Death of a Guru: An Analysis of the Postcharismatic Phase in the Transcendental Meditation Movement.
This is how by foregoing our own likings and disliking, adjusting our mind to the mind of the Master, that is picked up by the disciple and that is the most important thing. If he asks to do this, you do this. If [having] gone halfway, he wants us to stop, we stop. You don't feel in the least that "Oh, so much effort has been put and now he wants me to stop!", nothing like that. The way he turns, we turn, the way he likes, we like, the thing that he dislikes, we begin to dislike. This is how one begins to forego his liking and disliking and begins to tune his mind to the mind of his Master. In this line it is not the work that is important, it is the flow of his mind that is to be kept, and that is important.
As the Master wants, so he moves, his likes and dislikes begin to become the likes and dislikes of the disciple. Like that he attunes his mind. When the mind of the disciple is completely tuned to the mind of the Master, then the thoughts of the Master become the thoughts of the disciple. The feelings of the Master become the feelings of the disciple and when that attunement is gained because the mind of the Master is Cosmic Consciousness, the status of the mind of the disciple gets to that standard automatically. The relationship of the disciple and the Master is two bodies and one existence, two minds and one mind. This is how, because the natural state of the Master's mind is Cosmic Consciousness, the mind of the disciple is cultured to that state in a spontaneous, automatic manner.
--Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Thoughts of a Yogi: Transcribed Lectures and Incredible Ideas--Maharishi's Legacy to the People of the World (published by the author, 2014), 17.
In the last year, I have been attempting to understand the Transcendental Meditation movement, founded in 1959. It is, at every turn, a group of people that defies simple explanation. This paper endeavors to make sense of the movement, both in a historical context and looking forward to the future. In 2008, the movement lost its founder-leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is currently undergoing a period of rapid social change, presenting a unique ethnographic opportunity to understand social change on a small scale. This paper is the result of my attempts to understand the movement's transition into a period without its charismatic leader, as well as to discuss threats that groups such as TM face in maintaining their survival as organizations.
My previous research conducted on the role of the TM movement in Fairfield, Iowa, centered on the relationship between environmental sustainability and TM. (1) This ultimately gave way to the larger issue of the state of the TM movement in light of Maharishi's passing in 2008. The focus of this paper is the postcharismatic phase of the TM movement, both within Fairfield and globally. As the bulk of my research was conducted in Fairfield, most of the paper is concerned with Fairfield. However, I will also include information from interviews I conducted at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) with members of the Global Council, the governing body of the movement, and other members of the movement who live and work at MERU. This is to give a perspective that highlights differences between Fairfield and the global movement as well as to illustrate the changing relationships both within Fairfield and between Fairfield and the larger movement.
There are two questions guiding the paper. The first, understanding TM as a social organization. The richness of the ethnographic data presented here both facilitates the classification of TM and illustrates the complex emic viewpoint in the TM movement. It is this last point in particular that is important for the main argument of the thesis--that of the relationship between the postcharismatic phase and schismogenesis--and one of the key points is incoherence in the perceptual paradigm.
This ethnographic background of TM sets the stage for further theoretical analysis, particularly that of how TM has been affected by the loss of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 2008. This analysis includes discussion of charismatic authority, the transition from charismatic leadership to the postcharismatic phase, as well as the ways in which schismogenesis and systems pathologies feed into the manifestation of the postcharismatic phase. By understanding the beginnings of the postcharismatic phase in the TM movement, which started with Maharishi's death in 2008, we can perhaps make predictions about its future and further understand the mechanisms by which a spiritual movement survives or fails.
This paper is the result of my two-month ethnographic study in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) community of Fairfield, Iowa; subsequent contact with members of the Fairfield community; and a brief visit to Maharishi European Research University (MERU) near Vlodrop, Netherlands. I conducted the majority of the research alone, although there were a few interviews conducted with my thesis advisor, who also conducted one by himself. In addition I utilized emails, telephone and Skype conversations, texts written by meditators and Maharishi, and data from participant observation. I spoke to forty-four interviewees. A total of fourteen formal interviews were conducted in Fairfield, and an additional twenty-five informal informants are referenced. All formal interviews were recorded with a LiveScribe Smartpen and analyzed using Echo Desktop software.
The Fairfield interviews are largely drawn from previous research, which focused mainly on environmental sustainability initiatives in Fairfield. However, they also contain key information about the history of the movement and of Fairfield, as well as some discussion of Transcendental Meditation and the state of Fairfield now. Subsequent interviews with the same subjects were centered on the structure of TM, the history of the movement, and Maharishi as a charismatic leader. Interviewees were selected through a snowballing method. I attempted to interview a diverse group, including various ages, levels of involvement in the TM movement, and degree of authority, such as administrators at Maharishi University of Management (MUM). Five formal interviews were conducted at MERU, and data was collected from ten additional informal informants. These included members of the TM Global Council, the governing body of the global movement, employees at MERU, and administrative staff.
Transcendental Meditation is a mantra-based meditation technique. For most people, TM is simply a physiological, secular practice that is unassociated with a lifestyle or belief system. However, for some TM has become something much larger. Before discussing what TM has become, I will here describe the basic tenets of TM. The belief system is complex, based largely on Maharishi's interpretation of the Vedantas and the Bhagavad Gita.
An overarching theme in Maharishi's philosophy is the idea of layers. Everything has many layers, and by peeling back those layers one can achieve complete knowledge. The practice of meditation allows one to filter through unnecessary layers to the base of consciousness. Maharishi claimed this concept of layers could be applied to every level of the universe, in what he called the "Unified Field Theory."
