The Maharishi Effect

In 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that one percent of a population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population.

In 1976, the phenomenon was named the Maharishi Effect. The meaning of this term was later extended to cover the influence generated by the group practice of the TM-Sidhi program. Generally, the Maharishi Effect may be defined as the influence of coherence and positivity in the social and natural environment generated by the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs. Maharishi introduced the TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, in 1976. Group practice of this program was observed to be particularly beneficial. On the basis of analogies to physical systems, scientists estimated that the coherence generated by group practice of the TM-Sidhi program should be proportional to the square of the number of participants. Taking into account the “1%” finding, it was predicted that a group with size equal to the square root of 1% of a population would have a measurable influence on the quality of life of that population. The TM-Sidhi program was practiced in large groups on numerous occasions in the following decade, and the first statistical analysis of the effects was published in 1987. Subsequent research has confirmed the existence and the universality of the Maharishi Effect. Not surprisingly, since the theory and the phenomenon are so new to modern science, the methodology of a study is subjected to rigorous analysis by the journal review boards before a paper on the Maharishi Effect is accepted for publication. As a result, the research is really a gem of social science, not only on account of its significance, but also for the quality of its methodology.

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