Text: Philippians 4:6-9
I. Many people have heard of transcendental meditation even though they may not know what it is exactly.
A. It is actually a trademarked name by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958.
B. He made it into a large business with a Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, in the southeastern part of the state.
1. That has spawned Maharishi Vedic City, just two miles north where the architecture is supposedly based on Maharishi’s design plans “to promote happiness and energy, and include having a gold-colored kalash on the roof of each building and having all structures face to the east.” [Wikipedia]
C. We don’t hear of transcendental mediation as much these days, though it is a cornerstone of the New Age movement. But its ideas have filtered into our culture and it would be wise to understand the source of those ideas.
II. Transcendental Meditation is simply a vehicle for teaching Hinduism
A. Proponents of Transcendental Meditation claim it isn’t based in religion
1. But Maharishi, himself, calls Transcendental Meditation a pathway to God.
2. He also refers to himself as a spiritual leader
3. His writings make frequent references to God or the creator
B. Who is God?
1. Hinduism says God is an impersonal power or force, called Brahman, which manifests itself in the form of physical, personal gods.
a. Brahman is present in everything, including people
b. The inner being of a man is a part of God, and thus the conclusion that man is divine.
2. Transcendental Meditation teaches
a. God is an impersonal, eternal force
(1) “The impersonal aspect of God is formless, supreme; it is the eternal and absolute Being. It is without attributes, qualities, or features ... It is absolute, impersonal and attributeless ... Everything in creation is the manifestation of the unmanifested absolute impersonal Being, the omnipresent God.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 265]
b. God is in everyone; hence, man is divine
(1) “The impersonal God is that Being which dwells in the heart of everyone. Every individual in his true nature is the Impersonal God. That is why the Vedic philosophy of the Upanishads declares: ‘I am That, Thou art That, and all this is That.’” [Transcendental Meditation, page 269]
(a) Vedas are the oldest scriptural texts of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit. They are claimed to be inspired writings.
(b) The Upanishads are the sections of the Verdas dealing with philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God.
(2) “The Vedas express the Being as the ultimate reality and find It within man as his own inseparable self. They reveal the truth in the expression ‘I am That, Thou art That, and all this is That.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 33]
(3) “The Divine Plan of today is ... for everyone to begin to enjoy his own inner Divine nature ... You are Divine ... [Man] himself is the Absolute Bliss, the Great Power, the great reservoir of all energy, peace, and happiness. He is That.” [Meditations, page 157]
(4) “We are all 100% divine” [Meditations, page 177]
c. Without a doubt, transcendental meditation is teaching Hinduism and quotes from Hindu scriptures.
3. What the Bible teaches about God
a. The desire to be like God is how Satan tempted Eve to break God’s law - Genesis 3:5
b. God is not a man - Numbers 23:19
c. God’s ways and man’s ways are different - Isaiah 55:8-9
d. Herod lost his life for accepting accolades of deity from the people - Acts 12:22-23
e. At the root of transcendental meditation is the blasphemous idea that men are divine
C. Human Destiny
a. Hindus teach that when a person dies he is reborn as another part of creation in a continual cycle of death and rebirth
b. What transcendental meditation teaches
(1) “In order to understand the cycle of birth and death ... it should first be understood that the cause of rebirth is the unfulfilled desires of past life. If a man wants to accomplish this or that and fails to do so before the body ceases to function, he dies unfulfilled. Because of this unfulfillment the inner man (mind) goes to create another body through which that unfulfilled desire of the past life may be fulfilled. Thus it is one’s own desire that is the cause of rebirth ... this cycle ... takes the man from birth to birth, and the cycle of birth and death continues.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 110]
c. What the Bible teaches
(1) Man’s life is limited and cannot be repeated - Job 14:5-12
(2) Man dies only once - Hebrews 9:27
a. Hindus believe that everything that happens to a person, good or bad, is the consequence of his conduct in this life and in his previous lives. It is called a person’s karma.
b. Transcendental meditation teaches
(1) “This philosophy of karma explains that whatever a man is, it is the result of his own past. If he is happy, it is the result of good doings in the past ... If a man is suffering in the present, it is a result of his own actions which had at one time spread an influence of misery, ill-health, and suffering in the atmosphere.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 128]
(2) “None other than himself is responsible for a man’s happiness or suffering. If a man enjoys, he enjoys out of his own doings; if a man suffers, he suffers out of his own doings.” [Transcendental Meditations, page 130]
(3) “The basic premise of every religion should be that man need not suffer in life.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 253]
c. The Bible teaches
(1) Everything is not based on the person - Ecclesiastes 9:11
(2) Righteousness is likely to bring about hardship and persecution - Matthew 5:10-12
(3) It is only after life is over that we face the consequences of our deeds - II Corinthians 5:10
a. The ultimate destiny of man, according to Hindus, is to escape the cycle of reincarnation, to cease physical existence, and thus be absorbed into the impersonal God (Brahman).
