Category Archives: 2. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is a modern movement consisting of a particular style of meditation invented and practiced by Maharishi Yogi in the 1950s. Initially only practiced by a small group of Maharishi’s followers, after the Beatles took their well-known trip to India, over a hundred thousand people learned to practice Transcendental Meditation (Forem 15). In fact, Transcendental Meditation has gained many celebrity endorsements including Clint Eastwood, the Beach Boys and Merv Griffin (Lowe 60). Transcendental Meditation has origins in Tantric traditions, and is practiced by silently repeating a mantra given to a student by a registered teacher of TM based on the student’s age (Lowe 56). Transcendental Meditation is intentionally done with little effort (Balaji, Varne, and Ali). If the practitioner’s attention wanders off, it is allowed to roam until it naturally returns to repeating the mantra (Balaji, Varne, and Ali). Transcendental Meditation also has roots in Vedic traditions, with Maharishi Yogi embracing “the absolutist and ultra-orthodox interpretations of the Vedas” (Lowe 55). The purpose of TM is to enjoy the benefits of a state of relaxed alertness (Yunesian et al. 2). There are also many medical and health benefits of TM. It has been shown to be an efficient method for improving cardiovascular conditions and treating mental health issues such as anxiety, by way of improving an individual’s overall sense of clarity, happiness and life satisfaction. The Western world has many concepts of meditation, notably prayer, but also including Mindfulness meditation, Zen meditation and yoga (Films Media Group). Maharishi Yogi said that “TM has nothing to do with religion, and people of all religions practice TM” (Films Media Group). There is a course fee to learn to practice TM, which costs around $1000 (Films Media Group). Proponents of the movement argue that it is a health investment and it is hard to get anything for free nowadays; critics argue that there are many cheaper resources available, such as books and CDs (Films Media Group). To help share their ideas with the public, the TM Organization [TMO] still conducts studies on meditation, and presents both new and old findings from their research (Lowe 60).

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born in Jabalpur, India in 1918, and he lived to the age of 91 (Films Media Group). He obtained a degree in Physics from Allahabad University, before starting his career with Transcendental Meditation (Lowe 56). According to Forem (2012), an individual who studied with Maharishi, he was “a happy man, serene, and at peace with himself” (Forem 13). Forem also refers to him as “brilliant, wise and compassionate,” and explains that the word rishi means ‘sage or seer,’ and that the word maha means great, a title only reserved for great sages who not only ‘see’, but are the embodiment of true knowledge and compassion (Forem 18-19). He started teaching his technique in 1957, defying the deeply ingrained rules in Hindu society. Because he was not born of the Brahmin varna or caste, he was therefore considered to be an illegitimate guru (Lowe 55). Although he borrowed methods of talking and writing like a guru, he never claimed to be a guru himself, even though that was how Westerners largely saw him (Lowe 56). In fact, he was a supporter of Hindu “hereditary caste-assigned occupations” (Lowe 57). Although Maharishi’s teachings were a departure from traditional, orthodox Hinduism, he drew much inspiration from the ultra-orthodox teachings of the Vedas (Lowe 55).

According to Lowe, Maharishi believed that Vedic teachings provided complete and total knowledge of everything in the universe (Lowe 54-55). He interpreted the Vedas as undoubtedly correct, and the “eternal source of all true knowledge about the universe” (Lowe 55). The movement also acknowledges that if one is able to interpret the Vedas, one can obtain all the knowledge that modern scientific investigation holds (Lowe 55). One important example of Transcendental Meditation’s Vedic origins is the concept of the mantra. Maharishi was clearly influenced by the mentioning of aum or om, the cosmological principle that the world is made of vibrations, and that the word is the source of said vibrations, found in the Rg Veda (Lowe 57). He applied the technique of repeating the mantra, and used words drawn from lists built in Indian Tantric traditions to form what is now known as Transcendental Meditation (Lowe 56). Maharishi invoked certain laws of nature synonymous with ancient Vedic deities or devas found in the Rg Veda when inventing TM (Lowe 57).

