the director of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda Medical Center in Pacific Palisades, California. He was a candidate for U.S. Senator from California in 1998 and 2000 under the banner of the TM organization’s “Natural Law Party.”

          Rees is the author of a rather peculiar, 2007 US Army War College masters degree research paper, “The Application of Strategic Stress Management in Winning the Peace.” While the title suggests the subject is “stress management,” much of the paper assumes the validity of the so-called “Maharishi Effect” – the unsubstantiated, and frankly, silly assertion that groups of people practicing certain parts of the Transcendental Meditation program that generally involve bouncing on foam rubber will bring peace and “invincibility” to countries that establish and pay for such groups. In 1997, Evan Fales and Barry Markovsky at the University of Iowa concluded that this “theory does not pass minimal criteria of meaningfulness and logical integrity.”

          Rees is named as one of the directors of the “Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS)” at “The Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management,” one part of the organization that teaches TM. The main function of CAMS appears to be the promotion of the “Maharishi Effect” non-theory, renamed “Invincible Defense Technology,” as valid military doctrine of some sort.

          • Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., senior researcher in psychiatry and psychobiology for 20 years at the National Institute of Mental Health; clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, who conducted research on TM and Iraq veterans with PTSD.
          Evidence of Rosenthal’s direct participation in the TM program, if any, remains undisclosed. He has been involved with at least one previous David Lynch Foundation sponsored conference, promoting TM as an aid for students with ADHD. He’s better known for coining the term, “seasonal affective disorder.” His research on Iraq veterans with PTSD is “under review” and hasn’t yet been published.

          • John Hagelin, Ph.D., Harvard-trained quantum physicist who has led an international scientific investigation over the past 25 years into the applications of Transcendental Meditation for health and education; president of the David Lynch Foundation.

          While Hagelin is indeed a physicist, his qualifications to evaluate any treatment or therapy for PTSD have not been demonstrated. Hagelin has been involved with the TM organization for decades, and has run for the United States Presidency multiple times as the Natural Law Party candidate. He’s currently known, inside the organization, as the “Raja of America,” coronated on November 20, 2007.

          • James Krag, M.D., recent president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia and currently clinic psychiatrist with the Veterans Administration.
          Krag is a former member of the Board of Advisors of the David Lynch Foundation, and an advisor to the Committee for Stress-Free Schools, a TM program affiliated group established with the DLF. He was a candidate for Presidential elector in Virginia, associated with the Natural Law Party, in 2000. He also participated in the 2003 inauguration of a TM organization called “The US Peace Government,“ headed by John Hagelin, a successor organization to the Natural Law Party. Krag issued a statement at the time which included this: “The US Peace Government will help guide human evolution by aligning with Nature’s Intelligence. We will use the collective creative intelligence of thoughtful Americans to guide the conscious growth of this country.”

          • Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D., George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist and published researcher on the effects of TM on PTSD and ADHD.
          Grosswald is a research faculty member at the TM movement’s Maharishi University of Management. She was a candidate for U.S. Congress from Virginia in 1996 and 1998, and was treasurer of the Natural Law Party of Virginia at its closing in 2004. Grosswald also participated in the 2003 inauguration of “The US Peace Government.” Grosswald has received a “Doctorate in World Peace Studies” from Maharishi European Research University, which reportedly, as much as it ever physically existed, once consisted of a desk in a TM movement owned hotel in Switzerland. According to a self-described long-term meditator, the MERU “DWP” degree was “an award from Maharishi to those who studied with him for over forty years.”

          • Jerry Yellin, A P-51 pilot in WWII who flew 19 missions over Japan, and was victimized by PTSD for 25 years before learning to meditate in 1975. Mr. Yellin is a member of the Military Writers Society of America; author of three award-winning books, and honorary board member of the Iwo Jima Association of America. Jerry serves as co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness.
          Yellin’s personal story and endorsement of the TM program appear at the Transcendental Meditation Blog. That is, however, no substitute for independent scientific research on the effectiveness of the technique, particularly with respect to PTSD.

          • Ed Schloeman, Vietnam vet

          • Dan Burks, Vietnam vet
          Burks, aged 63, is Instructor of Exercise and Sport Science at the TM movement’s Maharishi University of Management, and resides in Fairfield, Iowa.

          • Lt. Col. Brenda Marlinbanks, Iraq vet
          Marlinbanks, aged 54, was associated with the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force (ASPTF) in 2009.

          • David George, Iraq vet
          George is a 26-year-old student at the TM organization’s Maharishi University of Management.

          Posted by Mike Doughney at 12/13/2010 04:06:00 AM
          Labels: by Mike Doughney, David Lynch Foundation, Doubtful Research, post-traumatic stress disorder, transcendental meditation, veterans

        • ethan

          Friday, December 31, 2010
          Transcendental Meditation’s Testimonials
          “I lost 150 pounds in 4 weeks!” (RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.)

          When I look at pro-Transcendental Meditation websites, I often find testimonials of people pleased with the results of TM. Some of these testimonials are deeply moving, even heart-wrenching.

          Scientists call testimonials “anecdotal evidence,” and it is poor science. That’s because while a testimony is suggestive of what may be worth studying, it is far from proof. Testimonials do not take into account that for every one person with a positive experience, there may be many with a neutral or even negative experience. They do not take into account the long-term effects of the product. They do not take into account the subjectivity of the testifier. (Note, for example, the paper about TM commonly called the “German Study,” which observes that some TMers extolled the efficacy of TM while ignoring their increased anxiety and depression.) There are many reasons why anecdotal evidence is a poor scientific tool.

          But for those of us who were deeply involved in the TM movement, positive opinions about TM may have been the only opinions we heard. After living on a TM course for 1.5 years and hearing only positive testimonials, I came to believe that everyone who learned TM had positive results. And for non-TMers who are looking for ways to improve their lives, these testimonials may seem quite convincing.

          “I was always afraid. Now I am peaceful inside – and
          I am getting A’s.” – Student

          “For years I was tortured by my memories. Now I have a way out of the darkness.” – Former soldier

          “I am winning my battle with demons of drugs. Thank
          you for this, David Lynch.” – Homeless person

          (from the davidlynchfoundation.org website.)

          I am sorry for these people’s suffering, and I am glad they found some relief through TM. But are these results universal? Are they typical? Are they even frequent? Can other modalities accomplish the same or better results more effectively or less expensively?

          So to help recovering TMers who may have been mind-controlled into believing that TM is the answer for everybody, and to help non-TMers who are trying to decide if they want to learn TM, here is my own compilation of TM testimonials. And I didn’t even solicit or pick over testimonies to find critical ones. They are just quotes or paraphrases from random acquaintances whom I have met over the years:

          “When I learned TM, it didn’t seem like anything special. There were other types of meditations I had learned that, from the first time I did them, I knew they were a practice I wanted to continue for a long time. I didn’t feel that way about TM.” – Social worker, 2008.

          “When I first learned TM, I thought it was great and wanted to become a TM teacher. Except I felt the organization was too cult-like. Years later I learned to relax using biofeedback, and I couldn’t believe the experience. I had never had such deep profound relaxation in my life.” – Psychotherapist, 2010

          “I was one of those people TM didn’t work for.” – Lawyer, 2008

          “The first three days of TM was fabulous. It got me higher than the recreational drugs I used. But after a few days the high wore off, so I stopped meditating.” – College student, 1972

          “What results have I gotten from TM? Well, I used to take a nap when I got home from work every day. Now after work I do TM instead of taking a nap. No, no other benefits.” – Elementary school teacher, 1974

          “When I first started TM, I stopped taking drugs and drinking. But after a few years, I went back to the drugs and alcohol. Years later, I learned a different type of meditation. That got me off substances permanently. Also, TM left me feeling spacey, but the new meditation left me feeling grounded.” – Retired secretary, 2008

          “I started TM because I was a compulsive gambler and was desperate to stop. I saw the research charts on TMers stopping alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, so I thought maybe it could help me. Four months in, and I’m sorry to report it has done me no good.” – Engineer, 1974

          Now it’s your turn. Would you like to share your TM results, or the results of people you know? Or your experiences with being mislead by TM publicity? Or anything else?

          Posted by Laurie

      • Jimmy Goodman

        Adrian, get real.

        • http://www.teachersmonthly.com Adrian Marnewick

          I find that the best way to clear my mind and feel ‘deeply’ rested is through a good dose of healthy exercise [try running, or if you're less fit - jogging (yes, there's a difference)] and a Vita-thion a day. :) Brilliant I tell you!

          • http://www.jay@gmail.com jay boy

            now adrian you are talking.

        • http://www.jay@gmail.com jay boy

          yeah get real dude

      • joshua

        Does Transcendental Meditation Affect Grades?

        Carmen J. Carsello and James W. Creaser
        Student Counseling Service
        University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

        Seventy students who took a Transcendental Meditation (TM) Technique
        Initiation Training program were matched on the basis of sex, college,
        year, prior grades, and first letter of last name with students who
        had not undergone TM training. The TM group did not differ in grade
        point average from the control group for the quarter after training.
        The same was true for subgroups of 2 matched pairs two quarters after
        training. No effect upon grades was demonstrated for TM training.

        Three studies in a publication of the Maharishi International
        University Press, edited by Orme-Johnson, Domash, and Farrow (1976,
        pp. 393-395; 396-399; 400-402), reported beneficial effects of
        Transcendental Meditation (TM) on academic performance at both the
        high school and college levels. Each of these studies, however,
        either failed to isolate effects of TM form other concurrent
        activities or dealt only with those particular TM trainees who became
        “enthusiastic” about the practice.

        Domino (1977) failed to find standardized test support for a TM claim
        of increased creativity, and other than in the TM publications and
        pamphlets, no confirmation of improved grades could be found in the
        literature. Because TM is marketed on almost every university campus,
        there appeared to be a need for the present large-sample, well
        controlled study of what happens to the grades of the run-of-the-mill
        student who volunteers for TM training.

        Method

        Between 1973 and 1976, 380 persons completed the Transcendental
        Meditation Technique Initiation Training program at the University of
        Illinois at Chicago Circle. Of these, there were 70 who had grades
        there prior to TM training and for at least one quarter after
        training. Forty-two had grades for two quarters after training.
        These 70 comprised the experimental (TM) group. The remainder of the
        380 either (a) had no prior grades, (b) had no subsequent grades, or
        (c) were not students at this university.

        The records of thousands of other students were examined to obtain a
        control group as nearly identical to the TM group as possible. Each
        member of the TM group was matched with a student in the control group
        on the basis of sex, college in which enrolled at time of training,
        year in college at the same calendar time period, prior grade
        (allowable deviation being plus or minus .2 grade points), and first
        letter of last name. With the execption of the last item, these are
        all factors that countless studies have shown to be related to grades.
        Unfortunately, it was not possible to control for age, which also
        ususally correlates with grades. In addition to prior grades almost
        identical with the TM partner, the control group member needed the
        same number of quarters of subsequent grades. Grades for the quarter
        during which TM training was taken were not considered in the study.

        Pre- and post-training grades were averaged for all groups. The TM
        groups were compared with the control groups by means of _t_ tests for
        correlated means. Grades for the 42 pairs of students in the subgroup
        were included in the total of 70 pairs for analysis of grades one
        quarter after training and were also evaluated separately to determine
        if a long-range benefit might appear.

        Results and Discussion

        Table 1 shows the matching of grades for the quarter prior to training
        resulted in almost identical averages for the TM and control groups
        and for both the large one-quarter sample and the smaller two-quarter
        sample. Therefore, no adjustment such as analysis of covariance was
        needed for the comparison of posttraining grades.

        For the 70 matched pairs of students, there was no significant
        difference one quarter after TM training in grade point average
        between the TM group and the control group. The same was true for
        grades two quarters after training for the subgroup of 42 pairs.
        Thus, no effect on grades was found for TM training.

        The present study as well as tohse mentioned earlier did not ask TM
        trainees whether good grades were among their goals for beginning the
        practice. However, grades appear an appropriate criteria because
        proponents of TM often imply that its influence enriches all aspects
        of life and it is also reasonable to infer that good grades are among
        the goals of any group of college students.

        Previous studies, showing a positive relationship between TM and
        grades, used selected samples, namely students who became enthusiastic
        about TM or those who had additional experiences in conjunction with TM
        training. Our students had no other known common experiences, and
        many of them never became enthusiastic about TM. They just
        represented the typical student who undergoes TM training. Therefore,
        our negative results do not contradict previous findings because
        different populations were studied. We would not dispute the claim
        that TM may help some students, but we must add, in agreement with
        Lazarus (1976), who said that certain personality types benefit from
        TM and other do not, that TM does not appear to be a universal
        cure-all for improving grades of all students.

        Table 1
        _Comparison of Pretraining-Posttraining Grades for the Experimental
        (TM) Group and Control Group_

        Experimental (TM) Control
        Grades M SD M SD Difference _t_

        Students with first-quarter posttraining grades (n=70)
        Pretraining 3.89 .76 3.88 .76 .01 .30
        Posttraining 3.68 .85 3.66 .86 .02 .16

        Students with second-quarter posttraining grades (n=42)
        Pretraining 3.97 .67 3.96 .65 .01 .37
        Posttraining 3.84 .89 3.79 .82 .05 .29

        References

        Domino, G. Transcendental meditation and creativity: An empirical
        investigation. _Journal of Applied Psychology_, 1977, 62, 358-362.

        Lazarus, A. Psychiatric problems precipitated by transcendental
        meditation. _Psychological Reports_, 1976, 39, 601-602.

        Orme-Johnson, D., Domash, D., & Farrow, J. (Eds.), _Scientific
        research on transcendental meditation: Collected papers (Vol. 1.).
        Los Angeles: Maharishi International University Press, 1976.

        Copyright 1978 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
        Journal of Applied Psychology
        1978, Vol. 63, No. 5, 644-645

      • joshua

        Party Lines Slideshow: Rose McGowan, Russell Brand, Katy Perry, and More at the David Lynch Foundation Benefit

        Vulture caught up with Rose McGowan at the David Lynch Foundation’s “Change Begins Within” Benefit and asked her if she practices the Lynch Foundation–sponsored practice of Transcendental Meditation. “Should I lie to you?” McGowan asked us with a smile. “You know they’re all lying. None of these bitches meditate. Are you kidding me? This is fucking Hollywood; we put on lipstick. That’s what we do. It’s a fact.” So if you did meditate, what kind of stressful events would trigger a session? “This kind of thing, really. I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink to get through it like most other people. Not only are these people lying about meditating, they’re all drunks and alcoholics. And drug addicts

      • Joshua

        WHY QUIET TIME/TM/CONSCIOUSNESS-BASED EDUCATION DOES NOT BELONG IN SCHOOLS
        (adapted from John Kapp)

        TM/QUIET TIME IS NOT SCIENTIFIC

        Because scientists research an issue doesn’t make TM scientific e.g. researching how the absence of a father influences the lives of his children does not make a father’s absence from his family scientific!

        TM’s founder, the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, claimed his teachings came from the Vedas. He also taught that the Vedas were not written by man, not revealed by God, but existed before the universe itself. That’s not physics! That’s not science!

        The so-called unique mantra (which is actually shared by all of the same gender in your age group) must not be divulged to anyone. How does this have any place in science? Rather it reminds me of an abuser telling his victim “not to tell anyone, otherwise ill will befall him.”

        The lie that the mantra is ‘unique’ is far from scientific.

        One cannot learn TM/do QUIET TIME and cannot obtain his mantra without bringing the gifts and going through the initiation. What type of scientific action is that?

        So your child at school will be taught nonscientific beliefs viz. only TM’s mantras give benefits; that if the mantra is revealed to others, something bad will happen, that “coherent brain waves” predict moral character; that humans can levitate; and that an “enlightened man” cannot make mistakes.

        TM/QUIET TIME IS RELIGIOUS

        Decades ago, a federal court found TM religious, banning it in public schools.
        Other religious groups differ from their fundamental beliefs. It contradicts the fundamental doctrines of the Abrahamic religions viz. Judiasm, Islam, and Christianity. Kapp, J, cites leaders from the various religious gropus who testify to this.

        All children/prospective initiates witness an initiation ceremony. This “puja,” or “worship,” requires your child, all alone, to enter a strange, candle-lit, incense-filled room with an altar; bring fruit, flowers, and a handkerchief; watch as these are offered ritually to an image of the Maharishi’s dead guru; and attend as the initiator sings a long, Sanskrit hymn. Finally, your child is asked to kneel to the guru’s picture on the altar.
        If your child asks, TM teachers will refuse to translate the hymn. Obviously!

        Some phrases (the complete list is given under The puja ceremony):

        • To Lord Narayana [Hindu god Vishnu], I bow down.
        • To the glory of the Lord I bow down again and again, at whose door the whole galaxy
        of gods pray for perfection day and night.
        • [A]dorned with the garland of the Serpent King, ever dwelling in the lotus of my heart,
        to… Shiva and Shakti, I bow down.

        Finally, your child will learn her secret “mantra,” which QUIET TIME/TM teachers will insist teachers is meaningless. Some are common religious (Vedic) names, like “Shyam,” a name for Krishna. Others invoke gods like Saraswati or Lakshmi.

        Later your child will be encouraged to take advanced courses, where she’ll be drilled on karma, reincarnation, and “God Consciousness” — in which the Maharishi taught that TM meditators literally see and touch god (Kapp, J).

        The puja and the mantras are discussed in more detail earlier in this booklet.

        The Maharishi explained that TM was the highest spiritual teaching that had ever existed. He said that

        all other spiritual teachings and religions were lesser teachings, and that they were analogous to mere branches of spirituality growing from the main trunk of spirituality, which was the newly revived yet timeless knowledge of TM (Kellett).
        According to the Maharishi (the founder of TM) TM is:
        “a path to God.”
        “a very good form of prayer which leads us to the field of the creator, to the source of creation, to the field of God.”
        “the only way to salvation and success in life; there is no other way.”
        a means whereby “a sinner very easily comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man.”
        However the TM Movement continues to claim that it is not a religion. They deceive the public about the religious nature of TM for obvious reasons (Kellett).
        TM/QUIET TIME HAS NEGATIVE EFFECTS

        Research since the 1970s suggests TM may have serious side-effects: more adverse psychological effects the longer they meditated; more signs of epilepsy; and psychological disorders amongst others.

        TM/QUIET TIME REQUIRES LIFESTYLE CHANGES IN THE LONG-TERM

        The TM Movement will say your child will not change her lifestyle. However the advanced TM teachings include astrology, magical gems, and rituals (“yagyas”) to gods and goddesses for success or wealth.

        Other beliefs include that the building of entrances must face east, because “rakshsas,” (demons) can enter from any other direction; that physical immortality is attainable; and (most dangerous of all), “not… to take treatment from medical doctors as medical professionals give poison.”

        How can your lifestyle not change when you are now being controlled by a god/goddess!

        TM/QUIET TIME TAKES MORE THAN 5, 10, OR 20 MINUTES, TWICE A DAY

        TM teachers may tell you that all your child needs is to meditate 5, 10, or 20 minutes twice a day. But the reality is that once they are in it the TM Movement encourages followers to meditate up to 8 hours daily to receive maximum benefits. The movement also asks for celibacy – many long-term TM meditators remain single.

        TM/QUIET TIME IS NOT THE BEST TECHNIQUE FOR RELAXATION

        Research suggests that beside the spiritual implications of TM/QUIET TIME, the positive effect of relaxation is no different from rest or sleep. The same relaxation can be obtained through non-spiritual practices. Why should you then submit yourself to gods/goddesses just for some rest!

        TM/QUIET TIME CANNOT BRING WORLD PEACE

        The TM Movement promises to achieve world peace when enough meditators practice together. It claims lower crime rates, better weather, amongst other extraordinary claims.

        However, the crime rates have not declined in the largest community of TM meditators in Fairfield, IA. And even in the Maharishi’s Golden Vedic Age, there was war — subject of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. There was even murder in the Maharishi camp of meditators.
        The Maharishi and the TM movement deny that their teaching and technique is a philosophy or religion, claiming that it is a science and simple mechanical technique for physiological, psychological, and sociological benefits. Scientific reports to show TM results in better skin resistance, decreased cardiac output, faster reaction time, increased learning ability, etc. is used to support their case. The Maharishi claims that members of all religions can be better persons through TM. This secular appearance has been to attract followers and gain the support of governments and educationalists.

        Of importance is that their research:
        -is carried out by themselves and/or their supporters;
        -does not take into account the real religious nature of TM – it is studied purely as a relaxation technique which it is not. None of the studies discuss the real nature of TM, the puja ceremony, or the mantras, their meaning, and the importance of their correct sounding.

        • ETHAN

          What happens during QUIET TIME?

          What actually happens is that our children are initiated through a puja ceremony (in Sanskrit).
          For this they were asked to bring flowers, sweets, a white handkerchief, camphor, etc., During the initiation ceremony each of our children was given a mantra (in Sanskrit) which he/she was requested not to share with anyone (not even us the parents) lest ill befalls him/her, and then they are made to silently chant this mantra twice a day, every day at school. The meaning of the mantras is kept away from our children and their parents. Why would someone who is allegedly doing something good for our children keep secrets from them, and tell them to keep secrets from us? How academic is that? How does that fall into the school system? And how does that promote critical thinking? To our knowledge this is what child abusers do! They encourage our children to keep secrets, and to do so least ill befalls those close to them.

          Our children, irrespective of their religious affiliation or race, are even taught how to chant their mantras at home when away from school. Yes, our children – Black, White, Coloured, Indian, Hindu, Muslim and Christian are chanting mantras – the meaning of which they do not know, because it is with-held from them! Our children are chanting at school where we have sent them for an education! Instead of being educated our children are being indoctrinated.

          Our children have been so good that they have not shared their mantra with their parents. By the way their mantras are not unique as they are led to believe. All girls under 12 years have the same mantra, and all boys under 12 years have the same mantra! The mantras are based solely on age and sex. And there are only 16 mantras in all!

          When approached the promoters (globally and locally) refuse to divulge the meanings of the mantras and the puja ceremony although they are in possession of it. They emphatically state that the mantras have no meaning for the meditators, and that they are meaningless sounds. This is not true. The mantras are all linked to the chanting the names of deities. And the departmental and school officials are aware of it. If they claim not to be aware, one wonders what their roles as educators are!

          The disguising and promoting of this TM is against the constitution of our country which allows freedom of religion in our schools, provided those participating in any religious practice do so with full knowledge of what they are doing. In the case of QUITE TIME children and parents are not aware of its true nature, and that the mantras given to their children are deeply based in religion. The English translation of both the puja ceremony and the mantras are available at our offices. Parents/educators/interested others who have access to the internet can read about the true nature of QUITE TIME/TM and join in the discussions at http://www.teachersmonthly.com/index.
          Some of the schools implementing the full programme of QUIET TIME are Summerfield, Silverglen, AYS, Elora, Crossmoor, and Belvedere amongst others. The implementation was planned and introduced through the Chatsworth Principal’s Forum, the secretary being Mr. P. Singh from AYS Memorial. Some schools on the other hand just sit quietly, or read during their Quiet Time. We the parents need to investigate what is happening in the schools in our areas.

          We as parents have been deceived by our schools and their managers. We call for the schools who have implemented this programme of QUIET TIME (with the chanting of mantras) to withdraw with immediate effect as our children have a right to information and a right to religious freedom. We also call upon the department of education to address this matter with urgency as many of our children have already been misled for over 3 years. How could the department and the schools implement something they have not adequately researched on their own? Why did they ignore representations made by educators/parents/community but went ahead with the programme?

        • http://www.teachersmonthly.com Admin

          Please don’t post articles in the comments box on the site. The comments box is reserved for comments only. Articles for consideration can be submitted to the Teacher’s Monthly editor.

    • Pervin

      In a compelling analysis, Evan Fales and Barry Markovsky of the University of Iowa examined the Maharishi Effect theory and commented, “The theory receives low marks for meaningfulness. Key terms are undefined or only roughly characterized using other complex, undefined terms or metaphors.”22 They concluded that the theory’s claims “do not merit being taken seriously by the scientific community. The theory motivating the research is ill-constructed and not compelling in view of prior knowledge; the evidence offered is not impressive and mundane alternative hypotheses offer plausible explanations for the findings.”23
      The best “controlled test” of the Maharishi Effect, in fact, has already been conducted, although the movement seems peculiarly silent on the subject. Maharishi’s university is located in Fairfield, Iowa, a city with 2,000–2,500 active meditators in a population of 10,000, a perfect “laboratory” for testing TM claims. Fairfield has 20–25 times the amount of the mere one percent of a population needed to create an ideal society, and this has been true for many years. The social statistics of Fairfield, however, do not indicate a Maharishi Effect. In fact, if the statistics show anything, it seems that TM may actually increase violent behavior in society: “An objective analysis of crime data for the period of 1991–1998, based on the Iowa Uniform Crime Reports, shows an overall increase in violent crime and property crime for this period, both for Fairfield/Jefferson County and for Iowa.”24
      Finally, if the Maharishi Effect were true, it would have been proven long ago in India where there have been millions of alleged god-realized souls throughout the millennia. Few nations, however, have more poverty, disease, suffering, and other social problems.

      • jomo

        A few years ago there was a murder @ Maharishi U. The “Maharishi Effect” needs to be revised!

        • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

          What “effect”? There has to be something in order to revise it, doesn’t there? Yes, I know, you are referring to the “science” that is supposed to convince us that butt-bounding in large groups creates an invisible shield. This was much acclaimed by the TM Organization as a proven fact, right before Hurricane Katrina. Still going on fumes, John Hagelin proclaimed that this idiotic BUTT-BOUNCING was causing the stock market to rise, right before the stock market plummeted.

          Yes, this really needs some revising. Remember, when talking about any aspect of TM we need to keep in mind that RESULTS VARY. And sometimes they vary a whole heck of a lot.

    • Pervin

      maybe you shouls also ask “how religious is it?’ and go ahead and objectively research it.

      TM’s supposedly meaningless bija (seed) mantras invoke Hindu gods. For example, ‘AING’ is a name for Saraswati. You have done just that – evoked those gods into your life!

      • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

        It would be useful for everyone to checkout what Mahesh said when he initially set his organization in motion in India in late 1955, early 1956: take a look at Beacon Light of the Himalayas http://www.paulmason.info/gurudev/Beacon.htm( … Yes, it looks like Mahesh is praising his teacher, but look closer and it becomes obvious he is really promoting himself as the Beacon LIght of the Himalayas.

        Read what he has to say about how TM works, “mind control” on the title page, read Mahesh’s discourse (begins on page 65 of the PDF.

        All those letters of praise and support? I suspect that those people knew Mahesh’s teacher and thought they were praising someone who was promoting the memory of that great and respected teacher. What if they had known they were promoting Mahesh’s ego instead.

        The Photograph on page 5 of the PDF was later photoshopped with Mahesh in the place of Rajendra Prasad!!!!!

    • Pervin

      “The sounds are not commonly used among Hindus in any standardized way. There is no general agreement among Hindus that these sounds are associated with any particular meaning; but even if they were, it would be irrelevant to TM practice, which uses the sounds without reference to meaning.”

      Trying using swear words as well – with no reference to meaning. After all the meaning does not bother you.

    • Joshua

      Could Dr Jean Tobin, Jimmy Goodman and anyone give else give me answers to the following questions?

      1. How many schools and learners in SA are actually a part of the TM programme?

      2. What does it cost for an adult to become a TM practitioner in SA.( I believe that it costs $ 2500 in the USA).

      3. What does it cost to do the Sidhi course in SA? ( believe that it costs several thousands of Pounds in the UK and several thousands of dollars in the USA).

      5. What is the cost of “advanced” TM techniques, the various herbal supplements and the light therapy practiced in Farfield , Iowa?

      6. How much does it cost to take part in the “raja” course?

      7. Is it true that the Maharishi wanted the USA government to pay him $1 billion from to eliminate terrorism after 911?

      8. What is the cost of attending MIU and can one become a TM teacher without attending MIU?

      Joshua

      • Joshua

        I am waiting to hear the answers to my questions from someone from the TM organization in South Africa.
        FORMER TM TEACHER JOE KELLET writes in his website http://suggestibility.org
        How much money do you have? Get more!
        Learning the basic TM technique will set you back $1500 in the US. How much more money do you have? However much it is, it’s not so much that you can’t spend it all on TM. TMers often end up spending everything they have on TM-related offerings . For example:
        • You will definitely want to purchase levitation instruction. The last I heard this is on the order of $3000.
        • You can seek “perfect health” by buying “Ayurvedic Medicine” consultations, and then buying ayurvedic remedies.
        • You can seek to put your life in order by buying astrology horoscopes and readings.
        • Based on your chart, the astrologer will recommend that you “eliminate dangers and negative tendencies in your life” by buying some yagyas (that’s the same page as just given for astrology, just go down a few paragraphs). These are prayer ceremonies to Hindu deities. Hey, that’s cool if you’re Hindu, but it’s something that definitely doesn’t come up when the David Lynch Foundation pitches TM to an assembly of school parents. The DLF definitely practices deception by mental reservation at those meetings Maybe some of the parents don’t want their kids exposed to surreptitious religious evangelism that will lead some of the kids to the eventual purchase of yagyas as adults.
        • Based on your chart, the astrologer will also recommend gemstones for you to purchase and wear.
        • You can buy what’s called an “advanced technique.” This involves merely having your mantra adjusted for which you pay over $1000.
        • You can buy a house built according to Mahesh’s brand of “Vedic” feng shui. Specifically, you’ll want a “Fortune Creating Home.”

        Yes Maharishi did demand $1Billion from the US government after 911. When he got no reply he invented his millionaires’ course which eventually became the “raja” course. Those guys in the robes and Burger King hats actually paid Mahesh $1million to be allowed to dress up like that and waft about being all majestic and royal.!

        If you attend one of the TM free introductory talks beware. It will be a very slick presentation skirting any issue of religion, brain washing or just how devious the TMO’s attempts are to get your money into their pockets.

      • Ethan

        I am waiting to read the answers to questions posed by Joshua to Dr Jean Tobin, Jimmy Goodman and anyone give else give me answers to the following questions?

        1. How many schools and learners in SA are actually a part of the TM programme?

        2. What does it cost for an adult to become a TM practitioner in SA.( I believe that it costs $ 2500 in the USA).

        3. What does it cost to do the Sidhi course in SA? ( believe that it costs several thousands of Pounds in the UK and several thousands of dollars in the USA).

        5. What is the cost of “advanced” TM techniques, the various herbal supplements and the light therapy practiced in Farfield , Iowa?

        6. How much does it cost to take part in the “raja” course?

        7. Is it true that the Maharishi wanted the USA government to pay him $1 billion from to eliminate terrorism after 911?

        8. What is the cost of attending MIU and can one become a TM teacher without attending MIU?

    • Sammy

      Trying closing your eyes and relaxing 2X20 min each day without using your mantra – you will recieve the same benefits you claim – and it will cost you nothing.

    • Joshua

      I contacted some officials from the Department of Education regarding the introduction of TM in our schools. It seems that the department of education is unaware that TMs is being propagated in some schools, and has not given the TMO official permission to do so. Could Dr Jean Tobin or any senior official of TM SA provide answers to my questions asked previously, including and especially “How many schools and learners in SA are participating in the TM programme?” “Has the TMO obtained official written permission from the Department of Education to operate in our schools?”
      Indira has stated that some principals/educators in schools in Chatsworth have come together to train for the implementation of the programme despite being advised that the practice is deeply religious-based. One P Singh from AYS Memorial Primary School, Chatsworth is the secretary of the Chatsworth TM Organization. Perhaps he and the principals who are part of this group could answer these questions viz did they get official permission from the National Department of Education to propagate TM in their schools; how many learners are involved in TM meditation and did they get permission from parents of such learners to permit them to do TM?

    • Joshua

      TranceNet: Abstracts of Independent Research on Transcendental Meditation
      ©1996 Albert B. Miller

      Over the years, independent researchers have tried to verify both the specific and broad range of benefits claimed for transcendental meditation by its promoters. An early example is Herbert Benson, a Harvard medical doctor who worked with TM’s Robert Keith Wallace in 1972. Benson wanted to independently verify, through a controlled study, the physiological correlates of stress reduction from the meditation, claimed by Wallace to be exclusive to the TM method. Benson published his findings in the Harvard Business Review with an article entitled, “Your Innate Asset for Combating Stress.” His findings contradict Wallace’s experimental results and conclusions. Others have followed Benson.

      The fact that MIU and TM movement studies show mostly positive results and their portfolio does not include the independent research published in scientific literature, is reason enough to want to verify their claims. The twenty-eight independent researchers included in this document drew conclusions from their data that stand in contrast to comparable movement studies. The studies were selected on the basis of the experimental method used and researcher credentials.

      Listed alphabetically, along with the independent studies below, are letters, affidavits, articles, and books (with abstracts) that shed further light on the TM movement’s rationale in its use of the experimental method.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Benson, Herbert. Your innate asset for combating stress. Harvard Business Review, July-August 1974, pp49-60.
      A co-researcher with TM’s Robert Keith Wallace in 1972, this controlled study by Dr. Benson (a non-meditator) using eighty subjects, showed no difference in the physiological correlates of stress reduction between the practice of TM and five other relaxation response techniques. The other techniques were autogenic training, progressive relaxation, Zen meditation, hypnosis, and yoga. This study has a useful historical appendix outlining ten different relaxation response methods that have proven effective over time.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Castillo, Richard J. Depersonalization and meditation. Psychiatry; Interpersonal and Biological Processes. May 1990, pp158-168.
      A study of six long term TM practitioners that reveals their acceptance of depersonalized states of existence because they were led to believe this shows spiritual growth from the TM program.

      From a review of the literature on meditation and depersonalization, and interviews conducted with six meditators, this study concludes that: 1) meditation can cause depersonalization and derealization; 2) the meanings in the mind of the meditator regarding the experience of depersonalization will determine to a great extent whether anxiety is present as part of that experience; 3) there need not be any significant anxiety or impairment in social or occupational functioning as a result of depersonalization; 4) a depersonalized state can become an apparently permanent mode of functioning; 5) patients with depersonalization disorder may be treated through a process of symbolic healing — that is, changing the meanings associated with depersonalization in the mind of the patient, thereby reducing anxiety and functional impairment; 6) panic/anxiety may be caused by depersonalization if catastrophic interpretations of depersonalization are present.

