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Deception in Transcendental Meditation

In Press - ICSA Today, 2018, Vol. 9, No. 3

Deception in Transcendental Meditation

Aryeh Siegel



A recent book by Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation,1 reflects, in my opinion, the deception that makes Transcendental Meditation controversial. Indeed, approximately 40 percent of this book’s reviews on Amazon.com are negative because, it seems to me, many purchasers falsely believed from the title that they would learn TM from the book. Instead, they received what might be construed as a lengthy marketing brochure.

This essay is not a formal review of Roth’s book. The essay does, however, discuss sections of this book to demonstrate some important deceptive TM teachings and practices.

The book, like the TM movement, seems to avoid confronting the implications of two important aspects of TM. The first is that learning TM involves the student’s participation in a Hindu religious ceremony and that TM mantras are the names of Hindu gods. The second is that the majority of the hundreds of research studies so fervently hyped by the TM organization are often biased and preliminary, with little, if any, compelling evidence that TM is superior to alternate meditation techniques.2

The Puja

The puja is the very heart of TM instruction. Every TM student participates in the puja; it is inviolable. A search of the Kindle version of his book revealed that Roth doesn’t mention the word puja in his book. This is how he describes the ceremony:

Prior to the instruction, your teacher will perform a simple thank-you ceremony—an ancient way of expressing gratitude to the teacher. It’s a lovely cultural tradition, and not religious in any way. … You won’t, of course, be asked to participate in it. The thank-you includes a few fresh flowers, some fresh fruit, a stick of incense, and, to represent the tradition of meditation teachers, a picture of Maharishi’s teacher, Guru Dev.3

The online Oxford Dictionary defines puja as “the act of worship,” not as a “thank you ceremony.”4 Moreover, there is no mention or expression of thank you in the entire ceremony.

For more than fifty years, TM teachers have memorized the puja ritual word for word in Sanskrit, along with its English translation. In his description, Roth mentions that whenever the “ceremony” is conducted in TM, there is a picture of Guru Dev. He doesn’t mention that the image sits at the focal point of an altar, replete with little brass cups filled with camphor, rice, and other items the TM teacher uses to make 18 offerings to Guru Dev. He doesn’t say that TM will not provide a translation of the puja to any prospective TM student.

The student is required to bring some of the items used in the offerings. Therefore, contrary to being a passive observer or witness, bringing items used in the puja and paying the course fee makes the student an active participant in the ceremony. The involvement of the student in bringing items used in the ceremony is known as Dakshina in the Hindu religion. The concept of Dakshina makes the student an active participant, even if the student thinks he is passive. TM never reveals this to the public.5 At the end of the puja, the student is invited to join the teacher in bowing down to Guru Dev. Early TM teachers knew the purpose of the puja was to bind the soul of the student to Maharishi and Guru Dev.

In 1978, TM was tossed out of the New Jersey public schools primarily because of the puja. The puja and TM’s underlying Hindu philosophical doctrine, known as The Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI), were both declared religious practices in conflict with the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The court transcript documents that, during the puja, the teacher makes 18 offerings and bows to Guru Dev 17 times. The court further documents that

The puja ends with a string of divine epithets that are applied to Guru Dev. Guru Dev is called “ the Unbounded,” “the omnipresent in all creation,” “bliss of the Absolute,” “transcendental joy,” “the Self-Sufficient,” “the embodiment of pure knowledge which is beyond and above the universe like the sky,” “the One,” “the Eternal,” “the Pure,” “the Immovable,” “the Witness of all intellects, whose status transcends thought.”6

The Court stated that no one would apply all these epithets to a human being.

Finally, the court ruled that

Although defendants have submitted well over 1500 pages of briefs, affidavits, and deposition testimony in opposing plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, defendants have failed to raise the slightest doubt as to the facts or as to the religious nature of the teachings of the Science of Creative Intelligence and the puja. The teaching of the SCI/TM course in New Jersey public high schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, and its teaching must be enjoined.7

By his own account, Roth has taught TM to many hundreds of devoutly religious people of all faiths. He writes that when he described the “ceremony,” some initially thought it could be religious. But when he explained its purpose, they appreciated it.8 Of course, as documented above, by distorting the truth he deceived people who he knew cared deeply about their religious traditions and who were merely looking for a way to relax.

