Transcendental Meditation Myths: 'Yogic flying' aka bouncing on foam
"Yogic flying" aka bouncing on foam

TM Myths

Changing the weather?   Flying?   Dematerializing?


Greatest Teacher in the World Today?

Myth #1: TM Techniques Produce Supernormal Powers
Myth #2: TM Is Not A Religion
Myth #3: TM Increases Creativity, Memory and Intelligence
Myth #4: TM Creates World Peace
More Mythology: Outrageously Silly Statements

Myth #1: TM Techniques Produce Supernormal Powers

The following news articles reflect the dates and claims of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM Organization that TM techniques produce supernormal powers. Some of the articles also expose the misleading photos, released by the TM Organization, of people "flying"; and also their phony claims of controlling the weather.

NOTE: It has been over 25 years since the announcement in 1977, by the TM Organization, that TM techniques will produce supernormal powers. To date, no supernormal powers have ever been demonstrated.

  New High From the Maharishi: Levitation From Meditation; The Maharishi's New High by Eugene L. Meyer, Washington Post. Monday, June 6, 1977; Page B1, Section: Style. (Excerpts)

"The Transcendental Meditation movement of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which gained a measure of respectability and a host of government grants by scientifically documenting the effects of the technique, is now into levitation and disappearing. The hard-core disciples of the Maharishi - who attracted nearly a million people to their classes on meditation over the past two years - are now speaking excitedly of 'supernormal' powers like levitation (lifting one's body into the air), 'dematerializing yourself' and even flying through the air 'like Peter Pan.' "

"At a press conference last week in Baltimore to publicize the new trend, adherents declined to demonstrate their newly acquired skills, such as levitating. 'We don't want to get into a circus, demonstration type environment,' said David Sykes, a 28-year-old lawyer and TM teacher. The one exception, he suggested, would be 'if a maximum of 10 people, but no more, donate a minimum of $1,000 to the program. Then we'd show them.'

"The new turn in the multimillion-dollar-a-year TM movement comes at a time when the number of new people learning the age-old technique in official TM classes has dropped dramatically from a monthly peak of more than 40,000 in this country less than two years ago to no more than about 10,000 today.

"It also comes shortly after sharp tuition increases this March for all TM courses. 'Movements don't run on nothing,' Konhaus said. The fees are used to support the movement's far-flung empire, which includes substantial real estate, a Los Angeles television station and Maharishi International University, formerly Parsons College, in Fairfield, Iowa."

"David Ginsburg, 25, who dropped out of his father's Baltimore dental lab to be a fulltime TM teacher, said he had experienced a 'refinement of (hearing) perception.' What did he hear? 'I heard bliss,' he said, declining to give further details. Sykes, the Baltimore lawyer, said that people had experienced varying 'degrees of mastery' of the new skills. Flying, for example, came in three stages, he said, and most were still on the first - 'hopping,' or lifting off the ground a foot or two, going forward a few feet, then setting down again. The other stages, he said, were 'flotation' or hovering and, finally, 'actual mastery of the sky, flying at will.' 'Like Peter Pan,' interjected another TM teacher present at the three-story brick Baltimore center."

  Group Says Movement a Cult by Phil McCombs, Washington Post. Thursday, July 2, 1987; Page C03. (Excerpts)

"A press release from the maharishi's Age of Enlightenment News Service advertises his 'program to create world peace' and is headlined: 'TM-Sidhi "Yogic Flying" Technique to Be Demonstrated in the Nation's Capital.' "

"Haviland [spokesman for the maharishi, Mark Haviland of MIU's College of Natural Law], said yesterday that 'hopping' is the first stage of yogic flying. He added that 'hovering' and 'actual flight' -- the second and third stages -- have not yet been achieved. 'Given the results we've experienced so far, we feel that it won't be long before we'll be getting onto the second and third stage,' Haviland said. He said the important thing is the 'coherence' that the 'flying' creates individually and collectively, 'which leads to world peace.' "

  Notes of a Fringe-Watcher - Doug Henning and the Giggling Guru by Martin Gardner. Skeptical Inquirer magazine, May/June 1995. (Excerpt)

"Vedic flying has been the most publicized of the sidhis. Photographs distributed by TM officials show devotees in a lotus position and seemingly floating in midair. The photos are misleading. No TMer has yet demonstrated levitation to an outsider. The best they can show is the ability to flex one's legs while in a lotus position on a springy mattress and hop upward a short distance. The phony photos were snapped when the supposed floater was at the top of a bounce."