Another example of TM being built on Vedic foundations is Maharishi’s assertion that Vedic principles are more “complete and accurate” than modern science because “unlike scientific claims, they can not be falsified” (Lowe 57). Maharishi thought knowledge found in the Vedas was more trustworthy than modern science because it provided direct contact with devas rather than relying on empirical evidence (Lowe 58). He also claimed that Vedic texts are “scientific documents containing all knowledge” (Lowe 59). As TM spread around the world, Maharishi’s followers began to demand more empirical evidence of the effects of practicing Transcendental Meditation, and in response to such queries, studies were conducted by the TMO; these were the first studies to prove that any form of meditation has an effect (Lowe 59-60). It is worth noting that “evidence of the negative side effects of TM was not reported,” however, practitioners of TM were reporting improved sleep, stress reduction and better overall health (Lowe 60, 63).

A final example of the influence of the Vedas on Transcendental Meditation is the use of sidhis, a trademarked misspelling of the Sanskrit word siddhi, which refers to Patanjali’s description of powers obtained through meditation in the Yoga Sutras (Lowe 63). In 1976, Maharishi introduced the TM Sidhi Program, meant to teach advanced techniques of levitation, mind-reading and invisibility, among others (Lowe 63). The practice is highly controversial and often mocked for being “just people jumping around” (Films Media Group). Despite “warnings in classical texts”, it was decided that anyone who had been practicing TM for more than six months may spend several thousands of dollars to learn the abilities (Lowe 64). This is perhaps a major argument for critics of the movement. A final example of TM being influenced by information found in the Vedas is its inclusion of yajnas or sacrifices. Lowe illustrates that “Vedic astrology, architecture, medicine, music, fire sacrifices and gem stone theory are purported as science by the TMO” (Lowe 65). In TM, yajna is referred to as yagyas, and is meant to bring material blessings and ward away malevolent cosmological influences in an individual (Lowe 68). Members of the TMO still pay Brahmin priests to perform yagyas for them (Lowe 68).

When an individual practices TM over an extended period of time, they can expect to see many medical benefits. In Transcendental Meditation, Hocus Pocus or Healthy Practice, Films Media Group discusses the results of 146 different medical studies done on TM. They found that TM was twice as effective at reducing anxiety than other prescribed methods (Films Media Group). More specifically, Balaji, Varne and Ali (2012) found that the gray matter in the right orbito-frontal cortex, right thalamus and left temporal gyrus inside brains of individuals that practiced TM for a long period of time was significantly larger than individuals who did not meditate at all (Balaji, Varne and Ali). Another study, The Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Mental Health, confirms that in areas of mental health and anxiety, TM is an effective method to treat such disorders, and TM practisers see this effect independently of age, sex and marital status (Yunesian et al. 1,3). In that study they also found that meditation is an effective treatment for the four areas of mental health they assessed: anxiety, somastication, depression and social dysfunction (Yunesian et al. 2). Transcendental Meditation is also an effective treatment method for individuals with cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Ross Walker from Films Media Group states “TM’s effects on blood pressure are impressive, and Studies have shown there’s a significant reduction of blood pressure comparable to a blood pressure pill” (Films Media Group). They also mention that TM should not be used as a replacement for heart medications, but can have extraordinary benefits when used in conjunction to typical Western medicine (Films Media Group). Another study, Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, confirms Dr. Ross Walker’s views. The study found a 48% risk reduction in the overall sample of subjects performing TM, and a 66% risk reduction in subjects who regularly practiced TM (Schneider et al. 755). The study concludes that TM may be a clinically useful behavioural intervention in preventing cardiovascular disease (Schneider et al. 756). Since the World Health Organization (2016) states that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, these findings show that TM can have enormous medical benefits for the general population (WHO, 2016).

Transcendental Meditation is an organization filled with history, drawing inspiration for much of its concepts from Vedic tradition and the personality and influence of Maharishi Yogi. Transcendental Meditation is also very controversial, but boasts numerous claims about impacting and improving the well-being of an individual who practices. Some of said claims are backed by western science and medicine while others are rooted in religious traditions, despite TM being a non-religious movement. For example, it is shown to improve mental well-being, improve cardiovascular health, sleep patterns and the general well-being of an individual.


