FEATURED RESEARCH PAPER, 15 Aug 2022
Author’s note: I’m grateful to TMS contributor Stephen Knapp for much of the historical information in this paper. We honor the source of the Sanatana Dharma in India and rejoice that it is now once again becoming a global reality – Hari Om!
In the early 1950s, as the newly developed hydrogen bomb cast its mushroom-shaped shadow of megadeath over the world, an aged Indian monk gave his young assistant a mission: create world peace and enlightenment by restoring the ancient global Vedic civilization. The young man was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he accepted the responsibility wholeheartedly, fully aware of what an enormous job it was.
Contemporary civilization is in many ways the opposite of Vedic civilization, filled with multifarious forms of damage and suffering that seem to be avalanching us towards annihilation. Vedic civilization, in contrast, had achieved what seems impossible to us now: collective harmony and individual fulfillment.
They achieved this by living in accord with natural law, not as a set of external commandments to be obeyed but as a spontaneous expression of their own inner being. They used Vedic technologies of consciousness to connect their minds to the unified field, the same field that physicists have now discovered to be the ground state out of which the universe manifests. Everything is connected with it, and with the right technique we can contact it. “This transcendental field … lies beyond the boundaries not only of perception and thought but beyond individuality, time, and space. In the innermost depths of the mind lies the fundamental reality of life itself, the all-pervading field of unity from which the infinite diversity of the universe is born. Everything in nature, from the flowers on the mountainsides to galaxies without end, arises from within this ocean of crystal-clear consciousness.” 
This field is the ultimate source of all energy, intelligence, and happiness, and in the Vedic civilization most people’s lives were suffused with these qualities. They experienced them as their own deepest self, so their actions were always life supporting. The technologies of consciousness they used were based on effortless transcending, allowing the mind to move from its active thinking state into a non-active state devoid of thought but full of inner awareness. In this state of transcendental consciousness, or samadhi, the mind directly experiences the source of the universe, the abstract, non-material unity out of which everything emerges. Here the natural laws that govern creation become our own personal laws, and all our actions are in harmony with them. When our contact with this field becomes permanent, we live in enlightenment, as individuals and as a society. Maharishi described an enlightened society as, “All good to everyone, no non-good to anyone.”
This was the reality in the early days of Vedic civilization. Its members were living their full potential, and their actions embodied the principle of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, the world is my family. It was truly a golden age, fully developed both spiritually and materially. Their outer lives were on a par with ours today, and the quality of those lives, their inner joy, far exceeded ours.
On the material side, science and technology were highly developed. “Some 1,000 years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth is round and circles the sun. … 2,000 years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India understood that gravitation holds the solar system together, and therefore the sun, the most massive object, has to be at its center. … Our modern numerals 0 through 9 were developed in India. Mathematics existed [in India] long before the Greeks constructed their first right angle.”  “To Hindus is due the invention of algebra and geometry and their application to astronomy.”  Quadratic equations were first developed in India.  “For years much of the world has thought that the advancements in mathematics came from the Arab countries, but nothing can be farther from the truth. They only inherited the advanced formulas from the Hindus, wrote about them, and then helped transfer them to Europe through Spain.” 
1,500 years ago the Indian mathematician Aryabhata wrote treatises on spherical trigonometry and astronomy, asserting that the planets are round and spin on their axes through elliptical orbits. He accurately calculated the size of the earth and the length of the year, the lunar month, and the heliocentric revolutions of Mars and Jupiter. 500 years before Newton and Leibnitz, Indians were using calculus to determine the daily motion of the planets. 
Medical practices in ancient India were also far in advance of those in other countries and in many respects rival our current procedures. 2,600 years ago Vedic medical texts “recorded complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, hernia, intestinal surgery, bladder stone removal, rhinoplasty or plastic surgery of the nose, and brain surgery, plus suturing, the knowledge of the instruments needed for particular operations, types of forceps, surgical probes, needles, and cutting instruments. Over 125 surgical instruments were described and used, including lancets, forceps, catheters, etc., many of which are the same or similar as those we have today. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics, and immunity is also found in these texts.”  They describe, 1,700 years before William Harvey, blood circulation and its role in delivering nutrition. They discuss “385 plant-generated, 57 animal-generated, and 64 mineral-generated medicines and how to use them.” 
5,000 years ago Indians were smelting iron to make tools, more than a thousand years before Europeans. They exported tempered steel to China and Arabia.  3,000 years ago they were producing glass and coloring it with metal salts and exporting optical lenses to China. They excelled in ceramics, fabric dyeing, and cement making. 
Will Durant wrote, “The growing of cotton appears earlier in India than elsewhere, apparently it was used for cloth in Mohenjodaro.”  According to Dr. Stanley Wolpert, professor of history at UCLA, “Ancient Indians were the first humans to spin and weave cotton into cloth.”  The word cotton comes from the Sanskrit kantan, meaning thread spun from the cotton boll. Both the spinning wheel and loom are Indian inventions. 
