An Alternative to Military Violence…20 Years of Research on the Maharishi Effect – SAPRA India

Posted on May 1st, 1999

The English version of this paper first appeared in Kosovo Peace and a German translation was published shortly after in Kosovo Frieden. Later the English version was published in Security and Political Risk Analysis (SAPRA).



An Alternative to Military Violence and Fear-Based Deterrence: Twenty Years of Research on the Maharishi Effect


Regardless of its military might, the current availability of powerful, easily-concealed weapons makes it difficult for any nation to ensure peace at home or abroad. Moreover, there is growing concern that fear-based strategies of defense and peace-making cannot create or maintain lasting peace. Against this dismal backdrop, recent research documents the effectiveness of a new peace-creating technology which is profound in its concept, affordable, and easily implemented. Over forty presented or published studies on this technology, which was derived from ancient Vedic knowledge by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, confirm its ability to reduce conflict, promote international cooperation, reduce societal disorder, and improve quality of life. The research is so compelling that, for the first time in modern history, alternative, nonthreatening strategies for securing peace can be realistically proposed.


The Maharishi Effect
Review of Maharishi Effect Research
A Proposed Mechanism for the Maharishi Effect
Military Use of the Maharishi Effect: Deployment of a Military Prevention Wing


Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the change in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur. (Endnote 1)

-General Giulio Douhet, pioneering Italian military airpower advocate

Preventive defense is perhaps our most important tool for protecting American interests from the special dangers that characterize the post-Cold War era. Preventive defense seeks to keep potential dangers to our security from becoming full-blown threats. (Endnote 2)

-Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, in the overview of the Annual Report to the President and the Congress.

Since World War II the fear-based deterrence strategies used by most nations may have prevented another world war. However, they have not prevented the increase of lesser wars and outbreaks of violence in most parts of the world. According to figures produced by the Hamburg University Research Unit on Wars, Armament, and Development (AKUF), over 186 wars have occurred since 1945. (Endnote 3)In 1994 there were 31 major armed conflicts in 27 locations around the world. (Endnote 4) The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute also claims that there were 30 major armed conflicts in 1995. (Endnote 5) However, that same year the conservatively oriented U.S. National Defense Council Foundation counted a record 71 conflicts occurred world-wide. (Endnote 6) In 1996, 27 major armed conflicts occurred world-wide. (Endnote 7) Although most of these conflicts were civil wars or ethnic hostilities, thousands of lives have been lost.

The survival and progress of a nation depend on the effectiveness of its national defense. However, it is clear today that even the world’s best military equipment and preparedness have not enabled current strategies of deterrence to totally protect any nation, especially from internal uprisings.

The word deterrence comes from the Latin root meaning “fear.” In theory, war is deterred by instilling fear in potential enemies. To this end, militaries have amassed tremendous destructive potential. While it is true that military might incites fear in foes, unfortunately it also does so in friends and even in the nation’s own populace. People feel threatened by military deployments, even when these are for humanitarian missions, as was evident in Somalia. Fear generated by such threats encourages increases in military budgets and stockpiling of armaments, further inflaming fear and hatred. Military buildups themselves, therefore, become the seeds of future violence and war. For this reason, no military organization committed to defense solely through destructive power is likely to generate a peaceful atmosphere, even in its own country.

Given this understanding, and the current threat of increasing violence and war, the traditional theory of deterrence is being questioned. A recent subheading to an editorial in International Defense Review reads, “A hard core of terrorists and civil warriors is proving resistant to traditional means of deterrences.” (Endnote 8) The recent wave of terrorism and civil war reflects the shift of conflict and violence to a level where it is difficult to hold any person, group, or nation accountable. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry recently pointed out that a dictator with weapons of mass destruction could threaten to launch missiles loaded with nerve gas or anthrax germs against a neighboring country if the country allowed in U.S. troops, and that such a twist on deterrence would undercut the whole strategy of rushing in to cool regional conflicts before they get out of hand. (Endnote 9) Strategies of deterrence or space-based missile defense systems can not protect against the growing threat of nuclear terrorism. Although the CIA claims that extremist groups have not yet obtained nuclear materials, (Endnote 10) at least 46 nuclear weapons are thought to be missing from the former Soviet arsenal (Endnote 11) and it is reported that nuclear weapons are for sale on the black market. (Endnote 12) Extremely destructive nuclear weapons can easily be delivered by a single terrorist in a backpack device, an artillery shell, a small boat, truck, or plane. (Endnote 13) The Tokyo subway attack and the bombings of the World Trade Center, the Oklahoma City Federal Building, the U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia, the American embassies in Africa, and the many bombings in Northern Ireland demonstrate that even the most affluent and civilized countries are susceptible to attacks by terrorists or rogue elements with concealed weapons. Obviously strategies of deterrence have not prevented these attacks. On the other hand, a strategy that eliminates fear and hatred and directly fosters goodwill might be more effective against such threats.

To date, research on the Maharishi Effect indicate that the technologies producing it generate cooperation and friendliness rather than suspicion and hatred. For this reason, this article takes seriously the suggestion by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (hereafter referred to by his title, “Maharishi,” as per common usage) that a military “prevention wing” within each country is an effective new strategy for creating and maintaining peace. (Endnote 14) The primary mission of these prevention wings would be to implement the wide ranging applications of the Maharishi Effect in a defense setting. Based on the existing research, it can be predicted that implementation of this technology would lead to: 1) a reduction in armed conflict; 2) a reduction of terrorist activities; 3) an increase of good will between nations; 4) a reduction of political instability; 5) a reduction in violent crime and social disorder; 6) an improvement in national economic strength; and 7) an improvement in national quality of life.