Balaji, P., Smitha Varne and Syed Ali (2012) “Physiological effects of yogic practices and transcendental meditation in health and disease” North American Journal of Medical Sciences 4.10:442. Accessed February 5, 2017.

Films Media Group, Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm), and ABC International 2012. Transcendental meditation: Hocus-pocus or healthy practice?. New York, N.Y: Films Media Group.

Forem, Jack (2012) Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Yogi. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Lowe, Scott (2011) “Transcendental Meditation, Vedic Science and Science.” University of California Press (May) 54-76. Accessed February 1, 2017.

Schnieder, Robert H., Clarence E Grim, Maxwell V Rainforth, Theodore Kotchen., Nidich, Sanford L Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, John W Salerno, Jane Morely Kotchen and Charles N Alexander (2012) “Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 5:750-58. Accessed February 5, 2017. doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406.

World Health Organization (2016) “Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) Fact Sheet” (September). Accessed March 27, 2017.

Yunesian, Masud., Afshin Aslani, Javad Homayoun Vash and Abbas Bagheri Yazdi (2008) “Effects of transcendental meditation on mental health: a before-after study” Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health. 4.25:25. Accessed February 5, 2017. doi:10.1186/1745-0179-4-25.

Related Topics for Further Investigation







The Rg Veda



Noteworthy Websites Related to Topic

Article Written by: Grayden Cowan (February 2017) who is solely responsible for its content.

Transcendental Meditation

Meditation can be viewed for traditional Hindus as a vehicle to moksa. Additionally it has been taken up in the West for various psychological and physiological health benefits. There are many methods and techniques that promote this state of relaxed awareness, such as yoga and breath control. Meditation aims to achieve a relaxed alertness during a state of rest (Trotter 376). These forms of meditation have traditionally been associated with semi-religious means to obtain moksa (liberation) and Atman (self-realization) in Hindu society. Transcendental Meditation (TM) offers a simple approach to attaining these goals by using mantras (Trotter 377). It has been widely popularized because it requires no lifestyle alternations (Schmidt-Wilk, Alexander and Swanson 430). Transcendental Meditation offers a way to encourage stress management and wellness enhancement through the use of a simple technique (Schmidt-Wilk, Alexander and Swanson 434). This movement caters to changing values of demanding societies internationally and has stood the test of time to provide both spiritual and heath-based benefits to followers.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded the Transcendental Meditation Movement in 1957 (Lowe 55). He began teaching his form of mantra meditation following the death of his guru, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Lowe 55). Mahesh is considered radical because he identified as a spiritual teacher (guru) which violated his jati (caste) where he was designated to be a scribe (Lowe 55). His movement was equally as radical as his challenge to the Hindu status barrier. Maharishi believed that the Vedas contained all the knowledge that scientific investigation could reveal (Lowe 55). This connection between religion and scientific knowledge guided the TM Movement. The movement required him to challenge religious and western science barriers. Eventually, his movement in the form of Vedic Science carried out his visions in an accessible and negotiable way. His vision for world peace resulted in the expansion of the TM Movement throughout India and into Western cultures (Lowe 63). The interacting relation between tradition and science allowed his movement to prosper and adapt to vast cultural values.


The Transcendental Meditation Movement has three distinct phases through history. The first phase relates most closely to the Indian-based religious aspects that can be associated with meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started teaching and promoting his interpretations about the Vedas in 1957 (Lowe 55). Along with other Hindus, Maharishi viewed the Vedas as the source of all knowledge and, if interpreted properly, they could lead individuals to attaining moksa (liberation), which is one of the Four Goals that Hindus pursue (Lowe55). The early years of the TM movement are influenced by Vedic Science. The Vedas outlined the key components of Maharishi’s goals for the future, including, behavior, physical well-being, societal harmony and world peace through spiritual development (Lowe 58). Maharishi presented the importance of having a cognitive understanding of the Vedas in order to gain mystical insight into reality, leading to enlightenment and the revelation of Absolute Truth (Lowe 59). This religious perspective was not widely rendered outside of India. Maharishi recognized that most Western communities were less interested in moksa than other components of meditation, such as, relaxation (Lowe 59). The late 1960’s concluded the missionary phase of Maharishi’s TM Movement.