The Earliest Civilization
Much of the evidence for these achievements was discovered during excavations of the sites of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Professor Sir John Marshall, the archeologist who excavated Mohenjodaro, wrote, “These discoveries establish the existence … during the 4th and 3rd millennia BC of a highly developed city life: and the presence in many of these homes of wells and bathrooms as well as elaborate drainage systems, betokens a social condition of the citizens at least equal to that found in Sumer and superior to that prevailing in contemporary Babylonia and Egypt.”  “It took another 2,000 years for the Roman Empire to reach the level of town planning and sanitation that had already been existing in the Harrapan culture.”  “This Indus civilization was the most populous and largest of any culture of the 3rd millennium, a huge center of many ideas and forms of knowledge that spread in all directions.”  New discoveries have pushed this timeline much farther back. B.R. Mani, joint director general of the Archeological Survey of India, reported, “The preliminary results of the data … suggest that the Indian civilization emerged in the 8th millennium BCE.”  “These early peoples had systems of writing, counting, weighing, and measuring, and they dug canals for irrigation.” 
“5,000 years ago, when the peoples of Europe were hauling stones across the face of the continent and grubbing out a meager existence, Indians … were living in elaborately designed cities with sturdy houses, broad, straight roads, public baths, and drainage systems that were hardly equaled until the Roman era three thousand years later. … But 5,000 years ago … the Indus Valley civilization was already age-old … with many millennia of human endeavor behind it. Usually we think of Mesopotamia as the cradle of civilization, but evidence suggests that the society of northwestern India, which has preserved its essential spirit over countless generations, deserves equal billing.”  “This, therefore, was the real cradle of civilization as we know it.” 
According to Will Durant, “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages … she was the mother of our philosophy, mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics, mother, through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.” 
Mark Twain called India, “Cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition. … She had the first civilization; she had the first accumulation of wealth; she was populous with deep thinkers and subtle intellects. India is the prime source of human development.” 
The German scholar Max Müller described that civilization and its heritage: “If I were to look over the whole world to find the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power, and beauty that nature can bestow — in some ways a very paradise on earth — I should point to India. If I were asked under which sky the human mind most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. If I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more universal, in fact more truly human, again I should point to India.” 
Lord Kurzon, British Viceroy of India and militant imperialist, admitted, “India has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the religion of mankind than any other terrestrial unit in the universe.” 
Stephen Knapp, the leading Western researcher on early Indian history, wrote, “Vedic culture was once a worldwide culture, and the whole world still shows the influence this lofty culture had on it. The Vedic culture is the spiritual heritage of the world, the source from which came all original spiritual knowledge, and the culture from which we are all descendants.” 
All the arts were prized in ancient India, and they served the highest purposes. “Art in the Vedic tradition was never a mere representation of an artist’s imagination. It was always a vehicle to convey higher truths and principles, levels of reality that may exist beyond our sense perception. It was always used to bring us to a higher purpose of existence and awareness. In this way, it was always sacred and beheld the sacred. Still today it is used to allow others to enter into a transcendental experience. … The art becomes a manifestation of the higher reality. In this way, the painting or symbol becomes the doorway to the spiritual essence contained within.” 
The Civilization Goes Global
7,000 years ago Vedic civilization was in full flourish, the most advanced on the planet. “The country was a leader in world trade relations amongst such people as the Phoenicians, Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, … Romans, … Egyptians, Turks, Portuguese, Dutch, and English. The simple fact is that India’s maritime history predates the birth of Western civilization.”  “The English word navigation actually originates from the Sanskrit word navagati.” 
“Not only was commerce between ancient India and other countries made through maritime capabilities, but also through land routes that extended to China, Turkistan, Persia, Babylon, and also Egypt, Greece, and Rome.”  “Ancient Indians traveled to various parts of the world not only for trade, but to also propagate their culture. This is how Vedic influence spread around the world.”  “The culture of India has been one of the world’s most civilizing forces. Countries of the Far East, including China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Mongolia owe much of what is best in their own cultures to the inspiration of ideas imported from India. The West, too, has its own debts. … No conquest or invasion, no forced conversion imposed.” 
“The Vedic empire was a different kind of empire and showed its influence by its qualities and beneficial nature to one and all, rather than by power and military dominance. In A History of India by Kulke and Rothermund (1986, p. 152) they explain how the influence of India traveled over many lands: ‘The transmission of Indian culture to distant parts of Central Asia, China, Japan and especially Southeast Asia is certainly one of the greatest achievements of Indian history or even the history of mankind. None of the other great civilizations — not even the Hellenic — had been able to achieve a similar success without military conquest.'” 
How could ancient Indians have achieved all this? They had no computers, no television, no smart phones, no satellite navigation, no 5G.
A statement in the Vedas explains their superb abilities: “Knowledge is structured in consciousness.” Their consciousness was fully developed, so they could access their full potential, including whatever knowledge they needed. Psychologists say we currently use only about 10% of our potential. Imagine having 9 times more ability than we have now.
With fully developed consciousness, our minds operate from the unified field, where everything is connected and all knowledge is available. The Vedic sages were living in this state of unity, so their achievements were extraordinary.
