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Transcendental Meditation technique

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Title: Transcendental Meditation technique  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Natural Law Party, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation in education, Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, Norman E. Rosenthal
Collection: Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, Yoga
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Transcendental Meditation technique

The Transcendental Meditation technique is a specific form of mantra meditation[1] developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is often referred to as Transcendental Meditation, or simply TM. The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with one's eyes closed.[2][3] It is reported to be one of the most-widely practiced,[4][5][6] and among the most widely researched meditation techniques,[7] with over 340 peer-reviewed studies published.[8][9] Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into selected schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the U.S.A., Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977 a U.S. district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment.[10] The technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.[11]

The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non-religious, as an aspect of a new religious movement, as rooted in Hinduism,[12][13] and as a non-religious practice for self-development.[14][15][16] The public presentation of the TM technique over its 50-year history has been praised for its high visibility in the mass media and effective global propagation, and criticized for using celebrity and scientific endorsements as a marketing tool. Advanced courses supplement the TM technique and include an advanced meditation called the TM-Sidhi program. In 1970, the Science of Creative Intelligence became the theoretical basis for the Transcendental Meditation technique, although skeptics questioned its scientific nature.[17] Proponents have postulated that one percent of a population (such as a city or country) practicing the TM technique daily may have an impact on the quality of life for that population group. This has been termed the Maharishi Effect.


  • Practice 1
    • Mantra 1.1
      • Selection 1.1.1
      • Meaning and sound value 1.1.2
  • Course descriptions 2
    • Residence Course 2.1
    • TM-Sidhi program 2.2
  • Teachers 3
  • Research 4
  • Institutional programs 5
    • In schools and universities 5.1
    • Corporate programs 5.2
    • Social programs 5.3
    • Military 5.4
  • Theoretical concepts 6
    • Views on consciousness (1963) 6.1
    • Science of Creative Intelligence (1971) 6.2
    • Maharishi Effect (1974) 6.3
    • Maharishi Vedic Science (1981) 6.4
  • Characterizations 7
    • Religious leaders 7.1
      • Notable laypersons 7.1.1
    • Scholars 7.2
    • Government 7.3
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The technique is recommended for 20 minutes twice per day.[18] According to the Maharishi, "bubbles of thought are produced in a stream one after the other", and the Transcendental Meditation technique consists of experiencing a "proper thought" in its more subtle states "until its subtlest state is experienced and transcended".[19][20] Because it is mantra based, the technique "ostensibly meets the working definition of a concentration practice"; however, the TM organization says that "focused attention" is not prescribed, and that the "aim is an [sic] unified and open attentional stance".[21] Other authors describe the technique as an easy, natural technique or process,[22][23]:340–341[24] and a "wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state".[25] Practice of the technique includes a process called "unstressing" which combines "effortless relaxation with spontaneous imagery and emotion". TM teachers caution their students not to be alarmed by random thoughts and to "attend" to the mantra.[26] British chess grandmaster Jonathan Rowson has said that his TM practice gives "a feeling of serenity, energy and balance", but does not provide "any powerful insight into your own mind". Laura Tenant, a reporter for The Independent, said that her TM experience includes going "to a place which was neither wakefulness, sleeping or dreaming", and becoming "detached from my physical self".[27] Worldwide, as many as four to ten million people are reported to be practitioners.[28]


The TM technique consists of silently repeating a mantra with "gentle effortlessness" while sitting comfortably with eyes closed and without assuming any special yoga position.[23][29] The mantra is said to be a vehicle that allows the individual's attention to travel naturally to a less active, quieter style of mental functioning.[30][31][32] One author discusses neurological theories about the importance of selecting the correct mantra. According to these, the mantra enters "the central nervous system via the brain’s speech area", and represents "a direct input of ease and order".[22] TM meditators are instructed to keep their mantra secret[23] to ensure maximum results ("speaking it aloud, apparently defeats the purpose"),[33] to avoid confusion in the mind of the meditators,[19] and as a "protection against inaccurate teaching".[34][35]


The Maharishi is reported to have standardized and "mechanized" the mantra selection process by using a specific set of mantras and making the selection process "foolproof".[19][33] Professor of psychiatry, recluses differ. The Transcendental Meditation mantras are appropriate mantras for householders, while most mantras commonly found in books, such as "Om", are mantras for recluses and "can cause a person to withdraw from life".[42][43][44]

Former TM teacher and author Lola Williamson reports that she told her TM students that their mantra was chosen for them based on their personal interview,[45] while sociologist Roy Wallis, religious scholar J. Gordon Melton and Bainbridge write that the mantras are assigned by age and gender.[12][46][47][48][49][50] In 1984, 16 mantras[12][51][52] were published in Omni magazine based on information from "disaffected TM teachers".[53][54] According to Chryssides, TM teachers say that the promised results are dependent on a trained Transcendental Meditation teacher choosing the mantra for their student.[42]

