the National Economy
through Alliance with Nature's Government:
Effects of the Group Practice of Maharishi's
Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program
Kenneth L. Cavanaugh,
Kurleigh D. King,
and Birney D. Titus
Peace and prosperity are unquestionably the pre-eminent goals of every national government throughout the world. According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ("Maharishi Offers," 1990), the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi program, any government can easily achieve these fundamental goals by making use, through Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology, of the most recent discovery of modern science, the unified field of natural law. By enabling national government to come into alliance with nature's government, the unified field, this technology offers fulfillment to the search of government leaders everywhere for effective means to ensure lasting peace and promote and sustain economic progress ("Maharishi Offers," 1990). The contribution of Maharishi's Vedic Science to the achievement of world peace has been previously described by Orme-Johnson and Dillbeck (1987) and Orme-Johnson, Alexander, Davies, Chandler, and Larimore (1988). This paper describes the contribution of Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology to the improvement of national economic performance for any nation, irrespective of its political and economic system, through the reduction and prevention of economic problems and the promotion of prosperity and fulfilling progress.
In the following section, we outline the principles of Maharishi's Vedic Science, which explain how any government can utilize the skilled hand of nature to administer society and thereby bring success to its efforts to promote economic progress and improve the quality of national life. A particular focus of this discussion will be Maharishi's program for aligning national government with the government of nature through the group practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. As discussed in further detail below, Maharishi's Vedic Science predicts that the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program by a single group as small as the square root of one percent of the national population will be sufficient to bring any national government into alliance with natural law, the government of nature. Maharishi (1990) explains that this will enable national law to be brought into accord with natural law, thus making the government of the nation powerful, successful, and ideal. The predicted result of alliance with nature's government is to bring greater success to the activities of government, including its economic programs and policies, through support of natural law; to improve the performance of the national economy; and, more generally, to promote a holistic improvement in the quality of life. These positive effects of the group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program on society are known as the "Maharishi Effect" (Borland & Landrith, 1977).
We then examine key evidence validating these principles of Maharishi's Vedic Science by summarizing the results of research on the effect of the group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program on the national economies of both the U.S. and Canada. Using statistical time series analysis, this research found that Okun's "misery index" of inflation and unemployment, a commonly used measure of national economic performance, was significantly improved over the period 1979 to 1988 through the collective practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program by a single group comprising approximately the square root of 1% of the U.S. population.
In this research on the Maharishi Effect, time series impact assessment analysis of monthly data for both the U.S. and Canada found evidence of sizeable and statistically significant reductions in the misery index attributable to the influence of the TM and TM-Sidhi group. These reductions occurred two to eight months after periods in which the daily size of the group averaged 1500 to 1699; 1500 is approximately the square root of 1% of the U.S. population, and 1600 is approximately the square root of 1% of the population of all of North America. The declines in the misery index were highly statistically significant for both the U.S. (p < .01) and Canada (p = .00004).
These reductions in the misery index were also very large. A sustained increase in the average size of the group to between 1500 and 1699 led to an estimated ultimate reduction of 4.23 points in the U.S. misery index, or 30.0 percent of the total decline of the index (14.1 points) from its peak in 1980. For a group of 1700 or more, the estimated decline for the U.S. was 5.62 points, or 39.9 percent of the total decline from the peak of the index over this period. The results for Canada also supported the hypothesis of reduction in the misery index through the Maharishi Effect. For a group of 1500 to 1699, the reduction in the misery index attributable to the TM and TM-Sidhi group was estimated at 4.14 points, or 26.7 percent of the total decline in the Canadian misery index (15.5 points) from its peak in 1981. For a group averaging 1700 or more in size, the estimated reduction was 4.55 points, or 29.3 percent of the total decline. Thus for both countries, the estimated effect on the misery index was larger when bigger groups were practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program.
