Blowing the Whistle, Chpt. 1: The Hidden Agenda of Mantra Meditation
This is the first chapter in an online book,
“Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,” by Bronte Baxter.
What I expected to see when I came back to the Fairfield scene after 20 years away from Transcendental Meditation was a group of mainstay meditators true-blue to Maharishi and a group of robust dissenters, whose minds questioned everything they learned from their guru days. Instead, I found the true-blue meditators, but not the kind of dissenters I anticipated. I encountered people who had left the TM movement but hadn’t substantially changed their belief system. This latter group had changed in the way that people change hats, or redecorate their homes, leaving unaltered the structure underneath.
The dissenters had splintered into a myriad of Eastern or Eastern-related philosophies: Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and Andrew Cohen were popular, and Neo-Advaitin gurus had rallied many behind their minimalist philosophy. “Saints” like Ammachi visit Fairfield regularly, dispensing dharshan and picking up new recruits. Across town, small groups meet in “satsangs” to discuss their growing enlightenment or to chant songs to the gods. Heated debate is common between adherents of competing gurus, and people grow vitriolic over whether Maharishi has slept with young women or not. There is a smattering of hedonists and atheists, but ex-TMers in the Fairfield circuit mostly show up with an intact Vedic worldview. That worldview is a lens through which they perceive and measure all gurus and reality itself.
I find this disturbing. It’s rather like people who’ve been swindled by a con man, despising him for how they were treated while they continue to invest money in the enterprise he sold them on. Why doesn’t the skepticism extend beyond the procurer, to that which he procured for?
And what did Maharishi procure for? The Vedic gods. He sold us a meaningless word that was supposed to guide our minds to transcend superficial consciousness. Later we learned those meaningless words, our mantras, were names of deities. He taught us advanced techniques with the Sanskrit word “namah” at their core: “I bow down.” Mantra meditation is a form of paying worship to those who call themselves gods. When you scrape away all the fancy and misleading explanations – like “meaningless sounds” and “impulses of creative intelligence,” what you get very simply is people with their eyes closed bowing down in their minds to an assigned Hindu deity.
Of course we can explain this away using TM explanations, much like the townsfolk explained away the emperor’s nakedness using the reasoning they were fed by the tricksters who paraded him through the town. But the emperor has no clothes. Mantras worship the gods. “Namah” means “bow down.” It’s right there on the surface for anyone to see if we toss out the excuses we were handed and look at the situation with even a shred of unbiased observation.
Who are these gods, that we’re so willing to explain away as “impulses of our own consciousness”? The same gods have appeared in other religions and cultures, even in societies that had no contact with each other. They go by different names, but the entities are the same. In Hinduism, you have Indra, god of thunder, ruler of the gods, married to Indrani, queen of the gods, known for her jealousy. In Greek mythology, you have Zeus, god of thunder, ruler of the gods, married to Hera, queen of the gods, known for her jealousy. One-to-one correspondence like this is common. The gods are a global phenomenon, with their imprints on every society.
Historically, the gods exacted worship and sacrifice – blood sacrifice commonly, including the murder of humans. While Hinduism has a history of human sacrifice, it has been reduced today to worship of Kali, the goddess with her bloody tongue hanging out, whose body is adorned with a necklace of bleeding, decapitated human heads. Or Shiva, adorned with serpents, who dances on graves. Or Vishnu, whom Arjuna perceived in His cosmic form with pieces of devoured victims’ flesh sticking between his teeth. Gods feed on the energy of suffering, the fearful energy of the victim. In one South American sacrificial ritual, a bull has his throat slit, as slowly as possible. The reasoning given is that the gods cherish “live blood” as the blood with the greatest energy, so the animal must be kept alive while the blood drips from its body. In other words, the greater the fear and suffering of the sacrificial beast, the greater is the pleasure of the gods.
The Shrimad-Bhagavatum, among other scriptures, explains the antipathy of the gods for human enlightenment. According to the Vedas and the mythology of other cultures, the gods feel threatened by the human race, afraid mankind might grow as powerful as they. The gods want humans to remain ignorant and “inferior” because if man realized his intrinsic nature as consciousness, he would no longer be subject to deva control. The devas wish us to believe, and have told us throughout scripture, that their divine hands manipulate and guide the laws of nature – creation itself. For this reason we should worship them, chant to them, send them our soma (subtle energy generated in meditation). Because our energy feeds the gods and is needed by them to stay strong and in control of this material dimension. And they wish us to believe that their control is in our best interest.
