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ANTH 130: Anthropology 130: Cultures of the World College Paper, Written by Me in 2005 by Linda Lange, Copyright AngelStar Creations
I added some pictures that were not in the original paper.
To those people investigating Transcendental Meditation (TM):
Read this and enjoy, and read my other papers. I hope you do.
Do not take any of this and call it your own, if you use the information please cite your source which is Linda Lange and AngelstarCreations.com at this Web page URL.

Is Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) a religious or cult group?

The Truth About Transcendental Meditation

      In this paper I am going to examine whether The Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) Program/Organization is or is not a religion and/or a cult. It is indeed a separate culture, in and of itself, according to my experience, and it may also be a subculture. I’m talking about the organization itself and the people in it who believe everything that are told to them by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his main people. I’m talking about the people who learned Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) many years ago and have become TM® teachers and/or live in places like Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. I am talking about the people who are seen as “fanatical” by others who are watching them from outside the group. I was once inside this group and I am now watching from outside. I am also going to mention a very religious-looking ritual that is performed when a new “initiate” is taught the TM® technique. I am doing this paper because I have often heard, within the TM organization, “TM is not a religion”. I have also heard that it is a science. Which is it? That is the question.

Short Maharishi Video from 1968
 

      According to the book Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge, a culture is “A society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions – which are used to make sense of experience and generate behavior and which are reflected in behavior.” (Haviland 32) On page 33 of the same book it says that a subculture is, “A distinctive set of standards and behavior patterns by which a group within a larger society operates.” (Haviland 33) You will see that according to my experience with the TM group and according to materials I will refer to in this paper it definitely meets these two descriptions. According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1977) on page 277 a cult is: 1. formal religious veneration, worship; 2. a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents; 3. a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also its body of adherents; 5a. great devotion to a person, idea, or thing; esp: such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad; 5b. a usually small circle of persons united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure. (Woolf 277) Also according to this same book a religion is, 1. the service and worship of God or the supernatural; 2. commitment or devotion to a religious faith or observance. (Woolf 977)

      “In 1958 the Maharishi left India on a mission to the West and arrived in the United States in 1959. The Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation, the early organizational form of TM, was incorporated by the Maharishi and others in Los Angeles in 1959. In the late 1960s and early 1970s many affiliated organizations were created to spread the teaching of TM…” (Beit-Hallahmi 357) “Transcendental Meditation was popularized under that name by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (most famous for having been the Beatles’ guru in the 1960s). It derives from techniques described in the sacred texts of Hinduism. When it is taught outside India, no mention is made of Hindu philosophy, certainly at the basic level of training. In TM, you sit quietly with eyes closed for 20 minutes, twice daily, silently repeating a mantra until the mantra is replaced by a sense of total peace in which there is no mental noise at all.” (Garrett) 

Image: Man and woman with baby standing in front of a dome-shaped building      I surfed to The Transcendental Meditation Program web site to find information about TM and its adherents. It is at: http://www.tm.org. The title of the site is “The Transcendental Meditation Program.” On the site they say that the Transcendental Meditation Program is, “Your key to clearer thinking, better health, fulfilling relationships and a peaceful world. The Transcendental Meditation technique is easy to learn, enjoyable to practice, and it enriches all areas of life.” It also says, “More than six million people of all ages, educational backgrounds, cultures and religions have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique.” And again it says, "The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless, easily learned technique practiced for 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. The practice is not a religion or philosophy, nor does it require any change of lifestyle.” (Yogi) Since it was once called “The Spiritual Regeneration Movement” it is sometimes referred to as “The Movement”.

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      In the book The Physiology of Consciousness, Dr. Robert Keith Wallace talks about the technology of consciousness: Transcendental Meditation. (Wallace 1) Later in the book he mentions Maharishi’s Vedic Science and talks about the various levels of consciousness available through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. (Wallace 11) He talks in the book about TM being a science. He talks about many of the scientific research procedures that prove that TM is beneficial to life. I am not examining whether TM is beneficial or not, I am only trying to determine whether it is indeed a science or if it is actually a cult and/or religion. 

