Editor's Note: The photos and text referred to in the article below are now on a web page maintained by MIU, at <http://www.miu.edu/Yogic_flying.html>.

Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,alt.meditation.transcendental
Subject: TM "Yogic Flying" Photos Still Used
Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 15:02:01 -0500
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On 29 Apr 1995, Judy Stein wrote:

> I can't verify this myself, but according to Lawson, who has
> looked into it, all the photos of TMers hopping are described,
> either in the photo caption or in the text underneath, as TMers
> hopping, not TMers hovering or flying through the air.
> According to Lawson, this three-stage process is explained in the
> text accompanying the photos, and it is noted that *only* the
> first stage has been accomplished, and that this is what is
> represented in the photos.
> For skeptics to *continue* to try to
> pretend TM is *still* misleading the public is either profoundly
> ignorant or, in some cases, deliberately untruthful.

I feel a bout of ignorance and/or untruthfulness coming on. I'm sitting here in my office looking at a 56-page publication from Maharishi International University. It contains 32 glossy pages promoting MIU faculty and academic programs, in the style similar to promotional materials published by virtually all universities and colleges. Lots of photos of happy students, busy faculty, research facilities, etc. Pages 32 on provide more detail on academic programs, a Q & A section, and application information and forms.

On page 17 begins a description headed "Yogic Flying in MIU's Golden Domes":

At the end of your first year of study, you may also have the opportunity to learn the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying. This program is an advanced practice that unfolds your ability to think and act from transcendental consciousness. Thought and action become more powerful and effective--more fully supported by natural law-- so that you become increasingly competent to accomplish any objective without strain.

Then there are three shorter paragraphs touting the extensive scientific research and publications in "leading scientific journals." Then comes The Photograph. It shows three smiling meditators each apparently "hovering" cross-legged from 6" to 18" above a white pad (around 6" thick), with a golden meditation dome, green grass, and blue sky forming the backdrop. The caption under The Photograph reads:

MIU students have the opportunity to learn Yogic Flying, practiced twice daily in MIU's Golden Domes by 1600 students, faculty, staff, and members of the Fairfield community. Extensive scientific research has shown that Yogic Flying produces coherence in brain functioning for the individual and that when practiced in a group, it creates a measurable influence of harmony and progress throughout society.

The only description of what the three people in the photograph are doing is the phrase "Yogic Flying." There appears to be no statement anywhere else in the text that describes Yogic Flying as hopping, or otherwise *not* flying. Given the context of this photograph and the surrounding material, it appears that MIU is doing nothing to prevent prospective students from forming a false impression--that the TM-Sidhi program in fact teaches students to hover or fly. If it is true that MIU has for years been aware of the misleading nature of taking photographs of hopping meditators and calling it Yogic Flying, then this would seem to be a case of willful deception.

The material is copyrighted 1994. For your own copy, contact the Director of Admissions, Maharishi International University, 1000 North 4th St., DB 1155, Fairfield, IA 52557-1155. (515) 472-1110. admissions@miu.edu

Barry Markovsky / Dept. of Sociology / U. of Iowa / Iowa City, IA 52242
Ph: 319.335.2490 Fax: 319.335.2509 E-MAIL: barry-markovsky@uiowa.edu