More about the Transcendental Meditation instruction ceremony (puja)

But doesn't the Transcendental Meditation instruction ceremony involve "offerings?"
The TM instruction ceremony derives from and retains many elements of the traditional Vedic custom of guest reception: offering a bath, fresh garments, food, etc. — all done symbolically during puja as gestures of respect. The puja used in TM instruction recites the names of the tradition of teachers and honors them, most prominently acknowledging the latest representative of that tradition, Maharishi's teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati, or "Guru Dev" ("great teacher").

There is no "offering to gods" or any such thing. It's more like giving an apple to your teacher — very simple and natural.

I heard that the TM instruction ceremony mentions names of gods?

The secular-type puja performed during Transcendental Meditation instruction uses the traditional Sanskrit language of honor and respect that's indigenous to the ancient Vedic culture. Although it may sound foreign to Western ears, the formal language is used ceremoniously and not religiously. For example, in this Vedic performance, when Maharishi's teacher, Brahmananda Sarasvati, is metaphorically compared to a traditional deity of that culture, Brahma, the deity itself is not appealed to or acknowledged one way or another. If you say someone is "Christ-like," it's a way of expressing high adoration and appreciation. It doesn't mean that you are engaged in worship or even believe in Christ.

And the phrase about 'bowing down?'

Bowing is an expression of respect to teachers and elders common to many cultures, including India, where people may bow to one another freely even when they pass on the street. The traditional Indian greeting, 'namaste' (equivalent to our 'hello') translates: "I bow down to you."

Again, in the TM program's puja performance, it's just another way in which the teacher expresses honor and respect to the tradition of meditation teachers that preserved the knowledge and practice and passed it down through time to the modern age.

The student learning the Transcendental Meditation technique just innocently witnesses the ceremony, which is performed prior to personal instruction.

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