Meaning and sound value

In his 1963 book The Science of Being and Art of Living, the Maharishi writes that words create waves of vibrations, and the quality of vibration of a mantra should correspond to the vibrational quality of the individual. Likewise, religious studies scholar Thomas Forsthoefel writes, "the theory of mantras is the theory of sound".[55] Author William Jefferson writes that the "euphonics" of mantras are important.[33] Sociologist Stephen J. Hunt and others say that the mantra used in the Transcendental Meditation technique "has no meaning", but that "the sound itself" is sacred.[32][52] In Kerala, India, in 1955, the Maharishi spoke of mantras in terms of personal deities, and according to religious studies scholar Cynthia Ann Humes, similar references can be found in his later works.[55][56]

According to authors Peter Russell and Norman Rosenthal, the sounds used in the technique are taken from the ancient Vedic tradition, have "no specific meaning",[30][57] and are selected for their suitability for the individual.[58] Author, Lola Williamson writes that the bija, or seed mantras used in TM come from the Tantric, rather than Vedic tradition, and that bija mantras are "traditionally associated with particular deities and used as a form of worship".[59][60] According to Needleman, many mantras come from the Vedas or Vedic hymns, which are "the root for all later Hindu scripture",[19] while the 1977 court case Malnak vs. Yogi accepted the TM mantras as meaningless sounds.[61] Likewise, philosophy of science scholar and former Maharishi International University professor Jonathan Shear writes in his book The Experience of Meditation: Experts Introduce the Major Traditions, that the mantras used in the TM technique are independent of meaning associated with any language, and are used for their mental sound value alone.[62] Fred Travis, Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, writes in a 2009 article published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology that "unlike most mantra meditations, any possible meaning of the mantra is not part of Transcendental Meditation practice".[63]

Course descriptions

The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught in a standardized seven-step course over six days by a certified TM teacher.[5][23][64][65][66][67] Except for a requirement to refrain from using non-prescription drugs for 15 days before learning TM,[19][68] all who want to learn are taught provided they can pay the course fee, which can range as high as $2500.[69] The technique is taught via private and group instruction by a TM teacher trained to instruct students and provide follow up.[30] Instruction is given on separate days, beginning with a one hour "introductory lecture" intended to prepare the student for subsequent steps.[23] The lecture discusses mind potential, social relationships, health, and "promoting inner and outer peace". The second step is a 45 minute "preparatory lecture", whose topic is the theory of the practice, its origins and its relationship to other types of meditation.[23][65][70] This is followed by the third step: a private, ten minute, personal interview, allowing the TM teacher to get acquainted with the student and answer questions.[30][65][71]

According to the TM web site, the personal instruction session takes 1–2 hours,[70] and students are required to bring a clean handkerchief, some flowers and fruit, and their course fee.[12] The initiation begins with a short puja ceremony performed by the teacher. The stated purpose of the ceremony is to show honor and gratitude to the lineage of TM "masters",[12][72] or "Holy Tradition"[73] that is listed in the Maharishi's translation and commentary of the Bhagavad-Gita.[74] It is regarded as putting students in the right frame of mind to receive the mantra.[45] The ceremony is conducted in a private room with a "little" white altar containing incense, camphor, rice, flowers and a picture of Maharishi's teacher, Guru Dev.[45][75] The initiate observes passively as the teacher recites a text in Sanskrit.[73] After the ceremony, the "meditators" are "invited to bow", receive their mantra and begin to meditate.[40][45][75][76] Former TM teacher and University professor Don Krieger, called the ceremony "an act of idolatry",[75] while former U.S. Congressman Richard Nolan described it as "corny". According to author William Jefferson, "even people who no longer do TM were never bothered by the ceremony".[33]

On the day after the personal instruction session, the student begins a series of three 90 to 120 minute "teaching sessions", held on three consecutive days, called "three days of checking".[5][30] Their stated purpose is to "verify the correctness of the practice" and to receive further instruction.[70] The first day's checking meeting takes place in a group on the day following personal instruction, and gives information about correct practice based on each student's own experience.[65] The second day of checking uses the same group format, and gives more details of the mechanics of the practice and potential results of the practice, based on student experiences.[65] The third day of checking focuses on subjective growth and the potential development of higher stages of human consciousness, and outlines the follow-up programs available as part of the course.[4][5][77][78] New meditators later return for private follow-up sessions to confirm that they are practicing the technique properly, a process called "personal checking".[19] The preferred schedule for follow up classes is 30 minutes, once per week for one month, and once per month thereafter. The purpose of the follow-up, or "checking sessions", is to verify the practice, give an opportunity for one-on-one contact with a TM teacher, and to address any problems or questions.[30][71] Course graduates may access a lifetime follow-up program which includes consultations, "refresher courses", advanced lectures and group meditations.[79][80] Advanced courses include weekend Residence Courses and the TM-Sidhi program.