Many TM teachers tell prospective students, “You don’t have to believe in anything to do TM,” as proof that TM is not a religion. If that’s true, why doesn’t TM disclose the truth about the puja and let people decide for themselves?

Although I sometimes think of Roth as the “bad guy,” I believe he is a victim too. Roth appears to be a congenial person who likes people and whom people like and trust. I assume he believes he’s bringing salvation to the world—just like I believed when I was a TM teacher. But the bottom line is that I believe he is doing a tremendous amount of damage by misleading people who are looking to relax, not to try out a new religion.

What could motivate such a disregard for another’s beliefs as to willfully guide them into what can only be described as idol worship? The simple answer is that I believe Roth is a missionary. TM is his religion, and Maharishi is his high priest. As evidence, consider the oath TM teachers sign. Likely, Roth signed this version or one similar:

It is my fortune, Guru Dev, that I have been accepted to serve the Holy Tradition and spread the Light of God to all those who need it. It is my joy to undertake the responsibility of representing the Holy Tradition in all its purity as it has been given to me by Maharishi and I promise on your altar, Guru Dev, that with all my heart and mind I will always work within the framework of the Organizations founded by Maharishi. And to you, Maharishi, I promise that as a Meditation Guide I will be faithful in all ways to the trust that you have placed in me.9

The Mantra: More Lies

In his book, Roth states that your meditation teacher will give you your mantra—a word or sound that has no meaning associated with it. Roth offers a more detailed explanation of the mantra in a YouTube video featured on TM’s flagship website, TM.org:

I have been asked, “Aren’t mantras the names of Buddhist Deities or Hindu gods or whatever?” And the answer is a flat-out no. There is no meaning associated with the sound… They are not the names of some deity. They are not the names of anything. They are just a sound. [Bold added]10

For more than sixty years, TM has kept three mantra secrets. The first is that the mantras that TM sells are not necessary to meditate. Beacon Light of the Himalayas, a publication long suppressed by TM, documents a religious meeting in Kerala, India in 1955. At that meeting, Maharishi told his Indian audience that any word or sound could be used to meditate. Holding a microphone, Maharishi said that one could even use the word mike as a mantra:

By reducing the sound of the word “mike” to its subtler and still subtler stages and allowing the mind to go on experiencing all the stages one by one, the mind can be trained to be so sharp as to enter into the subtlest stage of the sound ‘mike’, transcending which it will automatically get into the realm of [pure consciousness] and experience it.11

Second, according to Maharishi, TM mantras invoke the spirits of Hindu gods. Although a word such as mike would work, Maharishi proposed that repetition of his mantras offers something unique: They produce special vibrations. Hindu audiences learned that these vibrations attract the “grace” of a personal Hindu god. Again, from Beacon Light of the Himalayas, in Maharishi’s own words:

But we do not select the sound at random. We do not select any sound like ‘mike’, flower, table, pen, wail, etc, because such ordinary sounds can do nothing more than merely sharpening the mind; ... For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal gods… [Bold added]12

Third, Roth likens competence in TM mantra selection to that of a physician who has specialized training in how to identify a person’s blood type. He says that the selection of the mantra is based on three things:
  • The information the student completes on the interview form. 
  • The personal meeting with the teacher. 
  • The teacher’s own comprehensive certification training.13 
When I became a TM teacher, there was one criterion: the student’s age at the time of instruction. To the best of my knowledge, this has not changed.

No Negative Results—Ever

Discussing the safety of TM mantras, Roth states, “In fact, there has never been any study published in a peer-reviewed journal that has shown any negative impact, only positive.”14 That is true only because TM doesn’t publicize information about those who have been damaged by the practice. My book, Transcendental Deception: Behind the TM Curtain – bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation while falsely claiming it is not a religion, includes an entire chapter on TM casualties.15

In researching my book, I needed less than five minutes to identify case histories of more than thirty people who were submitted as evidence in a lawsuit against TM. The lawsuit was filed by several long-term mediators who claimed to have been physically, psychologically, and financially damaged by the practice. TM chose to make significant settlements with many of them rather than face them in court. In an affirmation written in 1986 in support of the lawsuit, a former Maharishi International University (MIU) professor and legal counsel wrote that he had witnessed:

A system of denial and avoidance, as well as outright lies and deception, to cover up or sanitize serious problems on campus. These included nervous breakdowns, episodes of dangerous and bizarre behavior, threats of and actual attempted suicide and homicidal ideation, psychotic episodes, crime, depression, and manic behavior.16

Many former TM teachers, myself included, believe the TM organization is well aware of potential dangers of TM and, in my opinion, the organization does not adequately disclose these risks to potential students prior to instruction. As an example, following TM instruction, every student’s meditation is checked according to systematic procedures resembling a flowchart. TM teachers do the checking, and the teachers have to memorize the checking procedures. Roth is undoubtedly familiar with them.

