File this in your "Yes, We Are No Religion" folder, Episode IX—The Guru Strikes Out.
The TM Org is selling special Maharishi Yagya® performances "for the nation."
And they have a special deal for you in March! Just $1,250 to $100,000 each, while supplies last.
If you're not familiar with yagyas, known as yajñas in non-copyrighted Sanskrit, they are Hindu rituals to various gods that involve chanting mantras or verses from the Vedas as Hindu priests pour offerings into a sacrificial fire.
Examples include yagyas to Ganesh, to promote prosperity and removal of obstacles, to Lakshmi, for all forms of spiritual and material progress, and to Shiva, for health and immortality (invincibility), among others.
The TM Org has been selling yagyas, which one can have performed at any local Hindu temple, since at least 1997. For more information, here's my critical article on TM yagyas and here's what the TM Org chooses to reveal.
The Indian branch of the TM Org, led by the Maharishi's lifetime celibate nephew, Brahmchari Girish Verma, offers a little more detail.
(Take a second look at the picture. Doesn't Girish look exactly like the Maharishi? Here's hoping ruthless money-grubbing doesn't run in the Varma gene pool.)
The Indian movement is reported to be splitting with the TM Org based in Europe—taking the Maharishi family fortune with him. This may be triggering the panic the TM Org appears to be in to raise funds.
Here are relevant quotations from TM Admin:
Starting on the Day of Lasting Achievements (27th April, 2009) a series of Maharishi Yagya® performances began in India, requested by responsible citizens who have come forward to sponsor Maharishi Yagya performances for their nation. If you wish your country to be included in the Maharishi Yagya performances for the nation, you are invited to contribute to the new set of performances:From 3rd March to 13th March 2010
.... Every contribution towards the Maharishi Yagya performances for nations is welcome. If your contribution meets a minimum level of $1250.00, your name will be included in the Sankalpa of the Maharishi Yagya performance....Jai Guru Dev
©2010 Maharishi Vedic Foundation. All rights reserved.
® Maharishi Yagya is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Maharishi Jyotish and Maharishi Vedic are unregistered marks. All are used in the U.S. under license or with permission.
Following the link to the application form, one finds a very general discussion of the purposes of these "national" yagyas—with specific donation amounts suggested.
$100,000 $50,000 $25,000 $10,000 $5,000 $2,500 $1,250 _______ Other (minimum $50.)
1) Promoting coherence in the national consciousness of the nation
2) Promoting affluence for the nation
3) Promoting invincibility for the nation
4) Radiating harmony and nourishing influences from the nation to every other nation in the world
5) Promoting peace and harmony in the nation
6) Helping to eliminate negativity and disharmony in the nation
7) Promoting Heaven on Earth in the nation
8) Promoting peace and prosperity in the nation
9) Helping to establish Consciousness-Based EducationSM in the nation
10) Promoting an ideal system of health in the nation
11) Promoting Maharishi Vedic Organic AgricultureSM in the nation
12) Promoting buildings according to Maharishi Vedic ArchitectureSM in the nation
13) Helping to create a fulfilling economy for the nation
14) Promoting an ideal system of defense for protecting the nation
15) Promoting total knowledge based science and technology for the nation
16) Promoting a frictionless communication system in the nation
17) Promoting an ideal system of administration in the nation
18) Helping to create religious harmony and cultural integrity in the nation
19) Promoting law and order in the nation
20) Promoting an ideal system of finance and planning in the nation
21) Promoting perfect health, fulfilling wealth and infinite wisdom for all people of the nation
22) Helping to fulfill Maharishi’s desires for the nation
23) To promote spiritual progress for your nation
24) Helping to bring the people of your nation in tune with Natural Law (Dharma)
If your contribution is $50,000 or more, you may formulate your own Maharishi Yagya purpose according to your desire. Please contact the Maharishi Jyotish and Maharishi Yagya programs office for details.
Money talks. Bullshit walks.