TM's Secret Forms & Data Bank
The constant use of forms sets the TM movement apart from eastern
spiritual groups, where a personal relationship with one's teacher is the
That these forms were important cannot be denied: They were subject to
the utmost secrecy, never to be revealed to the public. Some were even numbered to ensure that each was accounted for.
Critics speculate that they serve at least 7 functions:
- They discourage a personal relationship between teacher and student,
focusing attention on the TM movement and the Maharishi.
- They further restrict the TM teacher to a "parrot" role.
Virtually every aspect of the TM teaching is either memorized verbatim or
conducted from printed forms, books, and videotapes.
- They extend the Maharishi's control over the teacher.
- They extend the Maharishi's control over the students. Nearly every
form must be signed by TMers and usually contain impressive,
legal-sounding language that seems to imply legal action if the tiniest
aspect of the TM teaching is revealed. (Some critics question the validity of
any of these contracts on various grounds.)
- They look impressive to the new initiates, projecting the image of a
- They are an additional source of revenue to the TM movement. Teachers
or TM centers must purchase these forms from MIU/MUM Press. Photocopying
is frowned upon.
- They allow for easy collection and storage of information. Files,
most computerized, were kept throughout the '70s and '80s on nearly every
TMer. The information was said to be used in deciding who would be
allowed to go on future courses. Because most committed TMers are
convinced that only the TM movement is a valid source of "new
knowledge" and "deeper experience (extra meditation
periods)" these files held at "National" were a main
source of fear and control within the TM movement. With
"National's" decentralization in the '90s it's unclear who, if
anybody, has access to this data today.
The forms below are a very incomplete selection of the dozens of
forms a TMer will complete during his or her involvement with the
movement. (Please see our "Wish List"
Interview Form (31K) (Copyright 1974
International Meditation Society) New initiates were
told that the personal information about drug history, psychological and
other illness or treatment, and so forth be kept strictly confidential.
In many TM centers this was more or less true. But these forms were not
kept securely and many teachers and volunteers regularly snooped through
these files. Also, it wasn't unusual for an initiator to pull an
"unstressing" meditator's file to look for "impure"
activity in their background to explain their problems with meditation.
circles and checkmarks that TM teachers made on
the interview form had no meaning other than impressing and intimidating
TMers. The Maharishi told TM teachers to make checks at random! Two
specific areas, however, he ordered us to check:
Address Form (20K) (with Address Form Back (7K)) (Copyright 1973
Internatinal Meditation Society) contained education
and career information that came in useful when we needed volunteers or
Address Card (3K) (no date, 1970s?) was
for local Center
use as a paper database for marketing mailings, requests for donations,
and so forth. Later many TM centers put this information on PCs.
Initiation Day (15K) (©1973 IMS), First Day (13K) (© 1975 IMS), Second Day (13K) (© 1975 IMS), and Third Day (16K) "experience"
forms (© 1975 IMS), handed out during Three
Days Checking, ask a series of vague questions intended
to convince the new meditator that he or she is having profound
Front (17K) and Back
(6K) of the A Form (©1973 IMS) reported revenue
generated by each TM teacher back to "National."
Initiator Address Form (11K)
(no date, 1970s?) was
required by "National" before "salaries" could be
disbursed. The movement kept tight reign on TM teachers' whereabouts and
TTC Experience Form (8K) (no
date, 1970s?) reported on
prospective TM teachers' experiences on long "rounding"
courses. Course Participants were supposed to relate "flashy"
experiences, correlate them with a verse from the IX or X Mandala of the
Hindu Rig Veda, and hand them in daily. (Note the admonishment about
secrecy or confidentiality.) Collected by course leaders, these forms
were reportedly forwarded to "International," where the
Maharishi's staff pored over them for signs of instability -- or flashy
quotes for movement publications.
Governor Experience Form (22K) (no
date, 1970s?) were
required from "Governors of the Age of Enlightenment" on a
monthly basis to report on progress of the "World Plan,"
personal growth or problems. These forms were mailed to
"International," where the Maharishi's staff pored over them
for signs of instability -- or flashy quotes for movement publications.
- Citizen's Experience Forms
- TTC Application Forms
- WPA Application Forms
- Residence Course Application Forms
- SCI Application Forms
- MAV Health Inventory Forms
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