Transcendental Meditation in Schools


Open Letter to Pastors



Re: Consciousness-based Education – TM

Your attention is drawn to the rapid propagation of TM (transcendental meditation) in schools throughout South Africa. This is a part of their global agenda. This done under the banner of “consciousness-based education.”  The title was chosen to appeal to the target group, viz. educators and education.

What is TM?

TM is a form of meditation which requires that one to sit very still and chant a “mantra”.

Prior to performing TM, one is required to be initiated into TM before receiving the TM instruction. The “initiation” involves a “puja” ceremony. During the puja ceremony camphor is burnt, and flowers are given as an offering. The puja is sung/chanted in Sanskrit by the TM teacher during the TM initiation ceremony. The pujas are sung/chanted to the various gods and goddesses. A list of the pujas is being attached.

Once initiated the individual is instructed on how to perform TM and is given a “mantra” by the TM instructor. The mantra has to be kept a “secret” and chanted while the individual is meditating. The mantra is in Sanskrit and hence is not understood by the individual. The mantras are actually the calling on gods and goddesses. This however is denied – it is claimed that the “mantras” are meaningless sounds. They are really “meaningless” for those who do not know Sanskrit. A list of the mantras and their meanings is being attached.

TM is being introduced in many schools in South Africa under the name of “consciousness-based education” claiming that it assists the learner to concentrate and subsequently produce improved academic results. Its religious nature is actually denied – not just withheld from those it is planned to recruit. Moreover, there are documented side-effects of TM which, for obvious reasons, is not spelt out. I am able to provide you with a list of the documented side-effects.

We are appealing to you as a shepherd of the flock which GOD had entrusted to you, to please educate your congregation about TM and how it is actually being promoted under disguise. Parents of children who are still at school need to voice their concerns to the principal, and demand that TM be kept out of their schools.

Joshua & Indira Gilbert

PO Box 562066
Chatsworth 4030
Republic of South Africa

What is Transcendental Meditation?

Transcendental Meditation: A Hindu-based Movement Linked to New Age Philosophy

Transcendental Meditation is a Hindu-based movement that finds popularity in the United States.

Transcendental Meditation: The Roots of Hinduism

In order to understand Transcendental Meditation and other extensions of Hindu philosophy, it's important to investigate the foundation of Hinduism itself. Hinduism began in India around 1500 and 2500 B.C. It is the world's oldest organized religion. Hinduism is a massive and eccentric group of divisions founded on more than 2000 years of diverse philosophical and religious writings. Included are the Bhagavad Gita, Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishads. Adherents of Hinduism differ in belief systems, with no dominant doctrine or overarching truth. Hinduism has its background in ancient paganism, in which nature, animals, and humanity are represented by various gods and goddesses.

Although Hindus believe in many gods, they believe in Brahman as the one definitive, impersonal, spiritual actuality over all existence. Sectarian Hinduism personalizes Brahman as the following separate and distinct entities: "Brahma" (the Creator; the god with four heads representing creative energy), "Vishnu" (the Preserver; the god of stability and control), and "Shiva" (the Destroyer; the god of endings). Most Hindus also worship "Krishna" and "Rama," two of Vishnu's ten incarnations. Actually, it gets very complex, as Hindus claim the existence of millions of gods. Throughout the year, Hindus worship a variety of regional, family and individual gods. Hindus also focus a great deal on astrology and the spirit world.

Transcendental Meditation: The Diversity of Hinduism

Transcendental Meditation is just one example of the wide variety of Hindu worship, integrating diverse symbols, offerings, fasting, and dance. On a daily basis, most Hindus worship an image of their chosen deity, with chants (mantras), flowers, and incense. Worship, whether in a home or temple, is primarily individualistic rather than congregational. Hinduism is typically separated into two divisions. The first, "popular Hinduism" is articulated by worshipping gods, making offerings, ritualistic practices, and prayers. The second, "philosophical Hinduism" is comprised of a multifaceted system of meditation, yoga practices, and the study of early philosophical writings. Traditional Hindu movements include the Ramkrishna Mission and Vedanta Societies, Sri Aurobindo Society, Satya Sai Baba Movement, Self Realization Fellowship, and International Sivananda Yoga Society. Recent estimates state that there are roughly 850 million Hindus in the world today. Of these, approximately 780 million live in India, 20 million in Bangladesh, 20 million in Indonesia, 20 million in Nepal, 3 million in Sri Lanka, 2 million in Pakistan and 1.5 million in the United States. In addition, it is estimated that Hindus comprise approximately 20% of the following populations: Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

Transcendental Meditation: An Endless Life Cycle

Hinduism rejects the biblical account of divine Creation and instead accept forms of pantheism. Hindus believe that only Brahman exists, and all else is illusion (maya), including all creation. According to Hinduism, there is no start or finish of creation, only continuing successions of life and death. The soul (atman) of man is a "spark" of Brahman trapped in the physical body. Repeated lives or reincarnations (samsara) are required before the soul can be liberated (moksha) from the body. An individual's present life is determined by his efforts in previous lives (the law of karma), and the physical body is ultimately an illusion (maya). Bodies are usually cremated, and the soul goes to an intermediate state of punishment or reward before rebirth into another body. Reincarnations are experienced until karma has been removed and the individual soul is reabsorbed into Brahman. Freedom from infinite being and final self-realization of the truth (moksha) is the goal of existence. Yoga and meditation (especially raja-yoga) taught by a religious teacher (guru) is one way to attain moksha. The other paths for moksha are the way of works (karma marga), the way of knowledge (jnana marga), and the way of love and devotion (bhakti marga). Hinduism's fundamental goal is to escape the cycle of reincarnation, and thereby to erase the illusion of personal existence - eventually becoming one with Brahman.

When one learns TM, an instructor gives a word or phrase - a personal mantra - which one promises not to divulge. The individual is told to sit quietly with the eyes closed and to repeat the mantra over and over again for 20 minutes at a time once or twice a day.

The mantra functions to focus the mind on a single idea, representing the "oneness" of the universe. The person is instructed to assume a passive, accepting attitude while repeating the mantra. When distracting thoughts intrude, the individual is told to simply observe them, accept them and gently return the mental focus to repeating the given mantra.

TM is simply a repetition of a mantra

The TM-Sidhi program is a set of sutras (words or phrases), mentally repeated every fifteen seconds after doing a twenty minute session of TM. Each sutra is repeated twice, with a 15 second pause in between each repetition.

The Religious Meaning of Mantras

"For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal gods and make us happier in every walk of life." Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in "Beacon Light of the Himalayas", 1955.

Would you be surprised to learn that the mantras given out by the TM Organization are not "meaningless sounds" but Tantric names of Hindu gods?

Some very common mantras, called Nama japa, are formed by taking a deity's name and saluting it thus: "Aum Namah (name of deity)" (meaning "I honor/salute...") or "Aum Jai (name of deity)" (meaning "Hail..."). There are several other such permutations, including: modified on 11 September 2008,

According to Tantric scholar Sir John Woodroffe's Garland of Letters, Indian scriptures such as the Tantra of the Great Nirvana, and commentaries on the Mantra Sastra, the TM mantras are hardly secret. They have been widely available throughout India for centuries. They are known as bija or seed mantras, used to worship various devatas or Hindu dieties.

The Maharishi himself, in a quote from the Beacon Light of the Himalyas, admits that the mantras he dispenses invoke householder gods: "For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life." (Beacon Light of the Himalyas, Maharishi [Bala Brahmachari] Mahesh Yogi [Maharaj], 1955, p. 65

What the Mantra Means
TM Mantra

ENG, EM, ENGA, EMA, AING, AIM, AINGA, AIMA (essentially the same bija mantra)




Saraswati, Devi of learning, music, speech, the fine arts





Mahalakshmi or Lakshmi, Devi of wealth





Bhuvanesvari, Mahamaya





Devi Kalika






RAM, SHRIRAM (RAM plus SHRI, see below)




Agni, Deva of Fire

For a comprehensive discussion of how TM teachers picked your mantra, see Mike Doughney's MINET.ORG. (We know of some mantra lists that differ from MINET's in minimal ways.)

Advanced Techniques & What TM Teachers Knew

As TM teachers we were officially told repeatedly that "the mantras had no meaning for the meditators."

Like a lot of the language in the TM movement, this was fairly weasely. You'll notice that the statement doesn't read, "the mantras have no meaning." Most of us as insiders understood this to mean that they had no meaning for the meditators, because we didn't tell them the meaning.

We saw tapes of Maharishi where he repeatedly explained that the sounds of the mantras, especially as one approaches transcendence, had the effect of summoning very refined "impulses of creative intelligence." In other tapes, he explained that the "impulses of creative intelligence" or "laws of nature" were devas such as Indra, Agni, and so forth. He also explicitly said that in the proper state of consciousness, that repeating the name of "impulses of creative intelligence" in Sanskrit had the effect of creating or summoning the "form."

Nearly every TM teacher knew from reading "Beacon Light of the Himalyas," from other TM teachers, and so forth that the mantras are actually the names or invocations for Hindu devas. In the 70s, Time magazine and other publications printed lists of translated mantras. Nearly every teacher had read such articles and knew that the mantras had meaning.

Finally, every TM teacher had to memorize and pass innumerable tests on the word-by-word vocabulary in the puja. So every single TM teacher in the world is well aware that the word "shri" means "glorious or self-effulgent," and "namah" means "I bow down."

So any TM teacher who tells you that they don't know that the advanced techniques mean "I bow down to the glorious [deva]" is lying to you. For instance, the technique "SHRI AING NAMAH" translates as "I bow down to the glorious AING [Saraswati]."

For TM-EX's explanation of advanced techniques, see Mike Doughney's MINET.ORG [Note that there are other versions of the advanced techniques.]

Mantras are syllables that are neither unique to the meditator nor were they selected by some elaborate secret method.

The TM Mantra Tables
Fiuggi, 1972







46 +
46 +










> 25





































































60 +


60 +


60 +
60 +
60 +

Notes: The year at the top of each column indicates the year the teacher was trained.
"Age" is that of the initiate at the time of learning the technique.

See the TM Checking Notes and Steps to Initiation for details on the initiation and checking rituals.

Advanced Techniques
(Thought in the heart area)

Age of Enlightenment Technique:
A system of putting attention on parts of the body, environment, world and outer space.

Notes: In most cases students were instructed to use their own, previously assigned mantra where AING appears above.

Translation of Advanced Technique Mantras
"Oh most beautiful"
"Hindu goddess Saraswati"
"I bow down"
Ayurveda Techniques

Primordial Sound - "AMRITA," used as a mantra

Psychophysiological Technique - Mantra is thought in heart area.

TM-Sidhi Techniques

The names of the sutras used in the TM-Sidhi program are:

Strength of an elephant
Bronchial tube
Inner light
Distinction between intellect and transcendence
Transcendence intuition
Transcendence finest hearing
Transcendence finest sight
Transcendence finest taste
Transcendence finest touch
Transcendence finest smell.

The "levitation" or "flying" technique, now known as "Yogic Flying," is used in the same way as all other sutras:

"Relationship of body and akasha - lightness of cotton fiber."

This phrase is mentally repeated every fifteen seconds after doing a twenty minute session of TM. Each sutra is mentally repeated twice (if time allows 4 times), with a 15 second pause in between each repetition.

After doing the flying sutra for 5-30 minutes, the instruction is to rest for 10-30 minutes and then read the Hindu Scriptures for 5 minutes.

An example of the readings (from the Ninth Mandala of Rig Veda):

Flow Soma, in a most sweet and exhilarating stream, effused for Indra to drink. The all-beholding destroyer of Rakshasas has stepped upon his gold-smitten birthplace, united with the wooden cask. Be the lavish giver of wealth, most bounteous, the destroyer of enemies; bestow on us the riches of the affluent. Come with food to the sacrifice of the mighty gods, and bring us strength and sustenance. To thee we come, O dropping (Soma); for thee only is this our worship day by day, our prayers are to thee, none other.


Provided for historical and research purposes only. Go back up to the top of the page and read the full disclaimer, particularly if you're sitting there composing an e-mail to me about these mantras that starts out "I read the disclaimer but..." Don't; go read it again instead.

Notice: This website is primarily a static archive for old "TM-EX" newsletters and other historical material, and is irregularly updated if at all. See the Links section for other websites and sources of current news and information. E-mail or snail-mail sent to the archive maintainer regarding anything here will likely be ignored.

Archive Maintainer: Mike Doughney

The Mantra

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra (maha-mrityun-jaya), also called the Tryambakam Mantra, is a verse of the Yajurveda (TS 1.8.6.i; VS 3.60) addressed to Tryambakam "the three-eyed", identified with the Hindu deity Shiva. It's literal translation is the Great Death-Conquering mantra. It is a mantra that has many names and forms.

It is called the Rudramantra, referring to the furious aspect of Shiva; the Tryambakam mantra, alluding to Shiva's three eyes; and its is sometimes known as the Mrita-Sanjivini mantra because it is a component of the "life-restoring" practice given to the primordial sage Shukra after he had completed an exhausting period of austerity. The Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is hailed by the sages as the heart of the Veda. Along with the Gayatri mantra it holds the highest place among the many mantras used for contemplation and meditation.

