Food For Thought:
The Hagelin, TM, Maharishi Connection
Saturday, August 12, 2000
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE: Food For Thought:
The Hagelin, TM, Maharishi Connection
Saturday, August 12, 2000
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"What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising?
Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical
advertising uses truth to deceive the public."
--- Vilhjalmur Stefansson
If you're like me, you've probably received piles of email about John
Hagelin, the Natural Law/Reform Party candidate for U.S. President.
On the surface, his positive, eco-friendly, spiritually-oriented focus
sounds both hopeful and enlightened. Hagelin's claims of being a Harvard-trained
physicist with numerous scientific publications to his credit also sound
impressive. But behind the scenes, there is a river of dubious connections
to the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Movement, which has a long history
of cultlike behavior and controversies.
What follows are a few excerpts from several different sources who
have been quietly (and not so quietly) attempting to bring these connections
out in the open. They focus on numerous issues, including how the Natural
Law Party is heavily influenced by TM'ers while Hagelin and other TM
Party members are downplaying this connection; how the Natural Party's
platform trace directly back to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his ongoing
attempts to paint the world with his particular version of spirituality;
how Hagelin's accomplishments as a "respected" physicist are
exaggerated; how the claims of TM "yogic flyers" and "coherence-creating
groups" that they are dramatically reducing crime and creating
peace in troubled areas are not based on credible, verifiable facts;
and how TM, as an organization, has a history of cultish activities
which include, among other things, the abuse of children and the use
of "deception, fraud, and corruption in the name of a higher ideology".
Food for thought -- especially if you are thinking of supporting Mr.
--- David Sunfellow
WHAT IS THE MAHARISHI'S NATURAL LAW PARTY?
According to the Natural Law Party (U.S.) "50-Point Action Plan
to Revitalize America" (http://naturallaw.org/platform/50_point_summary.html)
"there are simple, humane, cost-effective, scientifically proven
solutions to all of America's problems. The Natural Law Party was founded
to implement these solutions immediately in government."
Nowhere in the literature the Natural Law Party mails to prospective
members do they mention that all of these "solutions" are
based on products of one controversial group.
When you request an "Information Packet" from the Natural
Law Party website you receive: a warm welcoming letter from Kingsley
Brooks, Party Chair; a 12-page, glossy brochure for John Hagelin's bid
to become Reform Party and Natural Law Party candidate for President;
a 4-page invitation to the Natural Law Party Convention 2000; a 4-page
"Natural Law Party News"; a 2-sided brochure selling Robert
Roth's "A Reason to Vote" (it doesn't mention Roth's better
known book, "TM -- Transcendental Meditation: A New Introduction
to Maharishi's Easy, Effective and Scientifically Proven Technique for
Promoting Better Health"); a two-sided request for donations and
volunteers; an order form for Natural Law Party promotional materials
($15 for paperback books, $2 for campaign buttons, $2 for bumper stickers).
Nowhere in all this material does John Hagelin or the Natural Law Party
mention Transcendental Meditation (TM) or other Maharishi products --
even though they originally touted TM as the only "scientific"
answer to crime, war, education, health, and social problems when the
party was founded in 1992 (or 1988, depending on which TM source you
The fact is, the Natural Law Party has gradually mentioned TM and the
Maharishi less each succeeding campaign cycle since 1992.
POLITICS & TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
Edward Epstein, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, December 29, 1995
Last fall the Natural Law Party accomplished the impressive feat of
qualifying for California's 1996 ballot by registering more than 89,000
voters as party members.
But it is unclear how much, if anything, many of the tens of thousands
of voters who registered as members of the Natural Law Party knew about
the extent of the group's links to Transcendental Meditation or to its
founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In registering voters for a party, California law does not require
canvassers to disclose anything about the party or its backers.
And leaders of the Natural Law Party deny that their effort is formally
connected with the Transcendental Meditation movement.
"There is no connection organizationally or financially between
organizations that teach TM and the Natural Law Party," the party's
presidential candidate, John Hagelin, told a reporter at a recent press
conference, at which he appeared with many of the party's 90 or so California
candidates via conference call.
But there are a wealth of at least informal ties.
The Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 on the campus of Maharishi
International University in Fairfield, Iowa, and is still based in that
Hagelin is a particle physicist and longtime TM leader who is on a
leave of absence from his teaching post at the Iowa school.
