Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By William T. Hathaway

The waves of war are rising again around the fragile ship of our civilization, threatening to sink it to the depths of barbarism and radioactive megadeath. The principle to preventing this is stated in the constitution of UNESCO: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” But no practical way is offered to implement this noble principle and create the needed change.

The ancient Vedic texts of India also state this principle, and they include a practical way to implement it that worked for thousands of years. The Vedic civilization was peaceful. No wars are recorded in its chronicles, and archaeological excavations have found no signs of it. This knowledge of how to implement it, though, was eventually lost, and warfare has become so common that it is now regarded as human nature.

Annihilation became a real possibility with the development of the hydrogen bomb in the early 1950s. To prevent this, an aged Indian monk, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and his young assistant, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, searched the Vedas and rediscovered the key to implementing this knowledge:

Verse 2.35 of the Yoga Sutras describes how peace can be created: “In the vicinity of coherence, hostile tendencies are eliminated.”

The two monks knew coherence must begin within individuals and established in their brains, their physiology, not just as an idea. And they knew total brain coherence is only found at the deepest level of meditation, where mental activity is minimal and orderly. This is samadhi, transcendental consciousness, a state of no thoughts in which the mind rests in itself, pure consciousness alone without an object. It is very difficult to reach this state by concentration or by controlling the mind to clear away thoughts. These are mental activities and thus ineffective in eliminating activity. This level of coherence is most effectively achieved through a non-concentrating, non-controlling form of meditation: Transcendental Meditation.

TM is easy and effortless, without any trying, but this goes against our habits of achieving things, so it needs to be taught in a course with follow-up instruction.

Swami gave Maharishi the responsibility of making this course available to everyone in the world. Enough people around the world regularly experiencing samadhi would create the coherence necessary for permanent peace.

Maharishi had a university degree in physics and could direct the scientific research necessary to confirm the effectiveness of TM and gain it worldwide acceptance. Then he directed studies to show the peace-creating effects of large numbers of people meditating together.

Twenty-three studies based on fifty experiments now document the long-distance effects of large groups of TM-practitioners in reducing violence and improving quality of life in the surrounding society. This has been demonstrated in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa, Washington DC, New Delhi, Manila, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iran and Holland where large groups met for long meditations. During every assembly violence, crime and accidents in the region dropped and the composite Quality of Life Index for public health, economics and social harmony rose. All the changes were measured by independent scientists and were statistically highly significant. The groups of meditators improved the whole society: negativity decreased, positivity increased. After the assemblies, the figures returned to their previous levels. The results were calculated by comparing data from different time periods to ensure that the only variable was the meditation course, thus establishing it as the cause of the change. Peer-reviewed studies 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.

I attended two of these assemblies, and the experiences were wonderful. Meditating with thousands of other people strengthens the results. The mental emanations reinforce one another into a palpable effect of group consciousness. I enjoyed deeper levels of inner silence and clearer infusions of transcendental energy. Outside of meditation, we treated one another with a harmony and tenderness that I’d never experienced in a group of people before. It was a taste of what an ideal society could be like.

In the late 1980s Maharishi constructed with the help of a wealthy donor a residential center in India and filled it with seven thousand 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, communism collapsed, the people of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union freed themselves of totalitarian rule, the Berlin Wall came down, eighty 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 nonaggression treaties. It was a period of unprecedented good will, a breakthrough for world peace.

But the donor ran out of money. He had already expended most of his fortune supporting the group and couldn’t continue. The group 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 continue to engulf us.

Now Dr. Tony Nader, Maharishi’s successor, is continuing the efforts to build a permanent peace-keeping group. From 29 December to 13 January ten thousand people will gather in a retreat center near Hyderabad, India, in comfortable accommodations with a huge meditation hall, medical center, fitness center with swimming pool, all surrounded by 1400 acres of forest, gardens, lakes and wildlife.

They will do yoga and meditate several hours a day, and independent scientists throughout the world will measure the effects of their coherent group consciousness. Strong enough results should finally convince governments, corporations and wealthy benefactors to fund a permanent group of peace-keeping professionals. Our survival depends on it.

“10,000 for World Peace” could be a watershed event in human history, and you can join it by contacting your nearest TM Center. Come along! Together we can create peace!

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