According to the TM organization, TM course fees cover "initial training and the lifetime follow-up" program, while helping to "build and maintain TM centers" and schools in India and around the world.[81][82] The fees also reportedly provide TM scholarships for special needs groups, as well as grants and scholarships through TM's Maharishi Foundation, a government approved [70][82] The fees may "vary from country to country", depending on the cost of living,[82] and has changed periodically during the 50 year period it has been taught.

The Maharishi has drawn criticism from yogis and "stricter Hindus" who have accused him of selling "commercial mantras". At the same time, the Maharishi's "promises of better health, stress relief and spiritual enlightenment" have drawn "devotees from all over the world", despite the fees.[83][84][85] According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Religions, by Brandon Toropov and Father Luke Buckles, insistence on fees for TM instruction has caused critics to question the Maharishi's motives however "the movement is not, to all appearances, an exploitive one".[86]

Residence Course

The TM Residence Course is a multi-day, in-residence event that aims to "enrich a person's experience and understanding" of the Transcendental Meditation technique,[87] and accelerate personal growth.[88] During the course, participants add extra TM sessions to their daily routine and receive information about the "principles underlying the program" in an effort to deepen the restful and revitalizing aspects of the practice.[89] The courses may be up to a week in duration and are supervised by TM teachers,[90] who lead the group meditations, give lectures, teach yoga postures called asanas and breathing exercise called pranayama.[19][91] The TM Residence Course utilizes a more intensive meditation process called "rounding",[92] wherein yoga asanas, pranayama, a standard TM meditation, and rest, are practiced in sequence. Each sequence takes about 50 minutes and may be repeated several times.[93]

Yoga asanas were initially introduced by Maharishi in 1962. "For good health it is necessary for everyone to do something with the body so that it remain flexible and normal," Maharishi said. "The advantage of Yoga asanas over other eastern and western systems of physical posture is that they do not consume energy. They help restore life force, promote health and maintain normal conditions in the body." An introductory publication on yoga asanas in cooperation with a professor of yoga was printed at the University of Travancore, India, K.B. Hari Krishna.[94]

TM-Sidhi program

The TM-Sidhi program is a form of meditation introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1975. It is based on, and described as a natural extension of the Transcendental Meditation technique.[95][96] The goal of the TM-Sidhi program is to accelerate personal growth and improve mind-body coordination [97] by training the mind to think from what the Maharishi has described as a fourth major state of consciousness[98] called Transcendental Consciousness.[99]

Yogic Flying, a mental-physical exercise of hopping while cross-legged,[100][101] is a central aspect of the TM-Sidhi program. With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program in 1976 it was postulated that the square root of one percent of the population practicing the TM-Sidhi program, together at the same time and in the same place, would increase "life-supporting trends". This was referred to as the "Extended Maharishi Effect".[102][103] These effects have been examined in 14 published studies, including a gathering of over 4,000 people in Washington DC in the summer of 1993.[102][104] While empirical studies have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals[105] this research remains controversial and has been characterized as [106][107]


According to Una Kroll in her book, The Healing Potential of Transcendental Meditation, the technique needs to be taught individually by certified TM teachers. She says the Maharishi was aware the technique could be discredited over time if taught incorrectly.[108]

The Maharishi began training TM teachers in the early 1960s,[109] and by 1978, there were 7,000 TM teachers in the U.S.[110] In 1985, there were an estimated 10,000 TM teachers worldwide,[111] and by 2003, there were 20,000 teachers,[112] and a reported 40,000 teachers in 2008.[113] Notable individuals trained to teach the Transcendental Meditation technique include Prudence Farrow,[114] John Gray,[115] Mitch Kapor,[116] and Mike Love.[117]

The first teacher training course was held in India with 30 participants in 1967 and 200 participants in 1970.[118] A four-month teacher training course was also held in the USA that year. The first part was four weeks long and was offered in both

