Transcendental Meditation

On Cults

Transcendental Meditation is a meditative technique taken from Hinduism by a Hindu guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He wanted to spread Hinduism to the west without people knowing it so he took the Hindu meditative system and called it a “relaxation technique.” The mantras it used were the names of the Hindu gods and demons from the Veda texts (although users are told this is a meaningless word). The practitioner repeated the word given him over and over until he reached an altered state of consciousness.

To practice TM one must be initiated into it by a Hindu guru or holy man. The ceremony is called the Puja. It has been translated into English below for your reading. Repeating the name of a Hindu god or demon over and over again until something happens is not something God would have us to do. The advanced meditative technique, called Sidhi, begins to yoke you with the Hindu god/demon and you begin to develop psychic powers, supposedly the highest form of which is levitation.


An English Translation of the Puja.

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 Trotakacarya and Vartika-Kara, to others, to the tradition of our Masters, I bow down. 
To the abode of the wisdom or the Shrutis, Smritis and Puranas, to the abode or kindness, 1tothe personified glory or 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 feel 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 how down. 
Offering full rice to the lotus feet or 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 camphor light
White as camphor, kindness incarnate, the essence of creation garlanded with Brahman. Ever dwelling in the lotus of my heart, the creative impulse of cosmic life, to that, in the form of Guru Dev, I bow down. 
Offering light to 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 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 or knowledge. The eye of knowledge has been opened by Him and therefore, to Him, Shri Guru Dev, I how down. 
Offering a handful of flowers to the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, I how down.

The ritual of initiation is the most important stage in the process of learning and practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). The heart of the initiation ritual, in turn, is the "puja," a Sanskrit hymn of worship which the initiator recites as a prelude to imparting the initiate's Mantra, the secret Sanskrit word upon which he is to meditate. All TM instructors learn the puja by rote and recite it if1 Sanskrit without deviating from the prescribed pattern. Even the physical movements which accompany the recitation are choreographed in detail and carefully memorized.

English Translation of the Puja 
The English translation of the puja is never revealed to the ordinary initiate--even if he asks. I t is only available to those who are in training to become teachers and initiators themselves. It is considered vital that all prospective teachers of TM be personally trained by Maharishi. At the end of a teacher-training session, those whom the Maharishi has qualified receive a secret, anonymously authored and uncopyrighted handbook on the puja entitled The Holy Tradition. This little booklet of less than thirty pages contains the puja in both Sanskrit and English, as well as extensive verse-by-verse commentary on its significance. It is this English translation of the puia, the "official" TM version, as printed on page 5 of The Holy Tradition, that we have reproduced in this publication (see above).

The Form of the Puja 
The content of the puja indicates that there are three distinct phases of the ceremony. The first phase consists of a recitation of the names of those beings of legend and history who are believed to represent the line of "apostolic succession" through which the "holy knowledge" of the TM mantras has been passed. Beginning with the creator-gods of sacred legend, the list progresses through a sequence of historical and semi-historical personages; it concludes with several verses of praise to the most recently deceased representative of the tradition, Maharishi's own spiritual master Brahmananda Sarasvati (Guru Dev). It is important to realize that each person named in this phase of the puja is regarded not as a merely human being, but as a fully realized expression of divinity. Thus, they are exalted as deities in themselves who are worthy of worship. The Holy Tradition plainly attributes deity to Shankara in portraying him "in the status of the Absolute" (p. 16). The puja itself describes the same status to Guru Dev (whose Image adorns the altar of the initiation ritual) and The Holy Tradition affirms that "...He was worshipped by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Indian Union" (p. 25). The second phase of the puja concerns the actual offerings placed before the image of Guru Dev. A succession of 17 different items are offered in turn, to the accompaniment of a repeated verbal formula which concludes with the words "I bow down." It is during this phase that the candidate's participation in the ritual is most obvious, as the handkerchief, flowers and fruit which he has been instructed to bring to his initiation are individually presented upon the altar during the prescribed course of the ceremony. The third and last phase of the puja is literally a hymn of praise and adoration to Guru Dev in his status as deity. This section of the puja is unabashedly religious in character and worshipful in intent. In the opening stanza of this section, Guru Dev is successively identified with the three major deities recognized by classical Hinduism (i.e., Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). Homage is then offered to all three in the person of the guru. At the end of the puja, the teacher actually bows before the altar, thus physically affirming his repeated declaration "...I bow down." Simultaneously, the teacher makes a carefully rehearsed gesture toward the candidate which invites him to bow down beside his initiator . Following this climactic act of reverence to Guru Dev, the teacher verbally imparts a mantra to the initiate, making certain that he understands how to pronounce it properly.