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      DeNaro, Anthony D. Counselor at Law. Twelve-page affidavit. Sea Cliff, New York, July 16, 1986.
      Former MIU legal counsel and professor of law and economics, and former MIU director of grants administration. He describes his encounter of widespread deception and fraud at MIU. A few quotations follow:

      Essentially the attitude and philosophy [at MIU] was, and, to my knowledge, is now: “anything goes”. Scienter [knowledge of] was clearly present in the frauds, but was justified in the name of a higher ideology, which presumably means they can lie and commit perjury.(p3)

      The deceptions are systematic and planned. My personal and professional experience over the last twelve years [in the movement] convince me that the leadership and upper echelon, for a variety of reasons, ideological and economic, has systematically and willfully deceived the federal, state and local governments, private and public funding sources and agencies, the [MIU] students, and inter alia the general public about the nature, purpose and consequence of the TM-Sidhi and the SCI [Science of Creative Intelligence] programs.(p4)

      ——————————————————————————–

      Desiraju, T. The Yoga and Consciousness Project. National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience. Bangalore, India: Omni, Nov. 1990, pp84-88.
      Funded by the Indian government, a ten-year investigation by the yoga and consciousness team (headed by internationally recognized neurophysiologist T. Desiraju) was unable to identify any physiological standard for so-called enlightenment. Even meditation per se was hard to define at the Bangalore lab, claimed by Indian scientists to be the world’s most sophisticated center for investigating the physiological correlates of mystical experiences.

      The Bangalore lab’s controlled studies displayed measurements that stand in strong contrast to TM-movement sponsored research. For example, the studies showed heart rates are as likely to increase as decrease; breath rates and skin resistance were just as eccentric; TM subjects were drowsier than subjects using other forms of meditation; their EEG’s showed weaker alpha and theta waves than other meditation techniques; physiological correlates were consistently unpredictable with TM showing great variability from session to session.

      ——————————————————————————–

      French, Alfred P. et al. Transcendental meditation, altered reality testing and behavioral change. A case report. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1975, p55.
      This paper presents the case of a thirty-nine year old woman who experienced altered reality testing and behavior several weeks after initiation into the TM program. It presents important evidence for a causal relationship between the practice of TM and her abnormal behavior.

      ——————————————————————————–

      The Various Implications Arising from the Practice of Transcendental Meditation: An empirical analysis of pathogenic structures as an aid in counseling. Bensheim, Germany: (Institut fur Jugend Und Gesellschaft, Ernst-Ludwig-Strasse 45, 6140.) Institute for Youth and Society, 1980 (188 pgs).
      The German study turned up by far the most adverse effects experienced by TM practitioners. Some excerpts follow:

      4.3.3 TM has a detrimental effect on the decision making process. There is a loss of self-determination and a turning toward TM authorities for guidance. Studied facial expressions, bodily posture, voice and handwriting all point to the fact that the total personality is gravely altered under TM.

      4.6.6 TM can cause mental illness or at least prepare the way for the onset of mental illness; that psychological illness already present before TM was considerably worsened after starting TM; that mind-set conditions can develop leading to depersonalization.

      5.6.4 In cases studied, TM caused a far reaching alteration of the view of reality which adversely effects social relationships, motivation and the drive to achieve — to the point that practical work becomes intolerable to the meditator.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Glueck, Bernard and Charles F. Stroebel. Meditation in the treatment of psychiatric illness. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (722 pages), edited by Deane Shapiro and Roger Walsh. New York: Alden Publications, 1984, p150.

      This study of 110 subjects discloses that the release of repressed subconscious impressions [stress] from the TM practice can be handled by some but has also been seriously destabilizing for others.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1988.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Heide, Frederick J. and T.D. Borkovec. Relaxation-induced anxiety enhancement due to relaxation training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1983, p171.

      Heide, Frederick J. and T.D. Borkovec. “Relaxation-induced anxiety: mechanism and theoretical implications.” Behavioral Research Therapy, 1984, pp1-12.
      These two papers by Heide and Borkovec disclose that 54 percent of anxiety-prone subjects tested experienced increased anxiety during TM-like mantra meditation.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Holmes, David S, Sheldon Solomon, Bruce M. Cappo, Jeffery L. Greenberg. Effects of transcendental meditation versus resting on physiological and subjective arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1983, pp1245-1252.
      Dr. Holmes et al at the University of Kansas were unable to replicate the effect of TM on physiological variables such as heart rate, breath rate, skin resistance, blood pressure and blood lactate levels claimed for TM by movement researchers.

      Holmes, David S. Meditation and somatic arousal reduction. American Psychologist, January 1984, pp1-10. Ensuing discussion follows in four more issues: June 1985, pp717-731; June 1986, pp712-713; September 1986, pp1007-1009; September 1987, pp879-881.
      An exhaustive TM-research review and further controlled testing demonstrated that TM produces no more physical relaxation than just sitting with the eyes closed. His findings here stand in sharp contrast to widely held beliefs about the effects of TM, which are based on TM-movement-controlled experimental tests.

      Between meditation (TM) and just-resting subjects, no reliable differences were found by Holmes in plasma renin or aldosterone, plasma adrenaline, growth hormone, testosterone, norepinephrin or epinephrine, plasma lactate, theronine, serine, asparagine, glutamic, glutamine, glycine, alanine, cirtulline, valine, isoleucine, leucine, or tyrosine. Meditating subjects were found to have higher levels of phenylalanine that resting subjects, a finding which reflects high arousal in meditators.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Kaffman, Mordecai. The use of transcendental meditation to promote social progress in Israel” The Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1986, p135.
      A scathing criticism of TM’s “International Peace Project in the Middle East” which appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution in Dec. 1988. The methods of TM Peace Project researchers are dismissed as unscientific, and their claims of positive results in the Israeli context are deemed unconvincing, anecdotal, and based on a conceptual error. The TM theory of the “unified field” is stated to be no more credible than was Blondot’s 1913 claim_supported by many papers from his collaborators — that metals give off N-rays.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Kesterson, John and Noah F. Clinch. Metabolic rate, respiratory exchange ratio, and apneas during (TM) meditation. The American Journal of Physiology, March 1989. p637.
      A controlled, in-depth investigation into the effects of TM practice on respiration and metabolism, indicating that TM produces no deeper state of rest than from just sitting with eyes closed, even in advanced practitioners, and that the TM practice does not produce the hypometabolic state as claimed by MIU’s Robert Keith Wallace.

      They also discovered a decrease in respiratory exchange ratio in meditators during TM not observed in controls (i.e., an increase of carbon dioxide). Although this research was conducted at MIU, Kesterson and Clinch maintained their objectivity. Unlike most work by TM-movement researchers, this particular study was published in a major journal.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Lazarus, Arnold A. Meditation: the problems of any unimodal technique. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (722 pages). Edited by Deane Shapiro and Roger Walsh. New York: Aldin Publications, 1984, p691.
      Lazarus, Arnold A. Psychiatric problems precipitated by transcendental meditation. Psychological Reports, 1976, pp601-602.
      Based on clinical experience from these two studies, Lazarus shows that serious psychiatric problems can ensue from the practice of TM. He points out that TM is no panacea. He concludes that the TM practice can be used in some cases, but that it is clearly contraindicated in other cases.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Lifton, Robert J. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Chapel Hill, South Carolina: The University of South Carolina Press, 1989 (510 pages).
      Last published in 1964, this is a newly reissued edition of the classic textbook and case study of the victims of thought reform and elements of the thought reform process. Chapter 22 outlines eight themes present in the sociological environment of thought reform which in time become internalized by victims, who in turn reinforce the themes socially. Many cults exhibit fewer than all eight themes. In the TM movement and at MIU, however, all eight themes are found to be richly developed.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Michaels, R.R., M.J. Huber and D.S. McCann. Science 192, 1976, pp1242-1243.
      A study of the concentration of plasma epinephrine, norephinephrine, as well as lactate. In comparing twelve TM practitioners and twelve subjects as controls who merely rested, they detected no statistically different results. The question is raised whether the benefits are due to TM or sleep. The study suggests that meditation does not induce a unique metabolic state but is seen biochemically as a resting state.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Otis, Leon S. Adverse effects of transcendental meditation. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (722 pages). Edited by Deane Shapiro and Roger Walsh. New York: Aldin Publications, 1984, p204.
      This study by Otis at the Stanford Research Institute involving 574 subjects revealed that the longer a person practiced TM the more adverse mental effects were recorded; that 70 percent of subjects recorded mental disorders of one degree or another.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Pagano, RR, R.M. Stivers and S. Warrenburg. Science 191, Jan. 21, 1976, p308.
      Study of EEG’s of five TM practitioners noted that meditation involved some sleep and that it gives rise to quite different states from day to day and from practitioner to practitioner. They compared EEG records made during meditation with those made during naps taken at the same time of day. The range of states observed during meditation does not support the view that meditation produces a single unique state of consciousness. He questions whether the benefits are due to TM or simply sleep.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Pagels, Heinz R. New York Academy of Sciences. An affidavit dated July 1, 1986.
      Dr. Pagels was Executive Director of the New York Academy of Sciences when he wrote this opinion:

      The views expressed in the [TM] literature that purport to find a connection between the recent ideas of theoretical physics and states of consciousness are false and profoundly misleading. No qualified physicist that I know would claim to find such a connection without knowingly committing fraud.

      Although the word “science” is much abused, it continues to imply an adherent logic, the clear presentation of assumptions and deductions, and the experimental method. This [the Science of Creative Intelligence] is not science.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Persinger, Michael A, Norman J. Carrey and Lynn A. Suess. TM and Cult Mania (198 pages). North Quincy, Massachusetts: Christopher Publishing House, 1980.
      Critiques TM-movement research up until 1980; alerts the reader to question the validity of more recent movement research; discloses that the state of cosmic consciousness described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi shares characteristics of some personality disorders.

      Persinger, Michael A. Enhanced incidence of ‘the sensed presence’ in people who have learned to meditate; support for the right hemispheric intrusion hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1992, 75, pp1308-1310.
      If the “sensed presence” is a transient intrusion of the right hemispheric equivalent of the left hemispheric (and highly linguistic) sense of self, then any process that facilitates interhemispheric electrical coherence should enhance these experiences. As predicted, the “ego-alien intrusion” (sensed presence) factor was specifically and significantly elevated in 221 people who had learned to meditate (65 to 70% were involved in transcendental meditation) compared to 860 nonmeditators.

      Experiences of sensed presence were more frequent in female than in male meditators and were particularly evident in left-handers who had learned to meditate. The effect size suggests that learning a meditation technique is contraindicated for subpopulations, such as borderline, schizotypal, or dissociative personalities who display very fragile self-concepts.

      Persinger, Michael A. Transcendental meditation and general meditation were associated with enhanced complex partial epileptic-like signs: evidence for ‘cognitive’ kindling? Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1992.
      Personal Philosophy Inventories of 221 university students who had learned to meditate (about 65% to 70% practiced transcendental meditation) were compared to 860 nonmeditators. Meditators displayed a significantly wider range of complex partial epileptic-like signs. Experience of vibrations, hearing one’s name called, paranormal phenomena, profound meaning from reading poetry/prose and religious phenomenology were particularly frequent among meditators. Numbers of years of TM practice were significantly correlated with the incidence of complex partial signs and sensed presences but not with control, olfactory, or perseverative experiences. The results support the hypothesis that procedures which promote cognitive kindling enhance complex partial epileptic-like signs.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Pollack, A.A., D.B. Case, M.A. Weber and J.H. Laragh. Limitations of transcendental meditation in the treatment of essential hypertension. Lancet 1(8002):71-3, January 8, 1977.
      Twenty hypertensive patients participating in a professionally supervised program of transcendental meditation showed no significant change in blood pressure after a 6-month study. Although there were small reductions in systolic blood pressure and in pulse rate early in the trial, these changes had disappeared by 6 months. At no time did the mean diastolic pressure fall significantly. Plasma- renin activity did not change during the study. It is concluded that while the general well being experience d by most patients may provide a useful adjunct to conventional treatments, it is unlikely that transcendental meditation contributes directly towards the lowering of blood pressure.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Roark, Dennis E. Letter to Pat Ryan confirming a telephone conversation (2 pages), dated July 11, 1987. Warner Pacific College, Oregon.
      Dr. Roark was former head of the MIU physics department and former MIU dean of faculty. A letter excerpt follows:

      Confirmed to me by investigators at MIU was the suppression of negative evidence that these investigator had collected. Strong bias was present in selecting only data favorable to a conclusion that was made prior to the data collection. Because of the strong authoritarian (essentially cultic) aspects of the movement, only results supporting ideas generated by the movement leadership could receive a hearing.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Royer-Bounouar, P. A. The Transcendental Meditation Technique: a New Direction for Smoking Cessation Programs. Ph.D. thesis: D, MIU, 1989, T735,494, in the MIU library.
      In this study, 60 percent of smokers who began TM and were still practicing TM twice daily after 20 months, quit smoking. TM may help someone to quit smoking if the individual stays with the practice for 20 months. Data also revealed that 20 months after 505 individuals began TM, 29.7 percent were no longer meditating, 38.2 percent were occasional practitioners, 13.3 percent practiced TM once a day, and only 18.8 percent still practiced TM twice daily as instructed.

      Some people have long suspected that it is inaccurate for the TM movement to base assertions regarding the number of people who practice TM on the number of people who have been instructed.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Singer, Margaret T. and Richard Ofshe. Thought reform programs and the production of psychiatric casualties. Psychatric Annals, April 1990, p188.
      Case example is “Kirk,” a person who practiced TM. However, this fact is not mentioned in the article.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Skolnick, Andrew A. Maharishi Ayur-Veda: guru’s marketing scheme promises the world eternal ‘perfect health.’ Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), October 2, 1991, Vol. 266, No. 13, pp1739-1750.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Smith Jonathan C. Psychotherapeutic effects of transcendental meditation with controls for expectation of relief and daily sitting, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1976, pp630-637.
      A well-balanced, landmark study. Using equivalent expectancy controls, Smith clearly demonstrates that a person’s predisposition toward anxiety (trait anxiety) is not reduced by the practice of TM per se, but that it can be reduced by sitting with close d eyes in conjunction with an expectation of relief.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Stanford Research Institute. Adverse effects of transcendental meditation.
      See Leon Otis above.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Teb-ecis, A.K. A controlled study of the EEG during transcendental meditation: comparison with hypnosis. Folia Psychiatr Neruol, Japan 29(4):305-13, 1975.
      A controlled, quantitative investigation of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and transcendental meditation (TM) revealed that EEG changes during TM were rarely as pronounced or consistent as previous reports suggest. There was considerable variation between subjects, some displaying no EEG changes at all during TM compared with an equal period of nonmeditation. Any changes that did occur in a particular individual were not necessarily repeated in a subsequent session. A comparison of mean EEG parameters of the experimental group revealed no consistent significant differences between meditation and nonmeditation. The EEG characteristics of the group of meditators were similar to those of a group of subjects experienced in self-hypnosis.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Trumpy, Franklin D. An investigation of the reported effect of transcendental meditation on the weather. Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1983-84, pp143-148.
      TM movement research on the effect of mass meditation on the weather was found to be grossly misrepresented.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Woolfolk, R.L. Psychophysiological correlates of meditation. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, 32(10): pp1326-1333.
      The scientific research that has investigated the physiological changes associated with meditation as it is practiced by adherents of Indian yoga, transcendental meditation, and Zen Buddhism have not yielded a thoroughly consistent, easily replicable pattern of responses.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Younger, J. W. Adriance and R.J. Berger. Sleep during transcendental meditation. Perceptual Motor Skills, 40(3), June 1975, pp953-954.
      Electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded during transcendental meditation periods for eight experienced meditators. The records, scored blind, showed that all but two meditators spent considerable portions of their meditation periods in unambiguous physiological sleep.

      • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

        This is good information. The difficulty is, who bothers to read it? I suspect that most people want to rely upon some kindly, trustworthy face and voice to tell them that TM is either good or bad, right or wrong.

        It is neither. Some people do well, some do not. Some get caught up in Mahesh’s rather off-balance “teachings” and some do not.

        The combination of TM, the mental technique done for 20 minutes twice a day, is one thing with some value and some limited value.

        Maheshism, the teachings of Mahesh (Mahesh Chandra Shrivastava who promoted himself as “Maharishi” Mahesh “Yogi”) tend to lead one to greater and greater expectations of the pie-in-the-sky variety and COST a great deal. It is very easy to bankrupt yourself trying to buy a better life from the Salesmen of Maheshism. There’s nothing the least little bit spiritual about that.

        Educators, Government Officials, Scientists and Newspaper Editors should, I feel, feel obliged to read the except from http://www.trancenet.net that you have posted and made darn sure that they are doing their jobs to protect people from the money-grubbing predators masquerading in gold crowns and calling themselves “rajas” and teachers of this dubious “transcendental meditation.”

    • Ethan

      Problems with TM Research

      by Professor Barry Markovsky,
      University of Iowa

      Just a thought regarding the discussion of the lack of much systematic evidence for negative effects of TM. I’ve characterized these three points as “asymmetries”–imbalances, if you prefer, that potentially can lead to gaps in evidence and understanding.
      Asymmetry #1: You Won’t See It If You “Know” It Isn’t There

      Any piece of research employs one or more measures or indicators. Indicators are designed by researchers to be sensitive to variation in certain phenomena. A given study can only include indicators for phenomena conceived in advance by the researchers to be of potential interest. If there is no indicator for phenomenon “X” — that is, if the researchers are not interested in X or believe that X can’t happen — then it is highly unlikely that evidence for X will emerge from the study.

      >From my conversations with them, TM researchers firmly believe that there are absolutely no negative effects from TM practice. Their research is not designed to be sensitive to, and contains no indicators for, negative effects. They are then highly unlikely to find any.

      Asymmetry #2: Infrequency of Negative Effects

      There is a natural asymmetry that works against detecting negative effects from Transcendental Meditation. Practitioners not experiencing negative effects greatly outnumber those who have experienced negative effects. (Even those convinced that there are negative effects agree that they are relatively infrequent.) While this does not diminish their importance nor relieve the TM organization of the responsibility of dealing with the problem, it does make these effects more ethereal from the researcher’s standpoint. They are very difficult to measure, and their source or etiology even more so. If there’s an actual casualty rate of, say, 2%, then to measure this reliably would require careful study of at least several thousand meditators, maybe more. And this doesn’t begin to address the etiology problem.

      Asymmetry #3: Who Conducts the Research and Who Pays For It?

      Who sponsors research on Transcendental Meditation? Mostly the TM organization. Who conducts research on TM? Almost exclusively researchers having a tremendous vested interest–material, psychological, professional and social–in the outcomes of their research.

      Historically, this state of affairs has proven to be a recipe for biased results. [Suggested reading: "Betrayers of the Truth" by William Broad and Nicholas Wade--although they over-generalize their observations to all of science.] Bringing us back to the first point, how many TM researchers would you guess have conducted studies making a serious effort to detect and characterize negative effects of Transcendental Meditation? How much money would you guess the TM organization has invested in such research? How many grant proposals to external funding sources for carrying out such research would you guess TM researchers have submitted?

      >From a purely scientific standpoint (i.e., setting aside all ethical issues), TM researchers have a “theory” (well, a set of conjectures anyway) and a program of study aimed at accumulating verifications. This is common practice, especially in the social and behavioral sciences, and considered acceptable by the majority (even if not by me). The best method of testing hypotheses, however, is to try your hardest to disprove them–not merely to verify them. If they survive the most stringent of tests, you can be that much more confident in their validity.

      So what if TM researchers never seek to disprove their claims but only to verify them? That’s where the collective aspects of science comes into play. If TM research ever really makes a splash in any scientific discipline, you can bet that the system of checks and balances will kick in, and many skeptics will be looking very carefully at the research. (You can believe me that they have made much less of a splash thus far than claimed in their promotional material in in the mass media.) They will try not only to replicate the findings, but also to develop indicators that are sensitive to the sorts of negative effects that are claimed by the smaller, less systematic studies cited on TranceNet and elsewhere.

      The thing is, much of the TM research is very non-controversial, and the much smaller volume of potentially controversial stuff that has been published is tucked away in 3rd-rate journals (or worse). So the TM organization can point to the publications and say “Look, we’re published in prestigious, main-stream scientific journals!” Most scientists are not interested in trying to counter such hype in the court of public opinion, and most are not interested in following up the breathless claims of TM research because–quite contrary to the way the TM propaganda machine portrays things–the more controversial TM research is widely ignored (even among consciousness researchers who you would expect to be very sympathetic), and the bulk of the rest is pretty mundane from the perspective of journal readers.

      I hope this sheds a little light on a complex set of issues.

      Barry Markovsky,
      Dept. of Sociology, University of Iowa
      Center for the Study of Group Processes

    • Ethan

      Lies My Guru Told Me
      (For my own good, of course)
      By Michael D. Coleman, Ph. D.

      One of the wonderful things about email on the Internet is the “democratization” of knowledge. We can compare notes with others around the world easily and quickly. No authoritarian structure can block it. Dictatorial structures hate free dialogue.

      Recently I have been “listening in” to an on-going dialogue among three friends who have been sharing stories of their time with Maharishi. This made me realize that even 25 years after leaving the TM Movement, I have not come clean with myself and with others about the lies Maharishi encouraged me to believe and required me to tell others.

      This is an open letter to anyone within the TM movement who is beginning to feel that they must be “crazy” because of the dissonance between what they are aspiring to and what the TM movement actually seems to be doing. It is also for everyone who has left the TM movement to validate your sanity.

      Let’s begin with a short catalogue of lies with a brief commentary on each. I will give a deeper treatment of several. There are too many lies, with new lies coming out each year, to comment on them all.

      1. TM is a simple, scientific technique. It is simple, but it certainly is not “scientific”. It is a Hindu method of meditation in the Tantric tradition. The point of this lie is to hide its Hindu origins and nature so that other religious traditions won’t be threatened by it. It is called “scientific” because in our present time, the label “scientific” is a powerful sales gimmick.

      2. The Mantras are meaningless sounds. Meditators are kept in the dark about the actual meanings, and even some TM teachers are. The Mantras are names of Hindu deities and the longer mantras are a silent prayer saying that “I bow down to such and such deity.” This is very significant to all Christians, Jews, and Muslims because their religious creeds do not allow them to “bow down” to the images of any other gods. Here’s what Maharishi said in 1955, quoted from Beacon Light of the Himalayas, a book the TM movement has suppressed for the past 40 years: “For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life.”

      3. The Initiation Ritual is a “scientific procedure.” This one should be laughable on the very face of it. It is a Hindu religious ceremony where the TM teacher chants the names in the history of the Hindu religious tradition and gives thanks, and then bows down to the Guru. See numbers 1 and 2 above for the reasons we lie about it as “scientific.”

      4. TM is a faster, simpler, easier, more effective method to achieve enlightenment than methods of other religions. TM seems to be easier in the beginning than some other forms of meditation. However, Maharishi has been teaching TM for almost fifty years and so far no one has become enlightened that we know of. Based on the now observable long-term results, there is no evidence that TM is better or quicker than any other form of meditation be it Buddhist, Sufi, Christian or secular.

      5. Maharishi is a perfect Master. This is the biggest lie and one that I will deal with in detail below. Additional claims are that he is a life long celibate, that he never makes mistakes, that only he can enlighten the world, etc.

      6. Advanced practices of the TM Siddhi Program are teaching meditators how to levitate. I will deal with this one in detail below, but simply put, these techniques have been taught for over 25 years and no one has ever flown and no one ever will. What is actually occurring is that practitioners are encouraged to practice self-deception together in order to keep the delusion going. The TM Siddhis are nothing more, and nothing less, than a modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” This can be demonstrated scientifically if anyone is interested in conducting a true scientific test.

      7. Because we learned meditation from Maharishi, and our lives improved from it, we owe something to Maharishi. We owe absolutely nothing to any teacher. This belief has been used to make many of us co-conspirators in the lies. I was a professor of philosophy for 18 years and my students don’t owe me a damn thing. I was paid for my work with both money and status. Maharishi has been adequately paid for his work with both money and status. You don’t owe him anything. If you are serious about your own personal quest for enlightenment, you owe it to yourself to live and speak the truth, as you understand it.

      8. The disciple should “surrender” to the Guru. This one is tricky because it is true, but it is a truth that can be used to deceive. In any significant spiritual or secular endeavor, the student needs to surrender to the knowledge and instruction of a master to make good progress. In the beginning, the student’s ignorance and willfulness can hinder the learning process. On the other side the master must act according to the highest ethical standards. If the master is at all unscrupulous, the student is very vulnerable to abuse from the master’s sexual, money or power desires. I will discuss this in greater detail below.

      “A man repays his teacher badly if he remains forever a student.” Nietzsche. I think there is a corollary to this as well: “No selfless teacher would require that his student remain forever a student.”

      9. Only some TM Program can save the world. This is an extremely shifty lie. It changes its form almost every year. At one time we needed 1% of the world meditating, then only the square root of 1%. One year we needed Vedic pundits; another year we needed thousands of yogic “flyers.” As I am writing this Maharishi wants people to invest millions in bogus bonds to build palaces to house yogic “flyers.” The essence of this lie is quite simple at its basis. Only Maharishi can save the world. No other religion, no other secular group, can have any influence.

      The brilliance of this lie is that in one stroke it appeals to both the highest aspirations and the basest weaknesses of people within the movement. It appeals to one’s authentic spiritual desire to be a benevolent presence in the world, while it panders to one’s egotism that only you can save the world. In addition, quite by design, it requires one to surrender to Maharishi’s power and to send him ever-increasing money.

      Truth Can Be Messy and Painful

      I have a dear friend who was raped by her father between the ages of 11 and 16. Should she be thankful that her father raised her, clothed her, looked out for her, taught her, loved her, and protected her from the outside world (if not completely from him)? Should she be angry that he raped her and forced her into a conspiracy of silence and shame? As I have watched her healing over the years, it seems that all of the above are ultimately necessary. However, her healing could not even begin until she was assisted in breaking the conspiracy of silence and shame.

      In a similar way, should I be thankful that Maharishi taught me to meditate and gave me my early spiritual instruction? Should I be angry that he involved me as a co-conspirator in many of his lies? Should I be ashamed that I was duped as much as I was? Probably all of the above are necessary. To bring my healing to a conclusion, I must break completely the conspiracy of silence and shame that I carry.

      Sex and Control

      I am ultimately going to claim that Maharishi’s motivation is not simply to enlighten the world. I am going to point out that he is highly motivated by fame, money and power, even more so as time goes on. His insecurities about maintaining his power and money will show up as an increase in paranoia and greed within the TM movement.

      In the context of this claim, let’s analyze the restrictions on sexual behavior, both for the disciples and for the master. Celibacy, while no doubt a serious spiritual practice, can also be used as a method of control.

      Kramer and Alstad cover this topic well in their book, The Guru Papers, 1993. The following are quotes or paraphrases from this highly recommended book.

      “To control a person sexually is to have control over a basic aspect of human life. Sexuality is a deep power in human beings that underlies attraction. Attraction is the capacity to command attention, which is one key to personal power. Thus to exercise sexual control is to have real power over individuals and society as a whole…”

      “Gurus do many things to ensure that their disciples’ prime emotional allegiance is toward them. In the realm of sexuality, one of the prevalent ways control is exerted is through promulgating celibacy…”

      “Celibacy, or at least the image of it, is the easiest route for a guru to obtain this power of being the central emotional focus for large numbers of people.”

      “Celibacy undermines coupling when presented as a higher state than sexual intimacy. This, in effect, gets people in couples to surrender to the guru rather than to each other.”

      What If The Guru Isn’t Pure?

      “When a religion is transplanted from a conservative culture to a more experimental one, its leaders are no longer constrained by tradition. The West’s looser mores make sexuality practically irresistible for foreign gurus from rigidly patriarchal cultures in which the sexes were separated and closely monitored. The availability of sexy, adoring female disciples is a temptation few (if any) can resist. Without deep cultural constraints against it, sex scandals go with the occupation of guru because of its emotional isolation and eventual boredom. Disciples are just there to serve and amuse the guru who, after all, gives them so much. The guru’s temptation is exacerbated by the deep conditioning in many women to be attracted to men in power.” Kramer and Alstad, The Guru Papers

      Is it even possible to tell the truth about Maharishi’s earlier sexual indiscretions? Is it necessary? Maharishi had sex with at least two women disciples in the 1970s that my friends know. There may have been others.

      1. Most people within the movement literally cannot believe this, for reasons I will outline below.

      2. The women who had the sexual connections do not want to go public. Like victims of incest they are embarrassed, ashamed, and feel used. These are not feelings you like exposed to a larger public. Like rape victims, they will be accused of either lying or of seducing Maharishi.

      3. For many of us, we think “so what?” because of our own sexual indiscretions. Yet, in the service of “no more lies,” I need to mention this in this writing. If this is an issue to you, check it out. Above all, if you think that Maharishi is “perfect,” then check it out.

      The Enlightened Man Can Make No Mistakes

      “Who are you going to believe–me, or your own eyes?” Groucho Marx

      This is a most interesting claim, and so clearly false in every historical instance that we can check on, and certainly in the immediate “checkable” history of Maharishi. In the early 1960′s he claimed we would have enlightenment within 5 years if we simply meditated 20 minutes twice a day and didn’t change anything else. Then in the late 60s we needed to do “rounding”, then become teachers of meditation, then become celibate, then follow a special diet, then put special oils on our bodies, take special supplements, get special massages, learn “siddhis”, practice siddhis regularly in groups (more on this later), pay thousands of dollars for some pundits to perform “yagyas,” then live in special architecture, then get 40,000 people together doing the siddhis, then pay $1,000,000 to have a 30 day course with Maharishi and get a little personal attention.

      To make just one simple point: Was he wrong when he told us that we only had to meditate 20 minutes twice a day for an enlightenment that we would achieve in 5 years? Was this just a “sweet truth” to get us on the spiritual path? Is there a point at which a “sweet truth” becomes a self-serving lie? Just where is that point?

      The Yogic-Flying Hoax

      Hitler once said that a leader should tell enormous lies so that people will believe him. Since everyone tells small lies, when the leader tells an enormous one, the average man knows that he could not tell such a lie, and therefore what the leader says must be true.

      At a financial conference in 1991 I once had an opportunity to watch a master hypnotist work a room of about 100 people who were all well-educated, high achievers. The hypnotist was brought in as the evening entertainment.

      He stared at us with piercing eyes, undulated his dark bushy eyebrows, and proclaimed that we would soon be under his power. He led us through some relaxation exercises and then told us to touch the tip of our index fingers to the tip of our thumbs, explaining that we would not be able to pull them apart. I immediately pulled mine apart to prove to myself that I could, but apparently a number of people in the audience could not do so. He then chose about 10 of the latter, and brought them to the stage. He put them through another series of tests, telling them they were asleep, and then they were awake. He required them to do a number of small tasks, and, based on their responses, he dismissed five of them back to the audience. Now he had five subjects that he felt confident he could control and he began his serious work.

      First, he told them there was a phone in their shoe and it was ringing. Each took off his or her shoe and answered it. He told them the sort of conversation each was having and they acted out their side of the conversation. When he told them the conversation was pornographic, each became offended by their “caller.” Then he had everyone but one person go to sleep and he worked that personal individually for a while making that him do ever more ridiculous and humorous things. One young man was told that he was a stripper, and he began to dance and took off his coat and shirt in a seductive manner. Before he took off enough to break the bounds of propriety, the hypnotist stopped him and began to work with someone else. In the end he woke them all up and we applauded the entire act.

      I was stunned and amazed by the power of the hypnotist, and I wondered what the inner experience of being “hypnotized” was like. I spoke to the young man who was the “stripper.” Did he know that he was still a man? Yes. Did he know there was an audience? Yes. Why was he following those directions? He explained that he still knew his current identity, but he felt “compelled” to follow the directions of the hypnotist.

      I don’t understand the phenomenon of hypnosis, but I think I recognize several parts that are necessary for a successful hypnotic act. First, it seems necessary that he tell us with absolute conviction that we will all be under his power, though only a small number actually will believe him. Second, he knows there are degrees of hypnosis, and he is only ultimately interested in the ones he can “control.” So a master hypnotist, like a master false teacher, will continually test his subjects, requiring them to do ever more ridiculous things, so he can quickly reject the ones that he cannot control enough.

      Only much later, did I connect the hypnotist’s act with what I went through in the winter-spring of 1976-1977 when I attended a set of courses that taught us how to have super-normal powers called “siddhis.” I came to this particular course to be on a spiritual retreat, and because I could get that time off from my job. I had no idea that I was going to watch a master hypnotist at work.

      Prior to our learning the siddhi techniques, a couple of “senior siddhas” joined our group. They were not allowed to practice the siddhis in our presence during group meditations until we also learned them. We could, however, hear them thumping in their rooms in private while practicing their “levitations.” The excitement was palpable that we were going to witness something miraculous. However, when we got the “technique”, which is merely thinking a sutra, like a private prayer, in the quietness of deep meditation, I was deeply disappointed. I had often done private prayers in the quietness of deep meditation without achieving any immediate or spectacular effects. Remember Groucho.

      At our first group session to practice the siddhis, I sat in the back and kept my eyes open to watch what happened. The scientist in me was open to see a demonstration of levitation if it were to occur. The floor was entirely covered with foam pads, which in turn were covered with sheets so that we would not hurt ourselves when we “came down.” What I saw was the “senior siddhas” starting to jump about while in the full lotus posture. Soon almost everyone else in the group copied their behavior. Nothing more. Only three of us refused to jump that first session. Still, I distrusted my own experience. I thought that something must be going on that I don’t see. Remember Hitler.

