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You Always Wanted to Know about the TM-Sidhis...*

*but were afraid to ask....

Introduction Nearly everyone stumbling on this site must know the basics about the TM-Sidhi program -- those advanced techniques taught by the Maharishi that will supposedly bring about supernormal powers like levitation. They're really secret. They're really expensive. And they don't work. At least they don't bring about any demonstrable supernormal abilities in the over 20 years since they were introduced. Most TMers believe one of two scenarios regarding the Maharishi's teaching flying, superhuman strength, omniscience, and so forth: Either he, as the most powerful master on the planet, cognized them directly, or they were some secret teaching handed down from guru to disciple for thousands of years in the Shankaracharya tradition, much like the TM mantras were supposed to be. Wouldn't either of those scenarios be just romantic? Fact is, as he had with his other teachings, the Maharishi used his tried-and-true, three-step program:
  1. Steal some readily available material from India's rich spiritual heritage -- and quick call it your own.
  2. Use your closest, "early adopter" students as unwitting guinea pigs as you figure out how to make the techniques work. (Don't forget to charge those devoted to you thousands of dollars for the experiments.)
  3. Roll out a version of the program for the public -- remembering to change the techniques' spelling slightly -- from siddhi to TM-Sidhi[trademark] -- so you can trademark it and call it yours uniquely.
The Maharishi rolled out his new, bizarre program in the mid-70s -- at the heighth of his greatest success in the U.S. Thousands were being initiated into TM following his appearances on Merv Griffin. Mantras were even showing up in Woody Allen movies.

So why risk blowing his success with such strange claims of powers like flying, invisibility, walking through walls?

Some critics have suggested it was to distract the faithful's attention. After all the TM movement had just lost the "New Jersey Case," in which a U.S. federal court found that TM was a religion and may not be taught in public schools. And by this time, literally thousands of TMers had been meditating the 3, 5, or 7 years that the Maharishi had promised would bring enlightenment -- with no sign of such an exalted state dawning. And what about the promised Age of Enlightenment?

Here for the first time on the Web is a full discussion of the TM-Sidhi program: the full 18 sutra "citizen's" program and how to do it, the even more secret Governor's sutras for invisibility and more, the original marketing and research materials that promised enlightenment and levitation, an indepth analysis of the TM-Sidhis and hyperventilation, and finally a warning from the mainstream Indian tradition to avoid their practice as dangerous and a waste of time.

blackball.GIFBook III of Patanjali's Sutras, entire text used by the Movement for developing TM-Sidhi program, with notes and commentary.

blackball.GIFThe full 18 sutra "citizen's" program and how to do it -- plus the even more secret Governor's sutras for invisibility and more.

blackball.GIFThe original ads used by the TM movement unequivocally promising levitation, invisibility, and more.

blackball.GIF Promises of actual siddhi performance in TM's house researcher David Orme-Johnson's article.

blackball.GIF Comparing the effects of the TM-Sidhis and hyperventilation, with a discussion of the Shiva Samhita.

blackball.GIF Warnings about siddhis from TM's "Holy Tradition" -- Vyasa and Shankara -- as well as Patanjali himself. They're dangerous and a waste of time.

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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.