The second phase to the Transcendental Meditation Movement began in the 1970’s (Lowe 54). The movement focused on science based psychological and physiological aspects of mediation. TM practisers were typically counter-culture youth supporting a sociocultural phenomenon (Woodrum 93). In this phase, supporters began providing experimental scientific evidence. The scientific benefits of TM popularized the movement. In the mid-1970’s celebrity endorsement from the Beatles, The Beach Boys, and others promoted the movement’s growth in the West (Woodrum 94). Maharishi established a course called the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) which provided videotaped lectures for those looking for a deeper involvement in TM (Lowe 60). SCI was institutionalized in high schools in the United States of America; students were able to practice TM which focused on “creative intelligence” a secularized version of the Hindu concept of Brahman (Absolute Reality) (Lowe 60). The movement also included the founding of Maharishi International University. TM growth in the mid-1970’s also included TM Initiators that looked specifically at the physiological benefits of TM (Lowe 61). Maharishi emphasized the connection between modern Western science and the claims from the Upanishads in the second phase of the Transcendental Meditation Movement (Lowe 61). The connection to religion caused controversy regarding where TM could be studied (i.e., not in public schools) and was criticized by scientists because the studies done by the Transcendental Meditation Movement could not be replicated (Lowe 64). The “Maharishi Effect”, describes part of the TM-Sidhi program that was critiqued because this program claimed to the practicality of “yogic flying” which contradicts western science (Lowe 64). The relations between the TM organization, its counter-culture youth followers and scientific disproving caused a strain to the movement, causing a re-evaluation of the goals and audience it was aimed at.

The third phase of the Transcendental Meditation Movement emphasized the superiority of Vedic science (Lowe 64). Maharishi introduced a range of traditional Indian practices during this time and accentuated spiritual and scientific aspects of meditation. The practices engaged spiritual awareness that resulted in measurable change in the physical world (Lowe 65). The science of Vedic texts attributes the human body with the cosmos as revealing knowledge (Lowe 67). This period of the movement compromised the previous two phases to create a religious Vedic-science technique aimed at the individual level to gain spiritual and physiological well-being (Rehorick 355). Knowledge generation is based on the concept that scientific and objective means serve to legitimize the observer (Rehorick 345). This concept aids institutions to validate the portrayed importance of TM.


Transcendental Meditation is based on the principle of repeating bija or “seed” mantras, which are designated to the meditator by the TM instructor (Lowe 56). These mantras are originally found in Vedic knowledge and are specialized for the individual (Rosenthal 279). The technique requires the meditator to sit comfortably with closed eyes, repeating the mantra for 20 minutes, twice per day (Trotter 377). The mantra is supposed to be experienced freely without any particular concentration; other thoughts that enter the mind may be evaluated and discarded without being followed by any associations (Trotter 377). When attention is focused the experience and object coexist (Rosenthal 288). The mantra is used to bring self-awareness as other thoughts become primary. While the mantra takes a secondary role, the meditator finds them self (Rosenthal 288).The technique does not involve physical activity or cognitive control (Wallace 1752). The goal of TM is to experience pure consciousness or restful alertness (Schmidt-Wilk, Alexander and Swanson 431). Advance practices of TM have been referred to as “TM-Sidhi”, “flying-Sidhi”, or more generally, the “Maharishi Effect” which entails being filled with energy that the individual levitates off the ground (Rehorick 343).

Transcendental meditation has been recognized for its psychological and physiological effects. It has been reported that TM practisers have experienced improved sleep, stress reduction and better health (Lowe 63). Additionally, reports suggest that TM has a therapeutic value in relieving mental and physical tension, as well as, decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption (Wallace 1754). Overall, the development of one’s consciousness through TM has shown to enhance concept learning, creativity, intelligence, moral reasoning, decreased neuroticism and increase brain efficiency (Schmidt-Wilk, Alexander and Swanson 431). These outcomes have been utilized in collective social settings, such as workplaces, to enhance dynamic qualities of employees and improve well-being and productivity (Schmidt-Wilk, Alexander and Swanson 437).

