More about religion, science, and the Transcendental Meditation program

Did a U.S. Federal Court once decide that the Transcendental Meditation program is a religion?

No U.S. court has ever ruled that the Transcendental Meditation program is a religion. In fact, over the last 25 years, numerous government programs involving the TM technique have been approved by Federal and State governments, implementing or researching the TM program in health facilities, schools, universities, research institutes, prisons and probation programs. Over $25 million dollars in government grants have been provided for these purposes.

What did happen, some 33 years ago, was that a judge presiding over a federal court case in New Jersey deemed that the Federal Department of Education’s funding of a TM-related curriculum, called “The Science of Creative Intelligence,” in a public secondary school was an entanglement of government with religion. This was based on the judge's belief that “Creative Intelligence” was somehow used as a religious concept in that particular program (Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F2d 197, 1979).

The Third Circuit Appeals Court made it clear that the ruling was based upon the particular programs of instruction being offered in that school in New Jersey in 1977, which combined an academic curriculum in the "Science of Creative Intelligence" with instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique. No court has ever ruled that instruction in the Transcendental Meditation program itself in the public schools is unconstitutional. In fact, the TM program has been taught and practiced in public schools by several thousand students in over a dozen public schools with no litigation or court interference since the Malnak case was entered. This speaks rather clearly to the propriety of the TM program in the public schools. Also, since the Malnak case was entered, the US Supreme Court made it clear in the case of Wallace v. Jaffree in 1985 that voluntary meditation in a public school classroom is constitutional.

Over the last thirty years, many school administrators, parents and judges have come to understand the scientific basis to the practice and benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program, resulting in the current rapidly growing interest in its implementation in the classroom. The research over the last three decades has eliminated much of the misunderstanding.

What is the Science of Creative Intelligence — and why might someone have thought it religious?

The Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) is a new science, founded by Maharishi in 1970 to meet the need for a unified framework of human knowledge that integrates all fields of study. While other sciences study the physical, chemical, or biological expressions of nature’s order and intelligence, the Science of Creative Intelligence studies the structure of intelligence itself, and examines how the creative intelligence displayed in every grain of creation arises in a systematic and sequential way from an underlying, fundamental, universal field.

SCI further examines how that universal, unified field of intelligence can be accessed and fully utilized to enrich human life and compliment all areas of human knowledge.

The court noted that the Science of Creative Intelligence deals with "ultimate concerns," such as the nature and range of human consciousness.

According to such a broad definition of religion — "dealing with ultimate concerns" — fields of study such as secular humanism and even atheism could arguably be legally classified as religions. Under this definition, a strong case could be made for Western science itself being religious in its search for ultimate knowledge.

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