Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Book Review: "TRANSCENDENTAL DECEPTION: Behind the TM curtain - bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation while falsely claiming it is not a religion" by Aryeh Siegel

Published 2018 by JanReg Press
222 pages
Reviewed by Laurie

This book is different.  This book is special.

"...'Will my practice of Transcendental Meditation conflict with my religion?'  [TM spokesperson] Roth answers, 'No....' " (p. 79)

"...For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal gods.  Such mantras fetch to us the grace of personal gods...."   [quote by Maharishi]. (p. 86) 

I have read many fascinating memoirs by people who have spent years in the TM world.  And I’ve read excellent books about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Guru Dev.

But this book is different.  It doesn’t tell the story of one life.  Nor does it, like most exposes, focus on just one aspect of the TM organization (TMO), such as Maharishi’s sex life, or TM actually being a religious movement.

"...After giving meditation another shot...I had what superficially looked like convulsions and could not walk without assistance afterwards because my abdominals were clenched so tight, I was hunched over more than 90 degrees (that occurred on and off for nearly a week)...."  (p. 182-183)

Instead, it gives a comprehensive overview of the TM movement.  It brings together the many criticisms ~ over many years ~ in many fields ~ from many scholars. The result is compelling  evidence that deception is not an occasional aberration within the TMO, but one of its standard modes of operation.  Siegel documents how the TMO has:

(1)  Hidden the religious (Hindu) nature of the technique, the mantras and the TM philosophy.
(2)  Perpetrated biased research.
(3)  Posted websites claiming to be “independent.”
(4)  Misquoted people and organizations.

"...[W]idely promoted by TM as 'The Maharishi Effect,'...[is] group TM meditation impacting crime...."  (p. 101)

"...Utilizing raw data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program released in September 2016, [a real estate platform] reported...'The crime rate in Fairfield is considerably higher than the national average across all communities in America from the largest to the smallest....' "  (p. 106)

(5) Invented statistics.
(6) Denied the harm that TM causes some individuals.
(7) Hidden where the money goes.
(8) Engaged in cult-like behavior.
…And so much more.  

Different sections devoted to different areas of deception, several pages of “Resources,” and over 200 footnotes make this book an excellent source for investigating the soul of the organization that seeks to spreads TM, at whatever price.

Siegel realized that with each passing day, more and more public schools would be teaching TM.  Therefore he wrote and published this book as quickly as possible.  So frankly, the writing is quite uneven.  And I wish that Siegel had omitted his personal conjectures and denunciations, which in my opinion only weaken the book, since the facts speak for themselves.  Making allowances for his time constraints, it is still the most comprehensive review of TM I’ve seen in decades.

"...The flaws in this study [Meditation for Childhood ADHD] are numerous.  The number of subjects is too small, there is no control group, and it isn't blinded....It is based purely on self-report....[Children] are told what the expected outcome of the trial is, that their symptoms will improve with TM...." (page 115) 

I strongly recommend this book to scientists, medical doctors, psychotherapists, politicians, theologians, educators, ethicists, parents, students, former- present- and future-TMers, cult experts and more.  It will help them evaluate the PR promulgated by the TMO.

I am saddened that the leaders of the TMO (from its founder on down) have seen fit to take a pleasant quasi-religious technique that helps a lot of people and harms a few, and have sullied it, themselves and the public, by slathering it with lies.

"...The overall evidence supports that TM modestly lowers BP (blood pressure).  It is not certain whether it is truly superior to other meditation techniques in terms of BP lowering...." - American Heart Association, 2013.  (p. 108)

"...The American Heart Association made a scientific statement that Transcendental Meditation was the only form of stress management and meditation technique to reduce blood pressure...." -  (p. 108) 

Also - be sure to check out Siegel’s cool and very fun website,, for intriguing videos, interviews, articles and insights into TM.

[Note:  To read more books reviews on TMFree, go to our main page, right hand column, last section "Labels," and click on "book review."]

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