Who would make the rains come or the sun shine if the gods are rightful stewards of those things and we humans didn’t support them? All creation would crumble without the blessing of the gods. That, scriptures tell us, is why we should worship, which is equivalent to paying an energy-tithe. It’s the same reasoning human warlords use against the people they dominate: pay your tax, because you need us; we will protect you. Don’t pay the tax, and we will punish you. The gods threaten to punish, even destroy mankind if he doesn’t bend before their yoke and serve them. They fulfilled that threat in the Great Flood (a story which appears in disparate cultures) and in other visitations of divine vengeance recorded in countless tales throughout cultural history.
But really, who are these characters? And do they really exist? The modern mind relegates “gods” to the overactive imaginations of pre-civilized peoples, and in so doing, dismisses the concept. But actually, deities appear in highly civilized early societies, including Sumeria, Babylon, Greece and Egypt. Isn’t it ethnocentric of us to suggest that civilizations capable of constructing the pyramids or accurately charting the course of the stars for centuries into the future, should be dismissed as childlike and ignorant when they write of their experiences with other-worldly beings? Archeologist Zechariah Sitchen, in his voluminous tomes, details the countless references in ancient writings and artifacts to beings who visited this world in fiery flying ships, who taught mankind, interbred with humans, and set up a government of divine-right kingship. Visiting beings who called themselves gods.
Kings were considered “sons of the gods,” connected to the deities by bloodline, hence their right to rule. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna’s mother was said to conceive her numerous sons by intercourse with several different deities. The first chapter of Genesis speaks of the Nefelim, a giant race that interbred with early humans. In Egypt, the pharaohs were literally “sons of the gods.” We find stories of gods interbreeding with humans to create a kingly line in Zulu shamanism and in South American Indian lore.
Time and again, in culture after culture, the gods appear doing the same things, demanding the same things. Even Christianity springs from a pantheistic tradition: Jehovah was one god among many for the Hebrews. A self-righteous fellow fond of war and genocide, he had to compete with the other local gods for the Hebrews’allegiance. Today, having beat out the competition, revered as “God” by his followers, Jehovah garners the worship not just of Jews but Protestants and Catholics as well.
How foolish and arrogant is it to laugh off the existence of a race of beings who appear in the annals of every civilization? I was amazed to see ex-TMers, who spent years feeding soma to devas through chants and mantras, whose walls are still plastered with pictures of Lakshmi, Kali and Shiva, dismiss with a toss of their head the idea that gods might exist as real persons.
Who, in truth, are the gods, and what do they want from us? Do “deities” sit at the controls of the universe, managing the laws of nature? Beings with such awesome power that our lives are in their hands? Entities we must never challenge at the risk of losing all we hold dear? I suggest, if the gods are innately as powerful as they purport to be, they would not need human worship to survive. They would be self-sufficient, drawing on the Infinite within them for every need. Instead, they tell mankind to bow down and pay tithe, and threaten in the scriptures to destroy us if we don’t. What kind of power is it, that can’t exist without feeding?
It sounds more like psychic enslavement to me. Convince the people whose world you contrive to control that they are powerless without you, that the rains won’t come and the sun will go dark if they don’t please you. Drink their soma, the positive energy of worship, and drink their negative energy, too, when you can incite it and siphon it off. Feed yourself on human astral energy, whatever the quality, and you and your race can control human life as long as the system remains intact. Planetary farming. If anyone starts to wake up a little, divert their efforts at spiritual independence by luring them into mantra meditation.
Consider this quote by the currently popular guru, Ramana Maharshi: “Repetition aloud of His name is better than praise. Better still is its faint murmur. But the best is repetition within the mind — and that is meditation. Better than such broken thought is its steady and continuous flow like the flow of oil or of a perennial stream.”
Ramana Maharshi’s statement represents mantra meditation’s goal: a state where the mind is timelessly identified with surrender to the name of one’s god – identical with the god himself. The mind itself has become self-negation at the feet of the deity. Empty of original thought and dynamic desire, the “liberated” person’s ego is dissolved: the very thing that made him or her human. All that is left is a mind-body shell, a meat-robot, that moves through life as a surrendered instrument of some greater will. I suggest the greater will is not that of the Infinite. It is the will of the god who has taken the place of one’s mind.