      My brother and I questioned some of the jumpers about their experience. They all felt that they were lifting off but admitted to some “effort.” I listened as Maharishi told us how to speak of it, repeating over and over that we “lift off,” “move forward,” and “come down.” Soon that is how everyone spoke of it. Finally, some small voice asked, “But Maharishi, it feels like I am putting effort into it.” “Yes, yes, there may be some effort in the beginning, but we lift off, move forward and come down. Some effort doesn’t matter. We lift off, move forward, and come down.”

      I proposed a simple scientific study to prove some degree of levitation (which was all anyone was claiming, remember there is “some effort” in the beginning.) I proposed setting up a scale with a running tape on it recording weight, and have the proposed siddha make the scale get lighter by even a few pounds without the tape showing it got heavier first, in other words, to prove some “lifting” without an equal and opposite amount of “jumping.” No one was interested in such a study. Not then. Not now.

      With the permission of the movement, H.K. and I ran a controlled study for 30 days to see if any of the “siddhas” could manifest the siddhi of “seeing something hidden from view.” No one could demonstrate results above random chance. Suddenly no one was interested in further study and both H.K. and I dropped it. The movement was decidedly not interested in publishing our results.

      The “scientific” study that was promulgated to the public after this course was a chart of one person’s brain waves, showing synchronicity, as proof that the siddhis work. In logic we call this a non sequitur. Professional illusionists call this diversion, i.e. to keep the audience from seeing the trick, divert their attention elsewhere.

      I wish I could report that I remained immune to the conditioning while I was there. After a while the social ostracism got to me, and I started doing the technique and jumping too. I gave myself the excuse that it was much more fun than just sitting there. Only one man remained throughout the months in total integrity and refused to jump; he spent his entire time waiting to lift off which, of course, never occurred. I kept telling myself there must be something more, it can’t be as big a lie as it seems to be. However, once I got home and was instructed to tell other people that we were learning to fly, something finally broke in me. I simply could not say this, and I certainly didn’t want anyone I knew to see me jumping in imitation of levitation. This decision, of course, removed me from the “stage.” I could no longer be part of the TM Movement if I wouldn’t participate in this lie.

      Twenty-five years have passed. Everyone is still making “some effort,” and no one in the TM movement is willing to do a true experiment. In fact, the diversions, the lies, only get bigger and more unproveable. Now it is claimed that if 1,000 meditators get in a room together and practice self-deception about learning to fly, that they will create a “coherence” and protect us from whatever is the current ill in the world.

      There is a certain beauty to the “levitation” lie. Unlike Maharishi’s sexual misconduct, which can be easily hidden, and the enormous lies that are unproveable one way or another, this is an obvious lie that can be checked out by anyone at anytime. Find a “siddha” and watch him “levitate.” If you think you are a “siddha,” get on the scale and prove it.

      Giving Up “The Dream” Is Hard To Do

      When I was forced to leave the movement, I found that it was a very painful breakup for a number of reasons that I will explain below. Fear of this hidden pain no doubt influences our willingness to accept the lies. Since leaving the movement is a huge change in one’s life I would like to discuss it in several ways.

      Imagine that you know a rich heiress who is beautiful, young and a bit lonely. She has a great desire to help the world but is not sure just how. She meets a rich international banker who has devoted his life to charities that are working on overcoming world hunger. He is handsome and charming and articulate and he woos and marries her. He takes her to grand balls, he showers money on her, he influences her to give large sums of money to the charities he supports, and charities in turn put her on their boards where she has power, influence and honor. She describes herself to you as “deliriously happy.” She says that it is the first time she really felt that she had a “soul mate,” the first time anyone has ever loved her “unconditionally.”

      After a while, among her friends, some quiet gossip begins about her husband. People are surprised at his apparent ignorance of certain key events in international banking. He is often away on “banking business” for extended periods of time “overseas,” but one of your friends is certain she spotted him in a nearby city with another woman. Your friend, the heiress, is still “deliriously happy.” Do you tell her your suspicions? Do you doubt your suspicions, and accuse yourself of “being jealous?”

      Time goes on and it is confirmed that he has more than one mistress. It becomes suspicious that he is not a banker at all. It is possible he is taking part of the donations that his wife is giving to charity, and using that money to shower her with gifts as well as support his lifestyle and his mistresses. Do you tell her now? Does she want to hear this?

      Finally, you and her friends become aware that he is asking for ever bigger contributions to his charities. “Millions are dying of hunger every day,” he pleads, “and only your contributions can save them. Every day that you wait, thousands more die.” You become very concerned that she will give away all of her inheritance. You tell her that her husband is a con man and an adulterer. She is shocked and confused and doesn’t believe you.

      She immediately goes to her husband and confronts him with the evidence that you gave her. He is not the least bit defensive, and apologizes that he had to keep some things from her for her own safety. “You see,” he explains, “much of my work has to be done in secret. Certain governments use starvation as a political weapon, so when we raise money for these people it needs to be kept quiet. Those women are my underground staff. I had to keep this a secret from you for your own good. If these governments knew what I was doing, or even knew that you knew, our lives could both be in danger. In fact, several of my key people were just caught and will be executed in the next few days. Only if I can come up with $1,000,000 in two days can I save them. Unfortunately, I don’t have liquidity in my Swiss bank account for five days due to their exchange rate restrictions. I was thinking about asking you for a loan for a few days, but I really didn’t want to get you involved in this.”

      Does She Give Him The “Loan”?

      If I discontinue this story here, what ending will you write for it? What will it take for her to see his lies? At what point does she subtly become a co-conspirator in keeping the truth from herself? There is something very big, very important to her, which she will have to give up for her finally to see the truth. The key question I want to ask you is: Why does she not want to see his lies? Because she would have to give up “THE DREAM.”

      By The Dream I mean the illusion that the con man created within which she has now found happiness and meaning, and around which her life is organized. Inside The Dream she is unconditionally loved. She has a soul mate that understands her and shares her deepest longings to help the world. Her contributions matter to the world, and her help keeps people from dying. She has prestige and honor, both from a husband who is well connected and handsome, and from the boards that she now serves on.

      Now imagine that you have found a guru who is enlightening the world. He teaches you to meditate and you are “deliriously happy.” You have never met anyone who seems so happy, contented and wise. In the beginning he answers all your deepest heartfelt questions. He is obviously a most unusual man, capable of working 16-hour days, building an enormous organization, being an indefatigable teacher, all to help enlighten the world. He asks nothing for himself.

      He teaches you “inside knowledge” and trains you to tell only the “sweet truth:” he teaches you to not tell everything because the students are not “evolved enough” to know yet. You are proud that he trusts you with this “inside knowledge.” He gives you positions of power and prestige. He brings out new knowledge every year, and new projects to save the world. He emphasizes that only he can save the world, but only with your help. You are excited about building a heaven on earth.

      When does the first crack appear? Is it when you hear that he has not been sexually pure and has had sex with some of his female disciples? No. That could not be possible because he is an enlightened man and he can make no mistakes. This could only be a malicious lie.

      Do you notice that he puts his name and picture on everything? If this was an ordinary man, you could suspect that he was concerned about “name and fame.” But no, an enlightened man is beyond ordinary ego needs.

      Does it bother you that he requires more and more money for courses, for massage and oil treatments, for building projects? These are all for the enlightenment of the world, you tell yourself. Maharishi is beyond all desires for money. An enlightened man is indifferent to where he lives. It does not matter whether he lives in luxury or squalor. If Maharishi lives in luxury it is because he needs to protect himself from “negative vibrations” so that he can do the good he needs to do for the world.

      Are you concerned that you have been given a technique that supposedly gives you supernormal powers but you can’t manifest any? Are you ashamed that this indicates your own lack of spiritual progress? Do you tell yourself that you “feel” some lightness and some inner peacefulness so you must be making some progress? Do you justify continuing in spite of no results because you are now told you need to do this to protect the world from some calamity?

      Do you even notice when threats begin to circulate in the form of bad things happening to teachers of TM who don’t do Maharishi’s bidding? (Example: On August 13, 2002, the Maharishi Channel had a question and answer session with John Hagelin and Bevin Morris. A questioner recounts how a wealthy Yugoslavian Yogic Flyer was told by Maharishi to “fly” with others in a group but refused to do so. Then one day he woke up penniless. John Hagelin responds that the movement is developing a website to gather this sort of “supporting material.”) Do you even suspect that this is a form of manipulative control?

      Do you ever wonder if a Vedic Kingdom is the best form of government? Have you ever read any history about how kingdoms function? Does it make any sense that “God created a perfect constitution in the Vedas?” Have you ever read this “perfect constitution?” Do you wonder about how a Vedic Kingdom would co-exist with a Democracy? Are you aware that Maharishi runs the TM Movement like a Vedic Kingdom, viz. as a dictatorship with one man having absolute unquestioned control over everything? Is this your idea of a perfect world?

      Do you ever notice paranoia in the movement? Have you heard that some members of the community are having their letters monitored? Do you ever wonder if this paranoia actually comes from Maharishi? Would you be afraid if others saw you reading this letter? Can you even discuss and debate these points inside the TM Movement?

      What Is The Dream That You Are Unwilling to Give Up?

      Will you pay $1,000,000 to do a one-month course with Maharishi rather than giving up The Dream that he has created for you? How much will you pay for a Yagya rather than giving up The Dream? Have you ever read Martin Luther’s condemnation of “Indulgences?” (During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church was selling expensive religious ceremonies, called “Indulgences,” to permit the wealthy to buy their way into heaven. Even the Catholic Church now admits that this was a corrupt use of clerical power aimed only at making money.)

      Does it concern you that teachers who have worked for the TM Movement for 25 years or more don’t make enough to afford proper dental work, let alone have any health insurance or retirement plans? Do you think Maharishi cares about this?

      “The deeper one surrenders to an authoritarian structure, the harder it is to detach from it because one’s identity becomes wrapped around that context – one’s emotions, beliefs, images, worldview, relationships, etc. In fact, the group, with the authority figure at the center, becomes the foundation of all meaning, intimacy, and even possibility for the future.

      “Leaving a group after having surrendered to it often puts one back into confusions and lacks paralyzing self-doubt may occur many things previously believed now seem the opposite of what they were. What seemed right and good then appears wrong and malevolent now. The guru’s seeming unconditional love was really about wanting unconditional power; his selflessness was egomania in disguise; his purity was corrupt.

      “The burning questions in one’s mind are: “How could I have been so taken in?” The difficulty of leaving is compounded by the reality that doing so rarely feels good initially. Instead there’s bewilderment, anger mixed with depression, and self-blame.

      “Those in the inner circle or high on the organization’s rungs have an even more difficult time unhooking. Most have achieved more power and feelings of special ness than they ever had before or could on their own. Each becomes a minor authority to those below.

      “The stakes in believing or not believing in the authority are very high. The followers’ fears of going back to a life that could be even worse than before give the guru more power over them. This is similar to an addict’s fear of returning to the drab, dull life the addiction was trying to alleviate.” Kramer and Alstad, The Guru Papers

      Conclusion

      “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

      “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.” Winston Churchill

      “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.”

      The truth is that Maharishi needs you, but not in the way that you think. He needs you as an income source. Not only does he get money from you, but he can count on you to get money from your friends as well. He needs you as a worker bee for his projects. To hide your low and relatively powerless status, he will give you fancy titles (but not the income or the power that goes with such a title. He retains all the power and all of the income for himself.) Finally, he needs your acclaim to feed and maintain his own egomaniacal vision: that only Maharishi can build the perfect Vedic Kingdom on earth.

      Because of his selfish desires, there are two key elements on your path to enlightenment that you will never receive from him.

      He will never teach you the technique of being free from a manipulator’s power, because then you could be free from him. There is a part of you that is a weakness, a flaw, or a wound, that permits a manipulator to use you. Until you work on that part of yourself, you will never be enlightened, and your work for the good of the world will always be precarious, and subject to abuse.

      He will never teach you how to come into your own creative power. When you come into your own power, you will find that there are many teachers and gurus, and thousands of people and groups that are doing good works on this earth. You will in fact become one of them.

      I was once complaining to my brother about all the ills that have come down through history from religious organizations like the Catholic Church. Religious organizations have fostered religious wars, “crusades,” sexual repression and perversion, sectarian battles, intolerance, etc. “How can these organizations be the instruments of God?” I asked. He invited me to consider the mother hen. See how the mother hen will do anything; she will even give up her life, to keep anyone from attacking and breaking her eggs. But the whole point of her protection is for the chicks to break out of the eggs from within. Like that, in the big picture, religious organizations are Mother Hens. They protect us while we need the protection. When you no longer need that protection, you will be willing to go through the pain and struggle of breaking out from within.

      May God Bless You and Keep You.

      Namaste
      Michael D. Coleman, Ph. D.
      Huntington Beach, CA
      September 2002

    • Ethan

      Dr. Jean Tobin says:
      October 14, 2010 at 7:33 am
      “You ask a great question, how scientific can this be?”

      Dr. Jean Tobin and Jimmy Goodman,

      You received some great answers from different people including former TM devotees regarding the true nature of TM- totally opposite of what you both said. What are your responses. Does your silence means that you have no plausible answers.

      Ethan

      Joshua

    • Joshua

      The TM technique is simple mental repetition of a “mantra” or word. The TM movement claims that only specific “words” can be used. They claim that the selection of words is based upon a secret formula. Court documents have shed some light on this “secret” process. It is nothing other than a set of words given out by age, and/or age and sex, depending on the teacher training course the TM teacher attended.
      The TM-Sidhi programme is nothing other than a set of sutras (words or phrases), mentally repeated every fifteen seconds after doing a twenty minute session of TM. Each sutra is repeated twice, with a 15 second pause in between each repetition.

      TM-Sidhi Techniques. Futher proof that TM is not a non religious scientific practice.
      After doing the flying sutra for 5-30 minutes, the instruction is to rest for 10-30 minutes and then read the Hindu Scriptures for 5 minutes.
      The names of the sutras used in the TM-Sidhi program are:
      Friendliness
      Compassion
      Happiness
      Strength of an elephant
      Bronchial tube
      Inner light
      Sun
      Moon
      Polestar
      Trachea
      Navel
      Distinction between intellect and transcendence
      Transcendence intuition
      Transcendence finest hearing
      Transcendence finest sight
      Transcendence finest taste
      Transcendence finest touch
      Transcendence finest smell.
      The “levitation” or “flying” technique, now known as “Yogic Flying,” is used in the same way as all other sutras:
      “Relationship of body and akasha – lightness of cotton fiber.”
      This phrase is mentally repeated every fifteen seconds after doing a twenty minute session of TM. Each sutra is mentally repeated twice (if time allows 4 times), with a 15 second pause in between each repetition.
      After doing the flying sutra for 5-30 minutes, the instruction is to rest for 10-30 minutes and then read the Hindu Scriptures for 5 minutes.
      An example of the readings (from the Ninth Mandala of Rig Veda):
      Flow Soma, in a most sweet and exhilarating stream, effused for Indra to drink. The all-beholding destroyer of Rakshasas has stepped upon his gold-smitten birthplace, united with the wooden cask. Be the lavish giver of wealth, most bounteous, the destroyer of enemies; bestow on us the riches of the affluent. Come with food to the sacrifice of the mighty gods, and bring us strength and sustenance. To thee we come, O dropping (Soma); for thee only is this our worship day by day, our prayers are to thee, none other.
      http://minet.org/mantras.html

    • Rocky

      CONSUMER WARNING:
      WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION (TM))
      Consumer Segment:
      It is a new year, and like many Americans, you search for ways to incorporate a positive change into your life. You sign up to learn meditation after reading about the many health benefits it brings, and feel pleased to be taking a step toward better health. Could you unknowingly be walking into a cult? The answer is yes—unless you know how to be a smart consumer.
      Guest:
      Steven Alan Hassan, internationally renowned cult expert, licensed mental health counselor, author and founder of The Freedom of the Mind Resource Center, has been educating the public for decades about dangerous cults and mind control. Hassan has been meditating for years, but is concerned that many innocent people will find themselves involved in Transcendental Meditation (TM) this year. Due to clever marketing with the recent launch of film director David Lynch’s new book, TM is drawing people to their centers across the country, and is poised to grow rapidly.
      TM’s leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has achieved total psychological dominance over his “true believer” followers. They consider him an enlightened master and the greatest spiritual leader on the planet. In reality, he controls billions of dollars that the TM organization has amassed. During the late 1960’s, John Lennon met Maharishi in India, and wrote a less than favorable song about him, titled “Sexy Sadie.”
      “We need to be educated in order to protect ourselves from getting involved in any type of cult,” Hassan said. “Many think of a cult as a group that uses high-pressure recruiting tactics, or gets members to commit suicide, sell flowers in airports, get married in mass weddings, or pursue its opponents with lawsuits. TM and many other groups do NOT operate this way, so few people recognize them as a cult. They use more subtle but equally destructive mind control techniques.”
      The public views meditation as benign, which is often the case. However, when taught and practiced in a rigid, formulistic way within a totalistic group led by a grandiose leader, meditation can become a dangerous habit that could create severe psychological problems.
      Steve Hassan is available to address:
      • The facts about TM, and what you need to know.
      • What key questions you need to ask before joining any meditation class.
      • Signs that indicate the class you are involved with is a cult.
      • How to leave a cult group and reclaim psychological and emotional well-being.
      Additional Guests:
      Hassan has counseled many ex-members of TM, and has contact with several long term ex-members, including a person who grew up inside the cult, who are willing to share their experience.
      Media:
      To interview Steven Hassan, contact Donna Rooney at DRPublicRelations@hotmail.com

    • Ethan

      MEDITATION & DEPRESSION

      USA

      Meditation: Hazardous to your health?
      Don’t overlook the side effects of this powerful transformative technique. Like the snake oil of old, meditation is sometimes pitched as a cure for whatever ails you, whether it’s high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, anxiety, or arthritis. Is this mind-body magic too good to be true? Maybe. In fact, meditation may have definite down sides. In a groundbreaking article in Natural Health (Nov./Dec. 1993, Nathaniel Mead writes that while meditation is promoted as a way to encourage relaxation, it can sometimes lead instead to anxiety, depression, and other distressing emotional and physical states. He writes, Meditation is often presented as a benign way to relieve stress and improve overall health, but some research points to situations in which the practice may be upsetting, inappropriate, or even medically ill-advised…meditation may bring about a variety of undesirable changes–physical, mental, and emotional.

      Researchers even have a name for one of the side effects: relaxation induced panic, in which meditating triggers a panic attack, with its characteristic racing heart, muscle tension, head pain, and perspiration. In some cases, Mead reports, meditation can increase pre-existing depression and suicidal tendencies. Serious psychosomatic symptoms such as bleeding ulcers or asthma that had previously been under control may recur. In other cases, schizophrenic breakdowns seem to have been triggered by meditation.

      Although these dire effects are relatively rare, many meditators encounter less intense problems. The list of side effects compiled by meditation teachers and researchers is remarkably long, writes Mead. These include momentary discomforts such as head-aches, sore throats, cramped muscles, and tingling or stinging sensations in some parts of the body. Some people have reported feeling unaccountably heavy, while other experience weightlessness or floating sensations. Some report sudden outbursts of laughter or crying, or both. Involuntary sighing, as well as sweating, trembling, or shivering are also common.

      How could such a simple practice lead to such serious consequences.? Part of the answer is that, technically, meditation is an activity of attention and concentration, not relaxation. Relaxation is a by-product of meditation, much as it is of other focused activities such as athletics, sex, knitting, or dance. While techniques vary–transcendental meditation involves concentrating on a word or phrase. Zen stress posture and breath. Tibetan methods center on visualizing colors or divine beings–all forms of meditation are intended to activate and raise one’s innate level of spiritual energy, known as chi, ki, or kundalini. And access to chi will always have some body and mind-altering effect.

      Once chi is raised, the effects are unpredictable. Mental, physical, and emotional states change.

      Themeditator sees reality in new ways and sees him or herself in different, not always flattering, ways. In the context of transforming consciousness, this is a time-honored process, the mythological hero’s guest for personal growth and wisdom.

      It is not a quick or easy passage. As Mead writes. One source of meditation problems comes from the attempt to turn a powerful, psychological technique into a simple physical therapy. When a meditator is led to expect stress reduction and instead comes face to face with his true self, the result can be anything but relaxing. Andrea Honebrick, Utne Reader, March/April 1994~

    • Ethan

      “David Wants to Fly” – a very personal review from a former TM-Initiator
      A completely unsolicited email was sent by a former TM Initiator / reader of TMFree Blog, expressing the impact that “David Wants to Fly” had on him at the 2010 Toronto Hot Docs film festival. When asked if his letter could be anonymously published online, (he graciously replied “yes”) his further thoughts on “His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,” and Transcendental Meditation unfolded. With minimal editing, this very personal recommendation for “David Wants to Fly” is shared simultaneously here and with TMFree readers. Opinions expressed in the message below are not necessarily my opinions. Words here reflect one person’s process of awakening from cult induced indoctrination. Enjoy!
      I am a well-known ex-initiator who wishes to remain anonymous. I surrendered my soul to Maharishi at Queen’s University in August 1972.
      I considered Maharishi to be my saviour and master. And my body and mind were so profoundly deceived by the mystical forces that create the experiences of TM that I at one point was certain I had achieved a higher state of consciousness.
      I have spent the last 25 years attempting to expunge the effects of TM, and the beguiling and fatal charm of Maharishi.
      I only imagined abstractly a point in the future where something would happen which would be powerful enough to put a context around Maharishi and the Transcendental Meditation Organization—sufficient to take him down, expose his utter corruption as a human being, and create doubts about the positive efficacy of TM.
      I must admit to being joyfully staggered and amazed by David Sieveking’s documentary “David Wants To Fly”—which I just saw yesterday afternoon here in Toronto.
      David Sieveking’s film finally, in an objective and comprehensive way, takes the measure of Maharishi and the Transcendental Meditation Organization.
      I mean this in a very special way. “David Wants To Fly” became in my own subjective reading of it, reality’s way of getting revenge on Maharishi for the spectacular misrepresentation of itself via TM. What I have been forced to conclude over the course of these last 25 years, is that the powers that made Maharishi what he was, and the powers which produced and which continue to produce all the experiences of TM, violate and wound the essential integrity of every human being who enters into the practice of TM. Even as the initiate or practitioner remains unconscious, or in denial, of this truth.
      This is the brilliant lie that is Transcendental Meditation.
      I believe I went as far as Maharishi’s techniques could take someone—into a darkness and hallucinatory state of consciousness, which at first seemed so wonderfully true to what Maharishi promised—’Unity Consciousness’. I am still recovering from the effects of TM and the metaphysical charisma of Maharishi.
      My point here is to declare my wonder and astonishment that this documentary seemed silently to enlist those beneficent powers inside the cosmos which were overthrown or paralyzed by Maharishi and TM: these friendly powers through David Sieveking. This film, rose up and unleashed their fury against Maharishi and the TMO, effectively refuting Maharishi and the Transcendental Meditation Organization for all time.
      “David Wants To Fly” becomes reality’s way of contradicting Maharishi and the TMO, creating a revelation of such devastating impact that never again can any follower of Maharishi repeat the TM catechisms without sensing a critical presence throughout the entire universe, a critical presence that has, through this film, decisively condemned Maharishi and the Transcendental Meditation Organization.
      Sincerely,
      Name Withheld [initiated in 1966; became initiator in early 70's]
      Further thoughts unfolded in a couple of more emails, from the same person
      It is so cruel to see human beings unconsciously fighting against the negative consequences of TM—the really fanatical ones become actual martyrs: they are upholding a practice which is secretly attacking them where they are most vulnerable. And their belief-system has become a tortured form of denial: life is gradually refusing to cooperate with them, and they can only dig in all the more.
      I feel as if I have had a monster inside me—the Maharishi-TM incubus. It has been dying a very slow death these past 25 years, but it seemed, when I saw David’s film, it lost a considerable amount of its life-force.
      “David Wants To Fly” goes right at the cosmic arrogance and deceit of Maharishi. The film is the only phenomenon I have encountered in over 40 years that (almost innocently, serendipitously) acquires the intelligence (in its execution) adequate to the terrible subject to which it is addressed. Maharishi and the TMO, in some inexplicable way, have remained (in some very subtle sense) ‘invincible’ up until this film. This film is the great guru-slayer—for Maharishi was, undoubtedly, the most seductive, wily, and brilliant spiritual personality of our lifetime. Even as most the world knows nothing of this.
      My adjudication cannot be impartial, but paradoxically I believe it is my very intimate knowledge of Maharishi and TM and the TMO that affords me the most objective viewpoint that is possible. And the film—unbeknownst to David Sieveking—is as inspired as any documentary could possibly be: because [in my opinion] its subject-matter has enlisted the intelligence of goodness that has remained silent about MMY and the TMO until now.
      The film was a kind of gentle but forceful (and felicitous) exorcism. Believe me, it will not disappoint. The irony of the film is simply produced by allowing Maharishi and the TMO to exhibit themselves—against the background of what is real. It once was thrilling to be near Maharishi—and to enjoy seemingly a unified state of consciousness. Once it became clear that I was gravely deceived in this, I began my journey into hell and back while recovering. David Sieveking’s documentary “David Wants To Fly” was—were I a practicing Catholic—like bathing in the healing waters of Lourdes. I felt like I could throw away my crutches.
      When I talked about throwing away my crutches at Lourdes (after viewing David’s film)—it was as if I was crippled by Maharishi and TM; that is, I had come to Lourdes to get cured (although I never consciously conceived of this purpose—if you follow me here—when I entered the theatre)—and the power of the film was such (in its confrontation of MMY and the TMO) that the very disease that had made me lame, that disease was as it were driven out by the force of the film, and thus I felt I could walk again.
      David Sieveking’s film became the vehicle (the first of its kind in my own intuition) through which the previously unchallengeable mystique and integrity of Maharishi and the TMO (and by indirection, TM itself) was smashed by reality. When the Beatles went to Rishikesh, that was one moment in the history of the TM Movement; then nothing for 43 years—until David Sieveking’s documentary, which becomes—potentially— the antidote to the Beatles, because whereas the Beatles had created enormously positive publicity for Maharishi and TM, “David Wants To Fly” is a phenomenon in its own right too—creating the very opposite effect that the Beatles did—but for those who are discerning, fully equal in its potency to the decision of the Beatles to follow Maharishi to India and meditate at his ashram.
      It is all a matter of taking in what comes through in the film. And whether David Sieveking knows it or not—and his learning that I believe this to be true will have no influence upon him whatsoever I suspect—the friendly and lovingly intelligent forces in the universe colluded with his own brilliance and sincerity to—for the very first time— actually take on and strike a blow against the baleful and malevolently intelligent forces which were and are behind Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Transcendental Meditation Movement. Of course I don’t pretend to be empirical here: my own estimation of the ‘cosmic’ dimension of all this must be attributed to my own personal point of view. It is only fitting that, since Maharishi pretended to be acting on behalf of the intelligences which supervise and conduct the activity of the entire universe, a true critic of him meets him on this very ground—and declares: Based upon a multitude of experimental evidence, what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has brought to civilization can be seen to be quite literally a demonic project on a gargantuan scale. The film,—I insist on this—is the only event I have known in my life since I first became enamored of Maharishi and TM, which goes right to the place in reality from where Maharishi is coming from, the place from where he derives his techniques, the place from where he lives out and performs his existence—and in doing so issues the ultimate ontological challenge to him and his organization:—as in: Maharishi, you say you speak for reality, well, David Sieveking has produced a film—Want to see it, Maharishi?—which some of those who know (knew) you best believes refutes you: Maharishi, you are refuted by reality: you are an imposter, and here is the proof. As you can see, Maharishi, It is unanswerable.
      It is, then, the [adventitious] metaphysical potency of David’s film which released me from the incubus of Maharishi and TM—I mean, took my own self-administered meta-therapeutic efforts to a completely different level—and I came out of that theatre truly feeling a palpable and objective sense of liberation. Amazing.
      Certainly many of us had glorious, ineffably beautiful experiences using Maharishi’s techniques—and even from being around him physically—but these experiences were not engendered by ‘Nature’, by ‘creative intelligence’, by contact with ‘the Absolute’; no, these experiences were, every one of them, inimical to our well-being, dislocated from what is real, and warring on our unique individualities—especially our bodies: there can be no argument here; as sublime as these experiences were they were calculated to alienate us from who we really are, and were mechanically effected by forces which are filled with a perfect hatred for human beings. The bliss of these experiences is inversely proportionate to their destructiveness—I expect to carry to the grave some of the subtle and insidiously disintegrating effects of TM (plus) upon my physiology.
      “David Wants To Fly” is the happiest and most efficaciously beneficial event since I first was spiritually seduced by Maharishi and his diabolical magic.
      And, by the way, did I know nothing at all about TM or Maharishi, if I saw this film, I would be deeply intrigued and impressed.
      I do not expect you to agree with everything I have said, particularly the metaphysics of my analysis of Maharishi and TM. One thing is very clear though: whatever promises were contained in that first experience of transcendence, those promises have proved to be bogus. Not a single devotee of Maharishi is making any spiritual progress whatsoever, and every one of these long-term TMO persons know this. The bloom is off TM for those in the know. The question for me becomes: why was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi permitted to perpetuate this extraordinary fraud upon the human race? And watching David Lynch in the movie, I thought: what an intelligent, well-intentioned, even gracious person he is. If only he had really gone all the way and become an initiator, then he really would have something in common with those who are all around him in his TM enterprises: then he would not be so shockingly naive. Not only because of his status in the world, as a great artist, but also because he has not been entirely infected by the worst form of the TM malignancy—that which afflicts all those who became (and remained) teachers of TM—does the TMO have him (DL) out in front doing all these charitable deeds for the Movement. Bevan Morris et al—the whole works of them—they know in their heart of hearts that David Lynch is somehow riding on the enthusiasm that they once had (before they became secretly jaded and defeated—repressed as this is) for Maharishi and TM—sooner or later David Lynch is going to ask his first really hard question: COULD I BE WRONG ABOUT MAHARISHI AND TM?
      Yes, you are, David Lynch —good man that you no doubt are. As an artist, as a thinker, as a human being, you can have no truly honest rebuttal to David Sieveking’s film.
      Are you still here, Gina? Sorry about this, but I had—think of it as therapy for me—use this opportunity to let you know what I have kept inside me all these years. And David’s film almost seems to present to me this prerogative. Thank God for David’s film.
      “Removing all identifying information”—as long as you do this, of course I don’t mind—and am pleased—if you find anything I write worthy of passing along.
      One thing I ask —if you can grant me this—that, under no circumstances will you give away any information which could allow other persons to speculate on my identity.
      I know my brain has been permanently damaged by TM—although I compensate for this as best I can, and I am no where near as ‘Maharishi-ized” as I was in that part of my anatomy. David’s film, by the way, was salutary for my brain in just this very way.

    • Joshua

      My Disillusionment with TM

      I thought that TM was unique but now I know that other methods are just as effective –They cost little or no money.

      I thought that TM was scientific but now I know that its research is biased; it now appears that candidates for testing are pre-tested, screened to ensure that their experiences match the expectations held by Mahesh and his organization. Independent Researchers reveal the fact that TM claims are flawed.

      I thought that TM was non-religious but now I know that it is a religious practice and is centered upon the worship of Mahesh the person.
      I thought that the TM mantras were meaningless sounds but now I know that they linked to Hinduism and the mantras given to TM initiates are not uniquely selected for each practitioner as falsely claimed by the TM organization.

      I thought that a Puja is a ceremony of thanksgiving but now I know that it has to do with worship, for obvious personal benefit and gain, of some deity or possibly some very important person.
      I thought that TM was concerned with children but now I know that it regards them as a future source of income.

      I thought that TM merely involved meditation so that those meditating will have a better life but now I know that it is all about the money. Every practitioner is a source of income. The founder Maharishi died a billionaire; it appears from that the so-called Maharishi felt that the more money a person had, the more worthy, significant, powerful and important that person was. It seems to have followed that the more money this so-called Maharishi had, the greater he felt he was.

      I thought that TM was safe but now I know that it has many side effects -these are not revealed to potential participants in the so-called Maharishi’s money-making scheme.

      I thought that TM practitioners were rational but now I know that many are not. – Some actually believe that by hopping on their butts up and down a room for hours they are actually levitating. David Lynch really believes that by continuing to practice this budding skill twice daily it will only be a matter of time until TMers will be able to hover in place, and that after that they will eventually be able to zoom about at will. (Beware of traffic jams in space).

      I thought that the Maharishi-effect is real but now I know it is not. It can only be felt in your wallet.
      I thought that TM was based on reality but now I am doubtful. Maharishi set up his Global Country of World Peace, and crowned Tony Nader King of it and this guy actually believes that he is a king.

    • ethan

      Transcendental Paranoia
      by Gina Catena, M.S.

      Coercive Persuasion, “thought reform,” or “brainwashing” includes taboos against speaking truth. While under the influence, we felt secure and safe in our paradigm. We knew privileged secrets, advanced techniques, mantras and higher level “knowledge” as provided on special courses. We believed, and told outsiders, the scripted benefits of TM and memorized Hinduesque teachings.

      Amongst ourselves we chuckled about the Movement’s financial shenanigans, Nazi-like environmental and social control on courses. Still we feared speaking forth to detail others’ psychosis, suicides, wild antics, hidden sexual and drug abuse –in the interest of protecting our teachings and the Movement’s reputation.

      We believed in our higher purpose – to uphold the Movement’s integrity and not allow negative press to befall upon our beloved Maharishi, while MMY’s Shrivastara family lived in comfort from our families’ contributions.

      Secrets began with instruction of our mantra, never to be repeated aloud, “for our own benefit.” Little by little, we acclimated to organized scrutiny for deemed worthiness, and increasing levels of security “for our own benefit,” as we advanced.

      Transcendental Paranoia was instilled from the beginning. We navigated through detailed interviews and applications for advanced courses, letters of recommendation from Initiators or Governors of the Age of Enlightenment (we were denied copies of our files or applications). We proved our allegiance to the “purity of the teachings.” We carried validated photo identification badges to enter meetings, group meditations, and even for some functions at satellite TM centers around the world. We accepted when the “Capital of the Age of Enlightenment” staff told us that our identity cards were the Capital’s property, not ours, to be relinquished if we left.