      Maximos Aghiorgoussis calls TM a “pagan pseudo-worship”. He states, “there must be a religious rite of initiation, in a suitable room full of incense smoke, with lit candles (the only dim light), and a huge photograph of Guru Dev to which offerings are made and idolatrous worship is rendered. The offerings include a seemingly strange collection of three sweet fruits, at least six flowers, and a clean handkerchief. The offerings are offered during the religious rite Puja, which is performed in Sanskrit (a language unknown, of course, to the non-Indian young followers and users of the method), during which rite glory and worship are offered to the (pagan) "god" Guru Dev.

 

Image: people gathered in room for photograph      “Finally, the initiate receives a so-called mantra, an exclusive word known only to himself and which he may not disclose to anyone; otherwise the word becomes useless. The initiate repeats this word insatiably when practicing TM twice a day for twenty minutes at a time. … TM is essentially a new version of Hindu Yoga.” (Aghiorgoussis 34)

      “The religious nature of TM instruction has been a matter of legal dispute in the United States since the early 1970s. The matter was brought to court before Federal Judge H. Curtis Meanor, at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Judge Meanor's ruling on October 19, 1977, stated that ‘The [TM] and the teaching thereof, the concepts of the field of pure Creative Intelligence, Creative Intelligence, and Bliss-Consciousness . . . and the puja ceremony, are all religious in nature within the context of the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.’ On February 2, 1979, this ruling was up­held by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The TM organization never appealed that ruling.” (Beit-Hallahmi 357)

      There is one web site on the Internet by a TM teacher that says that those who attend the Introductory Lectures are being hypnotized. (Kellett) There are also web sites that say that TM is a cult group. Many of the people who have joined the TM Organization have become obsessed with “doing their program” regularly and with doing what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says to do. I don’t believe the people who only meditate 20 minutes twice a day (or less) are part of a cult or religious group, although they have participated in a seemingly religious rite when they were taught the TM technique.

      I first heard about TM by reading the book about the Beatles, called “The Beatles” by Hunter Davies. I also read some articles in magazines about the Beatles and TM. I remember that they talked about learning TM and how it was beneficial in many areas of life. I wanted to improve myself. I went through the interview process and was eventually initiated; I was taught the TM technique in 1975 in Andover, Massachusetts. I took part in the previously mentioned very religious-looking procedure performed by my TM teacher when I was initiated. It is called The Puja, and includes the TM teacher chanting unintelligible, melodious words in front of an alter, with a picture of Guru Dev over the alter, and placing of fruit, flowers and a white handkerchief brought by the new initiate on to the alter.

Image: Woman and man      Eventually the TM teachers at my TM center mentioned to me about a certain opportunity. They thought that I might want to be on staff at the TM Academy for the Science of Creative Intelligence “retreat” center in upstate New York. I applied and was accepted; and I quit my “regular” job of a couple of years at that time. I wanted to become a TM teacher. I thought TM would eventually decrease my shyness, and that my self-esteem would increase over time and that I would be able to become a TM teacher; I wanted to help other people find peace, contentment and enlightenment. While there I took part in evening meetings where we heard yet more lectures about TM and watched videos of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM Organization. 

      As stated earlier we (a group of maybe 200 people) slept, ate, lived and worked there and hardly ever left. After being there for 10 months I went back home to Massachusetts and got another “regular” job. Eventually I moved in to the TM center in Andover, Massachusetts and continued to work in my “regular” job outside of the TM center. In 1977 I married a man that I had met in the Academy. We continued to be enamored of TM and the TM organization. In early 1978 we moved to California and continued to be more and more involved with the TM group. In 1979 we heard about a TM group in Missouri, so we moved there and were on staff there for a year and a half. The Maharishi had been asking people to meditate and “fly” in groups and that it would help the world consciousness rise. So we went. We got the usual stipend of $25.00 per month, room and board and meals (I was one of the cooks) and we also got credit toward learning the TM-Sidhis advanced course - which included the “flying” technique. There were about 30 people living and working at this place. We both learned these TM-Sidhis toward the end of 1979 at weekend sessions in St. Louis, MO. We then learned the flying “sutra” at a two week gathering at the end of 1979 in Fairfield, Iowa. Again we were taught these things after attending the ritual Puja ceremony. While we were there in Iowa for two weeks the “Golden Domes” were being built. The Maharishi was there at that time and spoke to the group in the incomplete wooden skeleton of the men’s Golden Dome. I felt a wave of appreciation and love and I felt very honored to be there in person with Maharishi (even though there were over a thousand of us there). We worked for a year and a half to earn the credit to learn these techniques. In 1980 we left Missouri and moved back to California.