For example, shaking and body movements, and also overpowering thoughts, occur frequently enough even during the first few meditations that an entire section of TM’s checking procedures addresses these severe side effects. Students are told to view potentially frightening experiences as a release of stress, and new meditators are advised not to resist the symptoms because they are beneficial. If the shaking becomes violent and seemingly out of control, then students are told to open their eyes and wait until it subsides and eventually stops. As if uncontrollable shaking and overpowering thoughts aren’t bad enough, in the case of “severe problems that might arise,” the checking notes allow the ill-equipped, untrained TM teacher to inquire if the student has seen a doctor.17 Unless things have recently changed, students are not told about potentially very serious side effects before instruction, and then only if the students report such effects.

The frequency of severe problems is unknown because the TM organization doesn’t provide information about adverse effects. Like Roth, the organization denies problems exist, and Maharishi led the denial chorus. As demonstrated in the following quote, he instilled in his teachers that TM was the solution to all medical problems:

We are not going to take help from medical Drs. as medical professionals give poison. So don’t engage any medical Drs. for anything—absolutely whatever it is—even if they are in our Movement family… Hold onto the fact that we are the supreme authorities on health—we know how to create perfect health.18

Abysmal Evidence of Benefits

Maharishi was also primarily responsible for a stream of misrepresentation, exaggeration, and hype designed to give TM an aura of scientific legitimacy to sell a product. Roth and others have assumed the mantle. For example, in his book, Roth points to the U.S. National Institutes of Health providing tens of millions of dollars to study TM’s effects on stress and heart health. While the statement is true, the real story is that most funding for TM research had stopped by 2004.

ClinicalTrials.gov, a repository of information on clinical research studies either in progress or recently completed, is a gauge of the scientific community’s loss of interest in TM. A review of the number of meditation-related clinical studies listed on the site identifies only 16 TM studies, and seven of those began in 2001 or earlier.19

In contrast, a search on ClinicalTrials.gov using the term mindfulness identifies 196 studies specifically focused on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a secular version of mindfulness meditation that has many clinical applications.20 The site further identifies 289 “Relaxation Response” studies underway or recently completed by research centers and universities throughout the world.21

Some highlights that account for TM’s precipitous fall from grace in the research world include poorly designed studies that rarely include a randomized, active control group, researchers who are affiliated with TM institutions and/or practice TM, and a history of exaggerated findings. A comprehensive review of TM and other meditation practices concluded that

Many uncertainties surround the practice of meditation. Scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality. Firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results.22

When Hype Gets Dangerous

While not a researcher himself, Roth is no stranger to TM hype. He writes, “I want to shift gears here to talk in some detail about some truly breakthrough research documenting the unique and profound benefits TM has on stress and health” [bold added].23 Roth first describes hypertension as “the silent killer” because there are often no warning symptoms until the damage is done.24 He is correct. Then, citing one severely criticized study, he writes that TM led to a 23% reduction in death rate overall and a 30% reduction in death rate from cardiovascular causes. Citing a second study by the same researcher, he writes that the TM study group had a 48% reduction in the risk of dying from myocardial infarction and stroke as well as from all causes.25

This example shows where TM hype can turn deadly. Roth cites a few preliminary, short-term studies with relatively few subjects and conducted by TM affiliated researchers as though the studies were profound medical breakthroughs. If the so-called breakthroughs were even a fraction of what TM presents, researchers worldwide would be trying to replicate the findings. They aren’t. At the very best, TM research in this area is nothing more than possibly hypothesis generating, if even that. Other medical writers have scathingly criticized the main study Roth references as severely flawed and biased; one even went so far as to suggest the possibility of data manipulation. He wrote, “In other words, to use the old cliché, they tortured the data until they made it talk.”26

One TM website not only repeats these outrageous claims, but it also makes the extraordinarily dangerous statement that TM has been scientifically proven to normalize blood pressure.27