      If we explored other venues, we were afraid of being identified as unfaithful to Maharishi. Many lied on TM program applications, denying exploration of other spiritual teachers, meditation practices or psychotherapy to assure their continued group acceptance (demonstrating a lack of true help!).

      We kept secrets to maintain our “spiritual evolution” and allegiance to the Movement, our beloved and dysfunctional “TM-family.” Fear of the truth was deeply ingrained.

      We ignored negative press from outside of the Movement, and blamed our communities’ tragedies upon “unstressing,” “purification,” or individual “bad karma.” We attributed all problems to individual shortcomings, all good was attributed gratefully to TM and Maharishi. “Jai Guru Dev” (Exaltations to Guru Dev). More Secrets.

      After leaving the Movement, many do not disclose TM-histories with outsiders, lest we betray loved ones, or become stigmatized from the outside world. Likewise, I remained silent for nearly 20 years, while living a double life.

      An innate anxiety often arises when disclosing details of our TM Movement/cult with outsiders. Common themes are: “My TM-based loved ones will reject me. They were well intentioned. They are not bad people. What will I have left if they reject me?”

      Revealing our TM background knowledge can provoke anxiety precisely because, in speaking forth, we run counter to deeply ingrained patterns. The famed TM “bubble diagram” of transcending to the source of thought, applies to the depth of our brainwashing when in a trance state. The blend of group belonging, fear of ignorant outsiders, and reverence for our “sacred tradition’ were planted deep in our primal brain. Many fear legal retribution, verbal assaults, and rejection from loved ones if they speak of their TM past.

      Fear of group rejection is a protective biological mechanism. A primitive lifestyle requires group effort for human survival. In the wild, tribal rejection equals certain death. That is why we want to maintain our group membership.

      For silent former TM-ers, your anxiety is real, psychologically and biologically understandable – but not necessary. We won’t die if we reveal our past to the world. What a liberating thought!

      Former TMers may also experience anxiety speaking of their history, wondering how this will influence their integration to a new community, “How will outsiders understand? “They will think I’m insane of they know my history.” “How will this stymie me professionally?” “None can understand how I participated in such ridiculousness.” They won’t understand why I continue to love those who remain in the cult.” Or “They won’t understand why I did not leave sooner.”

      From sheer embarrassment, many MIU/ MUM graduates struggle with their alma mater on their professional resume. They try “MI University” or “M International University” or other derivatives. Job interviews may focus upon justifying their education rather than upon employment qualifications, while explaining that Maharishi International University really is an accredited private university (meeting minimum standards of academic literacy). Oftentimes, the desired job is not offered because the interviewer was distracted by the story of Maharishi’s exotic university.

      Shakespeare’s wisdom, “To be or not to be, that is the question” is appropriate here. To be true to one self includes choosing whether to speak forth or maintain privacy about a cult past. Speaking forth is a highly personal choice. There is not a right nor wrong.

      Cult experts (some are now personal friends), often state, “True recovery requires cutting all ties to the cult.”
      I disagree with them on this point, and I tell them so. For those raised in a cult, sharing our history may result in rejection from our loved ones of origin. Then where do we turn?

      At the 2006 trial for Warren Jeffs, president of the polygamist cult of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (not TM related), a young teenage bride refused to speak when called to testify in court. She was arrested for contempt of court. This reveals lack of understanding of the great emotional and psychological risk to which the court system placed this young girl, by asking her to publicly describe her confusing family and community. If she spoke of her knowledge, she would have lost all that she knew and had nowhere to turn. Of course she kept the ugly secrets, because her identity, life and loved ones are with the controversial community.

      The young woman in Jeffs’ trial, above, experienced an acute crises of any cult-raised person’s inner conflict. Maintaining connections to family of origin, requires continuing to live with shrouds of secrecy. Speaking truth as a whole person, removing the shrouds, risks rejection from family and community of origin accompanied by possible social or professional stigmas elsewhere. It may be a painful choice.

      One friend was raised in a different highly publicized cult outside of North America. She attends graduate school in the USA, is married to an American: they are raising their family. She keeps her history private, even to the instructors in her graduate psychotherapy studies. Media publicity about her cult-family is scathing. She chooses silence to protect her children from social repercussions if her history were public knowledge.

      She states, “Even experienced therapists and most psychology professors don’t understand about children raised in cults. Many therapists assume we are psychotic, have split personalities or other severe disorders. There were some terrible situations and tragedies. But many of us survived and are functional after several years of painful personal soul searching. We became well after years of wrenching inner work. Therapists will label us too quickly.”

      Through her silence, my friend protects her children from social stigma, and from rejection by cult-grandparents. I had chosen the same until my children were grown.

      In coming forth, I sadly accept that loved ones from my TM past will reject me as being “of the dark side.” One dear old TM-friend recently glared at me saying I was “flirting with the enemy.” After my well-circulated letter to the San Rafael School Board, a revered TM leader, with whom I’d had a decades long relationship, told me, “May God have mercy on your soul. Do not contact me ever again.” I was prepared for rejection from those of my history. Others might not be willing to risk such loss.

      Speaking forth is a highly individual decision. Some choose anonymity; some prefer silence about their TM histories. Coming forth brings rewards at a price.

      If you read this and are anxious about speaking, please do not berate yourself. There is deeply ingrained programming against coming forth. It takes awhile to untangle. It is important to have others who will emotionally support your honesty and courage, rather than ostracize you for your honesty.

      If you choose to come forth, your voice will become stronger with practice. However, It is equally valid to silently hold your history, memories, and loved ones near and dear to your heart.

      Vaya con Dios

    • Joshua

      The South African Bill of Rights 15.2 in regards to
      Freedom of religion, belief and opinion states that Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
      Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities, they are conducted on an equitable basis; and attendance at them is free and voluntary.

      1. Has the TM organization obtained written official permission from the appropriate public authorities and parents of learners to operate in our schools?
      2. Have learners been given full information about the nature and practice of TM including possible side effects practitioners experience by school principals and others propagating TM? Is attendance to TM classes free and voluntary. What provisions have been made for learners not taking part in TM while fellow learners are doing TM? What screening has been done to ensure that TM instructors act in accordance with our Bill of Rights?
      If the answer to any of the questions mentioned above is “no” then TM has clearly violated our country’s Bill of Rights and as such should be banned from our schools.

    • Joshua

      Excerpted from TM-EX Newsletters,
      Fall 1990, Spring 1991, Summer 1991, Summer 1992

      GERMAN STUDY:

      The Various Implications Arising From the Practice of Transcendental
      Meditation

      On May 29, 1989 the West German High court ruled the study valid.

      Excerpts:

      1.6.2.6 THE MANTRA AND STANDARDIZATION OF THE PROCEDURE OF THE MEDITATION
      Meditation with the help of a mantra is a common method and one in
      great demand in Hinduism. This is because of the belief in the magical
      power of certain sounds or words, by the use of which the initiated
      can attain godly powers. On account of this the mantra must be kept
      secret. Although it is said in the TM movement that the mantra is a
      sound without meaning, the belief in the magical power of the mantra
      is still maintained. It may not be exchanged, and has to be a certain
      one chosen from Hinduism, which, according to its also does have a
      traditional meaning: (for example a Hindu god). In order to resolve
      the conflict between religiosity and scientific appearances, Maharishi
      has deliberately mechanized and standardized his meditation
      procedure. He has made it useful for the needs of the westerner. The
      type of mantra given depends on age, and the mantra is supposed to
      function automatically. The checking of mistakes in the practice of
      meditation, (called “checking”) also follows a 30 point procedure.
      This standardization finds its theoretical expression in orgin, the
      description: “The mechanical path to God-realization.” It is the
      highest and most complete path to God-realization, which in public is
      often paraphrased as self-realization by the TM movement.

      This interest in the occult and parapsychological phenomena, as well
      as the central role of evolution is their epistemology. This shows
      an inner relationship with Aurobindo’s teachings. A more detailed
      analysis would almost certainly lead to the conclusion that TM is
      very closely related to particular strands of neo-Hinduism, more than
      would appear at first glance. But a strong westernization has been
      intended from the start, evident up to the standardization of the
      meditation process.~

      4.1.9 The initial positive meditation experiences together
      with the promises and encouragement of the TM movement lead many to
      take further courses. In these courses they become more deeply involved
      in the teaching and ideology of transcendental meditation. They believe
      in the effectiveness of TM even when in the meantime negative experiences
      and results are evident. These are interpreted as an on-going release
      of stress. Far reaching changes in the perception of reality occurred,
      as well as changes in self-evaluation and evaluation by others. The
      length of time given to meditation each day increased in half of the
      total cases, from 40 minutes to at least two to four hours daily;
      in one case to more than eight hours. This tendency is encouraged
      in courses, this at times being a direct instruction to meditate longer
      each day. As well as this meditators invest more time and energy
      in the TM movement.

      4.3.3 TM has a detrimental effect on the decision making process.
      There is loss of self-determination and a turning toward the TM authorities
      for guidance, i.e. in the case of important decisions. Also, the variables,
      facial expression, bodily posture, voice and handwriting point to
      the fact that the total personality is gravely altered under the influence
      of TM.

      4.5.4 Whereas before the TM phase performance at school was well above
      average, and those investigated were most happy with their school
      or job situation, a considerable worsening in these areas occurred
      as a result of the practice of transcendental meditation. 56% had
      decreased concentration abilities during the TM phase, only 16% reported
      an improvement. 61% found it more difficult to manage the workload,
      as against 13% who reported an increased capacity. TM had a negative
      influence on the professional careers of 58% of meditators. Altogether
      28 meditators (42%) gave up their studies or professional career in
      order to work full time for the TM movement or to be able to go on
      long courses. They did this on the basis of promises made them by
      the movement. An analysis of the taped interviews and the stenographer’s
      scripts only serve to strengthen the suspicion that the TM organization
      aims at cheap labor, which in the case of those people who became
      unfit to work in the course of time, can be sent away again without
      any real difficulty.

      4.6.6 In 76% of cases psychological disorders and illnesses occurred,
      9% of meditators had had therapeutic treatment before the TM phase,
      43% had psychiatric treatment or had to have medical treatment during
      the TM phase. The psychological disorders most prevalent were tiredness
      (63%), “states of anxiety” (52%), depression (45%), nervousness
      (39%), and regression (39%). 26% had a nervous breakdown and 20% expressed
      serious suicidal tendencies. Psychological illness already present
      before the TM phase worsened considerably. TM can cause mental illness
      or at the very least prepare the way for the onset of mental illness.
      A lack of opportunity for the treatment of meditation experiences
      and/or altered perception of reality create suitable conditions for
      a pathogenic appearance. Added to this is the heightened delicacy
      and increasing helplessness in the personality of the meditator, which
      can develop into a complete depersonalization.

      5.3.2 Karma and Stress. Maharishi had the idea of giving the
      hinduistic concept “karma” the same significance as the concept of
      “stress.” In doing this, “stress” was attributed (in a westernized
      form), hinduistic-religious concepts. TM had, for the western world,
      the key with which all positive and negative aspects of life could be
      afforded a paritcular significance. All negative effects of the
      meditation are attributed to “bad karma” or “knots of stress,” when
      they occur in meditators. When either during or after the meditation
      a meditator feels unwell, he is, according to TM theory, “unstressing.”
      TM doctors diagnose this.

      Whoever walks the road of “unstressing” should personally avoid all
      possible outside causes of stress, since the atmosphere (around him)
      could lead to a negative accumulation and consequently a hindering of
      his own development.

      The personal unstressing on the part of the meditator has as a
      consequence a reduction in contact with people and a reduction in
      relationships. We can deduce here that the western concept of
      “stress” (the curing of which constitutes a large part of the promises
      made in TM advertising), has its cause in “karma.” This
      “relationship” between the two is only known to insiders.

      5.6.4 The suspicion grows that the meditation offered by TM, caused,
      in the meditators’ cases which we have investigated, a far reaching
      alteration in the view of reality, which damages or causes further
      damage to social relationships, the drive to achieve (motivation)
      is considerably lessened, to the degree that practical work (i.e.
      in a job) becomes intolerable to the meditator, in addition to all
      conditions brought about by the intense practice of the meditation,
      it gives rise to physical and mental damage.

      7.1.2 DECEPTION IN THE INITIATION INTO TM Even at the beginning of
      the new meditator’s contact with TM, he is being knowingly deceived.
      The true meaning of the puja is kept from him and it is claimed that
      mantras are specially chosen for the new initiates. In fact they
      are given out according to the age group of the person being initiated.
      Only one person knew during the initiation ceremony that the puja
      was a religious invocation. None of the meditators knew what the translation
      of the puja was, which is celebrated in Sanskrit during the ceremony.
      All ex-meditators in our study were told that the mantra was a sound
      without meaning and none knew that the mantra was given out in a standardized
      way (i.e. other people of the same age would receive the same mantra).
      Every meditator kept the mantra a secret. That they all kept the mantra
      to themselves is an indication of the strong influence of TM and a
      foundation of further unquestioning obedience to TM directives.

      7.5 SIDHA-LANDS In recent years there has been effort made by the
      TM movement to set up economically self-sufficient Sidhalands, in
      which meditators live and meditate, as well as having the opportunity
      to work in one of the TM concerns set up there. This institutionalization
      reflects the real attitudes of meditators. The attitude of the emigrant,
      who withdraws from all areas of social intercourse and can finally
      only be happy in his meditation and its institutionalized form. One
      of TM’s formula/mottos, to `meditate and be active’ is fulfilled in
      the Sidha-lands. The double-talk employed by TM would rule out an
      ordinary interpretation of this last sentence, i.e. that meditation
      is only fulfilled or effective when the meditator engages in energetic
      activity. Although TM gives this impression by its use of everyday
      language in its advertising, what TM really means by `meditate and
      be active’ is something completely different. The meditation and activity
      are directed solely towards TM and its organization. Only when directed
      towards the organization can a meditator engage in meaningful activity,
      and in doing this he will also work effectively for his own evolution.
      Therefore it is not an activity in the social sense (social welfare)
      which is required, rather an activity in accord with “evolution”
      and “the laws of nature”. Sidhalands offer the opportunity of undisturbed
      meditation, far away from outside influence. In a sidhaland a person
      can wish himself anything he desires; the Sidhaland becomes a land
      of milk and honey.

      JUDGMENT OF GERMAN COURT

      The ruling of the highest federal administrative tribunal, the
      Bundesverwaltungsgericht on May 24, 1989 in Case number 7 C 2.87 is:

      1) The Federal Government is competent and allowed to care about cults.

      2) The Federal Government is allowed to warn of TM.

      3) The Federal Government is allowed to designate TM a “Youth Religion”
      as well as a “Psychogroup.”

      4) The Federal Government is allowed to say that TM is taught by teachers
      who are not qualified [to deal with the TM problems].

      5) The Federal Government is allowed to say TM can cause psychic defects
      or destruction of personality.

      The Various Implications Arising From The Practice of Transcendental
      Meditation

      The study was commissioned by the German Government Ministry of Youth,
      Family and Health, the physical and social implications of the practice
      of TM being of primary interest. The investigation has as its aim
      to systematically establish the motives of an individual for beginning
      TM, the implications of the practice for this individual and his social
      circle, as well as to pinpoint the reasons for a voluntary or involuntary
      ceasing of TM meditation, or, in some cases, individuals distancing
      themselves from the movement. Moreover the relationship between the
      underlying world view, inherent in TM, and the practice as presented
      to the public was analyzed as to its effect on some individuals. The
      study offers an introduction into the teaching and practice of TM
      based on the movement’s own presentation of itself and its aims, which
      in turn lead to the hidden religious background.

    • ethan

      From TM-EX Newsletter, Spring 1991

      IOWA

      MIU RESEARCH UPDATE

      As the methodology of MIU researchers has improved, some of their
      studies report observations that challenge the validity of the TM
      movement’s doctrinal stance; for example, a Ph.D. thesis (D, MIU,
      1989, T735.494, in the MIU library) called The Transcendental Meditation
      technique: A new direction for smoking cessation programs. In this
      study, 60 percent of smokers who began TM and were still practicing
      TM twice daily after 20 months, quit smoking. TM may help someone
      to quit smoking if the individual stays with the practice for 20 months
      (great!).

      Data also revealed that 20 months after 505 individuals began TM,
      29.7 percent were no longer meditating, 38.2 percent were occasional
      practitioners, 13.3 percent practiced TM once a day, and only 18.8
      percent still practiced TM twice daily as instructed. Some people
      have long suspected that it is inaccurate for the TM movement to base
      assertions regarding the number of people who practice TM on the numbers
      of people who have been instructed. Now there is hard data in the
      MIU library that confirms this suspicion–in the MIU library–until
      this newsletter is published, that is, because the MIU administration
      does have a practice of removing books not supportive of doctrinal
      claims made by the TM organization, as was observed and verified by
      Albert Miller in 1989.

      A second example, a paper by Drs. John Kesterson and Noah Clinch,
      which was published in the March 1989 edition of the American Journal
      of Physiology (p. R632) reports on the most in-depth study to date
      on the effects of TM on respiration (breathing) and metabolic rate
      (level of rest). Even using longterm meditators as subjects, including
      Purusha [full time male staff] members, the authors had to conclude
      that TM resulted in no greater level of rest than was observed in
      controls who sat with their eyes closed. Kesterson and Clinch also
      state in their paper that TMers reached the deepest levels of rest
      while lying down after TM, not while practicing TM.

      Maharishi’s teaching is at odds with these findings. In Maharishi’s
      teachings, enlightenment, from a physiological perspective, is said
      to be gained by release of stress and normalization of the nervous
      system due to deep rest in TM; the rest is said to be unique and deeper
      than sleep at night.

      If TM doesn’t provide any more rest than sitting with eyes closed,
      what’s the new explanation for how it produces enlightenment on a
      physiological level? There isn’t one. TM administrators haven’t had
      to provide a new understanding: Instead they suppressed the findings
      of Kesterson and Clinch’s study through selective inattention.
      These two MIU researchers did find a physiological indicator of TM,
      but it is not one that a TM person would expect. In their subjects
      practicing TM, but not in control subjects, they observed a slight
      decrease in respiratory exchange ration, which indicates a probable
      increased retention of carbon dioxide (usually considered to be a
      waste product) by subjects during TM.~

    • rocky

      How to Design a Positive Study: Meditation for Childhood ADHD…..
      with 60 comments

      Several news sources and blogs have recently reported on a study looking into the benefit of transcendental meditation (TM) in children diagnosed with ADHD. A January 5th report from Reuters Health, a news service which claims to be “internationally recognized as unbiased, authoritative, timely and dependable, with the reputation for quality that one expects from a Reuters company“, actually serves as a perfect example of how not to cover science or health news. With a skeptical mindset, a few minutes of spare time and an internet connection, I was easily able to discover the dubious reality behind this “landmark” research.

      The study, led by “cognitive learning specialist” Sarina J. Grosswald, involved the instruction in TM techniques of 10 students previously diagnosed with ADHD and enrolled in a private school for children with learning disabilities. These students were followed over three months, at the end of which they were evaluated for improvement in a number of areas. According to the Reuters’ piece,

      “After three months, Grosswald and her colleagues found, the students reported lower stress and anxiety levels, while their ADHD symptoms also improved, based on questionnaires given to teachers and parents.”
      Impressive. For those who are confused, TM is a form of meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950′s which involves the repetition of a meaningless sound, or mantra, while sitting quietly with eyes shut. This allows the practitioner to quiet the mind and discover the “source of thought”. The mind and body are then able to achieve a state of calm and, according to proponents, reap myriad medical benefits far beyond that of simply increased peace of mind. Believers in TM have also been known to claim that an extension of the technique can lead to fighting crime with their minds and flying. I’m not kidding.

      This is a pilot study published in a online education journal edited by graduate students, something which does no inspire confidence in me. I do not think that a reputable peer-reviewed medical journal would have accpeted it. At least the authors do admit in the discussion section that it would be inappropriate to make claims regarding a cause and effect relationship between TM and any improvement in ADHD symptoms based on these results. That doesn’t stop them from making bold statements regarding the benefit of TM, however, as I will soon get to.

      The flaws in this study are numerous. The number of subjects is too small, there is no control group and it isn’t blinded. The study reveals that some of the children are on medication but it does not take into account the possibility of recent changes in medical therapy, or improved compliance while on the study. It is based purely on self-report and subjective questionairres and there is very high liklihood that a placebo effect could have been the sole responsible factor in the subjects’ apparent improvements. The authors then call for larger and better designed studies, something which I don’t think is justified for these reasons, but my problem with this study, and concerns regarding the credulous take by the media, go much deeper than what I’ve already explained.

      What led me to dig deeper after reading the Reuters’ report was the following quote:

      “The effect was much greater than we expected,” lead researcher Sarina J. Grosswald, a cognitive learning specialist in Arlington, Virginia, said in a written statement.”
      I wondered why the researcher had expected an effect and hypothesized that there may be a connection between the researchers and TM more significant than academic curiosity. I was quickly able to discover that Grosswald is a hardcore believer in TM. Just read this quote by Grosswald from a website called Ask The Doctors, which provides a forum for specialists to answer questions related to TM and health:

      “The TM technique is the exact opposite of harmful. It reduces your risk of getting serious chronic health problems like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, research on the Transcendental Meditation program shows that people who practice it go to the doctor about 50% less than the general population. And if they are in the hospital for some reason, their hospital stay is 50% shorter, on average. For some conditions, the need for medical care is as much as 87% less for TM meditators. Practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique is one of the best things you can do for your health.”
      She clearly does not come across as an unbiased investigator. In reading her other responses on the “Ask The Doctors” website, and especially after listening to a 16-minute talk she gave in 2005, when this research actually took place, which is posted on a Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation sponsored website that focuses on “ADHD, the Mind and the Transcendental Meditation technique” called Insights in Health, it is obvious that she is a true believer. That doesn’t prove the research is bogus by itself, but it is a red flag.

      A more concerning red flag, and one which was also discovered in the talk given by Grosswald, is the fact that the 10 children involved in the study may have been coached. In the last few minutes of the presentation, Grosswald presents clips of the children meeting with the TM proponents prior to the initiation of the study, where it appears that they are told what the expected outcome of the trial is, that their symptoms will improve with TM.

      Not only are these kids aged 11 to 14 being told what the expected outcome of the study is by study investigators, the headmaster of the school, Linda Handy, can be seen at the very end of the video discussing how amazing the technique is and how it will change the students’ futures for the better. I am forced to question whether the teachers, whose evaluations of the study subjects’ behavior and performance are an integral component of the study conclusions of positive effect, might have been hesitant to give a negative evaluation when their boss is clearly also a true believer.

      In the acknowledgments section, The authors thank the Abramson Family Foundation for funding and the Institute for Community Enrichment for support. The Abramson Family Foundation is an organization which believes that TM can help students achieve the full potential of their brain.

      “The Abramson Family Foundation has been funding research on Transcendental Meditation and providing scholarships for students to learn the technique for the past 20 years. This has been a rewarding investment in the youth of our nation. Here is a common sense approach—a sound and scientific way—of fulfilling the purpose of education, which is to create intelligent, dynamic, happy, healthy and successful human beings.”
      Of note, Grosswald sits on the Board of Advisors for the foundation. Joining her on the Board is none other than the school headmaster Linda Handy. Whatever doubt I had in my lack of enthusiasm for this study fell by the wayside upon that discovery. While it may not have been intentional on the part of the study authors, the school headmaster, or the pro-TM funding organizations, this study was designed in a way that coulnd’t possibly yield anything other than a positive result. And calls for further study, especially with public funds in addition to the over twenty million already spent by the NIH on TM, are unwarranted.

      It wasn’t difficult to look at this study and see that the claims being made by TM supporters aren’t valid. It wasn’t even that hard to uncover the connections between the investigators, the school where the study was conducted and pro-TM organizations. Yet I was unable to find one news report that displayed even the slightest amount of critical thinking, instead reading like press releases from TM believers. The current state of science and health reporting is rather depressing, and I don’t see things improving any time soon as more and more dedicated science writers are falling prey to the poor economy.

    • joshua

      The Incredible Shrinking Research Bibliography: They sometimes claim 600 published studies supporting TM, other times, 300 or so. The research bibliography released by the David Lynch Foundation last week, with its announcement of this week’s events, is down to… twenty-one studies, one of which hasn’t even been published yet. At least twelve of the studies involved current and former Maharishi University of Management faculty including John Hagelin, Sarina Grosswald, Robert H. Schneider, David W. Orme-Johnson, Robert Keith Wallace, and Fred Travis. The TM organization has had almost forty years to provide lists of research that aren’t seeded with self-performed or self-financed pilot and preliminary studies. Today, this is, evidently, all they have to offer when providing support for the claims made during one of the organization’s premier events. They’ve even recycled one of the first published studies on TM and put it on this list, from way back in 1973. Ironically, it’s the “pilot study” (are there any others on TM?) on the focus of the gala, veterans with PTSD, that’s the one still “in review” with some unnamed journal.

      Any discussion of research on meditation, particularly TM, should be prefaced with this observation, from the abstract of a University of Alberta meta-study that can be found on the website of a U.S. Government agency: “Many uncertainties surround the practice of meditation. Scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality. Firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence.”

    • rocky

      SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2010

      Where the TM Program Clearly Resembles a Religious Faith
      Anyone who’s spent any time examining TM is probably familiar with the usual outlines of this sort of discussion. Is TM religious in nature if not itself a religious practice? The usual response is that critics and non-devotees point out the obvious – the pervasive use of Hindu/Vedic imagery and practices at all levels of the TM organization, right down to the elements of the initiation ceremony and TM mantras. The response by TM devotees is perpetual denial of those same obvious features, or to summarize very briefly, a futile attempt to recast “Hindu” to “Vedic,” and “Vedic” as somehow “scientific.”

      I’m going to set aside all of that well-worn territory for the moment and talk about something a bit different. This is the aspect of religious faith that is both about the creation and perpetuation of a religious institution, and the role of “faith” in sustaining that process.

      How do you perpetuate a religious faith? First and foremost, a group of people must be conditioned to stick with that faith no matter what. It doesn’t matter whether there is any concrete, repeatable evidence to support the beliefs associated with that faith; the true believer sticks with the faith. It doesn’t matter if those beliefs are shown to be outright false, outrageous, backward, harmful, or the rough equivalent of insisting, despite all the readily available evidence in a modern world, that the world is flat.

      The interesting thing about the creation of such a group is that often the window of opportunity to do that can be rather small, in two ways. First, the members of the group are often recruited while young, while teenagers or young adults, and recruitment depends on obtaining access to pools of young people who may serve as candidates for conversion. The likelihood of conversion falls off as the prospect ages. Candidates must at least be those who suppress the “you must be nuts” sort of response to the initial presentation of the tenets of the faith and be willing to proceed, even if they harbor doubts about it. Second, broad cultural influences that supported the basic tenets of the faith, which might be relatively transitory in society as a whole, can be exploited to support recruitment for people to build an institution that will outlast those cultural influences, surviving while those elements of the surrounding culture, as they were, become a fond memory of the distant past.

      Now, having written that, I can hear some grumbling out there at the words, “tenets of the faith.” It sounds so Christian, Western, so inapplicable to what TM is, or its promoters say it is, about. But the tenets are in some ways not explicitly pointed to as tenets; they are the figures of speech, sometimes metaphors, that are used over and over by those who’ve in some way made it their life’s work to perpetuate Transcendental Meditation.

      One that comes to mind is in the words of Mike Love, who once was recorded for a radio program distributed by the TM movement. I can’t offhand remember the rest of what he said in that program, but what stuck is four words: “just by simply meditating.” It plays with the complicated relationship between what goes on in our minds and our imaginations, and the act of actually doing, of actually making a dent in our physical surroundings.

      The TM faith says two things at the same time. It first says, meditate, then do. It then says that meditation has some magical direct effect upon the environment through some vaguely-described mechanism that exists outside any known and generally recognized scientific theory. These two things exist in tension, but there’s an element of, you can have your cake and eat it, too. You continue doing whatever it is you’re doing, while meditating and changing the world by exerting very little effort at all.

      This is, of course, in the context of a grand plan; they even used to call it, back in the ’70′s, a “World Plan,” fairly obvious to most since at the time the TM teaching organization was called the “World Plan Executive Council.” In glowing terms, such as this from the beginning of “The TM Book,” TM is, by implication, held to be more important than almost anything else: “The Transcendental Meditation program changes the quality of life from poverty, emptiness, and suffering to abundance, fulfillment, and happiness.” This is the kind of broad claim that’s generally only heard from the devotees of a religious faith.

      All this sort of language was very much part of the context of the late 1960′s and early 1970′s. It fit right in with popular culture, attracted celebrities, and resonated among relatively affluent, and often young, Westerners with time and wealth, as it was basically a call to “change the world” by taking 45 minutes of individual leisure time each day and doing nothing with it. What a deal! Today, it just sounds rather quaint, particularly when you keep in mind that the TM movement has had 40 years or more to support such grand claims with overwhelming supportive evidence – not another set of flimsy preliminary studies, surveys and promotional videos – and it consistently comes up empty.

      This week, we’re about to see another round of celebrity-laced promotions for Transcendental Meditation organized by the David Lynch Foundation. Lists of alleged “experts” supporting the programs, who’ll appear at these events, are circulating. The thing that strikes me is the degree to which many of these “experts” are so alike. Most are over 50 years old, were initiated into the TM program as teenagers or young adults sometime around 1975, the peak years of TM initiation, and over the years, many of them have participated in other promotional efforts including running as political candidates under the Natural Law Party banner. (The NLP was a thinly-veiled and ultimately doomed attempt to obtain governmental support and funding for the Transcendental Meditation program by direct involvement in the political process.)

      They are examples of exactly how TM was both a product of its times, and a product of the youthfulness of many who were initiated. They’re almost instinctively repeating the same tenets and metaphors I first heard back in the mid-70′s; rather than accepting and adapting to change – one of the alleged named benefits of TM back in those days – they continue to support TM, almost in defiance of its ineffectiveness relative to their claims, and the devolving of the organization to the point where its leaders express open contempt for, and avoidance of, science and medicine. *

      Few, if any, of these “experts” can be described as having been completely independent of the TM organization for most of their adult lives. Most use their practice of TM for more than thirty years as confirmation of TM’s efficacy. On the other hand, that could be viewed as evidence of extreme stubbornness in the face of having become involved with an ultimately faith-based program that will never live up to the decades of hype created by its proponents.

      I’ll go into some detail on the background of all those people described as “researchers,” who’ll be part of the next David Lynch Foundation event, in my next article here.

      * “We are not going to take help from medical Drs. as medical professionals give poison. So don’t engage any medical Drs. for anything—absolutely whatever it is—even if they are in our Movement family” – Kingsley and Leslie Brooks, “Governor Recertification Course Overview of Policies & Procedures May, 2005″
      Posted by Mike Doughney at 12/11/2010 10:32:00 PM

    • joshua

      Thursday, March 11, 2010
      More Unimpressive Transcendental Meditation Research
      A recent study published in the low-impact journal “Cognitive Processing” by TM Org employees Fred Travis, David A. F. Haaga , John Hagelin, Melissa Tanner, Alaric Arenander, Sanford Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, Sarina Grosswald, Maxwell Rainforth and Robert H. Schneider claims to (once again) establish significance for that which is well known to be insignificant.

      In other words: another typical TM “scientitific” study in a journal most people will have never heard of.

      The paper, A self-referential default brain state: patterns of coherence, power, and eLORETA sources during eyes-closed rest and Transcendental Meditation practice, attempts to draw conclusions about the nebulous “alpha power” much talked of in TM literature as some magical brain wave signature.

      Alpha EEG waves (or more commonly simply “alpha”) is a common artifact of everyday human life. Coherent alpha is needed for everyday function of our brains and in no way represents anything extraordinary. We all have it, if we are healthy. The TM organization researchers would like us to think different. Thus we see numerous studies over several decades trying to convince us of the magical, consciousness expanding qualities associated with this brain signal. No one else seems to buy it except these guys, as they still keep talking about it long after their scientific peers have called such speculations “exaggerated” or “premature” [2007, The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness].

      Despite the collective yawn in the scientific community these TM scientist-fans keep pumping out more unimpressive material than just about anyone and make sure we all hear about how important they think it is by pushing it to every media outlet that will listen to their sales pitch and every web site that will allow them to post it.

      The problem is many of the tasks associated with TM, esp. listening to or for a faint sound (in this case a mantra), are known to cause fairly long (several minutes long) bursts of alpha coherence. So I don’t know if the question of whether or not the alpha power is greater with TM is therefore explained with the current study design.

      Even if it was, the significance and relevance of “increased alpha power” in TMers is pretty low. They might as well be investigating bums on Skid Row. They’re relaxed too, so they probably exhibit many of these same miraculous TM features, as will any relaxed person.

      As the great pioneer in EEG interpretation, Barbara Brown, states “Concluding anything about alpha is perilous.”

      But conclude they do. Their latest spin on the TM alpha craze is that it represents the “ground state” of the human brain. (One would have thought the unusual flat EEG seen in some advanced meditators would have been the best candidate for this claim).

      Unfortunately the subjects they chose and their timing does not make for a good baseline, let alone any sort of “ground state”. Academic neurologist James Austin [Zen and the Brain] points out:

      “When TM meditators were studied, it was found that they were relatively tense to begin with during the control period. This initial “tension response” was prompted by the mental stress of their entering the artificial experimental situation itself. Thereafter, although their metabolic rate did fall during meditation, most of this drop could be attributed to their subsequently becoming more at ease and reducing their muscle tension.”

      Measuring college students during finals week, would quite obviously enhance this same effect (tension response vs. relaxation response). The fact that researchers placed the student is a deliberately “tense” situation (college finals week) and then induced a relaxation response with TM, just makes the change in relaxation and alpha power appear greater, because the difference compared to baseline is thereby exaggerated.

