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Transcendental Meditation

adapted from an outline by "Steven Hassan"
Alternate Names: TM, Maharishi Ayur-Veda, Maharishi Vedic Universities, Natural Law Party, Student's Natural Law Party, World Plan Executive Council, WPEC, Science of Creative Intelligence, Maharishi University of Management, Maharishi International University

blackball.GIFTranscendental Meditation Defined
blackball.GIFOrganizations Related to Transcendental Meditation

What You Should Know About TM

blackball.GIFIf you are thinking about joining
blackball.GIFIf you are a current member
blackball.GIFIf you are a former member
blackball.GIFHow to help a friend or relative in TM

Critiques of TM

blackball.GIFThe Hassan Model - BITE
blackball.GIFStatements by former members of TM
blackball.GIFArticles critiquing aspects of the group's leader and ideology
blackball.GIFArticles concerning practices of the group that are questionable

Other Sources of Information about TM

blackball.GIFWeb Stes Maintained by TM
blackball.GIFWeb sites critical of TM

Return to Help

TM Defined
Transcendental Meditation, actually a variety of techniques and products associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is one of the best known groups critics charge with mind control tactics. The first of the Maharishi's many groups was founded in 1956 in India. Today TM claims 4 million members worldwide. Critics estimate no more than 10,000 practitioners are active in the United States. A variety of press sources estimate the world-wide worth of the TM movement at over $3.5 billion US.

Like many Indian-derived groups, TM's goal is "enlightenment" -- although the Maharishi's interpretation is unusual. By practicing TM regularly, a meditator is said to purify his or her nervous system of "stress," allowing "higher states of consciousness" to spontaneously appear. Individuals in "Cosmic,God," "Unity," "Brahman", or "Krishna Consciousness" are said to experience "pure consciousness" during waking, dreaming, or sleeping, in or out of meditation; to be incapable of making mistakes; to be completely invincible; may experience physical immortality; may contact angels and gods; and may experience various paranormal abilities, such as telepathy, dematerialization, or levitation.

"Stress" is central in Transcendental Meditation: both how to avoid it and how to eliminate it. Unlike Western medicine's understanding of stress, "stress" in TM is considered to be a physical substance stored in the body -- which can be acquired from "impure" foods, traumatic actions, associating with nonmeditators, or frequenting "stressful" places.

The TM movement teaches that stress may be removed, slowly, by regular TM, practiced twice daily for 20 minutes each sitting. "Advanced" meditators are invited to speed their "evolution" with additional "experience courses" (in-residence meditation retreats from a few days to several months or longer), "knowledge courses" (memorization and training of TM philosophy leading to becoming a TM teacher or "initiator"), "advanced techniques" (including training in paranormal abilities, such as "flying"), and a variety of Maharishi Ayur-Vedic health products. It is not unusual for a committed TMer to spend decades -- and significant six-figure amounts -- in their quest for enlightenment.

A meditator may also speed his or her evolution by "going on staff" -- working full time at a TM facility, such as Maharishi University of Management. At higher levels of "staff," TMers may be asked to take vows of celibacy, separate more or less permanently from mainstream society, work extraordinary hours, meditate up to 8 hours daily, dedicate nearly every waking moment to the Maharishi and the TM movement, study esoteric Hindu scriptures, and so forth.

Once universally considered a benign group, the TM movement and the Maharishi have changed drastically since the late 1970s according to critics. In recent years, the Maharishi has declared that a variety of enemies are trying to destroy TM, including: the American CIA, the American Medical Association, multi-national pharmaceutical companies, agricultural companies promoting genetically engineered foods, and others. In particular, the Maharishi's followers are strongly discouraged from seeking help from nonTM doctors, therapists, chiropractors, and other care givers. For all intents and purposes, committed TMers are forbidden to consult any spiritual counselor outside of the TM movement -- with the possible exception of local clergy, who are also somewhat suspect.

The Maharishi has urged his followers to enter politics to take direct control of "world consciousness." Today, his Natural Law Party has chapters in most industrialized countries. At various times his groups have played an active part in the politics and governments of the Philippines, Nepal, Zambia, Mozambique, Brazil, the Balkans, and other nations.

He has also sent his followers on a series of mysterious "projects," requesting groups of advanced TMers to travel to Third World countries to spread "superradiance" consciousness and save the world from imminent nuclear disaster, hurricanes, biological and genetic warfare, and other catastrophes.

Insiders have reported instances of violence, kidnapping, drugs, molestation and other sexual misconduct, financial scandal, faked scientific research -- with varying degrees of documentation in court records, the press, and elsewhere.