Vedic culture also spread through emigration. 7,000 years ago the society was prosperous and developed surplus population. Groups of people moved east and west into the neighboring regions. These areas were usually already inhabited, but the newcomers brought a more advanced civilization and technology. And they were peaceful. Instead of conquering, they shared their knowledge and became influential in the society.
“Vedic wisdom flowed out from India in almost all directions, influencing language, literature, philosophy, law, and religion throughout Asia and, according to some scholars, throughout the world. Greek tradition holds that Pythagoras, Thales, Empedocles, Democritus, and others journeyed to India to study philosophy and that Indian sages visited Athens to share their knowledge.” 
“Ancient Aryans were closely connected with the races that inhabited Asia and Africa and parts of Europe. They indeed sent their surplus population to plant colonies in the regions of Babylonia, Iran, Greece, Egypt, China, and Peruvia in South America.”  “Ancient India … was the cradle of the primary sophisticated civilization whose branches spread in course of time to all the adjoining countries and beyond, even to other continents. … Vedic culture was a broad influence and provided many contributions to all kinds of cultures around the world.” 
The Mother Tongue
One of the great gifts the Indians brought with them was their language. Sanskrit is a remarkably clear tool of communication, and it influenced and enriched the local languages. “The roots of many languages are found in Sanskrit, which some call the mother of all languages. … The farther back in time we trace the European languages, the more they begin to resemble Sanskrit. The farther we go back in time, the more we see that European and Vedic cultures coalesce.” 
19th-century British scholars with an imperialist bias developed two theories that denigrated India’s historical importance. They claimed that Sanskrit was not the basis for the Indo-European languages but that it and all the others were derived from a now-disappeared language they called Proto-Indo-European. They also claimed that the Aryan people and their culture did not originate in India but invaded from the northwest and conquered India. “One primary basis for this theory about the Aryan invasion is that languages with Sanskrit affinities exist over a vast region, from Bali to the Baltic. Therefore it is assumed that there must have been a pre-Sanskrit language that came close to Sanskrit, yet was something different. Whatever this Indo-European language was, it is argued that Lithuanian was the closest to it. Hence, those who spoke the original Indo-European language must have migrated into the region of India, and thence begot the Aryan culture and the Sanskrit language. Nevertheless, there has yet to be any language that is identified as the Indo-European language. And the idea for an Indo-European language existing before Sanskrit has been based merely on linguistic speculations. … If European languages show a Sanskritic base, and if Sanskrit flourishes in its pristine glory only in India, the conclusion is obvious: It was enterprising Indians who migrated to all other continents. Later on, when links with India snapped over the course of centuries, the European languages retained only traces of Sanskrit while real Sanskrit still flourishes at its source, India.”  The theories of the Proto-Indo-European language and the Aryan invasion have been shown to be blunders in historical research, but they still linger in popular imagination and have been of great use to imperialists.
One reason Sanskrit was so influential is that its sound has a unique vibrational quality. “Sanskrit is able to invoke the spiritual energy of which it speaks, and the vibration for propelling the consciousness to the higher realms it depicts.”  “It is certainly the most spiritual of languages, considered traditionally to be part of the spiritual sound vibration that pervades both the material creation and exists eternally in the spiritual dimension. Therefore, it has the potential to invoke both the Supreme Being, the internal knowledge of the soul, and raise the consciousness to perceive the divine realms.”  This is why Sanskrit is the language of the Veda, which is “the blueprint for the creation of the material worlds.” 
Sanskrit is shruti, sound that is uncreated by humans and existing beyond time. Linguists can find no evidence of it having evolved over time as a language. It was simply there in its completeness as the patterns of sound of the Vedas cognized by the first rishis, seers, within their consciousness. Indian grammarians only described and classified it. 
The Tragic Decline
Unfortunately the global Vedic civilization was unable to maintain its exalted achievements. Gradually a decline set in, and Vedic knowledge slowly became diluted, less effective. This manifested in several ways but had one root cause, which Maharishi explained is “the difference in the level of consciousness between the teacher and the taught. The teacher speaks from his level of enlightenment, a level of clear perception and of faultless and precise vision of the reality of life. He speaks to those who seek but have not yet attained that level of consciousness. The Master’s completeness of expression is therefore naturally received by his pupils in incompleteness. This is what dilutes knowledge increasingly as generations pass. This is the tragic history of knowledge. This is how time, and nothing else, is held responsible for eroding the essentials of the true teaching.” 
In this case the essential teaching that got lost was the technique of effortless transcending. Mental effort, concentration, and control are necessary in activity. In meditation, however, they hold the mind on the surface and hinder our access to the deepest level of consciousness, the transcendental unified field at the basis of our being and of all creation. Our minds can reach this field, but not through effort, because it is a non-active state.
But since effort is necessary in activity, it has a tendency to creep into our meditation, and this effort weakens our contact with the transcendent. Maharishi has developed a system of checking procedures to prevent that, but back then the correct practice slipped away.