      Classic TM researcher manipulation of baseline. An old TM Org trick. Didn’t fool me. The real question is how many people will they fool?
      Posted by The Honest Truth About TM at 6:27 AM Labels: TM Org bias, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation deception, Transcendental Meditation research

    • joshua

      Joshua says: On November 9, 2010 I made the claim that TM Mantras are proof that that TM is linked to Hinduism and is not a non religious practice as propogated by that organization.See article below.I am still waiting a rebuttal to my article.

      ARTICLE

      THE TM MANTRA:Proof that TM mantras are linked to Hinduism and that mantras given to TM initiates are not uniquely selected for each one of them.
      Every TM initiate is given a mantra or word to be repeated mentally every time he or she sits down to meditate. One is told that this is her or his own personal mantra and that it must on no account be revealed to anyone else – otherwise it will lose its power.
      There should have dispensed many thousands, even millions of different mantras to corresponding numbers of meditators. However the reality, as told by instructors who have defected from the movement over the years, is that there only sixteen different mantras given to new meditators. Moreover, the mantra one gets is determined solely by one’s age at the time of initiation. The complete list seems to be as follows
      Age Mantra
      0 – 11 Eng
      12 – 13 Em
      14 – 15 Enga
      16 – 17 Ema
      18 – 19 Ieng
      20 – 21 Iem
      22 – 23 Ienga
      24 – 25 Iema

      26 – 29 Shiring
      30 – 34 Shirim
      35 – 39 Hiring
      40 – 44 Hirim
      45 – 49 Kiring
      50 – 54 Kirim
      55 – 59 Sham
      60 + Shama
      In reality these sixteen different TM mantras are sixteen anglicised versions of just six Sanskrit mantras. The list below shows the common TM mantras used with their associated gods/goddesses.

      TM Mantra
      ENG, EM, ENGA, EMA, AING, AIM, AINGA, AIMA (essentially the same bija mantra)
      Mantra of Saraswati,Hindu goddess of learning, music, speech, the fine arts

      SHIRING, SHIRIM
      Mantra of Mahalakshmi or Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth

      HIRING, HIRIM
      Mantra of Bhuvanesvari, Mahamaya, Hindu goddess of the physical world

      KIRING, KIRIM
      Mantra of Hindu goddess Devi Kalika worshipped for the cessation of sorrow

      SHYAM, SHYAMA
      Mantra of Hindu god Krishna

      RAM, SHRIRAM (RAM plus SHRI)
      Mantra of Agni, Hindu goddess of Fire

      Translation of Advanced Technique Mantras
      SHRI “Oh most beautiful”
      AING ” Saraswati” (Hindu goddess)
      NAMAH “I bow down”

      Reply

    • ROCKY

      Friday, January 29, 2010
      Maharishi University of Management Internet Addresses Connected to Wikipedia Editing of TM-related Articles
      In a case under investigation for sock puppetry and other violations, Wikipedia editors with IP addresses originating at the Maharishi University of Management appear involved in potentially scandalous behavior of editing Wikipedia entries for the TM Org’s own purposes and sometimes bizarre Point of View.

      Manipulation of the online encyclopedia’s entries about organizations or their products, by members of that same organization, is strongly frowned upon. A recent, widely publicized case with the Scientology Organization similarly found a concerted effort by the controversial church at influencing article content in an orchestrated and deliberately manipulative manner.

      Some names appear to refer to actual professors of the University, which could mean actual employees at the University are involved in this unethical behaviour of manipulating the online encyclopedia’s articles, which are supposed to be free of bias and conflicts of interest.

      A number of these Maharishi University of Management editors have previously been involved in “edit warring”, conflicts among Wikipedia article editors, to control the content of the articles themselves.

      The investigation is on-going, much of it off-line, as the actual information includes previously disclosed Maharishi University of Management employees. The Wikipedia, per it’s own policy, strives to keep such information confidential and private.

    • ROCKY

      Latest TM Research Joke
      Veteran TM writer Mike Doughney’s at it again skewering the latest Transcendental Meditation marketing scheme in the, uh, heart over at TM-Free blog.

      As before (the most recent attempt being TM and Breast cancer in a typical, poorly controlled study) this is being pushed to all the blogs and media outlets, but it doesn’t sound like anyone has actually read the paper in question! Indeed unlike actual cutting edge science, where you can read the latest and greatest paper in PDF format and decide for yourself, in TM research it is increasingly hard to find the actual paper behind the press releases! Obviously they don’t want all of us sciencey-types actually reading the papers.

      It’s no surprise why.

      This latest round of meditational masturbation is actually done by Dr. Robert Schneider, the same bozo who stared into the camera on the BBC meditation special, glassy-eyed (they had to awaken him from his meditation, apparently he had forgotten about the appointment) and told us that TM–which mostly involves nap-like, descending sleep stages–is actually a form of “deep rest”.

      My grandmother will be happy to hear this.

      Mike nails it quite well:

      The title, “Can Meditation Curb Heart Attacks?” is one of those leading questions that snake-oil salesmen love, since they can then respond with the answer they’ve already prepared. In fact, that’s the strategy of the TM sales pitch for decades, as founding TM salesman Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once stated during a TM teacher training course: “Every question is a perfect opportunity for the answer we have already prepared.” The New York Times has set the stage, creating a vacuum into which the following stage-managed presentation perfectly fits. A better title might have been, “Vedic theocrats claim introductory technique of their faith curbs heart attacks.” It would have from the beginning clarified who’s making the claim, and the nature of the organization that’s making the claim. Unfortunately my expectations of New York Times reporters aren’t likely to be fulfilled in my lifetime; this is a sad benchmark of how poor the reporting is in one of the nation’s leading newspapers today.

      But wait, there’s more! Featured at the top of this slightly rewritten press release masquerading as a New York Times story is an account of a 70 year old woman with high blood pressure who meditates. Clearly, meditating isn’t the only thing she’s been doing about her high blood pressure. See, it says so right there in the article:

      Could the mental relaxation have real physiological benefits? For Mrs. Banks, the study suggests, it may have. She has gotten her blood pressure under control, though she still takes medication for it…

      I think the cause of her blood pressure being under control is rather obvious, and it isn’t the practice of TM. But that didn’t stop the TM salesmen from putting one over on this reporter, claiming that instead of the scientifically proven benefits of those nasty nasty “pills” from “allopathic” doctors (the words that some TM devotees use for scientifically-validated medications and medicine), the magic words in somebody’s head were the real cause of their lowered blood pressure. The best they can come up with, as a clear statement of TM’s efficacy, is “could have;” those of us familiar with the ineffectiveness of the whole “health” regimen sold by the Transcendental Meditation organization would say, “probably not.” The rest is just a tornado of blowing smoke, leaving the reader with an illusion that TM is proven to be something of value when the evidence, after decades of trying, is just not there.

      Mentioned nowhere in this story is a connection, obvious to knowledgeable observers, that takes the sheen off this glowing report alleging TM effectiveness: the lead researcher, and the primary person quoted in this article, works for the same organization that sells the TM program. The reader can certainly tease it out if so motivated, since the researcher, Robert Schneider, is a medical doctor who’s identified as a director of a “research institute” based at Maharishi Institute of Management. But not everybody knows that “Maharishi” is the founder of the organization that sells the TM program, and that should have been made clear to readers. Also evident is another of the TM movement’s habits, of giving grandiose institutional names to various elements of TM promotions and assigning “directors” to them. While its name may create the impression that the “Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention” is a large imposing white-columned building full of top-notch scientists working on the latest cutting-edge discoveries in their fields, the fact is that this “Institute” is probably just Schneider and a few associates, and the only means of “prevention” they’re researching, or even the least bit interested in, are those things that are part of the faith-based, allegedly “Vedic” stable of “Maharishi” branded products and services.

    • ROCKY

      Monday, October 12, 2009
      Most Maharishi University students aren’t interested in Transcendental Meditation
      According to recent research performed by Maharishi University of Management students, the vast majority of them aren’t interested in TM, let alone being forced to do it (or be expelled).

      According to the internally taken poll:

      “300 students signed a petition vowing that they were all going to drop out if the university didn’t stop forcing them to meditate by taking attendance at mandatory group meditations. MUM caved, and that policy was dropped. A study was then conducted that determined that the student body consists of

      30% entrepreneurs – career-oriented kids who mainly want to learn skills and enter the workforce. TM and SCI aren’t high priorities.

      60% “dreamers” who want to change the world. They appreciate TM but don’t see it as the lynchpin of that endeavor. They’re into environmentalism and other causes.

      10% devotees

      The faculty are about 90% devotees, so their attempts to impose their values on the students weren’t working. The university is trying to translate this assessment into practical steps to become more relevant and appealing to students.”
      ———–

      The conclusion seems obvious: no one likes to be forced to do anything. Especially intelligent college students.

      The once glassy-eyed followers of the Maharishi have been replaced by a new generation who are much more knowledgeable about Transcendental Meditation, it’s side effects, pitfalls and exaggerated claims. Unfortunately Maharishi University of Management censors the university internet connection for TM-critical sites, so it’s not always easy for students to find the truth.

      Posted by The Honest Truth About TM at 6:42 AM 3 comments Labels: censorship, student uprising, thought reform, Transcendental Meditation

    • ethan

      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Big Lie,

      Lying has been going on since humans first used language. However, only in modern times, aided by mass media, can someone tell a really big lie. What’s a big lie? It’s a lie that is so blatant, so outrageous, and so widespread that eventually, after the public keeps hearing it, they actually believe it to be true.

      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, first used the big lie when he came to the West in 1959 and began teaching TM to Westerners. The lie he began to tell was that the mantras used in the technique were “meaningless sounds.” This is still the position of the TM organization. Many TM practitioners continue to believe this. However, the truth is quite different.

      The mantras are either names of Vedic/Hindu deities or sounds that are closely associated with these deities. The evidence regarding the true nature of the mantras can be found in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s own writings. In 1955, prior to coming to the West, three of his lectures were included in a book published in India called Beacon Light of the Himalayas. In one of these lectures he states the following regarding the mantras:

      “…we find that any sound can serve our purpose of training the mind to become sharp. But we do not select any sound like ‘mike’, flower, table, pen, wall etc. because such ordinary sounds can do nothing more than merely sharpening the mind; whereas there are some special sounds which have the additional efficacy of producing vibrations whose effects are found to be congenial to our way of life. This is the scientific reason why we do not select any word at random. For our practice we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life.”

      Those with a scientific inclination who are supporters of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his teachings would argue that the origins of the technique are irrelevant. The technique clearly has positive, scientifically documented effects on the mind and body, and the technique works irrespective of one’s belief – the sounds themselves have a specific effect on the body’s neurophysiological functioning. Even if they do have meaning in India, a person practicing TM in the United States or elsewhere doesn’t have to know the meaning to get positive results from the practice. India just happens to be the place where the effects of these sounds were discovered.

      This argument, however, falls flat when one considers that TM instruction requires being present at what is described by TM teachers as a “ceremony of gratitude” or puja, which is performed in Sanskrit “by the teacher, for the teacher.” If the mantras are supposed to have an effect that is universal and is not related to their Vedic/Hindu origins, then the sounds should have the same effect on neurophysiological functioning without the puja ceremony. However, the TM organization will not teach TM without the puja and will not allow research on TM to be conducted without a puja in order to test this hypothesis.

      The puja specifically mentions several Vedic/Hindu deities and includes an elaborate sequence of offerings to a picture of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s deceased teacher, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. One cannot learn TM without being present at the puja and one must bring fruit, flowers, and a piece of cloth to be used as offerings in the puja. Also, TM teachers gesture for initiates to bow down in front of the picture at the end of the puja. So the puja is more than a ceremony of gratitude and it is not just for the teacher.

      Why is the TM organization so insistent on performing this decidedly non-scientific ceremony in an ancient language if TM is so scientific? Without the puja, the mantras actually are just meaningless sounds. From a Vedic/Hindu perspective, TM doesn’t work without the puja since its performance is necessary to “activate” the mantras. As a result of the puja, the mantras become enlivened and connect the TM practitioner to Vedic/Hindu deities in non-physical realms.

      One can only conclude from this that TM is exactly what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said it was back in 1955 – a method of invoking the blessings of Vedic/Hindu deities for the TM initiate.

      Since the vast majority of Westerners do not believe in the existence of Vedic/Hindu deities inhabiting non-physical realms, it is easy for the TM organization to maintain the fiction that the mantras are scientific and not religious, and it is easy for people who meditate to dismiss the whole thing as a quaint ritual. But, if one considers Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s status as a Hindu monk who comes from a religious tradition that venerates these deities and seeks to obtain their blessings, then it is absolutely clear that he has been lying about the true nature of the technique for almost 50 years.

      One can ascribe several motivations to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for deciding to lie about the true nature of the mantras. If one ascribes noble motives, then it was because he recognized that he could not bring about a spiritual regeneration of the West by revealing the truth about the practice, since many, if not most Westerners would not be interested in meditating if they knew it was a form of Vedic/Hindu worship. A more cynical perspective would suggest that millions of dollars in revenues would have been lost if he had revealed the truth.

      Regardless of motivation, one is compelled to ask a pivotal question. How many of the six million people that the TM organization claims have learned the technique would have still chosen to receive instruction if there had been full disclosure?

      What if those about to learn the technique had been told that they would be learning an ancient method for invoking the blessings of Vedic/Hindu deities? What if they had been given a translation of the puja to which they were about to bring offerings? Despite the scientifically-verified benefits of TM, it is likely that a considerable percentage would have been uncomfortable enough with these Vedic/Hindu elements that they would have decided not to learn. The number who would have received instruction would have been considerably less than six million.

      It is entirely reasonable to conclude that the success of the TM organization – its celebrity and professional endorsements, its international scope, its university, its scientific acceptability, its real estate holdings, its many business enterprises – could not have happened without Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s big lie.

      What is especially fascinating about this particular lie is its longevity. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s big lie has prevailed for almost 50 years because it is an especially ingenious and insidious lie. It has lasted as long as it has because it relies upon the biases and limitations of the Western intellect. Westerners know little about Eastern spirituality and view reality primarily through the lens of science. It was easy for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to make the case that the technique was “scientific” because, as mentioned earlier, there aren’t very many Westerners who believe in the existence of Vedic/Hindu deities, but there are a lot who believe in science.

      In recent years the TM organization has been attempting to reintroduce TM into educational settings under the guise of “Consciousness-Based” education. Students are being sold on the scientific benefits of TM with no knowledge of its origins. Unsuspecting parents are granting permission for their children to receive instruction because their local educators, who are also ignorant of the origins of the practice, are endorsing TM.

      The TM organization has always been eager to promote the scientific literature on TM, but it has not been forthcoming about the origins of the technique. Truth in marketing demands that when people express an interest in TM, they should not only receive information about the scientific research, but they should also receive information about the puja and the origins of the mantras. Then, and only then, can they make an informed decision about whether they want to learn. Teaching TM without providing the full story is much like selling investments without providing information about risk, or manufacturing food products without listing the ingredients.

      The fact that the TM organization is promoting TM for education, while deliberately choosing not to educate those they instruct about what they are actually teaching them, would appear to be the biggest lie of all.
      Posted by Abraham

    • ethan

      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Big Lie

      Lying has been going on since humans first used language. However, only in modern times, aided by mass media, can someone tell a really big lie. What’s a big lie? It’s a lie that is so blatant, so outrageous, and so widespread that eventually, after the public keeps hearing it, they actually believe it to be true.

      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, first used the big lie when he came to the West in 1959 and began teaching TM to Westerners. The lie he began to tell was that the mantras used in the technique were “meaningless sounds.” This is still the position of the TM organization. Many TM practitioners continue to believe this. However, the truth is quite different.

      The mantras are either names of Vedic/Hindu deities or sounds that are closely associated with these deities. The evidence regarding the true nature of the mantras can be found in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s own writings. In 1955, prior to coming to the West, three of his lectures were included in a book published in India called Beacon Light of the Himalayas. In one of these lectures he states the following regarding the mantras:

      “…we find that any sound can serve our purpose of training the mind to become sharp. But we do not select any sound like ‘mike’, flower, table, pen, wall etc. because such ordinary sounds can do nothing more than merely sharpening the mind; whereas there are some special sounds which have the additional efficacy of producing vibrations whose effects are found to be congenial to our way of life. This is the scientific reason why we do not select any word at random. For our practice we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life.”

      Those with a scientific inclination who are supporters of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his teachings would argue that the origins of the technique are irrelevant. The technique clearly has positive, scientifically documented effects on the mind and body, and the technique works irrespective of one’s belief – the sounds themselves have a specific effect on the body’s neurophysiological functioning. Even if they do have meaning in India, a person practicing TM in the United States or elsewhere doesn’t have to know the meaning to get positive results from the practice. India just happens to be the place where the effects of these sounds were discovered.

      This argument, however, falls flat when one considers that TM instruction requires being present at what is described by TM teachers as a “ceremony of gratitude” or puja, which is performed in Sanskrit “by the teacher, for the teacher.” If the mantras are supposed to have an effect that is universal and is not related to their Vedic/Hindu origins, then the sounds should have the same effect on neurophysiological functioning without the puja ceremony. However, the TM organization will not teach TM without the puja and will not allow research on TM to be conducted without a puja in order to test this hypothesis.

      The puja specifically mentions several Vedic/Hindu deities and includes an elaborate sequence of offerings to a picture of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s deceased teacher, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. One cannot learn TM without being present at the puja and one must bring fruit, flowers, and a piece of cloth to be used as offerings in the puja. Also, TM teachers gesture for initiates to bow down in front of the picture at the end of the puja. So the puja is more than a ceremony of gratitude and it is not just for the teacher.

      Why is the TM organization so insistent on performing this decidedly non-scientific ceremony in an ancient language if TM is so scientific? Without the puja, the mantras actually are just meaningless sounds. From a Vedic/Hindu perspective, TM doesn’t work without the puja since its performance is necessary to “activate” the mantras. As a result of the puja, the mantras become enlivened and connect the TM practitioner to Vedic/Hindu deities in non-physical realms.

      One can only conclude from this that TM is exactly what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said it was back in 1955 – a method of invoking the blessings of Vedic/Hindu deities for the TM initiate.

      Since the vast majority of Westerners do not believe in the existence of Vedic/Hindu deities inhabiting non-physical realms, it is easy for the TM organization to maintain the fiction that the mantras are scientific and not religious, and it is easy for people who meditate to dismiss the whole thing as a quaint ritual. But, if one considers Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s status as a Hindu monk who comes from a religious tradition that venerates these deities and seeks to obtain their blessings, then it is absolutely clear that he has been lying about the true nature of the technique for almost 50 years.

      One can ascribe several motivations to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for deciding to lie about the true nature of the mantras. If one ascribes noble motives, then it was because he recognized that he could not bring about a spiritual regeneration of the West by revealing the truth about the practice, since many, if not most Westerners would not be interested in meditating if they knew it was a form of Vedic/Hindu worship. A more cynical perspective would suggest that millions of dollars in revenues would have been lost if he had revealed the truth.

      Regardless of motivation, one is compelled to ask a pivotal question. How many of the six million people that the TM organization claims have learned the technique would have still chosen to receive instruction if there had been full disclosure?

      What if those about to learn the technique had been told that they would be learning an ancient method for invoking the blessings of Vedic/Hindu deities? What if they had been given a translation of the puja to which they were about to bring offerings? Despite the scientifically-verified benefits of TM, it is likely that a considerable percentage would have been uncomfortable enough with these Vedic/Hindu elements that they would have decided not to learn. The number who would have received instruction would have been considerably less than six million.

      It is entirely reasonable to conclude that the success of the TM organization – its celebrity and professional endorsements, its international scope, its university, its scientific acceptability, its real estate holdings, its many business enterprises – could not have happened without Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s big lie.

      What is especially fascinating about this particular lie is its longevity. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s big lie has prevailed for almost 50 years because it is an especially ingenious and insidious lie. It has lasted as long as it has because it relies upon the biases and limitations of the Western intellect. Westerners know little about Eastern spirituality and view reality primarily through the lens of science. It was easy for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to make the case that the technique was “scientific” because, as mentioned earlier, there aren’t very many Westerners who believe in the existence of Vedic/Hindu deities, but there are a lot who believe in science.

      In recent years the TM organization has been attempting to reintroduce TM into educational settings under the guise of “Consciousness-Based” education. Students are being sold on the scientific benefits of TM with no knowledge of its origins. Unsuspecting parents are granting permission for their children to receive instruction because their local educators, who are also ignorant of the origins of the practice, are endorsing TM.

      The TM organization has always been eager to promote the scientific literature on TM, but it has not been forthcoming about the origins of the technique. Truth in marketing demands that when people express an interest in TM, they should not only receive information about the scientific research, but they should also receive information about the puja and the origins of the mantras. Then, and only then, can they make an informed decision about whether they want to learn. Teaching TM without providing the full story is much like selling investments without providing information about risk, or manufacturing food products without listing the ingredients.

      The fact that the TM organization is promoting TM for education, while deliberately choosing not to educate those they instruct about what they are actually teaching them, would appear to be the biggest lie of all.
      Posted by Abraham TM FREE Blog

    • JOSHUA

      Tuesday, January 11, 2011
      Making Sense of a Nonsensical Movement
      The following is something I wrote earlier tonight as part of some private correspondence. It might be helpful in trying to make sense of the TM movement’s nonsense, particularly when it comes to the constant insistence that TM is “not a religion.” The truth of the matter is not easily explained, in large part because of inconsistent concepts as to what a religion is.

      ——————————————————————————–

      The most accurate, broad self-characterization of “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi” and the organization he established (“Global Country of World Peace”) is as a means of Vedic revivalism. “The complete theoretical and practical knowledge of the Veda and its profound significance for life has been revived and understood in a scientific framework by Maharishi’s Vedic Science and Technology…” which can be found in exactly this language here and here, and similarly elsewhere.

      While TM devotees attempt to separate “Vedic” from “Hindu,” there is very little to support this separation, and what’s effectively a simple word substitution. TM devotees often claim that their particular interpretation of ancient texts that they call “Veda” is the pure form of knowledge from which later traditions they consider corrupted, such as Hinduism, were derived. These assertions are evidently unique to those associated with the TM organization, and allied religious groups in India. All that is being sold as “Vedic” under the TM organization’s auspices, that was not reinterpreted, misinterpreted or completely manufactured by Maharishi and other group leaders over time, traces to the spiritual and cultural traditions of India that are usually referred to as “Hindu.” However, much of it has certain unusual twists or doctrines unique to the organization. Among these is a group of males wearing crowns and white outfits who’ve paid 1 million USD to become “rajas” as part of a so-called “Global Government,” and who may run the organization.

      Likewise, there is no support for describing any part of the Vedas as “scientific.” The attempt to draw connections and parallels between aspects of the Vedas, Vedic or Hindu practices, and Western scientific concepts has been common among Hindus for decades if not centuries, and continues as part of the TM organization doctrine. There is no scientific support for such claims made by TM devotees. As an example, the organization has long claimed direct association between Vedic concepts and those of quantum mechanics, put forward by longtime TM devotee and American leader (“raja”) John Hagelin. While Hagelin is a physicist, his pronouncements of this nature have gained zero support from others.

      Supremacy of the Vedas, and Vedic practices, is foundational to the TM organization’s purpose, as it says at the bottom of this page under the title “Everything Should Be Vedic.” This would include the folding of other cultures and other religious practices into a system in which Vedic practice is supreme. The gaining of alleged positive benefits at every level (personal/social/national/planetary), including the “world peace” often referred to by proponents including David Lynch (and internally as “Heaven on Earth” or Sat Yuga), is the motivator for the organization’s attempt to popularize “Vedic Knowledge.” The products and services sold by the organization, of which Transcendental Meditation is usually one’s initial contact, are the actual mechanism by which “Vedic Knowledge” is disseminated. Unlike TM, on which the organization has focused its efforts to obtain scientific research on which to base its claims of efficacy, there is very little, if any, research on any of the other product categories, listed at the bottom of this page.

      Note that in this description, things that are part of implementing this “Vedic knowledge” are practices, not beliefs. There is no profession of faith or anything of that sort which many Westerners associate with “religion.” It is in this way that TM and all the Vedic products are similar to consumer products, in that they are sold as being effective, but the buyer need not know, or care, or even believe in, the specifics of why or how they are effective. (Do you know or care why your stick of deodorant works?) The key activity becomes marketing, and everything to support the claims of efficacy in the marketing, which is why the organization seems obsessed with getting any possible support, no matter how shaky, preliminary, or unreplicated it may be from the scientific community it can possibly dig up. Incessant name-dropping of celebrities who sign on to the program is also part of this process.

      From the TM organization’s view, the whole point is to recruit individuals into a system of practices, that are believed to be a correct, pure implementation of “Vedic knowledge,” to bring about “Heaven on Earth.” While prospective meditators are told in introductory lectures that the ultimate purpose is to bring about world peace, they are never clear about the details of how that’s supposed to happen. World peace in this system is brought about, not through individual, personal development, but through adherence to Vedic “knowledge” in every detail across all aspects of life through the purchase and use of the organization’s products and services by many people in aggregate. It is at this point where involvement with TM takes the form of participation in a religious enterprise without knowledge or consent; while the individual meditator may not need to believe anything, and may even deny belief, may even think everything about the organization is completely bogus, and in the practice of meditation (the introductory product) may not be doing anything even recognizable as a religious practice, the motivations of the teachers and marketers of TM are obviously in a different realm and of a different nature, are based in a belief system that holds to unusual notions of causation that are not clearly disclosed, and that would be considered by many to be religious, although unorthodox if not completely bizarre by Western standards.

      There is no rational or scientific basis for the claim that the more people adopt these products, the more likely “Heaven on Earth” will come about, in the same way that, to cover some of the more outrageous claims made for its other products, an east-facing home of proper Vedic proportions will give its owner health and wealth, spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have someone in India perform a ritual would likewise give the buyer health and wealth, or that bouncing on foam rubber while thinking certain thoughts… the list goes on like this for a while. These more advanced products carry obvious spiritual or religious connotations, while the organization continues to insist that their basis is entirely “scientific.”

      Meanwhile, the simple practice of meditation does provide some benefit for some people. For some, the initial benefit serves as validation for other claims made by the organization for its other products, and becomes part of the sales pitch for deeper involvement with its programs, and continues the intended intake path.

      ——————————————————————————–

      Posted by Mike Doughney

    • ETHAN

      National Invincibility Tour April / May 2011
      Dr. Bevan Morris, Prime Minister of the Global Country of World Peace
      President of Maharishi University of Management
      Working with Maharishi for 42 years

      Dr Bevan Morris will be touring the United States in April and May, to inspire the permanent creation of the national invincibility group of 2,000 Yogic Flyers in Maharishi Vedic City and in the Golden Domes of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

      As always, these sorts of grandiose plans of the TM movement are tinged with a hint of megalomania. They’re now talking about the task of changing “the trend of time itself and the destiny of the human race.” It’s downright ludicrous that the members of a shrinking core of true believers think that they have that kind of influence, just by simply thinking some very special thoughts, bouncing on foam rubber, and calling it “flying.” From the “Event Highlights:”

      ∙ How to achieve the goal of Dr. Howard and Dr. Alice Settle,* supported by Dr John Hagelin—to achieve the number of 2,000 practicing Yogic Flying morning and evening on a permanent basis—which Maharishi said would fundamentally change American society, and change the trend of time itself and the destiny of the human race.

    • joshua

      TranceNet: Joe Kellet
      A Simple, Natural, Relaxation Technique?
      I’d like to relate a few of my adventures from my years as a TM meditator and teacher.
      PART I: SOMETHING GOOD IS HAPPENING!
      At TM introductory lectures no mention is made that there could be any unpleasant experiences associated with TM. True to it’s nature as an “esoteric” teaching (a teaching with many hidden levels of indoctrination), TM keeps the fact of possible negative experiences from the student until he is already past the first level of initiation. Only after initiation, on one of the “Three Nights After Initiation,”is the concept of “unstressing” introduced.
      TM doctrine teaches that all (absolutely all!) personal difficulties and restrictions are caused by “stress,” which is some “abnormality” in the “nervous system.” If we could free ourselves of stress we would be able to experience “pure consciousness” at all times. That is, we would be in “Cosmic Consciousness” (CC) and would be blissful and would effortlessly perform “spontaneous right actions” at all times. Furthermore, these “right actions” would enjoy the “support of Nature” and would therefore be successful. This is the “normal” state of life that would be enjoyed by all people if only the “stress” weren’t in the way.

      Notice, by the way, that we just said that this “simple relaxation exercise” is supposed to produce people who are morally perfect, people who will “perform spontaneous right action” in everything they think or do. Also they will receive “support” from something called “Nature.” Yet TMers deny to the public that theirs is in any way a spiritual or religious teaching.

      This is one example of the fact that TM is an esoteric spiritual system where the full truth is revealed in degrees only as one becomes more deeply indoctrinated. Students are told in the “Three Nights after Initiation” that a mere “twenty minutes twice a day” (20×2) of meditation is enough to produce CC. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of actual “insider” TM doctrine. MMY told us on Teacher Training Course (TTC) that mere 20×2 meditation would not produce CC, but that we should continue telling people that it would. Only long “rounding” (see below) courses could produce CC, he said, but once we got people doing 20×2 meditation then maybe they would come to longer courses so we weren’t really lying. This is an example of TM-style “spin doctoring” directly from the Master.

      This is also an example of how people are deceived about TM doctrine even after they are initiated. As a teacher I frequently lied to people “for their own good” because “they weren’t ready yet” to receive the full truth, and so did my friends who were teachers. We didn’t think of it as “lying.” We thought we were giving the people as much truth as they could handle. We thought it would be wrong to tell them more than they could handle since they might “misunderstand” and not start or continue with TM, which would be bad for them.

      We did a lot of “spin doctoring.” We deceived people by deliberately using words that would be misunderstood by the audience. We said “TM is not a religion” even though we knew that insider TM doctrine as a whole was incompatible with all major religions (including mainstream Hinduism in large part). But we didn’t think of ourselves as “lying” because we were mentally using a very restrictive definition of “religion,” using the word to mean something like “an organization that demands faith in a doctrine.” Even though we were teaching doctrine incompatible with other religions we weren’t demanding faith so TM was “not a religion.” We ignored the fact that people could be and were kicked out of the Movement for openly disputing TM doctrine — we didn’t consider this as “demanding faith,” rather it was “protecting the purity of the teaching.”

      But I digress. TM doctrine declares that the “deep rest” produced by TM is the answer to this barrier of stress that is keeping us from CC. Stress is only removed by rest. The rest of sleep is supposed to be able to remove casual, surface-level stress. However, the rest of sleep is insufficient to remove the deeper, more serious, more obstreperous stresses “deep in the nervous system” that are keeping us from being morally perfect, happy, and successful.

      TM doctrine says that only by experiencing the much deeper rest of TM can these deeper stresses be removed. Since this involves a physical purification of the nervous system there can be physical and emotional experiences associated with this purification (“we all know how emotions are affected by our physical state”). These experiences can be pleasant or unpleasant, but the quality of the experiences is completely irrelevant. The only important thing is that stresses are being removed and we are closer to our goal of CC and even higher states of consciousness (including “God Consciousness” (GC)!). One is just supposed to ignore the experiences associated with “unstressing” and “return to the mantra.” The whole thing sounds very innocuous as presented in the “Three Nights after Initiation.”

      What one doesn’t hear about on these three nights of post-trance indoctrination (more on this below) is the concept of “heavy unstressing.” A meditator usually only receives doctrinal instruction regarding heavy unstressing on “residence courses” where one goes off for several days of peace and quiet plus the opportunity to meditate more than just 20×2. There he may learn that if a major stress is released there can be negative physical and emotional experiences long after the meditation is over.

      And these major stresses are more likely to be released on a residence course. This is because this is where the “prolonged deep rest” over a period of days is supposed to produce rest deep enough and prolonged enough to attack those whopper stresses that are really impacting our lives and keeping us from CC. The experience of having these major stresses “unstressed” can be emotionally and physically very uncomfortable, but we should just keep meditating and should be happy the stress is on the way out.

      But we should never make important decisions while on a residence course because our decision-making process is clouded by the process of stress release. (Actually, the reason we shouldn’t make major decisions is because we are in a trance state so much that we can become dissociated — more on this below).

      Note that according to TM doctrine there is no possible excuse for abandoning TM. If you feel great it’s because you practice TM and you should therefore continue meditating. If you feel absolutely miserable it’s because “Something good is happening!” (a major TM catch phrase) in that those bad old stresses are being released, you should therefore continue meditating. TM is working its wonders no matter what happens to you in your life!

      Anyway, this “heavy unstressing” is something that the Movement doesn’t talk about in public, and that MIU doesn’t do four-color bar charts on. The experience of “heavy unstressing” is real and fairly common, regardless of whether you accept TM doctrinal explanations for the cause of it. A significant number of people come home even from weekend residence courses with very uncomfortable negative emotional overcasts, and similar problems can occur even for 20×2 meditators. What is a “significant number of people”? Enough people so that all TM “checkers” and teachers are taught how to help people with such problems.

      On a long course, such as a Teacher Training Course (TTC), heavy unstressing is a major fact of life for many people. My TTC (the “Mallorca/Fiuggi Fonte Course” circa ’72) was infamous for the “heavy unstressing” that went on. One TTC staffer (for any TM historical buffs this was Billy Clayton who was a “skin boy,” one of MMY’s personal attendants who carried MMY’s deerskin and laid for him to sit on) called this the “General Hospital” TTC because so many people had severe problems.

      At one point we were “rounding” for 14 hours a day! A “round” is a period of meditation followed by a period of yoga postures or “asanas.” Meditation, asanas, meditation, asanas, etc. etc. etc. for 14 hours a day, day after day. At other points in the course we rounded fewer hours a day which gave us time for hours and hours of indoctrination sessions. This went on for a minimum of three months for everyone, but there were people like me there for six months and even longer doing this.

