Mahesh was not delusional but simply knew he could get away with just about anything having, as he obviously felt he had in the palm of his hand, huge numbers of delusional and highly gullible true-believers. Convincing true-believers to give you their money is easier than taking candy from a baby.
Here's a fun film. At around 38 minutes or so into the film, the magician, whose abilities are quite remarkable, purports to interview a monk who can levitate. The scene is quite interesting and well set. Believable, too, except for all the candles and the cameraman who could have but somehow clearly did not film between the "monk" (actor?) and the wall behind him.
Had Mahesh got Doug Henning to build him some setup like this, he'd have had millions upon millions of followers within a week. There would have been huge waiting lists to not only learn TM, but Mahesh could have asked any price for his ersatz "spiritual development" or whatever he was getting away with pretending his TM and 'sidhi' concoction was all about.
Obviously, Mahesh didn't trust Henning; trust, in Maheshism, seems to be money-based: you pay a million $ and you get to become a "rājah" - 'course, we have no idea what the so-called rājahs know and anyone can waft about in flowing garments. If you look on the right hand column of our Blog, you'll see: Essential Documents and Articles - this may be all there is to know plus a few things the TMO would rather none of us knew!
The YouTube film is very useful. It illustrates how simple it is to WOW! people. Magicians are as old to humanity as the concept of entertainment. - TM as entertainment? No, not really. Benson and Wallace demonstrated that there really is something to TM, although I think Wallace's conclusion that there is alertness co-emergent with restfulness might be a strain on credulity. Way too often we have heard people either on the day of initiation or in follow-up say that they had no idea what was happening when they were meditating. But when cued, they would answer positively that they experienced what they had been suggested to have experienced. But at least the restfulness was measurable, TM really was a non-prescription tranquillizer (for many, for a while).
Dr. Benson, of course, demonstrated with real science that his "relaxation response" had not only some validity but actually accomplished something.
On a purely observational scale, TM allowed not only rest, but when increased beyond 20 minutes twice a day, it engendered a susceptibility to suggestion that any hypnotist would envy - and/or a decreased interest in critical thinking. Many people, blindly following Mahesh, became those delusional, highly gullible true-believers only too willing to finance Mahesh's belief in himself and spend hours every day doing something that gave the same old results. There have been no new results since "rest" - which is something to think about.
Now, randomly, we come to one of Mahesh's fiddled-with bits of pseudo-science, ADHD. This is also in the right hand column under Essential Documents and Articles. In the early days of TM there is definitely an experience of rest (how much/how little is indeterminate). I do not think that that is in any question by anybody. Beyond those early days, however, there is insufficient evidence to form any conclusion as the TM drop-out rate was consistently very high. Perhaps today, since TM teachers charge so much, dropping out becomes more problematic, amounting to acknowledging that one has throwing away a great deal of money for something of questionable utility. TM, for so many, has become an exercise in doing something over and over expecting different results, an expensive exercise in futility and, it would appear, pleasant hopelessness.
BUT it might well be this drop-out rate that Mahesh was most focused on when, recognizing that TM was only an exercise in rest for most, he began concocting more and more make-believe "solutions" to the world's problems to sell to more and more gullible people - making more and more money for himself and his family in India. He said "we'll use science to prove it" - meaning, we thought, that we'd use the scientific method to validate that what he claimed about TM was indeed true, because we believed that TM was what he claimed ... after all, we did TM, we experienced rest, we hadn't dropped out because we didn't experience rest! YET even more crucially, we believed in Mahesh ... just like some of the people in the crowd scenes in the YouTube film might have believed they were witnessing real magic. After all, many of those tricks are very difficult to explain.
What did Mahesh really mean about "using" science to prove "it" ... prove what, exactly? Who knows. Mahesh didn't chat. But it appears, especially from Mahesh's behaviour and craving for money, that he surely must have been spot-on aware that he couldn't possibly prove that TM did something it very clearly didn't do. Mahesh was cunning, not stupid.
So, all that faux-science? It endeavours to speak volumes of "proof" that Mahesh was what we thought he was; if TM looked legitimate, then it was obvious Mahesh was legitimate! The fiddled "studies" endeavour to validate Mahesh! All that junk science is simply manipulated to prove Mahesh was right, not that TM did anything other than generate or allow deep rest for some, but not all. His claims for TM, both before and after the Beatles, had come to nothing and after the Beatles dumped him he desperately needed proof about his legitimacy - because even those of us who were sincere believers were beginning to doubt! - I seriously question very, very much that anyone devoted to the idea that Mahesh was the real deal will give a toss about anything I have to say here - but for the rest of us, while we may want to enjoy the entertaining magic tricks, the prestidigitation and appearance of impossible things, we don't need to believe nonsense simply to validate one another's misconceptions and delusions about Mahesh and his clever tricks that swallowed our money.
Like magic tricks and entertainment, stories around the camp fire and the beginnings of theatre, TM is one thing, but it is not "spiritual development" in my opinion; nor is the relaxation response. It might be something to do instead of spiritual development, but it isn't spiritual development.
Of course, Dr. Benson has had the integrity to only focus on what his method actually does, what it can be demonstrated to actually accomplish; he has not needed to make false claims or pretentious accusations about the negativity in the atmosphere or CIA operatives trying to disrupt his empire (!). He has been up-front about what his method of relaxation accomplishes and has set an example for healers and compassionate people everywhere.