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The Steps of Initiation

into Transcendental Meditation
as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Note: These "steps" are memorized by prospective TM initiators during the last 3 to 5 days of Teacher Training Course, Phase III (TTCIII). Prior to being made teachers, course participants (CPs) are tested by course leaders for absolute, verbatim knowledge of this procedure, its wording, and the precise time intervals as quoted below. CPs must pass such a test three times without mistakes or even hesitations in order to be eligible to become TM teachers.

The dictated text is represented by course leaders as being a direct quote from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- including idiosyncratic grammar and phrasing -- and is said to be the only process by which his Transcendental Meditation may be taught successfully. According to the restrictions imposed by TTCIII course leaders, they may only be "inscribed in consciousness" -- that is, memorized from dictation -- and may never be written down, in order to preserve the "purity of the teaching."

The text below represents the "steps" as they were taught in the mid-to-late 70s and may differ somewhat from earlier and later TTCIII courses. They have been transcribed from a qualified, practicing TM teacher's memory and then compared with several other TM initiators' memories to confirm the precise wording and timed intervals.

The striking similarities to the " Checking Notes" and " Three Days Checking, Group Check" procedures have been cross-referenced.

Teacher has prepared an altar to Guru Dev, lit a candle and incense, and spread camphor, sandalwood paste, rice, and other ritual offerings in the appropriate ritual containers prior to student's entrance. Two comfortable chairs are also provided directly in front of the altar, leaving room for teacher and student to stand before the altar.

The initiation room is always prepared behind a closed door so that no student may see the altar before entering. Maharishi has said the element of surprise is important for insuring a smooth and deep initiation experience for the student.

When the student enters the room, teacher accepts fruit, flowers, handkerchief, and initiation form from student -- the items are usually carried in a wicker basket by the student. Teacher briefly glances at initiation form to check the criteria for mantra selection (age and/or sex) and to preserve the illusion of personal mantra selection. Then the teacher begins speaking to the initiate, as they both sit in front of the altar:

"In this personal instruction, you will receive a mantra, or sound, and then the procedure how to use it properly. Once you know the mantra or sound, by tradition, we keep it to our self. Also the actual procedure of meditation that you receive is to be kept private. For maximum results, all that we learn in private, we keep private. Do you agree?"
Teacher must wait for student's assent before continuing.
"Now, please come..."
Teacher rises, stands in front of altar, and indicates where student should stand.
"...stand here. You would like to have a flower?..."
Teacher offers one of student's flowers back to student. The student must take and hold it for the ceremony to continue.
"...and witness the ceremony which I perform in gratitude to the tradition of Masters who have given us this wisdom of integration of life.

"This is a picture of Guru Dev, His Divinity Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Maharishi's Master, from whom we have this meditation.

"Now, I'll begin -- and you just witness."

Teacher performs puja.

At the end of the puja, the teacher sinks to his knees in front of altar while sweeping his right arm -- indicating to initiate that he, too, should kneel. The ceremony may continue if the initiate does not kneel, or "bow down." After a moment, the initiator slowly rises, slowly and softly repeating the initiate's mantra -- without explaining to the initiate that this is his mantra. For the purposes of testing on TTCIII, before prospective teachers actually are given their list of TM mantras, the word "flower" was substituted.
"Flower, flower, flower, flower..."
The teacher beckons to the individual to repeat with hand motions. If he doesn't begin repeating the mantra, then the teacher says:
"Repeat: Flower, flower, flower, flower...."
The teacher ceases repeating the mantra, indicating with hand motions that the student should continue. The teacher waits for the student to repeat the mantra 3 or 4 times on his own, then motions him to sit in the provided chair. The teacher might say:
(15 seconds)
"Now, close the eyes and continue."
(wait 15 seconds)
"More quietly."
(15 seconds, the teacher softens the voice each time "more quietly" is repeated)
"More quietly."
(15 seconds)
"More quietly."
(15 seconds)
"Now, mentally -- without moving tongue or lips."
(wait 15 seconds)
"Open the eyes."
Wait for him to open the eyes.
"It's easy? Mental repetition is not a clear pronunciation, it's a faint idea. And if at any time you seem to be forgetting the mantra, don't try to hold on. Let it go. Now, close the eyes and continue."
(2 minutes)
"Open the eyes."
Wait for him to open the eyes.
"It's easy? You feel some relaxation? This is Transcendental Meditation. See, how simple it is? It goes almost by itself. We don't concentrate. We don't control the mind. Just think the mantra easily, effortlessly. And if at any time you seem to be forgetting the mantra, don't try to hold on. Let it go. If a thought comes, easily come back to the mantra. Now, close the eyes and continue."
(10 minutes)
"Open the eyes slowly."
(15 seconds)
"It's good? Relaxing? See how simple it is? Did you feel sometimes the mantra was forgotten and thoughts came? How many times this happened -- two, three times? It's good. Whenever we forget the mantra, we quietly come back to it. It's a very simple, natural process. Now, you'll sit in this room and meditate for a while. After some time I'll come and then we'll talk more about it."
The Teacher closes his eyes as an example and after a minute leaves the room as the meditator continues to meditate by himself for 20 minutes -- or if he is under 18, one minute for every year of age. When the teacher returns, he offers the meditator the Initiation Day Questionnaire to fill out and discusses experiences with him -- based on the General Points of the Checking Procedure. He tells the new initiate to meditate in this way in the afternoon at home, and then again in the morning and afternoon of the next day. Finally, he reminds him of the time and place of the First Day's Checking meeting.

Back to Checking/Initiation Table of Contents

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