The mantra reads (IAST transliteration):

tryambaka? yaj?mahe sugandhi? pu??i-vardhanam

urv?rukam iva bandhan?n m?tyor muk??ya m?m?t?t

In the translation of Arthur Berriedale Keith, 1914):

"To Tryambaka we make offering, The fragrant, increaser of prosperity;

Like a cucumber from its stem, From death may I be loosened, not from immortality."

Grammatical analysis:

There is a parallel formation m?tyor m?m?ta? gamayeti/gamaya iti "thus lead me from death to immortality" in the B?had?ra?yaka Upanishad 1.3.28 (se asato ma sad gamaya) with amrita (immortality) in the accusative; having amritat as ablative rather than accusative forces the interpretation of ma as "not" (and not "me") and leads to the rather stilted translation by Keith given above.

For the chapter from the holy text Taittir?ya ?ranyaka, see Surya namaskara chapter.

Surya Namaskara (IAST: S?rya namask?ra) or Sun Salutation (lit. "salute to the sun"), is a common sequence of Hatha yoga asanas. Its origins lie in a worship of Surya, the Hindusolar deity. This sequence of movements and poses can be practised on varying levels of awareness, ranging from that of physical exercise in various styles, to a complete sadhana which incorporates asana, pranayama, mantra and chakrameditation.

The physical base of the practice links together twelve asanas in a dynamically performed series. These asanas are ordered so that they alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. When performed in the usual way, each asana is moved into with alternate inhalation and exhalation (except for the sixth asana where the breath is held in external suspension). A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses with a change in the second set to moving the opposite leg first through the series.

Proponents of the use of Surya namaskara as part of the modern yoga tradition prefer to perform it at sunrise, which the orthodox consider to be the most 'spiritually favourable' time of the day.

So 'ham (so 'ham ??????) is the Sanskrit for "I myself" or "It is I". It is used as a mantra.

Hindu saints and gurus[1] state that one can attain moksha, or mukti (release) or liberation from the cycle of life and death by focusing attention on the natural breath (without forcing it) and inwardly listening to the sound "ham" (pronounced hum) while inhaling and to the sound "so" (pronounced saw) while exhaling. By doing so, one can transcend the mind and attain the turya state. This dharana is aluded to in the verse 24 of the Vijnana Bhairava.

Ram Nam means "the name Rama", which can imply either devotion to Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, or as a name to the ultimately formless, all-embracing Absolute Brahman. Rama's name is often chanted or sung within the many traditions of Hinduism. A popular mantra is Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram (often prefixed with "Om"), which was popularized in western India by Samarth Ramdas. In Mahabharata lord Shiva states that uttering "Rama" three times equals to pronouncing thousand other names of God.

The mantra was often used by Mahatma Gandhi.

"Ram Nam Satya Hai" (The name of Ram is truth) is commonly chanted while carrying a dead body to the cremation ground in India.

Neem Karoli Baba encouraged the constant repetition of "Ram" in order to become closer to God, saying "By taking the name of Ram, everything is accomplished."

Tyagaraja the great composer of carnatic music regarded music as a way to experience the love of God. His songs were on Ram Nam. He attained kapala Moksha on January 6, 1847.

Brahmasri Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri the great exponent of the Ramayana received a mantrobadesam to say Ram Nam at a very young age and ever since then“ Sarvam Rama Mayam ” - everything was Rama for him and all what he did all his life was Ram Nam Japam. He was a great Pravachan Pandit and attained Kapala Moksha in January 1911.

Swami Ramdas is a well known example of a modern day saint who attained Nirvana through constant repetition of "Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram" and established Anandashram, where this mantra is sung continously from morning to night.

Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: ??? ????? ??? or ?????????), a Sanskrit sentence, translating variously to "Thou art that," "That thou art," or "You are that," is one of the Mah?v?kyas (Grand Pronouncements) in VedanticHinduism. It originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, in the dialogue between Udd?laka and his son ?vetaketu; it appears at the end of a section, and is repeated at the end of the subsequent sections as a refrain. The meaning of this saying is that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena. The knowledge that this is so characterises the experience of liberation or salvation that accompanies the Unio Mystica.

The three major Vedantic schools offer different interpretations of the phrase:

The Mahavakyas are the four "Great Sayings" of the Upanishads, the foundational texts of Vedanta. Each of the Mahavakyas is associated with one of the four Vedas and in Vedantic mysticism is said to condense the essence of that entire Veda in one statement.

All four statements indicate the ultimate unity of the individual (Atman) with God (Brahman)

The Mahavakyas are:

  1. Prajnanam Brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman" (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)

  2. Ayam Atma Brahma - "This Self (Atman) is Brahman" (Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)

  3. Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou art That" (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)

  4. Aham Brahmasmi - "I am Brahman" (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda)

The Kanchi Paramacharya says in the book "Hindu Dharma" [1]:

It is to attain this highest of states in which the individual self dissolves inseperably in Brahman that a man becomes a sannyasin after forsaking the very karma that gives him inward maturity. When he is initiated into sannyasa he is taught four mantras, the four [principal] mahavakyas.

The Religious Meaning of the Puja Initiation Ceremony

Below is the English translation of part of the pujua ceremony -- the required initiation ceremony for instruction in Transcendental Meditation -- as taken from "Holy Tradition" by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The puja is sung/chanted in Sanskrit by the TM teacher during the TM initiation ceremony.

Whether pure or impure, where purity or impurity is permeating everywhere, whoever opens himself to the expanded vision of unbounded awareness gains inner and outer purity.

To the Lord Narayana, to lotus-born Brahma the Creator, to Vashishtha, to Shakti and his son Parashar, To Vyasa, to Shukadeva, to the great Gaudapada, to Govinda, ruler among the yogis, to his disciple, Shri Shankaracharya, to his disciples Padma Pada and Hasta Malaka And Trotakacharya and Vartika-Kara, to others, to the tradition of our Master, I bow down.

"To the abode of the wisdom of the Shrutis, Smritis and Puranas, to the abode of kindness, to the personified glory of the Lord, to Shankara, emancipator of the world, I bow down.

"To Shankaracharya the redeemer, hailed as Krishna and Badarayana, to the commentator of the Brahma Sutras, I bow down.

"To the glory of the Lord I bow down again and again, at whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray [sic] for perfection day and night.

"Adorned with immeasurable glory, preceptor of the whole world, having bowed down to Him we gain fulfillment.

"Skilled in dispelling the cloud of ignorance of the people, the gentle emancipator, Brahmananda Sarasvati, the supreme teacher, full of brilliance, Him I bring to my awareness.

"Offering the invocation to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering a seat to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering an ablution to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering a cloth to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering sandalpaste to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering full rice to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering a flower to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down.

"Offering incense to the lotus feel of Shri Guru Dev, I bow down...", etc.

For a complete translation of the puja, see Also see additional information about the puja from court testimony.

The Initiation Ceremony INVOCATION
















































Whether pure or impure, whether purity or impurity is permeating everywhere, whoever opens himself to the expanded vision of unbounded awareness gains inner and outer purity.


To LORD NARAYANA, to lotus-born BRAHMA the Creator, to VASHISHTHA to SHAKTI and his son, PARASHAR,
To VYASA, to SHUKADEVA, to the great GAUDAPADA, to GOVINDA, ruler among the yogis, to his disciple, SHRI SHANKARACHARYA,

to his disciples PADMA-PADA and HASTA-MALAKA,
And TROTAKACHARYA and VARTIKA-KARA, to others, to the tradition of our Masters, I bow down.

To the abode of the wisdom of the SHRUTIS, SMRITIS and PURANAS, to the abode of kindness, to the personified glory of the LORD, to SHANKARA, emancipator of the world, I bow down.

To SHANKARACHARYA, the redeemer, hailed as KRISHNA and BADARAYANA, to the commentator of the BRAHMA SUTRAS, I bow down.
To the glory of the Lord I bow down again and again, at whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray for perfection day and night.

Adorned with immeasurable glory, preceptor of the whole world, having bowed down to Him we gain fulfillment.

Skilled in dispelling the cloud of ignorance of the people, the gentle emancipator, BRAHMANANDA SARASVATI, the supreme teacher, full of brilliance, Him I bring to my awareness.

Offering the invocation to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering a seat to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering an ablution to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering cloth to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering sandal paste to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering full rice to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering a flower to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering incense to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering light to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering water to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering fruit to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering water to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering a betel leaf to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering a coconut to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

Offering s handful of flowers

GURU in the glory of BRAHMA, GURU in the glory of VISHNU, GURU in the glory of the great LORD SHIVA, GURU in the glory of the personified transcendental fullness of BRAHMAN, to Him, to SHRI GURU DEV adorned with glory, I bow down.

The Unbounded, like the endless canopy of the sky, the omnipresent in all creation, by whom the sign of That has been revealed, to Him, to SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

GURU DEV, SHRI BRAHMANANDA, 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 aim of "Thou art That" and other such expressions which unfold eternal truth, the One, the Eternal, the Pure, the Immoveable, the Witness of all intellects, whose status transcends thought, the Transcendent along with the three gunas, the true preceptor, to SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.

The blinding darkness of ignorance has been removed by applying the balm of knowledge. The eye of knowledge has been opened by Him and therefore, to Him, to SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down. Offering a handful of flowers to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, I bow down.


The Vedic tradition, upheld in its purity by a long history of custodians, enshrines the supreme knowledge of the integration of life. From time to time, a revival of man's understanding of its eternal wisdom arises from this Holy Tradition, rescuing him from suffering, restoring him to the speedy path of evolution and awakening him to a meaningful life in fulfilment. The Masters of this tradition have been exponents of reality from earliest ages. In each new epoch they have propounded the enduring truths of practical living and have set out those standards by which men's lives may attain the highest achievements and fulfilment, generation after generation.

Teachers of transcendental meditation around the world stem from this pure and eternal tradition of great Masters. All teaching is carried out in the name of these great Masters and on their behalf, linking every teacher in every generation with the well-preserved line of ancient tradition. This link with the Masters of antiquity is such a precious element in the life of a teacher in every age that a set system Of expressing gratitude to them has been handed down from time immemorial in order to maintain the purity and vitality of the teaching.

The details of the procedure for invoking the Holy Tradition are so perfect that the whole personality of the teacher becomes one-pointedly centred on the dignity and greatness of the Masters. Ego, mind, heart, senses, body and atmosphere having thus become permeated with the essence of divine wisdom, the teacher begins to teach. The purpose of this Invocation is to attune the active mind, by directing it towards the great Masters, to the essential nature of their knowledge of Absolute Being. From that level the mantra is picked up and passed on to the new initiate, thereby leading his consciousness to that same field of transcendental Being.

By this means, the initiator's awareness is taken to the level of inner Being then brought out to the relative in order to instruct the initiate. Through this instruction the initiate's awareness is led to the Absolute several times so that more and more of Its abundance is incorporated into his life.

How does the procedure of the Invocation help the initiator's awareness to reach the deeper levels of this inner consciousness while he yet remains alert and active? It is not enough to let his awareness reach those quieter levels which meditators experience when they have a few moments of silence during the day. In order that he may operate while awareness maintains a deep level of silence, his intellect should be awake.

The traditional procedure of the Invocation is such that awareness automatically reaches the required depth and picks up the mantra to be passed on to the one being initiated. The mechanics by which this process brings the initiator's awareness to deeper levels lie basically in this ability to pronounce the words of the Invocation while making the movements of the offering as his intellect floats on the meaning of the spoken words. This harmony of thought, speech and action is a counterpart of the harmony between his ego, intellect, mind and senses. As practise advances this harmony increases and he fathoms deeper levels of silence while still maintaining activity of thought, speech and action.

Being able increasingly to maintain deep inner awareness along with thought, speech and action is a direct means of developing cosmic consciousness. In this way the initiator is rising to cosmic consciousness as he leads each new initiate into transcendental consciousness/. This explains why and how the initiator feels more and more surcharged with rising waves or cosmic consciousness which brings greater intelligence, energy, happiness and fulfilment.

The performance of the Invocation starts with a proclamation which lays open to the intellect the clear possibility of the fulfilment of life lived in Supreme Knowledge. The proclamation is intended to lead the mind to the ultimate state of purity, gained permanently in supreme knowledge, in which divine Unity becomes a living reality. Life as it is has two levels - relative and Absolute - the one changing and the other non-changing. In this sense the relative is said to be impure and the Absolute is said to be pure.

As the proclamation is pronounced and the hand sprinkles the water, the mind conceives the whole of the outer world and inner Being, and the continuity of Being in the outer world. The water retains its integrity even as it is scattered as drops in the atmosphere. Established in its meaningfulness, the mind dwells on Being and its manifestations of life in all creation. This wholeness of inner and outer life is felt in inner calm and outer activity. It is a very pleasing and elevating feeling - between the two movements of the hand (or between the silence and the starting) on the physical plane and on the mental plane.

Activity in making the offerings enriches the atmosphere with the bliss of silence and animates the quietness of it with sublime and blissful liveliness. The air is automatically sanctified. A calm wave of spiritual innocence is generated, producing the purification described in the opening words of the Invocation. Having produced this sublime influence it is time to inspire the heart and mind with waves of love and gratitude. This is brought about spontaneously by innocently reciting the names of the great Masters of the Holy Tradition.

