This article appeared in Security and Political Risk Analysis (SAPRA) Bulletin.
Preventing War and Terrorism
Prevention is the easiest way to avoid the perils of war and terrorism. Defence experts predict that the nature of future warfare and terrorism will change due to the easy availability of weapons of mass destruction. These weapons nearly impossible to defend against. The source of war and terrorism is collective social stress. To permanently sustain peace, war must be addressed at this level. India could prevent war and end conflict by reducing social stress through the Transcendental Meditation (TM) programme.
Perhaps India could learn from Mozambique’s example. Mozambique is an African success story. Its civil war ended seven years ago and peace has been sustained. The economy booms as foreign investments surge and new hotels rise. Freshly paved roads span across the country. Inflation dropped from a high of 70% in 1994 to only 2% this year. New schools have opened and the crime rate is down. Although littered with land mines, the once drought-ravaged and war-torn countryside now produces abundant mangoes, cashews and corn. In the past, Mozambicans subsisted largely on donated food, yet now they almost grow enough to feed themselves.
Angola had a similar situation to Mozambique but a different outcome. Both nations suffered civil wars following independence from Portugal. Yet war continues to smolder in Angola. Angola’s peace accord shattered last year, and violence continues.
Mozambique’s fledgling democracy prospers beyond almost anyone’s expectations, except those of President Alberto Joachim Chissano and his governmental leaders. Chissano predicted in 1993 that these positive changes were coming. He was confident about the war’s demise because Mozambique utilized a new “secret weapon:” the TM programme. Mozambique’s leaders are convinced that these changes occurred largely because members of the Mozambique Armed Forces and police school students practiced the TM programme.
The TM programme is a simple meditation technique that originates from the Vedic tradition of ancient India. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded Maharishi Open University, an organization that teaches this practice. Worldwide, over five million people have learned the technique. This mental technique takes about twenty minutes twice a day.
After the General Peace Agreement was signed in 1992, scientists from Maharishi’s headquarters in The Netherlands presented the TM programme to the Mozambique government as scientifically validated means of creating order and quelling further conflict. With the goal of maintaining its fragile peace, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Mozambique implemented the TM programme in different military units of Ground, Naval and Air Forces.
More than 16,000 Mozambicans learned the TM programme and practiced it twice daily in large groups. Over 3,000 graduates of this first course learned the advanced and more powerful TM-Sidhi programme that includes Yogic Flying. The purpose was to achieve the Maharishi Effect. The Maharishi Effect occurs when the number of people practicing the programme reaches a critical threshold, high enough to radiate peace and harmony throughout the nation. Publications that have printed studies on the Maharishi Effect include leading peer-reviewed journals, such as The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Crime and Justice, Journal of Mind and Behavior and International Journal of Neuroscience.*
Positive trends were obvious once the programme was underway in 1993. The country remained peaceful. Contrary to the typical tendency after a war, crime decreased.
As stipulated in the General Peace Agreement, the military started to demobilize in 1994. Lt. General Tobias Dai, then Commander of the Armed Forces, and now the General Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, noticed a negative shift. “What is very clear is that once the positive effect is created, if group practice is stopped, the previous tendencies of higher collective stress, as determined from the crime indexes and the tense situations in the country, began to rise again. In 1994, there was a remarkable decrease in coherence in the country as a result of decreased participation in the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme…”
Dai is convinced that the decrease of coherence was due to the demobilization of the troops and anticipated ending of TM courses for future police officers. Dai also said in 1994 that “until now, although with several difficulties, the maintenance of peace has been possible during these two years, and free and just elections have been carried out…” Meditating groups of coherence-creators were re-established. In 1995 the U.S. National Defence Council Foundation removed Mozambique from its yearly world conflict list, and peace and stability has continued to this day.
What can the military and civilian leaders of India learn from Mozambique’s experience of deploying this ancient Vedic defence strategy? Perhaps the deployment troops to the border will be unnecessary in the future. Mozambique’s success suggests that troops from any country could keep the peace right at home by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programme in groups.
The Transcendental Meditation program does not require a change in religious beliefs. Says Chissano “People ask me if this is a religion. I have explained to them that I may keep my religion but I should take advantage of this science and make maximum use of it. We will not stop praying in our churches, we will not stop praying in our mosques, we will not stop praying in our synagogues, but we will make an appeal to the support of Nature through the application of this technology (of consciousness).”
President Chissano is ready to discuss the TM program with any government. India’s desire for peace may be quickly fulfilled if it decides to revive its ancient Vedic heritage through the TM program.
Dr. David R. Leffler has a Ph.D. in Consciousness-Based Military Defence. Mrs. Lee M. Leffler has a Master of Arts in Professional Writing.