This belief is grounded in Vedantic philosophy, particularly the ideas of maya and brahman. Maya is the physical world; it is an illusion, ever changing, and impermanent. Maya is like a veil over our eyes, which tricks us into forming bonds with material objects--the foundations of greed. (2) Brahman is another layer, the eternal layer of consciousness. This consciousness, also called the "unified field" or "pure knowledge," is shared among all living things, but it is manifested into the discrete beings we see in maya. Through meditation, one can break away from the trappings of maya, reach the layer of brahman, and have knowledge of this unified field.
If an individual meditates frequently enough, they can achieve total consciousness, usually by utilizing the TM-Sidhi technique--a more advanced level of meditation that enables special abilities, such as yogic flying. Through this advanced meditation, they are able to achieve a state of total consciousness. Through continued Sidhi practice, one can maintain this state even when outside of meditation. However, even with "regular" TM, adherents believe the brain is shifted "from a random pattern to an integrated, synchronized level of function." (3) This synchronized level of "coherence" allows them to unlock deeper levels of creativity and ingenuity, and greater ability to see the big picture. In short, TM "unlocks the multipotentiality of the adult brain." (4) The hope of the movement is that this multipotentiality will be unlocked on a global scale.
Because of TM's benefits, which movement members often say has been backed up by "scientific research" (and indeed has been, although these studies have been questioned by outsiders to the movement), movement members believe in a phenomenon called "spontaneous right action." (5) Spontaneous right action is the idea that as a result of frequent meditation and achieving total knowledge, a person's behavior will automatically change for the better. By fundamentally changing their internal selves, the external manifestation of themselves will also change. (6) This includes acting positively toward others and toward the universe as a whole.
Another key aspect of Maharishi's worldview is a focus on the positive rather than the negative. By focusing on positive things and meditating on positive outcomes, individuals can manifest positivity in their lives or in the universe. If they focus on negative things, these negative outcomes will be more likely to manifest. Movement members can even pay for others to meditate on a positive outcome for their own personal issues. (7) While focus on positive outcomes seems a healthy practice, some community members have expressed feelings of censorship lest they be chastised for "entertaining negativity." (8) In some instances, community members believe there is outright denial of real negative outcomes, affecting the possibility of processing negativity in a healthy way. (9)
Although the TM movement is relatively small, its adherents believe that simply by existing and meditating, they raise the consciousness and awareness of the population around them. They believe in the "Maharishi Effect," which they claim has benefits for the surrounding community. One oft-cited study claims that violent crime can be lowered through group meditation as long as the square root of one percent of the population practices TM-Sidhi meditation on a regular basis. (10)
In Fairfield, the advanced meditators who have completed their Sidhi program are given a badge that grants them access to one of the two gender-segregated golden meditating domes on the MUM campus. Members are supposed to meditate in the domes twice a day--morning and evening--for at least twenty minutes each session. Around 4:00 p.m., one can observe the daily afternoon trek to the domes as the MUM campus suddenly floods with people who have been meditating for thirty to forty years. Meditating in the domes is frequently reported as a beautiful and invigorating experience. (11)
The experience of transcending has been likened to the feeling one gets when experiencing a strong reaction to a beautiful landscape, the sunset, looking into the eyes of a loved one, or other similar experiences. (12) When this happens, it is believed, people experience the feeling that there is something larger than themselves, a force beyond the individual. (13) The feeling achieved through TM is something everyone has experienced before, yet generally unintentionally. TM, according to this explanation, is an intentional experience of this feeling. (14) This connection with that larger entity, that which they call "consciousness," changes the meditator, as discussed above.
Ethnographic Background of the TM Movement
Maharishi was born in India and studied meditation under a charismatic leader named Guru Dev (or the "Great Teacher"). After a period of time spent in the Himalayas, Maharishi believed himself to have been granted a mission to spread Transcendental Meditation around the world. In 1959, he traveled to the United States to spread this new technique. He began in California, rapidly gaining support and proceeding to travel the world preaching the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.
The fundamental goal of the movement is to transform people's lives through the "profundity of knowledge" one can gain through meditation, to "give knowledge and means to come out of suffering." (15) Maharishi believed that by meditating and reaching the deepest level of consciousness, the "prime mover of life," one could understand that "life is bliss, happiness." (16) He planned to change the world by spreading his message and allowing people the tools necessary to unlock their potential.
Originally, the movement was not called Transcendental Meditation but the "Spiritual Regeneration Movement." (17) However, Maharishi was concerned with the reception this might receive from US citizens, so changed his focus to the secular benefits of the technique:
Maharishi comes over here in, like, the early 1960s and starts promoting this as, like, a health thing because at some point he realizes that this is the only way he can get traction. And at first he resisted it and then he's like, "Okay, it doesn't really matter if somebody just starts doing this to get rid of their headaches and then they get enlightened." It's a win-win. (18)
The technique was avidly adopted as part of the 1960s counterculture. In the 1970s, the movement suddenly shifted its attention towards Iowa.
While still in California, the movement had started a small college, Maharishi International University. The intention was to create a new scientific and education paradigm based on developing consciousness. When Parsons College, located in Fairfield, Iowa, went bankrupt in 1970, the movement purchased the campus and established their school in Fairfield. (19) The university attracted young members interested in combining their zeal for meditation with their desire for an accredited degree.