And virtually all of the dozens of candidates for Congress and the
state Legislature in California that the party is fielding are practitioners
of Transcendental Meditation.
"The party is very closely linked with the TM movement,"
said John Knapp, who was part of the movement for 20 years before quitting
in 1990. "Almost everyone high up in the party is a TM-er."
Hagelin said he does not know how many of the party's candidates in
California are TM practitioners. But when a reporter asked the eight
candidates gathered in San Francisco if they were involved in the movement,
all raised their hands.
Later, a party spokeswoman said three or four of the candidates in
the state are not involved with Transcendental Meditation.
Bob Roth, a spokesman at the Natural Law Party headquarters in Iowa,
said it has been no secret that the party is connected with the TM movement.
"There has been extensive coverage about TM and the party. It's
no secret this is the TM party."
Hagelin added in an interview yesterday, "TM is a key platform
plank. But we've worked really hard to ensure there's no organizational
crossover. I make sure of that."
The Transcendental Meditation movement was founded in 1955 by the Maharishi,
a Hindu guru from India. Practitioners say their philosophy can teach
devotees a state of deep rest that can produce powerful positive effects
on individuals and society.
Although the idea of teaching meditation as a relaxation or stress-management
technique might seem innocuous, the Maharishi has gone much further
over the years in his claims about what TM can do.
TM has claimed that advanced practitioners can levitate. But video
of the practice actually shows that they are bouncing up and down off
mats while sitting cross- legged.
"I was a levitator," said Knapp, who now lives in Sonoma,
where he has started Trancenet, a World Wide Web site critical of TM.
"But actually you jump up and down on your butt," said Knapp,
who said the practice has left him with arthritis in his knees and lower-back
The Maharishi has also claimed that advanced practitioners can develop
powers of invisibility, mind-reading, perfect health and immortality.
The party's platform uses TM- based ideas to advocate solutions for
improving people's health, fighting crime, cleaning up the environment,
balancing the budget and a flat tax.
It also favors things like sustainable agriculture and the use of renewable
For example, the party advocates using TM-related ideas as a method
of improving people's physical health, thereby reducing spending on
Medicare and Medicaid without reducing people's benefits or requiring
them to pay more.
"The Natural Law Party transcends government as a bank. . . .
It shifts the focus from disease to health," Hagelin said at the
The Maharishi and Hagelin have both claimed that a small number of
advanced meditators forming a "coherence-creating group" in
one spot can have amazing effects on others. For instance, the movement
gathered a few thousand "Yogic flyers" in Washington, D.C.,
in June and July 1993 and claimed that as a result of their activity,
the local crime rate plummeted.
Those outside the movement failed to see any such cause-and-effect
PEACE PLAN FOR BALKANS
Hagelin has recently suggested that NATO use 2,000 TM experts in Bosnia
to create another "coherence-creating group" that would produce
waves of peace among the Balkan nation's contending factions.
"My estimation is that this would be enough to take some of the
edge off ethnic and religious conflicts in Bosnia," Hagelin said.
He also contended that in seven experiments over many years, mass numbers
of TM practitioners who convened in the Middle East produced noticeable
decreases in the level of violence between Israel and its neighbors.
"It was a fairly dramatic piece of research," he said.
TM CALLED A CULT
Critics call the movement a cult whose teachings can have harmful mental
and physical effects on followers. The effects of TM have drawn warnings
from the German government and the Cult Awareness Network, among others.
In 1980, the West German government's Institute for Youth and Society
produced a report calling TM a "psychogroup" and saying that
the majority of people who went through TM experienced psychological
or physical disorders.
TM tried to block the report, but in 1989 Germany's highest court finally
ordered it released.
The Chicago-based Cult Awareness Network tracks the group and distributes
a book highly critical of it.
The formation of the U.S. party, one of about 40 similar parties in
countries around the world, followed a directive from the Maharishi
in the early 1990s that his followers get involved in politics.
Hagelin was also the party's presidential candidate in 1992, when the
campaign got on the ballot in 32 states, raised $4 million, ran 128
candidates across the country and collected 37,137 votes. This time,
it hopes to get on the ballot in all 50 states.