The Holy Tradition has been the Source of inspiration to life from time immemorial. Time is the factor that presents its light sometimes brightly and sometimes less brightly. It is this which accounts for revival throughout the passage of history. The achievements of the great Masters named in the Holy Tradition have made them immortal to memory historically as the authors of far-reaching spiritual revivals and personally as inspirers of the hearts of seekers and enlightened men and women of evey generation. The hearts of seekers, and especially the hearts of the enlightened, swell in love for those great Masters and fill with overpowering devotion for them. Had it not been for them the light would have gone from life long ago. In the resplendent pageant of such great Masters, Guru Dev (1869-1953) shines nearest to us. We cherish his memory end adore him for the great gift of knowledge he has bestowed on us.

The entire purpose of the ceremony of Invocation to him and the other great Masters is to attune ourselves to the source of energy and wisdom from which Transcendental Meditation stems. There is a set, traditional way of turning our minds to that source. Before we do this we purify the inner and outer atmosphere.

We sprinkle a few drops of water

We pronounce the Invocation of the Holy Tradition. In this Invocation we repeat the names of all the distinguished great Masters.

The Lord of Creation has to maintain all levels of creation, gross and subtle. He cannot, therefore, be limited to any category of space or time, since the Lord is omnipresent. The omnipresent level of life is his abode. The recital of the words helps us to gain transcendental consciousness and to establish eternal truth through gaining purity in the inner and outer aspects of individual life. Having purified the mind, the body and the atmosphere we are worthy and capable of invoking the grace of the Holy Tradition of the great Masters, so we begin with their names:

Lord Narayana, the embodiment of eternal and absolute Being, is the first custodian and the eternal incandescence of the wisdom of integrated life. From Him it devolved upon Brahma, the Creator, who is born of the lotus rooted in absolute Being.

The truth of Brahma, the Creator, born of the lotus, rooted in eternal Being, is conventionally and traditionally illustrated in a picture in which LORD NARAYANA lying in a restful pose has the stem of a lotus emerging from his navel. BRAMHA, the Creator, is shown seated on the lotus. So the wisdom of transcendental meditation, which is the knowledge of the integration of life established in the Absolute, came to lotus-born BRAHMA from LORD NARAYANA.

From Padma-Bhava the wisdom was handed to VASHISHTA and he transmitted it to SHAKTI. SHAKTI gave it to his son PARASHARA and PARASHARA passed the knowledge to VYASA - the great VEDA-VYASA, so called because it was he who compiled the VEDAS into sections known as RIG VEDA, YAJUR VEDA, SAMA VEDA and ATHARVA VEDA. He also wrote the great classic of Indian literature the MAHABHARATA, the central chapter of which comprises the BHAGAVAD-GITA. Among his writings are the 18 PURANAS and the BHAGAVATAM which contains the life history of LORD KRISHNA, the Incarnation of infinite Love and absolute Bliss. It is a hook to guide and bring joy not only to those in abject misery, but also to the most highly evolved JIVAN MUKTAS in God consciousness.

VYASA'S exposition of the VEDIC teaching contained in the UPANISHADS has been a guiding light ton intelligent seekers and accomplished exponents of the truth of all times.

The great strength of the Tradition lies in its power of inspiring everyone in every age, recluse and householder alike. This is clearly illustrated in VEDA-VYASA'S own family. VYASA'S life was an example of the way of a householder. His son, SHUKADEVA, expressed the integrated life as a recluse. The teaching of the Holy Tradition has arisen from great exponents of the wisdom of life, recluse and householder together, so that it is universally valid and valuable for everyone, whatever his mode of living, in or out of society, at every stage of history. The truth remains free from the limitations of any particular way of life.

So then, PARASHARA, a householder, gave this wisdom to VYASA who also followed a householder's way of living, and VYASA gave it to his son. SHUKADEVA, who adopted a recluse mode of life.

SHUKADEVA gave the traditional teaching to his disciple, the great teacher GAUDAPADACHARYA who was a powerful exponent of the essence of VEDIC wisdom, VEDANTA. His reflections on the MANDUKYA UPANISHAD, the MANDUKYA KARINA, are very popular. In that work, GAUDAPADACHARYA expresses the truth that, in SAMADHI. the mind does not contract, but becomes expanded as is the experience of all practising transcendental meditation. The mind does not shrink or become absorbed or drowned because SAMADHI is the expansion of the mind, not its annihilation.

The great GAUDAPADACHARYA taught to YOGI GOVINDA the wisdom of the VEDANTA, the philosophy of the unity of life which emerges from the practical side of transcendental meditation and is a direct means to the realisation of divine Unity in day to day life. One of YOGI GOVINDA'S titles is GOVINDA BHAGAVAD-PADA. BHAGAVAD-PADA is an expression of adoration. When a direct path to enlightenment is received, those whose hearts are capable of flowing out in adoration will naturally express their highest appreciation by glorifying the source of knowledge that revealed it to them. In this expression of gratitude towards the great teacher, GOVINDACHARYA, the hearts of seekers and exponents of VEDANTA find satisfaction.

"YOGINDRA", is also applied to GOVINDA. It means "INDRA among YOGIS", that is, eminent as a ruling deity among the YOGIS.


The great, enlightened and fulfilled Yogi, GOVINDA BHAGAVAD-PADA, was the master of SHANKARA called ADI-SHANKARACHARYA (the first SHANKARACHARYA) because his disciples' successors, in charge of handing on the essential teaching of VEDANTA, are also called SHANKARACHARYAS.

This keeps alive in the nation's memory and gratitude, the first SHANKARACHARYA who redeemed India from the ignorance in which knowledge was completely entrapped, leaving her in the throes of weakness and suffering. The tragic history of knowledge can be traced through every generation like a man's shadow which follows him everywhere.

An answer to such a predicament had already been given 3,000 years earlier by LORD KRISHNA. While recounting the story of this knowledge of YOGA and Divine Union in the beginning of the fourth chapter of the BHAGAVAD-GITA, He says that it is through the long lapse of time that the knowledge is lost. Time is responsible, but there is also an internal factor which distorts the truth of this teaching. And what is that? It is the difference in the level of consciousness between the teacher and the taught. The teacher speaks from his level of enlightenment, a level of clear perception and of faultless and precise vision of the reality of life. He speaks to those who seek but have not yet attained that level of consciousness. The Master's completeness of expression is therefore naturally received by his pupils in incompleteness. This is what dilutes knowledge increasingly as generations pass. This is the tragic history of knowledge. This is how time, and nothing else, is held responsible for eroding the essentials of the true teaching.

The great genius of ADI-SHANKARACHARYA led him to establish in the four corners of India, four principal seats of learning for propagating his teaching ; at a time when he had revived the understanding of the people and established the true and eternal fundamentals of VEDIC wisdom.

The success of SHANKARA'S work does not lie only in the revival of the understanding of life, but also in his establishment of a thorough system by which the teaching would be passed on to succeeding generations. BHAGAVAN ADI-SHANKARACHARYA gave the knowledge to his four disciples named: in the Tradition:


The legend goes that SHANKARA was once about to cross a small river with one of his disciples. The boat could only carry one passenger so the ferryman took SHANKARA and left the disciple on the bank. Before the boat had reached the other bank, the river suddenly rose in flood. The devotion in the heart of the disciple rose simultaneously and, thinking of his duty, he hastened into the water. As he waded in, lotuses appeared under his feet to support his steps as he hurried to reach his master. As soon as he arrived at the farther shore. SHANKARA called him PADMAPADACHARYA - the lotus-root teacher.


HASTA-MALAKA, one of the four chief disciples of SHANKARA, has a name which is literally translated, "the fruit on the palm of the hand". The ultimate reality of life was as clear to him as an amalak fruit on the palm of one's hand. This expression, used as his name, brings to light the clarity of his understanding and the sureness of his wisdom.


SURESHVARACHARYA was also called VARTIKA-KARA, a householder rigidly tied to the path of KARMA, the school of KARMA-MIMAMSA, which is the fifth of the six systems of Indian philosophy. SHANKARA had to convince him of the validity of VEDANTA, the sixth system, which speaks of the field of Unity beyond the enjoyment of the celestial light of God consciousness which is the goal of KARMA-MIMAMSA. Recognising the need to propagate the true principles of life, SURESHVARA abandoned his home and became a SANYASI. He followed SHANKARA and, being highly learned, wrote commentaries on his works and travelled all over the country to popularise his teaching.


TROTAKACHARYA was one of the most outstanding of the four chief disciples of SHANKARA. The atmosphere around SHANKARA was always vibrant with waves of wisdom emanating from the conversations of his most learned and enlightened disciples, PADMA-PADA, HASTA-MALAKA and VARTIKA-KARA.

TROTAKA, moving among them, provided an innocent foil to all that brilliance and, amid those tidal waves of knowledge, his mind and heart floated in the divine radiance of his master, preferring to enjoy it rather than annalyse it through the prism of discriminatory logic. The vast intellects of his fellow disciples tended to disregard his less cerebral virtues, but the one-pointedness of his heart and mind was unaffected by their less than full appreciation of him.

At that time SHANKARA was writing his commentaries in his cave at JYOTIR MATH. A single motive animated TROTAKA'S actions: that he should do all he could to save his master's time from being spent on organisational matters of day-to-day living, so that he could reproduce the maximum of himself in his commentaries. Through these acts of timely prudence TROTAKA responded at the feet of his master to his most pressing needs. He was a man of practical outlook and held fast to one thing - service to the master. He did not join in the other disciples' intellectual discussions with the master, but in full sincerity of purpose, undertook such duties as would justify his engagement in accordance with his nature - cleaning the floor, cooking meals and washing clothes. This freed the other, more learned, disciples from domestic duties and gave them more time to serve their master on an intellectual level.

One day SHANKARA returned to his cave after bathing in the ALAKAMANDA river, accompanied by his three learned disciples. TROTAKA had been left behind. It had taken him an unusually long time to wash his master's clothes and so he was late in returning. The other three disciples grew uneasy about the delay caused to SHANKARA'S discourse. SHANKARA wondered, but continued to wait for TROTAKA. Whispers went around: "The master is waiting for a disciple who is not interested in the discourse anyway." Just then a tuneful voice was heard from far away, thrilling the air and purifying the whole valley of JYOTIR MATH in praises of the GURU. It was sweet and richly harmonious, sung in a previously unheard and unknown metre. There came TROTAKA singing the praises of his master in words overflowing with wisdom and heart-melting melody. He had gained instantaneous enlightenment and a most refined state of intellect through the instrumentality of his love for his master and the love of his master towards him.

Whatever be the shape or quality of the timber, once it comes to the carpenter's bench, he spares no effort to increase its worth and usefulness to the maximum. This shows that all that is needed on the part of the aspirant is sincerity, unwavering devotion and love for the master; then, spontaneously, life gains more and more fulfilment.

TROTAKACHARYA was placed in charge of JYOTIR MATH. He was the first exponent of SHANKARACHARYA'S teaching in Northern India. The other three disciples of SHANKARACHARYA occupied seats in the remaining three centres: GOVARDHAN MATH, near PURI, Eastern India:SRINGERI MATH, near MYSORE, Southern India; and DVARKA MATH, in DVARKA in extreme Western India.

In the tradition of JYOTIR MATH, the essential wisdom thrives more in the value of the heart. The Spiritual Regeneration Movement for the whole human race arises from this cradle of the wisdom of the heart.

From my own experience, I know that there were hundreds of very learned and capable disciples of GURU DEV, yet the task of spiritually regenerating mankind fell to one who was like TROTAKACHARYA, as distinct from the intellectual giants who surrounded the Master. This does not detract from the recognition and appreciation of those of more highly developed intellect since it is they who are more capable of comprehending and evaluating the philosophy and really enjoying the creative application of the whole philosophy in practical life. What is meant here is that, even those who are not so highly developed intellectually, can innocently become as tools in the hands of the divine, to work out His plan. And this seems to be the case in the tradition of JYOTIR MATH - not much learning is needed: just innocent surrender to the master. This gives us the key to success - we have simple sincere feelings, devotion, a sense of service - and wisdom dawns.

After naming all four of SHANKARACHARYA'S disciples we include the VEDIC revelations as they abide in SHANKARACHARYA himself in which capacity he is hailed as the abode of kindness because he is held in high esteem for his depth of knowledge and his ability to put it to practical use for the sake of the people. Kindness is the product of the fullness of life, expanded awareness, pure consciousness which is the character of enlightenment and that state of knowledge. Thus "abode of kindness" is, in other words, the abode of knowledge -enlightenment.

The SHRUTIS are divine revelations which constitute the VEDAS.The SHRUTIS were not formulated by anyone either human or superhuman. They are self-expressed and divinely exposed as impulses of the Absolute to the profound vision of the seers. They bring to light the eternal truths of existence and so they are the ultimate authority of the wisdom of life and the key to its fulfilment on all levels.

From these unchallengeable and irrefutable expressions of divine truth, the sages distilled codes of behaviour for the individual and for society. The codes they prescribed are man-made laws, but entirely based on the authority of the SHRUTIS, bringing to light all the do's and don'ts of behaviour. The codes are called SMRITIS.

The third authority is the PURANAS. PURANA means ancient and the PURANAS are ancient records of events covering all living intelligences from man to angels and gods in the celestial regions. They form the history that uncovers the mechanism of nature and the structure and functioning of evolution. They also comprise accounts of Indian history which serve as annals of higher evolution. The PURANAS may be said to be a record of the applied value and phenomenal phase of the eternal truths of the SHRUTIS expressed in the SMRITIS.