      We worked some in the “regular” world in California but by this time we were really attached to being part of the TM world. We eventually joined a Sidha Village in Los Altos, California. Only people who practiced the TM technique and the advanced TM-Sidhis program were allowed to live there. We were there for a couple of years. While we lived there I gave birth to my daughter, Erica. She was given a TM mantra when she was just a baby.

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Image: Woman holding baby      When we were in California we heard that the Maharishi wanted as many people as possible to move to Fairfield, Iowa and join the group meditations and “flying” there to help the world move toward world peace. When my daughter was about 5 or 6 months old we traveled in our van and our few possessions to Fairfield. We had also heard that there was this great school there and we thought our child deserved to attend the best school in the world. We arrived in Fairfield with a baby, a van that only worked in 2nd gear, and about $100 in our pockets. We moved in with a friend for a couple of weeks. My husband got a job working at the Maharishi International University (now called The Maharishi University of Management). We started to attend group TM practice twice a day in the Golden Domes. My husband practiced his “program” in the men’s dome twice per day, and I went every day into the Lady’s dome. My husband worked at the Maharishi International University for about 15 years. We bought a small house in Fairfield in 1982 and owned it till 1997. We left Fairfield in 1997. As a side note, I was divorced in 1999. I have continued practicing TM off and on since 1994. I have recently quit altogether because of what I have been reading and because I have better things to do with my life.

      I found a quote from a Newsweek magazine that says, “Focusing on behavior rather than ideology or creed, Marcia Rudin, director of International Cult Education Program in New York, defines the destructive types as ‘groups which manipulate, mistreat and exploit their followers and misrepresent themselves both to their followers and to the outside society.’” (Woodward) I am finding in my readings that people who are susceptible to being exploited, as I was at the age of 24, tend to join these religious/cult groups in droves. I was searching for answers; I always felt “there must be something more to life”. I joined this group which may be a sub-culture, a religion and perhaps a cult, and may very well mistreat and manipulate its followers and misrepresent itself. 

      In his book Steven Hassan talks about Patrick Ryan who was involved with TM for 10 years. Pat is quoted as saying, “It has all of the characteristics of a destructive cult. A lot of my friends and I have been greatly damaged by our involvement with it.” Steven says, “Like most destructive cults, TM uses a good deal of deception. Its public spokespeople say that "TM is not a philosophy, a religion, or a lifestyle." Yet, Pat points out, "People become vegetarian, celibate, recite mantras composed of the names of Hindu gods, and worship Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as the 'enlightened master of the universe.'"” (Hassan 87) Steven also says, “Most people who learn TM never go beyond the prescribed twenty minutes of meditating twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. They can hardly be called cult members. But a few continue to visit the TM centers for "checking," and go on to pay for more and more advanced courses. Eventually they may get to the point Pat did. He paid $3,000 to learn how to levitate and fly. In reality, he found himself reciting the more "advanced" mantras while vigorously hopping up and down with his legs crossed in the lotus position for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

      “Not surprisingly, he experienced painful muscle spasms, headaches, and involuntary twitching. He went to his instructors for help. "They told me that I was unstressing," he said. "They told me to go back and meditate and fly harder."” (Hassan 87, 88)

      In the book TM and Cult Mania, it is stated, “cults are made from ordinary men and women. They are not special embodiments of good or evil. The cult mentality, with its intolerance and contempt for human potential, can strike at any time.” (Persinger 8) Yes, I believe this is true. I was taken in by this organization and I am a normal everyday person. 

      I have not come to any real conclusions in this paper. Perhaps TM and the TM Organization is a religious group. Perhaps it is a cult group. Perhaps it is both. I’ll let the reader(s) of this paper and viewers of my video decide.

      I have not come to a conclusion in this paper. I just want people to read all that they can before they start on any new adventure in life including TM.

Photos by me from top:
My husband Bert and me with our baby daughter in front of the men's Golden Dome at MIU in Fairfield, Iowa in 1982.
Bert and me with other TM people at the TM Center in Andover, MA in 1977-1978
Me and Bert just before we got married in Massachusetts in 1977. We met at a TM Retreat.
Me holding one of my nieces in Massachusetts in 1976, just before I headed off to be part of the TM retreat center in upstate New York.

~=**=~~=**=~~=**=~~=**=~

The following is from the TM web site about all the registered
and/or trademarked names they own as of 2005.