QUESTION OF MATCHING FUNDS
Hagelin spoke optimistically of raising $25 million for the 1996 campaign,
thereby collecting an estimated $15 million in federal matching funds.
But that might not be possible if the party is formally associated
with the TM movement.
Courts have ruled that TM is a religion, and under U.S. tax law, religions
are not allowed to directly participate in political campaigns, at the
risk of losing their tax-exempt status.
"The real issue is that by getting matching funds, the Natural
Law Party is using American taxpayers' money to fund TM," said
Hagelin claims to be the principal author of the hottest theory in
quantum physics. True? Not quite.
John Hagelin did begin his career in physics with great promise. He
now claims, however, to be the primary author of one of quantum physic's
hottest theories. Superstring theory seeks to explain all physical laws
in terms of one, neat system. Rather than being primary author, however,
Hagelin was the second or third author on the foundational superstring
papers, behind John Ellis, director of the eminently prestigious CERN,
and others. (Authors on scholarly papers are traditionally listed in
order of their contribution to the paper's contents.) And as you can
read below, his co-authors and other noted scientists now distance themselves
from -- and sometimes outright ridicule -- Hagelin's current theories
linking Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi's teachings with
quantum physics. Meanwhile, his publications have gradually dwindled
-- with no new publications since 1994.
"Hagelin & Quantum Theory: Holding on by a Superstring,"
(http://www.trancenet.org/nlp/physics/superstring.shtml ) from Nature,
Vol. 359, Christopher Anderson, Sept. 10, 1992. In this article from
one of the most prestigious journals in science, physicist Hagelin is
accused of distorting science to fit his guru's ideas. Hagelin's former
colleagues in superstring theory disown his theories of consciousness
"Analyzing the Maharishi Effect." (http://www.trancenet.org/research/index.shtml#markovsky2)
In this balanced and deeply researched paper, philosopher of science
Evan Fales and sociologist Barry Markovsky, both of the University of
Iowa, discuss the "Maharishi Effect" -- Transcendental Meditation's,
John Hagelin's, the Natural Law Party's claim that groups of advanced
meditators can bring about peace in war-or crime-torn areas. When the
authors analyze the theory, they find the probability of the Maharishi
Effect Theory is very close to zero...
"Hagelin wins the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics," (http://www.trancenet.org/nlp/physics/ignobel.shtml)
from mini-AIR, October 1994, a journal of the Annals of Improbable Research.
Unlike the awards won by exemplary scientists, the Ig Nobel Prizes go
to individuals "whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced,"
according to the official program. A joint production of the "Annals
of Improbable Research" (described by some as the "Mad"
magazine of science) and the M.I.T. Museum, the 1994 Award in Physics
was awarded to John Hagelin "for his experimental conclusion that
4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime
in Washington, D.C." He was in good company: In 1994 , Hagelin
was "honored" along with "L. Ron Hubbard, ardent author
of science fiction and founding father of [the highly controversial
Church of] Scientology, for his crackling Good Book, 'Dianetics,' which
is highly profitable to mankind or to a portion thereof."
A GLIMPSE OF MAHARISHI'S ACHIEVEMENTS:
Over Forty Years Around the World (1957-1998)
1957: Maharishi founds the world-wide Spiritual Regeneration Movement.
1957-1967: Maharishi introduces research in the field of consciousness
and brings to light seven states of consciousness.
1975: Maharishi discovers the Constitution of the Universe -- the lively
potential of Natural Law -- in Rk Ved, and discovers the structuring
dynamics of Rk Ved in the entire Vedic Literature.
On the basis of the discovery of the Maharishi Effect, Maharishi celebrates
the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment around the world, with grand celebrations
on all continents.
1976: Maharishi creates a World Government for the Age of Enlightenment
with its sovereignty in the domain of consciousness and authority in
the invincible power of Natural Law.
Maharishi introduces the TM-Sidhi Programme and the experience of bubbling
bliss in Yogic Flying to create supreme mind-body co-ordination in the
individual and coherence in world consciousness.
1978: Maharishi inaugurates the "Ideal Society Campaign in 108
Maharishi creates the World Peace Project, sending teams of Yogic Flyers
to the most troubled areas of the world, to calm the violence through
their self-referral performance of the Transcendental Meditation &
Maharishi formulates his Absolute Theories of Government, Education,
Health, Defence, Economy, Management, and Law and Order to raise every
area of life to perfection.