In the 1970s and '80s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called for members of the movement to relocate to Fairfield. Part of the movement's intention in moving to Fairfield was to create a sort of utopia for its members within the United States. At first, they remained separate from the rest of Fairfield, intent on creating their own community. There was a "homestead" feel among many of the newcomers, many of whom were members of the counterculture movement of the '60s and '70s. (20) Tension between long-standing midwestern families and meditators, who often hailed from coastal cities, divided the community between meditators and non-meditators. Indeed, for a period of time the meditator community intentionally isolated themselves from the rest of the town. (21)
In recent years, tensions have somewhat subsided between meditators and non-meditators, partially as a result of intermarriage. At the same time, however, increased conflict has arisen within the meditator movement, with a variety of subgroups forming within what began as a fairly unified movement. The main subgroups I will discuss here are the "old guard," the "second generation," and the "disenfranchised meditators."
The old guard are those members who joined Maharishi in the 1960s and '70s and, in the context of Fairfield, were usually part of the first wave of meditators migrating to Iowa. They are typically more conservative in ideology and wish to preserve Maharishi's teachings. The second generation are the children of the old guard. They are typically more open to syncretism and spiritual philosophies outside of Maharishi/TM. Many of the second generation have begun to leave Fairfield and seek out a new life for themselves, causing some concern over the viability of the meditator population in Fairfield. The disenfranchised meditators are those who still live in Fairfield but have chosen to leave the movement. They may continue to meditate but disagree with the MUM administration on educational policy, as well as the continued practice of charging exorbitant fees for meditation training.
Between the "townies" and the "'roos" (a derogatory term for "guru"), tension has declined in the last twenty-five years. However, there has been increasing tension within the meditator community, as evidenced by the growing number of factions within that community. My summer research illustrated the role of the "new movement" in Fairfield--that of environmental sustainability. (22) Fairfield's fame as an environmentally progressive town has resulted in an influx of an entirely new group of people, many of whom have little or no interest in meditation. The Sustainable Living Department at MUM has been an integral part of this new movement, bringing people from around the globe who are interested in sustainability.
Aside from the university, the MUM campus is home to several other movement-affiliated buildings. These include the gender-segregated "Peace Palaces," where new members are taught TM and visitors are lodged for meditation retreats; the two giant Golden Domes, where loyal members practice meditation; and "Utopia Park," the faculty and staff trailer park. The Golden Domes, much like the Peace Palaces, are gender-segregated. They dominate the campus, rising from the tops of small hills and serve as group meditation locations for those who have learned the more advanced Sidhi program.
The Peace Palaces are two white buildings adjacent to the Sustainable Living Center. They operate as meditation retreat centers for visitors to the university, as well as offices for TM teachers. TM students attend training at their gender-respective Peace Palace. Utopia Park was built for the "Taste of Utopia" program from December 1983 to January 1984 to house seven thousand meditators from around the globe who came to Fairfield to meditate together. The trailers have now served as employee housing for over thirty years.
Maharishi University of Management advertises itself as providing a new educational paradigm through "consciousness-based education." Consciousness-based education is founded on the practice of TM and adhering to the teachings of Maharishi, each of which is said to increase one's consciousness. Learning is conducted from "the inside out" as the "technology of consciousness" is applied to individuals, a process through which they experience a fundamental internal change. This fundamental change "develops" their consciousness, and it is claimed that this enhances their capacity to accomplish whatever they choose to attempt. (23)
A key component of the consciousness-based education is Maharishi's new scientific paradigm, Maharishi Vedic Science (MVS). The main tenet of MVS is the principle of perception. The scientific process is dependent on instruments of perception, which must always be refined. As our fundamental instrument of perception, the human body (including the mind/consciousness) must be refined before anything else. The example given me was that of a microscope. Humans can use a microscope, yet would not a more refined human be ultimately better at utilizing the microscope. (24) Meditation will refine these instruments of perception through the development of consciousness. By refining their fundamental instrument of perception, it is believed, all scientific disciplines can grow. According to the movement, MVS accounts for all scientific disciplines.
All students at MUM are required to learn TM and take a course on the basics of Maharishi's teachings. Part of this process includes spending time with a TM teacher to test the "proficiency" of their meditation. (25) "Checking" meditation includes sitting in the same room as the teacher and meditating simultaneously, after which students are asked to fill out a questionnaire about their meditation experience. (26) Yet this process is not foolproof and often results in students simply pretending to meditate. As one interviewee said, "Nobody knows what I'm doing with my eyes closed!" (27)
Students are required to continue their meditation throughout their time at MUM as part of the "Developmental Consciousness" (DC) policy. (28) The DC policy governs the amount of time each student must spend meditating each semester. Failure to comply can result in subsequent failure to complete a degree program. In 2009, the DC policy maintained that students were required to meditate in the Golden Domes twice a day with the rest of the regularly meditating population of Fairfield. (29) However, there were several cases of students refusing to meet their DC requirements, delaying their graduation. As a result, the DC policy has been relaxed in recent years, incorporating meditation into actual class times in ten- to twenty-minute increments. (30)
Instead of meditating together as advertised, many students simply leave the classroom during meditation time or pursue other activities as their classmates meditate. (31) Some professors allow their students the choice of whether or not to meditate; others discourage anything other than TM, although they appear to have little power in actually enforcing these sentiments. (32) While there are opportunities to fulfill missed DC requirements at a later date, it is unclear how many students actually do so.
