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Chapter 3 of 7



The total number of people involved is divided into three groups. Parents were asked about any effects of T.M. on their meditating children which they had observed, married partners reported on their (the other partner who was meditating, and ex-meditators gave accounts of changes in their lives during the time they practiced T.M., as well as other impressions. The groups are now presented in detail, as to their makeup.


In total 30 parents were interviewed. In more than half of the interviews (57%, 17), both parents were present, in 3 cases (10%) the father only was questioned, and in 10 cases (33%), only the mother was present.

25 of the parents (80%) are married, 4 (13%) are widowed and one parent is divorced. Half of the fathers (25) had a university degree, or a high school diploma; a third (8) had secondary school (up to grade 10). Regarding the mothers, most had up to grade 10 education (30%, 9), and basic schooling at junior high.

[Translator's note: The educational system in Germany differs from that in the U.S.A. I have therefore given the American equivalent, rather than translate the technical terms into rough English equivalents: Hauptschule = basic schooling, junior high
Realschule = secondary school, up to grade 10
Abitur = high school diploma
Fachschule = technical school
Hochschule = university
Gymnasium college preparatory secondary school]

It is noteworthy that regarding the men, almost 70% have middle class or upper-middle class occupations. There is not one ordinary worker or tradesman in the group. As far as the women are concerned, almost all the professions also lie in the middle class bracket, half of the women are housewives.

Almost half of the parents questioned are evangelical (47%, 14), and a third are Catholic (30%, 9) and two are non-denominational (7%). (For others see Table 1).

It can be ascertained from this that it is the children of well situated middle-class parents, and a relatively good family situation, who have become intensively involved with the T.M. movement: this as against the group of ex- meditators.


Altogether 10 individual married partners were interviewed (6 men and 4 women), whose other partner was practicing T.M. Noticeable is that half of them are divorced or living separately; All of the divorces or separations took place during the T.M. phase of the other partner.

60% of the men had a university or college preparatory education. The women had educational qualifications from various institutions. As with the parent group, all occupations lay in the middle-class to upper middle-class bracket. Only one person in this group was a tradesperson. One half of the women worked as housewives. 40% of the married partners were evangelical and 60% Catholic.


27 ex-meditators were interviewed, 16 men (59%) and 11 women (41%). At the time of the interview 10 were single (37%), 14 were married or lived with a partner (52%). Only 2 were separated (1 widowed). In this group it is to be noted that one half of the parents of those interviewed had either no completed school education (1) or schooling up to junior high. In spite of this the parents had middle-class to upper middle-class occupations, as with the parent group. 82% (22) of the mothers of the ex- meditators were housewives. The parents of the group are one half evangelical, a third Catholic. The ex-meditators are likewise one half evangelical, 27% are Catholic, (7) and 15% are non-denominational (4).

The married partners of 5 of the ex-meditators also meditated, or are still meditating.

Table 1: Overview of the characteristics of the three groups: Parents, married partners, ex-meditators.
table GIF


67 meditators were asked about the effects of T.M. Of the meditators, 58% (39) were men and 42% (28) women. The average age at the time of the investigation was 31.3 years, wherein, the average age of the married partners, at 38.6 years, was extremely high. More than one half of the meditators were evangelical, a third Catholic and 6 meditators were non-denominational. The meditators have on average between two and three brothers and sisters, only 2 meditators were from one child families.


57% (38) of the meditators were either at school or studying at the university at the time of initiation. Of those 20 were at college preparatory school and almost a third (12) were at university. 2 meditators were apprentices and 27 had a career job. Married partners mainly had a job (90%), while in the group of ex- meditators 56% (22) and in the parent group 73% (22) were still completing their education.


More than half of the meditators, with the exception of group 3, lived at home with their parents, the rest either lived alone, with a friend, or their husband/wife. Most of the meditators were still financially dependent on their parents at the time they begin to practice (70% of the parent group and 41% of the ex-meditators). While in the parent group only 17% were completely independent, 52% of the ex-meditators were completely independent.

The husband/wife of 11 married meditators also meditated.



During the "self-evaluation" procedure, 27% (8) of fathers considered themselves to be very strict, 1 as quite strict, 27% (8) as fairly lenient and 30% (9) as lenient. As a result of the "evaluation by other" procedure, using the group of ex-meditators, the emphasis is much more on "very strict". 41% (11) considered their fathers in terms of upbringing to be very strict, 11%(3) as quite strict and only 1% (4) as fairly lenient as well as 19% (5) as lenient. As far as the mothers are concerned, the "self- evaluation" and "evaluation by others" (using the group of ex-meditators) are quite similar. There are hardly any differences as opposed to the father's style of upbringing, as evaluated by himself and others. The differences between the two separate sets of evaluations regarding the father could be explained by the fact that some fathers, because of their workload leave the upbringing of the children almost entirely to the mother. When the fathers describe their upbringing of the children as fairly lenient or lenient, one gets the impression from some, that this is another way of saying that there has been a lack of participation on their part in this process. If the father then involved himself in an issue which required a decision on his part, this was understood as being "strict" by the children. If in addition to this, as with some cases, a strained relationship existed between father and mother, the mother could become "overprotective". She gets from her relationship with her children what is lacking in the marriage. This lack of participation by the father and the overprotective role of the mother could in some cases provide the impetus to find in Mahesh Yogi a "father figure" and a "substitute family" in the emotional bosom of meditation and the T.M. movement.