  • Official web site

External links

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  266. ^ Chryssides, George D.. Defining the New Spirituality One possible suggestion is that religion demands exclusive allegiance: this would ipso facto exclude Scientology, TM and the Soka Gakkai simply on the grounds that they claim compatibility with whatever other religion the practitioner has been following. For example, TM is simply – as they state – a technique. Although it enables one to cope with life, it offers no goal beyond human existence (such as moksha), nor does it offer rites or passage or an ethic. Unlike certain other Hindu-derived movements, TM does not prescribe a dharma to its followers – that is to say a set of spiritual obligations deriving from one’s essential nature.
  267. ^ Gallagher, Eugene V. (2004) Greenwood Press, The New Religious Movements Experience in America, page 106
  268. ^ Dawson, Lorne L. (editor) (2003) Blackwell Publishing, Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader, page 44
  269. ^ Liebler, Nancy; Moss, Sandra; Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way page 102
  270. ^ Lewis, James R. (2004) Oxford University Press, The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements
  271. ^ Lippy, Charles H. (2000). Pluralism comes of age: American religious culture in the twentieth century. Armonk, N.Y.:  
  272. ^ "Transcendental Meditation". Religious Movements Homepage Project. January 12, 2001. 
  273. ^ Cowan, Douglas E.; Bromley, David G. (2007). Cults and New Religions: A Brief History. Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion.  
  274. ^ Cowan, Douglas E.; Bromley, David G. (2007). Cults and New Religions: A Brief History. Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 48–71.  
  275. ^ Chryssides, George D. (2008). "Book Review: Cults and New Religions: A Brief History" (pdf). Fieldwork in Religion. 
  276. ^ Chryssides, George D.; Margaret Z. Wilkins (2006). A reader in new religious movements. London: Continuum. p. 7.  
  277. ^ [19] "People", Anchorage Daily News, 1973-03-14. Note: "The Maharishi addressed the Illinois legislature Tuesday and made a few suggestions on how to handle fiscal problems. "The basis of a restful budget is no problems in society," he told legislators. Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  278. ^ [20] "The TM believers are expanding their universe", Bangor Daily News, 1973-03-6. Note: "The legislature in the State of Illinois passed a resolution this past year recommending the inclusion of SCI teaching in the public schools." Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  279. ^ [21] "Maharishi says Trudeau 'Receptive'", Canadian Press, The Windsor Star, 1975-03-22. Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  280. ^ The Gazette, March 22, 1975, "PM and TM leader"
  281. ^ The Citizen, March 22, 1975, "Trudeau "intelligent man" Guru Says After Long Talk".
  282. ^ Epstein, Edward, (December 29, 1995). "Politics and Transcendental Meditation".  
  283. ^ Library Information and Research Service (2001). The Middle East, abstracts and index, Part 1 24Ei. Northumberland Press. p. 609. 
  284. ^ a b Schoen, Brigitte (April 2001). "New Religions in Germany: The Publicity of the Public Square".  
  285. ^ Gabriel Cavaglion (January 2008). "The Theoretical Framing of a Social Problem: The Case of Societal Reaction to Cults in Israel". Israel Affairs 14 (1): 87–89.   p. 87: "However, cult groups that were more positively oriented towards the central values of society and more likely to accommodate values of Judaism and Zionism, such as Transcendental Meditation . . . were also targeted by anti-cult activists." p. 89: "An inter-ministerial Commission of Inquiry on Cults report was published almost a decade after the first major responses from anti-cult activists. . . Other groups defined as cults included Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Bhagwan Rajneesh, Ananda Marga, The Divine Light Mission, The Unification Church, and a few psychological seminars."
  286. ^ Gabriel Cavaglion (January 2008). "The Theoretical Framing of a Social Problem: The Case of Societal Reaction to Cults in Israel". Israel Affairs 14 (1): 94.  
  287. ^ "Commission d'enquête sur les sectes". Assemblée nationale. 
  288. ^ Winter, Caroline (February 6, 2013). "Transcendental Meditation May Help Stressed Vets". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  289. ^ Blumenthal, Robin Goldwyn (April 19, 2004). "Mind over markets". Barron's. 
  290. ^ (May 5, 2012) Meditation being studied for treatment of PTSD in veterans Bloomberg news service, retrieved June 7, 2012
  291. ^ (May 4, 2012) Meditation used to treat PTSD The Washington Post, retrieved June 7, 2012


[91] According to author Patrick Gresham Williams, "the government will pay" for any U.S. veteran to learn TM if it is prescribed by a Veterans Administration medical doctor.[291][290] (PTSD) in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and commenced research on the technique (and two other meditation systems) in traumatic stress disorder sees it as a potential tool for the treatment of United States Department of Veterans Affairs The U.S. [289][288][21] for scientific analysis of the effects of TM on high blood pressure.National Institutes of Health The U.S. government has characterized the Transcendental Meditation technique as worthy of research and has awarded more than $25 million in funding from different branches of the [287] included Transcendental Meditation in its list of cults.Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France The 1995 report of the [286][285] In 1987, an Israeli government report that was criticized as "one sided and negative", defined TM as a "cult group ... targeted by anti-cult activists".[284] In 1996 a commission appointed by the German government concluded that new religious movements and "psychotherapy groups" did not present any danger to the state or to society.[284][283][282] In 1975, TM's founder met with Canadian Prime Minister

