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"Maharishi Effect"


DEFINED:   The Maharishi Effect is defined as "one percent of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program in any city reduces the crime rate, accident rate, and sickness rate" and "establishes a new formula for the creation of an ideal society, free from crime and problems, and with this, Maharishi envisions the dawn of a new age for mankind -- the Age of Enlightenment."
[1]

In 1978 the TM Organization (TMO) announced, "Discovery of the Extended Maharishi Effect: the square root of one percent of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program together in one place produces coherence in collective consciousness, promoting positive and progressive trends in society."
[1]

According to the TMO, "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. This phenomenon was first noticed in 1974 and reported in a paper published in 1976. Here, the finding was that when 1% of a community practiced the Transcendental Meditation ® program, then the crime rate was reduced by 16% on average. 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."
[2]

(See:
Commentary on US Cities - 1976 Report )

CLAIMS:   In their Brief Summary of Principal Research Findings, Mahesh/TMO claim that establishing the Maharishi Effect through "coherence-creating groups" has resulted in "reduced crime", "reduced violent crime" and "reduced war deaths" in their various studies.
[3] They also boast "47 scientific papers and presentations on the Maharishi Effect". [2]

COMMENTARY:   While these claims sound impressive, a closer look at the research methodology employed by the TM Organization, an objective analysis of crime statistics, as well as a study of conclusions reported in peer-reviewed studies, present an entirely different picture of the "Maharishi Effect".

In their research paper
-- a peer review study of the "Maharishi Effect" by Philosopher of Science Evan Fales, and Professor of Sociology Barry Markovsky -- they conclude that the probability of the theory "is very close to zero" and "...The claim that MT [Master Thesis] provides the only plausible explanation of these data cannot be sustained. There are alternative explanations that do not depend on esoteric or paranormal influences."

Regarding "reduced crime" claims for the Maharishi Effect (ME) and Extended Maharishi Effect (EME) -- both the state of Iowa and the city of Fairfied, Iowa should be the most significant examples in the US of decreasing crime trends, since Fairfield has contained the largest group of TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners in the United States, since 1979.

Only 102 people practicing TM (solely, 2x20 minutes, not including "sidhis" practice) are required to cover the ME for the city of Fairfield (10,163 x .01 = 102); and 171 people practicing TM are required to cover the ME for Jefferson County (17,080 x .01 = 171).
[4] There have been at least 171 people in Fairfield practicing TM since 1975. Maharishi International University (later renamed Maharishi University of Management) was established in Fairfield in 1974. [4] Currently, there are an estimated 2,000 TM practitioners living in Fairfield (20% of the local population.)

Only 164 people practicing the TM-Sidhi program together are required to cover the EME for the state of Iowa (2,678,261 x .01 = 26,783 x square root = 164).
[4] After the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program, there have been at least 164 people in Fairfield regularly practicing the TM-Sidhi program, since 1979. In fact, the number of people required to cover the EME for the entire United States, was established in Fairfield in 1982. [5] Also the 1994 MIU Catalog states, "MIU students have the opportunity to learn Yogic Flying, practiced twice daily in MIU's Golden Domes by 1600 students, faculty, staff, and members of the Fairfield community."

However, an objective analysis of crime data for the period of 1991-1998, based on the Iowa Uniform Crime Reports, shows an overall increase in violent crime and property crime for this period, both for
Fairfield/Jefferson County and for Iowa. By contrast, the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Arkansas show an overall decrease in violent crime and property crime for the same period.

According to the Mahesh/TMO claims, the Maharishi Effect covering the last 25+ years in the city of Fairfield, and the EME covering the last 20+ years in the state of Iowa, should have demonstrated a steady decrease in crime, accident and sickness becoming "the creation of an ideal society, free from crime and problems."

What does the objective evidence demonstrate? Has crime been steadily decreasing in Fairfield and in Iowa -- the home of Maharishi University of Management -- with the largest group of TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners in the United States? Just the opposite, in fact.

For additonal information debunking the "Maharishi Effect", see the examples listed under "Maharishi Effect" on the navigation index of this page. To review reported harmful side effects from the practice of TM and the TM-Sidhi program, please click
here.


[1] Source: "Creating Heaven on Earth" - www.alltm.org/Maharishi/Maharishi_year2.html
[2]
Source: Maharishi University of Management - www.miu.edu/m_effect/index.html
[3]
Source: Maharishi University of Management - www.miu.edu/m_effect/summary_brief.html
[4]
Population figures based on 1998 statistics from the Iowa Dept. of Public Safety.
[5]
Source: Maharishi University of Management - http://miu.edu/m_effect/24_us/index.html