Gradually, over centuries, the Indians’ meditations became less effective, which meant their actions became less effective. Their performances of the Vedic rituals were no longer precise. Disputes that had previously been settled peacefully now sometimes became cause for war. The organization of society became rigidly stratified. These changes came in incremental steps, and Vedic culture remained at a much higher level than any other on earth, but over time the loss accumulated, and the golden age became tarnished.
Even the environment began to suffer from humanity’s lessened contact with the transcendent. Human consciousness affects the world around us. “Nature and human nature are, in fact, united at their source.”  When we lose contact with the laws of nature, we create suffering for ourselves and for nature. At the level of the unified field there is no split between humans and the world around us. There are no splits whatsoever. Everything is consciousness, where all diversity is united and all knowledge is accessible. 
5,000 years ago what had previously been just an erosion of the knowledge became a full-fledged descent. Human and natural disasters combined to lower the previously superb quality of life down into merely good. The Saraswati and Drishawati rivers, mighty waterways that were crucial to agriculture and commerce, began to dry up. Many people had to leave India.
The fabled soma plant, which grew in the Saraswati watershed, became extinct. Soma was the most beneficial of all natural remedies, and its disappearance lowered the general level of health.
A long, terrible war broke out between those who had strayed from the Vedic ways and those who wanted to remain true to them. The loyalists finally won, but the damage was immense. Many of the rebels left the country.
Vedic Influence Continues to Spread
These calamities created waves of emigration that contributed to the world-wide spread of Vedic culture. What the rebels brought with them, though, was often a distorted version of it. Their rituals and techniques of meditation were no longer authentic. But their knowledge and technology were still much better than what people in other countries had, so they met with success.
One of the first tribes to leave was the Druhyus. Some of them moved northwest, gradually making their way into Europe, where they became known as Druids, the priests of Celtic society. Druid legends say they came originally from Asia, and the names of their deities are very similar to those in the Veda.  “The ancient Vedas … were also transported to Scandinavia. Later they became the Eddas, which still remain the ancient-most scripture of the region.” 
The Pahlavas, Prithu-Parthavas, and Parsus moved towards the Caspian Sea, where they became leaders of what became Persian society. The Alinas moved to the Mediterranean and evolved into the Hellenes of Greece.  “Many people feel that Greece was the center of the development that established Western civilization. But the fact of the matter is that much of the advancement that was experienced in Greece was because of the influence, especially in mathematics, literature, and other fields, from India.” 
“In Story of Civilization by Will Durant, he writes, ‘Foreign trade of India is as old as her history. Objects found in Egypt and Sumeria indicate a traffic between these countries and India as far back as 3,000 BC,'” the time of pyramid building in Egypt. 
Judaism and Islam were also influenced by Vedic philosophy, particularly by its concept of an abstract, transcendental God at the heart of creation. This linguistic and cultural influence can be seen in the similarities of names and functions of Brahma and Saraswati in the Vedas and Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Brahma and Saraswati are the creators of the universe and Abraham and Sarah are the creators of the Semitic peoples, both Jews and Arabs.
Vedic Indians also traded and emigrated eastwards, bringing science, technology, and religion with them. Ancient Vedic temples abound throughout Southeast Asia. Angor Wat in Cambodia was originally built as a temple to Vishnu.  The cultures of Java and Bali are to this day deeply influenced by Hinduism.
National Geographic magazine reported on archeological evidence showing that Australia received a wave of immigration from India 4,000 years ago. The newcomers influenced aboriginal culture and were eventually absorbed into it. 
The American “Indians”
“A thousand years before the birth of Columbus, Indian ships were far superior to any made in Europe up to the 18th century.”  Explorers “traveled through the South Pacific over to Central America. This could be done by simply following the currents that flow to America.”  “There they mingled with whatever people may have been there, but introduced such things as their language, art, agricultural practices, and religion, which, in various degrees, have remained amongst the practices of the populace.”  “Through this sort of exchange came the adoption by the Americas of the culture and religion of the Vedic traders. Archeologists have found many Vedic deities like Shiva, Ganesh, Surya the Sun, Buddha-like images, all of which had been worshiped in ancient central South America. Images of Ganesh have been found and excavated in Mexico. He is also depicted in temple ruins in Central America. … Dr. Robert Heine Geldern, anthropologist, has written … ‘The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of Southeast Asia in Mexico, particularly among the Maya, are incredibly strong.'” 
The Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza is built in accordance with Vastu Shastra, the principles of Vedic design. Temples in Central America and Peru have stone-carved images of Vedic deities and inscriptions in the languages of South India. Their builders moved huge rocks weighing up to 160 tons using the same system of levers used in India.  “The Aztec and Inca gods, philosophy, architecture, and art are all remnants of that found in the ancient Vedic culture of India.”  In North America the Hopis still maintain a mystical tradition similar to that of the Vedas, and their origin myth states they sailed to America from the East beyond the Pacific and stopped at islands along the way. 
Ancient records also tell of trade between India and America. For instance, “Indian cotton was exported to South and Central America back in 2,500 BCE.”  On their return trips, Indian traders brought back corn and sunflowers, which became important foods in India. 
Considering all these influences, Columbus wasn’t totally wrong when he named the people he found in America Indians.