When it was founded, MUM was widely recognized as an institution with high intellectual caliber. However, some in Fairfield, both meditator and non-meditator, have expressed disappointment in the development of MUM. They say the quality of the education is "a joke" because the quality of both the faculty and the students has steadily deteriorated. (33) Many of the professors who made the education worthwhile have left or retired, leaving a faculty composed mainly of professors who earned their degrees at MUM. (34) Even in the last year, the Sustainable Living department has experienced rapid faculty changes and internal conflict, potentially leaving only one of the former faculty members in the department to run both the undergraduate and graduate programs. (35)
In recent years, the proportion of graduate students to undergraduates has tipped heavily in favor of the graduate students, with only 381 undergraduate students enrolled as of 2015, compared to 859 graduate students. (36) The most popular degrees include bachelors' degrees in sustainable living and Maharishi Ayurvedic health and physiology and a master's in computer professionals, called "ComPro." The ComPro program now comprises the majority of the student body at MUM and is often recognized as a money-making opportunity for the university. (37) Many international students are drawn to the ComPro program, which gives them access to internships at technology companies in the United States.
MUM is currently facing a difficult situation. Many of the old guard are facing retirement, an event that apparently no one at the university really planned for. Most of them live in Utopia Park, which is university subsidized, and are technically part-time volunteers and part-time employees to save funds. It has been reported that many employees are paid $400 per month, leaving them little extra capital for saving. (38) They are thus incapable of affording their own retirement, and while the university administration has begun planning for mass retirement, these conversations are not made public and include no employee input. Older faculty and staff are fearful for their future existence, yet they feel as though they have very few options aside from waiting for the administration to solve the problem.
On the other hand, there is a population of very wealthy meditators in Fairfield and nearby Maharishi Vedic City, a small incorporated town for meditators just north of Fairfield. They live in large homes and donate generously to the university. Some even live in mansions just around the corner from Utopia Park. The wealthier meditators style themselves as "rajas" and wear golden crowns. (39) Although some of the rajas are, in fact, members of the governing body, as shall be discussed later, it is unclear whether all of the members who wear the crowns are official rajas with the movement. The economic disparity in the town causes tension among members of the movement.
There is also growing tension in Fairfield stemming from ideological differences. Many former movement members and even current members have expressed dislike over the movement's continued sale of meditation lessons at exorbitant prices. They believe charging $950 for a basic TM initiation ceremony is directly in contrast with the espoused goal of spreading this meditation technique around the world. As such, they are skeptical of the administration's motives behind not only this issue but also several others. Members are also fearful of retribution for expressing concern and unhappiness, causing some to report that they feel mistrustful of the community around them. (40)
Maharishi European Research University and The Global Movement
Apart from Fairfield, the Transcendental movement expanded globally during the last thirty years. Maharishi traveled the world collecting followers, eventually creating a "research university" in Switzerland. This became the international headquarters of the movement. However, the Swiss government expressed dissatisfaction with the number of movement-associated visas they were being asked to grant, and the movement purchased an old monastery in De Meinweg woods, Netherlands, on the border with Germany. (41)
The majority of the staff does not live on the MERU campus. Each day a bus takes them to MERU from staff housing in the nearby village of Sint Odilienberg. The staff live in a former nursing home. Each member, or married couple, has their own room, complete with a small kitchen and bathroom. However, all take their meals communally in the dining rooms on the top floor. There are 120 rooms in the building, although they are not all occupied. (42) Many are left open for visitors, transient workers, and members coming to MERU to complete more advanced meditation training. These students remain in the building at all times, segregated from the MERU staff.
There is no Wi-Fi on the MERU campus or in employee housing in Sint Odilienberg. Believing that Wi-Fi interrupts "coherent brain waves," which members try hard to perfect through continued meditation, it is movement policy to rely instead on ethernet cables. There is a small hotspot available in the lobby of employee housing, although it is shut off after 10:00 p.m. so members do not stay up all night on the internet. (43) However, some members have MacBooks, which can operate as small Wi-Fi hotspots, bypassing the internet restrictions. On the MERU campus, members of the Global Council utilize these hotspots to have Wi-Fi in their homes.
The MERU community is segregated; members of the Global Council do not freely associate with employees or volunteers. There is a separate dining room for rajas and ministers as well as a separate dining room for Indian residents of MERU. The members of the Global Council are granted great respect and deferred to in nearly every circumstance. Rather than answer my questions, many employees would refer me to members of the Global Council, as the higher echelons would have the authority to correctly answer my question. However, the members of the Global Council often evaded answering these very questions, some of which included demographic queries about MERU and the movement as a whole. When pressed for quantitative information, members are almost invariably vague and eager to change the subject. The minister for information was incapable of giving me an accurate count of MERU's population, as was one of the employees in charge of coordinating housing, both claiming "it varies." (44)
By all accounts, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a charismatic leader. Members of the movement who knew him in his lifetime frequently say there was "no one like him" or that there are "no words to describe [him]." (45) As soon as you walked into a room where he was, I have been told, you knew that he was special and that you had to follow him. He has even been described as having almost supernatural powers, such as being impervious to cold weather. The people who followed him did so because they saw him as the embodiment of love, happiness, and harmony, and they knew it was their mission to follow. (46)
The above characteristics are perfectly in line with Max Weber's depiction of the charismatic leader:
The term "charisma" will be applied to a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader. (47)
Maharishi inspired his followers; they felt "called" to him and he did not have to appoint them to their positions, another key element of charismatic authority. (48) Perhaps the most important evidence of Maharishi's charisma, however, was that it was not derived from working miracles but was based in others' recognition of his charisma purely from interacting with him. According to Weber, this is a sign of "true" charisma, and the recognition of charisma is "a matter of complete personal devotion to the possessor of the quality, arising out of enthusiasm, or of despair and hope." (49) This sentiment, that Maharishi provided unexpected hope and inspiration for his followers, is expressed by many members of the TM movement. (50)
Charismatic authority is inherently revolutionary. It sheds the traditional mores of authority and structure, instead creating a system in which there are no true officials, but instead followers adhere to the leader alone through vertical social bonding. Charismatic authority draws followers quickly, yet it is not sustainable: "In its pure form charismatic authority may be said to exist only in the process of originating.... [It] becomes either traditionalized or rationalized, or a combination of both." (51)
The process by which charismatic authority transitions from purely revolutionary leadership to something more traditional or legal is called the routinization of charisma. (52) This process is necessary to normalize daily routine and allow for the movement to function as a true community. As I will discuss later, it was only near the end of his life that Maharishi began to create concrete forms of hierarchy that resembled traditional governing bodies, and even then this information was only granted to the individuals he had chosen. (53) Those who were not made privy to training and plans for the creation of the Global Council were unaware of the plans Maharishi was making to carry on the movement after his death. (54) However, while Maharishi was alive, his charisma was routinized in several key ways that created a foundation from which the movement could build after his death.