Current Configurations:

The TM movement has current international configurations. The movement maintains an arrangement of training programs, research, and schools through institutional TM organizations to cater to various groups. The Foundation for the Science of Creative Intelligence adapts programs to target business and professional audiences (Woodrum 95). The Maharishi International University, in addition to the Maharishi European Research University, trains TM representatives, develops curricular and publicity materials, and generates scientific research of TM (Woodrum 95). Additionally, The World Plan Executive Council aims to develop the full potential of the individual resulting in improved relationships and productivity). This outlook coincides with Maharishi’s world peace motive by incorporating TM practice into corporate organization through the influence of others (Lowe 54). Maharishi’s goal is pursued, utilizing a means that shift between the “spiritual” or religious aspects of the original ideology and scientific validity of the benefits (Rehorick 350). The interactive shift between these typically conflicting ideologies allowed Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Movement to cater to, and encompass a broad range of people.

Maharishi’s lasting impression of world peace through Transcendental Meditation has been withheld internationally. The Transcendental Meditation Movement is a flexible and adaptable practice that is suitable for everyone. The TM Movement involves aspects of both traditional Vedic religion as well as Western science validity. Over time, these aspects of TM worked together in favor of Maharishi’s goal to develop world peace through individual reflection and wellness and the effects it has on others.



Lowe, Scott (2011) “Transcendental Meditation, Vedic Science and Science.” Nova religio:The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 14:54-76. Accessed January 31, 2017. doi: 10.1525/nr.2011.14.4.54.

Rehorick, David A. (1981) “Subjective Origins, Objective Reality: Knowledge Legitimation and the TM Movement.” Human Studies 4:339-57. Accessed January 31, 2017.

Rosenthal, Norman E. (2012) Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation. New York: Penguin.

Schmidt-Wilk, Jane, Alexander, Charles N., and Gerald C. Swanson (1996) “Developing Consciousness in Organizations: The Transcendental Meditation Program in Business.” Journal of Buisness and Psychology 10:429-44. Accessed February 15, 2017.

Trotter, Robert J. (1973) “Transcendental Meditation.” Science News 104:376-78. Accessed January31, 2017.

Wallace, Robert K. (1970) “Physiological Effects of Transcendental Meditation.” Science, New Series 167:1751-1754. Accessed January 31, 2017.

Woodrum, Eric (1982) “Religious Organizational Change: An Analysis Based on the TM Movement.” Review of Religious Research 24:89-103. Accessed January 31, 2017.


Related Topics for Further Investigations


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


World Plan Executive Council



Maharishi Effect

Science of Creative Intelligence

Maharishi International University

The Maharishi International University


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Article written by: Tienna Chang (Spring 2017) who is solely responsible for its content.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi can be considered one of the most well-known practitioners of yoga not only in the eastern world, but in the west as well. Having studied under a Hindu guru in the 1950s, he has now come to represent an industry that is estimated to be worth over $3 billion (Economist 95). Some have come to know him as a “modern Vedic scholar and educator” (Riedesel 332). [The Vedas are the prominent set of texts found within the Hindu tradition, and are said to be divinely revealed; for more information about these scriptures see Rodrigues(2006)]. In 1959 his influence in the west became apparent when he immigrated to the United States and founded an “impressive” number of associations dealing with meditation (Aravamudan 33). Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s status rose when he received a two-month visit from the famous band, the Beatles, in 1968 at one of his sites in Rishikesh, India (Platoff 242). Perhaps one of the reasons why he has gained recognition in the west is a result of his fusion between eastern philosophy and western science. In 1972 the yogi aimed to take his views worldwide through the establishment of the World Plan Executive Council (Aravamudan 35). Here, the issues of politics, the economy, and existing social situations would be addressed on a global scale (Aravamudan 35).