The knowledge of transcendental Being, so long as it remains theoretical, does not help in day-to-day practical life at all. For it to be of any practical value, some technique is needed by which to gain experience and give substance to abstract knowledge. That is why SHANKARACHARYA, having succeeded in making the abstract, philosophical knowledge of eternal Being known in its full sense, is also hailed as "world emancipator".

SHANKARA means redeemer from the bondage of ignorance, from all negative influence, suffering or failure in life, bestower of life free from suffering. We call SHANKARACHARYA redeemer because in his work of revival he brought out the knowledge of the completeness of life and strengthened every phase of action, thinking and Being. It is the harmony of these three that supplements, supports and enriches every aspect of life, and one who brings such harmony is naturally called a redeemer.

SHANKARACHARYA'S theme of revival was the same as Lord Krishna's - integration of the three spheres of life, Being, thinking and action. LORD KRISHNA emphasised Being when he said, "NISTRAIGUNYO BHAV-ARJUNA" - "Be without the three gunas, perform action": "YOGASTHA KURU KARMANI" - "Remain established in Being and act".

This revival theme of LORD KRISHNA and SHANKARACHARYA has been adopted by our movement to bring the message of complete harmony in the full dignity of life in Unity. This message, the doctrine of VEDANTA, has been misunderstood in terms of renunciation and detachment from the practical field of life. It is important to note that activity is necessary for stabilizing the state of pure consciousness in practical life. As long as transcendental pure consciousness, which is the state of Unity in life, fails to be maintained during activity, Unity can never become a living reality. Awareness of the natural Unity of existence must go hand in hand with engaging in the practical activity of life in order to live Unity permanently.

The comparison of SHANKARA with KRISHNA and BADARAYANA simultaneously has touching and revealing significance. KRISHNA, the ocean of the Absolute, finds expression in the waves of the SHRUTIS, which expound the eternal laws of life, upholding the entire creation in both its Absolute and relative aspects, and BADARAYANA'S BRAHMA SUTRAS fathom their height and their depth. The love of KRISHNA and the wisdom of BADARAYANA meet in SHANKARA, redeemer and emancipator, so named because his teachings have e natural quality of bringing freedom to everyone, irrespective of his condition in life or his way of living.

As we have seen, their similar theme of revival has already linked the name of KRISHNA to SHANKARA'S. It is a theme of revival rather than an unprecedented outburst, because it is no less than the age-old wisdom of the Absolute contained in the VEDIC text that has been brought to light again its pure form.

SHANKARA is hailed as BADARAYANA. VEDA-VYASA, who is BADARAYANA, compiled the BRAHMA SUTRAS, the aphorisms of BRAHMAN, expressions of ultimate reality. His consciousness reverberated on the level of the impulses of the SHRUTIS and was open to the full extent of the eternal truths revealed in them. BRAHMAN means omnipresent and SUTRAS are aphorisms, so the BRAHMA SUTRAS are concise yet perfect statements of the teachings of BRAHMAN which express the fullness of life. They explain the mechanics of transformation on the path of evolution between the last two milestones of the journey. They present an authentic record of those conscious states to guide the aspirant and support his right experiences as he evolves from God consciousness to Supreme Knowledge, and so enable Unity to be established in his everyday life. The content of the BRAHMA SUTRAS ranges from God consciousness to Unity consciousness, but the authentic experiences are recorded in the UPANISHADS with which the BRAHMA SUTRAS are intimately connected. The BRAHMA SUTRAS are usually taken to be a clarification of the UPANISHADS, but the truth is that the UPANISHADS contain expressions which formulate the highest level of the BRAHMA SUTRAS' teaching - the culmination of the whole VEDIC wisdom. The UPANISHADS expound the ultimate truth of existence. Absolute reality is like the sap in a tree which forms the basis of every aspect of its growth and is present everywhere in the tree, so that it can be said that the tree is nothing but sap and the sap alone is. Similarly, in the UPANISHADS, ultimate, absolute, eternal existence is established as the ultimate reality of all that was, is and will forever continue to be.

The purpose of the UPANISHADS is to bring the reality of this eternal oneness of life to men of all times. Whatever level of consciousness prevails, their teaching is available to inspire men to live that unboundedness of eternity in this day-to-day life and to experience its joy even in the silence of deep sleep. A glimpse of this supreme destiny inspires all men and lightens their path towards it. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that these formulations in the UPANISHADS are expressed from the level of Absolute existence. The truth of eternal life can only be expressed from the platform of that truth itself; from the status of Absolute Being in the field of pure consciousness. Moreover, the understanding of it can only be from that level, for the same reason. This means that the SHRUTIS of the UPANISHADS are comprehensible and substantially useful only to men already established in Unity. The BRAHMA SUTRAS stand with the SHRUTIS to guide the realised man from God consciousness to the level of Supreme Knowledge.

For a revival in the understanding of life to be accomplished, it was vital that SHANKARA should reveal that Supreme Knowledge which alone leads men to the highest state of evolution and maintains them in it. This Supreme Knowledge not only constitutes the climax of evolution, but also the most thorough coordination between Being, thinking and action, which is the peak of achievement in any revival. The one SHANKARA brought about would not have blossomed had not every petal of the flower of knowledge been encouraged to unfold in its fullness. For this purpose SHANKARA wrote commentaries on the BHAGAVAD-GITA, UPANISHADS and BRAHMA SUTRAS.

It is recorded that SHANKARA, having completed his BRAHMA SUTRAS commentary, was challenged on it by VYASA himself. From the age of 11 to 16, SHANKARA wrote the three great commentaries while living in JYOTIR MATH with his four disciples. Having completed his definitive work of scriptural interpretation, SHANKARA started his journey to the plains to establish his teaching among the people. At KEDARNATH, a place of pilgrimage in the HIMALAYAS, an old man appeared before him and challenged his comprehension of the BRAHMA SUTRAS. SHANKARA sat down to have a discussion with him and eventually convinced him that everything he had written was in accord with VYASA'S real intention and that his commentary displayed the true meaning of VYASA'S BRAHMA SUTRAS. It is said that the old man was none other than VYASA himself appearing to express his joy at SHANKARA'S commentary and to reassure him and give him confidence that the revival would be complete if the true meaning of the BRAHMA SUTRAS was conveyed to the people.

The significance of SHANKARA'S commentary has made him a revered figure of world-renown.

Here SHANKARA is portrayed in the status of the absolute. All those who desire to gain the wisdom of the omnipresent, absolute Brahman are seekers of the truth, perfection and eternal freedom in life.

Having recited this and having filled our minds and hearts with the meaning of what we say, we complete the invocation to the long tradition of the great masters and feel the inspiration of their glory. With heart thus secure in deep devotion, and mind upheld in the meaning of the recitation, our hands and eyes engage in the act of offering.

The invocation through the offering is symbolic of our universal behaviour towards invited and honoured guests. Naturally we offer them the best we have in the house flowers, fruit, light, bath, shower, towels, good food. We greet them with loving reverence and sweet words. The ceremony of offerings has similar significance in that it expresses gratitude on a physical level and everything is done in a very natural, innocent and spontaneous manner.


This invocation and sequence of offerings comes to us from that ancient tradition which is dear to us. It is this which prepares us and inspires us to pass on the wisdom of the great Masters in its purity and helps us to maintain the efficiency of the teaching, generation after generation. Our aim is sublime; it reaches beyond time and touches eternity both for ourselves and in our activity. We want to release the present present generation from the grip of suffering and we feel that it is our responsibility to lay a solid foundation for this great teaching to be passed on in its purity to the generations to come. Therefore, it is highly important that, as teachers of transcendental meditation which is the key to the integration of life, we pass on this wisdom in the name of those great Masters of antiquity by invoking the Holy Tradition. This is the only way to preserve the teaching from impurity.

If every teacher in every generation continues to impart this knowledge in the name of the cherished Masters of the Holy Tradition, he will naturally pass on the teaching in Its purity as it has been taught to him by his master. This procedure will naturally serve to keep every teacher in line with the great Masters of the past and his teaching with the pure and eternal teaching of those great Masters.

Had it not been for this simple, short ceremony of offering, there would be little to link the teacher with the Holy Tradition, as the years go by. In that case the teaching would exist only as a form of instruction given by an individual of the present time without any basis and security in the distant past and the years between. As soon as the slightest impurity entered the teaching its effectiveness would be lost and its whole purpose marred.

Therefore, this invocation is the very life of the teacher. The ceremony of offerings is the body that maintains the spirit of the invocation, the purity of knowledge. It must not be forgotten that this tradition of paying homage to the Masters of the Holy Tradition has served and will forever serve as a means of keeping alive this precious teaching of the integration and perfection of life. The performance of this traditional invocation and offerings at the time of imparting the knowledge to others is like an act of watering the root of the eternal tree of wisdom.


The tree of wisdom expresses the truth of its life and the truth of existence in its various phases. It grows in the garden of eternity and spreads the knowledge of the unbounded along all the branches of time. It reaches out to offer its ancient message to all men in every age and in every corner or the earth. Those in the East who enjoy the fruit of its teaching glorify its eastern bough, and those in the West who receive the benefit or its message honour its western branch. If it so happens that those in both East and West, while enjoying the fruits of the knowledge it provided and continuing to sing the praises of their own particular branch, forgot to water the root of the tree itself, then, after a certain time had passed, the eastern and western branches would show signs of decay and all the branches, old and new, would begin to drop away and disappear.

This is precisely the situation that exists among all the different religions in the world today. It is true of every religion without exception. Devout men and women of every persuasion sincerely adore their religion and are proud of those characteristics which distinguish it from others, but the truth about religions is that each represents a different branch of the same tree - the tree or wisdom. the same eternal truth of 200 percent of life has been propagated by all religions. How many religions there were and how many of them have passed into oblivion even history seems to have forgotten. How many more will be born in the infinity of time? Each shoot gives rise to new branches of the tree, every age gives rise to new religions. The main trunk of the tree of wisdom naturally continues to support the birth of each new religion. New branches will emerge but they will be nourished by the same sap issuing along the main trunk from its roots in eternity.

The same truth of life will be broadcast in different names at different times in different lands, but the life of all of them will forever depend upon the strength of the sap drawn from the roots through the main trunk. If the main trunk is continuously preserved, the sap of truth will always keep alive branches of religions arising in different times.


We have seen how the truth of the integration of life is handed on from generation to generation, naturally and simply in its full clarity and completeness, through this Holy Tradition of Masters. The supreme teaching of their ancient line forms the trunk of the tree of eternal wisdom from which different branches of knowledge spread to enlighten man along the different avenues of life and living. Different sciences emerge, different fields of art thrive, and interest in different disciplines is cherished. Each of these branches of knowledge have their significance in enriching life, and for us it is a joy to see that all of them emerge from the main source of the current of life - the eternal source of all knowledge, the VEDA, which is forever upheld by the great Masters of the Holy Tradition. It is for this reason the Masters of our Holy Tradition are also called the great Masters of the Vedic Tradition.

When we invoke the Tradition and make offerings, what we are doing is watering the tree of wisdom, keeping alive the main trunk of the truth of life, watering the root of the tree of universal religion which is responsible for preserving the dynamism of eternal truth of life for all generations, Whenever the need of the time demands, it manifests in the form of new religions. We feel proud to have been given the privilege of upholding the life of the main trunk. We rise to bring the truth to every man, no matter what his religion or what his way of life. We nourish the main trunk and supply sustenance to all the branches. We maintain the universal spirit of all religions from the platform of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and feel happy that we are thereby bringing nourishment to the people of all religions, of all faiths, of all philosophies, of all sciences and of all arts.

We find our stand has a universal character. If we wish to call this universal and eternal tree of wisdom a religion, let us call it the Universal Religion to support all religions; if we wish to call it a faith, let us call it the Universal Faith to support all faiths; if we wish to call it a philosophy, let us call it the Universal Philosophy to support all philosophy; if we want to call it a science, let us call it a Universal Science, the Science of sciences, if we want to call it an art then let us call it the Universal Art.

It may be that someone, seeing us making offerings before a picture, might argue that we are a sect and label us as such, and thereby try to depreciate the universality of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. Nevertheless these formalities, this style of offering, are ways of bowing to GURU DEV or expressing our reverence to the Holy Tradition. These are what we know to be the ties that bind us to the universality and eternity of the integrated state of life, and in order to propagate this universality of integrated consciousness, we find ourselves clinging fast to the main trunk. And if in clinging to the main trunk someone argues that we are lovers of the trunk, as others are lovers of the branches, we accept their sentiment and say: "Yes, we are proud of clinging fast to that trunk which is the source of nourishment for every branch." If in pursuing this universal purpose we are labelled a sect or an "ism", we honour it, referring to the Universal Sect and the Universal Ism. This is where we stand regarding the spiritual aspect of our Movement.

The integrity of the spiritual side of the Movement is upheld by the organisational wing. This is patterned on nature itself - the infinity of life is upheld by the structure of the body. What is our view of the organisational side of our Movement? We are an international and universal organisation. An organisation, even though of international and universal character, has to have specific rules sustaining it. Procedures have to be followed, but this organisational framework is for the purpose of safeguarding the universal character of the precious teaching. These rules and codes of conduct for the organisers of the Movement are there to maintain the universality of its purpose and to continue the faultless and universal nature of the teaching. Therefore, even though we may seem to some eyes to be a rigid organisation with many set procedures, we feel proud in binding ourselves to the discipline which enables us to hold on to our universal purpose and achievement and which helps us to safeguard our own interests and those of all our fellow men.