The characterizations and responses to the TM technique by governmental agencies have varied depending on the time period, the specific agency and its country of origin. In 1968, the Maharishi conducted a one-hour meeting with Secretary General of the United Nations U Thant. In the 1970s, courses in the TM technique were conducted at 47 military installations around the world (including eight in the U.S.), with 150 enrolling in the course at the West Point military academy. The TM technique was also taught at five U.S. federal prisons, and three in Germany and Canada. During this period, ten U.S. Senators and more than 100 Congressional staff members learned the technique.[33] In 1972, the Maharishi met with the Governor of Illinois (Daniel Walker) and received a standing ovation when he addressed the Illinois state legislature before they passed a resolution characterizing Maharishi’s Science of Creative Intelligence as useful for Illinois public schools.[277][278] In 1974, Transcendental Meditation was cited in two Congressional records regarding the Science of Creative Intelligence course being offered at 30 American universities and the TM technique being "in use" in some American prisons, mental institutions and drug rehabilitation centers.[217]


Authors of the book A Reader in New Religious Movements, [276] Chryssides goes on to say in his book Exploring New Religions that although one can identify the Maharishi's Hindu background, Hindu lineage, mantras and initiation ceremony, TM is unlike religion in its "key elements": "there is no public worship, no code of ethics, no scriptures to be studied, and no rites of passage that are observed, such as dietary laws, giving to the poor, or pilgrimages."[14] Psychiatry professor Norman E. Rosenthal, author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, writes that "Maharishi extracted the TM technique from its religious context and distilled it to its essence, which he believed could be of value to people of all creeds."[16]

In the book Cults and New Religions, Cowan and Bromley write that TM is presented to the public as a meditation practice that has been validated by science, but is not a religious practice nor is it affiliated with a religious tradition. They say that "although there are some dedicated followers of TM who devote most or all of their time to furthering the practice of Transcendental Meditation in late modern society, the vast majority of those who practice do so on their own, often as part of what has been loosely described as the New Age Movement."[273] They say that most scholars view Transcendental Meditation as having elements of both therapy and religion, but that "Transcendental Meditation has no designated scripture, no set of doctrinal requirements, no ongoing worship activity, and no discernible community of believers." They also say that Maharishi did not claim to have special divine revelation or supernatural personal qualities.[274][275]

On the other hand, [13]

In the book Cults and New Religious Movements, author Roy Wallis characterizes Transcendental Meditation as a "world affirming new religion" that "lacks most of the features traditionally associated with religion".[268] Authors Liebler and Moss write that "unlike some forms of meditation, the TM technique does not require adherence to any belief system".[269] Religious studies scholars Michael Phelan, James R. Lewis and Tamar Gablinger say that TM participants "may meditate for relaxation, but otherwise have no contact with TM", and that TM "attracts a large number of people with low levels of commitment around a much smaller group of highly committed followers."[31] [179][270] Moreover, Phelan writes that TM is "being opposed by many religious groups who believe that it is a religious practice", and that "the TM objectives and methods are congruous with the criteria of revitalization movements [as] defined by Anthony F.C. Wallace ... whose goal is to create a better culture."[31] Religion scholar Charles H. Lippy writes that earlier spiritual interest in the technique faded in the 1970s, and "it became a practical technique ... that anyone could employ without abandoning their religious identification."[271]

The Transcendental Meditation technique has been variously described by sociologists and religious scholars as religious and non-religious.[266] According to sociologist [32] Religious studies scholar Eugene V. Gallagher writes that, "TM practitioners describe TM as a science rather than a religious discipline", but its "meditation principles were clearly derived from Hindu practice".[267]


Notable laypersons who have practiced the TM technique include [264] According to John Lennon, "You can make it with meditation if you're a Christian, a Mohammedan or a Jew. You just add meditation to whatever religion you've got."[265]

Notable laypersons

Some religious leaders and clergy find TM to be compatible with their religious teachings and beliefs, while others do not.[247][248][249] Wayne Teasdale, a Catholic monk, wrote in his The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions, that TM "is what is called an open or receptive method" that can be described as giving up control and remaining open in an inner sense.[250] In 1968, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, "came to the support of Maharishi's theory".[33] William Jefferson wrote in 1976 that a Jewish Revivalist had called TM "an insidious form of worship" while Trappist monks in Spencer, Massachusetts, had found it useful.[33] In 1984, Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Archbishop of Manila, wrote a pastoral statement after Ferdinand Marcos, then president of the Philippines, invited more than 1,000 members of the TM movement to Manila, saying that neither the doctrine nor the practice of TM is acceptable to Christians.[251] The Maharishi wrote that TM was "a path to God".[252] In 2003, the Roman Curia published a warning against mixing eastern meditations, such as TM, with Christian prayer,[253] though a 2013 statement suggests that eastern meditations can be useful.[254] Clergy who practice the TM technique and find it compatible with their religious beliefs include: Catholic priest Len Dubi;[255] Orthodox rabbi Abe Shainberg;[256] Irish Jesuit William Johnston;[257] Donald Craig Drummon, a Presbyterian minister; Raphael Levine, the emeritus rabbi of Temple De Hirsh Sinai; Placide Gaboury, a Jesuit priest who teaches at the University of Sudbury;[217] Kevin Joyce, a Catholic priest; and Keith Wollard, a United Church minister.[258]