As evidence of TM’s efficacy in lowering blood pressure, Roth writes, "In 2013, the American Heart Association looked at years of research on TM and concluded in its journal Hypertension that TM is the only meditation technique shown to lower blood pressure.”28

I don’t know if Roth had actually read the study. I did. Robert D. Brook, MD, of the University of Michigan, chaired a panel of 12 scientists who authored the report:

Numerous alternative approaches for lowering BP have been evaluated during the past few decades. The strongest evidence supports the effectiveness of using aerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise for the adjuvant treatment of high BP. Bio-feedback techniques, isometric handgrip, and device-guided breathing methods are also likely effective treatments. There is insufficient or inconclusive evidence at the present time to recommend the use of the other techniques reviewed in this scientific statement for the purposes of treating overt hypertension or pre-hypertension.29

Note that certain methods—aerobic or dynamic resistance exercise, biofeedback, isometric handgrip, and breathing methods—were found to be most beneficial in enhancing the effectiveness of medical treatment. Meditation isn’t even mentioned as having a positive effect on hypertension.

The authors concluded that while TM and other meditations studied did not appear to be dangerous, more and much higher quality studies were needed to determine what, if any, impact TM had on hypertension.

The overall evidence supports that TM modestly lowers BP. It is not certain whether it is truly superior to other meditation techniques in terms of BP lowering because there are few head-to-head studies. As a result of the paucity of data, we are unable to recommend a specific method of practice when TM is used for the treatment of high BP. [bold added]30

It is important to note that the alternative approaches for lowering blood pressure mentioned in the Michigan study were not meant to replace, but rather to supplement, competent medical treatment. In fact, the most important, potentially life-saving advice that should be given to anyone with any heart health concern is to seek medical advice. Roth doesn’t mention that.

TM so distorted the study’s findings that Matthew Bannister, the American Heart Association’s Executive Director of Communications, wrote a stinging rebuke: “Unfortunately, we have found that some in the media, and many in the TM community, have tried to overstate our findings to promote their own agendas.31

There is a tremendous danger when an organization’s primary use for science is to sell a product. When a TM website makes the ridiculous claim that TM has been scientifically proven not just to lower, but to normalize blood pressure, something is very wrong, not only with the TM organization, but also with those medical professionals who, by their association with TM research, lend credibility to the hype.

Additional Claims

TM.org presents TM as the intervention of choice for a variety of other high-profile medical and psychological problems as well. For example, “More evidence-based benefits” is a lead-in for six problems that TM claims to benefit: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), insomnia, depression, and addiction. What evidence does TM present to support its claim as a treatment of choice in addressing these problems? We have to assume that what is presented on TM.org is the best evidence the organization has. How strong is the evidence?

It should be noted that the TM.org website is not static, and studies listed on the website change over time. I reviewed studies on tm.org during July and August 2017. My analysis, detailed in the subsections that follow, is not comprehensive, since more studies have been listed since my initial systematic review. My analysis will, I hope, help readers be more skeptical and discerning about other scientific claims that TM may make.

TM and PTSD

TM’s proof of effectiveness in treating PTSD is four studies it presents in this section. The first focuses on determining whether three soldiers with PTSD could simply learn TM.32

The second study reported the effect of TM on PTSD in Congolese refugees. One must question the relevance of this population to U.S. military personnel. Additionally, the study itself was gravely compromised. Of 102 study participants (refugees in Kampala, Uganda) who were randomly assigned either to the TM group or a nonmatched, wait-list control group, 30 of the 51 participants (59%) assigned to the TM group could not attend the meetings. Subsequently, they were dropped, leaving only 21 participants in the TM group.33

The third study was a follow-up of the 11 Congolese refugees who were still doing TM. That meant that 80% of study participants either stopped TM or couldn’t be located at follow-up.34

The fourth study presented as evidence was an uncontrolled pilot study in which researchers taught TM to five veterans with PTSD. Once again, no conclusions on TM and PTSD are possible from such a small sample.35

TM and ADHD

TM.org’s evidence of TM’s effect on ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is an ABC television news report that describes TM as a “solution” for ADHD that “doesn’t involve drugs” and “may be able to replace medication.” The newscast continues with TM teacher and researcher Dr. Sarina Grosswald describing her study on TM and ADHD. The study had only 10 children and was published in an online journal.36

In addition, the study wasn’t blinded and there was no control group. Some of the children were on medication, but the study does not take into account the possibility of changes in medical therapy during the study or improved compliance. Conclusions were based on self-report and subjective questionnaires.

