Maharishi Effect in Parma?

Fascinating story in NyTimes on the building of a Transcendental Meditation (TM) building in Parma, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland).

The background for this is the recently deceased Maharishi Mahesh and his theory that if 1% of the population practiced TM and prayed for world peace, crime would be lowered in those communities.

Unfortunately for the Maharishi:

for decades he struggled to reach enough people, even though he lowered the necessary figure to the square root of 1 percent. So, in 2000 he created the Global Country of World Peace, a “country without borders,” to build at least one so-called peace palace in or near the 3,000 largest cities in the world as places to train people in TM.


Though the movement is admired for its finances, many independent critics question its belief that large groups of people meditating or practicing yogic flying — where people meditate and hop while sitting cross-legged in the lotus position — can spread peace.

The organization cites studies that it says found that large groups of yogic fliers helped temporarily lower crime in Washington, D.C., end the cold war and briefly reduce hostilities in the Middle East.

“To the best of my knowledge, it has never been studied truly independently,” said Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a TM practitioner himself. “It’s been hypothesized for many years, but never proven.”

The architectural style is a hybrid (this is funny):

The result is something like an Indian temple crossed with a Southern plantation mansion, a look the organization hopes will become a visual brand, much like the golden arches signify McDonald’s the world over.

The article also raises concerns of whether tax status of these buildings (classes cost money) and whether or not the group is gaming the system so it can increase revenue streams:

The nine palaces being built by Global Country are being financed by $40 million worth of tax-free bonds backed by the Colorado Health Facilities Authority — thanks to the asserted individual health benefits of TM — and secured by some of the more than $250 million in land TM owns in the United States.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 10:38 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Found this very interesting. Thanks you for posting it.

    Since I have had the pleasure of purposing “Prayer” into my life … & have experienced many changes because I emphasize prayer in my daily life.

    Prayer is a quieting state for the natural body (which has been scientifically proven) also for the soul, & the spirit. It also allows the human being an experience that is totally in contrast to the world about them & thus causing a ripple effect – it changes ones perspective and thought process.

    It also produces an ‘electrical’ change within the mind & the body of individuals who experience time in prayer. Thus, effecting the surroundings that these individuals abide in. Since almost everything emanates an electrical charge.

    All of this … getting back to TM – such mystical practices (which are not that mystical once it is broken down into its basics) does make profound changes. Spiritually, soulfully, and naturally within the world we dwell in.

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