Yoga is considered by Hindu philosophy as a darsana or an “event of ‘seeing’”(Burley 1). Basically, it is understood as a method for discovering the true reality of the universe. The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which can be translated as “to yoke or harness” (Whicher 7). Some say that this unification is between the self (Atman) and the universe (Brahman) (Wilson 304). Nevertheless, there have been numerous philosophers and publications attempting to provide insight within this broad philosophy, one of which is known as the Yogasutra. Written between the third and fourth century, it is classified as a set of teachings aiming to provide followers a release from “sin, pain, and ignorance” (Burley 4). Complier of the text, Patanjali, uses the term yogas cittavrttinirodhah to say that in order to achieve this union with Brahman, we must first end the misidentification of our thoughts with our mind (Whicher 1).[For more information on the philosophic literature of yoga, see Burley(2007) and Whicher(2000)]. Many people, including Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, have applied the practice of mediation to cease this confusion. Nevertheless, just as extensive as the concept of yoga is the phrase yogi. This word is the nominative term for the term yogin, which is used to describe a student of yoga (Whicher 31). Therefore, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has come to represent a practitioner under the vast Indian philosophy of yoga.

One of Maharishi’s main innovations is the Transcendental Meditation technique. This form of meditation is intended to be practiced twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes while in a comfortable, closed-eyed position (Riedesel 333). The yogi describes this activity as “turning the attention inwards towards the subtler levels of a thought until the mind transcends the experience of the subtlest state of the thought and arrives at the source of the thought” (Wallace 1752). What the yogi means by this is the ability to concentrate on a single feature that will eventually lead a higher realization or state of consciousness, and thus connect back to who we are as a person. This process is explored further through the concept of the four states of consciousness (which are expressed within the Maharishi Vedic Science): Transcendental Consciousness or Turiya Chetana, Cosmic Consciousness or Turiyatit Chetana, God Consciousness or Bhagavad Chetana, and Unity Consciousness or Brahmi Chetana (Nidich, Nidich and Alexander 143). From a cosmic standpoint, it is said that the purpose of these higher states of awareness are to merge the person with the universe. In the first state, Transcendental Consciousness, the awareness of the “unbound self” appears (Nidich, Nidich and Alexander 143). It is here where the body’s stress is “naturally dissolved” and the instability of emotion is stabilized (Riedesel 333). This first state is the main level that is achieved in Transcendental Meditation, and has been noted by Mahesh that through regular experience of this awareness, the conflicts that arise in life do not inflict on the “eternal freedom” of the self, or in other words, “Life is not lost to itself” (Nidich, Nidich and Alexander 143). [For more information on the states of consciousness see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1969)].

Along with the spiritual components of Transcendental Meditation, there is said to be physiological effects that accompany the practice. Studies have indicated it has the ability to decrease tension both mentally and physically (Wallace 1754). Furthermore, biomedical researchers assert that the ability to relieve certain nervous and cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, asthma, epilepsy, and hypertension looks promising (Holden 1176). The type of relaxation produced by this technique is different from what is found while sleeping, being awake, or under hypnosis (Wallace 1754). [For information on specific EEG readings see Wallace (1970)]. In fact, Maharishi points out that it is a pulsation between deep rest and activity within the entire nervous system; one he says that mimics the natural “expansion and contraction in the physical universe” (Holden 1177). Due to its ease of use and the ability for beginners to achieve this relaxation quickly, there are currently over half a million Americans practicing Transcendental Meditation, and over three million worldwide (Holden 1176 and Aravamudan 34). With the physiological research in place, it has even been implemented in prisons and rehabilitation centres since the 1970s, with the aim of helping at-risk people realize the possibility of voluntary control over the automatic nervous system (Holden 1176). Although there are traces of Hinduism behind the philosophy of Transcendental Meditation, the yogi is compelled to make it compatible with all faiths, and even takes this notion one step further by attempting to establish an alliance between religion and science (Aravamudan 33).