The Maharishi Effect

When a small, but sufficient, proportion of a population regularly experiences transcendental consciousness (defined below), through the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) or TM-Sidhi programs, an influence of progress and harmony spreads through the whole society. This phenomenon was named the Maharishi Effect after Maharishi, who first predicted it. Both the TM technique and the more advanced TM-Sidhi program were derived by Maharishi from the ancient Vedic tradition. The Vedic tradition is thought to be the oldest recorded tradition of knowledge in the world. (Endnote 15) The TM technique is a natural and effortless mental procedure practiced 15 to 20 minutes twice daily which fosters experience of a fourth (after sleeping, dreaming and waking) major state of consciousness called “transcendental” consciousness. This self-referral experience in which consciousness is aware of itself is held to be the least excited state of consciousness, deeply restful but awake and alert. (Endnote 16), (Endnote 17) The TM-Sidhi program adds other procedures which cultivate the ability to act while established in transcendental consciousness. The practice of these programs does not require changes of lifestyle or religious beliefs. Research to date indicates measurable results from the Maharishi Effect can be generated through this technology in two related ways: 1) when approximately one-percent (or more) of the population practices the Transcendental Meditation program (9 published or presented papers); or, 2) when the square root of one-percent of the population practices the more advanced TM-Sidhi program as a group (38 published or presented papers).

Review of Maharishi Effect Research

The Maharishi Effect was first noticed in the early 1970s when the population practicing the TM program swelled in many cities world-wide, and anecdotal evidence on the positive changes began to accumulate. The first study of the Maharishi Effect began in 1974 when psychologists Borland and Landrith (Table II: 8) reported decreases in crime rate in cities where 1% of the population had learned the TM technique. Since 1974, 49 investigators representing 16 universities, two research institutes, and the Central Bank of Barbados (see Table I) have replicated and extended the original findings. The researchers used a variety of experimental designs, variables and populations to evaluate the Effect. The Effect was documented at the following scales: on cities (13 papers or presentations), on states (4 published or presented papers), nationally (19 published or presented papers), a Maharishi Effect group in one nation affecting trends in other nations (13 published or presented papers), and globally (3 published or presented papers). Results are remarkably consistent. Researchers not only measured the effect as local populations practiced the Maharishi Effect technology, but they also tested its validity by sending groups of TM-Sidhi experts to trouble-spots around the world and monitoring the results. In Lebanon, Iran, Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia), Kampuchea, and Nicaragua, for example, dramatic positive changes occurred upon arrival and during the stay of the groups. Following departure of the groups, violence generally rebounded to about the level it was before the group arrived (Table II: 44).

This review presents a comprehensive picture of the Maharishi Effect. Table II summarizes all Maharishi Effect papers, either published or presented at notable conferences, that could be located through computer searches and questioning authors about other papers or presentations they might be aware of. Three studies were located that had been begun, but not completed, and are not included. Two studies involving group practice of the TM-Sidhi program in small neighborhoods are not included. Results on such a small portion of society were felt to be questionable. The papers or presentations in Table II are listed alphabetically by first author, and, in the body of the paper, numbers in parentheses refer to the number of the study or presentation in the table.

It may be easiest to understand the Maharishi Effect by examining its influence in four areas: war intensity, international relations, crime rate, and other quality of life variables. Seven papers or presentations report that implementation of the technologies producing the Maharishi Effect decreases the intensity of war (Table II: 1, 2, 13, 15, 41-43). Research to date reports mainly on application of the Maharishi Effect to the war in Lebanon. The results include increased progress towards peaceful resolution of the Lebanese war, and decreases in: war deaths, war injuries, war intensity, property damage, hostile acts, international conflict, and terrorist induced casualties. For example, a study conducted in the town of Baskinta, Lebanon found when 1% of the population learned the TM technique, the frequency of shelling, the amount of property damage, and the number of casualties decreased significantly, as compared to four Lebanese towns near Baskinta with comparable demographics (Table II: 1). The changes were often dramatic. For instance, over 800 incoming artillery rounds hit Baskinta during the previous two years. After it reached 1% the number dropped to zero, even though the rate continued to climb in the five control cities.

Again, the impact of the Maharishi Effect on the war in Lebanon was examined by Davies (Table II: 13) and later Davies & Alexander (Table II: 15). Seven large assemblies, over a two-and-a-half year period, were predicted to have an influence on war intensity. A trained Lebanese rater, blind to the purpose of the experiment, reviewed reports from eight international news sources and the regional Foreign Broadcast Information Service. The results were striking: a 71% reduction in war deaths, a 68% reduction in war injuries, a 48% reduction in the overall level of conflict, and a 66% increase in cooperation among antagonists (p< .00001 for each variable). These comparisons controlled for other variables (for example, holidays, announced events, seasonality, or other trends) which might have independently influenced war intensity. Based on a dependent time series analysis controlling for these variables, combined data from these seven assemblies gave an unprecedented level of significance for the effect, p< 10 -19.

In another study of the Lebanon war (Table II: 41) a plot of the war intensity versus Maharishi Effect group size clearly shows the inverse relation between the two (Figure 1). In this study, the outcomes resulting from a Maharishi Effect group of variable size were predicted and lodged with an independent review board before the group was formed. Results were surprisingly close to those predicted. These results strongly suggest the Maharishi Effect is a viable approach to reducing war intensity and fostering peace.