The results of the statistical analysis lend strong support to the hypothesis that over the period 1979 to 1988 the collective practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program significantly contributed to a substantial improvement in national economic performance for both the U.S. and Canada, as measured by a marked decline in Okun's misery index. These findings, therefore, offer empirical validation of Maharishi's prediction of improvement in the national economy and greater success of government through alliance with natural law. The paper is organized as follows. Part I discusses the principles of Maharishi's Vedic Science which underlie the Maharishi Effect and which describe how any government can ensure the success of its economic and other policies through establishing alliance with the government of nature. Part II describes how the behavior of the misery index reflects the degree of government success in meeting the three goals of economic policy which are widely viewed as most important by governments throughout the world--reduction of unemployment and inflation and promotion of economic growth. Part III summarizes the empirical results and concludes with a discussion of these findings. [A more detailed description of the statistical methodology and empirical results is given in Cavanaugh (in press) and Cavanaugh (1987).]
Maharishi's Vedic Science and the Maharishi Effect:
Implications for Economics and Government
Maharishi's Vedic Science is the revival of the ancient Vedic tradition of knowledge. It represents a fundamental paradigm-shift with implications for the social sciences which are even more profound and far-reaching than those of the shift from the classical to quantum mechanical paradigms in physics. In this section we provide a brief introduction to those aspects of Maharishi's Vedic Science which provide an understanding of the Maharishi Effect and its implications for economics and government.
and Social Science
The dominant theoretical perspectives in the fields of contemporary social science--such as economics, political science, psychology, and sociology--are, in the broadest sense, fundamentally behavioral in nature, although this behavior sometimes takes the form of expressed opinions and attitudes. In focusing solely on observed behavior, such behavioral theories ignore the basis of all thought and behavior--consciousness or awareness. Therefore, from the perspective of Maharishi's Vedic Science, these theories are intrinsically incomplete because they fail to incorporate a satisfactory theory of human consciousness. This gap in the theories of social science reflects the fact that the origin and nature of consciousness remains one of the great unsolved questions of modern science generally. The study of consciousness using the scientific methods of the modern objective approach to knowledge remains in its infancy. In fact, consciousness has been widely regarded as unsuitable for scientific investigation because of the generally vague and indefinite meaning of the term "consciousness," and because, by its very nature, consciousness is not directly observable by the senses (Hagelin, 1987, p. 56).
Maharishi's Vedic Science
The most ambitious and successful approach to formulating a satisfactory scientific analysis of consciousness and human behavior stems from the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who over the past thirty years has progressively revived and reinterpreted the ancient science of consciousness expounded for millenia by the sages and seers of the Vedic tradition of India (Chandler, 1987). Maharishi has provided a highly precise and coherent description of the nature and development of consciousness, its connection to the physical universe, and its relation to the behavior of the individual and society. Maharishi has also provided the Transcendental Meditation technique, "a reliable, systematic method by which consciousness can be directly experienced in its most fundamental state," (Hagelin, 1987, pp. 56-57).
In reviving and reinterpreting the knowledge of the Vedic tradition, Maharishi has systematically expressed the theoretical basis of Vedic knowledge in terms that are accessible and empirically testable. He has also actively encouraged empirical research on the testable implications of this Vedic paradigm and extensively explored the relationship between the findings of this ancient subjective approach to knowledge and those of the most recent discoveries of the modern objective approach to gaining knowledge (Chandler, 1987).
At the basis of Maharishi's Vedic Science is the proposition that human behavior has its basis in thought; and that the source of thought is the state of pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is an unbounded, nonlocalized, unified field which lies at the basis of all individual and social thought and behavior, and all behavior of the universe at large. According to Maharishi's Vedic Science, consciousness is not an emergent property of matter that comes into existence through the functioning of the human nervous system, but is fundamental in nature. Pure consciousness is seen as the essential basis of life, an unbounded, unified field which gives rise to and pervades the physical universe (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1969; Bhagavad-Gita, 1977; The Principal Upanishads, 1974; Sankaracharya, 1977). Maharishi's Vedic Science also holds that it is possible for the individual to experience the field of pure consciousness by allowing human awareness to experience its "self-referral" state in which consciousness is awake only to itself rather than identified with objects of perception, thought, or feeling. A simple, systematic procedure for experiencing this unified field of consciousness, Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation technique, has been taught to over three million people around the world during the past thirty years (Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, & Mittlefehldt, 1987, p. 70).