      It was very common for people to acquire major tics of large muscle groups, most commonly in the form of very noticeable head jerks. I’m talking about sudden jerks of the head to right or left of about 45 degrees. In addition there were people with major emotional problems. MMY had to establish “heavy unstressing clinics.” At attempt was made to help unstressors at these clinics by application of physical therapies including body massage and foot massage.

      Several people were not able to become TM teachers at this course because they were not able to free themselves of the major body tics before it was time to “receive their mantras.” MMY could not send people back to their communities as official “Exponents of Reality” when they had been so conspicuously damaged by the TTC experience.

      One course participant went home and was hospitalized for mental difficulties by his father, a psychiatrist. MMY was quite disturbed by this event (he of course particularly wanted the endorsement of psychiatrists) and he discussed this negative turn of events in an open session. I met another course acquaintance again after I “graduated” TTC and returned to the LA area, and she was still having very conspicuous and embarrassing major head jerks. I myself managed to overcome my physical tics in time to become a teacher, but I went home in a very strange mental state. (More on this below.)

      I stayed on for a month after the official TTC ended to witness the taping of the original “Science of Creative Intelligence” course by MMY. MMY was openly unhappy by the amount of “heavy unstressing” that had gone on (again, that’s how we heard about the psychiatrist’s son). His position was that the course selection process had let too many people into the course who “weren’t ready” for the dramatic evolutionary power unleashed by such prolonged meditation.

      In fact “heavy unstressing” is never considered to be caused by “something wrong with TM.” It is considered to be a fact of life which must be faced by anyone who wants to attain the happiness of CC. TMers are told that the answer to unstressing is to ignore it and keep meditating on their regular schedule. If a person stops meditating, according to TM doctrine, the stress is left in an “unstressing” state and the negative experiences will continue indefinitely. Sometimes a person is advised to reduce their time of meditation, and in extreme cases meditation is temporarily replaced by a body awareness practice called “feeling the body,” but TM itself cannot be dropped permanently without bad consequences.

      Supposedly, if a person keeps on as instructed the stress will ultimately be unstressed and the person will be forever free of it. This hope is what keeps people meditating through some excruciating emotional experiences. They can’t stop TM no matter how horrible they feel. The worse they feel, and the longer they suffer, the bigger the stress is that they are unstressing, and the more important it is to continue TM and get that stress completely unstressed. According to TM doctrine, there is never a good reason to give up TM — the worse things get for you the more you need TM.

      When someone does the unthinkable and gives up TM anyway as a result of heavy unstressing everyone is sorry they stopped. But they feel that (1) the person is better off as result of the evolution they did gain before quitting and the person will be in a better position to march towards CC in their next life and (2) it’s just too bad they were too weak to face the unstressing, keep meditating, and overcome the stress in this life. There is never a thought among the hard-core that perhaps TM itself is at fault in some way, or even that TM just wasn’t right for that person, or that the person is in fact worse off for having done TM.

      There is another danger from heavy TM involvement other than from heavy unstressing. So let me start over and tell my story again from a different angle.

      PART II: SPIRITUAL COUNSELLING FROM THE MASTER
      The religious (or spiritualistic, or psychic, or occult — take your pick) side of TM was covered up in the “great scientification” of TM in the ’70s. I was first introduced to this side of TM by knowing Helena Olsen. She was the woman whose family took MMY in as a houseguest in LA during his first tour around the world. MMY affectionately called her “Mother Olsen.”
      She described the experiences of hosting MMY in her book A Hermit in the House . She herself told me the Movement asked her to pull this book from publication because it presented MMY as a Hindu spiritual teacher and presented TM as a spiritual teaching, which conflicted with the newly mandated “scientific” presentation of TM. The book documents the early days of the “Spiritual Regeneration Movement” when the publicly avowed goal of this Movement (that’s where the phrase “the Movement” came from) was to “spiritually regenerate the world.” The Movement at least presented an honest face to the public back then.

      She had become a teacher on one of the “India courses,” the TTCs conducted before “scientification,” and she had had extensive doctrinal instruction from MMY over the course of many years. At the time I met her, she and her husband (a phone company executive) were running the “American Meditation Society” which attempted to reach business executives similarly to the way that the Student’s International Meditation Society (SIMS) was targeting the student population. (AMS was short lived.)

      Helena Olsen introduced me to such ideas as that there were “dangers” from negative spiritual powers at “subtle levels of the mind” without the “protection” of the mantra. She also talked about Hindu deities (now called “manifestations of Creative Intelligence”) making it clear that subtle levels of the mind were well populated (“anything that you can name exists”). This was no big deal to TM teachers who had gone to the “India courses” before scientification but this was inside knowledge for a new initiate of the scientific 70′s. She was merely introducing me to what had been taught before the “science” facade began to be painted on. My attention definitely began to focus on the hidden spiritualistic side of TM.

      Note that my current objections to TM are not based on the fact that MMY was and is teaching Hindu thought and practice (although quite modified from traditional Hinduism). My concern, as you will see, is that MMY is at the very least a dishonest and incompetent teacher of Hindu thought and practice.

      Anyway, I went to a seven day residence course, got good and dissociated from spending many more hours in trance (meditation) every day and I soon had an experience wherein I felt the spiritual presence of the late “Guru Dev” (as MMY’s teacher is usually called by TMers). I “knew” that Guru Dev wanted me to go to TTC and become a TM teacher. Back home I checked with Mrs. Olsen who felt that the experience was valid. She endorsed my TTC application, and soon I withdrew from UCLA and was on a plane to TTC on the island of Mallorca. And (unfortunately as it later turned out) I had enough money to pay for six months of TTC rather than just the required three.

      TTC involved hours of “rounding” alternated with daily hours of doctrinal instruction from MMY. For some reason we later had to move the course to Italy, so we had to “come down” in the number of “rounds” we were doing so that we wouldn’t be too dissociated to deal with the practical requirements of travel (this wasn’t the doctrinal explanation for why we had to reduce rounds).

      After the course moved to Italy, we came “up” in rounds again, I began having severe headaches. I went to see Helena Olsen, who was also at the course to visit MMY, for help. She decided that my problem was that my evolution had advanced so rapidly that I was experiencing my mantra at extremely fine levels of thought, which I didn’t know how to handle yet. She was quite happy for my spiritual progress and said that I should talk personally to MMY because I should have an advanced technique. She took me to see him. We caught him as he got off of a helicopter after looking over real estate for the newly proposed Maharishi International University (MIU). But he only said that he’d see me the end of my TTC.

      More rounding and indoctrination, rounding and indoctrination, rounding and indoctrination. For weeks and weeks, and months and months. (Combined with “heavy unstressing” as described above.)

      During TTC we listened to an audio tape where MMY explained why TM had to be presented in the context of science. He said that the world was just not ready to receive the spiritual message, and therefore we had to present TM in ways that the world understood and respected. Someday, he said, we would be able to present TM using the “sweet language” of spirituality again. We were played another tape wherein MMY described TM’s relationship to all other spiritual teachings. TM, he said, was like the trunk and roots of a large tree. All other spiritual teachings were like branches emerging from the tree. These other spiritual teachings contained, at best, only parts of the truth. Each of the world’s “great religions” represented whatever parts of the truth that could be sustained within the cultural context in which the religion developed. Only TM contained the entire spiritual truth, and we were part of the great effort to reveal this truth once again to the world.

      Well, when I was finally ready to go home at the end of the SCI extension MMY did in fact give me my “advanced technique” which just involved adding a “shri” to my mantra. He also gave me my teacher mantras since my head jerks had stopped when I had come down to two meditations a day, and I went home. But I was still suffering from severe dissociation (as I now understand the condition) and from ever increasingly bizarre and powerful “spiritual experiences” (as I then understood the condition).

      These problems really threw me for a loop. At home I was so dissociated I wasn’t certain I properly remembered my teacher mantras. This was extremely distressing to someone as dedicated as I was. I had to go up to Humboldt College to see MMY at a TTC-prep course he was giving there to have the mantras verified. After I went home again I was still too dissociated and self-absorbed in an increasingly fantastic inner “spiritual” world to continue my studies. I could not handle the real world because of the dissociation, and I did not care about the real world because I was becoming so “spiritual” and the focus of my attention was increasingly being focused on TM spirituality. I walked away from my classes and drove up from UCLA to the ATR course (a sort of R&R for TM teachers) that MMY was conducting near UC Santa Barbara. This is where MMY accepted me into “M-group” (“monastic-group,” a group of teachers dedicated to celibacy) and where he privately accepted my personal offer of love and service to him as my spiritual Master.

      Shortly after that I went up to Santa Barbara again to stay for a week or so at the rented college dormitory which by now being used as the first MIU campus. MMY was in residence there overseeing the founding of MIU. Someone close to MMY had suggested to me that I might be able to get on MMY’s staff. I got there before MMY arrived and helped this person prepare MMY’s apartment for his arrival — everything had to be extraordinarily clean. After his arrival, I helped the skin-boys a few times with some of their chores such as spot-cleaning MMY’s dhotis (the white robes). Mostly I spent a lot of time in a small group of people who were listening to the first MIU catalog being read to MMY for his approval. One such meeting was conducted at the beach estate of one of the Beach Boys.

      I remember vividly the absolute command that MMY held over those around him in these very private sessions. I remember how intelligent and sophisticated and forceful he was. There was no “giggling guru” stuff in these private sessions. He displayed all the talents and abilities that could have made him a very successful executive in any secular business enterprise. I was never after able to believe that anyone in the Movement was able to institute any major policy that MMY didn’t approve of. Such belief is a major way TMers rationalize the insanity of the Movement; they say “MMY just couldn’t know about this” thinking that he is a simple other-worldly sort of person who has only a loose grasp on his underlings.

      I had a couple of opportunities to privately relate some of my “spiritual” experiences to him, including an ever deeper awareness on my part of my dedication to him as my spiritual Master. MMY approved of the direction things were going for me.

      Finally, during this same stay at the “MIU campus” I had very dramatic “spiritual” realization one night. The next morning I waited for MMY and walked with him to his car (he was heading out to view potential Academy real estate in the Santa Barbara hills) to confirm this new realization. I said to him “I am a rishi.” For those not familiar with the term, I was telling him that I could cognize ultimate spiritual truths for myself. This was a truly incredible delusion on my part, yet he replied “Yes” in an affirmative tone. I said “What should I do?” He replied “Be practical in society.”

      That evening I additionally “cognized” that I was not really human. I was an incarnated “deva” (analogous to an angel) and, what’s more, so was MMY. We had been peers working together on a spiritual plane as “devas” for aeons. But I had done something spiritually wrong (the fallen angel gig) whereas MMY had continued on a spiritually upward path. Now MMY had deserved to incarnate here and lead the spiritual regeneration of this planet, and I was getting a chance to incarnate here also as a human being and redeem myself by helping him.

      I wanted to “verify this with the Master” also, so I followed MMY into an elevator as he was on his way to his rooms after the evening meeting. As he turned about to face the door I started opening my mouth to tell him this “cognition.” He looked into my eyes and interrupted me by saying forcefully “What you have in your mind is right! — be practical in society.” Then the elevator door opened and he walked out of the elevator and off into his rooms.

      Well, after having the greatest Master on the planet confirm my spiritual status, I didn’t question it. Based on a series of continuing “cognitions” I dropped out of college and embarked on eleven years of making important personal decisions based on these delusions, and living in a fantastic and increasingly horrific inner world based upon these delusions. The personal sufferings from mistaken personal choices and from this deluded mental state were excrutiating.

      Finally someone was able to successfully help me to question the basic unproven assumption underlying my delusions. This assumption, this belief that had been programmed into me since I first walked into an introductory lecture, was the premise that “MMY is a great spiritual teacher with the highest teaching on the planet.” After I finally realized that I had absolutely no basis for believing this, and after I further realized that this was even quite unlikely based on what I had gone through, I was finally able to start recovering. Once I realized that MMY was at best an incompetent spiritual teacher the whole set of delusions based on the indoctrination I’d received, and based on his private “spiritual counseling,” began to fall like a house of cards.

      One of the people who helped in my recovery was Dr. Margaret Singer at UC Berkeley, one of the world’s foremost experts in the study of destructive cults and their use of “mind control” (or “thought reform” as it’s more commonly called by researchers). She had been studying TM and was quite interested in hearing my TM experiences. She confirmed that a significant percentage of the population (I’ve read elsewhere that it is 10-15%) are highly susceptible to post-trance indoctrination. That is, such people are likely to have a severely reduced level of critical evaluation about anything that they are told immediately after they come out of a trance state. These people are therefore in particular very susceptible to any spiritual indoctrination received while they are in such a post-trance state.

      Well, TM is a trance-induction technique and almost all TM indoctrination is conducted after meditation while the student is in a post-trance state. The TM technique itself is taught only after the student witnesses a puja that is likely to induce trance in many. The “Three Nights after Initiation” indoctrination is always given right after the “group meditation.” And I had six months of almost continuous post-trance indoctrination at TTC, not to mention the residence courses that I had attended prior to TTC. Dr. Singer considered TM indoctrination such as I had experienced at TTC to be among the most powerful of any group she had studied. Dr. Singer also said she had talked to many TMers who were graduates of long rounding courses. She considered dissociation and induced psychosis to be a very real risk of heavy TM involvement. (She also said that many people react very badly to any form of extended relaxation practice and such practices are therefore not a general panacea.)

      Mine was admittedly a much more intense experience of the destructive nature of MMY’s influence than most people ever get. Why bring it up then? To let people know what TM is like at its esoteric core where MMY gives personal instruction. This may make some of the outer eccentricities of the Movement seem more explicable. Most TMers think “Yes, this is not the way things should be, but MMY would correct it if he knew about it!,” but I assert that the Movement is the way it is because of MMY rather than despite him. And my story may make someone think twice about starting or continuing with TM. Even though few will suffer as much as I did, every step further into TM involvement is a step towards experiences like mine. A desire to warn people is my only motivation for publicly revealing these events.

      Go ahead and remotely psychoanalyze my own weaknesses that may also have contributed to this very real personal tragedy if you want, but don’t lose sight of MMY’s role in this. He’s at best an incompetent teacher, and at worst he’s also malicious or crazy. He is completely unworthy of any trust.

      PART III: BEWARE OF SCORPIONS!
      I don’t attribute any malicious motives to those defending TM, even when they attack me personally. I know that I had no malicious motives when I used to defend TM, and I would have been pretty ticked after reading this story because of all the “harm” I would have foreseen from the “misunderstanding” it would cause.
      A TM apologist who has internalized the TM Prime Directive (see below) just “knows” that there is nothing wrong with either MMY or with TM. So there must be something wrong with me! But they are just trying to defend Truth against Untruth. They are just trying to protect the public from being being confused and thus being denied the “benefits” of TM. Sometimes they get a little aggressive and forget to “speak the sweet truth,” but then they see me as being pretty aggressive by posting this story.

      There are only a few responses that a fully believing TMer can have to my story. The absolutely unquestionable core of TM doctrine, the ultimate foundation of the TM belief system, the TM “Prime Directive” (my term), is that MMY is a great spiritual teacher with the highest teaching on the planet. Fully indoctrinated TMers have been induced to accept this without the slightest objective proof.

      Based on prior experience (I posted an earlier version of my story to alt.meditation.transcendental in 1993), I have found that for someone who accepts the Prime Directive there are only a few possible explanations for my telling this story to the public, and these explanations tend to fall into categories. I’m going to go through some of them, along with my responses, so that I won’t have to keep responding to them individually if they pop up again.

      Category 1: “Malicious motivation”
      (1a) One explanation is that I am maliciously making this all up. This is because I am anti-spiritual, or anti-Hindu, or anti-something-else. Or I am just generally hateful and want to bring down anything that is good and pure, and TM is the most good and pure thing on the planet. Consider the saint who tried to save the scorpion from drowning and got stung. He tried to save the scorpion again, and got stung again. When asked why he persisted in the face of such treatment, the saint explained that it was his nature to try to save, and the scorpion’s nature to sting. I’m just a scorpion.
      My response: I can’t prove my motivations. I assert that my motivations are to help other people avoid having their minds abused, and incidentally to also avoid having their finances abused, by warning them about MMY and TM.

      (1b) Another variation on (1) is that I am in cahoots with, or am influenced by, the nefarious “TM-EX” organization which is some sort of cabal that makes money by telling lies about TM and by then charging people for anti-TM materials and for needless “exit counseling.” Anyone who charges money like that is suspect.

      My response: Note that it is perfectly fine for the Movement to make millions because “that’s different.” There is also room for concern in that destructive cults have a real animosity for cult education organizations and “exit counsellors.”

      Category 2: “Unreliability”
      (2a) There are several approaches to arguing that I am just not in touch with reality. One argument is that I am just experiencing “heavy unstressing” and the whole story above is itself a distortion that originates from this unstressing. It’s too bad I didn’t continue meditating and finish getting rid of this particular stress, which must be a really huge one.
      My response: This argument is pretty hard-core and will probably not be offered for public consumption, although will seem possible to hard-core TMers. If you accept TM dogma then the “unstressing” theory becomes a real possibility. If you don’t accept TM dogma, then you’re probably already skipping on to…

      (2b) Another variation on (2) that is more suitable for public consumption is this: I have already admitted to having had delusions about spiritual experiences, so I could also be having delusions about the things that I claim MMY said to me. You can not trust that anything I described ever actually occurred as I described it.

      My response: You’ll have to make your best guess as to my reliability. There is also room for concern in that this is a classic dodge that destructive cults use in response to charges from persons damaged by cult experiences: “That person admits to having had severe problems so they are untrustworthy!.” This is a Catch 22 in that we can only trust tales of abuse from those who have not been abused.

      (2c) A subtler variation is: Every organization, no matter how wonderful it is, will have disgruntled people leaving it. These disgruntled people view all of their experiences with the organization through the lens of their disgruntlement. You can’t trust the objectivity of someone who is disgruntled.

      My response: Why are we asked to believe that only people who are “gruntled” can be objective? Also note we have Catch 22 again in that we should only listen to the complaints of those who have no complaints.

      (2d) Another variation on (2) is: Every organization has people joining it who have unreasonable expectations. I was undoubtedly looking for something in TM that TM never claimed to offer. I may have been looking for a “God” in MMY, rather than just doing the TM technique and receiving The Knowledge he teaches.

      My response: All I can say is that he accepted a Master-disciple relationship between us, was told everything that was going on with me, had ample opportunity to personally correct me, but never did. As I’ve said, he is at best an incompetent teacher.

      Category 3: “Take the moral high ground”
      TM apologists like to take the moral high ground. They will argue that those who promote TM are being “positive” because they are saying “good things,” whereas I am being “negative” because I am saying “bad things.” You don’t want to listen to someone who is so “negative,” do you?
      My response: Hmmm…yelling “Don’t stand in front of that moving truck!” is “negative,” isn’t it?

      Category 4: “It’s all a misunderstanding”
      Those who are inclined to be charitable towards me (which I do appreciate) tend to argue that I may be basically of good intention but I had undoubtedly failed to properly understand MMY’s responses to me. The whole episode is tragic but was based on my misunderstanding. It was completely reasonable, somehow, for MMY to say “what you have in your mind is right” to me without even listening to what I had in my mind, even though he had verbally accepted my discipleship several months before, and even after he had confirmed that morning that I was a rishi.
      My response: As I’ve said, I think this whole thing demonstrates that MMY is at best an incompetent spiritual teacher.

      Category 5: “Master knows best”
      As a last ditch defense it can be argued that the Master always knows what he is doing but his purposes may not be understandable by others who are at a lesser state of spiritual attainment. What MMY said to me was perfect for my spiritual needs at the time, even if I can’t understand why. If I had remained faithful to the Master all would have been made clear.
      My response: This argument is also pretty hard-core and is not often offered for public consumption. There is also room for concern in that this is another classic cult dodge, “Everything The Leader does is by definition correct!”

      Well, those are the kinds of arguments that were offered last time. All arguments involved either an “ad hominem” attack (“blame the victim”), or involved “spin doctoring,” or involved the last ditch irrefutable argument of “Master knows best.”

      Again, MMY and TM can’t lose. Anyone who thinks TM is a good thing should be respected and listened to, but if anyone has a serious objection to TM then please refer to (1) through (5) above. To the fully indoctrinated TM apologist it is absolutely inconceivable that MMY could be at fault, or that TM could be less than the highest teaching on the planet. For the fully indoctrinated everything, including my little story, has to be explained in the light of the Prime Directive.

      Of course there are also a good many meditators reading this who do not find my story inconceivable, just hard to accept. You have not internalized the Prime Directive but you probably still think TM is generally a good thing. Your opinion of TM is based on the fact that you’ve only personally seen and heard good things.

      Perhaps you are a 20×2 meditator and are enjoying the benefits of deep relaxation without having really internalized the indoctrination. (Not everyone falls completely over for post-trance indoctrination!) MMY seems like a good sort, and at worst harmless. The TM teachers seem a bit spacey and pompous. The exaggerated pronouncements of the TM Movement are laughable. But so what? What’s the big fuss? It seems harmlessly eccentric at worst and actually does seem to do some good! This was the attitude of the largest percentage of meditators when I was involved. You’ve never seen or heard anything like what I am describing. You are perhaps thinking that what I am describing is theoretically possible, but it doesn’t correlate to your experiences.

      Well, to these people I can only say this: I think that your position is quite reasonable! All I can do is tell you what I learned and experienced through TM and then let you draw your own conclusions. Be sure to keep an open mind though. You might try getting the TM packet from the Cult Awareness Network and you might contact TM-EX (note to conspiracy theorists: I have no affiliation with TM-EX, not so much as even a fee-splitting arrangement!). If you’re reluctant to expose yourself to “negativity” about TM then beware, you might possibly be succumbing to indoctrination already!

      If you’re already a 20×2 meditator then don’t let them get you on a rounding course, even for a weekend. As a matter of fact, keeping your wallet and checkbook in your pants or purse has the almost magical effect of protecting you from the worst negative effects of TM, both the unstressing effects and the indoctrination effects. This is because you have to pay for most of the opportunities to have your mind really blasted. If you’ve already paid for 20×2 (I hope you got it before the prices went up), and if you like it, then of course go ahead and do it, but don’t let it get past that. And if you start feeling bad effects from 20×2, give it up. You’re strong enough to live life without TM! — if you think you’re not you should also consider whether you may be succumbing to indoctrination.

      Of course, my critics could also be right about me, about my base motivations and my negativity and my unreliability and all. So do your own research and then you be the judge about TM. You’re going to be the judge anyway! Personally I wouldn’t recommend touching TM with a ten-foot pole.

      There are too many methods of secular stress reduction, techniques that don’t come with so many destructive side effects, that don’t have so much weird mental input (“The Maharishi Effect,” “Maharishi X” (substitute almost anything for “X” with more strange developments always appearing)), that don’t weaken you by teaching you how not to deal with your problems (“just meditate and act”), that don’t lie to you (“CC for just 20 minutes twice a day”), that don’t always have newly invented courses or initiations to pay for, that don’t produce dissociation, and that don’t encourage people to develop and maintain destructive delusions.

      As I said, there are secular stress reduction techniques (take a look at Benson’s The Relaxation Response ). For those who want to pursue Enlightenment there are many respectable Eastern practices. And there are of course spiritual practices in other religious traditions. Just find a group or teacher that promotes true personal growth, that takes care of people rather than abusing them, and that respects individual free will by allowing people to know the doctrines and practices of the group before they submit their hearts and minds to to the group’s care.

      Copyright ©1995 Joseph W. Kellett

  • Jimmy Goodman

    Thanks for the many misunderstandings presented in this article — it gives people who are actually informed about Transcendental Meditation a chance to set the record straight about the innocence and practical utility of the TM technique.

    TM is not a religion because there’s nothing to believe in, nothing to join. It’s a simple mental technique that provides deep, coherent relaxation — but it’s much more than that. I speak from decades of experience as a meditator.

    No one tries to “recruit” people into TM. People learn TM usually because they have a friend who practices it and they see the positive changes. But some people learn because they appreciate the independent, peer-reviewed research studies on TM.

    Educators who introduce TM into their school are NOT required or even asked to change their school schedule to accommodate TM.

    “Consciousness-Based Education” is not a term that disguises anything. In fact, the program is commonly called “The Transcendental Meditation/Quiet Time Program.” Consciousness-Based Education is something different and so has a different name — it’s a “system” of education that includes not only TM but also a unified, consciousness-oriented system of learning.

    It is incorrect to assert that TM is not adequately explained. And it’s no secret how TM improves school behavior: it reduces stress and improves brain functioning — this is clear from hundreds of independent scientific research studies and from TM’s 40-year track record in schools around the world.

    It’s untrue that the program is not explained in advance before people learn; there is a step-by-step process of preparing a person to learn. The teaching process designed to give a thorough understanding of what is being learned and how it works.

    The “puja” or instructional ceremony is grossly misrepresented above. The ceremony is not a “prayer.” The procedure is nothing like the author claims. It is not a religious ceremony. No one is worshipped. No one is “prayed” to. The student is not even involved (the person learning just witnesses). The teacher performs the ceremony as a way of honoring the tradition from where the technique comes, to prepare the teacher to teach. In reality there is nothing religious about it because that is not how the teacher interprets the process — there is no religious frame of mind. It’s that simple.

    Nor is it true that TM teachers tell their students that they are to receive a “unique” mantra that no one else will have but them. TM teachers NEVER say this or anything that remotely resembles it. The mantras are thoroughly explained in the introductory sessions, as are the practical reasons for not speaking out the mantras.

    The mantra is NOT a religious syllable from the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit scholars do not make this claim. The TM mantras do indeed come from the ancient Vedic tradition, as explained in every introductory TM talk.

    The mantras in TM are used for their sound value only; that is, as vehicles for transcending. They are not associated with meaning because that would keep the mind engaged in meaning and not readily allow the process of inward settling or transcending.

    The mantras are not “names of Hindu Gods.” According to scholars, the mantras come from a tradition that used these sounds for meditation (and without meaning or reference to anything external, for their sound effect only) at least 1000 years before Hindu deity worship came into existence. Despite the reference to Sir Woodroffe’s antiquated text, there is no consensus among Vedic or Sanskrit scholars that any of the sounds among this ancient class of mantras are associated with a standardized meaning or external reference. The sounds are not commonly used among Hindus in any standardized way. There is no general agreement among Hindus that these sounds are associated with any particular meaning; but even if they were, it would be irrelevant to TM practice, which uses the sounds without reference to meaning.

    The claims made by the author never come from scholars, but only from a few anti-TM activists trying to promote their agenda. The claims are simply wrong: TM mantras are not used in any religious way, but for their proven, harmonizing effects on mind and body, which has been verified by hundreds of research studies.

    The “quote” from Maharishi is a translation of an early talk he gave to Hindus in India, using traditional language they could understand. The word he used that is being translated above as “gods” is the word “devata.” It does not mean “gods” but is accurately translated from the Sanskrit either as “laws of nature” or “the process of gaining knowledge.” Such an understanding places Maharishi’s words in a completely different (and accurate) context. Laws of nature govern the physiology, the brain, and all the areas of life, and all these areas have been found to be improved by “transcending,” that is, by settling down and accessing the inner field of order, intelligence and creativity that resides within everyone. This was actually what Maharishi was talking about — not “Hindu gods.” Anyone familiar with his theory of consciousness would know this.

    The other sources quoted about mantras have nothing to do with TM and refer to a completely different way of using mantras — they refer also to a completely different set of mantras.

    The New Jersey court did NOT rule that TM was a religion. A single judge in 1975 decided that the theoretical system of knowledge founded by Maharishi, called Science of Creative Intelligence, had “religious overtones” because it dealt with what the court called “ultimate concerns,” such as the range of human consciousness and the source of order in nature (which quantum physics also deals with, though less successfully). TM itself was not ruled to be religious, and the court admitted that TM was simply a technique, not a religion.

    The site “Behind the TM Facade” is known to be a facade in itself — to anyone familiar with scientific research. The site is intended to support the claim that Transcendental Meditation can produce “harmful effects,” though most of the studies it cites were not even about TM but other forms of meditation —and the studies are weak, insignificant, and 25-30 years old.

    The US Government/NIH would not continue granting research funds to scientists if TM had not been shown to have all-positive, promising effects. To date, the NIH has granted over $26 million for TM research.

    The bottom line: Deep, coherent rest is good for you. ‘Transcending’ and gaining inner peace can be only good for you. Dissolving stress is healthy. More coherent brain functioning is very, very good for you. The hundreds of peer-reviewed studies behind the technique show no statistical trend, or even minimal trends, of any negative side effects. The claim of harmful effects never comes from scientists or researchers on the peer-review boards of journals. It doesn’t come from physicians or psychiatrists. It comes from people like the above author, who evidently is not a scientist, has not experienced the TM technique’s benefits directly, and is evaluating TM based on hearsay and misunderstanding.

    • http://www.teachersmonthly.com Adrian Marnewick

      1) “The teacher performs the ceremony as a way of honoring the tradition from where the technique comes …”

      … Many people would consider “honoring a tradition”, paricularly by saying prayers, a form of religion.

      2) “TM mantras are not used in any religious way, but for their proven, harmonizing effects on mind and body, which has been verified by hundreds of research studies.”

      … By definition, according to the University of Princeton, a “mantra” is “(Sanskrit) literally a `sacred utterance’ in Vedism; one of a collection of orally transmitted poetic hymns”. And another definition according to Well.Com “A series of syllables, considered sacred (and sometimes magical), used in meditation and rituals.” A “hymn” by definition is a religious song. “Sacred” also refers to religion, and “magical”, well, let’s not even go there.

      3) You make various statements: “It is incorrect to assert that TM is not adequately explained.” and “It’s untrue that the program is not explained in advance before people learn …” and
      “Nor is it true that TM teachers tell their students that they are to receive a “unique” mantra that no one else will have but them. TM teachers NEVER say this or anything that remotely resembles it.”

      … Can you verify this factually, that no TM teacher has ever inadequately explained TM, or “NEVER” say that their students will receive unique mantras? Get real, Jimmy.

      • Joshua

        THE TM MANTRA:Proof that TM mantras are linked to Hinduism and that mantras given to TM initiates are not uniquely selected for each one of them.
        Every TM initiate is given a mantra or word to be repeated mentally every time he or she sits down to meditate. One is told that this is her or his own personal mantra and that it must on no account be revealed to anyone else – otherwise it will lose its power.
        There should have dispensed many thousands, even millions of different mantras to corresponding numbers of meditators. However the reality, as told by instructors who have defected from the movement over the years, is that there only sixteen different mantras given to new meditators. Moreover, the mantra one gets is determined solely by one’s age at the time of initiation. The complete list seems to be as follows
        Age Mantra
        0 – 11 Eng
        12 – 13 Em
        14 – 15 Enga
        16 – 17 Ema
        18 – 19 Ieng
        20 – 21 Iem
        22 – 23 Ienga
        24 – 25 Iema

        26 – 29 Shiring
        30 – 34 Shirim
        35 – 39 Hiring
        40 – 44 Hirim
        45 – 49 Kiring
        50 – 54 Kirim
        55 – 59 Sham
        60 + Shama
        In reality these sixteen different TM mantras are sixteen anglicised versions of just six Sanskrit mantras. The list below shows the common TM mantras used with their associated gods/goddesses.

        TM Mantra
        ENG, EM, ENGA, EMA, AING, AIM, AINGA, AIMA (essentially the same bija mantra)
        Mantra of Saraswati,Hindu goddess of learning, music, speech, the fine arts

        SHIRING, SHIRIM
        Mantra of Mahalakshmi or Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth

        HIRING, HIRIM
        Mantra of Bhuvanesvari, Mahamaya, Hindu goddess of the physical world

        KIRING, KIRIM
        Mantra of Hindu goddess Devi Kalika worshipped for the cessation of sorrow

        SHYAM, SHYAMA
        Mantra of Hindu god Krishna

        RAM, SHRIRAM (RAM plus SHRI)
        Mantra of Agni, Hindu goddess of Fire

        Translation of Advanced Technique Mantras
        SHRI “Oh most beautiful”
        AING ” Saraswati” (Hindu goddess)
        NAMAH “I bow down”

        • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

          I see the TMO very cynically trying to recruit future (and long-term) funding by getting kids hooked on Mahesh’s pie-in-the-sky promises and dubious methodology. It would be very good if any school being approached by the TMO were first to sit its board of directors in front of a video screen and watch David Wants to Fly! (I don’t think the people in SA are aware of David Wants to Fly. The first time I heard of it from it was from you).

          That said, of the many who learnt TM in the past, few actually stuck with it. Yes, some die and some went on to have and give a great deal of money to the TMO, the TM Organization. This is what keeps this nefarious bunch of religious hoodlums in business, those few who remain and give and give and give. So, trawling the schools for recruits really amounts to shanghaiing kids to fund the good ship Lollipop!

          As Jomo says below, “caveat emptor”.

          • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

            Oops … posted an email without editing; my bad.

            For those of you who might be interested, David Sieveking is a German Film-Maker who’s first film is called “David Wants to Fly”. David Sieveking started out making this documentary about his film-making idol, David Lynch. So, David Sieveking got interested in TM.

            David Sieveking’s film chronicles his interest in and pursuit of information about TM. It chronicles, also, the behaviour of those in high positions in the TM Organization and David Sieveking’s eventual disgust and disenchantment with TM and all things Mahesh.

            This film will be available on DVD after 26 November. It can, for those of you comfortable reading German, be pre-ordered from http://www.amazon.de/David-Wants-Fly-Karl-Stirner/dp/B004265K7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1289779300&sr=8-1 (the German Amazon page).

            I highly recommend this film, as it gives an excellent view of how the TM Organization works to reel its fish in and then how it tries to get them to buy more and more of what is on offer (in order to make TM work … which it obviously doesn’t, at least not as Mahesh preached, or the expensive add-ons would hardly be necessary).

            David Sieveking’s film is also quite delightfully funny and very, very well crafted.

          • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

            Oops, my bad: I forwarded an e-mail without editing it. The reference to “David Wants to Fly” is to a film recently produced by the German Film-Maker, David Sieveking. It is about the lure of TM and the eventual disappointment with TM.