Figure 1

Figure 1 graphic

Figure 1 – Daily Time Series of the TM-Sidhi Group Size and the Lebanon War Intensity Scale. These two plots show the tendency toward an inverse relation between TM-Sidhi group size and war intensity in Lebanon. (Figure after Orme-Johnson (study 41).)

Decreases in politically motivated violence attributed to this technology have been reported for countries besides Lebanon. Deaths world-wide due to terrorism were reported to decline 72% during three large assemblies (p<.025; Table II: 42).

In the second area of consideration, six papers or presentations report evidence for improved international relations due to the Maharishi Effect. Reported effects include increased cooperation among antagonists (Table II: 13), increased number of cooperative events (Table II: 15), and reduced verbal hostilities (Table II: 44). Public statements by the U.S. President about the former U.S.S.R. and its General Secretary became more frequent and more positive as the size of the U.S. TM-Sidhi group increased (p<.0019; Table II: 30). The actions of the U.S.S.R. toward the U.S. improved 2- to 4-months after the U.S. TM-Sidhi group reached 1,700, the threshold number predicted to make a measurable difference in the affairs of the nation.

Another effect of profound military and diplomatic significance observed in fourteen published or presented papers (Table II: 2-4, 8, 12, 13, 15, 28-30, and 41-44) is that Maharishi Effect groups in one country are reported to improve social indicators in other countries. For example, assemblies in the U.S., Holland, Italy, and Israel were reported to reduce war intensity and improve economic and quality of life variables in Lebanon (Table II: 2, 13, 15, 41-42, and 44). Unemployment, inflation, violent death, number of strikes, and other quality of life variables in Canada were reported improved by a U.S. Maharishi Effect group (Table II: 3, 4, and 8). Such research suggests that, in the future, strategists could use Maharishi Effect groups to remedy problems in hot spots like Kosovo and Iraq without actually having to cross national boundaries.

Maharishi has long held that war is the result of collective stress reaching such a high intensity that it must explode into violence. (Endnote 18) Moreover, in his view, criminal violence within the nation, and other signs of social disorder, derive from the same source. Thus, though the consideration moves from the international sphere to the internal affairs of nations, the underlying principle remains the same. Reduction of this collective stress through the Maharishi Effect technology may simultaneously explain decreases in war intensity and violent crime, as well as improvements in international relations and progress within the nation. Thus, although the bulk of Maharishi Effect research concerns variables at the city, state or national levels, these are thought to be directly relevant to national and international conflict.

Decrease of crime has been reported in 22 Maharishi Effect papers or presentations (Table II: 3-4, 6, 7, 14, 16-24, 33, 35, 37, 41-42, 45-47). Cities experienced an 8.2% to 23% decrease in crime rates during Maharishi Effect interventions (Table II: 16, 34). In Washington, D.C., for example, over an eight-week period in the summer of 1993 (Table II: 33), a public demonstration of the technology, predicted in advance and widely publicized, produced crime rates 23% below predicted trends. Cities or states experienced decreases in crime rates, such as that observed in Merseyside, England where crime decreased by 16% while increasing by 20% in the rest of counties (Table II: 35). Nations experienced from .78% to 12% decreases in crime rates. One study of 80 randomly chosen U.S. cities, containing 47% of the U.S. population, reports that crime trends were 18% below conservatively predicted levels when TM program participation reached 1% over the years 1972 to 1978 (Table II: 24). Such reported changes in crime rate could indicate transformation of a society to a direction away from crime or toward a lower level of stress, and, therefore, improved mental health in the society. The number of papers or presentations, and the experimental significances associated with each, together make the influence of the Maharishi Effect on crime by far the largest of the known approaches to crime reduction. Other approaches, such as increasing police patrols, increasing penalties and incarceration rates, and programs for prevention of drug and alcohol use, have been shown to have little effect. (Endnote 19), (Endnote 20) Papers or presentations have reported consistent results in cities and nations around the world, from Iowa City, Iowa to Manila, the Philippines to New Delhi, India.

Crime trends were typically studied using standardized data obtained from the police or national agencies, and in both short- and long-term, extending in some studies across many years. In many studies, trends in cities or nations during a Maharishi Effect intervention were compared to long-term baseline trends for those nations. Box-Jenkins time series analysis, transfer function analysis, cross-legged panel analysis, chi-square, multi-variate analysis, and other techniques have been employed by investigators. There are examples where the impact could be seen even in the raw data, as in Figures 1 and 2. In other studies, random selection of Maharishi Effect and control cities was employed. Studies by Hagelin, et al. and Orme-Johnson et al. (Table II: 33 and 41), made specific predictions in advance and these predictions were lodged with independent review boards of experts, who also approved the statistical methods in advance of the study. The variety of designs and the consistency of experimental outcomes give credence to the underlying theory of decreasing stress and increasing social order used to explain the Maharishi Effect.

Figure 2

Figure 2 graphic

Figure 2 – Daily Time Series of the TM-Sidhi Group Size and the Composite Quality of Life Index. These two plots show the direct relation between TM-Sidhi group size and a quality of life index. (Figure after Orme-Johnson (study 41).)