Weber identifies two main motives for routinization: the ideal and material interests of the followers to continue the community and the ideal and material interests of the administrative staff to continue their relationship with the leader or to maintain their status. Routinization of charisma thus turns to the appropriation of power and control--the administrative staff, seeking to solidify their status, will appropriate concrete positions of power over the nonadministrative followers of the charismatic leader. (55)
One element of power appropriation is obsession with managing the recruitment of new members. It is this in particular that resonates strongly with the TM movement, which is nearly single-mindedly devoted to recruiting more followers and, indeed, states this to be the ultimate goal of the organization. (56) Positions of power and recruitment, such as TM teaching positions and membership on the Global Council, can only be held by those who have been trained to hold them, another key element of the routinization of charisma. (57)
The period of time immediately following a charismatic leader's death is "critical, a period that generally leads to major disruption and often fatal consequences for the group itself." (58) It is at this time that the vertical bonds holding the organization together are suddenly broken, and unless proper steps have been taken by the charismatic leader prior to their death, the group could disintegrate. By understanding the beginnings of the postcharismatic phase in the TM movement, which started with Maharishi's death in 2008, we can perhaps make predictions about the movement's future and further understand the mechanisms by which a spiritual movement survives or fails.
In preparation for his death, Maharishi trained several handpicked individuals to govern his Global Country for World Peace (GCWP) without him. The first of these is his chosen successor, Maharaja Tony Nader Raam, who was named the First Sovereign Ruler of the GCWP in 2000, perhaps in preparation for his later role in the movement. In 2008, he was named Maharishi's successor and has led the movement since then, garnering his own charisma in the process, although it is acknowledged that his charisma pales in comparison to that of Maharishi. (59)
Underneath Raja Raam is the Global Council. The Global Council consists of a number of ministers and rajas, as well as Maharaja Tony Nader Raam. The ministers are described as "handling information and ideas"; it is they who decide the trajectory of the movement and deal with interpretations of Maharishi's knowledge. (60) The rajas are in charge of different countries in which there are meditators, sometimes multiple countries for one raja. They delegate responsibility to national directors, who are in charge of monitoring all movement-associated programs in their respective country. (61)
By putting this system into place, Maharishi guaranteed at least a measure of success for his followers. However, as Yinger notes, any organization that is merely an extension of the charismatic leader's dreams and thoughts, such as the TM movement, will face a tumultuous period after the death of their leader. (62) While tumult is not openly addressed by the administrators at MERU (and, indeed, is denied as a possibility), the ethnographic data I have gathered points overwhelmingly in the direction of tumult. As such, I have turned to theories of schismogenesis and systems pathologies to further understand the postcharismatic phase in the TM movement.
The idea of "schismogenesis" was first identified by Gregory Bateson to describe the ways in which relationships between individuals or groups deteriorate. (63) Schismogenesis occurs in several different ways: factional schismogenesis, in which a group splinters into two or more distinct groups; apostatizing schismogenesis, in which an individual separates from the group; symmetrical schismogenesis, in which individuals compete directly with each other, the severity of competition increasing equally on each side; and complementary schismogenesis, in which a rift forms between unequal partners playing the roles of dominant and submissive.
Bateson treats the events involved in schismogenesis as openly recognized by both parties. (64) However, in my study of Fairfield, it became apparent that schisms are not always overt and recognized by those involved in them. In some cases, schisms occur without the knowledge of one or more parties, which I will refer to as a covert schism or covert schismogenesis. This can often lead to overt schismogenesis (Bateson's openly recognized schism) once the schism has progressed to a certain point. However, this does not mean schismogenesis is not occurring until it has become overt; there are still social rifts forming during the covert phase. This necessitates a slight redefinition of schismogenesis, in which the term encompasses all situations in which rifts form between people, whether overt, covert, or in a processual relationship from covert to overt.
Intentional communities are excellent places to observe schismogenesis due to their small size, which can lend itself to schisms in a short period of time. Indeed, many intentional communities have been weakened or destroyed by schism. (65) Fairfield, in its postcharismatic phase, is a perfect breeding ground for schismogenesis. Throughout my study, I heard about tension and outright conflict, and therefore I have chosen to look for schismogenetic markers within Fairfield and between Fairfield and MERU. The discussion that follows includes both references to schismogenetic markers as identified by Bateson and a consideration of inherent systems pathologies in the movement that allow for schismogenesis.
