One of our readers recently asked in the "comments" section of this blog how much the entire TM program ultimately costs. I thought that was an important question, and decided to devote a post to answering it.
In some places I have just had to give educated guesses on costs. That's because some of the TM-sponsored websites describe the product or service but don't give a price. Also, some of the websites are old and the prices have changed. Also, sometimes policies change. Where I had to guess the price, I have guessed on the lower end rather than the higher end. If you have more accurate pricing information, please share it in the "Comments" section below.
TM-Free Blog and the author of this post do not offer, sell, teach, endorse, recommend, believe in, encourage the purchase of (etc., etc.) any of the products and services mentioned in this post. Neither do we non-endorse, non-recommend, discourage, etc. them. Rather, the purposes of this post are: to cast a light on the actual cost of living life the TM way, as opposed to the impression the TM organization (TMO) tries to give about the cost. Also to examine if the TMO, which bills itself as a secular educational movement, is actually trying to disseminate a type of Hinduism. Also to look at how ethical the TMO is in its advertising and in where the money goes, and how central to the TMO mission is their raising of money.
Please note that some of these costs are one-time only fees (such as cost for learning TM). Other costs can be repeated over and over. OK, here goes. All quotations are from TM-sponsored websites.
1. Cost of personal instruction in TM: $1,500 (?)
2. First Advanced Technique: $1,500 (?)
3. Second Advanced Technique: $1,500 (?)
4. Third Advanced Technique: $1,500 (?)
5. Fourth Advanced Technique: $1,500 (?)
6. TM-Sidhis Program: $5,000 (?)
7. Fee to practice TM-Sidhis program at a TM Center: $20?/month, or $240?/year
8. Weekend retreats: $250?/weekend. Recommended on their website as the most valuable thing you can do for your evolution. Recommended: at least 4 a year = $1,000?/year. "These beautiful advanced programs are the golden key to living the full potential of life in higher states of consciousness - Enlightenment - bringing perfect health, happiness, and the fulfillment of desires." - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (From "Advanced Programs for Meditators" at http:/www.advanced.tm.org/).
9. Comprehensive Life Kundali (in depth study for self): $400
10. Maharishi Jyotish Consultation (provides answers to questions or gives predictions): $150 for 15 minutes, $450 for 45 minutes.
11. Maharishi Yagya(SM) Performances "to create life-supporting effects and help avoid...unwanted...before it manifests." The larger (more expensive) yagyas are said to produce more effective results. Size should be "on basis of intensity of problems or speed of achieving objective." The principle to apply is, "Do not perform yagyas below one's financial capacity." (From www.maharishiyagya.org/apply/index.html.) No prices are given. Personal communications with author have stated that yagyas have been performed for $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000. "Donations are used to support Maharishi Yagya performances and to promote education and training programs in Maharishi Vedic Science and Technologies(SM)....It is wise to enhance...influence[s] through Maharishi Yagya performances year after year, and even month after month...."
12. Muhurta (selection of favorable moment for beginning a new activity): $300.
13. Compatibility Analysis (marriage, business partnerships): $300
14. Ascertaining correct birth time (if you don't know a birth time, for TMO astrology services): $600
15. Nam Karan (provides first syllable for new baby or company): $200
16. Additions to a Comprehensive Life Kundali (adding relatives): $300 per relative. "It is vital...to have one's Comprehensive Life Kundali examined regularly...in order to determine what the future may bring...."
17. Maharishi Yagya(SM) performance for the nation, "to enliven total Natural Law for each nation....A new set of Maharishi Yagya performances for the nation will begin...approximately every 2 weeks...Many large contributions are needed...Catagory A donations are $1,000,000 (USD). ...Category J are $1,250....With a contribution of $1,250 or more, your name will be acknowledged in the Maharishi Yagya performance...The first priority is to have your personal Maharish Yagya performances on a regular basis...." You may pledge to donate for a Maharish Yagya performance for the nation anywhere from one time to "monthly forever."
18. Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology - for health. Prices range from $187/session for serious health conditions, and take 12 sessions for a total of $2250; or $450 for a Standard session, or $900 for an "enhanced consultation." Sessions are 40 to 60 minutes. "The fees listed are RESEARCH FEES (emphasis in original) offered for those agreeing to participate in our Research Program by completing a short self-evaluation form after each session and periodic follow-up self-evaluations over the course of one year. For those unwilling to participate in the Research, the fee is US $4,000 per disorder for 3 sessions." (i.e. $1,333/session).
19. Maharishi Gemstones. Primary gem cost: ?
20. Maharishi Gemstones. Secondary gem cost: ?
21. Maharishi Ayurveda consultations: Cost ? Some components of the consultation are #22, 23 and 24:
22. Recommended Maharishi herbal food supplements. Cost: ?
23. Detoxification program. Cost: ?
24. Educational follow-up. Cost: ?
25. Maharishi Vastu Architecture. Services include: predesigned homes, custom design, consulting with developers. Cost: ? From 2010 website: "Over $400,000,000 (four hundred million dollars U.S.) in Fortune-Creating(R) homes and other buildings, and a score of communities have been built worldwide...."
26. - or - buying or renting a MaharishiVastu Architecture home. Cost: ?
27. Regular requests for donations from the David Lynch Foundation, special appeals after tsunamis, requests for donations to transport TMers to group meditations, etc. Cost ???
28. The Raj (health spa): from $533 a day to $1,150 a day. Stay is from 3 days to 30 days. Repeat as desired.
29. TM Teacher Training: approx. $15,000
How much does that come to? Have I left anything out? What have been your experiences with the TMO and money? How much money have you given to the TMO? How much money have people you know given to the TMO? Have you found yourself spending more money for TMO products and services than you had anticipated? Have you found your TMO products and services to be worth the price? Have you ever been pressured or guilt-tripped into spending more? Other musings welcome!