It is difficult to evaluate in an adequate fashion the course of puberty, since this involves crisis situations and a "breaking out" mentality for young people. Therefore the answers given in response to a question about puberty must be interpreted with care. (This question was not put to the married partners group).

57% (38) said that the course of their puberty was normal. Only 15% (10) experienced anything really conspicuous, one an unsuccessful attempt to run away, others a strong crisis of identity, mental disturbances and dependency problems. 4 of the group of ex-meditators questioned had taken drugs before beginning T.M.


A question was asked as to the performance at school or work just before the initiation into T.M. From the 38 questioned who were still at school, 63% had had a 'good' to 'very good' record as to their performance. The parent group had a generally better performance than the group of ex-meditators. 95% (36) had wanted to finish school (this was before they began T.M.). 2 of those questioned were at that time apprentices, however, neither wished to complete their apprenticeship. 27 of those who were going to begin T.M. in the future had a job. 73% were satisfied with their job, only 27% (7) wanted to start something else. In general the performance at school was well above average. Those in our study were happy with their school and career situations in most cases.


Relatively few were initiated before 1970 (altogether 9). In 1970, 11 of those interviewed were initiated. In 1979 we owe to another milestone, where only 1 of those in our investigation began the practice. This is somewhat like the 'success graph' of the T.M. movement. After 1970, the movement attracted a large following in the federal republic. It is to be assumed, or at least it is a possibility, that after the introduction of the sidhi program and mounting public criticism in 1979, the initiation figures lowered significantly.


The average age at the time of initiation was 24.1 years.

Table 3: Age at the time of initiation.
table GIF 42 of those interviewed were younger than 25 years of age at the time of initiation. Group 1, (parents, whose children were meditating), had the lowest average age of 21.6 years, followed by Group 2 (ex-meditators) at 24.1 years. The average age of Group 3 (married partners) is significantly higher, at 31.5 years of age.


Table 4: How did he/she become aware of T.M.?

table GIF

The majority of those interviewed (54%) became aware of T.M. through people with whom they had contact (doctor, masseur, teacher, work-colleagues, friend) or through relatives who meditated (19%). 24% became aware of T.M. through posters, and 2% through the media. It is here that the missionary disposition of the T.M. movement becomes clear. Meditators show a great deal of involvement in the promotion of T.M., an activity based on T.M. theory. (World plan, the more that meditate, the better the atmosphere, the better the karma [for the individual].

Table 5: Personal expectations of T.M. (more than one answer possible)
table GIF

In the first place, with 38 people (56%), is the hope of less stress in life and the healing of a sickness or freedom from disease. (Freedom from depression, nervousness, stomach troubles, the giving up of relaxants, skin allergies are also supposed to improve). The group of ex-meditators hoped for above all "inner values" like fulfillment, development of consciousness, joy and self- realization. (altogether 32 people)


"A richer, more fulfilled life." (2/30)

"To meet with God." (2/30)

"I wanted to find myself, so that I could know the things that are the truth, and not be caught up in money and property." (2/30)

"To find out which way I should go in life before I leave school, what sense..." (2/30)

Altogether 19 people (28%), hoped for social and personal abilities in the context of achievements and a heightening of concentration abilities, better intellectual capabilities, solution of problems.


"I hoped for positive results for my teaching career, creative intelligence, more receptivity, more sensitive towards students. It isn't as though I was overburdened, it's just that I was only starting at my job. The promise that everything could go so much better, really excited me." (27/30)

Generally people's expectations of T.M. were very high. The promises offered by T.M. were very effective.

Table 6: Which promises of the T.M. movement were believed, i.e. what gave the impetus to begin T.M.?
table GIF

Here also it can be seen that most were motivated to begin T.M. by the offer of a relaxation technique, the loss of stress, and/or promises of better health. 19% were influenced by the scientific window-dressing in the advertisements, and 16% felt drawn by the underlying religious character of T.M. This dimension of T.M., which above all else is never revealed to the general public, but resonates in the lectures of T.M. teachers in a rather mysterious fashion, corresponds with the search for experience and identity of young adults. It is food for thought that 15% began the practice of T.M. only on the constant urging of people already meditating. This, too, is an indicator of the missionary zeal of active meditators.


Table 7: Reaction of parents/married partners to the taking up of T.M. by their children/their spouse.
table GIF

33% of parents/married partners reacted favorably and 17% were, on top of that, themselves interested. 23% were skeptical, 21% were after an initial ignorance of the subject, against it, and only 6% were against it from the very start.