The schismogenetic markers that I will discuss have not all actually occurred in Fairfield. There is a certain degree of apostatizing schism within the movement, but factionalizing schism has yet to occur. A factional schism would be the ultimate conclusion to the schismogenetic markers in the movement. As of yet, we cannot be sure that these markers will result in complete factionalizing schism, yet they indicate a high degree of social upheaval and potential for schism. There appear to be markers of factional schism that is beginning to occur, but complete factional schism is not yet apparent.
Schismogenesis in Fairfield has, until now, been mainly covert. Because there is a great deal of mistrust in Fairfield, those who have doubts about the movement, TM, Maharishism, or their continued role in Fairfield frequently feel uncomfortable or even unsafe sharing these doubts. (66) As a result, most of the schismogenesis in Fairfield up to this point has been apostatizing schismogenesis and is rarely acknowledged, except by those who have left. Indeed, some of these individuals have joined together to create websites facilitating exiting the movement. Some apostates have even begun sauna groups and book clubs simply to have a safe space in which they can exist within the Fairfield community.
The administration at MERU appears to completely ignore schismogenesis. It maintains that there have never been problems with individuals leaving the movement or disagreements between movement factions. I was informed that while there are individuals who occasionally stray from the movement, they are quickly made aware of their error and come back to the movement. Yet, at the same time, members of the Global Council have recognized what they term as "issues" in various populations. For example, there was a brief problem in South Africa in the 1980s, which Maharishi addressed by sending emissaries to make the South African faction recognize the errors of their ways. (67) These references to internal rifts are always vague, and when pressed for further details, the MERU administration brushed them aside in denial that internal conflict exists within the movement. (68) As such, those who have left the global TM movement have been forced into covert schismogenesis; they are hard to find and are, for all intents and purposes, forgotten by the movement.
The above examples of schismogenesis in the movement are not random products but are instead the result of inherent pathologies in the social structure of the movement. This has been further exaggerated by Maharishi's death to create a system that may not be sustainable. I will therefore turn to an analysis of these system pathologies to understand further examples of potential schismogenesis in the movement.
The strains within a system that generate weaknesses or problems that compromise system health or survival have been called "pathologies." (69) Rappaport identifies several pathologies that can affect social systems. His starting point is that social systems "attempt to maintain the truth value of propositions themselves in the face of perturbations to falsify them." (70) To defend the truth value of their propositions, or the beliefs they hold sacred, social systems employ mechanisms to cope with internal and external stressors. However, at times these mechanisms are maladaptive or even pathological, ultimately harming the system itself. By addressing Fairfield on the systems level, we can identify several key pathologies that contribute to schismogenesis and cripple the survival capacity of the system.
High-Order Response to Imminent Attack
Rappaport identifies a hierarchy of adaptive responses to perturbations, ranging from low-order, fast, immediate responses initiated by those of lower rank in the organization, to high-order, slow, general responses from the higher ranks. (71) In the context of this study, the high-order responses come from the Global Council, whereas low-order responses are those of ordinary people. There are times in which the higher order will respond more quickly and effectively to a perturbation than the lower order but only when an imminent attack would threaten the viability of the organization. High-order responses can be maladaptive and pathological when they regularly respond faster than the lower order, taking autonomy from the lower order and overruling their attempts to handle the perturbation.
Punishment, in Fairfield, generally appears in the form of banishment from the domes, as discussed earlier. If members wish to continue group meditation, they must comply with movement guidelines regarding behavior. The things that could result in banishment from the domes include seeking meditation guidance from anyone other than Maharishi, yet another form of information control. While the movement acknowledges that other forms of meditation may have benefits, they believe that TM alone is capable of providing these benefits efficiently and completely. (72) One informant at MERU gave me an anecdote about Maharishi himself locking a young meditator in his room for weeks at a time simply because he wanted to "go to the disco." (73)
The TM movement has faced over fifty years of harsh criticism and skepticism, leaving them sensitive and defensive about their beliefs and practices. When pushed for details, many members will simply resort to a memorized spiel about the benefits of TM, nearly identical from person to person and almost unintelligible to the average outsider due to the amount of jargon and Sanskrit thrown into the mix. This is the response even when the question has absolutely nothing to do with the benefits of TM.
The movement views any doubt as a serious threat to their viability, even while they claim, as mentioned earlier, that doubting TM is not possible. The outcome is excessive and fast response from the higher order, which are "not likely to be as delicate or as reversible as those of lower order, and if they are initiated too quickly they may be more massive than may be required." (74) Thus, the system repeatedly overcorrects, becoming unstable and inflexible, leaving it fragile and inherently maladapted to react to change. In the movement, this can be seen not only through the examples listed above, which illustrate the quick response of the highest orders to behaviors with little threat, but also through the control of information.
The administration responds quickly to anything they deem to be threatening with information control. Frequent meetings are called in response to various events that relate to the movement. In 2015, the former monastery on the MERU campus, named a historical site by the Dutch government, was knocked down after a long legal battle between the government and the movement, who owned the site prior to the designation of the building as historic. (75) Many local residents of both the Netherlands and Germany were upset when the movement was finally allowed to demolish the monastery, but this was reported very differently in Fairfield. (76) Instead, they were told that the local community was happy to be rid of the building and that the movement was doing a service to the area. (77) While this may be a relatively benign example, that in itself makes it all the more striking. If the movement is concerned with such trivial things as how its own constituents view the demolition of a building, what information would they not attempt to control?