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Statements of Former Members
blackball.GIFAnthony Denaro, former professor at MIU, recalls some dangerous psychological effects of TM and TM-Sidhis on students and others during his affiliation, such as depression, suicide attempts, assaults, homicidal ideation, psychotic episodes -- all with Maharishi's knowledge. He characterizes the movement as "essentially cultic" and willing to engage in deception, fraud, and corruption in the name of a higher ideology.

blackball.GIFDennis Roark, former MIU dean of faculty and chairman of the department of physics, writes about the university's "crackpot science" protocols, its baseless claims of a relationship between physics and consciousness, and the suppression of negative data in movement-sponsored research that is widely quoted as "scientific proof" of the benefits of TM.

blackball.GIFMitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, spent 7 years deep inside the TM movement. Mitchell talks about why he started TM, his ultimate disillusionment with TM levitation techniques, and "crossing from slavery into freedom" when he left his Six-Month Governor Training Course in Switzerland.

blackball.GIF An Open Letter from a Former TM Initiator: What You Should Know Before You Learn TM: If you're thinking about starting the Transcendental Meditation program founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, there are a few things you should know that you're not going to read in a book or hear at a TM lecture. The anonymous author learned TM as a college student, became a TM teacher, and taught over 250 people how to meditate, and has also been a faculty member at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa.

blackball.GIFIn his civil suit against the TM movement, Robert Kropinski outlined 20 years of alleged psychosis, suicides, self-mutilations, murder, and the drugging of course participants and one of Maharishi's private secretaries -- at his order.

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Critical Articles
blackball.GIFTM mantras are neither secret nor individual, according to numerous sources, including court records.

blackball.GIFThe TM techniques are identical to many introductory meditation techniques and "are most definitely not a ... unique body of knowledge, nor are they ... trade secrets.... Rather they are an integral part of the rich cultural and scriptural heritage which belongs to India," according to court testimony.

blackball.GIFCharges of child molestation, death from abuse and neglect, corruption and more at Maharishi's compound in NOIDA, India, are excerpted from the cover story in The Illustrated Weekly of India, January 17, 1988.

blackball.GIFThe Natural Law Party is the TM movement's entry into international politics, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Questionable Practices
blackball.GIFThe TM movement attempted to suppress the German Study in German courts, but its findings were upheld by the German high court. Among the subjects studied: 76% of long-term meditators experience psychological disorders -- including 26% nervous breakdowns; 63% experience serious physical complaints; 70% recorded a worsening ability to concentrate; researchers found a startling drop in honesty among long-term meditators; plus a detailed examination of the history, culture, and secret teachings of the TM movement.

blackball.GIFApparently suppressed by the TM movement are more than two-dozen independent scientific researches that measured the negative side effects of long-term TM practice.

blackball.GIFPatrick Ryan, a cult-exit counselor, co-founder of TM-EX, and MIU graduate, tells how he was recruited by TM teachers using appeals to scientific "proof" and "saving the world." He tells of trance euphoria, depersonalization, cognitive distortion, dissociation, confusion, irritability, and memory difficulties.

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Web Sites Maintained by TM
"All the knowledge you'll ever need." Ayurveda Ltd (MAHARISHI2-DOM) Beacon House, Millow Walk Skelmersdale, Lancs WN8 6UR England; Domain Name: MAHARISHI.COM; Administrative Contact, Billing Contact: Chalmers, Francis (FC184) fchalmers@MAHARISHI.COM +44 1595 51015. (Roger Chalmers was found guilty of medical misconduct for treating AIDS with Maharishi Ayur Veda.)

Maharishi University of Management, formerly Maharishi International University, features TM movement-approved overviews of TM, the sidhis, and other programs. Also links to hundreds of pro-TM research articles.

blackball.GIFNatural Law Party
In the words of spokesman Bob Roth, "It's no secret this is the TM party."

blackball.GIFThe Raj
"America's premier Maharishi AyurVeda Health Center."

blackball.GIFThe Meditator's Café
James Cook presents a hangout, presumably decaf, for the trademarked path to inner peace -- with a good and revealing set of quotes by the Maharishi.

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Web Sites Critical of TM
With over 17 megabytes of court cases, insider secrets, news archive, personal essays, and more.
Mike Doughney's extraordinary resource, including: TM-EX and alt.meditation.transcendental archives, Ex-Cult Support archives, and more.

blackball.GIFDon Krieger's Home Page
An important new resource for the TM researcher! Personal stories, book excerpts, ads for TM enlightenment paraphernalia, and more.

An always hilarious, and frequently very informative new site on TM, Deepak Chopra, and their apologists who appear on the Usenet. I'll let webmaster Sherilyn explain the title of the site. It's a hoot!

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Except where noted, entire contents Copyright ©1995,1996, 1997 John M. Knapp.

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