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Transcendental Meditation(TM) is an Eastern, New Age movement lead by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Indian mystic worshipped by the Beatles in the 1960s.
TM came to the United States with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian-born guru who earned a physics degree from Allahabad University before turning to the study of meditation under his teacher, Jagadguru Bhagavan Shankaracharya. In an effort to share what he had learned, Maharishi founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1958. His first book, Science of Being and Art of Living, appeared in 1963.
TM took off in the 1970s after it was endorsed by the Beatles and New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath. At first Maharishi applied TM to individual spiritual advancement, but in 1972 he promulgated a World Plan aimed at remaking society.
Today TM’s social goals are promoted by the Maharishi International University (established 1975) and by the Natural Law Party, a political party devoted to healing America’s social ills through TM practice.
Like the Hare Krishna movement, TM has been more successful in the West than in India. It has been promoted among Americans not as a religion–in fact, members insist it is not–but as a simple and easy-to-learn technique of chanting a mantra (a sacred sound repeated as a meditation tool).
– Source: Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History. By by Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero. Oxford University Press, New York. 1999, page 241
The movement claims to expand self-awareness, reduce crime, and contribute to world peace through meditation and levitation (so-called ‘yogic flying’). TM Universities are located in several countries. The movement has its own political party, Natural Law, active in some 70 countries, and is said to have about 5 million voters worldwide.
TM’s international headquarters are located in Vlodrop, Netherlands.
In 1971 the TM Movement founded the Maharishi University of Management (formerly known as Maharishi International University), located in Fairfield, Iowa. It is a nationally accredited university that provides a consciousness-based education offering degree programs in the arts, sciences, business, and humanities.
In July, 2001, the TM Movement founded Vedic City, approximately 2 miles from Fairfield, Iowa. The city is built according to ancient Vedic architectural design (also referred to as Vastu architecture). In November, 2001, the city was renamed, “Maharishi Vedic City.” It is considered to be the capital of the “Global Country of World Peace.” The Global Country of World Peace aims to bring peace to the world through the same means avocated by the Transcendental Meditation movement: meditation and yogic flying. To this effect the country plans to built 3,000 so-called “peace palaces” throughout the world:
[The Maharishi’s] plan goes like this: He will build 3,000 “Peace Palaces” around the world, including one somewhere near Washington. In each palace, hundreds of his followers will be engaged full time in “yogic flying” — an advanced version of Transcendental Meditation in which the meditators sort of hop around the room while sitting cross-legged. This practice, he says, sends out powerful positive vibrations that reduce stress, crime and violence. With hundreds of people doing yogic flying in 3,000 different places, peace will break out all over.
– Source: Taking a Yogic Flier on ‘Peace Bonds,’ Washington Post, Aug. 29, 2002
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