Religious leaders

Characterizations of the TM technique vary amongst scholars, clergy, notable practitioners and governments. According to the Maharishi his technique requires no preparation, is simple to do, and can be learned by anyone.[239] The technique is described as effortless[240] and without contemplation or concentration[66] Author Peter Russell says trying to control the mind is like trying to go to sleep at night, it won't work.[66] He says instead, the TM technique utilizes the tendency of the mind to move towards greater satisfaction.[32][62][63][241] According to TM advocates, the technique is "purely a mechanical, physiological process", the "two-minute ceremony" invokes no deities, the mantras are "sounds without meaning" and the technique "pre-dates Hinduism by 5,000 years".[171] Anthony Campbell, author of the book Seven States of Consciousness, writes that TM requires no "special circumstances or preparations" and does "not depend upon belief".[242][243] A 2011 article in Details characterizes the TM technique as a "Hindu meditation practice ["stripped"] of its religious baggage" offered "as a systematic, stress-reducing, creativity-building technique".[244] Martin Gardner, a mathematician, has referred to TM as "the Hindu cult".[245] According to author R.S. Bajpai, the Maharishi "secularized the TM [sic] by purging it of all the religious rites and rituals and spiritual mysticism".[246]


The Maharishi proclaimed 1981 as the Year of Vedic Science.[20] Maharishi Vedic Science (MVS) is defined by author Patrick Williams as "a practical, workable Vedic science that is integrated with modern science" and a "scientific approach to human development based on complete knowledge and systematic techniques".[91] It is based on the Maharishi's interpretation of ancient Vedic texts and includes subjective technologies like the Transcendental Meditation technique and the TM-Sidhi program plus programs like Maharishi Sthapatya Veda (MSV) and Maharishi Vedic Astrology (MVA) services which apply Vedic science to day-to-day living.[237][238] Vedic science studies the various aspects of life and their relationship to the Veda.

Maharishi Vedic Science (1981)

The TM organization has linked the Maharishi Effect to the fall of the Berlin Wall and a reduction in global terrorism, US inflation and crime rates.[232] The Maharishi Effect has been endorsed by the former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano,[233] and examined in 42 scientific studies.[234] Critics, such as James Randi have called this research "pseudoscience".[235] Randi says that he investigated comments made by former Maharishi International University faculty member Robert Rabinoff in 1978. Randi says he spoke to the Fairfield Chief of Police who reported local crime levels were the same and the regional Agriculture Department who said farm yields for Jefferson County matched the state average.[236]

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi postulated that the quality of life would noticeably improve if one percent of the population practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique. This is known as the "Maharishi Effect" and according to the Maharishi, it was perceived in 1974 after an analysis of crime statistics in 16 cities.[20][102][231] Author Ted Karam writes that there have been numerous studies on the Maharishi Effect including a gathering of over 4,000 people in Washington DC in the summer of 1993.[102] With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program including Yogic Flying, the Maharishi proposed that the square root of 1 percent of the population practicing this advanced program together at the same time and in the same place would create benefits in society. This was referred to as the "Extended Maharishi Effect".[102][103]

Maharishi Effect (1974)

Theologian [106] Astrophysicist and skeptic Carl Sagan writes that the "Hindu doctrine" of TM is a pseudoscience.[107] Irving Hexham, a professor of religious studies, describes the TM teachings as "pseudoscientific language that masks its religious nature by mythologizing science".[208] Sociologists Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge describe the SCI videotapes as largely based on the Bhagavad Gita, and say that they are "laced with parables and metaphysical postulates, rather than anything that can be recognized as conventional science".[49] In 1979, the court case Malnak v Yogi determined that although SCI/TM is not a theistic religion, it deals with issues of ultimate concern, truth, and other ideas analogous to those in well-recognized religions.[229] Maharishi biographer Paul Mason suggests that the scientific terminology used in SCI was developed by the Maharishi as part of a restructuring of his philosophies in terms that would gain greater acceptance and increase the number of people starting the TM technique. He says that this change toward a more academic language was welcomed by many of the Maharishi's American students.[230]

The theoretical part of SCI is taught in a 33-lesson video course.[216] In the early 1970s the SCI course was offered at more than 25 American universities including Stanford University, Yale, the University of Colorado, the University of Wisconsin, and Oregon State University.[214][217][218] Until 2009, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) required its undergraduate students to take SCI classes,[219][220][221][222] and both MUM and Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Switzerland have awarded degrees in the field.[223] The Independent reports that children at Maharishi School learn SCI principles such as "the nature of life is to grow" and "order is present everywhere".[224] SCI is reported to be part of the curriculum of TM related lower schools in Iowa, Wheaton, Maryland[225] and Skelmersdale, UK.[226] In 1975 SCI was used as the call letters for a TM owned television station in San Bernardino, California.[227]