  An Investigation of the Reported Effect of Transcendental Meditation on the Weather by Franklin D. Trumpy. Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 8, No. 2. Winter 1983-84, pp. 143-148.

Wherein TM movement research on the effect of mass meditation on weather was found to be grossly misrepresented.

This study revealed that the concrete contractor checked the National Weather Forecast each time before deciding to make a delivery the next day and that the meditators sought warm weather only later in the day, after the forecast on which the contractor relied was already made.

Myth #2: TM Is Not A Religion

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM Organization claim that Transcendental Meditation and its related practices are not religious in nature. This position has enabled them to obtain public monies and to enlist the aid of governmental entities in the propagation of their beliefs, teachings, theories, and activities.

In 1977, however, a federal judge ruled, "that the Science of Creative Intelligence/Transcendental Meditation and the teaching thereof, the concepts of the field of pure creative intelligence, creative intelligence and bliss consciousness, the textbook entitled Science of Creative Intelligence for Secondary Education--First Year Course--Dawn of the First Year of the Age of Enlightenment, and the puja ceremony, are all religious in nature within the context of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution..."

Listed below is a news article regarding the court decision, excerpts from the U.S. District Court transcript of Maknak v. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the English translation of the puja ceremony, and a quote from Mahesh Varma (aka Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) on selecting mantras.

  Judge Says U.S. Funds Can't Be Used Teaching TM in Public Schools by Marjorie Hyer, Washington Post. Friday, October 21, 1977 ; Page A9 Section: First Section. (Excerpt)

"A federal judge in New Jersey has ruled that Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a religious practice and therefore cannot be taught in federally funded public school programs. U.S. District Court Judge H. Curtis Meanor in Newark held that the TM program, also called the Science of Creative Intelligence, violates the separation of church and state mandated by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendement. Meanor's 78-page opinion upheld the contention of the plaintiffs, who challenged the teaching of TM in five Newark area high schools, funded by a $40,812 grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare."

  United States District Court DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY, Civil Action No. 76-341, ALAN B. MALNAK, et als, Plaintiffs, v. MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI, et als, Defendants (Excerpts)

"The unreliability of proponents' characterizations of their actions and beliefs is illustrated by the instant case. The first organization in this country to offer instruction in the technique of Transcendental Meditation was incorporated in California in 1959 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and others under the name of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation. Jarvis Deposition at 858, 861. Until 1965, the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation was the only organization in the United States which offered instruction in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's teachings. Id. at 852. Defendant Jarvis served as secretary of this corporation from 1963 to 1965. Id. at 854. One of the articles of the certificate of incorporation, as amended, of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation stated that 'this corporation is a religious one...' "

"To the extent that the standard recommended by defendants places critical or determinative weight on the subjective characterization of the proponents of their activities and beliefs, it must be rejected. The inappropriateness of a standard which places such importance on the proponents' characterization of their beliefs and activities is particularly apparent in the context of an establishment clause case in which the proponents have enlisted the aid of governmental entities in the propagation of their beliefs, teachings, theories, and activities. While the characterization of proponents is properly admissible evidence, proponents cannot propagate concepts which society recognizes as religious in nature merely because the proponents view the concepts as secular."

To view a copy of the transcript, see

  "For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods. Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal Gods and make us happier in every walk of life." Mahesh Varma, 1955.