Does this sound like possession? It surely appears to be. Think of all the gurus you’ve met with their palpable shakti. An energy so real no one who experiences it can deny it. What is that light in their eye, a light beyond this world? Whose is that power they touch you with, embrace you with? Is it the shakti of Brahman, the light of pure consciousness? Or is it the power of Kali or one of her friends? Gurus often say they are the embodiment of Shiva, Kali, or some other god. Why do we not take them at their word?
I would like to suggest that mantra meditation turns humans into zombies who serve the agenda of the gods. That agenda is procurement of more humans and more human energy. This explains the common phenomenon of proselytizing by the religious, including fundamentalist Christians, TMers, and disciples of other varieties. Servants of “God” or the gods feel a driving need to bring in more recruits. The god that moves through them fills them with this zeal, as a hungry stomach fills the mind with an overwhelming need to procure dinner.
There are no gods, in the sense the gods would have us think of them. No one has been designated by the Infinite to control creation and administer the laws of nature. The sun shines by itself as an entity with its own consciousness. The rain and wind don’t need a god to direct them; they move where they will in harmony with their fellow elements. All things are children of the Infinite, spirits or egos in their own unique right, expressing in physical form and also in astral dimensions.
The gods are spirits/egos like everybody else. Most of the time they dwell on astral planes, which is why human senses normally don’t perceive them. According to ancient records, they have visited the earth in ages past in physical forms of their own, as entities from the stars.
They are no more divine than a ghost, no more cosmic than you or I, and no more entitled or intended to run the universe than any other gang of warlords might be. Somehow they’ve gained control of this planet, and have held that control at least since the beginning of recorded human history. But that is no reason to think the Infinite wants it that way, or that life needs to continue that way.
True empowerment is not the Indian concept of enlightenment. It is knowing what we are and living from there. We are spirit: individual and eternal, moving within the consciousness of That which created, sustains and pervades all life. Knowing this is not difficult. It only requires putting attention on that which is beneath the content of thought. Acting from this place of empowerment is natural: we can ordain reality from that quantum level. Everyone can do it. Everyone is equally powerful moving and creating in the depths of their own consciousness.
Unfortunately, people rarely do that, though, as the mass hypnosis that governs human life convinces us that karma, fate or the will of God runs the world, that we as individuals have little direct control over what happens to us. The gods are the purveyors of this global hypnosis. It serves their agenda of control. True liberation does not mean rising above the illusion of ourselves as egos. It means rising above the illusion that as egos we are cut off from the powerhouse of creation. That as individuals we are something less than pure, eternal, powerful spirits – in our own right, very much gods. Gods with a global case of amnesia.
The “enlightened” have surrendered their personhood to the deities who control their meditations. Their bliss is the euphoric stupor which their appeased deities grant them as reward. The words, the thoughts, the desires of the enlightened are not their own any longer, but those of their controlling god. The word “zombie” is appropriate because of its meaning as the walking dead.
But all is not lost for such people. No one can keep the human soul enslaved against its will. An act of personal empowerment, of willfully recalling one’s ego, must surely destroy enslavement by any possessing entity. One can recall surrendered pieces of one’s being as a magnet can recall iron filings. Native American traditions speak of our ability to do just this, calling back the parts of our lost personhood.
When people cease to surrender their energy and spirit to those who call themselves gods, the deceivers will lose their power over this dimension. They will shrink back to “normal size,” entities responsible for themselves like everybody else. Our world will know a freedom, creativity, harmony and joy it has never demonstrated in its history, because interdimensional manipulation will cease. The suffering on this planet, god-inspired and god-feeding, will dwindle and disappear. The need to kill to eat will no longer exist. Sickness, aging and death will have no substructure. Each wonderful created being – animal, human or astral – will thrive on the power of the Infinite source within itself, and victim/tyrant relationships, which ran the planet for eons, will fade into thin air. Living will become what surely the Infinite intended in Its original vision for the universe: a symphony of minds, not a competition; a tapestry of spirits, not a hierarchy; a garden of consciousness, not a painful struggle.
When I hear “the enlightened” excuse all the atrocities of this world by saying that in their exalted perception, everything is “perfect” just as it is, I hear “fraud.” The God I perceive in the depths of my being is not a God who is content with fathers raping infants, animals being ripped apart alive, or human sorrow so great only suicide can quell it. This kind of world is not perfect, and anyone who sees it as such has something seriously wrong with them. If the gods were really beneficent and powerful, they would not operate a world that runs like this. When their mouthpieces and procurers tell us this world is just as it should be – that shows you the true nature of the gods.