Investigators have examined the impact of the Maharishi Effect on a large number of variables other than crime which are related to the quality of life (see Table II), including improved economy (reduced inflation, reduced unemployment, increased wages, increased stock market values, decreased poverty and increased family income), reduced suicides, decreased traffic fatalities, decreased cigarette consumption, decreased incidence of communicable diseases, decreased death rate, increased number of degrees conferred, increased number of patents issued, decreased drug abuse, decreased number of civil suits, decreased divorce rate, decreased alcohol consumption, and many others. Figure 2, from a study of the impact of an Israel Maharishi Effect group on quality of life shows the direct correlation between group size and a composite index of quality of life. Such composites of many quality of life variables would show lower effects of a given independent variable if many independent variables were responsible for producing them. However, in this case, the effect of numbers of participants in the Maharishi Effect technologies was more highly significant for the composite index than for any individual measure. This appears to further corroborate the theory that the Effect is due to one independent variable and that this operates on a level that pervades all of society, a level that may be as basic as consciousness itself.

A Proposed Mechanism for the Maharishi Effect

The Maharishi Effect is unlike any other phenomenon in the social sciences. It behaves as if it were a field effect. A minute fraction, as small as the square root of one percent, of a population practicing the TM-Sidhi program in a group improves trends in society. The results and significance levels obtained in some studies are unprecedented in the social sciences. Furthermore, virtually every study found significant changes in the predicted direction, and changes in many dependent variables (e.g., crime rate, accident rate, economic variables) were repeatedly replicated in different locations and by different researchers using different research designs. The majority of these studies controlled for known or suspected confounding variables. Current theories in sociology cannot explain such changes as the 71% decrease in war fatalities produced by this technology at a distance, as observed in the Davies study (Table II: 13), or results of the twelve other papers or presentations in which the Maharishi Effect in a nation was produced by a group outside the country. To explain such unusual results requires an uncommon explanation. Hagelin, (Endnote 21) a noted unified field theorist, proposes a mechanism for the Maharishi Effect based on the unified field.

Much of current research in high-energy physics is predicated upon the existence of a unified field. This unified field gives rise to all four known forces of nature (weak force, strong force, electromagnetism, and gravity). The unified field is unmanifest and unbounded in the sense that it is abstract to, and yet includes, all time and space. (Endnote 22), (Endnote 23)Physical theorists hold that the unified field embodies the property of complete self-interaction or self-referral-it interacts only with itself to produce all of creation. These self-interacting dynamics give rise to all laws of nature and all manifest phenomena. Unified field theories are a triumph of modern physics, and research in this field has been honored with several Nobel prizes. If a technology of defense based on the unified field were possible, it would revolutionize defense strategy. The unified field is generally thought, however, to be beyond the reach of any physical technology.

The Maharishi Effect is proposed to be mediated by a field effect influence, without direct interaction between those from whom the influence originates and the society that is influenced. This influence is taken as evidence for the existence of a field of consciousness, or, alternatively, as evidence for a subtler form of communication between individuals than currently understood by Western science. (Endnote 24) In the West, most scientists and the public at large take consciousness to be the by-product of the electrophysiological functioning of the nervous system. Consciousness is thus associated with each single nervous system, and isolated-not shared. Each person experiences the world through his or her own individual consciousness. In this perspective there is no need for a field understanding of consciousness. However, many Eastern traditions teach that consciousness is a shared rather than an individual phenomenon. (Endnote 25) No one is isolated from the larger field of consciousness-a completely opposite perspective. Maharishi holds that the influence mediating the Maharishi Effect is generated by practitioners of the TM technique experiencing a state of transcendental consciousness. This proposed fourth state of consciousness is often described as a state of “restful alertness.” It appears to have psychophysiological characteristics distinct from the usual three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep (see for review Endnote 26). Studies conducted at the Military Institute of Aviation Medicine, Warsaw, Poland, (Endnote 27) and in many other places (Endnote 28) reveal indications of deep physiological rest. A wakeful and ordered state of brain functioning was observed along with increased regularity and intensity of EEG alpha and theta activity in frontal and central regions of the brain. Later research further indicates that transcendental consciousness is associated with breath suspensions and increased EEG coherence (see for review Endnote 29, Endnote 30).

The TM-Sidhi program adds a set of advanced mental procedures to the basic TM technique. These are based on the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. (Endnote 31) Research on the TM-Sidhi program has reported significant additional gains in neurophysiological integration and cognitive-behavioral performance over those found utilizing the TM technique alone. Orme-Johnson & Granieri (Endnote 32) report increases in creativity, field independence, IQ, and behavioral flexibility after six-months experience with the TM-Sidhi program. Orme-Johnson, Wallace & Dillbeck (Endnote 33) report significant increases in frontal EEG coherence after three months of TM-Sidhi practice as compared to controls practicing the TM technique alone. Additionally, a large number of studies have documented a variety of other benefits from the TM-Sidhi program (see for review Endnote 34, Endnote 35).

This more powerful program was introduced by Maharishi in 1976 to neutralize negative tendencies and promote positive trends in society. He predicted that a small number of people, about the square root of 1% of the population, practicing the program together in one location, would create an improved quality of life. He based this prediction on discussions with physicists about the coherent effects observed in physical systems such as the laser. (Endnote 36) According to physicist Hagelin, (Endnote 37) the increased amplitude of the effect in group practice could be due to the superposition principle. The field effect created by groups of individuals experiencing transcendental consciousness is notably similar in character to physical superradiance phenomena. Similarities include the generation of the effect by emitters in a small volume, an intensity proportional to N squared, long-range propagation, a decrease of intensity over distance, radial direction pattern, etc.