TM and the Autism Spectrum

The TM.org site shows a video of one mother who discusses how TM has helped her autistic child. That's it—no evidence.

TM and Addiction

Several studies on how TM helps with addiction are listed on TM.org, but the most current is 23 years old, two are 30 years old, and two are more than forty years old. Two items reference the same study. Finally, the majority of researchers could be considered to be in the TM family and possibly biased.

Sanitizing 50 Years of TM History

Finally, Roth’s book attempts to sanitize more than fifty years of TM by failing to mention key elements that reveal TM as much more than the scientific, secular, relaxation technique it pretends to be. Some examples:
  • Roth doesn’t mention higher consciousness, which was Maharishi’s main product before he figured out he could make more money selling health than spirituality to Westerners.37 
  • Roth doesn’t mention the TM-Sidhi program—Maharishi’s enlightenment accelerant that he promoted as the superhighway to enlightenment. A Sidha would develop superpowers, including the ability to levitate, to become invisible, and to have the strength of an elephant, omniscience, and eternal life. In the late 1970s, TM held press conferences about levitation and distributed photographs purporting to show people levitating. They were fakes. For more than forty years, TM Sidhas, whom Maharishi called “yogic flyers,” have been bouncing around on dense foam believing they will fly like birds once atmospheric stress clears up. Sidhi courses are still offered today.38 
  • Roth doesn’t mention the rajas. Rajas are the highest-level administrators in Maharishi’s fantasy world known as the Global Country of World Peace. Rajas reportedly bought their titles for a million dollars each. They wear long white robes, necklaces with gold medallions, and little gold crowns.39 
  • Roth doesn’t mention that Maharishi referred to his rajas as the representatives of Divine Intelligence, the shining stars who played a parental role for their people, setting all life in the evolutionary direction. They would rule “Heaven on Earth.” As he expressed, 
This will be the Peace Government, as the government of Nature administers a very concrete galactic universe, but very peacefully. We are going to be a practical channel of the Cosmic Government on Earth. We are going to be the administrators of Heaven on Earth.40 
  • Roth doesn’t mention the recertified governors, who are the next level down in Maharishi's elite troops. They meditate six hours a day and, in the time remaining, work full time for the organization.41 
The pledge below, signed by the recertified governors, further reveals the extent to which Maharishi embraced Hinduism and the fantasy world he had succumbed to toward the end of his life:

I will take all these steps so that, on this Guru Purnima, the full moon of July 2005, my city will welcome the descent of Heaven on Earth—the descent of Satya Yuga saying bye-bye to Kali Yuga.

I pay homage to Guru Dev and the Holy Tradition of Vedic Masters through all the levels of Rajas and Maharaja of the Global Country of World Peace—the State Rajas, the National Rajas and the Global Maharaja—reaching the holy tradition of Vedic Masters whose guiding light, His Divinity Brahmananda Sarasvati, has blessed the world with this whole knowledge of Enlightenment to the individual and Invincibility to the nation.42

In Hindu cosmology, a yuga is an epoch or era within a cycle of four ages, whose lengths vary from 432,000 to 1,728,000 years.43
  • Roth doesn’t mention how Maharishi sliced and diced the Hindu religion, selling off parts he deemed potential profit centers. Although the following lucrative businesses are related to the TM organization, Tm.org includes no link for any of them. 
    • Maharishi Ayurvedic herbal supplements.44 
    • Maharishi Sthapatya Veda proposes demolishing and rebuilding entire cities so that all buildings and rooms have the proper orientation and proportions, thereby allowing a harmonious relationship between the individual and cosmic consciousness. The billions of dollars flowing through all the demolition projects would flow through the intelligence of his recertified governors.45 
    • Yagyas. This is Maharishi’s “pay to pray” scheme. TM charges between $1,000 and $3,000 (recently reduced from $10,000) for Hindu prayer services to influence and enliven Hindu gods. The chanting is done in India, and the Hindu gods are asked to respond to specific requests of the purchaser such as personal health, wealth, love, business, and so on. Yagyas could also be purchased for the well-being of a country, and also for weddings, anniversaries, the birth of a child, and more.46 It seems these particular gods are responsive to money. Maharishi encouraged people to spend as much money as possible on a yagya to get the greatest response from the gods. The donation level was tied to the intensity of the problem and the desired speed for achieving objectives.47 
    • Maharishi Jyotish, Maharishi’s private-label astrology technology.48 
    • Mother Divine and Purusha. These are programs for TM’s nuns and monks, who meditate many hours a day, carry out various tasks for the organization, and are supposed to maintain celibacy.49 
    • The Brahmasthan. Roth doesn't mention that TM raised almost $100 million to build a Hindu prayer center known as the Brahmasthan in India. By 2008, that Brahmasthan had reportedly become a ghost town. TM started raising funds for a new and improved Brahmasthan, and by 2010 had raised more than $200 million of a proposed $400 million budget.50 
    • Roth doesn’t mention that Maharishi lived in a 200-room palace in Vlodrop, Holland, or that, in 1998, the Economist estimated the value of TM’s real-estate holdings, exclusive of its many businesses, at more than US$3 billion (just under US$5 billion in current value [2018]).51 A lengthy investigative article by India Today in June of 2012 valued Maharishi’s wealth in India at his death at 60,000 Indian crores, or approximately US$9.33 billion.52 
Notes