Unified Field Theory in Physics
The Vedic description of the unified field of consciousness, as brought forth by Maharishi, bears a striking resemblance to fundamental features of the unified field described in contemporary supersymmetric quantum unified field theories in physics, such as the superstring theory (Hagelin, 1987; 1989). Like these recent unified field theories, Maharishi's Vedic Science describes a single, unbounded, unified field of nature which transcends space and time and gives rise to the observed physical universe through a lively internal dynamics of self-interaction or self-referral. Maharishi's Vedic Science also describes the unified field as a field of pure intelligence, in which resides the totality of all the laws of nature which govern the evolution of the universe. Likewise, physics describes the unified field as an unmanifest field in which all natural laws, all principles of orderly change, are inherent (Schwarzschild, 1985; Waldrop, 1985).
Maharishi's Vedic Science goes beyond contemporary unified field theories in physics in equating the unified field, described by physics as underlying the objective physical universe, with the simplest level of human consciousness, pure consciousness (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1986, pp. 95-97; 1985, pp. 135-136). Maharishi (1986) explains the relationship between pure consciousness and the unified field as follows:
The knowledge of the unified field has been discovered by modern science during just the last few months and years, but the complete knowledge of the unified field has always been available in the Vedic literature. Today quantum physics is peeping into the details of the unified field and is locating its three-in-one structure. This is precisely the three-in-one structure of the self-referral state of consciousness. This structure is very simple to understand. The awareness is open to itself, and therefore the awareness knows itself. Because the awareness knows itself, it is the knower, it is the known, and it is the process of knowing. This is the state of pure intelligence, wide-awake in its own nature and completely self-referral. This is pure consciousness, transcendental consciousness. (p. 29)
The suggestion that consciousness must be deeply related to the most fundamental descriptions of nature given by modern science has been made repeatedly in twentieth-century physics (e.g. d'Espagnat, 1979; Eddington, 1929; Jeans, 1932; Schrödinger, 1967). For example, Bernard d'Espagnat (1979) concluded:
The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with the facts established by experiment. (p. 158)
Along the same lines, Sir James Jeans (1932) observed:
Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. (p.186)
More recently, a leading unified field theorist in physics (Hagelin, 1987) has concluded that
The proposed identity between pure consciousness and the unified field is consistent with all known physical principles, but requires an expanded physical framework for the understanding of consciousness which leads to a more integrated picture of the physical world and the full range of human experience. Indeed, such a framework appears to be required to account for experimentally observed field effects of consciousness and other phenomenological aspects of higher states of consciousness, which are otherwise anomalous within the paradigms that are currently in vogue. (p. 56)Thus Maharishi's explanation that consciousness is the essential nature of the fundamental field of nature described in modern physics has many historical precedents and, according to one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, this proposition is fully consistent with all known physical laws.
and Human Behavior
The fundamental relationship between consciousness and behavior described by Maharishi's Vedic Science is that the quality of individual behavior is dependent on the quality of individual consciousness. When human awareness consciously identifies with the unified field through the practice of Maharishi's TM and TM-Sidhi program, then all thought, feeling, and behavior begin to more fully reflect the comprehensive intelligence of nature which is lively in the unified field of natural law (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1986, pp. 94-101). Life is spontaneously lived in greater accord with natural law; that is, all thought, feeling, and behavior begin to have a constructive influence in terms of all the specific laws of nature governing human life (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1986, pp. 94-98). Maharishi explains (1982):
As the practice advances, individual life is spontaneously lived more and more in accordance with natural law. That means all thoughts and actions, all trends and tendencies take an evolutionary direction. With this, every aspect of life enjoys support of nature. This is what Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi programme do to the individual. (p. 3)
The basis of problems in individual life: Violation of natural law. From the perspective of Maharishi's Vedic Science, all problems and suffering in individual life ultimately stem from the "violation" of natural law which, in turn, results from lack of conscious contact with the unified source of natural law, pure consciousness (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1978, pp. 98-101). Violation of natural law refers to behavior which creates a predominantly destructive rather than constructive influence in the life of the individual and his environment (Maharishi University of Natural Law, 1982, pp. 5-6).