(1) For one who is aware of His Divinity, “death is just a silent declaration of no return - no return to the cycle of birth and death” [Commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, page 234]
b. What transcendental meditation teaches:
(1) “As long as the soul is not liberated, as long as the individual soul has not merged itself into the cosmic existence, so long will the individuality be held by the soul in whatever world or body it may be ... When a man is liberated ... the individuality has merged into cosmic existence” [Transcendental Meditation, page 129]
(2) The purpose of transcendental meditation is to bring about liberation.
c. What the Bible teaches
(1) Man’s purpose is to serve God - Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
(2) We are not seeking non-existence but existence with God - I Thessalonians 4:17-18; 5:9-10
D. Achieving Destiny
1. Hindus teach that one way to achieve liberation is by meditation, which is called yoga.
2. What transcendental meditation teaches
a. To help people realize they are divine
(1) “This thesis will enable all men to ... find their God within themselves.” [Transcendental Meditation, page xv]
(2) “The full potential of man is the unlimited potential of the universal Being ... The potential of human life should mean the potential of the almighty divine on earth ... a God-realized life, in divine consciousness ... the practice of transcendental meditation ... unfolds all the divine in man and brings human consciousness to the high pedestal of God consciousness” [Transcendental Meditation, page 80]
(3) “Transcendental deep meditation is the practice ... through [which] man readily rises to the level of divine Being” [Transcendental Meditation, page 255]
(4) “Transcendental Meditation is a path to God” [Meditations, page 59]
b. To improve a person’s karma
(1) “The practice of transcendental deep meditation ... enables the individual to rise to a state of cosmic consciousness ... The will of man, then, is the will of God; the activity of man, then, is the desire of God; and man, thus, fulfills the purpose of God.” [Transcendental Meditation, page 248]
(2) “This is a way to be able to do all good by being all good ... by the practice of transcendental deep meditation .. The karma becomes a karma of absolute righteousness. Here is a direct and practical way ... to do all good for all times” [Transcendental Meditation, page 134]
(3) “at the level the mind, by its very nature, knows only the right action. Therefore, the state of cosmic consciousness affords an absolute criterion of right and wrong” [Transcendental Meditation, page 165]
(4) “cosmic consciousness offers an absolute basis for right action ... Only cosmic consciousness can inspire right action at all times” [Science of Being and the Art of Living, page 118]
(5) “only after realization of God can one become good ... Only nearness to God, or with a good amount of God consciousness alone, could one be free from wrong ... that means good life is the effect, God realization is the cause” [Meditations, page 58-59]
c. The result of transcendental meditation is liberation
(1) “The art of Being and breathing is the art of raising the status of the individual to the state of eternal cosmic Being. And the fulfillment of this are is found in the regular practice of transcendental deep meditation” [Transcendental Meditation, page 108-109]
(2) Transcendental meditation “brings the life to a state of eternal freedom” [Transcendental Meditation, page 81]
(3) “Thus we find that ... in the regular and sustained practice of transcendental meditation ... the mind is freed from the binding influence of action and attains a state of liberation in the eternal Being” [Transcendental Meditation, page 143]
d. Accomplished by a continual repetition of a mantra
(1) “Mantra ... an invocation used by Hindus in worship in the form either of a brief petition or of the repetition of a sacred word” [Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary]
(2) “The entire knowledge of the mantras or hymns of the Vedas is devoted to ... man’s communication with higher beings” [Meditations, page 18]
(3) The Bible teaches that useless repetition in prayer is wrong - Matthew 6:7
III. What transcendental meditation says about Jesus
A. “I don’t think Christ ever suffered or Christ could suffer ... It’s a pity that Christ is talked of in terms of suffering ... Those who count upon the suffering, it is a wrong interpretation of the life of Christ and the message of Christ. It is wrong” [Meditations, page 123]
B. The Bible teaches
1. Christ suffered for our sins - I Peter 3:18
2. When Peter objected to Christ’s talk about suffering, he was called Satan - Matthew 16:21-23
3. Christ’s suffering was prophesied as necessary - Luke 24:44-48
4. The way to salvation is not within man - Jeremiah 10:23
5. Our meditation should be on God’s word, not some vain repetition - Psalm 1:1-2
[Quotations from “Transcendental Meditation” by David Pratte]