The initiate is then allowed to actually meditate for the first time. I n all three of these phases, the content of the puja illustrates TM's inseparable connection with the ceremonial practices of classical Hinduism. A comparison of TM's puja with Hindu religious pujas of traditional format reveals a striking parallelism. One prominent scholar observes that: 

The major change in religious practice from Vedic to late Puranic and modern times was the gradual replacement of yajna ("sacrifice") by puja as the principal form of worship. ..Though the specific acts vary with the circumstances of the ritual or the ritual tradition being followed, the usual complete sequence includes invocation of the deity , offering him a seat, offering water for washing his feet, water for washing his hands, and water for sipping, bathing the image, offering a fresh garment. offering a sacred thread, anointing the image with unguents or sandalwood paste, offering flowers, offering incense, offering a lighted lamp, offering food or a gift, making obeisance to the deity. ., verses of praise, and bidding the deity farewell. .., Worship of a deity in the form of an image by means of puja is a direct expression of popular theistic religion, At its most basic level, its meaning is summed up in Krishna's statement to Arjuna in the Gita: "He who offers me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that devout offering of a pure minded one I accept..." The image in puja is treated as one would treat the god himself in person, for the image is the god in person: it is his murti, his "form" made manifest for his worshippers. This sense of the deity as a person and the image as his representative form is fundamental to the meaning of puja and is always preserved in puja rituals. (Thomas I. Hopkins, The Hindu Religious Tradition, Dickenson Publishing Co., 1971; pp. 110-112).

The Function of the Puja 
A major function of the puja is to establish and preserve the link between the individual mediator and Maharishi's tradition of Hinduism by formalizing the transmission of the Mantras. The religious significance of this link becomes clear in Maharishi's own statement that "the holy tradition of great masters which is responsible for reviving the teaching, after every lapse has captured the minds and hearts of lovers of Truth in every age. It is not merely held in high regard, but has come to be actually worshipped by seekers of Truth and knowers of Reality. A verse recording the names of the greatest and most highly revered masters has not only inspired seekers, but has been a joy even to the fulfilled hearts of realized souls passing through the long corridor of time" (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, p. 2571 emphasis added). The verse referred to is, of course, the verse that the initiator sings in phase I of the puja ritual. 

In fact, it is in the initiation ceremony that the 'worshipful response" of subjective attitude manifests itself in terms of concrete and formalized action; it is here that the religious substrate of TM "crops out" in its most obvious form.

Despite the bold and repeated disclaimers of TM propagandists,* it is clear that the candidate for initiation is involved in the initiation liturgy both actively and passively. He involves himself actively by bringing his offering of handkerchief, flowers and fruit (as he is instructed to do) for use in the ritual. He is also invited by his teacher to participate actively by: (a) removing his shoes before entering the initiation room, (b) bowing alongside his instructor at the end of the puja. He involves himself in a passive way merely by being present and hearing the puja. The Sanskrit hymn is a lengthy mantra in its own right which is specifically intended to produce an altered state of consciousness in both the instructor who recites it and the candidate who hears it. Although the candidate is never warned that his state of mind is being manipulated in such ways, a commentary in The Holy Tradition expresses this intent in unmistakable terms: 

The details of the procedure for invoking the Holy Tradition are so perfect, that the whole personality of the teacher becomes one-pointedly centered 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 toward 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. (The Holy Tradition, p. 6, emphasis added).

The Centrality of the Puja 
It is significant that the prospective mediator commences his involvement with TM in this way; not until the ceremony is completed does the initiate receive his Mantra , the secret Sanskrit word used in meditation. That the religious Quality of the liturgy is not mere extraneous ornamentation, but is of the essence of TM is shown by the fact that no one is initiated except through performance of the ceremony and participation in the obeisance described in the puja. If the candidate, for reasons of conscience, declines to bow or remove his shoes, it will be no barrier to receiving his Mantra; but if he refuses to bring an offering or if he totally objects to the enactment of the ritual, he will not be initiated.


*For example: "First of all the person learning the TM technique doesn't involve himself in the ceremony at all, he merely witnesses it. Secondly, as any teacher of the TM technique will tell you, it is not a religious ceremony at all. In no way does it involve religious belief, or even any belief at all" Jonathan Shear, professor of philosophy at Maharishi International University, in an article headlined "MIU Prof Tells Views on Religious Controversy," Fairfield (Iowa) Daily Ledger, June 26, 1975. Date: 10-2003