These beings are not our friends, though surely, if there are scoundrels in astral dimensions, there must be virtuous entities there as well. Perhaps the ones who don’t seek lordship over this planet are watching to see if humans take back control of our world or continue to surrender it, piece by piece, to the cosmic band of thugs who want to own it. Will we continue surrendering our governments, media, schools, workplaces, taxes and spirituality to those who would lead us farther away from personal freedom and self-actualization, closer to a world without responsibility, originality or joy? Such a world is the goal of the gods, because it’s more controllable.
Their lackeys in the political arena (many – George Bush, for instance – are genetically linked to European royal families and the god-engendered lines of divine-right kings) call this future society the New World Order. Centralized control, humans functioning on autopilot. The death of free will, passion, desire and originality – sounds a lot like enlightenment, doesn’t it. The surrender of the individual to the collective. Control of the collective by divine-right rulers, and control of those rulers by the cosmic band of thugs themselves. The rise of the great Fourth Reich.
Who were the mystical entities Hitler conversed with and took guidance from? Why was group meditation a part of Nazi protocol? Why were many TM/ New Age slogans (“established in Being, perform action,” for instance) also slogans of the Third Reich?
Total control and spiritual domination. The destruction of everything that makes life worth living. Creation imploding on itself, like a snake swallowing its tail. That actually is a symbol found in mystery schools, which were controlled by the gods.
It’s time to give up beads and mantras, chanting and bowing down to dirty feet. It’s time to fire the gurus, stand up and be the powerful, sublime individuals we are. It’s time to question the dogmas we swallowed whole from Vedic tradition and take a closer look at what is happening when we meditate.
It’s time to reclaim our birthright, our divinity and this Earth. Only we can do it, as the conscious beings we are. As Alice in Wonderland said, turning and facing the Red Queen’s army that was hot on her heels, “Pooh! You’re nothing but a pack of old cards.” That army toppled, turning into a heap of playing cards the moment the girl broke through her bad dream. Our controllers too will topple, and dragons will turn into geckos. It’s time to give up the cosmic illusion and de-hypnotise.
Blowing the Whistle, Chpt. 2: Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?
This is the second chapter in an online book,
“Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,” by Bronte Baxter.
The climate of the 60s: America’s youth uprising. Questioning everything, challenging “the system” and the established worldview. Refusing to serve in a war, bringing about the end of it. Experimenting with sex and drugs, toying with every new or forbidden philosophy. A better world was around the corner – we were sure of it. Soon we’d be, as Arlo sang, “walking hand in hand with every man, sleeping in the sun with everyone.” The times, they were a’changin’.
Fifty years later, the world is no utopia. We’ve had two more wars. The only sleeping in the sun we do is on vacations. There’s less freedom, more surveillance. Independent journalism has virtually disappeared, original voices in the press replaced by dumbed-down TV nightly news. Our schoolteachers teach to standardized tests instead of teaching to kids.
What happened? Where have all the flowers gone, and all the flower children? How did something as radical, colorful and vital as the hippy movement simply vanish one day when no one was looking? Perhaps the answer lies with the Maharishi.
Maharishi MaheshYogi, 1970s version. Founder of Transcendental Meditation and the Students International Meditation Society. SIMS was an organization that descended on US campuses, grabbed pothead kids by the scruff of their raggedy necks, cleaned them up and turned them into upstanding members of society.
Just by giving them a mantra and teaching them to meditate. It soon became the rage – hippies converting to TM, trading in swear words for mantras, tie-dyed shirts for three-piece suits. Most kids were recruited to become teachers, pulling in still more people.
In 1975, Merv Griffin featured Maharishi on his prime-time TV show then started TM himself. First promoted by the Beatles, the giggling guru’s meditation program grew mainstream, with courses taught in corporations and schools so executives could relax and students could focus.
A virtual army of TM teachers covered the globe, with centers in every major city, talks in every suburb. Maharishi said that world peace would happen – better yet, an ideal world – when enough people globally found inner peace by practicing TM.
I was among that army, personally instructing 350 people in the course of six years. I fell in love with a starry-eyed boy, and we were going to create utopia together. We preached the message of transcendence: taking the mind inward to bask in its Source, the state of pure awareness, from which all good things spring. We drank of those waters daily. Refreshed from contact with the supreme, we’d return to the world energized for more lectures and teaching.
