Moreover, we have seen that Maharishi (1967) places the responsibility for the state of the society squarely on the individuals that comprise it: Their "small wrongs" accumulate in the environment and eventually lead to "catastrophe" (p. 44). Thus government, administration, leadership, policy, and planning, in the final analysis, all take second place in importance to the kind of lives the people of the society are living. In his subsequent teaching, Maharishi (1976) has extended this principle in the domain of government as his Absolute Theory of Government:
National consciousness governs the activity of every nation in the same way that the consciousness of the individual governs the activity of the individual. Since national consciousness is the collective consciousness of all the individuals of the nation, it is ultimately the consciousness of the individual which is the prime mover of the nation and shapes its destiny. Every decision of government is the expression of national consciousness. Government is the pure and innocent mirror of the nation, faithfully reflecting whatever is presented to it. (p. 122)
Here Maharishi presents a principle that many governmental leaders have experienced: Governmental decisions and actions reflect the coherence or incoherence of national consciousness, which is simply the collective value of the consciousness, thoughts and actions of each individual in society.
The formula for creating an ideal society, Maharishi (1967, 1976) teaches, must therefore be one which creates ideal individuals. This, he further points out, is precisely the purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita:
The whole discourse of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita is designed to give the wisdom of life and the technique of living which enable man to live all the good qualities of life with full coordination of heart and mind. By this wisdom and this technique the individual is raised to a high level of consciousness where he gains eternal contentment within himself. He lives a life in fulfillment, useful to himself and society. Such a life supports surrounding nature; all becomes harmonious, resulting in ideal relationships with others. (1967, pp. 49-50)
This marvelously concentrated statement is worthy of detailed attention. Here, in a single paragraph, Maharishi provides the fundamentals for perfection of individual and collective life. We note that Lord Krishna's discourse provides "the wisdom of life." The knowledge given in the Bhagavad-Gita, Maharishi explains, is complete knowledge, knowledge of the totality of life, manifest and unmanifest. "Wisdom" refers in this context to intellectual knowledge, to understanding the fundamental principles that govern life, both individual and collective, everywhere. Such understanding alone is not enough, however; it must be supplemented by "the technique of living": the practical method of making this knowledge a natural reality of daily life. This technique is Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation program. Maharishi (1967) explains:
The technique may be defined as turning the attention inwards towards the subtler levels of a thought until the mind transcends the experience of the subtlest state of the thought and arrives at the source of thought. This expands the conscious mind and at the same time brings it in contact with the creative intelligence that gives rise to every thought. (p. 470)
What is described here as "creative intelligence," Maharishi (1967, 1972) has explained, is the field of pure intelligence: pure consciousness or transcendental consciousness, the total potential of natural law. More recently, in the context of his Vedic Science, Maharishi (1986a) has emphasized that at this level, awareness is open not to any objects of perception, but only to itself.
When consciousness is flowing out into the field of thoughts and activity, it identifies itself with many things, and this is how experience takes place. Consciousness coming back onto itself gains an integrated state, because consciousness in itself is completely integrated. This is pure consciousness, or transcendental consciousness. (p. 25)
Maharishi has always emphasized the simplicity and naturalness of the Transcen-dental Meditation technique in systematically bringing about this experience, in contrast to other forms of meditation that have been taught from time to time:
It should be noted that Transcendental Meditation is neither a matter of contemplation nor of concentration. The process of contemplation and concentration both hold the mind on the conscious thinking level, whereas Transcendental Meditation systematically takes the mind to the source of thought, the pure field of creative intelligence. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967, p. 471)
The significance of this experience, Maharishi (1967) teaches, is that the individual conscious mind now has direct access to the field of pure consciousness, which is the total potential of natural law. In higher states of consciousness, when thought and action are spontaneously grounded at this level, no violation of natural law is possible, and no mistakes are made. The invincible evolutionary power of natural law is available to the individual, leading to all success and accomplishment in life:
When the mind comes out from the field of Being, the plane of cosmic law, into the relative field of activity, which is under the influence of innumerable laws of nature, it automatically enjoys the support of the cosmic law, and this makes possible the accomplishment of any aspiration and the ultimate fulfillment of life.