According to Maharishi's Vedic Science, natural law governs the evolution of the entire universe from the level of the unified field, naturally promoting evolution, growth, and expansion; the process of evolution requires a balanced functioning of the constructive and destructive forces of natural law (Maharishi University of Natural Law, 1982).
The evolution of one state into the other is brought about by a simultaneous process of destruction of the existing state and creation of a new one. Thus it is obvious that natural law stimulates constructive and destructive forces to function with each other for the evolution of the system.
Peaceful co-existence of these opposite forces of life is completely natural. It is only stress that brings life to a state of imbalance where the destructive potential of natural law becomes over-dominant (Maharishi University of Natural Law, 1982, p. 5).
Thus, according to Maharishi, behavior which violates the laws of nature governing human development creates stress in individual consciousness. The resulting predominance of the destructive aspect of natural law, in turn, retards the pace of evolution and gives rise to all forms of problems and suffering in individual life (Maharishi University of Natural Law, 1982, pp. 5-6; Maharishi European Research University, 1982a, p. 6).
On the basis of the principle "as you sow, so shall you reap," violation of natural law inevitably leads to misery and suffering (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1985, p. 151-152). Because natural law always promotes growth and evolution, Maharishi explains, "as soon as we violate natural law we are set right, and all pains, all problems, all failure, all misery, result from this one fact--violation of natural law" (1978, p. 99). Problems and failures are like a slap from nature to encourage more evolutionary thought and action (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1978, p. 80).
Removing the basis of problems in individual life. According to Maharishi, the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program removes the basis of suffering and problems in individual life by enlivening the full potential of natural law in human awareness. This eliminates all stress and strain which create imbalance between the destructive and constructive forces of natural law (Maharishi University of Natural Law, 1982, p. 6). Maharishi's technology of consciousness--the TM and TM-Sidhi program--improves the quality of individual life by bringing individual life in tune with the laws of nature, enabling the individual to spontaneously think and act according to natural law. Life in greater accord with natural law brings greater support of nature, removing obstacles to progress, and setting life "on an invincible course of evolution towards greater fulfillment, happiness, and creativity" (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1982, p. 5).
Maharishi emphasizes that bringing individual and collective consciousness into alliance with natural law "is the key to solving all problems of society on any level, be it social, economic, political, religious, or any other" (1978, p. 164).
Individual Consciousness and
According to Maharishi's Vedic Science, the quality of life in any nation is ultimately determined by the quality of what Maharishi calls the collective consciousness of the nation. Each level of society--family, community, city, state, nation, or the entire world--is described as having its own characteristic collective consciousness, which is the wholeness of consciousness of the entire group (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1977, pp. 123-124). The most fundamental level of collective consciousness is the same as that of individual consciousness, the unified field of pure consciousness (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1985, pp. 56-76). Just as the quality of the behavior of the individual is an expression of the quality of individual consciousness, the quality of behavior in society is seen as an integrated expression of the quality of collective consciousness of the individuals of the nation.
The view that society may possess some form of collective consciousness has also been expressed by the leading social thinker Emile Durkheim (1951). As described by Dillbeck et al. (1987), the empirical support for Durkheim's views was not persuasive, and his concept of collective conscience has therefore had little impact on the mainstream of sociological thought. By contrast, Maharishi provides a precise and complete description of collective consciousness and its relationship to individual consciousness which is readily amenable to empirical testing. Empirical tests of Maharishi's description of collective consciousness are facilitated by the fact that he has provided a practical and effective technology for systematically influencing the quality of collective consciousness in society.