In 1961, the Maharishi created the "International Meditation Society for the Science of Creative Intelligence".[208] In 1971 the Maharishi inaugurated "Maharishi's Year of Science of Creative Intelligence" and described SCI as the connection of "modern science with ancient Vedic science".[209] Author, Philip Goldberg describes it as Vedanta philosophy that has been translated into scientific language.[210] A series of international symposiums on the Science of Creative Intelligence were held between 1970 and 1973 and were attended by scientists and "leading thinkers", including Buckminster Fuller, Melvin Calvin, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, Hans Selye, Marshal McLuhan and Jonas Salk.[210] These symposiums were held at universities such as Humboldt State University and University of Massachusetts.[211][212][213][214] The following year, the Maharishi developed a World Plan to spread his teaching of SCI around the world.[214][215]

Science of Creative Intelligence (1971)

According to the Maharishi, there are seven levels of consciousness: (i) waking; (ii) dreaming; (iii) deep sleep; (iv) transcendental consciousness; (v) cosmic consciousness; (vi) God consciousness; and, (vii) unity consciousness.[203] The Maharishi says that transcendental consciousness can be experienced through Transcendental Meditation, and that those who meditate diligently could become aware of cosmic consciousness.[204] A indication of cosmic consciousness is "ever present wakefulness" that is present even during sleep.[205] Research on long term TM practitioners experiencing what they describe as cosmic consciousness, has identified unique EEG profiles, muscle tone measurements, and REM indicators that suggest physiological parameters for this self described state of consciousness.[205][206] However, the Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness notes that it is premature to say that the EEG coherence found in TM is an indication of a higher state of consciousness.[207]

In his 1963 book, The Science Of Being and Art Of Living, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says that, over time, through the practice of the TM technique, the conscious mind gains familiarity with deeper levels of the mind, bringing the subconscious mind within the capacity of the conscious mind, resulting in expanded awareness in daily activity. He also teaches that the Transcendental Meditation practitioner transcends all mental activity and experiences the 'source of thought', which is said to be pure silence, 'pure awareness' or 'transcendental Being', 'the ultimate reality of life'.[20][23][31][200] TM is sometimes self described as a technology of consciousness.[32] Pathologist Vimal Patel, says TM has been shown to produce states that are physiologically different from waking, dreaming and sleeping.[201] According to author Michael Phelan "The fundamental premise of the psychology of fulfillment is that within every person exists a seemingly inexhaustible center of energy, intelligence, and satisfaction... To the extent that our behavior depends on the degree of energy and intelligence available to us, this center of pure creative intelligence may be described as that resource which gives direction to all that we experience, think and do."[202]

Views on consciousness (1963)

Theoretical concepts

[199][198], a private military academy, as "part of a long-term study" on meditation and military performance.Norwich University The technique has been taught to students at [197][196] Other initiatives to teach the TM technique to war veterans at risk for PTSD, are ongoing.[188] and the Department of Defense funded a $2.4 million grant to Maharishi University of Management Research Institute and the San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center to further investigate the potential effect of the TM technique on PTSD.[195] In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it was "studying the use of transcendental meditation to help returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars"[194][193][192][191][190][189] The Transcendental Meditation technique was taught to military personnel with [188] The TM technique was first employed by the military in 1985, when it conducted "a small pilot study" on Vietnam veterans.


[176] Psychiatry professor Norman E. Rosenthal says that TM is compatible with most "drug treatment approaches" and could be incorporated "into an overall treatment program".[187][186] shelter for teen prostitutes in Los Angeles.Children of the Night In 2011, the technique was taught to about 65 individuals at the [185] State Prison.Dominica In 2010, the Superintendent of Prisons announced that the TM technique was being offered to inmates at the [184][183][182][181] In 2010, the

In 1996, several judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of St Louis, Missouri, began "ordering convicted felons" to attend the Transcendental Meditation course as one of their conditions for parole.[179] The program was administered by the non-profit, Enlightened Sentencing Project and received endorsements from Federal Judge Henry Edward Autrey, and other members of the Missouri District, Federal, and Supreme Courts.[180]

In Senegal, "more than 11,000 prisoners and 900 correctional officers" in 34 prisons received instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique between 1985 and 1987, and the wardens at 31 prisons signed a proclamation recommending that TM be offered throughout the entire system.[176][177] More recently, the TM technique has been introduced to prisoners in the Oregon Correctional System and a research study is underway to record the effects of the program.[176] Since the late 1980s the TM technique has been offered as part of the programs at Fundacion Hogares Claret sanctuary for homeless and orphaned children in Medellin, Colombia.[178]

The TM technique has been incorporated in a variety of U.S. social programs for criminals, the homeless and war veterans. In 1979, the TM technique was offered to inmates at Folsom prison, San Quentin and the Deuel Vocational Institute. According to a TM representative, meditation has been included at "over 25 prisons and correctional institutions" in the U.S.[175]