A Civilization Based on Consciousness
This global Vedic culture was the highest the world has ever seen. None of the colonies achieved the supreme level of India because the Vedic knowledge brought there was often not in its pure form. But they were still splendid societies with remarkable accomplishments.
“India’s skills in science, administration, art, architecture, and, of course, spiritual understanding were once the highest in the world.”  “Out of all the countries of the world, it is India that has best withstood the tests of time and remains the oldest living culture in the world.”  “India was once known for her vast resources and great wealth, but her greatest treasure was, of course, her Vedic spiritual philosophy, which had no comparison anywhere. This was the preceptor of all other forms of religious thought. Unbounded love for all of humanity and all of God’s creatures is the result of the noblest influence of true religion, which found their highest expression in ancient India, and even today, as long as the people do not continue to lose interest in their own tradition. The Vedic spiritual knowledge and path of realization are precepts that are ever true, or genuine, universal spiritual truths, applicable at any time and in any place.”  “It is only up to us to preserve, protect, promote, and perpetuate it so that it does not fade away from our awareness of it and that it remains accessible for all of humanity.” 
The basis of Vedic culture, what kept it strong, was regular contact by the majority of the population with their own inner source, the unified field, the transcendental home of all the laws of nature out of which creation manifests.
This contact weakened as the effortless technique of meditation was gradually lost and mental control and concentration crept in. After a while only a few reclusive monks who had devoted their lives to spiritual practices were having genuine experiences of samadhi. The people tried to gain those experiences by imitating these monks. Since samadhi is a state of no thoughts, they tried to reach it by banishing thoughts, trying to make their mind empty. But trying is an effort, it holds the mind on the surface, hinders it from transcending to the still depths.
Samadhi is a state of no desires, so they tried to banish their desires. The life of the senses and the flesh was seen as unworthy, the enemy of spirituality. They used mantras that were intended for reclusive monks, so they became withdrawn, less interested in the world. Active engagement in life was something to be avoided. “Because these procedures were more difficult and less effective, enlightenment came to be seen as impractical and difficult to achieve, at best the goal of the recluse but of no value in practical daily affairs.” 
The tragic decline of Vedic knowledge accelerated, and the global culture gradually broke down. Indian society became weak and listless, ripe for barbarian conquest. Waves of invaders swept in to seize its riches. “Because the emphasis on Vedic knowledge has decreased and in some cases been ignored, it has led to a weakened condition of the nation. This has allowed the commercial and military invasions into India, which have resulted in such plunder, impoverishment, and enslavement that India is a shadow of what it once was, and in some areas has become full of destitution, disease, and death. Furthermore, much of its real history has been pushed aside, distorted, perverted, and based on misinformation.” 
Life in the Ruins
We are living now in the ruins of the global Vedic civilization. The knowledge and techniques that once created an enlightened society deteriorated over time until they were functioning only partially and only for a few people. Suffering has now become so universal and seemingly inevitable that some religions even proclaim it to be God’s will.
The decline in world consciousness reached its nadir in the mid-20th century with the horrors of Hitler and Stalin and the development of the hydrogen bomb, which made human extinction a real possibility. This was when Swami Brahmananda Saraswati decided the time was right to revive the authentic Vedic meditation based on effortless transcending. The decline needed to reach these depths before people would be ready to make the change. He sent Maharishi out to revive the knowledge. In a sense Maharishi was Guru Dev’s Shakti, the dynamic force that actualizes the Master’s abstract plan.
Transcendental Meditation is very different from conventional meditation techniques, which use concentration and control. TM uses a special method of non-concentrative thinking that takes the mind effortlessly to the deeper, silent, thought-free realms. There, in transcendental consciousness, the mind is empty but aware of its own essential nature, which in Sanskrit is called sat-chit-ananda: eternal bliss consciousness. It becomes rejuvenated and suffused with energy, intelligence, and happiness and brings these qualities back into the active, thinking dimension, where they enrich our lives and improve our performance. Since concentration and control are mental activities, they are less effective at reaching this non-active state of transcendental consciousness.
Maharishi began teaching in India, and people were enthused by this new but very ancient technique. He established several centers there and then journeyed to North America and Europe, where he also met with success. Maharishi had a university degree in physics and wanted to mend the split between science and spirituality, so he encouraged scientists to study the effects of this technique.
Physiological studies have shown that TM produces a fourth state of consciousness, distinct from waking, dreaming, and deep sleep and that contact with this transcendental consciousness improves our health, increases our intelligence, creates more harmonious relationships, and even contributes to world peace.  “Scientific research has now been conducted at 260 universities and research institutions in over 30 countries, yielding more than 380 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies and articles in more than 150 scientific and scholarly journals in a broad range of disciplines.”  The research confirms that TM creates a pattern of brain waves, hormonal levels, and metabolic rates significantly different from meditations based on concentration and control of the mind. Scientists at Stanford University conducted a meta-analysis of 146 studies on meditation and relaxation techniques. Their report, published in Journal of Clinical Psychology, “showed the Transcendental Meditation technique was twice as effective in reducing anxiety as such other techniques as the relaxation response, progressive muscle relaxation, EMG biofeedback, etc. … Other meta-analyses found the Transcendental Meditation technique significantly more effective than other procedures in promoting self-actualization, psychological health and maturity, and relaxed physiological functioning, as well as in reducing high blood pressure and drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and cigarette use. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the Transcendental Meditation technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.” 