It was a glorious time. Hope was everywhere. Gone was the contentiousness of our generation. We were avant-garde leaders now, shouting a new message, a new answer, to the world. Challenging authority became a thing of the past. (Maharishi taught that people should respect it.) Working within the system, we were told we would bring about change, and change would happen by raising people’s consciousness. Get them all to meditate, and problems would vanish from this earth.
We truly believed it. The idea was radical, new, and to our young minds it made sense. TM opened a brand-new vista on the future, where troubles, all born of man’s separation from his pure infinite nature, would spontaneously disappear. The ex-hippie army was passionate: our full love and energy went into achieving Maharishi’s dream for the world.
Hippie recruits who didn’t feel called to become teachers found their way in businesses and vocations, becoming productive members of society. Those from wealthy families supported the movement with gargantuan donations, and received places of influence directly under Maharishi. It was only a matter of time until the world would be transformed and mankind would enter a New Age. Maharishi called it The Age of Enlightenment.
But something happened on the way to paradise. Slowly and subtly, the tone of the guru’s teachings changed. What used to be 20 minutes twice a day became hour-long, then 90-minute, meditations. The mantras were reshaped into “advanced techniques,” and chanting and Vedic readings (hymns to the gods) began. In a bold move, Maharishi began teaching courses in TM-Siddhis, a slew of paranormal abilities which he said humans could develop. Turning invisible was one of the siddhis; levitation was another.
People took the siddhi training, told that it would elevate their consciousness. But instead of flying, people were bouncing around cross-legged on foam rubber mats on their posteriors. Flying is coming, Maharishi promised – keep practicing: frog-hopping is only the beginning stage. No one turned invisible, and no one demonstrated the other special abilities the several-thousand-dollar siddhi course was supposed to teach. At the time of this writing, 30 years after the inception of the TM-siddhis, no one in Maharishi’s organization has yet demonstrated any levitation beyond frog-hopping.
Meanwhile the movement snapped photos of smiling butt-bouncers caught in mid-air and plastered the pictures on posters and fliers as advertisements: “Come learn yogic flying.” TM teachers who completed siddhi training were called “Governors of the Age of Enlightenment,” because Maharishi said our elevated consciousness would regulate negative tendencies in the world. Governors were told not to reveal to TM teachers or meditators that butt-bouncing was all that was being achieved on the siddhi courses to date. That would spoil the innocence of the new initiates, interfering with their ability to learn.
For the first time, more than a few disciples started questioning. Why was TM deceitful in its advertising, pretending that people were flying? Why were we asked to pay thousands of dollars for something that didn’t work? And how had a simple meditation technique, that was supposed to be all we needed for cosmic consciousness, gotten so complicated?
Originally, we signed on for a nonreligious “relaxation technique” practiced a few minutes twice daily as an adjunct to dynamic activity. TM had its roots in Hinduism, but we had ignored that. As teachers or “initiators,” we had to perform a “puja,” a ritual of offerings performed on an altar before a picture of Guru Dev, Maharishi’s master. We were ordered to do this in the presence of every new initiate before dispensing their mantra. We were to kneel down and bow before the picture, making a hand gesture to indicate that the student was expected to kneel down, too.
At the time we teachers convinced ourselves that we weren’t being deceptive. Maharishi said the initiates would understand in time, after their consciousness was raised through meditation. He repeatedly told us that TM was not a religion. As if saying it enough would make it so!
But when the TM-Siddhis started, things got even more religious. We were instructed to read prayers to the gods after every meditation and to listen to audiotapes of chants to Hindu deities as we fell asleep at night. Maharishi reassured us: the gods are not actual personal entities but “impulses of creative intelligence” that exist within ourselves. The fact that Hinduism anthropomorphizes deities just signals immature consciousness, he said, and that, of course, was something the movement was far too sophisticated to be guilty of.
The changes in the movement were so gradual that I hardly blinked an eye the day I got my own advanced technique, which consisted of adding the Sanskrit word “namah” to my original mantra. I didn’t quite understand, as I was told the mantras were meaningless sounds that have a beneficial effect on the nervous system. I didn’t know any translation for my mantra “Eima,” but I did know, from the puja, what “namah” meant in English. It means, “I bow down.” Who was I bowing down to, I wondered? Well, it must be a god. “Eima” must be a name for her, and she must be my escort on the path to higher consciousness. Another hidden teaching, obvious only to an advanced spiritual aspirant. I felt privileged and superior to be let in on the secret.