This is how the life of a man who has risen to cosmic consciousness is eternally established on the level of cosmic law and receives spontaneous support from all the laws of nature. (p. 472)
When the wisdom of life and the technique of living-understanding and experience of the nature of pure consciousness-come together, Maharishi goes on, they give rise to an ideal quality of individual life. One is enabled "to live all the good qualities of life"; giving support in one's life, in other words, to values of life that structure evolution. This is life according to natural law. One naturally lives "full coordination of heart and mind" since the source of both and the source of the laws of nature that structure their coordination-the field of pure consciousness-is being enlivened in one's awareness.
Scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation program over the past two decades has amply confirmed this description. The regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique has been associated with, among other things, greater creativity (Travis, 1979), improved memory (Dillbeck, 1982), and better problem-solving ability (Dillbeck, Orme-Johnson, & Wallace, 1981; Dillbeck, 1982). Field independence, a measure of greater cognitive integration, consistently increases (Pelletier, 1974). Intelligence itself systematically expands, even in people in age-groups that habitually see it decline (Shecter, 1978; Tjoa, 1975). Systematic growth of higher moral reasoning (Nidich, 1975), and balance and integration of personality (Nidich, Seeman & Dreskin, 1973; Alexander, Rainforth, & Gelderloos, 1991) have also been documented. These effects are underpinned by profound effects on physiological functioning, including a deep level of physiological rest during the practice (Wallace, Benson, & Wilson, 1971; Dillbeck & Orme-Johnson, 1987); reduced levels of physiological stress, as indicated by reduced hypertension (Wallace, Silver, Mills, Dillbeck, & Wagoner, 1983; Cooper & Aygen, 1979) and greater immunity to stress (Orme-Johnson, 1973; Brooks & Scarano, 1985); and better levels of health, as indicated by more healthy behavior and lifestyle (Monahan, 1977; Shafii, Lavely, & Jaffe, 1975) and as reflected in lower rates of hospitalization and medical treatment (Orme-Johnson, 1987). In consequence, practitioners of Transcendental Meditation have been shown to interact better with those around them, for instance in the workplace, with better relationships with supervisors and co-workers (Frew, 1974), and in the family (Aron & Aron, 1982; Suarez, 1976).
Taken together these findings indicate, coming back to the language of Maharishi's commentary, that an individual who practices the Transcendental Meditation technique begins to live "a high level of consciousness." A life of higher states of consciousness is characterized by "eternal contentment": It is "life in fulfillment." It is, moreover, life that is "useful to himself and society," just by virtue of its existence: Such a life enlivens all life from its foundations, nourishing "surrounding nature," the creation at large. As all things are enlivened from their source, they are integrated and become "harmonious." This is particularly true of the social environment, the harmony of which is reflected in "ideal relationships with others." On this basis alone, Maharishi teaches, society is able to advance to its ideal, an ideal which is relevant to all cultures and historical periods, however varied they may appear to be on the surface.
The intrinsic interconnectedness of all members of a society on the level of consciousness is emphasized by Maharishi (1967) in his commentary on the notion of fame (II.34): "The underlying principle of good fame in society is that when a man constantly does good he becomes a center of harmonious vibrations which, enjoyed by the people around him, naturally create warmth and love in their hearts" (p. 111). We may note the word "constantly"; the implication here is that the level of consciousness being lived is such that good actions are natural to the individual. The "harmonious vibrations" are thus those produced by the awareness being to some degree open to the field of pure consciousness. In the case of someone practicing Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation technique, where the conscious mind is identified with this field regularly and systematically, the effect is correspondingly greater: "The contentment and serenity gained through this action of meditation produce harmonious and life-supporting influences for the whole world" (p. 214).
In the state of enlightenment, Maharishi teaches, as we have seen, the experience of pure consciousness is an all-time reality. The universal nourishing effect produced by the enlightened from the level of the unified field of natural law is continuous and unrestricted. Maharishi (1967) characterizes enlightenment as:
. . . the height of realization, which is to realize the supreme oneness of life in terms of one's own Self. No diversity of life is able to detract from this state of supreme Unity. One who has reached It is the supporter of all and everything, for he is life eternal. (p. 449)
More recently, as we have noted, Maharishi (1978, 1986a) has emphasized that even a small group of individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program can produce a powerful, nourishing effect and influence the whole society in an evolutionary direction. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that as little as 1% of a society practicing the Transcendental Meditation program, or the square root of 1% practicing the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program in a group, creates this effect, which is known as the Maharishi Effect (please refer to Orme-Johnson & Dillbeck, 1987). The Maharishi Effect is expressed in the total quality of life of the society, as measured by such parameters as declines in crime rates, accident rates, sickness, and violence, and the increasing strength of the economy and comprehensive quality of life indices (Orme-Johnson & Dillbeck, 1987; Cavanaugh, King, & Titus, 1990). Maharishi (1978) explains:
Whenever one per cent of the people in any community practise Transcendental Meditation, balance in nature increases, accidents become less, and all the collective values, which we call social values of society, become more positive.
