Posted by: Jane | May 23, 2008

Transcendental Meditation, cults, scams and you

Recently a subscriber asked me.

“Why isn’t TM (Transcendental meditation) on your list of genuine meditation paths?”

He went on to inquire further,

“Or are you suggesting that TM, by omission, is not effective with mental health issues?”

My answer in a little more detail is this.

TM is a cult, a for profit religion that is not a religion.

As far as vibrating mantras or prayer. I have nothing against mantras and prayers. There may be some studies that indicate those kinds of things are beneficial. There is ample anecdotal evidence that mantras and prayer can be healing.

The reason I do not consider TM a true path of meditation is as follows.

Voodoo science: The road from foolishness to fraud.

Is it worth $2500 to learn TM?

Transcendental Meditation at Skeptic’s Dictionary

along with wonderful gems like this testimonial from a former employee of the TM org.

I was trained by Mahesh in the “old” days before he needed money so badly he had to get a bunch of us together to help him invent his “sidhi” program, for which, of course, he alone took all the credit. — Yes, some people honestly claim that they have benefitted from doing tm. And YES some people honestly claim that they have had very severe, very discouraging and damaging results. I know that both groups are correct because I spent 2 years as Mahesh’s personal secretary and saw the grim as well as the glorious results of his teacher training courses in Mallorce, Fiuggi and La Antilla. Sure, you can blame the victim (“you were doing it wrong” – “you have some pre-existing condition that is the problem” – “what you call bad results is just your misunderstanding: something good is happening”) I have heard it all.

Those who teach tm will make no effort whatsoever to assess if you might have a pre-existing condition. If you can pay the money, you are fit.

If you have problems, you are on your own.

If you have success, all glory to Mahesh.

Mahesh invented tm and invented the myth that there is a “holy tradition” from which tm comes. Mahesh is someone who appeals directly to our unquestionable sense of “I have made the right decision, I am right, I cannot be wrong”.

Either he turns you off totally. Or he hooks you by your own sense of you-cannot-be-wrong-about-this.

Think very carefully, boys and girls. You might love it. You might be in for the contamination of your life!”

You can find this gem along with many others at.

Factnet Message Board: TM

Former TMers newsletter

Answers at Yahoo: Has anyone else done TM?

The Maharishi’s Mad Money

Meditation vs TM

TM’s claims not unique to TM

TM is supposedly a path to enlightenment, not to mental health recovery.

There are better techniques taught by more qualified teachers if you want to learn meditation for mental health.

My own experience with TM is nil. I have met a small handful of people over the years that did TM at one time or another. One of my own uncles is a former TMer who became disillusioned with the practice. Everyone that I have met that claimed some TM background has invariably been 15+ years older than myself. I have met very few people my own age into TM, mostly older folks.

The idea of buying a mantra for thousands of dollars, a mantra that can be learned by making a study of the Vedas on one’s own..that’s a little too much of an insult to genuine spiritual seekers as well as my intelligence.

I learned of the problems with TM org in my early 20s. What I learned was enough to turn me off.


  1. Thanks for the answer. My experience is different from yours. I have been practicing meditation for thirty years and in that time I have learned mindfulness, the preliminary practices from Tibetan Buddhism, Siddha Yoga meditation and practiced Shikan-Taza under the tutelage of a roshi. I learned TM just a little over one month ago and have found it to be the simplest, most effective practice I’ve ever learned. They have all brought my attention to the exact same state but TM is effortless and therefor has the fewest ill effects from concentration – energy getting off balance, poor coordination between body and mind, affect problems, etc. Thanks for your great work.


  2. Thanks for posting on this.

    I took TM quite a few years ago, paying the severe fee due to an extreme hope it would help, because nothing else did and there were studies done that it helped just about everything.

    I had some difficult experiences on TM, maybe it was due to preexisting tendency to dissociate, but my teachers were unable to help me.

    I never got very deep into the group. I went for a few meetings (don’t remember how many) and a few “checks” but quickly got out.

    The people were very nice, but I had a bad feeling about after them after a while.


  3. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with TM oz.

    People’s experience with TM seem to vary quite a bit.

    Once I was hip to the mantra selling aspect of it, I never really had any great desire to partake of it.




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