For a complete list of mantras and meanings, see

  Invocation "To the Lord Narayana, to lotus-born Brahma the Creator, to Vashishtha, to Shakti and his son Parashar, To Vyasa, to Shukadeva, to the great Gaudapada, to Govinda, ruler among the yogis, to his disciple, Shri Shankaracharya, to his disciples Padma Pada and Hasta Malaka And Trotakacharya and Vartika-Kara, to others, to the tradition of our Master, I bow down. To the abode of the wisdom of the Shrutis, Smritis and Puranas, to the abode of kindness, to the personified glory of the Lord, to Shankara, emancipator of the world, I bow down. ..." English translation of the pujua -- required initiation ceremony for instruction in TM, taken from "Holy Tradition" by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

For a complete translation of the puja, see
Also see additional information about the from court testimony.

For further discussion regarding TM as a religion, see
"Is TM a Religion?"

Myth #3: TM Increases Creativity, Memory and Intelligence

  "Creativity increases, as measured by tests of both verbal and pictorial fluency, flexibility, and originality. ... Basic memory processes improve. ... Studies of elementary school students, high school students, college students, and adults have found significant increased IQ scores compared to non-meditating controls over the same period. ... The meditators reached higher levels of moral reasoning, autonomy and integration than has ever been seen before in any other group." Quoted from MUM research page.

Does Transcendental Meditation Affect Grades? by Carmen J. Carsello and James W. Creaser, Student Counseling Service University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. Journal of Applied Psychology 1978, Vol. 63, No. 5, 644-645 (Excerpts)

"Seventy students who took a Transcendental Meditation (TM) Technique Initiation Training program were matched on the basis of sex, college, year, prior grades, and first letter of last name with students who had not undergone TM training. The TM group did not differ in grade point average from the control group for the quarter after training. The same was true for subgroups of 2 matched pairs two quarters after training. No effect upon grades was demonstrated for TM training.

"Three studies in a publication of the Maharishi International University Press, edited by Orme-Johnson, Domash, and Farrow (1976, pp. 393-395; 396-399; 400-402), reported beneficial effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on academic performance at both the high school and college levels. Each of these studies, however, either failed to isolate effects of TM form other concurrent activities or dealt only with those particular TM trainees who became 'enthusiastic' about the practice.

"Domino (1977) failed to find standardized test support for a TM claim of increased creativity, and other than in the TM publications and pamphlets, no confirmation of improved grades could be found in the literature. Because TM is marketed on almost every university campus, there appeared to be a need for the present large-sample, well controlled study of what happens to the grades of the run-of-the-mill student who volunteers for TM training."

2002 College Rankings , U.S.News Online report, Fall 2001.
Of all the U.S. Universities and Colleges surveyed, Maharishi University of Management had an academic reputation score of 1.6, the lowest of all schools, all tiers.

2001 College Rankings, U.S.News Online report, Fall 2000.
Of the 1,418 U.S. Universities and Colleges surveyed, Maharishi University of Management had an academic reputation score of 1.5, the lowest of all schools, all tiers.

  DeNaro, Anthony D. Counselor at Law. Sea Cliff, New York, July 16, 1986. Former MIU legal counsel and professor of law and economics, and former MIU director of grants administration.

"12. ...In fact, meditation was used as an excuse (probably valid) by my students for not completing a project much in the way a "virus" or "the flu" debilitates the average college student. The consequences of intensive, or even regular, meditation was so damaging and disruptive to the nervous system, that students could not enroll in, or continue with, regular academic programs.

"Many of my students offered as an excuse for not being able to sit for an examination or write a paper, the fact that they had a 'bad meditation' or just 'got off rounding' (group TM) and haven't gotten 'back to earth yet.' "

Bensheim, Germany: (Institut fur Jugend Und Gesellschaft, Ernst-Ludwig-Strasse 45, 6140.) Institute for Youth and Society, 1980 (188 pgs).