Ever leader of the Movement, whether engaged in teaching or in organising, takes delight in upholding the purity of both its aspects and thereby rises to fulfil his aspiration to bring joy and progress to his surroundings and the light of wisdom to his time.

Glory to the lotus feet of SHRI GURU DEV, for us the light of the Holy Tradition.


Our Guiding Light is the ever-shining, never-setting Sun of Divine Grace. Ever the same, constant as the northern star and bright as the mid-day sun, our Guiding Light is the Divine Grace of Shri Guru Deva, Maha Yogiraj, His Divinity Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Maharaj, the most illustrious in the galaxy of the Jagad-Guru Shankaracharyas of India.

He was Maha Yogiraj (greatest of Yoga Teachers) in the family of the Yogis of India and was held by the "Gnanies" (Realised) as personified Brahmanandam (Universal Bliss or Cosmic Consciousness), the living expression of "Purnam adah, purnam idam".* The divine radiance blooming forth from His shining personality revealed the truth of "Purnam idam" and His Sahaja-Samadhi (all time natural state of cosmic consciousness) brought home the truth of both - "Purnam adah" and Purnam idam". It was the perfection of this great Spiritual Master which innovated a spiritual renaissance in Northern India and wherever he travelled.

This Great Pride of India was "Rajaram" in his early days when he was the love of his great family and was cherished as the "rising sun" in the community of Mishra Brahmans of village Gana, near Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, North India. He was born on the 20th December 1868, but his hour of nativity claimed him for the recluse order and for that of the secular.

At the tender age of nine, when the other children of the world were mostly busy in playgrounds, he had matured in the idea of renunciation and by continuous and deep thinking was convinced of the futility and evanescence of worldly pleasures. He realised so early that real and lasting happiness cannot be had without the realisation of the Divine. The joys and pleasures that are obtained from the phenomenal world are mere shadows and smudged images of the ideal happiness and bliss, that is not far from man but exists in his own heart, enveloped by the dark clouds of ignorance and illusion. When he was barely nine years old he left home and went to the Himalayas in search of God, the Light that dispels the great darkness in the human mind, the darkness that stands between man and the inner Enlightenment.

On the path of the Divine a proper guide is necessary. During the search for a perfect spiritual guide, he came across many masters and good beginners but none of them came up to the ideal that he had set for himself. He desired his spiritual master to be not only well versed in philosophic learning but also to be a person of realisation; and over and above these dual achievements, he should be a life celibate, perhaps the natural and legitimate desire of an aspirant who himself had decided to maintain that high ideal for life.

In the world as it is constituted today, to find a personality combining these three conditions and attributes is difficult, if not altogether impossible, and so the young truth-seeker had to wander far and long before he arrived at the goal or his search. After about five years of wandering in the Himalayas, he reached the township of Uttar-Kashi. In that "valley of the Saints", at that small and distant Himalayan hermitage there resided in those days a great spiritual master, Swami Krishanand Saraswati, a sage deeply versed in philosophical lore, representing a rare and perfect blend of theory and practice, of learning and realisation.

To that realised soul, the young ascetic surrendered himself for being initiated into the mysterious realms of the spirit, whose real key practices are attainable not from books and treatises, but only from perfect spiritual masters, who silently pass these topsecret practices from heart to heart.

After some time, with the permission and order of his master he entered a cave at Uttar-Kashi with a resolve not to come out before he had realised the Light Supreme. His desire to attain the highest knowledge was not merely an ideal wish or intention; it was a mighty, overpowering determination that burned like fire in his heart. It permeated every particle of his being and bade him not to rest or stop before the complete realisation of the Bliss Eternal.

Soon he arrived at the Heatless, Smokeless Effulgence of the Self and realised the Divine Truth, Cosmic Consciousness, the Ultimate Supreme Reality, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Nirvana.

The greatest attainment of a saint is his life itself, the high edifice of realised Upanishadic living that develops from direct experience of Reality. To understand that inner personality one must approach such realised souls with an open and receptive mind and try to visualise the great internal life that is the basis of their actual and real form of living.

At the age of 34 he was initiated into the order of"Sanyas" by his Master at the greatest world fair, "Kumbla Mela", that is held once in twelve years at the junction of the two holy rivers, Ganges and Jumna at Allahabad City. Then he again proceeded to blessed solitude, the only blessedness. This time he did not go to the Himalayas,but went to the Amarkantakas, the source of the holy river Narbada in Central India.

For the greater part of his life he lived in quiet, lonely places, the habitats of lions and leopards, in hidden caves and thick forests, where even the mid-day sun frets and fumes in vain to dispel the darkness that may be said to have made a permanent abode in those solitary and distant regions of Vindhyagiris and Amarkantakas (mountain ranges).

He was out of sight of man but was well marked in the eyes of the destiny of the country. For more than one and a half centuries the light of Jyotir Math* was extinct, and North India had no Shankaracharya to guide the spiritual destiny of the people. Here was a bright light of spiritual glory well adorned by the perfect discipline of Sanatana Dharma, but it was hidden in the caves and valleys, in the thick forests and mountains of central India, as though the blessed solitude was giving a proper shape and polish to a personality which was to enlighten the darkness that had overtaken the spiritual destiny of the country, by the flash of His mere presence.

It took a long time, twenty years, to persuade Him to come out of loneliness and accept the holy throne of Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math in Badariashramam, Himalayas. At the age of 72, in the year 1941 , a well marked time in the political and religious history of India, He was installed as Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, and that was a turning point in the destiny of the nation. The political freedom of the country dawned under His Divine Grace and He was worshipped by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Indian Union. At the conference of the eminent philosophers of the world during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Institute of Indian Philosophers held at Calcutta in December 1950, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the famous philosopher and the successor of Dr. Prasad as president of the Indian Union, addressed Shri Guru Deva as "Vedanta Incarnate" (Truth Embodiment).

His policy of spiritual enlightenment was all embracing. He inspired all alike and gave a lift to everyone in his religious, virtuous, moral and spiritual life. He was never a leader of any one party. All parties found a common leadership in Him. All the differences and dissensions of various castes, creeds and "sampradayas" dissolved in His presence and every party felt itself to be a thread in the warp and woof of society, and that all the threads make the cloth and that no thread can be taken out, with advantage, from it. Such was His universal and all-embracing nature.

His entire personality exhaled always the serene perfume of spirituality. His face radiated that rare light which comprises love, authority, serenity and self-assuredness; the state that comes only by righteous living and divine realisation. His darshan made the people feel as if some ancient Maharishi of Upanishadic fame had assumed human form again, and that it is worthwhile leading a good life and to strive for realisation of the Divine.

His spiritual teachings are simple and clear and go straight home to the heart. He strictly adhered to the courses of inner development laid down by the systems of Indian philosophy and ethics and he raised his voice never in opposition but always in firm support of the truths and principles contained in the concept of dharma. He gave to the people the spirit of religion and made them happy in every walk of life.

As time would have it, after 12 years that flashed by, the Manifested merged with its Origin, the Unmanifested, and "Brahma Leena Brahmanandam" is now appearing in the hearts of His devotees as waves of Brahmanandam (Bliss). He cast off His mortal coil, but left behind a few others in mortal coil to keep the light of His grace shining and pass on the torch of His teachings from hand to hand for all the centuries to come.

The Spiritual Regeneration Movement was started under His direct inspiration that we received on the 31st December 1957, the last day of His 89th Birthday Anniversary at Madras. His Divine plan of Spiritual regeneration of the world is being worked out quite naturally by the stronghold of time which is found marking a change in human density[sic]. We only pray Him to keep on guiding us.


* That Unmanifested (Brahman) is perfect and This Manifested (Brahman) is (also) perfect.

* The principal monastery of Shankaracharya.

Mantra and Japa

by Swami Ritajananda

In Hindu thought, meditation according to Vedanta is the repetition of a sacred formula - a mantra. In this repetition one should put all one's love, one's thought and one's will. One will gradually enter into a state of concentration such that all consciousness of the external world is excluded-an intense concentration.

Thus japa is not a mechanical activity, but a very intense activity with profound concentration. This can clearly be hard to start with, but with practice this becomes easier and more natural. One must repeat the mantra softly with concentration so as to lead the mind to pass beyond everything that is connected with the domain of thought. One should try to reach the spiritual domain where even thought is not allowed to enter. The mind must be perfectly calm, as though it no longer existed.

If it is well done, japa can be compared to the regular, continuous flow of oil from one jar into another. A strong relationship will thus be established between oneself and God. But the goal to be attained is to transcend all names, all forms and all attributes.

The mantra

Omkaram bindu samyuktam
     nityam dhyayanti yoginah
Kama-dam moksha-dam chaiva
     Omkaraya namo namah

"The yogis meditate constantly on the syllable Om composed of the sounds O and M. This Om fulfils all our desires and leads to liberation. Salutations again and again to this syllable Om!"

It cannot be said how long ago the power of the mantra was discovered. It has always been there, recognized as the most effective means among the Hindu religious disciplines.

The Hindus believe that one can purify oneself from sin by meditation on the mantra, be liberated and attain bliss. This is salvation. So a person who can learn the mantra will have everything.

Mantra is a word composed of two syllables: "man," the mental activity of meditation, and "tra," that which saves, which gives salvation, liberation. In itself the word therefore means that salvation is certain for him who meditates on the mantra. When reading or writing a mantra, one does not obtain its benefit, because all its value resides in the sound.

A word, such as is used in conversation, is composed of letters. Each letter is the symbol of a sound. In pronouncing letters one hears the sounds, one remembers a word and one understands it. The mantra is something else. Even mantras which are simple in their form produce different effects, because a mantra is composed of certain letters arranged in a particular order to produce a certain combination of sounds. Sometimes the terms in a mantra can have a meaning: at other times it is not like that and only the sound is important. The letters only represent symbols. The effect of the mantra is not produced at the level of reason. The knowledge acquired by the repetition of the mantra extends far beyond the level of reason. In India they say that it is in the depths of consciousness.

It may be asked why such great value is attributed to the sound. Vedanta teaches us that the sole reality, Brahman, is behind the whole universe. Brahman had the idea of creating the world; that is what we say to explain it. Everything we wish to do we first of all think, and then it becomes action. Thought is linked to the word, and the word to sound. Before Nataraja, Shiva dancing creation, there was Shabda-Brahman, described as sound. This idea strongly supports that of creation by sound. Shabda is the sound. Nataraja, the dancing Shiva, has a little drum in his hand. The drum produces a much stronger sound than a piano or other musical instrument. The drum in Nataraja's hand means sound, creation. This image represents the Creator, Protector and Destroyer. It is the Lord.

The sound Om is very important for Hindus. Sri Aurobindo has given an interesting explanation of it, saying that the Divine Shepherd, i.e. God, Himself becomes the mantra Om.

When thought, being directed towards God, becomes effective, the light of being is expressed by itself. It is That which reveals the splendor in the word, the secret in the thought and which conserves rhythm. Man repeats the rhythm of the Eternal! That which illumines is God Himself. The scriptures say: This is what is learned through the Vedas.

The mantra of divine consciousness brings the light of revelation. The mantra of divine power brings the power to realize. The mantra of bliss--ananda-brings the fulfillment of the spiritual joy of existence.

All words and all thoughts proceed from the flow of vibrations from the great sound Om which is Brahman, the Eternal.

Behind the manifestation of forms and sense objects, behind the continual play of that which is conceived within itself, of which the forms of objects are figures, behind the manifestation of supra-consciousness and the power of the Infinite is Om-the sovereign source of seeds and matrixes, of things and ideas, of names and forms. Om is itself totally the Supreme Unity, intangible and original, existing through itself, outside all manifestations.

The Vedas have been considered as mantras and even certain parts of the Vedas are called mantras. This means that they must be repeated; the mantra does not depend so much on its meaning as on the sound it produces by repetition.

The idea of the sound Om expressing the Supreme Brahman is also to be found in the Mandukya Upanishad, the fairly short text of which has received a long karika (commentary) written by the philosopher Gaupada, and on which Sri Shankaracharya has composed some very well known commentaries. This Upanishad explains how Om represents All, i.e. how the repetition of Om is the great mantra.

The Katha Upanishad, the Mundaka Upanishad and other texts say that one should concentrate on Om. Sri Aurobindo has explained how Om represents all the Vedas, all of creation and God Himself. Having this knowledge, knowing that Om represents God, meditating on Om, one can attain the superconscious state, the state of direct realization and communion with the Lord.

Swami Vivekananda spoke at length on meditation on Om in Bhakti Yoga and still more exhaustively in Raja Yoga. He explained that the Pranava (mystic syllable), Om, represents all words and all that exists in the universe. We thus move from the creation to the Creator; this is the way followed by devotees.

It is not easy for us to meditate on God without form, whose nature is so diverse, eternal and infinite; those of us who are not ascetics have a sort of attraction which attaches us to the world; the mantra helps us a lot in meditation. It is more effective. For a fervent worshipper and for a rishi [a seer] the mantra is the deity itself. This is the power of the mantra. We shall be in the presence of the divine. At that moment, it is said, the mantra becomes illuminative, i.e. it can give illumination.

