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TranceNet: Mother Divine, TM's Celibate Nuns

Introduction Below is a mother's personal story about her family's brush with some of TM's most exotic members -- Mother Divine.

Mother Divine members are essentially contemplative nuns, like the Carmelites. Women TM governors may apply for attendance at Thousand-Headed Mother Divine (THMD) with a minimum commitment of 3 months -- and are said to be free to leave at any time. (Given the extraordinary control that the TM movement exerts over Hassan's criteria for mind control -- behavior, information, thought, and emotion -- we would argue that this freedom to leave is greatly exaggerated.)

Mother Divine is held up to women TM governors as the ultimate place and routine for "rapid development of consciousness" -- and a shortcut to attracting the best, most appropriate husband.

They may meditate many, many hours -- 8 or more -- daily. They also spend time reading TM/Hindu scriptures, working on simple creative projects for the Maharishi/Movement, participate in many extraordinarily long rituals associated with the Hindu holidays, and the like.

The diet is simple, low-protein, high-carbohydrate. While not a "starvation" diet in the usual sense, the missing nutrition reportedly tends to make Mother Diviners suggestible, "spacey," disoriented, even mildly delusional. They also regularly consume various TM food supplements, herbs and "Amrit Kalash," that reputedly contain significant doses of anti-depressants and other psychoactive substances.

The Mother Divine time structure is supposed to be quite rigid: Up before dawn, to bed before 10 PM, nearly every minute accounted for during the day, and the nuns are never to be alone. It's our understanding that this regimen has loosened somewhat in the last 5 years or more, however.

Although Mother Diviners claim to practice the strictest celibacy, the intense isolation from internal and external stimuli can greatly magnify natural urges. The strong emphasis from Movement higher ups that the best thing a Mother Divine can do for her "evolution" is to have a celibate marriage with a celibate "Purusha" is said to put heightened emphasis on sexual activity. We've heard reports in this atmosphere of repression and pressure that secretive same-sex affairs blossom to match any Medieval nunnery. This is also said to be the case with the celibate TM monks, "Purusha."

There are many "silences" observed during the year, the "month" being the longest. To our knowledge, the silences are just that -- a month-long period during which the nuns do not speak. The Maharishi has said that prolonged silence "warms the soul." Naturally, it can also have some of the same effects of solitary confinement in breaking down ego barriers, increasing suggestibility, and the like.

Year-round, contact with the outside world is discouraged strongly. Mother Diviners infrequently place phone calls to the outside, and it's a rare event for a Mother Diviner to leave the Livingston Manor grounds.

The most puzzling thing of all to outsiders about the Mother Divine group, however, is that individuals are required to pay the TM organization for the privilege of participating -- last we heard, $1,000 a month, $12,000 a year. Bear in mind, that Mother Divine course participants do perform light work for the TM movement while at THMD. It is as if the Catholic Church charged Carmelite nuns hefty sums for the honor of becoming a cleric.

Unfiltered Not that long ago, we entertained some TM "nuns."

We felt like we were invaded by aliens. I have not mentioned, but feel comfortable quoting some things that I have read to them. Considering our guests bizarre behavior, I feel quite comfortable that what I have read there is true.

Our guests are strange beyond belief. People who have not been with them in 30 years are calling me to find out what happened to them.

We really feel like they are already trying to make our children feel like we are unworthy parents, and they along with TM are the only way to save them from a miserable future.

One of the guests was a relation living at Thousand-Headed Mother Divine (THMD). I have known her for 15 to 20 years and observed the rapid decline in her behavior and ability to deal with the outside world since she moved to Livingston Manor. Her manners have deteriorated to an unbelievable point so that she even eats with her hands now. Having been raised as a Catholic I am very familiar with the Carmelite Nuns. I mentioned to my husband that she seemed as detached from the world as they are.

She is painfully thin, anorexic I would say. Of course this is a result of the eating habits she will not change.

Her attitude towards any negative comment about MMY [the Maharishi] or the movement is to instantly remove herself angrily from the room. After my brief attempt to get her to discuss the progression of TM from "World Peace" to where it is now did not produce a discussion as I had hoped.

Tonight she refused to sleep under my roof and moved into the hotel with the rest of the TM relatives here. Of course, she didn't say that was the reason, only that we keep her from doing her program in solitude, and she can't rest here.

Personally, I am grateful that she is not here. She eats Maharishi supplements all day long, her hair is falling out, and she has a vacant look in her eyes.

She found the Mario cartridge on our Nintendo 64 far too violent for play. There is so much more to tell, but I am not well and can't recall all of the events till I can recover from this reunion. Our personal lives have been put on extreme hold for the past few days. It reminds me of the Don and Marcy story on

There are too many secrets, too many unfinished endings, and too much mystery involved for us to feel comfortable with them. Especially for me since I am an in-law.

Today, they took my 10-year-old son on a day trip. He came home frightened and upset.

They spent over two hours in the car alone with him speaking in the soft hypnotic voices telling him how bad his life was going to be if he didn't learn TM. He commented that they made him so sleepy with the way they talked and wouldn't let him go to sleep.

TM did not work for me at all, and I suffered a lot while they kept telling me, "It is a good thing that is happening to you."

I feel that my anger is justified in this situation. I liken them to child abusers now with their efforts of manipulation of such a young and impressionable mind.

In the future my children will not be allowed to be alone with them. My son is very intelligent and gifted, but susceptible to persuasion if you work on the right triggers. They did their best -- they went for blood. We feel fortunate that the baby, age 7, didn't want to go with them on the trip today.

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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.