Transcendental Meditation is housed under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s objectively philosophic framework of the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI). With the purpose of attaining world peace, the yogi has fused together the conceptual ideas of religion including “ancient Indian Vedic wisdom,” with pragmatic elements of science such as psychology, in order to create this system (Holden 1176). The basis behind SCI is the ability to demonstrate how a set of fundamental principles- creativity and intelligence- permeate the biological world, which in turn, are reflected within the mind (Holden 1177). He describes creativity as the reason why change occurs, and it is constantly being reflected within the universe (Riedesel 332). Intelligence on the other hand, is the essential quality of our existence. It is a part of creativity since it is here that intelligence becomes illustrated. Both of these are what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi combines to form a science in the sense that they have ability to be verified through experimentation (Riedesel 332).

Within the Science of Creative Intelligence lie a few basic hypotheses. First, is the belief that every individual contains an “unlimited reservoir” of creative intelligence which is expressed through the human nervous system (Riedesel 332). However, Maharishi Mahesh feels that this expression is inhibited when a person is under stress. In other words, the physiological effects we feel when we are under pressure obstruct our ability to connect with the true and beneficial qualities of the universe. However, he proposes a solution to this obstruction through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. SCI purports that creative intelligence is experienced in this technique because it takes a person to the higher levels of consciousness, eliminating the stress, and as a result, allowing his or her “biomachinery” to function properly again (Riedesel 333). The yogi goes on to state that the aim is to maintain this increased level of awareness in order to establish “greater achievement and fulfillment in life;” to him, it is here where an individual has attained enlightenment. In the final hypotheses, we see that the influence of science in his philosophy has been fully integrated in his claim that these enlightened qualities are not only definable, but able to be scientifically investigated (Riedesel 333).

The contributions Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has made towards spirituality positions him as one of the most globally recognized yogic practitioners. Through the development of Transcendental Meditation and the Science of Creative Intelligence, he has been able to bridge subjective philosophy with objective science. Although Transcendental Meditation explores the deeper levels of consciousness and connection with the universe, it is also seen as a practical aid in decreasing stress and creating positive physiological responses (Wallace 1754). As result, he has attracted both the spiritual seekers and the worldly dwellers alike. The Science of Creative Intelligence fuses this bridge stronger by making breaking down what can be considered a highly metaphysical process, enlightenment, into scientifically observable traits (Riedesel 333). With his appeal to both eastern philosophy and western science, there is no question as to why Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s insights have become so successful.


Aravamudan, Srinivas (2001) “Guru English.” Social Text 66 19 no.1. 19-44.

Burley, Mikel (2007) Classical Samkhya and Yoga. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

Holden, Constance (1975) “Maharishi University International: ‘Science of Creative Intelligence’.” Science, New Series 187 no. 4182. 1176-1180.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1969) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Commentary. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin.

______ (2008) “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.” Economist 386. 8567. 95.

Nidich, Randi J., Nidich, Sandford I., & Alexander, Charles N (2005) “Moral Development and Natural Law.” Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality.17. 137-149.

Platoff, John (2005) “John Lennon, ‘Revolution,’ and the Politics of Muscial Reception.” The Journal of Musicology 22 no.2. 19-44.

Riedesel, Brian C. (1979) “Toward Full Development of the Person.” Personnel & Guidance Journal, 57. 7. 332-338.

Rodrigues, Hillary (2006) Hinduism–The Ebook. Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books, Ltd.

Snider, Robert H. (2005) “New HealthRelated Applications of Maharishi Vedic Science.” Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality. 17. 547-551.

Wallace, Robert K. (1970) “Physiological Effects of Transcendental Meditation.” Science, New Series 167 no. 3926. 1751-1754.

Whicher, Ian (2000) The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga. Bali Nagar, New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd.

Wilson, Stephen R. (1984) “Becoming a Yogi: Resocialization and Deconditioning as Conversion Processes.” Sociological Analysis 45 no. 4. 301-314.

Related Topics for Further Investigation


The Eight Limbs of Yoga


Raja Yoga


Vedic Science




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Article written by: Mandi Jones (March 2008) who is solely responsible for its content.