We can ask a lot of questions when we hear someone talking about such a little-known subject. One must above all have the will to follow the disciplines and experience it. The vibration of the mantric sounds only seems to be that of physical sounds, in ordinary language, which seems of little importance. But for the convinced devotees and adepts, the sounds of the mantra are the mantra itself, identified with the Divine and capable of giving illumination. To attain this state, it is necessary to pursue the constant practice of japa, the goal of which is to transform the ordinary sounds of a mantra into a source of illumination.

The mantra's source of illumination is full of conscious energy, it possesses extraordinary powers. This is the case with the Om mantra, which goes back to the most ancient times. Om is the first mantra in the Vedas and the Upanishads. There is no other word so full of meaning. Om is the Pranava. Chants begin with the Pranava.

An internal change is progressively produced by the influence of the mantra. It is said that it becomes living and powerful. It is the power of the mantra which produces the change. This is the case with the mantra, Shabda-Brahman, eternal Brahman. The scriptures say that the sound is eternal. Om is identified with Brahman.

We thus penetrate deeper into the importance attributed to the mantra in the Hindu religion. It is by the vibrations of the sound of the mantra that the right vibration is formed in the disciple to lead him to that of the Supreme. This is the explanation. We have said that behind all that exists is Brahman, the Ultimate Reality. Brahman is in us and around us, sole and unique. There is nothing else.

Before creation there was the sound, Shabda-Brahman. Creation is preceded by thought. Thought cannot exist without words. Words cannot exist without sounds. The sound, Shabda-Brahman, is therefore absolutely necessary. When we meditate on the aspect of Brahman which is sound, we follow through sound the path that leads to Brahman itself.

While in Vedanta Brahman represents the Single Ultimate Reality one calls the Absolute, it is divided into two different aspects. One of these two aspects is called Chit. This is the static aspect, infinitely subtle and illuminated. The other aspect, more gross, is called Shakti. The latter is the dynamic aspect which is the source of all creation, in its form of primordial vibration. All we see around us, beings, objects and material things are external manifestations of the vibrations. Shakti is thus the gross aspect and Chit the subtle aspect of the primordial energy.

Shakti is also called Nada, Shabda or Prana.

Nada, sound, can be considered as the soul of the universe, and it is said that creation began with a sound. This is Shabda-Brahman, the Supreme manifested in sound.

Prana represents the breath which animates all living beings. But we must remember that Nada, Shabda and Prana are not separate from Chit. Chit and Shakti are not different. They are two aspects of the same Reality, and Chit, in a subtle state, is found hidden in Shakti manifested in the gross elements. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that Brahman and Shakti are inseparable and indissoluble, just like fire and its power to burn. This is also the case with Chit and Shakti.

Chit therefore exists in everything that is manifested in the world in subtle and gross forms. It can only be said that in subtle forms Chit is predominant, while in gross forms it is less so, and then it is Shakti that predominates, as Nada, Prana or Shabda. We must therefore understand that in all the manifestations of Nada, Shabda or Prana, Chit is present in a subtle state. Chit is present in all creation.

Nada, sound, is considered as one of the less gross elements in the manifestation of Shakti. It is therefore by using Nada that Chit can be attained more easily. And so we use sound, which is a subtle vibration, to arrive at Chit. By this means Chit will be awakened more easily than by means of material and gross objects.

Let us remember that Chit is Illumination, and in the course of sadhana one must reach Chit in order to attain realization. We thus use sound, the subtle vibrations which compose the mantra, to awaken Chit. By using the dynamic aspect, Shakti, in its less gross form, that of sound (Nada), the meditator will arrive at Chit, which is the goal to be attained, Illumination.

The mantra, by the vibration of sound, is therefore the least gross material expression, and consequently the nearest to Chit. The repetition of the mantra will facilitate this approach.

This explains why japa should be done and how one should meditate on the mantra.

Learned men recognize that this discovery of the repetition of the mantra is a really important contribution made by the sages of India. It shows us the very close relationship that exists between Nada and Chit, i.e. between "sound" and "Illumination," and it explains that the two are not other than cosmic energy, Shakti.


Let us see how it is possible to practise japa in spiritual life. What is its meaning?

We must understand the value of the mantra. Let us take an example from everyday life. To communicate with others, we use words. When we hear a word, we immediately see a picture it evokes. The mind seizes that picture. It thus happens that a single word can evoke a whole memory. Here is an example:

If a mother has lost her only son, every time she hears his name she will think of him. He was her all in all. This name not only means the appearance of his face, his body and his character, but all that he did. The name brings back to her all her memories. The mother does not say: "Now I am going to think of my son, of all he was for me, of the well-beloved son we all loved and who has gone." As soon as she hears his name, her son is at once there. His name has awakened in her mother's heart all her son represented for her, and she is greatly moved by it in her deepest feelings.

It has already been stated that there is no difference between the name and the subject, i.e. between the name and the person. When I say "Om," Brahman and Om are identical. The Name of the Lord [Om] and the fact of repeating it with faith ensure that the devotee attains all he is searching for.

The name of the Lord is thus not only a word, but something very strong which touches us completely. The holy Name of the Lord has for his devotees this great power and all this merit. The repetition of the holy name can be aloud, when one is alone, or in silence, or mentally, or even moving the lips a little bit. It is considered that this mental repetition is the most effective when one thinks of the meaning of the mantra.

The tradition of repeating the mantra is to be found even in the Patanjali school of yoga, which does not call it japa, but swadhyaya. The saints have practised the repetition of a mantra.

In order to do japa or the repetition of the mantra well, the mind must be sustained by the nature of the divinity, by its power, its beauty and by the attraction it exercises over us.

The devotee can also have devotion for what is expressed in the mantra and for everything associated with it.

Japa can be performed with the certitude that the mantra is effective. You must have that certitude. Then you can continue japa until the point is reached when the mantra's vibrations make you feel its power. The mantra transforms you. It begins as an ordinary sound, later it becomes in you the power of the mantra, it transforms you.

The best japa is that repeated by a mind which is completely calm and at rest.

Why repeat japa? It is in order to master the habitual tendency of being conscious only of the outside world; it seems to us that the ephemeral world is reality, although we know in theory that the manifestation derives from the ether (akasha), which is the first manifestation of Brahman. However, in daily life our consciousness remains in touch with the tangible and we neglect the spiritual. We are not living in Brahman, the Supreme. We stay with our thoughts of ordinary life. This is why the rishis say: In order to reach Brahman take something tangible, such as a sound, and arrive at the source of sound which is none else than Brahman.

How can japa produce good results and how do we know that? Japa can be practiced under any conditions: when one is walking, standing or sitting, giving or receiving, lying down or doing any of the things we do in everyday life, whatever the situation in which you find yourself. There is no restriction, rule or limit.

When one repeats japa with faith and respect, one certainly arrives at a happy state. One will be freed from worry in this life, one will find joy, one will escape many sufferings. He who repeats the holy Name of the Lord will always be protected by God.

Summarizing what has just been said, let us stress that japa is the focal point of spiritual life and practice. It is impossible to realize the Supreme without having spiritual experience. In order to obtain this experience, the best method is intense concentration to the point of forgetting the outside world. One attains the supreme goal by japa. One will therefore attain success by repeating the simple mantra, and saying it with faith and confidence. The important thing is to do japa with love, with all one's heart.

He who thus repeats japa will see that the sound of the mantra, which begins by being ordinary sound, will little by little become more powerful in him. It will become transformed, and the person repeating the japa will be transformed. It is thus that the yogis practise their religion-by repeating the mantra.

The mantra is the sound symbol of the Supreme Lord.


The Harmful Effects of Transcendental Meditation

We invite you to review the scientific research abstracts, the excerpts from books and articles, and the personal accounts describing the harmful effects suffered by TM practitioners.

Reported negative effects include muscle twitches, convulsions, headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, inability to focus -- feeling "spacey", anxiety, panic attacks, depression, dissociation, depersonalization, nervous breakdown, and suicidal ideation.

[1]"SiliCorn Valley" by Timothy Harper. Delta Airlines SKY.Magazine; Relishing the Midwest: A Special Issue - July 99

Research Demonstrating the Harmful Effects of TM

Included here are scientific research abstracts, books, articles and other material demonstrating the harmful effects from Transcendental Meditation:

STUDY:   Perez-De-Abeniz, Alberto and Holmes, Jeremy. Meditation: Concepts, Effects and Uses in Therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, March 2000, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p49, 10p.

Abstract: This article reviews 75 scientific selected articles in the field of meditation, including Transcendental Meditation among others. It summarizes definitions of meditation, psychological and physiological changes, and negative side-effects encountered by 62.9% of meditators studied. While the authors did not restrict their study to TM, the side-effects reported were similar to those found in the "German Study" of Transcendental Meditators: relaxation-induced anxiety and panic; paradoxical increases in tension; less motivation in life; boredom; pain; impaired reality testing; confusion and disorientation; feeling 'spaced out'; depression; increased negativity; being more judgmental; feeling addicted to meditation; uncomfortable kinaesthetic sensations; mild dissociation; feelings of guilt; psychosis-like symptoms; grandiosity; elation; destructive behavior; suicidal feelings; defenselessness; fear; anger; apprehension; and despair.

Excerpt, Physiological Effects section: "In summary, it seems that meditation has a bimodal biological impact along time. Initially there is a physiological relaxation response in the short term. This effect also corresponds with findings in the study of imagery on brain activity as described by Laine et al. (1997). More enduring hormonal and metabolic changes can later be detected in experienced meditations, some 12 to 18 months after starting meditation practice."

Excerpt, Side-Effects section: "Not all effects of the practice of meditation are beneficial. Shapiro (1992) found that 62.9% of the subjects reported adverse effects during and after meditation and 7.4% experienced profoundly adverse effects. The length of practice (from 16 to 105 months) did not make any difference to the quality and frequency of adverse effects. These adverse effects were relaxation-induced anxiety and panic; paradoxical increases in tension; less motivation in life; boredom; pain; impaired reality testing; confusion and disorientation; feeling 'spaced out'; depression; increased negativity; being more judgmental; and, ironically, feeling addicted to meditation.

"Other adverse effects described (Craven, 1989) are uncomfortable kinesthetic sensations, mild dissociation, feelings of guilt and, via anxiety-provoking phenomena, psychosis-like symptoms, grandiosity, elation, destructive behaviour and suicidal feelings. Kutz et al. (1985a,b) described feelings of defenselessness, which in turn produce unpleasant affective experiences, such as fear, anger, apprehension and despair."

STUDY:   Otis, Leon S. Adverse effects of transcendental meditation. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (722 pages). Edited by Deane Shapiro and Roger Walsh. New York: Aldin Publications, 1984, p204.

This study by Otis at the Stanford Research Institute involving 574 subjects revealed that the longer a person practiced TM the more adverse mental effects were recorded; that 70 percent of subjects recorded mental disorders of one degree or another.

STUDY:   Castillo, Richard J. Depersonalization and meditation. Psychiatry; Interpersonal and Biological Processes. May 1990, pp158-168.

A study of six long term TM practitioners that reveals their acceptance of depersonalized states of existence because they were led to believe this shows spiritual growth from the TM program.

From a review of the literature on meditation and depersonalization, and interviews conducted with six meditators, this study concludes that: 1) meditation can cause depersonalization and derealization; 2) the meanings in the mind of the meditator regarding the experience of depersonalization will determine to a great extent whether anxiety is present as part of that experience; 3) there need not be any significant anxiety or impairment in social or occupational functioning as a result of depersonalization; 4) a depersonalized state can become an apparently permanent mode of functioning; 5) patients with depersonalization disorder may be treated through a process of symbolic healing -- that is, changing the meanings associated with depersonalization in the mind of the patient, thereby reducing anxiety and functional impairment; 6) panic/anxiety may be caused by depersonalization if catastrophic interpretations of depersonalization are present.

AFFIDAVIT:   DeNaro, Anthony D. Counselor at Law. Twelve-page affidavit. Sea Cliff, New York, July 16, 1986.

Former MIU legal counsel and professor of law and economics, and former MIU director of grants administration. Excerpts from the affidavit:

"A disturbing denial or avoidance syndrome, and even outright lies and deception, are used to cover-up or sanitize the dangerous reality on campus of very serious nervous breakdowns, episodes of dangerous and bizarre behavior, suicidal and homicidal ideation, threats and attempts, psychotic episodes, crime, depression and manic behavior that often accompanied roundings (intensive group meditations with brainwashing techniques)."

"The consequences of intensive, or even regular, meditation was so damaging and disruptive to the nervous system, that students could not enroll in, or continue with, regular academic programs."

"He [Maharishi] was aware, apparently for some time, of the problem, suicide attempts, assaults, homicidal ideation, serious psychotic episodes, depressions, inter alia, but his general attitude was to leave it alone or conceal it because the community would lose faith in the TM movement."

STUDY:   French, Alfred P. et al. Transcendental meditation, altered reality testing and behavioral change. A case report. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1975, p55.

This paper presents the case of a thirty-nine year old woman who experienced altered reality testing and behavior several weeks after initiation into the TM program. It presents important evidence for a causal relationship between the practice of TM and her abnormal behavior.

STUDY:   The Various Implications Arising from the Practice of Transcendental Meditation: An empirical analysis of pathogenic structures as an aid in counseling. Bensheim, Germany: (Institut fur Jugend Und Gesellschaft, Ernst-Ludwig-Strasse 45, 6140.) Institute for Youth and Society, 1980 (188 pgs).