Around this time in the movement, many people started to complain of physical problems, as well as irritability and/or depression. Once I was assigned to spend the night guarding one meditator who was being sent home from a siddhi course because she was “unstable.” She was being shipped out the following day, and course leaders were concerned that she might harm herself or create an embarrassing scene in the meantime, hence her need for a “guard.”
In 1978, an article appeared in Psychology Today reporting that “a substantial number” of individuals develop “anxiety, depression, physical and mental tension and other adverse effects” from meditating. (San Francisco Examiner, September 10, 1989) The scientific criticism was just starting. While over a hundred studies had been done by TM scientists showing outstanding benefits from TM for mind and body, new studies by independent researchers failed to corroborate such claims. Some new studies even suggested adverse mental and physical effects resulting from meditation (depersonalization, the onset of mental difficulties, psychological disorders). TM was accused of failing to conduct double-blind experiments, and of influencing test results with the prejudice of the tester.
One insider, a friend of mine who was exceptionally devoted to Maharishi and who worked with TM psychologists as their research assistant, became shaken and left the movement when she found the scientists she worked with doctoring test results to make them better conform to Maharishi’s desired outcomes. (See the following site for more about independent studies done on meditators:http://minet.org/TM-EX/Winter-94)
Around this time, people started leaving the movement, but most of us held strong. A meditating community had sprung up in Fairfield, Iowa within and on the borders of MaharishiInternationalUniversity. The town became home to a thousand meditators, teachers and TM “governors,” many of whom had a hard time fitting into normal jobs and living situations in the world. We were told to meditate and “fly” together daily. That was the new strategy to create world peace as well as success in our lives.
Maharishi began mens’ and women’s monastic groups (the Purusha and Mother Divine programs) and encouraged people to join them as “the most rapid lifestyle for unfolding enlightenment.” People gave up dreams of love and a family to follow their guru’s advice, believing they were serving their enlightenment and the highest social good. My best friend, intensely in love with her husband, was divorced by him when the monastic programs started. He became a celibate, while my friend tried to live as a nun with her broken heart. Within months she developed cancer, dying a couple years later. She forewent Western treatment to pursue an alternative healing system: Ayurveda, India’s ancient “world medicine” which then was being revived by Maharishi. Her physician was Deepak Chopra, at the time TM’s poster boy and its leading Ayurvedic physician. My friend Sharon withered away and died, but Ayurveda grew in popularity.
What troubled me most about the movement in the 80s was a growing sense of subterfuge and surveillance amidst an atmosphere of increasingly artificial “positivity.” Movement leaders instructed the rank and file to “never entertain negativity,” which meant never criticize and always wear a happy face.There was a sense that we were being watched, that unknown people within the organization had been assigned as spies for the rest of us. Any person suspected of entertaining doubts about Maharishi and the movement or visiting other spiritual teachers would find themselves refused admittance to new courses or group meditations in the central “flying” hall. The outcasts were never told what they had done to merit excommunication. “You know,” was the cryptic reply, or “Reapply in a few months” whenever the rejects asked, “But what did I do?”
The significance of being tossed out by the TM movement was devastating to those it happened to. The depth of their turmoil can only be fathomed by understanding that Maharishi was teaching then that two twenty-minute meditations a day no longer would cut it. Regular expensive advanced courses and meditating with the group in the flying hall had become pre-requisites not just for world peace but also for personal salvation. Unless you wanted condemned to many future lifetimes of ignorance and suffering, it was vital to keep up with the program. Our goal was liberation, enlightenment: an egoless state where blissful “pure consciousness” suffuses the awareness at all times, trivializing everything that used to seem important. In enlightenment, nothing touches you, success and loss don’t affect you.
Because liberation in this lifetime required staying on the good side of the TM “gestapo,” people became artificial and prone to quoting movement slogans in front of each other. Everyone wanted to appear kosher so they could stay on the campus and evolve.
The movie Man on the Moon depicts what happened to Andy Kaufman, a Hollywood comedian and TM governor who after years of movement involvement was found to be mysteriously wanting. There is a scene where a smiling TM-Siddhi administrator informs him he is not welcome on Maharishi’s campus anymore, no reason given. For an earnest meditator, that was like telling a cancer patient the drug he needs to live is being withdrawn.