MUM also controls information disseminated in classrooms and rigidly monitors public speakers and guest lecturers. They keep a file on every guest speaker that has come to campus, refusing to admit those who have delved into topics they deem inappropriate. (78) Guest lecturers and speakers are required to undergo an exhausting application process each time they are invited to speak on campus, even if they have done so many times before. This has left some part-time faculty feeling "humiliated" and exhausted. (79) Even relevant curriculum has been censored; students in the Sustainable Living Department were at one point restricted from studying the role mushrooms can play in permaculture or sustainable farming because movement members are not supposed to eat mushrooms. (80)
Fear and Denial
As Hexham and Poewe astutely observed, "new religions [such as TM] propose new ways of life that give members a reason for living and hope for the future." (81) This is true for all new religions, yet what happens when this hope is threatened or even extinguished? When that hope is threatened--for example when what has been promised still has not come to pass, and in the case of Fairfield, people are living destitute lives with very few options for retirement--a new pathology comes into play: fear.
There are two types of fear in Fairfield, one that is combined with denial and one that has discarded denial. The first of these fears is that of being proved wrong, yet denying that being wrong is a possibility. This comes into play when meditators refuse to acknowledge the role of doubt. They understand that it can exist, while at the same time claiming that because TM is based on "experience, not faith or belief," there is no place in the movement for doubt. (82)
The first type of fear--that of fear combined with denial--is illustrated through the increasing conservatism in Fairfield since 2008. Boundaries have become increasingly rigid in Fairfield, and fear of syncretism is rampant. MUM in particular emphasizes what they call the "purity of the teachings." There is one class taught at MUM that Maharishi himself designed, the Science of Creative Intelligence. The course is a series of thirty lectures that includes two basic tenets of Maharishi's teachings--the purity of the teaching and adapting to the current generation:
So, Maharishi talks about the purity of the teaching but then he also talks about meeting the current generation where they're at. And I think that's, like, the most brilliant tension you can put forward. Because if you do either of them wrong it dies, right? So if you don't keep the purity of the teaching, then the thing that existed before no longer really exists. But if you don't meet every generation where they're at, if you are dogmatic about [how] you hold that purity then nobody's going to adopt it and it's going to die anyways. You have to do both of those things in order to keep it real. And so what happens right after the guru dies, you're erring on the side of the purity of your teaching but you're alienating the very people who are coming here and would be able to take it forward into the next generation. (83)
Fairfield's main issue is their seeming incapacity to adapt and "take it forward into the next generation." Increasingly conservative adherence to Maharishi's teachings leads to a rigid and inflexible system, one that does not easily adapt to changing times, as I have discussed elsewhere. (84)
The second fear is that experienced by those who have belatedly acknowledged their wrongness and are now facing the consequences. What to do when your life's passion has ultimately left you penniless and potentially homeless at the end of your career? The MUM administration has begun discussing methods with which to handle their poor, aging faculty and staff, most of whom currently live in university-subsidized housing: (85)
The MUM faculty have no retirement to speak of. MUM has been a bit of an income-sharing community. Some faculty got housing and meals, though this has never been counted as "income," so the university didn't have to pay much into the social security program. That's why people are reluctant to retire. [It has been] said, in a closed meeting, that there is a plan for retired profs to get $1500 per month from the university if they worked here for twenty years. [Others are] working with them on this. But it hasn't been discussed publicly, so how are people to plan? (86)
This again demonstrates the lack of true community in Fairfield, lending further credence to the notion that perhaps the movement is not sustainable.
Hypercoherence and Individualism
TM is inherently an individualistic practice. As discussed above, attempts have been made to create a communal religious experience to varying degrees of success. However, one cannot escape the fact that everything about TM and Maharishism emphasizes the individual. Maharishi Vedic Science is centered on honing the "instrument" of the individual body. (87) Melton, in his discussion of postcharismatic phases, notes that the success of a movement depends on the levels of community a leader was able to leave behind. (88) Emphasis on the individual will almost invariably result in schism, whereas a community emphasis allows unity to continue. (89)
The high levels of individualism in Fairfield have certain consequences, one of which is a dearth of opportunities to air concerns and grievances. The result is that those who are unhappy with the way movement administration and MUM administration are guiding the future of the movement do not discuss these concerns openly. Those who have apostatized will openly discuss their unhappiness with the movement and even go so far as to boycott events held on the MUM campus, but they will only do so in front of people they already know will support their views. (90) This is evidenced through individuals' unwillingness to meet with me at Cafe Paradiso, the coffee shop known to be "meditator central," in town, preferring instead to meet at Revelations, a restaurant and bookstore that attracts a more forgiving crowd. Even then, when discussing sensitive information, many interviewees lowered their voices and scanned the room, indicating their discomfort with speaking negatively about the movement.
One key tenet of TM is the notion of "invincibility," which they claim one can achieve through years of meditation. According to one minister of the Global Council, "Invincibility means you are not dependent on anyone else." (91) Members have therefore been encouraged to focus exclusively on their own consciousness development process, even to the point where they are not necessarily aware of what others are doing within the movement, although this is more prevalent at MERU than it is in Fairfield. (92)
Since Maharishi's death in 2008, the nature of interpersonal relationships in the TM community has begun to change. Without Maharishi to direct individuals, members have had to increase their levels of horizontal communication and form lateral bonds in order to keep the movement alive. (93) Prior to his death, everyone relied exclusively on his guidance just as he urged them to do. (94) At MERU, the resultant change has led to increased horizontal bonds, yet in Fairfield it has led to increased conservatism, as discussed above, almost as if the members are attempting to continue their vertical bond with their deceased leader through his writings and recorded lectures in lieu of his actual presence. It could be that, because Maharishi lived at MERU until his death, the Fairfield community is more accustomed to vertical bonds by proxy, whereas MERU is dealing more directly with the loss of their charismatic leader.
