Transcendental Meditation (TM), one of the most popular forms of yoga in the West, exemplifies the deliberate misrepresentation that characterizes so much of today’s New Age scene. As already mentioned, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at first introduced TM to the West as a Hindu religious practice. He openly taught that its purpose was to produce “a legendary substance called soma in the meditator’s body so the gods of the Hindu pantheon could be fed and awakened.” But when TM was excluded from public school and government funding as a religious practice, Maharishi quickly deleted all reference to religion and began presenting TM as pure science.
Such deliberate deceit says much about Maharishi’s integrity. Nothing was changed except the labels. This deception has been furthered by the many celebrities, who have practiced and then enthusiastically promoted TM. Bob Kropinski, a former TM instructor, explains:
“In 1957 they [Maharishi] started an organization called Spiritual Regeneration Movement…for religious and educational purposes only…. In 1974 [he]…completely renamed all the corporations…[under] a new set of Articles of Incorporation, deleting everything that said ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’…to legitimize the teaching of Hinduism. For example, Maharishi…began calling God ‘the vacuum state.’ He instructed [TMers] in the deception.”
Subsequent advertisements dishonestly declared that TM “is not a religion, not a philosophy, not yoga…involves no change of belief system….” In fact, TM involves all of these. According to Kropinski, Maharishi told those on the inside:
“It doesn’t matter if you lie teaching people…[because] TM is the ultimate, absolute spiritual authority on the face of this Earth. [TMers] are the only teachers and upholders of genuine spiritual tradition…. They’re running the universe. They are controlling the gods through the soma sacrifice.”
Former TMers have filed lawsuits asking millions of dollars in damages because of the trauma they suffered through TM. Kropinski (who won such a lawsuit) relates that people experienced violent shaking, hallucinations, murderous impulses, and suicidal thoughts “as a result of the TM practice.” At teacher-training sessions distraught TMers would complain of flying into uncontrollable rages in the midst of meditation, smashing furniture, assaulting their roommates, and trying to commit suicide. Some have committed suicide and others have gone insane.
Another former TM instructor, R. D. Scott, tells of numerous “spirit manifestations” among meditators. These included “visions of floating green eyes…creatures of light floating above the puja table [TM initiation-ceremony altar].” Ghoulish creatures materialized periodically to stare with terrifying expressions at participants.
Refuting the claim that these experiences were merely hallucinations, Scott points out that often more than one person saw “the same procession of spirit creatures simultaneously and without any advance warning….” Such possibilities are not mentioned in the ads and brochures promoting the alleged benefits of TM and other forms of yoga.