The Mother of Us All: Ancient India’s Vedic Civilisation, Part IV
by William T. Hathaway
Part Four: Restoration
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Photo credit: Transzendentale Meditation
The previous article, “Decline and Fall”, described the loss of Vedic culture.
The decline in civilization reached its nadir in the mid-20th century with the horrors of Hitler and Stalin and the development of the hydrogen bomb. At this point Swami Brahmananda Saraswati decided the time was right to revive the authentic Vedic meditation based on effortless transcending. He sent his young assistant, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, out to revive the knowledge through Transcendental Meditation.
TM is very different from conventional meditation techniques, which use concentration and control. TM uses a special method of non-concentrative thinking that takes the mind effortlessly to the deeper, silent, thought-free realms. There, in transcendental consciousness, the mind is empty but aware of its own essential nature, which in Sanskrit is called sat-chit-ananda: eternal bliss consciousness. It becomes rejuvenated and suffused with energy, intelligence, and happiness and brings these qualities back into the active, thinking dimension, where they enrich our lives and improve our performance. Since concentration and control are mental activities, they are ineffective at reaching this non-active state of transcendental consciousness.
Physiological studies have shown that TM produces a fourth state of consciousness, distinct from waking, dreaming, and deep sleep and that contact with this transcendental consciousness improves our health, increases our intelligence, creates more harmonious relationships, and even contributes to world peace.¹ The research confirms that TM creates a pattern of brain waves, hormonal levels, and metabolic rates significantly different from meditations based on concentration and control of the mind. Scientists at Stanford University conducted a meta-analysis of 146 studies on meditation and relaxation techniques. Their report, published in Journal of Clinical Psychology, “showed the Transcendental Meditation technique was twice as effective in reducing anxiety as such other techniques as the relaxation response, progressive muscle relaxation, EMG biofeedback, etc. … Other meta-analyses found the Transcendental Meditation technique significantly more effective than other procedures in promoting self-actualization, psychological health and maturity, and relaxed physiological functioning, as well as in reducing high blood pressure and drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and cigarette use. According to the American Heart Association, the Transcendental Meditation technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.”²
These benefits and reports from enthusiastic practitioners resulted in huge numbers of people learning the technique. Maharishi began gathering them together for group meditations to measure the effects on the social level.
The research showed that large groups of people meditating together produce coherence and stability not just in themselves but also in the society around them. During every assembly, crime, violence, and accidents in the surrounding region dropped and the composite Quality of Life Index for public health, economics, and social harmony rose. The groups of meditators improved the whole society: negativity decreased, positivity increased. After the assemblies ended, the figures returned to their previous levels.
A further experiment showed even more dramatic results. With the help of a wealthy donor Maharishi constructed a residential center in India and filled it with 7,000 meditators practicing several hours a day. The other experiments had been short-term, lasting a few weeks or months, but this one lasted two years — a time that fundamentally changed the world. The Cold War ended, the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe freed themselves of totalitarian rule, the Berlin Wall came down, 80 nations signed an agreement that saved the ozone layer, black and white South Africans dismantled apartheid, hostile borders became open and friendly, former enemies signed arms reduction and non-aggression treaties. It was a period of unprecedented good will, a breakthrough for world peace.
These changes were not magical. They came about because the large group generated enough coherence and positivity in the collective consciousness of humanity to free it from a mass of accumulated stress. People could think and act more clearly in a life-supporting direction, so they were able to make the necessary changes.
Unfortunately the donor ran out of money. The group had to be dissolved, and negative consequences followed swiftly: The USA decided for full-spectrum dominance and developed new nuclear weapons; the first Gulf War broke out; Yugoslavia dissolved into violent chaos; terrorism multiplied. Destructive trends in all areas of life increased.
23 peer-reviewed studies based on 50 experiments document the long-distance effects of large groups of meditators in reducing violence and improving quality of life. They have been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Mind and Behaviour, Journal of Crime and Justice, Social Indicators Research, and other academic publications.
This evidence indicates TM can cure the root cause of war — stress in the collective consciousness — and bring world peace. This could be the most important discovery of our time, and we can all participate in it. Several studies have shown that individuals doing TM on their own for 20 minutes twice a day also contribute to this effect. More information and citations on the research can be found here.
Recently the number of people who have learned TM reached the seven million mark.³ This is an incomparable growth rate for a meditation technique, and it indicates that humanity and the planet have an excellent chance of better times ahead.
Despite the very real dangers that continue to threaten us, the world is in many respects a safer, happier, healthier place than it was 50 years ago. Life expectancy is increasing dramatically.⁴ Global health has improved with significantly lower rates of cancer and maternal and infant mortality.⁵ Hunger and malnourishment have decreased.⁶ Renewable energy investment has risen dramatically.⁷ The ozone layer continues to improve.⁸ Extreme poverty is declining.⁹
These developments make it clear that the doom-and-gloom scenario so prevalent these days is not founded on facts but on outdated fears. Humanity has the resources to solve the problem that confront us. We just need to be able to access them within ourselves.
This positive shift in the trends of time has been caused or helped by the fact that Transcendental Meditation has enabled millions of people to regularly experience higher states of consciousness. This occurring globally is unprecedented in history since the time of the full flower of the Vedic civilization.
What we are witnessing now is the restoration of that civilization on a global scale. This is just beginning, and danger and suffering still abound, but if seven million meditators have produced these changes, imagine what seventy million could produce.
About the author:
William T. Hathaway is the author of eight books and was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he currently lives. His novel of climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted at https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/cosmicegg-books/our-books/wellsprings
His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted at http://shattercolors.com/fiction/hathaway_summersnow01.htm
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