What is it?
Transcendental Meditation comes in many guises indeed it is often disguised so as to be unrecognised for what it is really. The official version goes like this,
TM is Transcendental Meditation – a technique for deep relaxation and revitalisation. It allows your mind and body to gain a unique state of very deep rest with calm alertness. This allows you to recharge your batteries and dissolve deeply rooted stress, tension, and fatigue from the whole system. This in turn, leaves you feeling calm, clear in mind, and yet with renewed vigour – ready to face the demands of pressures of daily life. TM is easy to learn and practise. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be able to concentrate. You don’t even have to be able to relax. You just practice for 20 minutes twice a day sitting comfortably at home with eyes closed. TM is practical and enjoyable. It is not a religion, philosophy, or way of life. No beliefs are involved at all. You don’t have to give anything up. Over 4 million people have learned TM world-wide including 150,000 in Britain. – TM News & Views, West Midlands Area.
This may seem straight forward but it is a lie. TM is, as we shall see, many things that the above definition says it is not. Especially to be noted is the literally bold statement that it is not a religion, however as I believe we shall see TM is basically Hinduism. Here we see deception but the one making the statement may not see it as such because the leaders of TM have taught that it is okay to lie to gain a convert.
The Man behind Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation first hit the headlines in the swiftly changing, heady atmosphere of the 1960’s, when the cult leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, toured the USA. Born in India, Mahesh Prasad Warma, he became a disciple of Swami Brahmanada Saraswati better known by the name Guru Dev. Under Guru Dev, Maharishi learnt many techniques that he was to employ in TM. Thousands flocked to enrol in the new technique of TM. They ranged from people with a university education, armed forces, students and even theological students, all swarming to be a part of the new wave of thinking. They all felt the need for change, for a new spirituality. TM seemed to offer this, although it was primarily billed as scientific.
Maharishi is stated to be the founder of the following, the Science of Creative Intelligence [the missing link between science and religious experience], the Technology of the Unified Field, Maharishi European Research University, Switzerland and Germany, Maharishi University of Natural Law, England, Maharishi International University, USA, Maharishi Academy of Vedic Science, India, and the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment.
Maharishi presented TM as a scientific answer to today’s problems of race hatred, violence, drug abuse and anxiety. However, investigating scientists have found each claim to be false or at best exaggerated. It was, for instance, noticed that certain mechanical machines, used to lower blood-pressure, did the same work as TM. More pertinently, surely the reality of evangelical Christian holiness and prayer is far superior to any ‘method’?
Peter Fenwick, a British neuro-physiologist, had this to say about TM & scientific proof.
All these studies need to be looked upon with reservations. Few include adequate control groups and none that I am aware of have yet used a blind control procedure where neither subject nor observer is aware of the treatment given or aims of the experiment. Until this sort of study is carried out in meditating groups it is almost impossible to draw conclusions.- London Times, 17 May, 1974
Today TM is often used in psychiatric settings and often you read reports of the technique helping aids victims. Also, in the medical field is the Maharishi AyurVed Health Centre. Ayu means life and Veda science or knowledge. This stems from eastern holistic medicine and can include among other treatments, pulse diagnosis, particular herbs to loosen the impurities from the tissues of the body, massage with oils, and of course the techniques of TM. There are schools that teach TM to their pupils, the main one being their own establishment at Skelmersdale. Children from as young as five or seven years old will spend at least 10 minutes a day meditating.
There are many other tentacles to TM apart from the straight meditation courses although everything leads to that technique in the end. We have already mentioned schools and medicine. To this we can add business management and politics. Maharishi Corporate Development International is reported to have developed a programme that leads to improved employee health, reduced absenteeism and lower health care costs. TM has been involved in politics for several years now.
The political scene in Britain was both amused and bemused by the latest movement of TM, The Natural Law Party. The group caught the headlines when it was revealed that all the members of the party were practitioners of ‘yogic flying’. Spending more than a quarter of a million pounds on newspaper advertisements alone the party contested almost every seat in the 1992 General Election. Although they only scored more than 1 per cent of the vote in a handful of seats; they brought the message of TM into every living room and through every letterbox of the country.
The showpiece of TM in Britain is their centre in the Ideal Village project, Skelmersdale, a 1960’s new town just eight miles Northeast of Liverpool. The ‘Golden Dome’ costing approximately £400,000, was inaugurated on 19 March 1988. Ken Hind, Labour MP for the region, is reported to have said at the inauguration ceremony,
I have watched with admiration the TM movement in Skelmersdale grow on a day to day basis. They came to a community which was very much in retreat, but which is now booming. Even Council press releases on the revival of the Skelmersdale area actually contained TM literature at one time.
Those who attend TM sessions usually believe they are to be treated for anxiety or stress or whatever has brought them to the class. This could be any one of TM’s claims such as, making better work relations, or reducing fears, etc. However this is not necessarily what will happen. The Maharishi tells instructors that people are, too ignorant to understand Hinduism; they must be helped, by deceit!
Those who enrol in a TM course will normally begin by undertaking a series of preliminary orientation sessions. After these comes the initiation ceremony that contains the Puja, a hymn of praise and worship to various Hindu deities. The Puja is intoned in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism and involves one giving allegiance to Hindu gods and not to the Lord Jesus Christ. However those being initiated are not just spectators but must bring flowers, fruits and a handkerchief, that are placed facing a picture of the Maharishi’s own dead guru.
As can be seen the newcomer is invited to make an offering and to bow down and recognise these Hindu deities, as ‘God’. You can imagine the conflict that this can cause when evangelical Christians and those with a nominal belief go through the ceremony.
Following the Puja, the new member is given a ‘mantra’, a word that is to be repeated over and over, day after day. There are a total of 16 mantras and you receive the one for the age group you are in. All these mantras have been used to symbolise specific Hindu deities.
A mantra is not a mere formula or a magic spell or a prayer; it is an embodiment in sound of a particular deity. It is the deity itself. And so, when a mantra is repeated a hundred times, or a thousand times, or even more, and the worshiper makes an effort to identify himself with the worshipped, the power of the deity comes to his help. Human power is thus supplemented by divine power. – The Religion of the Hindus, edited by K.Morgan, p.24.
Gradually, the initiate will come under the control of both his instructor and his own mantra. There comes a time too when the constant repetition of his mantra produces a numbness of mind; he will not be even aware that he is praying to the gods.
Following this, his mind will empty of all thought, which leads towards the ‘merging of self’ with the so called ‘absolute deity’, Brahma. Eventually, adherents to TM lose their personality and some even lose touch with reality. It has also been known for some to end up with mental disorders and for others to end up in practices such as levitation.
The Maharishi sees no place in the world for a non-Hindu. He claims that man is divine and so he cannot sin. His only ‘sin’ he says, is that he does not recognise his own divinity.
We see then, that TM is not to be fooled with or toyed with. It cannot, in any form, be ‘mixed’ with Christianity. Tragically though there are several churches, in many parts of Britain, which regularly hold TM sessions under the title of ‘Christian.’ It is not. TM is Hindu and leads to the ‘impersonal force god’ of Hinduism not the true God of Scripture as seen by evangelical Christians. TM is designed to draw you into a different religion and a different ‘god.’