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TM and Religion: TM HAS Now Got an Order of Monks! - Johannes Aagaard

During January this year a group of theological students and teachers from the University of Arhus, Denmark,went to India to study Religion and Society. As part of that study they went to Rishikesh, the holy town at the feet of Rimmalaya and at the banks of Ganges. Among the many guru-ashramas at this spot Transcendental Meditation is al so represented. They call their center a university.

The Danish group, however, found no university, but a real guru-center with lingam-worship at at least two places and with a new TM order of Monks. The group had an intensive interview with some of the monks and learned that Maharishi two years ago collected close to one hundred monks and settled them in Rishikesh. The reason for this move is not clear, but it is probably one of the ways by which TM is winning confidence in India.

During the stay at the ashram the group was received by the master swami Satyananda, who--according to the monks is considered number two in the TM hierarchy, second only to Maharishi himself. The interview was not planned, but came as a surprise and ended abruptly. It is printed on the basis of a tape-recording. The group tried to get information about the TM-swamis, but in vain. The Master would not discuss the matter. He only engaged in a discussion on the relation between the mantras/the puja and the understanding of them. He certainly managed to represent himself in a very ambiguous way on these issues.