® Transcendental Meditation, TM, TM-Sidhi, Maharishi Ayur-Veda, Maharishi Ayurveda, Science of Creative Intelligence, Maharishi, Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, Maharishi Global Construction, Maharishi Yoga, Maharishi Yagya, Maharishi Vedic Astrology, Maharishi Jyotish, Maharishi Gandharva Veda, Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health, Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology, Maharishi Instant Relief, Instant Relief, Maharishi Rejuvenation, Maharishi Rasayana Program, Maharishi Vedic Management, Maharishi Corporate Development Program, Consciousness-Based, Maharishi Vedic University, Maharishi Vedic School, Maharishi Vedic Center, Maharishi Ayur-Veda School, Maharishi Ayur-Veda University, Maharishi Ayur-Veda College, Maharishi Ayur-Veda Foundation, Maharishi Ayur-Veda Medical Center, Maharishi University of Management, Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, Maharishi Medical Center, Maharishi Vedic Medical Center, Maharishi Medical College, Maharishi Vedic, Maharishi Vedic Medicine, Maharishi Vedic Psychology, Maharishi Self-Pulse, Maharishi Heaven on Earth, Maharishi Center for Excellence in Management, Maharishi Vedic Management, Maharishi Master Management, Natural Law Based Management, Maharishi Corporate Revitalization Program, Maharishi Global Administration through Natural Law, Maharishi Vedic Development Fund, Thousand-Headed Purusha, Maharishi Thousand-Headed Purusha, Maharishi Purusha, Purusha, Thousand-Headed Mother Divine, Mother Divine, Ideal Girls' School, 24 Hour Bliss, Spiritual University of America, Breath of Serenity, Maharishi Amrit Kalash, Maharishi College of Vedic Medicine, Vedic Science, Maharishi Vedic Science, Maharishi Vedic Observatory, Vastu Vidya, Maharishi Vastu, Time Zone Capital, Council of Supreme Intelligence, Prevention Wing of the Military, are registered or common law trademarks licensed to Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation.

Is TM a Religious/Cult Group? Works Sited

Aghiorgoussis, Maximos. “The Challenge of Metaphysical Experiences Outside Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Response.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review. Brookline, MA, Spring 1999: Vol. 44, Iss. 1-4, p. 20-52.

Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Active New Religions, Sects, and Cults. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1998.

Garrett, Catherine. “Transcendental Meditation, Reiki and Yoga: Suffering, Ritual and Self-Transformation”. Journal of Contemporary Religion. 2001: Vol. 16, No. 3.

Hassan, Steven. “Combating Cult Mind Control.” Rochester, VT: Park Street Press: 1988, 1990.

Haviland, William A., et al. Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc., 2005.

Kellett, Joseph W. Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole, How TM Really Works, a Critical Opinion. 2002. 5 Oct. 2005 <http://www.suggestibility.org/>. 

Persinger, Michael A., et al. TM and Cult Mania. North Quincy, MA: Christopher Publishing House, 1980.

Wallace, Robert Keith. “The Physiology of Consciousness: How Maharishi’s Vedic Physiology and Its Practical Application, Maharishi Ayur-Ved, Can Solve the Problems of Individual and Collective Health and Raise Life to a New Level of Fulfillment.” Fairfield, IA: Maharishi International University Press, 1993

Woodward, Kenneth L., Fleming, Charles. “Cultic America: A tower of Babel.” Newsweek. New York, NY, 15 Mar. 1993: 60-61.

Woolf, Henry Bosley, Ed. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield. G. & C. Merriam, 1977.

Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program - Official website. How and where to learn. Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation. 5 Oct. 2005. <http://www.tm.org/>.

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Addendum: Personally I don't really care if TM is a religion or a Cult. I just wish they'd stop lying about it. I was an innocent and they took me into their fold and lied and lied and lied.
My favorite site about TM is still: http://www.suggestibility.org/. Read it if you dare.
Also read about my experience with TM: http://www.angelstarcreations.com/metaphysical/tm_exp.html Also see my links Above.

The Movie
Created by me and only by me for my anthropology class (I own nothing)

 

If this dosn't work go to this link: https://youtu.be/0smU-7FHzyE

About the video above: There used to be music that I heard as part of the TM Organization, some TM influenced music, and some other Indian-flavored music in the background. The music is listed below. 
NOTE: If you see that the video is restricted, ignore that. It should not be restricted. The TM people don't like it because I just wanted to tell the truth.
Also, YouTube removed the music and stuff. If you want to see the original video with the music send me an email, I will send you my mailing address; send me $10 and your mailing address and I will send you the original video as an AVI file on a DVD disc.