Leading physicists such as Jeans (Endnote 38) and Wigner (Endnote 39) have long noted the fundamental role played by consciousness in natural phenomena. Planck, who won the Noble prize in physics in 1918, said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.” (Endnote 40) Other eminent physicists have hinted at this unification of consciousness and physics, as in Schroedinger’s “one mind,” Eddington’s “mind stuff,” and Pauli’s “unity of all beings.” (Endnote 41) Bernard d’Espagnat, a leading quantum physicist, writes, “the doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment.” (Endnote 42) Although details of a consciousness-based unified field theory are still emerging, and the theories do have critics, (Endnote 43) it is reasonable to suppose nature is fundamentally united, not divided into separate fields in which mental phenomena reside apart from the rest of existence.

The mechanism for the Maharishi Effect must engage a deep level of nature’s functioning, perhaps a level where the unified field of physics and consciousness are one. Certainly, classical explanations for the effect are very unlikely. (Endnote 44) Maharishi (Endnote 45) holds that the proposed unified field is described in the ancient Vedic literature of India. It is called turiya chetana or simply turiya, which he translates as transcendental consciousness. He further contends that individuals can subjectively experience and investigate the unified field by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs. Physicists like Hagelin (Endnote 46) also postulate the unified field envisioned by physical theorists is the same as consciousness in a pure undifferentiated state, that is, transcendental consciousness. Hagelin (Endnote 47), (Endnote 48) offers the following lines of argument. 1) The qualities of each have been found to be the same (i.e., self-referral or self-interacting, unbounded, unmanifest, invincible, etc.). 2) They each appear to possess an identical organization of symmetries. 3) Each is said to determine the fundamental patterns by which intelligence functions. 4) Logical parsimony forbids the existence of two such fundamental fields at the basis of creation. However, detailed analyses of a role of the unified field in the Maharishi Effect have yet to be formulated.

To produce the changes observed in society, the group practice of the TM-Sidhi program must influence the individual members of society. A number of studies support this logic. Proposed field effects of consciousness have been studied on the level of individual physiology through measures of EEG coherence, intersubject EEG coherence (coherence between subjects), serotonin metabolism, and subjective experience of bliss. Changes in EEG coherence associated with large groups practicing the TM-Sidhi program have been reported by Orme-Johnson & Gelderloos, (Endnote 49) Travis, (Endnote 50) and Travis & Orme-Johnson. (Endnote 51) Increased phase coherence of the EEG has been measured during TM practice, signifying that different parts of the brain are working together in a more orderly manner. Increased EEG coherence during meditation correlates with higher IQ, creativity, moral reasoning, and neurological efficiency, (Endnotes 52 through 56) suggesting that such effects at a distance have practical significance.

Research on intersubject EEG coherence by Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck, Wallace, & Landrith (Endnote 57) further indicates that when many people practice the TM-Sidhi program together in one place, this coherence-generating effect is enhanced. The experiment revealed that on six separate days when about 2500 experts over one thousand miles away practiced the TM-Sidhi program together in one place, increases in intersubject EEG coherence were measured compared to times when the large group was not practicing the TM-Sidhi program (control days). Experimental subjects were blind to the purpose of the research and to the times when the large group practiced the program.

Impact of group practice of the TM-Sidhi program on individual physiology was addressed on the biochemical level in research by Pugh, Walton & Cavanaugh.(Endnote 58) Their initial study revealed that on high attendance days at the large, permanent TM-Sidhi assembly in Fairfield, Iowa, there were indications of higher production and breakdown of the neurotransmitter serotonin in non-meditators several miles away.(Endnote 58) Serotonin, a neurochemical associated with well-being or happiness, is known to reduce human aggression and hostility.(Endnote 59) In this diet-controlled study of effects of group practice of the TM-Sidhi program, linear transfer function methods of time series analysis, modified by the use of the Akaike information criterion, a method to minimize subjective bias in model selection,(Endnote 60) were utilized. Daily mean temperature, a potential confound, was included as a second variable in the model. A later phase of the study(Endnote 61) found that changes in the stress hormone cortisol were opposite to those of serotonin, that is, when the number of practitioners in the TM-Sidhi group went up, there was not only an associated increase in the serotonin metabolite in non-practitioners living and working miles from the group but also an associated decrease in cortisol. Granger causality tests verified the presence of a statistical causal ordering between group size and these biochemical variables, consistent with a causal effect of the TM-Sidhi group on these biochemicals related to stress and well-being.(Endnote 61)

From the Vedic perspective, the explanation for the Maharishi Effect is simple. Consciousness, like the unified field in physical theory, is the stuff from which all the universe is made. Individual consciousness arises from this greater field, but it is the greater field which connects all individuals together, much as waves arise from and are connected by the underlying ocean. Transcendental consciousness is the individual’s experience of this ocean. Repeated experience of this during practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs cultivates the higher qualities of consciousness not only in the individuals engaged in the practice, but also for others in the vicinity as well. The larger the number participating in the practice, and especially the larger the number participating in group practice of these programs, the larger the effect on society. Enlivened consciousness produces corresponding improvements in physiology and behavior. Such an effect-at-a-distance is usually understood by modern science in terms of a field, and thus a detailed understanding of the effect from the Vedic perspective may lead to a detailed understanding in terms of modern science.