1984: The first group of 7,000 Yogic Flyers gathers in Fairfield, Iowa,
USA. Scientific research on this assembly validates Maharishi's prediction
that when the square root of one percent of the world's population practices
the TM-Sidhi programme, including Yogic Flying, together in one place,
positive trends increase and negative tendencies decrease throughout
the whole world.
1988: Maharishi formulates his Master Plan to Create Heaven on Earth
for the reconstruction of the whole world, inner and outer.
Maharishi brings to light Supreme Political Science to introduce automation
in administration and create conflict-free politics and a problem-free
government in every country.
Maharishi inspires the formation of a new political party, the Natural
Law Party, in an increasing number of countries throughout the world,
to enrich and support national law with Natural Law.
1993: Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government and his practical formula
"A Group for a Government" -- gaining support of Natural Law
by creating and maintaining a group of Yogic Flyers -- is verified politically
in Mozambique and scientifically by a multi-million dollar experiment
Washington, DC in the USA.
1997: Maharishi establishes his Global Administration through Natural
Law, with 12 Time Zone Capitals around the world.
Maharishi Global Construction Company is established in many countries
to reconstruct the world in the light of the Vedic Principles of Construction
-- Sthapatya Veda, Vastu Vidya -- building in accord with Natural Law.
On Guru Purnima Day 1997, Maharishi Global Development Fund, with a
projected budget of US $100 billion was inaugurated as a perpetual fund
to finance the reconstruction of the whole world.
1998: The Maharishi Channel -- Maharishi Veda Vision -- begins broadcasts
in India, bringing a new light of Heaven on Earth, Vedic Civilization
returning, a time of peace and happiness dawning.
Maharishi Open University is founded, opening the gateway of Total
Knowledge of Natural Law for everyone, everywhere, in their own homes
via a network of eight satellites broadcasting to every country on earth.
THE MAHARISHI'S CHILDREN:
GROWING UP F--KED IN MAHARISHIVILLE
In the 1980s' German Study and Kropinski trial, outsiders got their
first hint that all was not well with the children of the TM Movement.
For the first time we heard stories of parental neglect, child abuse,
and autistic-like symptoms. In the late 80s, The Illustrated Weekly
of India published allegations of wide-spread child abuse on the Maharishi's
personal compound in Noida, India.
In a way, it only made sense. These kids were abandoned for hours everyday
while their parents meditated. Something must be happening with so little
supervision and so much license.
Now in the most shocking submission ever made to TranceNet, an adult
child of a renowned TM family describes in stunning detail her childhood
in Fairfield, Iowa, the center of the TM Movement in the US, where the
Maharishi told us to expect "Heaven on Earth."
Her amazing story and courage will change your view of the TM movement
Fair warning: strong language and explicit sexual situations follow.
Those wishing to avoid "negativity" would be well advised
to read no further. (See the above link for the complete story.)
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY:
INCLUDING INSIDER SECRETS, PERSONAL STORIES, SCANDALS,
NEWS ARCHIVE, AND MORE:
CULT LEADER HAGELIN, THE NATURAL LAW PARTY, AND TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
(A Website created by Pat Buchanan and Friends):
AFF'S TM RESOURCE PAGE:
FREEDOM OF MIND TM RESOURCE PAGE:
TM DISSENTER'S FAQ:
TRANCENET'S TM DEFINED:
THE MAHARHISH CAPER: OR HOW TO HOODWINK TOP MEDICAL JOURNALS:
GURU'S MARKETING SCHEME PROMISES THE WORLD ETERNAL 'PERFECT HEALTH':
NEALE DONALD WALSCH & JOHN HAGELIN TOUR:
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY:
NATURAL LAW PARTY PROMOTING TM FOR THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM:
MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY:
YOGIC FLYING SCHOOL:
C-SPAN NEWS CLIPS:
Sunday, July 23, 2000
Road to the White House Watch
New York, NY & Washington, DC
Reform Party Candidate John Hagelin campaigned in New York City, visiting
a phone bank and talking with leaders of New York City's Independence
Party. Also, Reform Party Candidate Pat Buchanan held a news conference
on his lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Length: 1 hr. 30 mins.
From C-SPAN's Road to the White House
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