The health benefits and reports from enthusiastic practitioners resulted in huge numbers of people learning the technique. Maharishi began gathering them together for group meditations to measure the effects on the social level.
The research showed that large groups of people meditating together produce coherence and stability not just in themselves but also in the society around them. This extended effect has been demonstrated in experiments 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, crime, violence, and accidents in the surrounding region dropped and the composite Quality of Life Index for public health, economics, and social harmony rose. All the changes were statistically highly significant. The groups of meditators improved the whole society: negativity decreased, positivity increased. After the assemblies ended, the figures returned to their previous levels. The results were calculated by comparing data from different time periods to insure that the only variable was the meditation course, thus establishing it as the cause of the change.
How can meditators sitting with their eyes closed influence people many miles away? Quantum physics describes how everything in the universe is connected through underlying fields of energy. The electromagnetic field is an example. A transmitter sends waves through this invisible field, and receivers many miles away instantly convert them into sound and pictures. Similarly, our minds send mental energy through the field of consciousness that connects everyone. We are all continually transmitting and receiving these influences. The mental atmosphere we share is loaded with them, and the program they’re broadcasting is frequently one of fear, frustration, anger, and aggression. This toxicity pollutes the collective consciousness, resulting in cloudy thinking and harmful actions. All of us are affected — and infected — to some degree by this. Under this sway, persons with a heavy load of personal stress become more prone to turn to crime to solve their problems. As this negative atmosphere intensifies and the pressures mount, groups of people turn to the mass criminality of warfare.
A Technology of World Peace
Wars are hurricanes of the collective consciousness. Hurricanes relieve the physical atmosphere of excess heat that has built up. They result afterwards in more balanced weather, but they do that destructively. Similarly, wars relieve excess stress in the psychic atmosphere and bring a temporary peace, but their destructiveness generates more stress and another war.
In contrast to this stormy approach, a meditator in transcendental consciousness broadcasts the qualities inherent to this plane: peace, orderliness, harmony. And when many meditators reach transcendental consciousness together, their energies reinforce one another into a surge of positivity that overrides the stressful emissions of the surrounding population. The minds of everyone in the area receive this broadcast of coherence. It’s a subtle effect that is under the threshold of most people’s perceptual awareness, but they are influenced through this field where all human minds are joined. This life-nurturing energy purifies the collective consciousness of fear and hostility before those negative forces can build up and erupt into crime and war.
Other experiments demonstrated the effects on war. As civil war was raging in Lebanon, a group gathered nearby in Israel to practice long meditations. During their assembly, the intensity of fighting in Lebanon lessened and war deaths plummeted. In Israel, crime, traffic accidents, fires, and other indicators of social disorder decreased. All the changes were statistically highly significant.
A further experiment showed even more dramatic results. According to the ancient Vedic texts, if a very large number of people meditate together, positive influences will occur globally. Maharishi decided to test this with 7,000 meditators, the square root of 1% of the world population. He gathered them together in Fairfield, Iowa, for long meditations. The results thousands of miles away in Lebanon were a 71% decrease in war deaths, a 68% decrease in injuries, a 48% decrease in combat incidents, and a 66% increase in cooperative efforts to end the civil war. A time-series analysis of the results confirmed the causation.
Groups of 7,000 meditators also reduce terrorism. During three of these large assemblies, worldwide terrorism dropped by an average of 72% as compared to all other weeks in a two-year period, based on data compiled by the Rand Corporation. Statistical analysis ruled out the possibility that the reduction was due to cycles, trends, seasonal changes, or drifts in the measures used.
Peer-reviewed studies of these experiments 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. 23 studies based on 50 experiments document the long-distance effects of large groups of meditators in reducing violence and improving quality of life.
With this overwhelming evidence Maharishi approached the governments of the world and requested that they establish these groups on a permanent basis to secure peace and social harmony.
The governments of the world weren’t interested.
So Maharishi decided to build a long-term group. With the help of a wealthy donor he constructed a residential centre in India and filled it with 7,000 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, the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe freed themselves of totalitarian rule, the Berlin Wall came down, 80 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.
These changes were not magical. They came about because the large group generated enough coherence and positivity in the collective consciousness of humanity to free it from a mass of accumulated stress. People could think and act more clearly in a life-supporting direction, so they were able to make the necessary changes.
Unfortunately the donor ran out of money. He had already expended most of his fortune supporting the group and couldn’t continue. Maharishi tried again to convince governments to take over the funding, an amount per year that was a fraction of what they spend on the military per one heartbeat.
Again, no government was interested. The group had to be 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 increased.
All this evidence indicates TM can cure the root cause of war — stress in the collective consciousness — and bring world peace. This could be the most important discovery of our time, and we can all participate in it. Several studies have shown that individuals doing TM on their own for 20 minutes twice a day also contribute to this effect. More information and citations on the research can be found at https://www.permanentpeace.org/.