      The visual part of the video starts out with Guru Dev, who is the “master” of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It goes on with images of Maharishi by himself and Maharishi with The Beatles and other famous people. Then comes a portion of a promotional video, which is the TM introductory lecture, with Dr. Ashley Deans talking about "God Consciousness"; I got this video from the TM web site and cut out a portion of it. My video continues with images of “The Holy Tradition,” more pictures of Maharishi, a tiny video of Maharishi in the Men’s Dome in Fairfield, Iowa in 1979, when I was there, and then pictures of the completed “Golden Domes” in Fairfield, Iowa where people to this day practice TM and the TM Sidhi’s program regularly twice per day. After that are people meditating, including people in meditation in the Golden Domes in Fairfield, Iowa. Following that are people “flying” then some other pictures of various people involved in the TM Organization. The video ends with one more picture of Maharishi, images of various pieces of equipment similar to those used during the TM initiation process, The Puja, and similar images to those that were, and probably still are, sold in the 21st Century Bookstore in Fairfield associated with the TM organization. These are types of images of gods and goddesses that I have seen many times in the homes of TM practitioners and have also had (and still have) hanging in my own home. 

 

Audio, Video and Images in the Movie 

Beatles, The. Fool on the Hill. Perf. The Beatles. (Compact Disk) Apple, Parlophone, EMI, 1990.

Harrison, George. My Sweet Lord. Perf. George Harrison. (Compact Disk) Emd/Capitol, 2001.

Manthei, Kathy. mantraART paintings by kathy manthei. Mantra Art. 14 Oct. 2005 http://www.mantraart.com/

Shankar, Ravi. Meditation. Perf. Ravi Shankar. (Compact Disk) Angel Records, 2001.

Stanley, Rick. Love and God. Perf. Rick Stanley. Sarada Records, 1998.

Stanley, Rick. Natural Tendency. Perf. Rick Stanley. Sarada Records, 1998.

Stanley, Rick. Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge. GoldenDome.org. 14 Oct. 2005 http://goldendome.org

Stanley, Rick.  Celtic Harps Home - Celtic Harps by Rick Stanley.  Celtic Harps. 14 Oct. 2005  http://www.celticharps.com/

Williams, Richard J.  Jump!  Reflections on the Transcendent.  10 Oct. 2005. 14 Oct. 2005 http://www.rwilliams.us/

Wonder, Stevie.  Jesus Children of America.  Perf. Stevie Wonder. 

Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh.  The Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program - Official website.  Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation.  5 Oct. 2005 <http://www.tm.org/>.

This paper was written and is copyright by the owner of AngelStarCreations.com
Please do not copy and do call this your own. If you use it in a college paper or other writing, please be sure to properly cite your source.
Written by Linda Lange

All I ask is that people THINK and read a lot - not just the TM group propaganda - Check other Web sites and books - before deciding.

Here are some web sites and books that changed my perception of Transcendental Meditation (TM) including other info about TM:

Behind the TM Facade - http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/ - This is a site which is critical of Transcendental Meditation® or "TM", its founder Mahesh Varma, who is also known by the unearned title of "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi", and his associated organizations

Cult Education Institute - http://www.culteducation.com/group/1195-transcendental-meditation-movement.html - This page contains information the Cult Education Institute has gathered about Transcendental Meditation.
What was The Rick A. Ross Institute is now (above) Cult Education Institute.
More about Rick Alan Ross at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Ross_(consultant)

Don Krieger, his experiences with negative side Effects of TM.
The Negative Side Effects of Transcendental Meditation - This has been cross-posted several times, so happy it is still here in 2015.

Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole http://www.suggestibility.org - Kellett, Joseph W., How TM Really Works, a Critical Opinion.

Freedom of Mind - http://www.freedomofmind.com - Cult information from cult expert Steve Hassan - He also has lots of other links to check out.

Global Possibilities - How I paid $2,500 For a Password to Inner Peace - Humans are anxious, tired and distracted; but we don’t need to pay big bucks to learn to relax.