[1] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2018).

[2] See Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4dmoPK1tYNjZkxzT05uZW1ISU0/view).

[3] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 52.

[4] See https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/puja

[5] “Transcendental Meditation Domain of Atlanta Directors Meeting Notes, 2005–2007” (https://wikileaks.org/wiki/ Transcendental_Meditation_Domain_of_Atlanta_ Directors_ Meeting_Notes,_2005-2007).

[6] Malnak v. Yogi, 440 F. Supp. 1284 (D.N.J. 1977) (https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/440/1284/1817490/).

[7] Malnak v. Yogi, 440 F. Supp. 1284 (D.N.J. 1977) (https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/440/1284/1817490/).

[8] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 52.

[9] “Trancenet: TM Initiator’s Oath” (http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/secrets/puja/oath.shtml).

[10] What Is the Transcendental Meditation Mantra? YouTube video (1:41). Posted by Transcendental Meditation (https://youtu.be/_0rbfSaRwCU).

[11] Beacon Light of the Himalayas, 3 of 4 (Maharishi’s discourse), Trancenet (http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/secrets/beacon/beacon1.shtml).

[12] Beacon Light of the Himalayas, 3 of 4, (Maharishi’s discourse), Trancenet (http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/secrets/beacon/beacon1.shtml).

[13] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 54.

[14] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 54.

[15] Aryeh Siegel, Transcendental Deception: Behind the TM Curtain – bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation while falsely claiming it is not a religion (Los Angeles, CA: Janreg Press, 2018), pp. 179–194.

[16] “Trancenet: DeNaro Affidavit” (http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/law/denarot.shtml).

[17] “General Points” (checking notes), Meditation Information Network (http://www.minet.org/ checkinggp.html).

[18] Governor Recertification Course: Overview of Policies & Procedures, Wikileaks (https://file.wikileaks.org/file/tm-governor-course-2005.pdf).

[19] “transcendental meditation,” Results Page, ClinicalTrials.gov, 6-20-2018 (https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results/displayOpt?flds=a&flds=b&flds=c&submit_fld_opt=on& term=transcendental+meditation&show_flds=Y).

[20] “mbsr,” Results page, ClinicalTrials.gov, 6-20-18 (https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=&term=MINDFULNESS+BASED+STRESS+REDUCTION%2C+MBSR&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=&Search=Search).

[21] “relaxation response,” Results page, ClinicalTrials.gov, 6-20-2018 (https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=&term=RELAXATION+RESPONSE&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=&Search=Search).

[22] See Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research (https://archive.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/meditation/medit.pdf page v).

[23] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 81.

[24] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 82.

[25] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, pp. 81–85.

[26] Larry Husten, “New Concerns Raised About Withdrawn Archives Meditation Paper,” Cardio Brief, June 28, 2011 (http://www.cardiobrief.org/2011/06/28/new-concerns-raised-about-withdrawn-archives-meditation-paper/)

[27] “TM and healthy, normal blood pressure,” Transcendental Meditation News & More, March 4, 2015 (https://tmhome.com/benefits/transcendental-meditation-and-blood-pressure/).

[28] Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness, p. 84.

[29] Robert D. Brook et al., “Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure,” Hypertension, 61 (May 2013), pp. 1360–1383 (http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/61/6/1360).

