(Investigator 30, 1993 May)

In Australia's recent election campaign the "Natural Law Party" NLP, which is connected with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and "Transcendental Meditation" TM, ran a candidate in 107 of Australia's 128 House of Representatives Seats, plus 19 candidates for the Senate — a team in every state!

This effort must have involved huge costs given the NLP's extensive advertising including a 20-page tabloid-size newspaper distributed to most homes in Australia.

The NLP was founded in Britain in March 1992, in the USA in April 1992, and in Canada in June.

In Australia the NLP is a registered party. Registration requires the names and addresses of 500 members to be sent to the Commonwealth Electoral Office. Political parties are not required to disclose sources of income. This made one Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Steele Hall: "feel intrigued that a new party could run such an ambitious election campaign without the community knowing much about it."

Mr Hall said that NLP representatives had behaved with: "So much decorum in fact that I found it very difficult to get to the core of their policies." (The Advertiser March 26 p. 13)

The NLP offers to create "Heaven on Earth" by following the "Maharishi's Master Plan" which includes getting lots of people to do "Transcendental Meditation".

Recently a $1 billion theme park called Maharishi Veda Land was opened in Canada with advertising costs near $80 million!

On October 19, 1977, the U.S. District Judge H. Curits Meanor issued an 82-page opinion that TM is "religious in nature". In 1979 this was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

The religious aspects of TM are Hindu in origin and the Hindu Scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita are considered by Maharishi as essential.

Benefits of the TM program were said to include relief from insomnia, overweight and asthma as well as improved concentration and reaction times.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born Mahesh Brasad Warma, 1911, in Jabalpur, India. In 1942 he graduated in physics from Allahabad University and worked in a factory. Next he joined the followers of various Indian Holy men finally becoming the favourite student of "Guru Dev" for 12 years.

In 1953 Maharishi (a name adopted in 1956 and meaning "Great Sage") moved into a Himalayan cave for 2 years. In Madras, 1956, he announced his plan to spread TM worldwide. He moved to the USA and then to a London apartment until 1967.

Prominence finally came when the Beetles and actress Mia Farrow joined Maharishi in a pilgrimage to India. The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and other celebrities joined up enabling Maharishi to ride the crest of "flower power" and the hippie movement. New followers had to contribute a week's income!

TM involved 40 minutes of restful posture every day with chanting of "Mantras" — songs which invoke influence from Hindu deities. This would supposedly lead to "bliss consciousness". If only 1% of a population performed TM crime would allegedly cease and hospitals would be empty!

Unfortunately for Maharishi the Beetles announced "We were wrong" and accused him of being a "lecherous womanizer".

For a while Maharishi dropped into obscurity. Then he returned having swapped religious terminology for scientific sounding language such as "Science for Creative Intelligence". His image changed from guru and monk to psychotherapist

By 1975 there were 7,000 TM teachers in the USA and one million Americans had tried TM!

New initiates paid fees and attended initiation ceremonies in candle-lit, incense-filled rooms where they laid food and flowers on an altar with a portrait of Guru Dev, after which the instructor sang a ten-minute devotional Hindu hymn called a "puja" to call on Hindu gods to be present. The instructor then gave the initiate a special mantra just for him and not to be divulged to outsiders.

The TM empire expanded to include "Maharishi International University" (in Iowa), "World Plan Executive Council", "Institute for Fitness & Athletic Excellence" etc. All this was directed by Maharishi from his headquarters in Seelisberg. Switzerland.

In 1976 Maharishi introduced his "Sidhi" program — evidently from the Sanskrit term "Siddhi" denoting supernatural powers. The program allegedly produced enlightened persons of infinite compassion who could levitate, fly, become invisible, walk through walls and dematerialize. Training cost $5,000 and by the mid 1980s leaders claimed that 4,000 people had learned to levitate and fly! The press offered $10,000 for a demonstration but Maharishi disallowed it.

An article in Psychology Today (1976, Volume 3, No. 11) expressed skepticism: "Their claims about levitating and becoming invisible destroy their scientific image." The same article summarized an experiment at the University of Arizona in which 4 groups of 35 subjects were measured for "creativity" before and after a 6-month period. One group did TM; another a "relaxation-response program"; the third a creativity course; the fourth nothing. Only the third group showed improvement after 6 months; the TM group didn't.

1992 saw a new phase in Maharishi's career with his followers entering politics in an organized and big way in order to: "offer the electorate a direct choice for Heaven on Earth."

The 20-page election tabloid was full of good things the NLP intended for Australia. At the basis of it all is the alleged "most powerful level of nature's functioning, the 'unified field' of all the laws of nature."

Page 18 continued: "This field is the field of pure consciousness, which can be accessed through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, and it can be further enlivened through the more advanced TM Sidhi program."

In the Australian election the 126 NLP candidates all failed to gain a Seat. It seems that Australians don't go for levitation, Dematerialization, invisibility and walking though walls.