Military Use of the Maharishi Effect: Deployment of a Military Prevention Wing

Military strategists voice the opinion that it is time for new strategies of defense. Colonel Szafranski, (Endnote 62) professor of national security studies at the U.S. Air University’s Air War College, writes:

We suspect that it might be valuable to pursue ways to subdue an enemy without fighting. It might bear fruit. After all, physical fighting is costly, with the winner and the loser both paying great expenses in blood and treasure.

Richard Heckler, (Endnote 63) an instructor for “The Trojan Warrior Project” for the U.S. Army Special Operations Division, speaks to this issue when he says:

We are in desperate need of a warrior who draws his or her power from an expanded awareness rather than from a stance of fear or aggression. This warrior could make the U.S. secure without making other countries feel insecure.

The technologies producing the Maharishi Effect appear to fill this need. Because of the documented beneficial effects, the ease of implementation, the rapidity of the influence, and their humanitarian appeal, Maharishi’s Vedic technologies may represent a new scientific advance directly relevant to national defense. The research above indicates a very small percentage of the population, a fraction of the size of a military organization, can influence the trends of society, steering the whole population in a harmonious and progressive direction. What current or proposed technology can begin to match the expected benefits to be gained by establishing a military prevention wing to apply this technology? Benefits to the military’s own country appear most far-reaching, but situations can be imagined where such a group could be profitably used outside the country, in or near existing or potential trouble spots, for example.

Compared to the cost of deploying a fully-armed military force to hot-spots like Kosovo and Iraq, the cost for a prevention wing is small. Expenses for establishing such a wing are largely non-recurring.

A few leaders around the world are beginning to implement the Prevention Wing program, and report success within their military organizations. Recently, over 26,000 Brazilian military police officers learned the TM technique. Significant improvements in discipline and health were documented, although Maharishi Effect research, per se, is not known to have been carried out. In a study involving 6,300 military police officers and 100 cadets, disciplinary measures for officers decreased 69% and for cadets decreased 35% after learning the TM program. Doctor’s visits decreased 26% for officers and 55% for cadets. (Endnote 64), (Endnote 65) Also, 289 meditating cadets in the Police Academy of Piauí, Brazil, likewise showed significant improvements in behavior, attitude and health as well as academic performance. (Endnote 66)

These studies are supported by many previous findings of health benefits in the civilian sector. For example: by a longitudinal study of industrial workers of Sumitomo Heavy Industries conducted by the National Institute of Industrial Health of the Japanese Ministry of Labor and the St. Marianna Medical Institute, (Endnote 67), (Endnote 68) by a field study of insurance statistics of practitioners of the TM technique, (Endnote 69) by a nationwide epidemiological study by Socialstyrelsen, the National Health board of Sweden, (Endnote 70), (Endnote 71) and by a study of physicians’ payments for enrollees in the provincial health plan of Quebec. (Endnote 72) The reduction of health care cost estimated from these studies continues for at least seven years after learning the TM technique. After five to seven years of near linear decline, costs are approximately 50% of their initial level. Thus, health cost savings across five years would by themselves come close to full payback for the military organization. Improvements in work performance would add more savings.

The military is traditionally the most orderly and disciplined institution in society. According to military historian Martin Van Creveld (Endnote 73) “[o]nce the potential usefulness of a new concept is recognized, no organization is better placed than the armed forces to guide its development and bring it to fruition.” For this reason, it may be appropriate for military organizations to create prevention wings and use them to maintain coherence in the collective consciousness of their nation and the world. Many military bases already have enough personnel to create the Maharishi Effect for the whole world. The other duties of military personnel would be only modestly affected; practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs requires only 2-3 hours per day.


What better success for a military than to win a conflict without fighting? The research reviewed here suggests this goal, sought since ancient times, can now be achieved through application of the technology of the Maharishi Effect. As further inferred from these studies, this technology also may be an effective defense against the expanding spectrum of terrorist threats to national as well as international security. As more military organizations gain experience with it, the technology of the Maharishi Effect may well become the preferred means to prevent or end military violence around the world.


1. Giulio Douhet, The Command of the Air, trans. Dino Ferrari (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, USAF Office of History, 1983), p. 30.

2. George C. Wilson, “Defense plan has many holes,” Air Force Times, April 15, 1996, p. 62.

3. Ingomar Hauchler and Paul M. Kennedy, Global trends-the World Almanac of Development and Peace (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1994), p. 179.

4. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1995 Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

5. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1996 Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

6. Associated Press, “Record number of conflicts threaten peace, group says,” Des Moines Register, January 3, 1996, p. 5.

7. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1997 Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

8. Brigitte Sauerwein, “The Undeterrables,” International Defense Review, Vol. 3 (1993), p. 183.

9. George C. Wilson, “It’s Called WMD but its meaning is trouble,” Navy Times, March 20, 1995, p. 31.

10. “WASHINGTON-USA Faces Chilling Reality of Terrorist Threat,” USA Today, Thursday March 28, 1996, p. 10A.

11. G-2, Military, Vol. 11, No. 7 (December 1994), p. 3.

12. G-2, Military, Vol. 10, No. 8 (January 1994), p. 2.

13. Fred Reed, “Nukes for ‘nut cases’ seems to be here,” Air Force Times, April 26, 1993, p. 54.

14. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence (Maharishi Vedic University, India: Age of Enlightenment Publications, 1996).

15. David Frawley, Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization (Salt Lake, Utah: Passage Press, 1991).

16. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Commentary Chapter 1-6, (Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin, 1969).

17. John S. Hagelin, “Is Consciousness the Unified Field? A Field theorist’s perspective,” Modern Science and Vedic Science, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1987), pp. 28-87.

18. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence (India: Age of Enlightenment Publications, 1996).

19. Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, “More Prisons and Police Won’t Stop Crime,” (Fairfield, Iowa: Maharishi University of Management, Policy Brief Report No. 95:2 Crime Prevention March 16, 1995), pp. 1-3.

20. Robert Martinson, “What works? Questions and Answers About Prison Reform,” The Public Interest, Vol. 35, (1974), pp. 22-54.

21. Hagelin, “Is Consciousness the Unified Field?”

22. Bertram M. Schwarzschild, “Anomaly Cancellation Launches Bandwagon for Superstring Theory of Everything,” Physics Today, Vol. 38, No. 7, (July 1985), pp. 17-20.

23. M. Mitchell Waldrop, “String as a Theory of Everything,Science, Vol. 229, No. 4719, (20 September 1985), pp. 1251-1253.

24. Hagelin, “Is Consciousness the Unified Field?”

25. Jonathan Shear, The Inner Dimension Philosophy and the Experience of Consciousness (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1990).

26. Ron Jevning, Robert K. Wallace, and Mark Biedebach, “The Physiology of Meditation: A Wakeful Hypometabolic Integrated Response,” Neuroscience and Biobehavior Review, Vol. 16, No. 3, (1992), pp. 415-424.

27. J. Miszczak and J. Achimowicz, “Hybrid Analysis of Spontaneous Brain Activity in Different States of Conscious Experience,” in Roger A. Chalmers, Geoffrey Clements, Hartmut Schenkluhn et al, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Vlodrop, the Netherlands: Maharishi International University Press, 1983), Vol. 4, pp. 2267-2273.

28. Charles N. Alexander, Robert W. Cranson, Robert W. Boyer et al., “Transcendental Consciousness: A Fourth State of Consciousness Beyond, Sleep, Dreaming, and Waking,” in Jayne Gackenbach, ed., Sleep and Dreams: A Sourcebook, (New York: Garland, 1987), pp. 282-315.

29. Ibid.

30. Ron Jevning, Robert K. Wallace, and M. Biedebach, “The Physiology of Meditation.

31. Patanjali, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by R. Prasada (New Delhi, India: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, 1978).

32. David W. Orme-Johnson and Barbara Granieri, “The Effects of the Age of Enlightenment Governor Training Courses on Field Independence, Creativity, Intelligence, and Behavioral Flexibility,” in David W. Orme-Johnson and John T. Farrow, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Livingston Manor, New York: MIU Press, 1977), Vol. 1, pp. 713-718.

33. David W. Orme-Johnson, Robert K. Wallace, and Michael C. Dillbeck, “Longitudinal Effects of the TM-Sidhi Program on EEG Phase Coherence,” in Roger A. Chalmers, Geoffrey Clements, Harmut Schenkluhn et al, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Vlodrop, the Netherlands: MIU Press, 1980), Vol. 3, pp. 1678-1686.

34. Robert K. Wallace, The Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field: The Neurophysiology of Enlightenment (Fairfield, Iowa: MIU Neuroscience Press, 1986).

35. Robert K. Wallace, The Physiology of Consciousness (Fairfield, Iowa: MIU Press, 1993).

36. Lawrence H. Domash, “The Transcendental Meditation Technique and Quantum Physics: Is Pure Consciousness a Macroscopic State in the Brain?,” in David W. Orme-Johnson and John T. Farrow, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Livingston Manor, New York: MIU Press, 1977), Vol. 1, pp. 652-670.

37. John S. Hagelin, “Is Consciousness the Unified Field.”

38. James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (revised edition) (New York: Macmillan, 1932).

39. Eugene Wigner, Symmetries and Reflections (Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press, Boston, 1970).

40. David Ballin Klein, The Concept of Consciousness: A Survey (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), reference cited is facing the book title page.

41. Larry Dossey, Recovering the Soul: A Scientific and Spiritual Search (New York: Bantam, 1989), p. 125.

42. Bernard d’Espagnat, “The Quantum Theory and Reality,” Scientific American, Vol. 241, No. 5 (November 1979), pp. 158-181.

43. Victor J. Stenger, “The Myth of Quantum Consciousness,The Humanist, Vol. 53, No. 3, (May/June 1993), pp. 13-15.

44. Kai J. Druhl and Kurt W. Kleinschnitz, “Superradiance as a Model for the Collective Dynamics of Human Consciousness,” (Fairfield, Iowa: Maharishi University of Management, Report No. 91-001, 1991).

45. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Life Supported By Natural Law (Washington, D.C: Age of Enlightenment Press, 1986).

46. Hagelin, “Is consciousness the Unified Field?”

47. Ibid.

48. John S. Hagelin, “Restructuring Physics From Its Foundation In Light of Maharishi’s Vedic Science,” Modern Science and Vedic Science, Vol. 3, No. 1, (1989), pp. 3-72.

49. David W. Orme-Johnson and Paul Gelderloos, “Topographic EEG Brain Mapping During “Yogic Flying,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 38, No. 3-4, (1988), pp. 427-434.

50. Frederick T. Travis, “Testing a Field Model of Social Interactions,” Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science, Vol. 95, (1988), pp. A56-A57.

51. Frederick T. Travis and David W. Orme-Johnson, “EEG Coherence and Power During Yogic Flying,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 54, No. 1-2, (1990), pp. 1-12.