In 1987, when I left TM and Fairfield, I had lived 17 years within the movement’s perimeters. I’d seen the world go from flower power to mantra power. My friends had changed from buoyant folks delighting in free expression to paranoid people with phony smiles and legislated attitudes. It took me two years to break free of the thinking that kept me in Maharishi’s orbit. It felt traumatic, like a failed marriage. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I could no longer be part of it.
In the 20 years since I left the Transcendental Meditation movement, Maharishi raised the price for learning to meditate into the thousands. Disciples able and willing to kick in a million dollars (apiece) were offered (in the last years of the guru’s life) proximity to him, a golden crown to wear, and the title of “raja” or “king”. Maharishi had created a “world government” he called “The Global Country of World Peace,” and his rajas are the rulers.
I’ve come to personally know two women who confide they were sexually propositioned by the “lifelong monk.” One of Maharishi’s closest disciples from the 70s, a Swedish man named Conny Larson, published an autobiography in which he says he left the TM movement when he realized the girls who came into Maharishi’s room in the wee hours, leaving disheveled, weren’t really in there “reading him his mail.” Since Maharishi’s death last February, one of his former girlfriends, Linda Pearce, is expected to come forward with her full story (first covered in a newspaper article in 1981, some years after John Lennon announced in a Rolling Stone interview that the Beatles believed Maharishi had tried to rape Mia Farrow).
In the years since I left the movement, the truth about the mantras has also come out. The mantras (which Maharishi gave to the teachers to give in turn to the lower initiates) turn out not to be “meaningless sounds with life-supporting qualities” as he said. They are, rather, names of Hindu gods, a fact made public with the advent of the Internet. Wikipedia, in its section on mantras, lists three of the mantras Maharishi gave me and other teachers to dispense: Eim, Hrim, and Shreem. Eim, says Wikipedia, is the Hindu goddess Saraswati, Hrim is the goddess Durga, and Shreem is the goddess Kali. (Wikipedia quotes these facts from “The Shakti Mantras,” by Thomas Ashley Farrand, Ballantine Books, 2003, pages 43, 124 and 138, but you can find the same information appearing dozens of places in a simple Google search.)
This intentional deception by Maharishi, perpetrated on his teachers and through them on the public, is to me the worst thing this “man of God” did to society. Through this lie, telling us that the mantras were “meaningless sounds,” Maharishi got unsuspecting Westerners to worship his gods under the guise of teaching them a “simple relaxation technique.” This is even more reprehensible than sex seduction of young disciples. He seduced the minds of 6 million people, or should we call it rape?
I’ve written elsewhere about the hidden agenda of mantra meditation, how it connects with psychic realms and why it was important to Maharishi to pass this lie off to the world. The power of recitation of the name of a god in meditation is very real power indeed. It connects a person to trans-physical dimensions, where vital energy is siphoned off, eventually crippling and destroying the personality. As individual identity disintegrates, the meditator continues his practice, because, he’s told, this implosion is a good thing. Oneness consciousness is taking the place of his formerly “limited” self. He is nearing his goal: universal awareness, the death of ego, annihilation of “the illusion of I.”
This is why the flower children disappeared. Maharishi transformed a generation of dissenters, the hippie generation, into pimps for the gods. He turned their spiritual yearnings into spiritual servitude. The ambition of 60s/70s youth to make a better world was undermined first by drugs and then by mantras that freed from drugs but turned the saved into thralls of invisible forces. Grateful thralls to boot, who would always remember that they were rescued and how much they owed to their guru.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: diverter of seekers, seducer of minds, stealer of souls. Any of those would be an appropriate epitaph. The mainstreaming of meditation in Western culture is this man’s questionable legacy.
© Bronte Baxter 2008
(see the comments under the articles for follow-on discussion)
In fact, thinking about this some more, abuse by religious hierarchy has been perpetrated on their followers since human-kind first developed the need to worship a god or deity of some sort or follow that man or woman who seems to have all the answers everyone else is struggling to find. Whomever or whatever sowed the first doubt-seed into the mind of human-kind that we need something ‘better’ than little old us, something to save us from ourselves, has a lot to answer for. But then so do we for believing it. Are we learning any lessons or do we just pay lip-service to it? ‘Oh! No! I don’t follow anyone! I’m not a sheeple!’ Then in the next sentence the same one refers us for the umpteenth time to the their favourite ‘guru’!
© think-and-discern.com 2014