[30] Robert D. Brook et al., “Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure,” Hypertension, 61 (May 2013), pp. 1360–1383 (http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/61/6/1360).

[31] Stephen Propatier, “American Heart Association promotes alternative therapy for hypertension,” Skeptoid (skeptoid.com/blog/2013/05/01/american-heart-association-promotes-alternative-therapy-for-hypertension/).

[32] See Vernon A. Barnes, PhD; John L. Rigg, MD; and Jennifer J. Williams, LCSW. “Clinical Case Series: Treatment of PTSD With Transcendental Meditation in Active Duty Military Personnel,” Military Medicine (2013), 178(7), pp. e836–840 (https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/178/7/3836/4243566).

[33] See Brian Rees, Fred Travis, David Shapiro, & Ruth Chant. “Reduction in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees Practicing Transcendental Meditation,” Journal of Traumatic Stress (2013), 26(2), pp. 295–298 (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/51b1/608a58fd545e9b45b49c547a96e71c77d945.pdf).

[34] See Brian Rees, Fred Travis, David Shapiro, & Ruth Chant, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees Within 10 days of Transcendental Meditation Practice,” Journal of Traumatic Stress (February 2014), 27(1), pp. 112–115 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jts.21883).

[35] See Joshua Z. Rosenthal, MD, Sarina Grosswald, EdD, Richard Ross, MD, PhD, & Norman Rosenthal, MD. “Effects of Transcendental Meditation in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study,” Military Medicine (2011), 176(6), pp. 626–630 (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3906/cef2ca4270ffb755a55164d1aa392a113dad.pdf).

[36] Sarina J. Grosswald, William R. Stixrud, Fred Trais, & Mark A. Bateh. “Use of Transcendental Meditation Technique to Reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by Reducing Stress and Anxiety: An Exploratory Study,” Current Issues in Education (2008), vol. 10 (see study at https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1569/614) and commentary on study at https://spacecityskeptics.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/how-to-design-a-positive-study-meditation-for-childhood-adhd/)

[37] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation (New York, NY: Plume; 2001).

[38] See http://www.yogicflying.org/how-to-learn.html

[39] As depicted in the David Sieveking documentary (David Wants to Fly, 2010; Berlin: Neue Visionen), which began as a tribute to Sieveking’s hero, noted film producer/director David Lynch. Upon learning of Lynch’s commitment to TM, and desiring to get close to him, Sieveking underwent TM training. He was allowed access to the highest levels of the TM organization. The documentary depicts the rajas in costume and one raja confirms on-screen the million-dollar cost of raja training.

[40] Governor Recertification Course: Overview of Policies & Procedures, Wikileaks (https://file.wikileaks.org/file/tm-governor-course-2005.pdf).

[41] Governor Recertification Course: Overview of Policies & Procedures, Wikileaks (https://file.wikileaks.org/file/tm-governor-course-2005.pdf).

[42] “Resolution of the Governors of the Age of Enlightenment on the Auspicious Day of Rām Navami of the Vedic Calendar,” Wikileaks (https://file.wikileaks.org/file/transcendental-meditation-governors-resolution-april-18-2005.pdf).

[43] See https://www.britannica.com/topic/yuga

[44] See http://www.mapi.com

[45] Governor Recertification Course: Overview of Policies & Procedures, Section 7, Wikileaks (https://file.wikileaks.org/file/tm-governor-course-2005.pdf).

[46] “Maharishi Special Yagyas,” Maharishi Vedic Pandits (http://vedicpandits.org/yagya/special-yagya/).

[47] “Maharishi Special Yagyas,” Maharishi Vedic Pandits (http://vedicpandits.org/yagya/special-yagya/).

[48] See https://www.maharishijyotishprogram.eu

[49] See https://www.motherdivine.org and https://purusha.org

[50] David Wants to Fly, directed by David Sieveking (2010; Berlin: Neue Visionen).

[51] “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,” Obituary, Economist, February 14, 2008 (http://www.economist.com/node/10683705).

[52] Shantanu Guha Ray, “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Rs 60,000 crore fortune faces battle between two groups of followers,” IndiaToday, June 23, 2012 (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/maharishi-mahesh-yogi-rs-60000-crore-fortune/1/201925.html).

About the Author

Aryeh Siegel, MSSA, MPH, is a former TM teacher and author of Transcendental Deception: Behind the TM Curtain – bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation while falsely claiming it is not a religion. For more information, visit tmdeception.com