Recently the number of people who have learned TM reached the seven million mark.  20,000 TM teachers have been trained, and they direct centers in 108 countries.  300,000 people have learned the advanced TM-Sidhi program including Yogic Flying. 
This is an incomparable growth rate for a meditation technique, and it indicates that humanity and the planet have an excellent chance of better times ahead. This growth is due to three factors: TM gives great results, so people tell their friends; the organization has a global presence financed by fees in the wealthy countries; and suffering has reached such a pitch in the world that people know they need to change.
And people are changing. Despite the very real dangers that continue to threaten us, the world is in many respects a safer, happier, healthier place than it was 50 years ago. Life expectancy is increasing dramatically.  Global health has improved with significantly lower rates of cancer and maternal and infant mortality.  Hunger and malnourishment have decreased.  Renewable energy investment has risen dramatically.  The ozone layer continues to improve.  Extreme poverty is declining. 
The increasing influence of women is “bringing more collegial and nurturing approaches to business practices, with greater priority to nurturing relationships and listening skills. Outstanding women have risen to top levels in every field from business to sports, demonstrating the essential equality of the sexes and providing empowered role models.” 
“Millions of people [are] taking control of their own healthcare through holistic, alternative practices. By using the less invasive approaches of complimentary and alternative medicine, … they are finding relief from many health problems not solved by traditional medical approaches, and finding alternative approaches very effective in preventing disease.” 
The organic agriculture movement is “transforming how people grow and eat their food. … Organic gardens and greenhouses are being created in schools, churches, abandoned inner city lots, as well as suburban backyards. Local farmers markets are springing up in every town. Permaculture methods, including creating food forests, edible landscapes and rain water harvesting, are becoming hugely popular and thousands of young people have signed up for permaculture trainings.” 
The youth of today are bringing a refreshingly positive influence that will continue to grow. “Younger people are more embracing of differences in race, religion, sexuality, etc. and they enjoy synthesizing and blending diverse elements. … They are very involved with service activities to help the world in some way and deeply concerned about protecting our environment. They have grown up with social media, sharing, trading and bartering, and are widely embracing technology-enabled collaboration — sharing cars, houses, clothing, land, etc. The notion of ownership is often burdensome to the younger generation, as many prefer to simplify their lives and find cheaper ways to meet their needs.  More and more people are seeing the need for a fundamental change of the system, not just reforms. 
All these developments make it clear that the doom-and-gloom scenario so prevalent these days is not founded on facts but on outdated fears. Humanity has the resources to solve the problems that confront us. We just need to be able to access them within ourselves.
The country that has received the greatest benefit from Maharishi’s revival of knowledge is, fittingly, India. Samadhi, transcendental consciousness, is well known as a concept in India, but until Maharishi restored the Vedic technique of effortless meditation, very few people were experiencing it on a regular basis. Now hundreds of thousands of Indians are enjoying this state twice a day and benefiting from improved health, mental clarity, and efficiency in action. Maharishi renovated the sciences of Ayurveda (health), Jyotish (astrology), and Sthapatya-veda (architecture), clearing away superstitious misinterpretations and increasing their effectiveness.
Another of Maharishi’s gifts to his home country was the re-enlivenment of the tradition of Vedic pandits. In the ancient civilization they were responsible for maintaining harmony in society and balance in nature through chanting and performing Sanskrit rituals. For many years, however, their importance was not fully appreciated and their training was neglected. Maharishi restored them to their place as honored professionals. “He revived the crucial understanding that the mantras should be chanted from an awareness grounded in the transcendental level of speech, where the link between sound and form — between desire and fulfillment of desire — is intimately connected and enormously powerful.”  He established a training program that has produced 5,000 expert pandits who daily perform the ancient rituals for peace, prosperity, and happiness. 
All this is having a powerful effect. In the past 25 years poverty in India has decreased by more than half. Wages, reforestation, and education rates, particularly for girls, have increased steadily.  India’s gross domestic production is growing by 7.4%, the fastest of all large economies. Consumer price inflation has decreased by almost one half.  Spurred by its booming IT sector, India now has the second fastest growing services economy in the world. 
“India’s dramatic economic transformation over the last 50 years, its consistent improvement of social indicators, and its efforts in improving material well being for its citizens have all made it a better country to live in, according to 69% of the respondents surveyed for a study earlier this year. … India’s economic growth, particularly after 1991, has resulted in rapid development of facilities and infrastructure. … A continuously improving per capita income and positive projections for India’s GDP have resulted in positive opinions about the country in the minds of its citizens. … This consistent decline in unemployment rate indicates that more and more citizens have been employed over the last few years, thereby increasing their purchasing power and circulating more cash in the economy. … India’s improving rank in indices that measure social progress, such as the Human Development Index, indicates that the country is a better place now than what it was 50 years ago. … The country’s rank in the Human Development Index (HDI), which studies three main indicators — life expectancy, years of schooling or education, and gross national income in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) — in a country, has gone up four notches since 1990. … This increase in life expectancy indicates an improvement in the country’s healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, which are crucial for the well being of its people.” 