            It will be available from amazon.de (the German Amazon page) after 26 November 2010.

            I have already seen the film, it was shown here this past summer at a festival of recent documentaries. I found it very impressive and definitely worth the watch.

    • Pervin

      Below is the English translation of part of the pujua ceremony — the required initiation ceremony for instruction in Transcendental Meditation — as taken from “Holy Tradition” by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The puja is sung/chanted in Sanskrit by the TM teacher during the TM initiation ceremony.

      “Invocation
      Whether pure or impure, where purity or impurity is permeating everywhere, whoever opens himself to the expanded vision of unbounded awareness gains inner and outer purity.

      “Invocation
      To the Lord Narayana, to lotus-born Brahma the Creator, to Vashishtha, to Shakti and his son Parashar, To Vyasa, to Shukadeva, to the great Gaudapada, to Govinda, ruler among the yogis, to his disciple, Shri Shankaracharya, to his disciples Padma Pada and Hasta Malaka And Trotakacharya and Vartika-Kara, to others, to the tradition of our Master, I bow down.

      “To the abode of the wisdom of the Shrutis, Smritis and Puranas, to the abode of kindness, to the personified glory of the Lord, to Shankara, emancipator of the world, I bow down.

      “To Shankaracharya the redeemer, hailed as Krishna and Badarayana, to the commentator of the Brahma Sutras, I bow down.

      “To the glory of the Lord I bow down again and again, at whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray [sic] for perfection day and night.

      “Adorned with immeasurable glory, preceptor of the whole world, having bowed down to Him we gain fulfillment.

      “Skilled in dispelling the cloud of ignorance of the people, the gentle emancipator, Brahmananda Sarasvati, the supreme teacher, full of brilliance, Him I bring to my awareness.

      “Offering the invocation to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering a seat to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering an ablution to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering a cloth to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering sandalpaste to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering full rice to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering a flower to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

      “Offering incense to the lotus feel of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down…”, etc.

      For a complete translation of the puja, see TranceNet.org. Also see additional information about the puja from court testimony.

      • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

        Just an FYI, “pūjā” (also, sometimes, pooja) means “worship”. A Puja is not a ceremony of thanksgiving so much as it is the worship, for obvious personal benefit and gain, of some deity or possibly some very important person.

    • http://www.tm-free.blogspot.com Sudarsha

      Jimmy Goodman of the TMO says: “The bottom line: Deep, coherent rest is good for you”.

      This might actually be factual; however, “bottom line”, it is debatable whether there is such a thing as coherent rest (as a real “thing” at all) associated with TM and also debatable whether repeating a mantra in the TM fashion (as effortlessly as one experiences any thought) is a good idea. To me, it’s like going swimming with one leg tied to the dock. Whether or not the TM mantras are calling cards for Hindu Deities, returning to a mantra rather than resting in that rest might lead to undesirable results.

      Despite what the TMO might claim or how they might manipulate the supposed “scientific” data they brandy about like some fencing master teaching disco-ordinated fools, the only sure thing one can say about TM is RESULTS VARY.

      Now, once upon a time, I was tested to see if my brain waves during TM were “appropriate” so that I could be permitted to participate in one of those “scientific” studies.

      Doesn’t that tell a story, one worth repeating??????

    • Sammy

      Jimmy Goodman
      You say that it is not true that TM teachers tell their students that they are to receive a “unique” mantra that no one else will have but them. TM teachers NEVER say this or anything that remotely resembles it. The mantras are thoroughly explained in the introductory sessions, as are the practical reasons for not speaking out the mantras.

      Read this:

      “But one thing is important to know, and that is that there are thousands of mantras and all have their specific values, specific qualities and are suitable for specific types of people.
      “We know that each man is a different individual . . . , Similarly, each man has his own type of energy impulses which constitute his personality. Therefore, if the qualities of the energy impulses created by the sound of the mantra rightly correspond to the energy impulses of the man, only then will it be of real value. Any wrong choice of the mantra is sure to create unbalance in the harmony of the man’s life.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Meditations o f Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Bantam Books, Inc., New York, NY, 1968), pp. 185, 186.

  • Mr. Rubin

    I think folks are too quick to play the label game. Particularly with reference to religion. It says “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill. Does that make US currency a religious artifact? Politicians regularly mention God in their speeches. I personally heard George Bush Sr. say he was sending the troops into Kuwait to do “Gods work”. When a medical doctor takes the Hipocratic oath. He repeats the words: ” I swear by Apollo the physician, by Æsculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath.” Does this mean medical doctors are members of a religious sect? As patients are we violating our own religious beliefs? I don’t think so. So let’s relax and stop threatening a student, teacher and parents, right to voluntarily, with parental permission, learn a meditation to help them de-stress and get better grades.

    • http://www.teachersmonthly.com Adrian Marnewick

      Rubin, very good point.

      Myself as a Bible-believing Christian, am always reminded of the verse in Corinthians: “We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good.” (Bible in Basic English Translation).

      Whether you believe in the Bible or not, the above verse essentially means that (as Christians) we can do anything that is for the common good or that builds us up in a healthy way.

      I recently heard, for example, that some Christian pastor in the USA is saying that Yoga is a form of demon worship. I believe that the above verse from Corinthians essentially means this: if you’re doing it, do it for the right motives. So if you want to practice Yoga, or TM for that matter, as an exercise to improve your health or concentration – then do so, provided that you know that it may have roots from Hinduism or some type of religion, but that you are practicing it simply for it’s positive effect on your life as opposed to practicing it as a form of worship.

      My 2 cents.

      • Pervin

        That pastor is right – please do your own research into yoga!!!!

  • Pervin

    with regard to the dollar bill, what an absurd comparison.
    I suppose that if one does sit with the bill in the hand and repeatedly chants a mantra , the dollar bill can indeed become a religious artifact. In fact any item used this way can become one for the persons concerned.

    However we are not referring to items – rather the chanting of the mantra and the meaning of the mantra.

    TM is more than the improving of the concentration – do not be fooled! It is the opening of oneself to demonic powers. So it is not fine for anyone from any religion to practice.

    The motives for drinking a poison may be good – a child (in ignorance) may think that it is a flavoured drink. The consequence however will not match the motive – rather it will relate to the poison in the system.

    The hippocratic oath in South Africa states – “I do solemnly swear, by whatever I hold most sacred, that I will be loyal to the Profession of Medicine and just and generous to its members”.

  • http://tmfree.blogspot.com/ Sudarsha

    I am grateful to Indira for writing this article. Having practised TM, become a teacher of TM, been one of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s secretaries, having helped develop and produce his SCI course, having been one of the individuals responsible for training 1,500 TM teachers and having, of course, practised his “yogic flying” technique, I feel I have some insights into TM, Maharishi’s motivations (which I call *Maheshism*) and, on the basis of my TM teaching experience, some observational understanding of the sequelae of long-term TM practise.

    To begin, TM 2×20 (twice a day for 20 minutes each sitting), is not a particularly bad thing. It does NOT produce the effects Mahesh claimed and none of the add-ons he concocted over the years changed anything, although many people spent money they should not have one things that did not live up to Mahesh’s claims. But TM 2×20 generates some pleasurable feelings and some comfort in daily activities, for most people, at least for a few months — and, undeniably, for some years. But buying into the claims Mahesh made is not unlike buying lottery tickets. You might win a prize, but, in the case of TM, I do not see evidence that any winnings are particularly remarkable or particularly worth the time and money.

    Yes, there is evidence that TM produces results, but I think far more rigorous and independent study needs to be done to come up with anything conclusive. I note that many of the “scientific studies” are conducted by individuals with a vested interest in a positive outcome, i.e., an outcome supportive of Mahesh’s claims. What very little positive outcomes are noted are also exaggerated to proclaim far more than that evidence indicates.

    Base line: were TM effective, then world peace should have broken out in the 80’s, which it did not and which it shows no more likely evidence of doing now that it has since the end of the second world war.

    Is TM a religion? Not in and of itself 2×20, although repeating the mantra of a Hindu deity certainly would concern many people. Dr. Herbert Benson developed his relaxation response on the basis of his understanding of TM, using, in place of the mantra of a Hindu deity, the number or word “one”. I see no significant differences between the general results of TM and Dr. Benson’s results with his Relaxation Response.

    The TM organization (fondly or not referred to as the TMO) has long claimed, as has Mahesh himself, that TM will not work without the proper performance of the Puja, largely invented by Mahesh himself. This is, of course, nonsense.

    Long after I had lost all confidence in Mahesh and Maheshism, I taught many people TM without employing any puja (and at that time, to my lack of insight/research and understanding, not understanding/knowing that the mantras were “calling cards” for various Hindu deities). The results were not different from the results of having taught TM the “orthodox” way. Nor were the results any more or less long-lasting or short-lived.

    But, the “results” are what is important and, over many years of observation, the only concrete evaluation I have ever come up with is that “results vary”. Many people claim to feel better doing TM, many have felt so bad that their life was disrupted, even to the extent of requiring hospitalizaton. There have been suicides, untreated cancers (because some of the TM faithful or Mahesh faithful have relied solely upon the “supplements” the TMO markets). Cancers and tumours have resulted in death. The TMO makes no effort whatsoever to screen people for their ability to practise TM safely. All that is required is the course fee.

    Yes, the TMO will make every effort to distract everyone from taking note of this, although the TM-Free website (http://tmfree.blogspot.com/) has endeavored to report these effects that differ from the standard proclamations of the benefits of TM.

    TM in schools? NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. If Parents decide to send their children to TM schools, effectively Maheshism indoctrination schools, that is their responsibility. But I caution against it. — One need only note that following the events of 9/11, Mahesh took out double-full page ads in three prominent US newspapers literally demanding that the US government give him one billion dollars to implement his yogic flying to save the world from catastrophe. Mahesh, known to have his own billions, could have implemented it himself … even admitting that he didn’t actually know it would work … therefore, why spend his own money, I guess. But we cannot ignore the importance, over everything else, of money in the religion of Maheshism. Mahesh only spent YOUR money, not his and the current TMO follows in the wake of that mind-set.

    My opinion, for whatever that might or might not be worth, is that TM in schools is a very cynical ploy to create a continuing financial basis for the organization. I see no “scientific” or intellectually rigorous thinking in Mahesh’s SCI, the foundation and catechism of his “religion”/philosophy.

    Now: I observed Mahesh very closely over a long period. On my TM teacher training course, I observed, one night (yes, by stealth, but accidentally so) that a group of Western amateur Sanskritists were telling him what the Rig Veda said and what the words meant, indicated. The next day Mahesh told us of **his** latest insights and revelations of the meaning of the Rig Veda (one of the foundational texts of Hinduism). He claimed these were HIS revelations, in support, I now suppose, of his claims to be a “mahā” (great or big”) rishi (ṛṣi, Vedic seer).

    His (yes, HIS) SCI course is based on the work of several British thinkers who were his TM devotees and is not, basically, Mahesh’s at all. During the making/filming of his SCI course, he sat with several TM supportive academics every morning. They outlined for him what he should say and how short he should keep it. Then, in the afternoon, using cue cards, he delivered his 30 minute speech/lesson on the Science of Creative Intelligence, SCI.

    His “yogic flying”, for which he made huge claims that, I am sure the TMO is now ashamed of, came about on the basis of the research of several Western devotees who got information from various Indian sources. It is my opinion that Mahesh’s interpretation of the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is, to be frank, bogus. Many of Mahesh’s interpretations of Patañjali’s text have nothing to do with the actual Sanskrit teaching contained therein. The “sutra” he uses as the basis of his yogic flying (butt-bouncing), has nothing to do with levitation.

    TM in schools? NO, NEVER.

    I hope this anecdotal recounting of my experiences with TM and Mahesh has been useful.

  • jomo

    Over 14 years ago I visited the extensive TM center/campus @ Fairfield, Ia. I spent several weeks there, often taking lunch w/meditators $ students @ that Anna Purna building. I noticed a con-formity or some commonalities in the responses to my questions about TM prices etcetera. “It is worth millions” or “the money just comes
    at the right time”(to pay for the expensive techniques & courses). I
    had no idea how “the money just comes…” Was there a TM technique to attract money? It seemed that most there had read the same book of
    responses to TM questions.

    There was a tremendous secrecy about the TM techniques.
    People seemed to be scared to discuss them. I heard no complaints
    about TM prices or policies. Almost all the males, younger & older
    had these really short hair cuts. Not quite clones but…
    The initial TM technique, $1500, may lure students into
    other expensive techniques, including one that costs $5000 or teacher training @ $14,000. Caveat Emptor!

  • MUMstudent

    It must be noted that both Dr. Jean Tobin and Jimmy Goodman work for the Transcendental Meditation Organization. They are not here to defend TM in schools by chance, they were sent here by their boss to post these responses.

  • http://comingtolifestories.com Gina

    The TM studies do not compare Transcendental Meditation technique to other methods of deep rest and relaxation. Bernard Benson found the practice of TM to be as effective as the practice of traditional Christian or Jewish prayer, or the merely sitting and self chanting any meaningless word.

    Transcendental Meditation Movement consciously promotes itself as a nonreligious practice, while the TM teachers (e.g. Initiators) are fully award of the spiritual devotional nature of the TM instruction process — which includes a Sanskrit religious ceremony and bowing to Maharishi’s teacher, His Divinity Swami Swaraswati of Jyotir Math.

    The Transcendental Meditation Movement is run by
    Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation (MVED).

    Consciousness Based Education, by the David Lynch Foundation was founded by David Lynch .. a deeply devoted and wealthy devotee of Maharishi. Lynch’s organizations raises funds to sponsor TM into schools.

    Once someone has learned TM, a slow recruitment continues to lure students to study Maharishi’s “Vedic Science” (mythology), special advanced techniques for levitation, and prolonged meditation programs which promise world peace and control of the weather.

    For a beneficial ‘meditation’ method, that lacks a hidden recruitment agenda, please refer to Dr. Herbert Bensons’ Relaxation Response. Dr. Benson originally studied TM, but avoided becoming involved with the TM Movement because of it’s religious cult-like culture.

    Instead, Benson’s group went on to provide the IDENTICAL benefits, without risk of further involvement nor cult recruitment.

    Dr. Herbert Benson’s research:

    http://www.relaxationresponse.org/publications.htm

    The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital provides meditation methods that are scientifically beneficial without the hidden woo-woo agenda associated with Maharishi’s “Vedic Science.”

    http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/bhi/

  • Joshua

    I am curious to find out why no Department of Education officials and principals etc who are allowing TM to be promoted in our schools are not responding to the following among others:
    1. claims made TM is a religious practice
    2. the so called scientific claims made by TMO are not scientific and unbaised as they claim.
    3. Children are targetted as future cash providers for TM Organization
    4. The real hidden cost of practicing TM immediately and long term-its all about the money.
    5. the inside information about the true nature of TM by former TM instructors.

    Joshua

  • Joshua

    David Lynch told Russel Brand that if he learned TM, it would help him enjoy pornography.

    October 18th, 2010 10:35am
    Funnyman Russell Brand and movie maverick David Lynch have become unlikely pals after the Twin Peaks director gave the Brit some tips on how meditation boosts pleasuring one’s self.

    Brand has revealed he made a point of meeting Lynch, the president of the Transcendental Meditation Foundation, at a party so he could learn more about the director’s area of expertise.

    The movie star and comedian tells New York Magazine he complained to Lynch that his love of masturbating while watching pornography was overtaking his desire to meditate and achieve enlightenment.
    He recalls Lynch telling him, “If you meditate, you’ll enjoy your pornography more! It will be even better! It will be more vivid!’”

    Brand jokes, “Now, that’s the way to get people into meditation!”
    http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2010/10/18/david_lynch_if_you_meditate_youll_enjo

  • BillyG

    I think it would be safe to say that TM is a Religious Science! To suggest it has nothing to do with Religion is ridiculous. The purpose of Religion is to put you in touch with God, TM does that very effectively. I have been very happy with the results I have gotten from TM.

    TM is not being ‘taught’ as a Religion but that doesn’t mean it’s not a central part of Religion. MMY called the Vedas an *Eternal Religion* in his booklet “The Vedas”, and TM its *greatest blessing*.

    A steering wheel may not be a car, but it certainly is a central part of a car. Like that, TM as a meditation technique alone may not BE a Religion but it certainly is a central part of one, (the eternal Religion of the Vedas). It’s just sophistry to suggest otherwise.

    Probably the closest practicing Religion of today to TM is Hinduism. It frankly doesn’t matter to me if you call it a banana, it works regardless of your Religion, though your Religion itself may be in conflict with IT, at least with how your Religion is being practiced TODAY.

    Contrary to the idea that one will be MORE religious in ones own Religion, I would contend that one tends to finds more errors in ones Religion ultimately finding that Religion ‘unacceptable’, (once you have the real thing everything pales in comparison). Thanks, BillyG.

  • Joshua

    Copy of leter given to a school in the USA to prevent TM from being tsught in it. Her efforts

    were succesful.
    Carole Ramsey, principal of Terra Linda High School (TLHS), deserves acknowledgement for her efforts to improve student life, reduce stress and increase academic success at TLHS through the David Lynch Foundation grant for Transcendental Meditation (TM).

    Given my family history, it was surprising to see two consecutive Marin Independent Journal cover stories about Transcendental Meditation’s introduction to Terra Linda High School.

    As a TLHS parent, and someone whose life has been profoundly affected by TM, I am uniquely qualified to express concerns about this program presented to our community. The TM presentation on October 12 at TLHS was sophisticated and convincing. However, the presenters did not provide full disclosure of the TM program. Repeatedly, they insisted that TM is not a religion. They skillfully dodged specific questions regarding TM instruction, methods and follow up. In the interest of full disclosure of the TM program for TLHS, I offer the following.

    I speak from forty years and three generations’ of family involved with TM. The Spiritual Regeneration Movement (SRM) is the founding organization to promote TM in the western hemisphere. The TM program promoted to TLHS is presented as non-religious. I beg to differ. TM as originally taught by SRM is identical to that offered through the David Lynch Foundation.

    The Transcendental Meditation community of Fairfield, Iowa is as-if my extended family. I harbor no ill will toward individuals in the TM Movement; in fact I love many of them. To this day, some graduates of MSAE request my guidance as they strive to function in the real world, outside of their protected meditation society. Their intentions are noble, as are those of any True Believer.

    However, I believe full disclosure is mandatory for programs promoted in our public schools.

    Scientific documentation of medical benefits from deep rest grew in the seventies. Between 1970-1972 Robert Keith Wallace, PhD and Herbert Benson, M.D. published landmark scientific studies on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Benson subsequently separated from Wallace. Benson documented identical benefits experienced through traditional forms of Christian and Jewish prayer. Benson published his “Relaxation Response” method of stress reduction without the mysticism associated with TM. Short structured rest periods provide health benefits!

    Evidence suggests that TM may be more than a catnap. Research indicates that TM may trigger a shift in one’s psychological and physiological states. Like a prescription medication, this might be beneficial for the right person in the right dosage. Others experience negative results such as anxiety or nervous ‘ticks’. There have been suicides. There was a recent murder on the MUM campus.

    TM instructors do not screen individuals prior to instruction. TM is presented as the magic bullet to solve all ills for all people.

    I understand the good intentions of TM presenters, as well as the scripted timing of their unveiling of information. They knowingly mislead by omission of information. I know this because in the 1970’s, I helped introduce Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and Science of Creative Intelligence to two schools. We succeeded introducing the program into Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California in 1972 or 1973. Their school district later terminated the program.

    The TM program experienced exponential growth in the 1960s and 1970s through targeting vulnerable college students with the Students International Meditation Society (SIMS). Most of those early meditators left the organization. TM’s resurgence again targets vulnerable youth, through university and high school campuses. Of the many who begin TM, a few may adopt the full lifestyle.

    At October 12th’s presentation, Ramsey repeatedly referred to the “trained TM instructors” who would instruct our youth in TM. Formally, TM instructors are known as Initiators or Governors of the Age of Enlightenment because, according to Maharishi, “they govern in the realm of consciousness.”

    When learning TM through their seven-step procedure, the new Initiate will bring an offering of fruit, a white handkerchief and flowers for step #4, a private Initiation ceremony. The Initiator will perform a puja ceremony in front of an altar to Guru Dev, Maharishi’s spiritual master (picture attached). The Sanskrit puja offers obeisance to Guru Dev, Hindu deities, and a lineage called the Holy Tradition of Spiritual Masters from whence this teaching descended. According to TM teachings, the Initiator is the living embodiment of this ancient spiritual lineage.

    What secular stress reduction technique has a Holy Tradition? For this reason, in 1979 the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Transcendental Meditation and the Science of Creative Intelligence are too religious to be taught in the New Jersey public schools, partially because of the puja ceremony required for TM instruction.

    During the puja ceremony, the new initiate will hold one flower, quietly observing the Initiator perform the puja ceremony with burning camphor and incense, culminating with a bow to Guru Dev’s altar. With a gentle wave of one arm, the Initiator will invite the new initiate to likewise bow down to Guru Dev.

    The new initiate will receive a secret mantra. The mantra is derived from the name of a Hindu deity. This word is never again to be repeated aloud by the meditator. Some common mantras are: Enga, Ema, Ainga, Shiring, Kirim, Sham. There are others.

    During the subsequent three meetings to elaborate upon the TM practice, new initiates will meditate together. In a relaxed semi-trance state, the brain readily absorbs information. The TM teachers will explain Cosmic Consciousness, God Consciousness and Unity Consciousness as evolutionary states of consciousness that can be achieved after long-term practice of TM. The Science of Creative Intelligence and TM-Sidhi program will be mentioned as options for advanced training at a later date. According to TM teachings, The TM-Sidhi program provides paranormal powers of invincibility such as friendliness, compassion, inner strength and levitation.

    A TM-club could appear to be a positive peer support for those desiring a wholesome lifestyle and to associate with others of common values. For more vulnerable teens, this peer group’s idealism and group dynamics may prove seductive. A percentage of them will likely increase their involvement with programs at the local TM center. TM centers offer advanced meditation programs and residence programs to achieve deeper rest and release of stress along with a community of caring supportive other meditators. As one becomes further involved, he or she will learn life style guidelines to enhance their growth of consciousness. Such lifestyle guidelines include the use of Maharishi Ayur-Veda medicinals, Ghandarhva Veda music, Maharishi Jyotish astrology, and architectural guidelines for enlightened household construction called Sthapatya Veda. This is optional. Coercive persuasion is subtle and slow.

    A few may choose to attend Maharishi University of Management to study Vedic Science, or join the Thousand-Headed Purusha or Mother Divine programs –monastic branches of this “non-religious organization.” Some may participate in programs, such as the Invincible America Course currently held simultaneously at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa and in Washington, DC, whereby groups of Sidhas (advanced meditators who have learned techniques for achieving paranormal powers) meditate together and also “levitate” together for hours daily. Maharishi teaches that these group meditations provide waves of coherent consciousness throughout the world, to generate world peace.

    Group meditations, rather than political activism, would solve global problems. The devout may relocate to Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, where all is orchestrated according to the Laws of Nature, beneath the golden banner for Maharishi’s Global Country of World Peace. Purchases in Vedic City are made with their own currency, the Raam.

    Those with more time and money may opt for further expensive and prolonged meditation courses to become Rajas. Rajas are given a geographical domain to support consciousness expansion on Earth. Rajas also wear gold crowns.

    There is a history, albeit repressed, of some participants having psychotic breaks and other negative results from prolonged periods of deep meditation on TM sponsored courses.

    Alcohol and tobacco come with warning labels. TM lacks a warning label. Full disclosure is imperative when introducing a new program to our public schools.

    TM promoters well-intentionedly reveal only stress management information in introductory talks. The more elaborate teachings are carefully hidden in the beginning. They believe that people “are not ready for the full revelation of knowledge. When consciousness has expanded from experiencing the profound bliss of TM, then we slowly reveal more.”

    Some may benefit from fifteen – twenty minutes’ daily catnaps. Others may fall sway to a deeper commitment to this method of consciousness expansion. I observed more than my fair share of others’ psychotic breaks, familial destruction and financial devastation by good-hearted people who committed their lives to the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation.

    Please accept my personal experience, of forty years of exposure to TM’s global growth, as the disclosure label to this program coming to TLHS. In my opinion, if anyone wants to make a fully informed decision to learn TM, then go right ahead. However, I still maintain this does not belong in our public school system.

    David Lynch’s sponsorship for Transcendental Meditation is as well intentioned as Tom Cruise’s enthusiastic endorsement of Scientology.

    In the interest of full disclosure,

    Gina Maria Catena
    early Child of the Age of Enlightenment through Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
    Mother of three TLHS alums
    San Rafael, California

  • Ethan

    The following information deals with the
    Problems with the Policies and Actions of the Transcendental Meditation Organization
    Possible Lies and Fraud: Compiled by John M. Knapp

    • The Transcendental Meditation Movement claims everyone can learn to meditate. In fact, some 20% of the population appears to experience “relaxation-induced anxiety” — a state of panic and increased anxiety that occurs when some people attempt to meditate
    • The TM Org claims to be a secular organization, but is in fact at least religious in nature, if not a religion
    • mantras are not meaningless sounds, but rather the names of Hindu gods

    • there has never been a demonstration of successful TM-Sidhis (supposed supernormal powers, such as levitation, mind-reading, knowledge of past and future, etc. — the Maharishi was successfully sued for fraud over the sidhis in the 1980s)
    • no TMer has ever been demonstrated to attain enlightenment, despite past claims this state would evolve in TM practitioners within 5-7 years
    • claims of group TM practice causing world peace are belied by constant war in modern times, despite the Maharishi announcing world peace attained on numerous occasions since the 1970s
    • claims large groups of TMers meditating together would cause a drop in crime, ending wars, or increase in stock market have never been demonstrated in a way that passes scientific scrutiny (note that the Maharishi’s organization predicted in summer 2007 that the stock market would hit 17,000 but it fell nearly 2,000 points within 6 months)
    • the Maharishi claimed to be a celibate Hindu monk, but is alleged to have had numerous affairs.

    Possible Dangerous Policies:

    Centralized power, without oversight: The Maharishi centralized all power in himself and a few trusted followers, with no oversight. (This does not appear to have changed since his death.) Most religions have oversight by elders, the law, legislative bodies, and so forth.

    Invasion of Schools, Courts, Prisons: Despite losing the New Jersey Court Case in the 1970s and being kicked out of public schools, Transcendental Meditation is again attempting to invade public school systems, despite its obvious religious overtones. There is also conflict with the separation of church and state when people are sentenced to TM in American courts or when prisoners are coerced into taking up TM.

    Questionable Research: Much of the published research on Transcendental Meditation is questionable in methodology and objectivity of researchers — who usually include TM practitioners. A recent U.S. government-funded study finds nearly all meditation research questionable.

    Jealousy of Other Spiritual Leaders: Most New Age groups are quite inclusive. Followers pick and choose from teachings of many authors and leaders. The TM Movement differs: They ban members who seek spiritual teachers beside the Maharishi. Members who seek psychological counseling may be banned from “courses,” similar to being cut off from sacraments in a Christian church.

    “Impermissible Experiments”: The Maharishi taught his meditation techniques were passed down as “perfect” knowledge from guru to disciple for thousands of years. Actually, it appears the Maharishi either made up his techniques, read about them, stole them from other spiritual leaders (Yogananda and the “Age of Enlightenment Techniques, Lakshman Joo and the “Seven States of Consciousness,” et al.). He taught common, entry-level techniques as “supreme knowledge.” He then tested his eclectic techniques on participants in teacher training, “Six-Month Courses,” or other courses to see their effects.
    Course participants paid thousands of dollars to be used as guinea pigs.
    Not being an experienced meditation teacher who could guide his students past the dangers of the meditative path, the Maharishi’s results were thousands of TMers who experienced debilitating physical, mental, and emotional side-effects.

    Paranoid Thinking: In his final decades, the Maharishi’s thinking and policies became increasingly paranoid. He railed about the Movement being in danger from Rakshasas (Hindu demons) — who can only enter buildings from south-facing entrances, while gods enter buildings from east-facing entrances. He claimed the Transcendental Meditation Movement was infiltrated by the CIA, American Medical Association, and pharmaceutical companies. He complained about poisoned food. When confronted with allegations of child molestations on his Indian facility, he claimed these stories were planted by his enemies.

    Constant Emphasis on Money and Empire: The Maharishi charged $2,500 to learn the basic meditation technique. Initiates take about 1 hour to learn the technique, indistinguishable from traditional japa learned from a book. He charged ever larger amounts for succeeding advanced courses, the most advanced of which costs $1 million dollars. This is particularly ironic in that the Maharishi was not a Brahmin and was forbidden by Vedic law to initiate or charge money. Most spiritual teachers taught for the love of God, never charging their followers (for example Buddha, Christ, Mohammed). In addition to hundreds of millions raised through course fees, the Maharishi pressured wealthy followers to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to fund his dreams of empire. Press reports estimate the TM Movement’s net worth in the billions of dollars.

    Recruitment over Charity: Despite collecting billions of dollars, the Maharishi never engaged in charity among the world’s poor, choosing rather to surround himself with the ultra-wealthy. And rather than minister to the sick, the Maharishi attempted to cash in on health care with his very expensive Maharishi Ayurveda “medicines” and therapy. TMers were encouraged to avoid the poor and sick because it was believed meditators could be affected by their “stress” and low level of spiritual development.

    Inherent Danger in Isolated Communities: The Maharishi pressured followers to congregate in isolated communities. Course participants, often sequestered in out-of-the-way locations, may not mingle with non-participants. TMers are pressured to move to Fairfield, Iowa or other Movement enclaves to bask in the “purity” of an all-meditator community. TM Sidhas are encouraged to attend courses in Third World countries to avert an impending “World War III.”
    Any isolated community is subject to the tendency of “groupthink,” making them susceptible to believe — and act on — the wildly delusional, grandiose pronouncements of the Maharishi without benefit of critical thought. Groupthink contributed to the mass-suicide tragedy at Jonestown.

    I write largely about people involved with the Transcendental Meditation Movement: meditating hours a day, practicing advanced techniques, attending long meditation courses with many hours of meditation for weeks or months at a stretch, becoming a Transcendental Meditation Teacher or Governor. It’s rare among the 2,000 people I’ve worked with in the last 13 years that someone practicing the original twice-a-day, 20-minutes-a-pop meditation has developed serious problems. (Although some have.)
    The definition of a cult remains controversial. In my psychotherapeutic practice, I tend to focus more on cultic relationships than developing a list of “known” cults. Nevertheless, many critics have labeled the Transcendental Meditation Movement a cult founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Authors Lalich and Tobias, in Take Back Your Life (2006), outline the main characteristics of a cult. Decide for yourself if these characteristics are present in the TM Movement:
    • The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    • Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
    • The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry — or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    • The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar — or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    • The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    • The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
    • The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    • The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    • Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    • The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    • The group is preoccupied with making money.
    • Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    • Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    • The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

     John M. Knapp, LMSW is a counselor, therapist, cult recovery expert, consultant, and speaker. He has counseled over 2,000 former cult members in the last 13 years. He founded three web sites well known in cult recovery: TranceNet.net, TMFree.blogspot.com, and KnappFamilyCounseling.com.

    • http://www.tmfree.blogspot.com Sudarsha

      For what it might be worth, Ethan, Mahesh’s operational principle was: the ends justify the means. So lying, bending the truth, turning the truth inside-out, ignoring the truth, all in the pursuit of getting more and more people to do his “TM”, was all that mattered.

      Mahesh’s biggest distortion of undemonstrated fact was that more and more people meditating more and more would, somehow, generate world peace. No evidence that this is tenable has been forthcoming between the time Mahesh appeared in the West and when he died … or since! It’s the myth you buy into when your idealism over-rided your common sense.

      Who actually benefited from TM? The obvious answer is Mahesh and his family, the Shrivastavas. They were the ends and people who learnt TM were the means. Bernie Madoff ended up in jail where, it would seem, is exactly where Mahesh and the Shrivastavas belong.

  • ethan

    ROARK LETTER

    Dear [TM-EX]: This is to confirm to you our previous discussions
    regarding my time as Chairman of the Physics Department at Maharishi
    International University. As you know, since then I have ceased doing
    TM and I am Chairman of the Physics Department at a small liberal
    arts college [in the Pacific NW].

    During my time at MIU, I had occasion to examine the scientific claims
    of the movement, to interact with those who had reportedly performed
    the research, to study the metaphysics, philosophy and religion associated
    with the TM technique, and to work with the founder of the movement
    and the college. It is my certain belief that the many scientific
    claims both to factual evidences of unique, beneficial effects of
    TM and to theoretical relationships between the experience of TM and
    physics are not only without any reasonable basis, but are in fact
    in many ways fraudulent. I will briefly try to detail a few of these
    errors and false claims in this letter.

    While serving on the faculty I discussed the EEG work which purported
    to show “increased brain wave coherence while practising the flying
    technique” with one of the faculty investigators who had participated
    in the development of the study, Dr. Michael Dillbeck. My suspicions
    were generated by knowing the near impossibility of making EEG measurements
    of weak electric signals coming from an array of electrodes attached
    to the > subject’s scalp while the subject is moving. (The claims
    and advertisements show a picture of an apparently “flying” meditator
    alongside the claimed coherent brain wave pattern. The initial claim
    of “flying” as my personal experience discovered is merely an energetic
    muscular “hopping.”) The TM investigator confirmed to me that contrary
    to the implied claim, the pattern displayed was not of the flying
    or hopping meditator since the measurement was indeed impossible.
    A similar degree of deception is to be found in the movement’s claimed
    reduction of crime and other negative social phenomena if enough people
    in a country or in the world begin to meditate. Confirmed to me by
    investigators at MIU was the suppression of negative evidence that
    these investigators had collected. Strong bias was present in selecting
    only data favourable to a conclusion that was made prior to the data
    collection. Because of the strong authoritarian (essentially cultic)
    aspects of the movement, only results supporting ideas generated by
    the movement leadership could receive any hearing. The “scientific
    research” is without objectivity and is at times simply untrue.