52. Michael C. Dillbeck and Edward C. Bronson, “Short-term Longitudinal Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique on EEG Power and Coherence,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 14, (1981), pp. 147-151.

53. Michael C. Dillbeck, David W. Orme-Johnson, and Robert K. Wallace, “Frontal EEG Coherence, H-Reflex Recovery, Concept Learning, and the TM-Sidhi Program,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 15, (1981), pp. 151-157.

54. Sanford I. Nidich, Robert A. Ryncarz, Allan I. Abrams et al., “Kohlbergian Cosmic Perspective Responses, EEG Coherence, and the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program,” Journal of Moral Education, Vol. 12, No. 3, (October 1983), pp. 166-173.

55. David W. Orme-Johnson, Robert K. Wallace, Michael C. Dillbeck et al, “Improved Functional Organization of the Brain Through the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field as Indicated By Changes In EEG Coherence and Its Cognitive Correlates: A Proposed Model of Higher States of Consciousness,” in David W. Orme-Johnson and John T. Farrow, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Vlodrop, the Netherlands: MIU Press, 1986), Vol. 4, pp. 2245-2266.

56. David W. Orme-Johnson and Christopher T. Haynes, “EEG Phase Coherence, Pure Consciousness, Creativity, and TM-Sidhi Experiences,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 13, (1981), pp. 211-217.

57. David W. Orme-Johnson, Michael C. Dillbeck, Robert K. Wallace et al., “Intersubject EEG Coherence: Is Consciousness a Field?,” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 16, No. 3/4, (1982), pp. 203-209.

58. Nirmal D. Pugh, Kenneth G. Walton, and Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, “Can Time Series Analysis of Serotonin Turnover Test the Theory that Consciousness Is a Field?,” Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, Vol. 14, (1988), p. 372. Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this paper, this study was published here:

Walton KG, Cavanaugh, KL, & Pugh , ND (2005): Effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on biochemical indicators of stress in non-meditators: A prospective time series study. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 17(1), 339-373. For a summary see: Research Relevant to use of the Transcendental Meditation Program in the Military.

59. Robert O. Pihl, Simon N. Young, P. Harden et al., “Acute Effect of Altered Tryptophan Levels and Alcohol on Aggression in Normal Human Males,” Psychopharmacology, Vol. 119, (1995), pp. 353-360.

61. H. Akaike, “Information Theory and an Extension of the Maximum Likelihood Principle,” in B. N. Petrov and F. Csake, eds., Second International Symposium on Information Theory, (Budapest, Hungary: Akademiai Kiada, 1973), pp. 267-281.

61. K. L. Cavanaugh, N. D. Pugh, K. G. Walton, “Effects of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program on Cortisol and Other Biochemical Indicators of Societal Stress: A Causal Analysis,” Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, Vol. 24, (1998), p. 1434. Editor’s note: See also: Walton KG, Cavanaugh, KL, & Pugh , ND (2005): Effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on biochemical indicators of stress in non-meditators: A prospective time series study. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 17(1), 339-373. For a summary see: Research Relevant to use of the Transcendental Meditation Program in the Military.

62. Richard Szafranski, “Neocortical Warfare? The Acme of Skill,” Military Review, Vol. 74, No. 11, (November 1994), pp. 41-55.

63. Richard Strozzi Heckler, “In Search of the Warrior Spirit,” East West, Vol. 20, No. 10, (October 1990), p. 92.

64. Military Police Center for Education and Training, Salvador, State of Bahia, Brazil, Document No. AJ/59/02/83, 3 Feb. 1988.

65. Markus Schuler, Project Director: “Stress Prevention Program,” [Videotaped Documentary] (Sao Paulo, Brazil: Maharishi Institute of Health and Ayur-Ved, 1989). [Editor’s note: See: Brazilian Military Research on Invincible Defense]

66. Government of State of Piaui, Brazil, (Military Police General Command Document No. 037-PM-3187, 14 Dec. 1987). [Editor’s note: See: Brazilian Military Police Pictures]

67. T. Haratani and T. Henmi, “Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) On Mental Health of Industrial Workers,” Japanese Journal of Public Health, Vol. 37, No. 10, (1990), p. 729.

68. T. Haratani and T. Henmi, “Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) On Mental Health of Industrial Workers,” Japanese Journal of Industrial Health, Vol. 32, No. 7, (1990), p. 177.

69. David W. Orme-Johnson, “Medical Care Utilization and the Transcendental Meditation Program,” Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 49, No. 1, (1987), pp. 493-507.

70. J. O. Ottoson, “Transcendental meditation,” Socialstyrelsen [National Health Board of Sweden] Report D: nr SN 3-9-1194/73 (1977).

71. Jaan Suurkla, “The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Prevention of Psychiatric Illness,” in Roger A. Chalmers, Geoffrey Clements, Harmut Schenkluhn et al, eds., Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, (Vlodrop, the Netherlands: Maharishi International University Press, 1977), Vol. 2, pp. 896-897.

72. Robert E. Herron, Steve L. Hillis, Joseph V. Mandarino et al., “The Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Government Payments to Physicians in Quebec,” American Journal of Health Promotion, Vol. 10, No. 3, (1996), pp. 208-216.

73. Martin van Creveld, Technology and War-From 2000 B. C. to the Present-A Revised and Expanded Edition (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 220.

Author: David R. Leffler (The Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio),
Kurt W. Kleinschnitz (Maharishi Vedic School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania),
Kenneth G. Walton (Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa),
Date: 1 May 1999

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