All these myriad improvements around the world have been caused or helped by the fact that Transcendental Meditation has enabled millions of people to regularly experience higher states of consciousness. This occurring globally is unprecedented in history since the time of the full flower of the Vedic civilization.
What we are witnessing now is the restoration of that civilization on a global scale. This is just beginning, and danger and suffering still abound, but if seven million meditators have produced these changes, imagine what seventy million could produce.
Vedic civilization was lost, and now it is re-emerging. “We are all descendants of the one great community and way of life, which is the Vedic culture. This Vedic culture, as evidence shows, was once a global civilization, and is still an influence in our lives today in every part of the world. … It is that culture of which we now see only remnants in the various fragmented religions and traditions today.” 
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his teacher Swami Brahmananda Saraswati have revived and sustained the original Vedic knowledge and techniques. The trends of time have changed. Rays of light are beginning to penetrate the darkness. The stifling concrete of hopelessness is being cracked open, and young green plants are emerging from it. The confining egg-shell of the past is being pecked through by an eager, determined baby bird who wants to live and fly. The future of the world is bright. This scientifically based revival of genuine Vedic meditation is restoring Vedic civilization on a global basis and creating a new era for humanity which, according to Maharishi, could last 10,000 years. Suffering will diminish into a relic. As Maharishi stated, “Through the window of science we see the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment.” 
- The Supreme Awakening, Pearson, Craig (Fairfield: MIU Press, 2016) pp. 25-6.
- Ancient Roots of Modern Science, Teresi, Dick, qtd. in Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture, Knapp, Stephen (Detroit: World Relief Network, 2012) pp.7-8.
- Ancient and Medieval India, Williams, Monier, qtd. in Advancements p. 69.
- Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire, Knapp, Stephen (Detroit: World Relief Network, 2015) p. 4.
- Advancements, p. 70.
- Ibid. p. 61, 65.
- Ibid. p. 91.
- Ibid. p. 93.
- Ibid. pp. 116-7.
- Ibid. p. 122.
- Our Oriental Heritage, Durant, Will, qtd. in Advancements p. 106.
- Advancements p. 107.
- Prehistoric Civilization of the Indus, Marshall, John, qtd. in Advancements p. 158.
- Advancements p. 160.
- Ibid. p. 162.
- Ancient History of Vedic Culture, Knapp, Stephen (Detroit: World Relief Network, 2016) p. 4.
- Advancements p. 71.
- India: The Challenge of Change, Traub, James qtd. In Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire, Knapp, Stephen (Detroit: World Relief Network, 2015) p. 7.
- Mysteries p. 5.
- Ibid. p. 8.
- Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence, Knapp, Stephen (Charleston: Booksurge, 2000) p. 208.
- Advancements p. 141.
- Ibid. p. 147.
- Ibid. p. 154.
- Ibid. p. 153.
- Ibid. p. 145.
- The Art of Southeast Asia, Rawson, Philip (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990) p. 7.
- Mysteries p. 9.
- Supreme p. 26.
- Indo-Aryan Colonization of Greece and Middle East, Verma, Dr. Vishnu Kant (Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan, 2001) p. 44.
- Mysteries p. 343.
- Advancements p. 43.
- Proof p. 321.
- Advancements p. 45.
- Ibid. p. 296.
- Ancient p. 7.
- Advancements p. 46.
- The Holy Tradition, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, p. 10.
- Permanent Peace, Oates, Robert M. (Fairfield: Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, 2002) p. 20.
- Mysteries p. 323.
- Proof p. 185.
- Advancements p. 240, Ancient p. 90.
- Mysteries p. 301.
- Ibid. p. 272.
- Ibid. p. 84.
- Geldern, Dr. Robert qtd. in Mysteries p. 194.
- Ibid. p. 131.
- Ibid. p. 162.
- Ibid. p. 194.
- Proof p. 302.
- Ibid. p. 310.
- Mysteries p. 182.
- Advancements p. 154.
- Mysteries pp. 202-3.
- Proof p. 319.
- Advancements p. 282.
- Ibid. p. 301.
- Ibid. p. 316.
- Supreme p. 438.
- Proof p. 319.
- Supreme p. 31.
- Ibid. p. 441.
- Ibid. p. 465.
- Proof p. 360.
- Celebrating the Dawn, Oates, Robert M. (New York: Putnam’s, 1976) cover.
William T. Hathaway is a Special Forces combat veteran and an emeritus Fulbright professor of American Studies in Germany. His book Radical Peace: People Refusing War presents the experiences of war resisters, deserters, and peace activists who are working to change U.S. ‘warrior’ culture. His novel Lila, the Revolutionary is a fable for adults about an eight-year-old girl who sparks a world revolution for social justice. Hathaway’s novel of the climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted HERE. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American soldier falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted HERE.
Tags: Bhagavad-gita, India, Mahabharata, Peace Research, Vedic Culture, Vedic literature
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Aug 2022.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Vedic Peace, is included. Thank you.
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