Pastoral Statement on Transcendental Meditation

Author: Cardinal Jaime Sin


Following is the 1984 Pastoral statement of His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, on certain doctrinal aspects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, held after consultation with theological experts.

The Maharishi's doctrine and teaching on (1) God, (2) man, (3) the way to go to God, (4) pain and suffering, and (5) sin is in open contradiction to Christian Doctrine.

1. The "God" of the Maharishi is impersonal, as opposed to the God manifested in Christian revelation where God is a personal God who loves each human person in an intimate way.

By denying the Creator as Supreme and teaching that "All is One," Maharishi removes the distinction between the Creator and the creature. This directly leads to, or is an equivalent form of, pantheism.

The "mantras" given to the followers of the Maharishi have been discovered to be invocations, in most of the cases, to deities of the Hindu pantheon, thus in a real sense denying the oneness of God and fostering polytheism.

2. Man is considered capable of attaining unlimited perfection, of being totally liberated from all pain and suffering through the instrumentality of Transcendental Meditation practiced in the Maharishi way. Similarly through this, TM, man can find solution to all human problems ranging from control of the elements to the attainment of indestructibility and immortality.

Two flaws, among others, appear clearly in this doctrine: (a) It does not accept the immortality of the soul, nor life beyond, as belonging to the nature of the soul; (b) ignores completely the existence of original sin, a Christian dogma, and the consequences for the realities of life.

3. The way to God is placed by Maharishi in TM as understood by him, his books, and his followers, and it is placed on TM as the exclusive way to God.

Two flaws, again, are hidden in these affirmations: (a) the abuse of the term TM which has been appropriated by them as if theirs was "the" TM par excellence, the only authentic one (there is Christian mysticism, even authors speak of Hindu and Buddhist mysticism, and certainly there is also the well-known za-zen method of meditation); and (b) the way to God in the present economy for all is the way of the Cross as long as we are pilgrims, as explicitly preached by Christ himself, accepted in Christian doctrine and life. The heroism of Christian faithful suffering with the greatest courage and dignity appears to be absent in the Maharishi way to God.

4. Implicit in the Maharishi approach to the problem of pain and suffering is the rejection of the redemptive value of suffering and of the existence of Christ as the Redeemer. In fact, Maharishi in his book, Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (New York, Bantam Books, 1968, p.23), writes explicitly: "I don't think Christ ever suffered or Christ could suffer." (This statement has been repeated in many places by the Maharishi followers.)

5. Sin. Maharishi tries to ignore the existence of sin. In this, Maharishi follows the Vedic doctrine that regards sin as a bodily matter and has nothing to do with the spirit or soul of man. The whole concept of "sin," if implicitly accepted, is considered as something external and legalistic. The real sense of freedom and responsibility is absent, and the "effects" of sin are the object of rituals, mantras, and TM. There is no interior conversion, but a rather manipulative use of TM to attain liberations.

At the basis of this concept and approach is the concept of God, man, the way to God, pain and suffering, described above. From this point of view, one cannot be a Christian and a Maharishi.

6. As for TM, it may be considered as doctrine (content) or as technique (method). From this point of view of doctrine it is not acceptable to a Catholic, or a Christian at that. As for TM as technique, in the way the Maharishi group presents it, it is not acceptable either because of its intrinsic connections with the doctrine (cf. "mantras" and 1 and 2 above).

This kind of TM is to be distinguished from various forms of prayer proper to the Oriental religious attitudes, some of which may be acceptable, and even beneficial, if properly scrutinized and used. TM, however, as proposed by Maharishi and as the end-result looked at by the Maharishi doctrine and followers, is, to say the least, quite risky. It becomes not a remedy but an escape. Its unavoidable result, within the Maharishi doctrine context, is the desensitization of conscience by trying to relieve not the guilt and the real disorder but only its symptoms and its accompanying restlessness.

This document was taken from "Todays Destructive Cults and Movements," by Rev. Lawrence J. Gesy, available from Our Sunday Visitor Press, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750.