    While Chairman of Physics at MIU, I was asked to develop a quantum
    theory, a unified field theory, which would incorporate consciousness
    in such a way as to explain the “flying” technique as non-ordinary
    and which would give to the subjective experience of meditation a
    fundamental role in physics. I found then and I continue to find now
    such claims preposterous. This is what is normally called “crackpot
    science.” Although there is substantial work in the physics of quantum
    mechanics giving to consciousness an essential role, even a causal
    role, there is no evidence or argument that could connect some sort
    of universal consciousness to be subjectively experienced with a unified
    field of all physics. In fact, the existing scientific work suggests
    just the opposite. If consciousness can be talked about at all with
    regard to the physical world, then it must be in the sense of lying
    wholly outside of the physical system. Of course quantum mechanical
    explanations of “flying” in such a way as to suggest that this “flying”
    is an apparent violation of the simpler laws of nature, such as gravity,
    is entirely inappropriate because nothing unusual is happening in
    the “flying” technique which is only hopping. (On the psychological
    level, something unusual and probably dangerous is happening during
    this and other advanced TM techniques.)

    The early attempts to relate the experience of TM to the physical
    nature of reality were by fuzzy analogies. Analogous reasoning may
    be useful to clarify ideas, but never to establish connecting relationships.
    Subsequent attempts to produce some sort of physical theory involving
    TM merely carry the analogies further into the realm of obscure thinking
    that can perhaps fool the person not conversant with the language
    of physics but will be usually quickly described as crackpot by the
    expert physicist.

    My belief is that TM is in its practise and in its theories religious
    in nature and is based on a pantheistic Hinduism that has been reformulated
    to make it attractive to Western minds. We in the West have great
    respect for science and often look to science and technology to explain
    our world and to solve our problems. (We probably have an over-reliance
    on science in fact and may turn it into a religion itself.) By TM
    claiming to be scientific in a most fundamental way, it tries to demand
    of us a respect we reserve for things thought scientific, rational,
    efficient, and effective. Under the guise of this false scientific
    claim then, Hinduism seeks its entrance into our lives. Many innocent
    individuals who sought only for an effective (scientific) relaxation
    technique are then exposed to the real dangers of this TM technique
    and to the misleading philosophy and metaphysics claimed by its proponents.
    Sincerely,

    Dennis E. Roark, Ph.D.~

  • rocky

    TM does have an introductory lecture which is
    : completely free of cost and obligation, and I would whole heartadly
    : reccomend that you go there and check it out, and not listen to any of
    : us here.
    Interested newcomers *should* attend the introductory session. But bear
    in mind that you’ll only hear a part of the story there:

    * You’ll not be told that the massive “scientific validation” so
    proudly trumpeted is composed of biased and invalid studies, and
    that the researchers make truly astonishing leaps of logic in
    their conclusions.

    * You’ll not be told that many people (not all, by any means) have
    experienced long-lasting negative effects from the practice.

    * You’ll not be told about an unchallenged US court ruling that
    declared TM a religion.

    * You’ll not be told about TM’s inextricable roots in Hindu doctrine,
    and the deeply religious beliefs of its most devoted advocates.

    * You’ll not be told about the attrition rate among TM initiates (which
    almost certainly exceeds 90% over the past 30 years (I’d love to
    have hard data on this point; does anybody?)).

    * You’ll not be told about the bizarre social structure in the
    organization upon whose threshold you stand.

    If you speak up at the introductory meeting about these topics, your opinion
    will be invalidated, your arguments will be brushed aside. You will, if you
    persist in asking hard questions, be asked to leave. TM does not tolerate
    scrutiny.

    : I do not take the advice about something which I deem so important in my
    : life as a meditation technique from people who I don’t know.

    Most people are forced to learn TM from a nearly total stranger. And those
    who learned it from a loved one (like myself) fare no better. It seems to me
    that most people have no choice but to take advice about meditation from
    people they don’t know. Hell, if they take *your* advice to “not take
    anyone’s advice,” they’re taking a stranger’s advice on the subject!

    : There are some who will give you very negative advice about TM and
    : meditation in general because of the energies it stirs up inside you.

    Or, in Western terms, “the psychoses it stirs up inside you.”

    –Tim

  • Andrew Taynton

    I can recommend Transcendental Meditation (TM). Its does far more than it promises. I have been practicing TM since 1985 and would not go without it.

  • http://tmfree.blogspot.com/ Sudarsha

    Hi, Andrew

    I have no doubt that TM feels good and you enjoy doing it. But I think Tim’s assessment, above, is a far more accurate assessment of what the organization promotiong TM is all about.

    S

    if you check out the web site TM-Free (http://tmfree.blogspot.com/), you’ll see that there are “issues” with TM that the organization would prefer you not know about, least of all, think about

  • http://www.suggestibility.org Joe

    TM is a cult. Please see my web site at http://www.suggestibility.org.

  • http://tmfree.blogspot.com/ Sudarsha

    Hi, Andrew

    You are surely right. TM does a lot: I have seen first hand evidence of people with twitching arms, heads jerking from side to side, muscle ticks and, worse of all, people who have demonstrated every indication of psychotic behaviour. Add to this wonderful resume of what TM can do for you this: magical thinking, presuming that by thinking people can levitate, people paying lots of money to have walls torn down so they can east-facing doors (because this is what Mahesh says will bring world peace). The wonders of TM are very long and kept very secret.

    Two things: definitely check out http://www.suggestibility.org and take a look at the Blog http://tmfree.blogspot.com/

    If none of the marvels of TM have cropped up in your life, then you must really be sitting on the sidelines, far away from the cultural hub of what TM is really all about. Please stay there, for your own sake.

    Please keep TM out of our schools.

    • ethan

      I totally agree with Sudarsha’s response to Andrew.
      It time that TM practitioners face the facts-TM has lots of documented side effects.

  • ethan

    Monday, January 17, 2011
    “David Wants to Fly” in San Francisco
    Nearly 30 friends gathered with overwhelming support for a personal coming-out gathering, at yesterday’s 4 pm screening of “David Wants to Fly” for the German Gems Film Festival in San Francisco’s beautiful Castro theater.

    We paid our restaurant tab and took a sunny walk to the Castro movie theater. Even more friends turned out at the movie! After keeping my family history quiet for decades, the acceptance and support of intelligent accomplished peers was overwhelming. What an odd way to unite my life’s first and second halves – on a sidewalk ticket line. The irony of my coming-out-of-the-closet in San Francisco’s famed tolerant Castro district did not go unnoticed.

    Inside the beautiful theater, Eve spoke from the row behind me. “When waiting outside, I asked the person in line next to me ‘Why did you come to see this film?’ He responded, “Transcendental Meditation is being taught at my kid’s high school. I want to see the other side of the story.’ I told him about your family upbringing, how you helped prevent TM from coming to you kids’ high school; that’s why we are attending this film! It’s exciting. We’re proud of you, Gina!”

    I smiled and laughed, not knowing how to respond. “Thank you for coming today. I really appreciate it.”

    A master of ceremonies briefly introduced the filmmaker David Sieveking on stage. Then lights dimmed as the red velvet curtains pulled open, and the film began.

    The audience watched Sieveking’s skillful and compassionate editing of his enthusiastic youthful journey to meet his idol, filmmaker David Lynch. At Lynch’s encouragement, Sieveking paid 2,800 euros cash for TM instruction. The film then follows Sieveking’s journey through images into some of TM’s global empire, New York, Berlin, Vlodrop, Iowa, India. After filming Maharishi’s memorial service on the Ganges, Sieveking was granted access to inner aspects of the Movement in Vlodrop, Netherlands. He filmed the lavish golden-crowned assembly of rajas in long white robes and gold chains during an early power struggle between Maharishi’s deemed successor, Maharaja Nader Raam, and the Indian factions of the Movement. In several instances, TM leaders directed Sieveking to turn off his camera. Several film clips include former devotees revealing bits of the Movement’s underbelly.

    The post-film Q & A primarily revolved around film making. David Sieveking spoke frankly of the irony that he sought David Lynch and Transcendental Meditation to spur his filmmaking career. In the end, David Lynch and the Transcendental Meditation Movement demanded to censure the film. When Sieveking refused to allow the Movement censorship rights, David Lynch and the Movement refused further interviews with David Sieveking. They threatened Sieveking with law suits.

    The audience laughed when Sieveking explained that meeting with an entertainment law attorney proved more beneficial for his stress level, than had the Transcendental Meditation technique.

    Ironically, Sieveking’s pursuit of David Lynch and Transcendental Meditation did, in fact, provide the basis for a successful film. It’s just not the film that Sieveking had initially expected to make.

    My friend Joe stood up, “Thank you, David, for making this film. I spent 15 years devotedly working for this organization. You’ve depicted that world eloquently and compassionately. The only thing missing was stories of the severe psychological and financial damage that occurred to many. The movie did not highlight those aspects, but you probably could not cover that. Transcendental Meditation is both manipulative and dangerous. Over all, your film was an excellent portrayal of the inside of that organization. Thank you.”

    After the film, A young man struggling with family relation to TM cornered David Sieveking in the lobby, discussing aspects of the TM Movement. David Sieveking politely spoke with Mark, while trying to work contacts for his filmmaking career. Sieveking is not a professional exit counselor, nor a cult expert. He is a talented young filmmaker who recognized when he had stumbled upon a story, and pursued that story with passion.

    Over dinner later, I asked another girlfriend, “So, as an outsider, what did you think of the film?”

    “Oh, Sieveking did a great job! I was not fully objective, because I know Gina and I’d heard her stories. In the beginning of the film, I was surprised because I’d expected a hard core expose’. In fact he presented TM’s sales pitch. He showed how wonderful it is to relax with meditation. It was all just lovely, in fact, really lovely. He had a break up, a psychological crisis, and retreated to the comfort of meditation with new friends. Then he slowly revealed the group’s cracks, and the cracks just got bigger across the globe. The viewer walks that road with him through cracks that seem ready to crumble. He also clearly alluded to the fact that there is more to those cracks, but he could not tell those stories because of legal threats. The film clearly shows there is deep ugly dysfunction in Transcendental Meditation. He is a brilliant filmmaker with a bright career ahead of him! The fact that he’s funny and handsome doesn’t hurt!”

    For those interested, you can read a more detailed review which includes an ex TMer lunch conversation preceding the screening by clicking to Gina’s personal blog for essay “David Wants to Fly” with San Francisco friends.
    Posted by Gina at 1/17/2011 03:48:00 PM

  • http://www.siliconsqueak.org Saijanai

    So many assertions, so little room…

    I’ll cherry pick the cherry picked evidence. First, the German kinda encapsulates the entire morass above:

    The study conducted by the German government was actually interviews conducted with people who had complaints about TM in some way. The researchers asked people who approached them with complaints to refer them to other people willing to talk to them about complaints:

    “Altogether 67 people were questioned. All those questioned had a direct or indirect relationship with the T.M. movement. It was necessary from the beginning to divide or classify them into three groups: [30 parents of meditators, 10 people married to persons currently practicing TM and 27 former practitioners of TM]. http://www.trancenet.net/research/chap2.shtml#2.1

    Once you understand how this group was selected (they had complaints or were friends or family members of people who had complaints) and how large a group of people had learned TM in Germany by that time (I would guess about 100,000), you realize that there’s no way to draw any conclusions about TM from this. A similar survey of any organization with 100,000 members will easily yield 67 people (including family members) with complaints about that organization willing to talk about their complaints in an anonymous survey.

    Another fine example of cherry picking is the survey of meditation conducted by Holmes which studies on many other techniques besides TM and concluded that NONE of the worked, not just that TM didn’t work. The studies that didn’t work, included Benson’s Relaxation Response, touted as working “just as well as TM” above. The studies that Holmes looked at were all tiny. One was as small as 7 people per experimental group.

    The complaints about TM research are from people who had little or no contact with the TM university after it was accredited and while certainly research conducted ONLY by true believers is suspect, not all positive research on TM is conducted only by true believers. Some is conducted by people who refuse to learn TM simply because they don’t want accusations of bias. Other researchers work at other universities and while they may themselves practice TM, you have a hard sell to the academic community itself by insisting that that automatically makes them liars -biased, yes, liars, not without proof. And finally, the evidence in support of TM’s effect on blood pressure and other heart-related issues has become strong enough that some people who have published the “TM and other meditation techniques have no effect” are starting their own, completely independent research on the topic, just to see if there really is or isn’t an effect.

    I won’t get into personalities of the people who make a career of complaining about TM online (its not like I am in a position to judge other people) but I will point out that those of us who choose constantly to post positive or negative comments online about some cause or another generally have a reputation with the rest of the online community. I recognize almost every contributor to this thread of comments. We’ve all been online for years, arguing the pros and cons of TM. Do you really trust ANY of us to be a good source of info about our pet biases?

  • ETHAN

    The principal, Mr Vinay Motheeram and TM Co-ordinator of Crossmoor Secondary School A Sheorat, wrote an open letter addressed TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN about the many so called benefits of the Transcendental Meditation had on the learners at the school.
    Many claims were made about the so called improved positive behaviour of pattern of the pupils. They even claimed that it reduced blood pressure in the pupils-one wonders if this was verified by medical practitioners before such a claim was made in writing.
    It concludes with words ”This transformation is exactly what is needed to guide the present and future generations in pursuance of the ideal society we desire.”
    The truth of the matter is that a few days after the above letter was publicly distributed, the local newspaper The Rising Sun on page 3 in an article by it reporter headlined “Crossmoor’s After School Warfare’ wrote about the violence experienced at that school. She wrote that …parents and pupils complained that the violence at that school has reached epic proportions, with a number of pupils attacking each other on a daily basis outside the school gate. On one occasion, pupils were reported to produced weapons such as knuckle dusters, knobkerries, firearms and even samurai swords”
    The following is what the principal of Crossmoor Secondary school who signed the letter referred to above praising the many benefits l implementation of the TM programme in his school stated to the reporter that he was while the school was aware of the on-going violence, they have exhausted all avenues in trying to curb the problem. He concludes by stating. “I appeal to all major community role players to assist us in the social moulding of our children”.
    Clearly the TM programme has failed. I trust that both Mr Motheeram and the TM Co-of Crossmoor School will have the courage to will withdraw their letter and write another on TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN and stat the so called Transcendental Meditation Programme has failed.

    • http://www.siliconsqueak.org Saijanai

      Be honest about what you are quoting:
      http://www.looklocal.co.za/looklocal/content/en/chatsworth/chatsworth-news-general?oid=4660904&sn=Detail&pid=1171669&Crossmoor’s-afterschool-warfare

      [...]

      “This is really getting out of hand. I park outside the school gate everyday to pick up my child, and without fail, there is a scuffle. Last week Monday, there were four fights with pupils mercilessly attacking each other. As a parent, I am very concerned about the well-being of my child,” said Mr Naicker, a parent of a pupil at the school.
      According to several pupils, these fights only take place after school, between members of gangs, if their rank in the hierarchy is undermined. “There are a number of gangs at school, but there are two in particular that are especially renowned. This is the Eleven Street gang and the Hit gang. If you get in their way, or if you cause trouble with one of their members, they all come after you. There are a number of members who are part of this gang but not all of them are in this school. Some are former pupils who matriculated or were expelled. They still come to the gate after school and loiter around there,” said a pupil.

      [...]
      “We do everything in our power to ensure the well being and safety of all pupils in our care, during school hours. We go to great lengths to try instil good values into the mindset of our pupils, however, there is only so much a school can do and what happensoutside the school premises, we cannot account for. For this reason, I appeal to parents to take an interest in their child’s value systems. Address their attitude towards violence. I also appeal to all major community role players to assist us in the social moulding of our children,” said Mr Motheeram.

  • ETHAN

    RE BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE QUOTING BY SAIJANAI

    I not sure if you really understood what I was saying. My article is really a comparing what the principal of Crossmoor Secondary claimed in an open letter he wrote and the true state of affairs in his school as made public by the reporter of the Rising Sun entitled “Crossmoor’s afterschool Warefare. School violence escalates to epic proportions.
    The principal, Mr Vinay Motheeram and TM Co-ordinator of Crossmoor Secondary School, A Sheorat, wrote an open letter addressed TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN about the many so called benefits of the Transcendental Meditation had on the learners at the school. Many claims were made about the so called improved positive behaviour of pattern of the pupils. (If you contact them I am sure they will give you a copy of the letter they wrote).
    No mention was made in the letter about the many behavioural problems experienced at that school and the impression gained from reading that letter that it was a model school where everything was in order. Unfortunately for them, their so called claims were clearly contradicted by the article written in the in the Rising Sun which publicly revealed the actual state of affairs at that school. To date the principal has not denied the article in our newspaper was incorrect. All schools do have behavioural problems and one wonders what the agenda of the above mentioned persons really is when they wrote their letter using the school letter head?
    If anyone should be honest , it is Mr Vinay Motheeram and TM Co-ordinator of Crossmoor Secondary School , A Sheorat. They should publicly apologize in writing for misleading the public by the letter written and signed by both of them and withdraw same. True educators are not afraid to acknowledge mistakes made and should make every effort to correct them. If they refuse to do this, then they have betrayed the very trust that our parents and learners have placed in them and leads one to believe that they have an hidden agenda in suppressing the truth.

    I am not against any religion be taught at school providing learners and their parents are fully aware what they are doing. This is in accordance with the constitution of our country. In this case children and parents are misled to believe that TM is not a religious practice when in reality it really is. Furthermore learners are told to chant words in Sanskrit without telling them the actual meaning of what they are chanting. The founder of TM himself states that TM is a religious practice. The English translation of the puja ceremony that learners have to participate in during the initiation ceremony and the actual meaning of the Sanskrit words that they are compelled to chant on a daily basis are found at this teacher website. Former TM instructors like John Knapp, Surdasha, Joe Kellet and Gina also discuss the so called ‘benefit claims’ and real motivation of the TM organization.
    In the former apartheid era, we were upset by the Christian National Education policy and revolted against it. In our new democracy the same is happening when Moslem, Christian and Hindu children including the many Black learners who come to our schools for a better education are being indoctrinated by people like Motheeram to practice TM in our schools without revealing its true nature and purpose. Some other school principals in Chatsworth are also guilty of promoting TM in their schools and need to stop indoctrinating their pupils. This actions by these few principals in our government schools are actually setting the stage for a “religious war’ and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and stopped immediately before it gets out of hand.
    The Department of Basic Education should discipline the principals from all schools who have incorporated TM IN their school time tables. They are paid to educate our pupils and not indoctrinate them.

  • Tom

    I seriously doubt that any member of the TM Organization will ever be “honest” about the whole effect of TM. This is for two reasons: first, anyone involved at the committed believer level of the TM Organization is simply, by belief alone, immune from seeing anything other than a completely pre-arranged vision of what should be (no judgement is clouded by seeing things the way they are); second, the TM Organization only reports things that fit the pre-conceived nature of what should be, all facts must fit the theory or they are not really facts. I know of no comparison (double-blind) studies conducted by the TM Organization in the legitimate way of such things. I also know of no outside organization that has bothered to take the claims of the TM Organization seriously enough to invest any energy in investigating what the TM Organization claims. I think that this alone speaks volumes.

    I have, however, observed many people who have done TM and still do TM. There is one very definite revelation my observations concede: _results_vary,_often_exceedingly_widely. The TM Organization puts ALL negativity down to pre-existing conditions on the part of the participant (which they have no means to detect before instruction and which, to their discredit, they make no effort to discover). Money first, then instruction, then the blame game if things do not go well and all credit to themselves if things do go well!

    Anyone wishing to get involved in TM (and I have great pity for those who are convinced to get involved without due diligence and a complete revelation of all relevant contingencies) should be well advised to go no further than TM twenty minutes twice a day. Even this ought to come with very vehement caveats.

  • Joshua

    What is the hidden purpose behind recruiting pupils at school level to practice Transcendental Meditation?

    15 November 2011

    Mr Motheeram and other principals who are promoting TM in their schools are probably not aware that they are being used as pawns.

    At school level pupils are not required to pay to practice TM. At a later stage, however when they are out of school and continue into the more advanced stages of TM, they have to pay large sums of money. The addiction to TM is equated to that of addiction to drugs. The ‘free drugs’ are used as bait to addict one who when addicted has to pay big money in order to feed the addiction. This is the same with TM. The ‘free TM’ offered at schools are used as bait to ‘addict’ children to TM. Once this is achieved, those who become ‘addicted’ pay large sums of money to continue.

    The ‘free’ TM however is not really ‘free.’ The organisers are receiving large funding from world renowned celebrities who are sponsoring the programmes in various parts in the world. Children are the targets of the programme for which funding is being obtained. One knows how much easier it is to obtain funding where the ‘well-being’ of children is the goal.

    In the real world, the TM organisation charges adults thousands of rands to learn the basic meditation technique. Press reports estimate the TM Movement’s net worth in the billions of dollars (Former TM teacher Joe Kellet, http://suggestibility.org).

    Learning the basic TM technique costs $1500 in the US. As one progresses into the more advanced stages the TM and the TM-related offerings could cost one everything one has.

    * The “advanced technique” which involves merely adjusting the mantra costs over $1000.
    o The levitation instruction costs over $3000.

    We were unable to get the cost that South Africa pays to practice the above at the time of writing this article.

    The TM free introductory talks are a very slick presentation skirting any issue of religion, brain washing or just how devious the TMO’s attempts are to get money into their pockets.

    Surdasha, a former TM Instructor explains the real (hidden) purpose of recruiting pupils at school to practice TM.

    I see the TMO very cynically trying to recruit future (and long-term) funding by getting children hooked on Mahesh’s pie-in-the-sky promises and dubious methodology. From the many who learnt TM in the past, few actually stuck with it. Yes, some die and some went on to have and give a great deal of money to the TMO, the TM Organisation. This is what keeps this nefarious bunch of religious hoodlums in business, those few who remain to continuously give. So, trawling the schools for recruits really amounts to shanghaiing children to fund the good ship Lollipop!
    The TM organisation is in reality a multibillion dollar organisation arising from the huge sums of money charged by the Maharishi. This is particularly ironic in that the Maharishi was not a Brahmin and was forbidden by Vedic law to initiate or charge money for his services. In addition to the hundreds of millions raised through course fees, the Maharishi pressured wealthy followers to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to fund his dreams of his empire.

  • joshua

    Is TM is a religious practice? Joshua Gilbert
    The promoters of TM and the school principals and teachers who promote TM in their schools claim that TM is merely a relaxation technique and is non religious in nature. Therefore members of all religious groups can practice TM.
    This actually is the worldwide propagation strategy. TM is presented to the world as a non-religious relaxation technique and is hence practiced by many.
    However TM is is a religious practice. This is clearly revealed in the published writings of Maharishi, the founder of TM) and clearly contradicts the organizations carefully constructed public image . The Maharishi states that TM is:

    • “is a path to God.”1

    • “A very good form of prayer is this meditation which leads us to the field of the creator, to the source of creation, to the field of God.”2

    • “(TM) is the only way to salvation and success in life; there is no other way.3

    The Maharishi also states that the mantras he dispenses invoke householder gods,
    “For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life” 4
    and that they are a spiritual tool to be used to call on spiritual beings “on other levels of creation.” He explains the deeper, religious purpose of the mantras:
    “We do something here according to Vedic rites, particularly, specific chanting to produce an effect in some other world, draw the attention of those higher beings or gods living there. The entire knowledge of the mantras or hymns of the Vedas is devoted to man’s connection, to man’s communication with the higher beings in different strata of creation.”5
    For a complete list of mantras and meanings, see TranceNet.org and Minet.org.

    If the founder has clearly stated that TM is a religious practice why are the promoters of TM claiming otherwise. Having stated that TM is a religious practice the founder went on to explain why TM should be promoted otherwise:
    Whenever and wherever religion dominates the mass consciousness, transcendental deep meditation should be taught in terms of religion….Today when politics is guiding the destiny of man, the teaching should be primarily based on the field of politics and secondarily on the plane of economics……. It seems, for the present, that this transcendental deep meditation should be made available to the peoples through the agencies of government.6
    This is just “shrewd opportunism.”

    The South African Bill of Rights 15.2 with regard to Freedom of religion, belief and opinion states that “everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities, they are conducted on an equitable basis; and attendance at them is free and voluntary”.
    Participation in TM at school cannot be free and voluntary unless full disclosure is made concerning out the nature, practice, costs and possible side effects of TM. Therefore, when obtaining parental consent for participation in TM, the full details concerning the practice must be declared to all parents. If this is not adhered to parents have a right to withhold consent and to ensure that their child is not forced by the school into such practice.

    1. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, (Bantam Books, NY, 1973), p. 59. 5. Ibid., p. 95.
    2. Maharishi, On the Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation and Commentary (Penguin Books, Baltimore, 1967) p. 228.
    3. Maharishi, Science of Being and Art of Living (New American Library, Bergenfield, NJ, 1963) pp. 299, 300.
    4 Beacon Light of the Himalyas, 1955, p. 65
    5 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, (Bantam Books, NY, 1973), pp. 17,18
    6 Maharishi, Science of Being and Art of Living (New American Library, Bergenfield, NJ, 1963) pp. 299, 300.

  • Ethan

    Who Are These People? The Backgrounds of David Lynch’s “Operation Warrior Wellness” participants

    Posted: 02 Dec 2011 06:37 AM PST

    (This is a rewrite/update of last years’ “Who Are These People” feature, on the “researchers” and other figures associated with the David Lynch Foundation’s campaign to promote Transcendental Meditation to vulnerable populations including schoolchildren and military veterans.)

    This weekend’s events sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation begin at 11 am Pacific time today, with a “press conference” that’s been announced on the Foundation’s web site, but strangely, as far as what shows up online this morning, no press releases have been sent to the media through the usual websites to encourage attendance by members of the press.

    (Update, 9:30 am ET: Obviously the Associated Press has rewritten a press release into a news story for an event that hasn’t even happened yet. It’s 6:30 am in Los Angeles and Lynch and company are probably still asleep.)

    At the DLF web site, there’s a copy of an invitation that was sent to people who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique describing the event. As usual, this sort of “press conference” that isn’t – a non-event that’s staged periodically by the organization that teaches TM for the last few decades – will be a sales pitch offering the Transcendental Meditation program as yet another form of panacea, this time, as a treatment for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.

    As is standard practice for promoters of Maharishi-branded products, full disclosure of the backgrounds, and prior associations with the TM program, of the people who’ll be present and/or presenting at this event seldom occurs. While it may appear that the medical doctors and other individuals on the panel may be independently employed, many have long been closely associated with the TM organization.

    As I’ve written before, the promoters of TM today generally tend to come from a rather narrow demographic, recruited while relatively young, and during a particular period, the late ’60′s and early-mid 70′s, when recruitment into TM was supported by the influence of American popular culture. Likewise, there’s a striking sameness among the ten individuals involved with this conference. Only two of them are clearly younger than 50 years old, and they’re students at the TM movement’s university. Among those whose date of initiation into the TM program can be identified, other than those students, only one learned TM after the mid-1970′s.

    My added details about the conference panel participants appear in italic below. Names and initial descriptions are from various David Lynch Foundation sources including press releases and bios on the Foundation and Operation Warrior Welness websites.

    David Lynch, chair, David Lynch Foundation
    American filmmaker, aged 64. Initiated into the Transcendental Meditation program on July 1, 1973. Lynch has no demonstrated qualifications to evaluate a treatment for PTSD.
    John Hagelin, Ph.D., president of the David Lynch Foundation. Harvard-trained quantum physicist who has led an international scientific investigation over the past 25 years into the applications of Transcendental Meditation for health and education.
    While Hagelin is indeed a physicist, his qualifications to evaluate any treatment or therapy for PTSD have not been demonstrated. Hagelin has been involved with the TM organization for decades, and has run for the United States Presidency multiple times as the Natural Law Party candidate. Inside the all-male hierarchy of the organization, he’s known as the “Raja of America,” coronated on November 20, 2007.
    Jerry Yellin, World War II veteran and national co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness. A P-51 pilot in WWII who flew 19 missions over Japan, and was victimized by PTSD for 25 years before learning to meditate in 1975, Mr. Yellin is a member of the Military Writers Society of America; author of three award-winning books, and honorary board member of the Iwo Jima Association of America.
    Yellin’s personal story and endorsement of the TM program appears at the Transcendental Meditation Blog, and of course, in his latest book. Those are, however, no substitute for independent scientific research on the effectiveness of the technique, particularly with respect to PTSD. His story should not encourage the disregard of the inherent religious agenda of global transformation, based on gaining the support of Vedic devata (gods), put forward by the sole organization which offers TM. This unavoidable agenda is inherent to the whole process of learning Transcendental Meditation including introductory presentations on TM. The vague, unsupportable claim made by the DLF and others, that the mantras used in TM have unique, mysterious “life-supporting effects,” is one such example.
    Ed Schloeman, Vietnam veteran and national co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness. He is a retired Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) from the New York Air National Guard and a Vietnam Marine Disabled Veteran (Sgt) serving from 1960 to 1966.
    Schloeman learned Transcendental Meditation in late 2010.

    Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., PTSD researcher, bestselling author, member of the Operation Warrior Wellness medical board. Senior researcher in psychiatry and psychobiology for 20 years at the National Institute of Mental Health; clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, who conducted research on TM and Iraq veterans with PTSD.
    Rosenthal recently authored “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation,” a book which, like most of the genre, promotes TM through the use of anecdotes and celebrities. He learned TM in South Africa in the mid-1970′s.

    Other evidence of the depth of Rosenthal’s direct participation in the TM program, if any, remains undisclosed. He has been involved with at least one previous David Lynch Foundation sponsored conference, promoting TM as an aid for students with ADHD. He’s better known for coining the term, “seasonal affective disorder.”

    His research on Iraq veterans with PTSD was published in Military Medicine in July, 2011. This is an “uncontrolled pilot study” with only five subjects who were followed for only twelve weeks, and the abstract suggests that “larger, placebo-controlled studies should be undertaken.”

    Despite Rosenthal’s public endorsement of TM in the context of marketing that implies that it’s a well-studied, scientifically-proven treatment for everything including mental illness, in a November 21, 2011 online interview, he offered this advice to those who wanted to use TM as a treatment for mental illness:

    I would first say, proceed with caution. The very first edict in the Hippocratic Oath is, “First do no harm.” So if someone has a mental illness, that’s something to be taken really seriously. And I would emphasize the value of getting somebody who’s qualified to consult, to offer opinions, to suggest and make recommendations. And it’s only in that context, once the standard treatments have been tried and implemented, that one should go into what is, after all, even though it’s very exciting, still exploratory and experimental. So I would say definitely consider it, definitely bring it up to any treating therapist or doctor. … I would not recommend Transcendental Meditation for any kind of emotional or mental illness ahead of what’s called the “standard of care,” those things that have been very thoroughly researched and have been put forward as standard treatments.
    Rosenthal’s website is produced and hosted by Safire Internet Solutions, the same provider that creates websites for Maharishi University of Management, the David Lynch Foundation, and the TM movement.

    Colonel Brian M. Rees, M.D., M.P.H., co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness, has 34 years of commissioned military service, and completed four deployments in Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College, and is the former commander of the 349th Combat Support Hospital in Bell (Los Angeles), California.
    Rees is a teacher of TM and has been closely associated with the Transcendental Meditation organization for over twenty years. He wrote a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association supporting Maharishi Ayur-Veda products in 1989, and was later identified as the director of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda Medical Center in Pacific Palisades, California. He was a candidate for U.S. Senator from California in 1998 and 2000 under the banner of the TM organization’s “Natural Law Party.”
    Rees is the author of a rather peculiar, 2007 US Army War College masters degree research paper, “The Application of Strategic Stress Management in Winning the Peace.” While the title suggests the subject is “stress management,” much of the paper assumes the validity of the so-called “Maharishi Effect” – the unsubstantiated, and religion-based, assertion that groups of people practicing certain parts of the Transcendental Meditation program that generally involve bouncing on foam rubber will bring peace and “invincibility” to countries that establish and pay for such groups by gaining the support of Vedic devata (gods). In 1997, Evan Fales and Barry Markovsky at the University of Iowa concluded that this “theory does not pass minimal criteria of meaningfulness and logical integrity.”
    Rees is named as one of the directors of the “Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS)” at “The Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management,” one part of the organization that teaches TM. The main function of CAMS appears to be the promotion of the “Maharishi Effect” non-theory, renamed “Invincible Defense Technology,” as valid military doctrine of some sort.

    Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D., Operation Warrior Wellness director of women’s programs, George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist and published researcher on the effects of TM on PTSD and ADHD.
    Grosswald is a research faculty member at the TM movement’s Maharishi University of Management. She was a candidate for U.S. Congress from Virginia in 1996 and 1998, and was treasurer of the Natural Law Party of Virginia at its closing in 2004. Grosswald also participated in the 2003 inauguration of “The US Peace Government.” Grosswald, like John Hagelin, has received a “Doctorate in World Peace Studies” from Maharishi European Research University, which reportedly, as much as it ever physically existed, once consisted of a desk in a TM movement owned hotel in Switzerland. According to a self-described long-term meditator, the MERU “DWP” degree was “an award from Maharishi to those who studied with him for over forty years.”

    Dan Burks, Vietnam veteran, member of the Operation Warrior Wellness advisory board
    Burks, aged 63, was Instructor of Exercise and Sport Science at the TM movement’s Maharishi University of Management, in 2009-2010, and resides in Fairfield, Iowa.

    David George, Iraq veteran, member of the Operation Warrior Wellness advisory board
    George is currently a student at the TM organization’s Maharishi University of Management.
    Supriya Vidic, Iraq veteran, member of the Operation Warrior Wellness advisory board
    Vidic is also a Maharishi University of Management student.

    The actual participation by the organizations listed as “partners” on the conference invitation could not be confirmed by way of each organizations’ websites or other substantiating reports. Paul Rieckhoff, the Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has been announced as a recipient of an award at the David Lynch Foundation’s fundraising gala tomorrow night (Saturday, December 3, 2011).

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