Individuals become incapable of thinking wrong things. Their thinking changes in favour of society. (p. 163)
Most significantly, research has demonstrated the ability of the Maharishi Effect to reduce violence even in war, and to eliminate, for example, the tensions that formerly existed between the superpowers (Orme-Johnson & Dillbeck, 1987).
Maharishi has described the mechanisms underlying the Maharishi Effect in some detail, and in terms that are entirely recognizable from the earlier perspective of his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita. The function of his Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, Maharishi (1986a) explains,
. . . is to enliven the evolutionary power of natural law and let it radiate wherever it can radiate.
How do these radiations go far and wide in the universe? How do they travel? They travel through the same channels used by the evolutionary power of nature. From the most quiet, transcendental level, nature performs, and it performs within itself. . . .
This transcendental level of nature's functioning is the level of infinite correlation. When the group awareness is brought in attunement with that level, then a very intensified influence of coherence radiates and a great richness is created. (p. 75)
The ultimate state of the society in which the individuals have attained higher states of consciousness, Maharishi explains (e.g. 1976, 1978), is a completely different order of life than that to which we are accustomed. The term "ideal" indicates perfection of life on both the individual and the collective level. In his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, Maharishi (1967) refers to this state of life as "the Kingdom of God on earth" (p. 70). The field of pure consciousness is the level from which creation arises, is maintained and governed; when, through the practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, this field becomes available in the daily life of the people, the transcendental, absolute value of life and the concrete, relative value of life have come together. All human life, on every level-individual, family, community, nation, and world-is in accord with its dharma, in accord with the total potential of natural law, flourishing in its own right and integrated with every other level:
. . . the establishment of righteousness, the Kingdom of God on earth, is a cooperative enterprise. All men have to play their part in it, and this can be done only when family and caste dharmas are properly maintained by the individuals firmly established in their individual dharma. (p. 70)
Maharishi notes that in the hierarchy of dharmas the individual has the priority and the responsibility: It is only through individuals that the greatest possibilities of social life are realized. He emphasizes, however, that the process is a "cooperative" one: Every individual is necessarily involved in it, since every individual thought and action contributes, for better or worse, to the quality of the collective consciousness of the society. The highest goal is reached only when the people of a society collectively recognize their responsibility to practice the Transcendental Meditation technique and gain higher states of consciousness. In such a situation every individual benefits from the growing higher states of consciousness of every other individual in the society. The result, Maharishi (1972) teaches, is a wholeness that is more than the sum of the parts:
Existence, life, thrives in growth, in progress. So the purpose of existing together is evolving together, progressing together, and the goal of this growth is fulfillment. Therefore growing together is for enjoying fulfillment together.
One man's fulfillment is one's own fulfillment, but the fulfillment of two men together is more than the fulfillment of each. Something more gets created. For that something, togetherness is important. There is a saying, "A house is more than a collection of bricks." Keep on putting bricks together and what comes out is a house. A fulfilled society is something more than a collection of fulfilled individuals. And gaining that greater fulfillment is an inspiration to be together. (p. 11-4).
This greater fulfillment, Maharishi teaches, is the possibility that his Vedic Science and Technology opens to the world. Every society, no matter of what culture, of what political or economic system, can develop a state of ideal civilization, which Maharishi (1991) terms Heaven on Earth:
What awaits the world from Vedic Science is a profound civilization, a civilization where all aspects of life will be ideally lived. Governments will be ideal, industry will be ideal, the economy will be ideal, and the behavior of the people will be ideal. By ideal we mean good for the individual, good for his environment, good for his country, and good for his world. By ideal we mean good today, tomorrow, the next day, the next year, and the next century. The future of life on earth will be ideal, and that means good for everyone. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1986a, pp. 22-25)
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