Meditation Information Network (minet). "Supporting critical examination of Transcendental Meditation and the programs associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi." A Web site that is an archive only with information about Transcendental Meditation. Also contains archived TM-Ex Newsletters and links to other TM sites.
http://web.archive.org/web/20050507175847/minet.org/
or
http://minet.org/
More Links to More Information about Transcendental Meditation and it's practitioners and Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa

Onwww dot net - Behind the TM Facade - These web pages are reported for historical reasons, to show how the TM organization was able to attract criticism.
"Lies My Guru Told Me" An open letter to anyone within the TM movement - or anyone for that matter.

Paul Mason Information - http://www.paulmason.info/ - Tales of meetings with Dandi Swami Narayananand Saraswati, the Guru's Will, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi & the Shankaracharyas of Jyotir Math by Paul Mason.

Quackwatch - Quackwatch is now an international network of people who are concerned about health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Website by Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D..
http://www.quackwatch.org/ - Go here and search for Transcendental Meditation.
Examples:
A Few Thoughts on Ayurvedic Mumbo-Jumbo
From: http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/chopra.html
Biography Magazine interviews Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D.: "[Meditation is] a relaxation technique, one of many. I don't think relaxation has a tremendous amount of use. Transcendental meditation is one form of meditation. It's very expensive to learn, and it's been closely associated with a lot of mumbo-jumbo on health-related things."
From: http://www.quackwatch.org/10Bio/biography.html
By Jack Raso, M.S., R.D.: "Transcendental Meditation® (TM®): One of the two most important techniques of Maharishi Ayur-Ved. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded TM in 1957 and introduced it in the United States in 1959. TM is an alleged means of experiencing "pure awareness." It involves sitting comfortably, with eyes closed, for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day while one mentally repeats a mantra. In TM, a mantra purportedly is a "thought-sound" that has a "known" vibratory effect but does not have a designative meaning. The TM teacher supposedly chooses a mantra suitable for the initiate."
From: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/dictionary/mdt.html

This Skeptic's Dictionary is a website and a book - http://skepdic.com/tm.html - A very interesting and informative writing about TM.

TM-Free Blog. Skeptical Views of Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - http://tmfree.blogspot.com.

To find out more about TM from the Transcendental Meditation Site go to tm.org. But do read more than their propaganda.

TranceNet.org. Championing Psychological Freedoms in Cults, Corporations, Nations, and Families The below website is an archive only. It is not being updated and some of the links don't work. It has fantastic information about Transcendental Meditation (TM).
http://web.archive.org/web/20050404063923/www.trancenet.org/start/index.shtml
or
http://web.archive.org/web/20050305045943/www.trancenet.org/index.shtml

Why I quit Transcendental Meditation - http://whyiquittranscendentalmeditation.blogspot.com/

 

Books:

Persinger, Michael A., et al. TM and Cult Mania. Christopher Pub House (May 1980). ISBN-10: 0815803923 ISBN-13: 978-0815803928

Hassan, Steven. Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults. Park Street Press, 1990. ISBN-10: 0892813113 ISBN-13: 978-0892813117

Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Active New Religions, Sects, and Cults. New York, NY : The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1993 & 1998. The 1993 version: ISBN-10: 0823915050 ISBN-13: 978-0823915057. Can't find ISBNs for the 1998 version.

Lewis, Gordon R., What Everyone Should Know About Transcendental Meditation. Christopher Pub House, 1980. ISBN-10: 0815803923 ISBN-13: 978-0815803928

Olson, Helena. Maharishi at "433": The Story of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's First Visit to the US (1979). Also "A Hermit in the House" (1967) by the same author. Both available from Amazon.com.

More Suggested reading
    * Denniston, Denise, The TM Book, Fairfield Press, Fairfield, Iowa, 1986 ISBN 093178302X

    * Geoff Gilpin, The Maharishi Effect: A Personal Journey Through the Movement That Transformed American Spirituality, Tarcher-Penguin 2006, ISBN 1-58542-507-9

    * Kropinski v. World Plan Executive Council, 853 F, 2d 948, 956 (D.C. Cir, 1988)

    * Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita : A New Translation and Commentary, Chapters 1-6. ISBN 0140192476.

    * Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Science of Being and Art of Living : Transcendental Meditation ISBN 0452282667.

    * Mason, Paul (2005), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: The Biography of the Man Who Gave Transcendental Meditation to the World, Evolution Publishing, 335 pages, ISBN 0-9550361-0-0

 

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