This and the recorded statements during interviews make clear the fact that very little information about T.M. was available. One had a vague idea, but not enough knowledge to make an evaluation of transcendental meditation. Only a few relied on their own judgment. The number of those who were enticed solely on the basis of promises by the T.M. movement is, relatively speaking, high. It was only after negative changes which parents observed in their children, or married partners in their meditating spouse, that the initial favorable disposition of the parent/married partner became unfavorable. This shows that the claim made by the T.M. movement that the critical stance of parents has its roots in "generation conflict" is without any foundation and obscures the actual state of affairs.


"We were interested ourselves and began the practice."(1/33)

"My parents insisted that I do T.M., they wanted to get me away from drugs." (2/33)

"Relatives were initially skeptical, but then showed understanding and helped financially." (2/33)

"My boyfriend and girlfriend started T.M. Brother, mother, cousin and uncle were later initiated." (2/33)

"I did it in secret, because my mother had no understanding about it." (2/33)

"It was the last 250 marks [roughly $328 -- all dollar amounts US 1995] we had that he spent for the initiation. On the insistence of my husband we all (wife and children) began T.M. In the long run we had no choice but to do so, because he said that he couldn't work out the stress on his own - there were so many toxins emanating from me and the children - we would have to start meditating." (3/33)


The three groups (parent group, whose children meditate; ex-meditator groups; group of married partners, whose spouse meditates), all show the same trends in the results of the investigation, however, the differing degrees of manifestation are quite plainly visible. The greater differences lie between on one hand groups 1 and 3, and on the other hand, group 2. The differing evaluations can be explained on various levels. In the questionnaire there are some indicators as to the influence T.M. has on meditators. They are given in Table 8.

Table 8: Indicators of differing characteristics of the three groups. (more than one answer possible)
table GIF

The above shows that group 1 is the group most heavily involved in the practice of T.M. 55% worked full-time for the movement, 90% are insiders, and 93% meditate for longer than two hours.

In opposition to that, the ex-meditators had little contact with the T.M. movement and also meditated much less. Only 7% of ex-meditators worked full time in the movement, 33% were insiders, the rest ordinary meditator; only 14% meditated longer than two hours. Also, the age of initiation is lower in Group 1 [parents] than in Group 2 [ex-meditators], and the period of involvement in the T.M. practice is over twice as long as that of Group 2 [ex-meditators].

It can be assumed that the effects of T.M. would be much more strongly felt in Group 1 [parents] than Group 2 [ex- meditators]. The next chapter (4) confirms this.

Over and above those facts, the problem must be viewed on the basis of "self-evaluation" on the part of those concerned and "evaluation by others" of those concerned. Groups 1 [parents] and 3 [spouses] are "evaluated by others", Group 2 [ex-meditators] uses the process of "self-evaluation". It is true, at least in part, that ex-meditators cannot fully confront their earlier experiences, or, that in the process of casting back their minds, they give an account of events much more positive than the situation really was. The long lasting changed perception of reality leads with some meditators to their evaluating earlier experiences on the basis of T.M. categorically thinking - even after the practice has been given up. According to T.M. criteria, negative consequences will not occur from the practice. As well as that some ex-meditators still feel bound by the T.M. ordinance on secrecy concerning certain matters pertaining to the practice. Furthermore, self-evaluation is never as cold and objective as "evaluation by others" can be. With certain parents a conflict in the area of values and norms with their children may have played a part in their judgment of events. For the most part however, parents were able to distinguish between normal conflict situations, and problems caused by the practice of T.M.

When the results did not vary to an extreme degree, a middle value was taken from all three groups, which best represents the distribution overall.


-Meditators come mainly from families of middle and upper- middle class. The have in most cases completed a college preparatory and university education and are seeking a middle class/upper-middle class occupation.

-Most families have a good relationship within the family, where the mother is the one responsible for the upbringing of the children. To a much lesser extent, meditators also come from difficult family situations. The course of puberty must be seen to have gone normally with most people (again the reminder of the need for careful treading on this point). Only 18% (10) reported serious problems during their puberty.

-Performance at school previous to the beginning of the T.M. practice was significantly above average. The soon- to-be meditators were satisfied with their position at work and school (for the most part).

-The average age at the time of initiation was clearly below 25 years in the group of parents and ex-meditators questioned; as against that the average age of the married partners group at the time of initiation was 31.5 years.

-It is remarkable that over 70% of the meditators in our investigation were made aware of T.M. by friends, relatives, and people with whom they had regular contact, which illustrates the missionary disposition of most meditators.

-The promises made by the T.M. movement in its publicity campaigns corresponds with the high expectations of those about to begin the practice. Relaxation, health, and above all the search for experiences and the problem of identity with young adults provide the motive for the taking up of the practice

-As regards the parent and married partner groups there was very little knowledge about T.M. Half reacted favorably - to being themselves interested, when their children/spouse began T.M. Only 6% were against it from the start. It was only as a consequence of various negative effects the practice was having on their children/spouse, that they became critical of T.M. and the T.M. movement.

-All three groups show the same trend as regards the findings of this investigation. Group 1 [parents], the meditating children of the parents questioned, became much more intensively engaged in T.M. than group 2, the ex- meditators. This explains the situation as portrayed in the following chapter, where the effects of T.M. are much more strongly felt in Group 1 [parents] than Group 2 [ex- meditators].

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