Among the 67 subjects studied:

  • 76% of long-term meditators experience psychological disorders -- including 26% nervous breakdowns
  • 63% experience serious physical complaints
  • 70% recorded a worsening ability to concentrate
  • Researchers found a startling drop in honesty among long-term meditators

Myth #4: TM Creates World Peace


"I will fill the world with love and create heaven on earth." Maharishi, 1959.

"'Yogic Flying' is the mechanics to make world peace a reality, and thereby bring world health, world happiness, world prosperity, a world free from suffering -- Heaven on Earth in this generation." Maharishi, 1986

"Maharishi's Year of Achieving World Peace", announced by Maharishi, 1988

"It will be very difficult for the age-old suffering to continue...we are laying the cornerstone of Heaven on Earth." Maharishi, 1997

"The Year of Invincibility to Every Nation", announced by Maharishi, 1999

(Quotations taken from
"Creating Heaven on Earth" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi )

COMMENTARY: These are a few of the predictions made by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during the last 40+ years, with regard to his ability to create world peace. Concerning these claims, it has been established that "yogic flying" does not exist (see Myth #1, above); a world free from suffering has not been created in the generation since the 1980's nor in the year 1988; and every nation on this earth has not been made invincible.


"In 1960, Maharishi predicted that one percent of a population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population." "Maharishi introduced the TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, in 1976." "At this time, the phenomenon was named Maharishi Effect. The meaning of this term was later extended to cover the influence generated by the group practice of the TM-Sidhi® program. Generally, the Maharishi Effect may be defined as the influence of coherence and positivity in the social and natural environment generated by the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs."
Maharishi University of Management

"For example, a group of 200 practicing the TM-Sidhi program together in a city of four million (100x200x200) would be sufficient to produce a measurable influence on the whole city; a group of 1600 in the U.S. would influence 256 million (100x1600x1600) people, the whole population of the U.S.; and a group of 7000 would influence 4.9 billion (100x7000x7000) people, the population of the world at that time." Maharishi University of Management

COMMENTARY: The "Maharishi Effect" has been debunked as a result of reviewing the objective crime statistics for the state of Iowa, and for the city of Fairfield, Iowa, where the "Maharishi Effect" has been fulfilled in term of numbers of people practicing TM or TM/Sidhis, since 1975 (over 25 continuous years), at the MIU/MUM campus. (For more information, see "Maharishi Effect" .)

More Mythology: Outrageously Silly Statements
  • "The planets are constantly influencing our life. This influence can only be handled by programs based on Maharishi Vedic Astrology. ®" Maharishi Vedic Foundation - October 2000 Newsletter announcement

  • "Demolition is the technique," says Tom Brooks, chief administrative officer of MUM. "With every old building we demolish, we release more positivity and gain more support of Natural Law." Explanation of why old historical buildings are being demolished on the site of the former Parsons College, now Maharishi University of Management. Golden Domes Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 2000

  • "These buildings promote creativity, clear thinking, health and well-being," said Craig Pearson, executive vice-president of MUM. "We look forward to the great good fortune that buildings built in accord with Natural Law will bring. Now even our buildings will be lighthouses for enlightened education." Explanation of (among other things) the need for east-facing entrances to buildings. Golden Domes Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 2000

  • "Note: According to Sthapatya Veda, entrances facing due east or due north bring best effects for the health, success and happiness of the inhabitants. Other entrances, especially south facing, should be avoided." Design note on SquareDomes International's order page.

  • "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is widely regarded as the foremost scientist in the field of consciousness, and is considered the greatest teacher in the world today." "Creating Heaven on Earth" at

  • "I will fill the world with love and create heaven on earth." Maharishi, 1959." "Creating Heaven on Earth" at

    As noted, Mahesh is filling something: "...Maharishi's world government and international Vedalands, his enlightenment enterprises, services and products [are] worth $3.5 billion plus..." And he has "plans for a quantum leap in new sales and influence." David Friend, The Return of Mr. Bliss, LIFE magazine, November 1990, pp. 82, 92.