Excerpts from the
full study :

4.3.3 TM has a detrimental effect on the decision making process. There is loss of self-determination and a turning toward the TM authorities for guidance, i.e. in the case of important decisions. Also, the variables, facial expression, bodily posture, voice and handwriting point to the fact that the total personality is gravely altered under the influence of TM.

4.5.4 Whereas before the TM phase performance at school was well above average, and those investigated were most happy with their school or job situation, a considerable worsening in these areas occurred as a result of the practice of transcendental meditation. 56% had decreased concentration abilities during the TM phase, only 16% reported an improvement. 61% found it more difficult to manage the workload, as against 13% who reported an increased capacity. TM had a negative influence on the professional careers of 58% of meditators. Altogether 28 meditators (42%) gave up their studies or professional career in order to work full time for the TM movement or to be able to go on long courses. They did this on the basis of promises made them by the movement. An analysis of the taped interviews and the stenographer's scripts only serve to strengthen the suspicion that the TM organization aims at cheap labor, which in the case of those people who became unfit to work in the course of time, can be sent away again without any real difficulty.

4.6.6 In 76% of cases psychological disorders and illnesses occurred, 9% of meditators had had therapeutic treatment before the TM phase, 43% had psychiatric treatment or had to have medical treatment during the TM phase. The psychological disorders most prevalent were tiredness (63%), "states of anxiety" (52%), depression (45%), nervousness (39%), and regression (39%). 26% had a nervous breakdown and 20% expressed serious suicidal tendencies. Psychological illness already present before the TM phase worsened considerably. TM can cause mental illness or at the very least prepare the way for the onset of mental illness. A lack of opportunity for the treatment of meditation experiences and/or altered perception of reality create suitable conditions for a pathogenic appearance. Added to this is the heightened delicacy and increasing helplessness in the personality of the meditator, which can develop into a complete depersonalization.

5.6.4 The suspicion grows that the meditation offered by TM, caused, in the meditators' cases which we have investigated, a far reaching alteration in the view of reality, which damages or causes further damage to social relationships, the drive to achieve (motivation) is considerably lessened, to the degree that practical work (i.e. in a job) becomes intolerable to the meditator, in addition to all conditions brought about by the intense practice of the meditation, it gives rise to physical and mental damage.


The ruling of the highest federal administrative tribunal, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht on May 24, 1989 in Case number 7 C 2.87 is:

1) The Federal Government is competent and allowed to care about cults.

2) The Federal Government is allowed to warn of TM.

3) The Federal Government is allowed to designate TM a "Youth Religion" as well as a "Psychogroup".

4) The Federal Government is allowed to say that TM is taught by teachers who are not qualified [to deal with the TM problems].

5) The Federal Government is allowed to say, TM can cause psychic defects or destruction of personality.

STUDY:   Glueck, Bernard and Charles F. Stroebel. Meditation in the treatment of psychiatric illness. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (722 pages), edited by Deane Shapiro and Roger Walsh. New York: Alden Publications, 1984, p150.

This study of 110 subjects discloses that the release of repressed subconscious impressions [stress] from the TM practice can be handled by some but has also been seriously destabilizing for others.

BOOK:   Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1988.

General and specific treatment of the modus operandi of cults which includes the TM movement, the appeal tactics used by cults, common terminology, general cult psychology, case histories of former cult members including TM movement examples, intervention and exit strategies.

ARTICLE:   Hecht, Esther, Peace of Mind. Jerusalem Post, 01-23-1998, pp 12.

Excerpt: "That very proliferation of new religious and secular groups, however, gave rise to a government-appointed commission that concluded TM can be dangerous in some cases. In 1982 - at the urging of concerned parents and a haredi anti-missionary group - the then education and culture minister, Zevulun Hammer, appointed the Interministerial Commission on New Religious Movements in Israel, headed by his deputy minister, Miriam Glazer- Ta'asa.

"According to the commission's report, which appeared five years later, TM works through a combination of placebo effect and hypnotic suggestion, though the organization is never explicit about this. Most people who learn TM stop meditating after a while and discontinue their contact with the organization. But those who continue are likely to take part in an advanced course for sidhis, or yogic flying, which involves long periods of meditation.

"The report cites Dr. Ruchama Marton, an Israeli psychiatrist, who says she treated a severely psychotic TM practitioner and that she knows of other such cases. Marton warns that though there is no proof of a causal connection, it appears that in some cases prolonged meditation may precipitate such a breakdown.

"The report adds that there is no screening by mental health professionals of candidates for yogic flying, and that the use of self-hypnosis without supervision by such professionals on hand to deal with crises is extremely risky."

STUDY:   Heide, Frederick J. and T.D. Borkovec. Relaxation-induced anxiety enhancement due to relaxation training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1983, p171.

STUDY:   Heide, Frederick J. and T.D. Borkovec. Relaxation-induced anxiety: mechanism and theoretical implications. Behavioral Research Therapy, 1984, pp1-12.

These two papers by Heide and Borkovec disclose that 54 percent of anxiety-prone subjects tested experienced increased anxiety during TM-like mantra meditation.

CIVIL SUIT:   Kropinski, Robert. United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Civil Suit #85-2848. 1986

In his civil suit against the TM Organization, Kropinski reported incidents of alleged psychosis, suicides, and the drugging of course participants. The court document "Answers to Defendants' Interrogatories --John Doe I" contained this
list of TM victims. A Washington, D.C. jury awarded Robert Kropinski, 39, $137,890 to pay for his psychiatric treatment. Kropinski was an 11-year member who was part of Maharishi's personal entourage.

According to the January 14 (1987) Philadelphia Inquirer, the jury in the precedent-setting case found that the TM movement "defrauded him with false promises of mental bliss and neglected to warn him about the possibility of adverse side effects." Leon Otis, a staff scientist at the Stanford Research Institute, testified that after surveying hundreds of meditators he concluded that "TM may be hazardous to the mental health of a sizable proportion of the people who take up TM." And Gary Glass, senior attending psychiatrist at the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center, testified that Kropinski's 11 years in TM triggered a "pathological state" that left him disoriented and depressed.

STUDY:   Lazarus, Arnold A. Meditation: The Problems of Unimodal Technique. Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives New York: Alden Publications, 1984, p. 691.

STUDY:   Lazarus, Arnold A. Psychiatric problems precipitated by transcendental meditation. Psychological Reports, 1976, pp601-602.

Based on clinical experience from these two studies, Lazarus shows that serious psychiatric problems can ensue from the practice of TM. He points out that TM is no panacea. He concludes that the TM practice can be used in some cases, but that it is clearly contraindicated in other cases.

BOOK:   Lifton, Robert J. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Chapel Hill, South Carolina: The University of South Carolina Press, 1989 (510 pages).

Last published in 1964, this is a newly reissued edition of the classic textbook and case study of the victims of thought reform and elements of the thought reform process. Chapter 22 outlines eight themes present in the sociological environment of thought reform which in time become internalized by victims, who in turn reinforce the themes socially. Many cults exhibit fewer than all eight themes. In the TM movement and at MIU, however, all eight themes are found to be richly developed.

STUDY:   Persinger, Michael A. Enhanced incidence of 'the sensed presence' in people who have learned to meditate; support for the right hemispheric intrusion hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1992, 75, pp1308-1310.

If the "sensed presence" is a transient intrusion of the right hemispheric equivalent of the left hemispheric (and highly linguistic) sense of self, then any process that facilitates interhemispheric electrical coherence should enhance these experiences. As predicted, the "ego-alien intrusion" (sensed presence) factor was specifically and significantly elevated in 221 people who had learned to meditate (65 to 70% were involved in transcendental meditation) compared to 860 nonmeditators.

Experiences of sensed presence were more frequent in female than in male meditators and were particularly evident in left-handers who had learned to meditate. The effect size suggests that learning a meditation technique is contraindicated for subpopulations, such as borderline, schizotypal, or dissociative personalities who display very fragile self-concepts.

STUDY:   Persinger, Michael A., Laurentian University. Transcendental meditation and general meditation were associated with enhanced complex partial epileptic-like signs: evidence for 'cognitive' kindling? Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1993.

Personal Philosophy Inventories of 221 university students who had learned to meditate (about 65% to 70% practiced transcendental meditation) were compared to 860 nonmeditators. Meditators displayed a significantly wider range of complex partial epileptic-like signs. Experience of vibrations, hearing one's name called, paranormal phenomena, profound meaning from reading poetry/prose and religious phenomenology were particularly frequent among meditators. Numbers of years of TM practice were significantly correlated with the incidence of complex partial signs and sensed presences but not with control, olfactory, or perseverative experiences. The results support the hypothesis that procedures which promote cognitive kindling enhance complex partial epileptic-like signs.

BOOK:   Persinger, Michael A, Norman J. Carrey and Lynn A. Suess. TM and Cult Mania (198 pages). North Quincy, Massachusetts: Christopher Publishing House, 1980.

"Claims of the TM effects are neither unique nor special but are the consequences of procedures associated with suggestion, placebo reactions, simple relaxation, neurotic belief, and the mislabeling of vauge emotional experiences. In this book we investigate the precise psychological and social procedures by which this movement manipulates human behavior." p.7

Chapter 4: "All TM Effects Can Be Produced By Suggestibility/Placebo Conditions"

  • Misconceptions About Hypnosis as a Special State

  • Personality Characteristics of Very Responsive People

  • Factors Influencing "Hypnotic" Responses

  • Comparison of TM and Hypnotic/Placebo Effects

  • Are TM Adherents Just Highly Suggestible?

  • TM Conditioning as Stages in Suggestibility

Chapter 9: "TM: Trigger to the Psychotic Prone?"

  • The Problem of Psychosis

  • TM: Philosophy and Psychosis

  • Meditation and Psychotic Triggering

TM: Altering Biochemistry

Research shows that TM practice alters biochemistry. This fact has implications for everyone who practices TM. Some biochemical changes may be beneficial. For example, changes that accompany a "relaxation response" may have a positive effect on some individuals; but are contraindicated for others. (See abstract below: "Relaxation-induced anxiety: mechanism and theoretical implications." Heide & Borkovec)

For TM-Sidhi Program practitioners, who may spend four hours per day in meditation practices; and for TM "residence course" participants who perform "rounding", which intentionally increases their time spent in meditation practices, the intensifying of the effects has demonstrated harmful results.

Of these biochemical changes, the implications for the increase in brain neurotransmitter, serotonin, are significant and wide-ranging in their potential negative consequences.
TM & Serotonin: Model of Effects. )

Here are some of the biochemical alterations (abstracts below):

  • Increase in brain neurotransmitter, serotonin

  • Change in secretion and release of several pituitary hormones "similar to the effects of synthetic anxiolytic and tranquilizing agents such as benzodiazepines"

  • Increased AVP secretion

  • Loss of normal diurnal rhythm for the hormones ACTH and beta-endorphin

  • Increased phenylalanine

  • An increase of carbon dioxide

STUDY:  Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique. Bujatti M, Riederer P J: Neural Transm 1976;39(3):257-67

The highly significant increase of 5-HIAA (5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid) in Transcendental Meditation technique suggests systemic serotonin as "rest and fulfillment hormone" of deactivation-relaxation...

STUDY:  Serum hormonal concentrations following transcendental meditation--potential role of gamma aminobutyric acid. Elias AN, Wilson AF Department of Medicine, University of California Medical Center, Irvine, Orange, USA: Med Hypotheses 1995 Apr;44(4):287-91

Transcendental mediation (TM) is a stylized form of physical and mental relaxation which is associated with changes in the secretion and release of several pituitary hormones. The hormonal changes induced by TM mimic the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is hypothesized that TM produces changes in pituitary hormone secretion by enhancing hypothalamic GABAergic tone, and its anxiolytic effects by promoting GABAergic tone in specific areas of the brain. This mechanism is similar to the effects of synthetic anxiolytic and tranquilizing agents such as benzodiazepines that bind to components of the GABA-A (GABAA) receptor. TM, therefore, may produce relaxation by enhancing the effects of an endogenous neurotransmitter analogous to the effects of endorphins in runners who reportedly experience a 'runner's high'.

STUDY:  Hormonal control in a state of decreased activation: potentiation of arginine vasopressin secretion. O'Halloran JP, Jevning R, Wilson AF, Skowsky R, Walsh RN, Alexander C: Physiol Behav 1985 Oct;35(4):591-5

Behaviorally induced stress is associated with increased arginine vasopressin (AVP) secretion. In this report we describe a phasic conditioned response of AVP secretion yielding 2.6-7.1 times normal plasma concentration of this hormone in association with a physiological state of decreased activation, that associated with the mental technique of "transcendental meditation" (TM) in long-term practitioners (6-8 years of regular elicitation). Such a very large phasic response of AVP was previously unknown in the normal physiology of AVP.

