Friday, January 07, 2022

The full text of an early version of Maharishi's "Introduction to the Holy Tradition"

I've been following along with the latest developments in the lawsuit against the David Lynch Foundation, and others, in the aftermath of the DLF's latest failed attempt to insinuate the TM program into public high schools. The legality of any entanglement of any government entity in the United States with Transcendental Meditation was successfully challenged by the opinions in Malnak v. Yogi  - which may be forty years old, but that still serves as persuasive authority in US courts - which resulted in an injunction against the TM program in public high schools in New Jersey, which still stands today.

One critical element of the current case - which in some ways mirrors Malnak over forty years later - is the translation of the puja, the ritual performed before instruction in the TM technique, which is spoken and sung in the Sanskrit language. In Malnak the religiosity of the puja in translation was one of two primary factors in the court's opinion finding that TM was of a "religious nature," and that element is also, I think, one of the facts which will determine the outcome of the case in Chicago.

Counsel for the David Lynch Foundation has been working tooth and nail to exclude the puja translation from the case, in the past few days acknowledging that the translation which appears in the district court opinion in Malnak is the same as that performed in Chicago schools, on school property. But the attorneys for the DLF are attempting to insert a "poison pill" that the translation which has been part of the published Malnak decision for over 40 years cannot be used as evidence in the current case.

So, to drive home what each and every Transcendental Meditation teacher knows by heart - and what they were taught during their training - this is the full text of the "Introduction to the Holy Tradition," which has existed in several versions. These are scans of a physical copy in my possession, which I obtained from a book and document seller in France. Its text is nearly identical (with an omission which I attribute to an editing error) to two other versions, one of which appears as an appendix in a book written by a former TM teacher (R. D. Scott in "Transcendental Misconceptions," published in 1978), and the other in the Amlan Dey thesis, submitted in 2017, which I refer to in part 2 of my previous series on the purpose and significance of the puja.

I can't accurately date this document, since there is nothing identifying where, when and by whom it was published, but given the style in which it was printed, and the quality of the paper, I think it likely that it dates to the late 1960's and was printed in the print shop at Maharishi's "Academy of Meditation" Rishikesh ashram. I believe it's possible that this booklet was distributed to participants in the same TM teacher training course that was visited by the Beatles, Mia and Prudence Farrow, and other prominent people in early 1968. Any information that might help identify this booklet's origin would be appreciated.

The portion of this booklet which matches the Sanskrit-to-English translation in the Malnak opinion starts in the eleventh image below, the "Invocation of the Holy Tradition."

This document is also available as a PDF file.

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