It seems that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the old guru that briefly provided spiritual guidance to the “Beatles” during the 1960s, wants to influence American kids through public schools.

Maharishi Mahesh YogiHowever, concerned parents upset this plan, in California’s bastion of liberalism Marin County and were unwilling to put out the welcome mat for Maharishi.

Amidst allegations that “Transcendental Meditation” (TM) taught by the guru was a “religion” and a “cult,” the program proposed by Terra Linda High School principal Carole Ramsey was ultimately withdrawn reported Associated Press. 

The funding source for this proposed program was eccentric film director David Lynch, who was willing to pay $175,000 through his foundation for 250 students and 25 staffers to practice Maharishi’s meditation.

A long-time devotee of the guru Lynch seems to spend more time traveling to promote TM lately than making movies.

One Marin parent said at an open public meeting that TM was “the beginning of a whole new philosophy of life.” And that it works “by putting people in trances, and when you’re in a trance you’re more suggestible” reported NBC 11.

David LynchPrincipal Ramsey insisted instead that the practice is “about quieting your mind” and “actually very good for your brain,” she said.

The principal allowed an open discussion last week, but it blew up in her face.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s religious,” pronounced yet another parent and opponent of the proposed program.

This is not the first time Maharishi’s followers have attempted to get their guru’s mantras into public schools within the United States.

During 2004 there were several attempts reported across the country.

According to one report filed by Associated Press TM fans were pitching their beliefs at public schools in “New York, California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and other places.”

Barry Markovsky, a University of South Carolina sociologist labeled such efforts “stealth religion.” And almost 30 years ago in 1977, U.S. District Judge H. Curtis Meanor ruled against TM being taught at public schools. 

However, that didn’t discourage the faithful who kept plugging away at a number of venues through often through front organizations.

Working through the “National Committee for Stress-Free Schools” Maharishi’s disciples were “aggressively promoting…in major cities, including New York City,” according to The Journal News. 

And in North Carolina a charter school garnered controversy when it announced a TM and “Natural Law Curriculum.” However, it was deemed inappropriate for public funds to support what is essentially seen as a religious practice. Ultimately the school board voted down TM as part of its educational program.

TM supporters also tried to enter schools within Lexington, Kentucky.

In all of these attempts, much like the recently proposed Marin “wellness” program, Maharishi’s followers pitched a program they claimed would somehow lead to a decrease in blood pressure and discipline problems, improvement in grades and the lowering of stress levels.

But critics repeatedly questioned the research regarding TM, which has been characterized as “skewed toward positive results.”

The Middle European Journal of Medicine found that out of 700 studies on TM spanning 40 years, only 10 were conducted in the clinical tradition of using strict control groups, randomization and placebos. Of those 10, four of the studies recruited subjects that had already shown an interest in TM.

Peter Canter a researcher from the Peninsula Medical School of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in the United Kingdom concluded, “there is a strong placebo effect going on which probably works through the expectations being set up.”

It seems David Lynch hoped to avoid controversy with the recently proposed school program in California, by putting up the funding himself.

However, despite this demonstration of devotion to his guru, Mr. Lynch will not be gaining any new disciples for Maharishi and his teachings in Marin.


only 1 comment untill now

  1. I am a layman in cult and religion studies, however, I would suggest that TM is in fact an eastern religion and therefore should be forbidden from being taught in public skools(sic). However, I think that Christian, Jewish and Muslim religion should also be banned.