STUDY:  ACTH and beta-endorphin in transcendental meditation. Infante JR, Peran F, Martinez M, Roldan A, Poyatos R, Ruiz C, Samaniego F, Garrido F Clinical Analysis and Immunology Service, Virgen de las Nieves Hospital, Granada, Spain: Physiol Behav 1998 Jun 1;64(3):311-5

We have evaluated the effect of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on the hypothalamo-hypophyseal-adrenal axis diurnal rhythms through the determination of hormone levels. Blood samples were taken at 0900 hours. and at 2000 hours. These samples were taken from 18 healthy volunteers who regularly practice TM and from nine healthy non-meditators. Cortisol, beta-endorphin, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) were measured at both hours. TM practitioners showed no diurnal rhythm for ACTH and for beta-endorphin (ACTH, pg/mL, mean +/- SE; 13.8+/-1.2 - 12.1+/-1.5/beta-endorphin, pg/mL; 14.4+/-1.5 - 17.2+/-1.9, at 0900 hours and 2000 hours, respectively), in contrast to control subjects, who showed normal diurnal rhythm for these hormones and for cortisol (ACTH, pg/mL; 19.4+/-1.9 - 11.9+/-2.2/beta-endorphin, pg/mL; 25.4+/-1.7 - 17.7+/-1.1/Cortisol, ng/mL; 201.4+/-13.2 - 71.3+/-6.5, at 0900-2000 hours, respectively, p < 0.01 in the three cases). Practitioners of TM with similar anxiety levels to those of the control group showed a different pattern in the daytime secretion of pituitary hormones. TM thus appears to have a significant effect on the neuroendocrine axis. Because cortisol levels had a normal pattern in the TM group, these results may be due to a change in feedback sensitivity caused by this mental technique.

STUDY:  Behavioral alteration of plasma phenylalanine concentration. Jevning R, Pirkle HC, Wilson AF: Physiol Behav 1977 Nov;19(5):611-4

The concentration of 13 neutral and acidic plasma amino acids was measured before, during and after either 40 min of control relaxation or 40 min of the process known as transcendental meditation (TM). An electro-oculogram, electroencephalogram, and electromyogram were simultaneously monitored in these subjects. Increased phenylalanine concentration was noted during TM practice with no change during control relaxation; no difference between the groups of total time slept or sleep stage percent was observed. The stability of phenylalanine concentration in controls and lack of correlation of increased phenylalanine with sleep in the long-term practitioners seem to suggest a relationship of the phenylalanine increase to TM practice.

STUDY:  Meditation and somatic arousal reduction. Holmes, David S: American Psychologist, January 1984, pp1-10. Ensuing discussion follows in four more issues: June 1985, pp717-731; June 1986, pp712-713; September 1986, pp1007-1009; September 1987, pp879-881.

... Meditating subjects were found to have higher levels of phenylalanine that resting subjects, a finding which reflects high arousal in meditators.

STUDY:  Relaxation-induced anxiety: mechanism and theoretical implications. Heide, Frederick J. and Borkovec, T. D. Behavioral Research Therapy, 1984, pp1-12.

STUDY:   Relaxation-induced anxiety enhancement due to relaxation training. Heide, Frederick J. and T.D. Borkovec. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1983, p171.

These two papers by Heide and Borkovec disclose that 54 percent of anxiety-prone subjects tested experienced increased anxiety during TM-like mantra meditation.

STUDY:  Metabolic Rate, Respiratory Exchange Ratio and Apneas During [TM] Meditation. John Kesterson and Noah F. Clinch. The American Journal of Physiology, March 1989, R637.

A careful, in-depth investigation into the effects of TM practice on respiration and metabolism, revealing that TM produces no deeper state of rest than from just sitting with eyes closed, even in advanced practitioners, and that the TM practice does not produce a hypometabolic state as claimed by MIU's Robert Keith Wallace.

They also discovered a decrease in respiratory exchange ratio in meditators during TM not observed in controls (i.e., an increase of carbon dioxide). Although this research was conducted at MIU, Kesterson and Clinch maintained their objectivity. Unlike most work by TM movement research, this particular study was published in a major journal.

TM & Serotonin: Model of Effects

Research indicates that the brain neurotransmitter, serotonin (5-HT), is increased from TM practice.[1] This is good news and bad news.

The good news is that those people who are experiencing abnormally low levels of serotonin may temporarily benefit from the increase. Chronically low levels of serotonin are associated with some forms of anxiety and depression, and have been successfully treated with a group of SSRI drugs designed to raise serotonin levels.[2]

The bad news is that too much serotonin has been shown to have a range of negative, sometimes devastating, effects.

The condition of elevated serotonin levels is referred to as "serotonin syndrome" or "hyperserotonemia." A significant number of negative TM side effects correspond to the negative effects of serotonin syndrome.[3]

Here are some of the reported negative effects of TM:

  • Muscle twitches and convulsions
  • Headaches
  • Stomach and bowel complaints
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Inability to focus -- feeling "spacey"
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Dissociation and depersonalization
  • Nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation

Below are excerpts from two different publications, citing symptoms of elevated levels of serotonin:

BOOK:  Snyder, Solomon Halbert. Drugs and the Brain. W H Freeman & Co, 1996.

The author is chair of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and one of the top three most cited scientists in the life science. Excerpt:

"...serious long-term adverse physical and psychiatric side effects produced by elevated levels of serotonin ...reported after effects: withdrawal, memory loss, sleep disorders, panic and anxiety attacks (adrenalin rushes), impaired concentration, bi-polar, diabetes, MS symptoms, mania, chronic fatigue, severe rebound depression, symptoms of Cushings Syndrome - moon face, looking or feeling pregnant, inability to handle stress, mood swings, etc. ...depression, manic-depression, panic, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc."

ARTICLE:  "The Serotonin Syndrome". American Journal of Psychiatry. June 1991.

"The symptoms of the serotonin syndrome are: euphoria, drowsiness, sustained rapid eye movement, overreaction of the reflexes, rapid muscle contraction and relaxation in the ankle causing abnormal movements of the foot, clumsiness, restlessness, feeling drunk and dizzy, muscle contraction and relaxation in the jaw, sweating, intoxication, muscle twitching, rigidity, high body temperature, mental status changes were frequent..."

If the stimulated increase in serotonin, produced by TM, is compared with the serotonin increase produced by SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) drugs, these are the effects which may be seen:

"Unfortunately, SSRIs also affect other serotonin receptors, which account for their unwanted side effects. Stimulating the serotonin receptor called 5HT2 could lead to agitation, akathisia (motor restlessness), anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, sexual dysfunction. Stimulating the serotonin receptor called 5HT3 could lead to nausea, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and headache."[4]

This evidence suggests that TM practice(s) may be implicated in hyperserotonemia.

Personal Accounts

Listed below are references which link to testimonies from individuals who have practiced TM, taught TM, have functioned in leadership roles within the TM Organization, as well as individuals who have been closely related to TM practitioners. These stories focus, for the most part, on the negative TM experiences of these people.

The Claims of TM Refuted

"The Maharishi Effect"

DEFINED:   The Maharishi Effect is defined as "one percent of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program in any city reduces the crime rate, accident rate, and sickness rate" and "establishes a new formula for the creation of an ideal society, free from crime and problems, and with this, Maharishi envisions the dawn of a new age for mankind -- the Age of Enlightenment."[1]

In 1978 the TM Organization (TMO) announced, "Discovery of the Extended Maharishi Effect: the square root of one percent of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program together in one place produces coherence in collective consciousness, promoting positive and progressive trends in society."[1]

According to the TMO, "In 1960, Maharishi predicted that one percent of a population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population. This phenomenon was first noticed in 1974 and reported in a paper published in 1976. Here, the finding was that when 1% of a community practiced the Transcendental Meditation ® program, then the crime rate was reduced by 16% on average. At this time, the phenomenon was named Maharishi Effect. The meaning of this term was later extended to cover the influence generated by the group practice of the TM-Sidhi ® program." [2]

(See: Commentary on US Cities - 1976 Report )

CLAIMS:   In their Brief Summary of Principal Research Findings, Mahesh/TMO claim that establishing the ME through "coherence-creating groups" has resulted in "reduced crime", "reduced violent crime" and "reduced war deaths" in their various studies. [3] They also boast "47 scientific papers and presentations on the Maharishi Effect". [2]

COMMENTARY:   While these claims sound impressive, a closer look at the research methodology employed by the TM Organization, an objective analysis of crime statistics, as well as a study of conclusions reported in peer-reviewed studies, present an entirely different picture of the "Maharishi Effect".

In their research paper "Evaluating Heterodox Theories" -- a peer review study of the "Maharishi Effect" by Philosopher of Science Evan Fales, and Professor of Sociology Barry Markovsky -- they conclude that the probability of the theory "is very close to zero" and "...The claim that MT [Master Thesis] provides the only plausible explanation of these data cannot be sustained. There are alternative explanations that do not depend on esoteric or paranormal influences."

Regarding "reduced crime" claims for the Maharishi Effect (ME) and Extended Maharishi Effect (EME) -- both the state of Iowa and the city of Fairfied, Iowa should be the most significant examples in the US of decreasing crime trends, since Fairfield has contained the largest group of TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners in the United States, since 1979.

Only 102 people practicing TM (solely, 2x20 minutes, not including "sidhis" practice) are required to cover the ME for the city of Fairfield (10,163 x .01 = 102); and 171 people practicing TM are required to cover the ME for Jefferson County (17,080 x .01 = 171). [4] There have been at least 171 people in Fairfield practicing TM since 1975. Maharishi International University (later renamed Maharishi University of Management) was established in Fairfield in 1974. [4] Currently, there are an estimated 2,000 TM practitioners living in Fairfield (20% of the local population.)

Only 164 people practicing the TM-Sidhi program together are required to cover the EME for the state of Iowa (2,678,261 x .01 = 26,783 x square root = 164). [4] After the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program, there have been at least 164 people in Fairfield regularly practicing the TM-Sidhi program, since 1979. In fact, the number of people required to cover the EME for the entire United States, was established in Fairfield in 1982. [5] Also the 1994 MIU Catalog states, "MIU students have the opportunity to learn Yogic Flying, practiced twice daily in MIU's Golden Domes by 1600 students, faculty, staff, and members of the Fairfield community."

However, an objective analysis of crime data for the period of 1991-1998, based on the Iowa Uniform Crime Reports, shows an overall increase in violent crime and property crime for this period, both for Fairfield/Jefferson County and for Iowa. By contrast, the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Arkansas show an overall decrease in violent crime and property crime for the same period.

According to the Mahesh/TMO claims, the ME covering the last 25+ years in the city of Fairfield, and the EME covering the last 20+ years in the state of Iowa, should have demonstrated a steady decrease in crime, accident and sickness becoming "the creation of an ideal society, free from crime and problems."

What does the objective evidence demonstrate? Has crime been steadily decreasing in Fairfield and in Iowa -- the home of Maharishi University of Management -- with the largest group of TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners in the United States? Just the opposite, in fact.

For additonal information debunking the "Maharishi Effect", see the examples listed under "Maharishi Effect" on the navigation index of this page. To review reported harmful side effects from the practice of TM and the TM-Sidhi program, please click here.

[1] Source: "Creating Heaven on Earth" -
[2] Source: Maharishi University of Management -
[3] Source: Maharishi University of Management -
[4] Population figures based on 1998 statistics from the Iowa Dept. of Public Safety.
[5] Source: Maharishi University of Management -



The Ruling of a United States District Court

Transcendental Meditation was ruled a religion by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Docket No. 76-341 (H.C.M.) Civil Action, in the case of Alan B. Malnak. et al., Plaintiffs, v. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, et al., Defendants, in a summary judgment issued October 19, 1977, followed by an order and judgment, filed December 12, 1977.

Excerpt: "It is on this 12 day of December, 1977, hereby Ordered and Adjudged that judgment be entered, declaring:


Why Disguise the Religious Nature of TM?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM Organization claim that Transcendental Meditation and its related practices are not religious in nature. This position has enabled them to obtain public monies and to enlist the aid of governmental entities in the propagation of their beliefs, teachings, theories, and activities.

Links & References

Archived at:
Serving 6,000 pages of unfiltered information on Transcendental Meditation, The Way International, Rama/Lenz, Chopra, Moon, cultic abuse in families, more.

Meditation Information Network
"Supporting critical examination of the programs associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi."

Falling Down the TM Rabbit Hole
Proposes the theory that TM works by a combination of trance induction and suggestion.

Dedicated Page:  Don Krieger


"Maharishi Ayur-Veda: guru's marketing scheme promises the world eternal 'perfect health'"Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Oct. 2, 1991, vol. 266: pp. 1741-45, 1749-50

"The Maharishi Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals"ScienceWriters: The Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers, Fall1991: pp. 5-7

"Patrick Ryan and Transcendental Meditation"An excerpt from the book Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan, pp. 87-88, published by Park Street Press in Rochester Vermont in 1988 and 1990

"Man Who Said He Didn't Get To Fly Awarded $138,000"From News Services and Staff Reports Wednesday, January 14, 1987 The Washington Post; Page B04

"Group Says Movement a Cult"by Phil McCombs, Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, July 2, 1987; Page C03 The Washington Post; Page B04

"Notes of a Fringe-Watcher: Doug Henning and the Giggling Guru"by Martin Gardner. Skeptical Enquirer magazine Vol. 19, No. 3, May/June 1995

"MEDITATION, DELUSION AND DECEPTION"by David J. Bardin et al; article from Cult Abuse Policy & Research Newsletter, Vol 2, No 3, October 1994

Letter from Dennis E. Roark, Ph.D.- former Chairman of the Physics Dept. at Maharishi International University


TM-EX Newsletters: 1990-1992

TM-EX Newsletter: Summer 1993

TM-EX Newsletter: Fall 1993

TM-EX Newsletter: Winter 1993

TM-EX Newsletter: Spring 1994

TM-EX Newsletter: Summer 1994


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