Social programs

Transcendental Meditation has been utilized in corporations, both in the U.S.A and in India, under the auspices of the International Foundation for the Science of Creative Intelligence and the Maharishi Development Corporation. As of 2001, USA companies such as General Motors and IBM were subsidizing the TM course fee for their employees.[172] A number of Indian companies provide the TM technique to their managers. These companies include AirTel, Siemens, American Express, SRF Limited, Wipro, Hero Honda, Ranbaxy, Hewlett Packard, BHEL, BPL Group, ESPN Star Sports, Tisco, Eveready, Maruti, Godrej Group and Marico.[173] The Sunday Times Herald reports that there are "more than 100 Japanese companies where TM was introduced at induction."[174]

Corporate programs

A number of educational institutions have been founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Transcendental Meditation movement and its supporters. These institutions include several schools offering public and private secondary education in the USA (Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment),[160] England (Maharishi School),[161][162] Australia,[163][164][165] South Africa (Maharishi Invincibility School of Management),[166] and India (Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools). Likewise, Maharishi colleges and universities have been established including Maharishi European Research University (Netherlands), Maharishi Institute of Management (India), Maharishi University of Management and Technology (India), Maharishi Institute (South Africa)[167][168] and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Vedic University (India). According to an article in Newsweek, "critics believe that TM is a repackaged form of Eastern religious philosophy" and opposed its use in public schools[169][170] while a member of the Pacific Justice Institute says practicing Transcendental Meditation in public schools with private funding is constitutional.[171]

Transcendental Meditation in education (also known as Consciousness Based Education) is the application of the Transcendental Meditation technique in an educational setting or institution. These educational programs and institutions have been founded in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Africa and Japan. The Transcendental Meditation technique became popular with students in the 1960s and by the early 1970s centers for the Students International Meditation Society were established at a thousand campuses[152] in the USA with similar growth occurring in Germany, Canada and Britain.[153] The Maharishi International University was established in 1973 in the USA and began offering accredited, degree programs. In 1977 courses in Transcendental Meditation and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) were legally prohibited from New Jersey (USA) public high schools on religious grounds by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.[154][155] This "dismantled" the TM program's use of government funding in U.S. public schools[55] "but did not constitute a negative evaluation of the program itself".[156] Since 1979, schools that incorporate the Transcendental Meditation technique using private, non-governmental funding have been reported in the USA, South America, Southeast Asia, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Israel.[157][158][159]

Maharishi Centre for Educational Excellence, Bhopal, India

In schools and universities

Institutional programs

[151] while TM researchers point to their collaboration with independent researchers and universities as signs of objectivity.[150][149] More research is needed to determine the therapeutic effects of meditation practices and sources vary regarding their assessment of the quality of research. Some cite design limitations and a lack of [144][143][142][141][140] to clinically significant.[139][138][137][136] Research reviews of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique have yielded results ranging from inconclusive[135] Early studies examined the physiological parameters of the meditation technique. Subsequent research included clinical applications, cognitive effects, mental health, medical costs, and rehabilitation. Beginning in the 1990s, research focused on cardiovascular disease supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists have been conducting Transcendental Meditation (TM) research since the late 1960s and hundreds of studies have been published.[8][129][130] The Transcendental Meditation technique is a specific form of mantra meditation[1] developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and has become one of the most widely researched meditation techniques.[7][131] TM research has played a role in the history of mind-body medicine[132][133] and helped create a new field of neuroscience.[134]


Some teach the TM technique full-time while those with other careers, teach part-time.[123][124][125] Jerry Jarvis, one of the first TM teachers in the U.S. is reported to have " personally instructed 5,000 people".[33] Some former TM teachers have said they felt they were lying and deceiving their students, regarding details about the mantras and the religious nature of TM.[126][127] TM teachers who have taken the TM-Sidhi course are called "Governors of the Age of Enlightenment".[128]

A 2007 research study reported that details of the training and knowledge imparted to teachers are kept private.[71] In 1976, Janis Johnson wrote in The Christian Century that TM teachers sign a "loyalty-oath employment contract", saying "It is my fortune, Guru Dev, that I have been accepted to serve the Holy Tradition and spread the Light of God to all those who need it."[73] Author William Bainbridge writes that a section of a training bulletin for TM teachers called "Explanations of the Invocation" draws a "connection to Brahma, the Lord of Creation".[12] A 1993 article in the Ottawa Citizen reported a partial translation of the puja as "Whosoever remembers the lotus-eyed Lord gains inner and outer purity. To Lord Naryan, to Lotus-born Brahman the creator, to Vaishistha, to Shakti, to Shankaracharya the emancipator, hailed as Krishna, to the Lord I bow down and down again. At whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray for perfection day and night".[122]

[119] The Maharishi trained his teachers to "make logical presentations in language suitable to their audiences", and teachers lead their students through a sequence of predetermined steps.[121]

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