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It was being speculated that the yogi's alleged links with press baron Ram Nath Goenka, the Centre's bete noire, was the main provocation for the raids. The conjecture was that operating on the principle that your enemy's friend is your enemy, the central government had thought of harassing the Maharishi, in the hope of recovering documents incriminating to Goenka. This hypothesis was fuelled by reports that Goenka and the yogi had been party to a deal involving some printing machinery, which was not entirely above board.

But subsequent information on the raids has thrown new light on the matter. According to reliable sources, moveable assets worth over Rs 52 lakhs [$455,000 US] have been recovered, foreign currency to the tune of Rs 1.75 lakhs [$15,000] seized and the matter has been referred to the enforcement directorate for investigation.

The various accounts held in the name of the Maharishi's relatives as well as the trusts and societies, allegedly engaged in charitable work, are being examined. Property deeds are being studied. And investigation has been undertaken into the various businesses that are being run by these relatives and organisations. "The raids were made on the basis of prima facie satisfaction," says a highly placed source who requested anonymity.

Raids were simultaneously conducted at Jabalpur, where the Maharishi's associates and various organisations own a great deal of property. The outcome of these raids is not known as yet. However, this is not the first time that the revenue department has launched an offensive against TM adherents. The source quoted earlier reveals that late last year, prosecution for tax evasion to the extent of about a lakh of rupees [$8750 US], for the assessment year 1981-1982, was launched against the president of one of the trusts, a doctor by training, two accountants and the Maharishi's nephews, Anand and Ajay Srivastava.

It is clear that the Maharishi is in trouble. If Goenka's proximity to him is the basic cause of his problems. it should not be difficult for him to distance himself from the man. Goenka, reportedly, had drawn close to the yogi after the death of his son, when the sage had provided him spiritual solace. But now, says the Maharishi's personal assistant, Brahmachari Nandkishore, Goenka visits him very rarely.

There. is a further motive for his wishing to stay clear of controversies. He appears to have returned to India with the specific intention of introducing TM and other programmes into the sphere of government.

"The government should send its officials to look into our programmes," says Brahmachari Nandkishore. Clearly, the government's response so far has not been encouraging. The Maharishi, if he is to expand his transcendental empire in India, cannot make himself unwelcome, especially since he has already sunk a great deal of money into various schemes.

At NOIDA, he rests at the very doorstep of the capital and close enough to the rulers. He has a dedicated band of followers to help him. For instance. Dr Gyanendra Mahapatra, vice-chancellor of the Veda Vigyan Vidya Peeth, an allopathic physician by training. who gave up everything to join the ashram. He plans to seek government recognition for the institute of Vedic learning. Also Brahmachari Shailendra, the articulate master of business management, who has given his `tan, man aur dhan' (mind. body and wealth) in the service of the yogi. The Canadian magician Doug Hennings [sic] and P C Nigam, a magician from MP, have been recruited for the Vedaland scheme, to be implemented at. a cost of $250 million [1988 US]. It envisages the creation of an illusory world, and is intended as a tourist attraction, a superior alternative to Disneyland.

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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.