The Steps of Initiation
as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
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
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,
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..."
rises, stands in front of altar, and indicates where student should
stand. "...stand here. You would like to have a
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."
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:
"Now, close the eyes and continue."
seconds) "More quietly."
seconds, the teacher softens the voice each time "more quietly"
is repeated) "More quietly."
seconds) "More quietly."
seconds) "Now, mentally -- without moving tongue or
(wait 15 seconds) "Open the
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."
minutes) "Open the eyes slowly."
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
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