Hypercoherence is one of the pathologies discussed by Rappaport. (95) It refers to overspecialization of individuals' jobs to the point that they are unsure of each other's roles in the organization. It is one of TM's historical pathologies, yet since Maharishi's death it has become less prevalent as members integrate tasks. It is when these horizontal bonds are being formed that schismogenesis bubbles to the surface--communication makes the covert overt. The pathologies I have discussed here have not merely sprung into existence since 2008. The foundation for these pathologies is in the structure of the movement. However, their reliance on vertical bonds kept movement members blind to their own social structure and its inadequacies. In coping with the loss of Maharishi, these pathologies have come to light, creating a fertile ground for schismogenesis. This means the structure of the movement is inherently maladaptive; horizontal bonds should strengthen an organization, not weaken it.
Meditation has become a panacea in Fairfield. Sick? Meditate. New business? Meditate. Depressed? Meditate. The list goes on. Meditation has become the only answer to every question, leaving the system rigid and inflexible. I have chosen to call this particular pathology "fixation"--an obsession with meditation and Maharishism that provides no room for other problem-solving techniques or ways of life.
The original members of the TM movement often joined after periods of personal and spiritual exploration, experimenting with other ideologies before finding their own truth in TM. (96) Yet, their fixation on their own truth, the truth of TM and Maharishism, has had repercussions on further generations. The second generation is actively discouraged and punished for the very exploration that led their elders to TM in the first place. (97) Truth has been put into a box and handed to them, no questions asked.
This fixation on TM, combined with increasingly conservative interpretations of Maharishi and maintenance of the "purity of the teachings" has deepened the generational divide. The second generation, chafing at the restraints imposed by the elders, have become increasingly interested in reaching past Maharishi and TM, to explore other truths. (98) As a result, many of the second generation are apostatizing from the movement and leaving Fairfield. The old guard's fixation on TM has resulted in a direct contradiction of one of Maharishi's directives--to adapt with the times and "meet the current generation where they're at." (99)
In his analysis of contemporary youth movements, Raymond Prince identifies what he terms "Neotranscendentalism," a conglomeration of the new spiritual movements cropping up around the world during the 1960s and '70s, including TM. (100) Neotranscendentalism, according to Prince, "can be regarded as a self-imposed rite of passage." (101) Those who join Neotranscendentalist movements willingly withdraw from society to undergo a "psychological metamorphosis," after which they will eventually rejoin society. (102) While many who join these movements do eventually reintegrate into society after completing their rite of passage, there are others who never quite seem to do so, such as the members of the TM movement. This understanding of intentional communities was also independently postulated by Andelson. (103)
Rites of passage (ROP), as discussed by Turner, encompass three general phases: separation, limen, and reaggregation. (104) The liminal stage, one in which the subjects in question are transforming from one defined entity to another, is a key element in the ROP. To make the liminal stage of a rite of passage meaningful, there must be structure and hierarchy on either side of the rite of passage. In Fairfield, we see a rite of passage that has gone on indefinitely, seemingly with no "other side" on which members can come out of their ROP, as I shall discuss below.
Turner claims that an important characteristic of the liminal stage is the achievement of communitas, yet I would argue that Fairfield offers a version of the liminal state decoupled from communitas. Because of their dependence on Maharishi and insistence on vertical bonds as a means of social cohesion, the horizontal bonds in the movement are weak, as I discussed in detail earlier in this paper. Therefore, the movement is a unique entity in more ways than one: first, because they exist in indefinite liminality, and second because this liminality has been decoupled from true communitas. There is obvious hierarchy and structure present in the movement, yet they still exist in this liminal phase; without communitas, structure and hierarchy take over during the liminal phase, even if the movement is still waiting for the true meaning to arrive.
For the hardcore meditators, the culmination of their ROP would be achievement of the new world order (NWO). (105) The NWO will arrive when every human being accepts TM and Maharishism, and the globe is united under the Global Council of the Global Country for World Peace. (106) Maharishi has promised the NWO since his arrival in the United States. It first appears in his Three Year Plan of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, 1960-1963. (107) In this plan it is stated, "Maharishi is of great conviction that two more Three Year Plans based on this foundation will be sufficient to spiritually regenerate the whole world." (108) This NWO was not established in 1969. Maharishi's narrative accepted this failure and pushed the date of the NWO back several years. Again, the NWO did not arrive. Eventually, the movement shifted to simply saying that the NWO would arrive "soon," that they were making "progress"--resorting to vague language that allowed them to deny their own doubts.
This is not to say that all practitioners of TM are isolated from society and exist in indefinite liminality. Rather, those that have devoted their lives to Maharishism exist in this state. As noted above, the practice of TM is distinct from the more spiritual aspects of the movement and Maharishism. Said one Fairfield resident, the movement is "a culture in and of itself that has nothing to do with TM." (109) Those who have managed either to remain in, or reintegrate to, society fall into the category of the "client cult" members, whereas those who are stuck in the limen are the "deviant cult" members, a distinction made by Stark and Bainbridge to refer to those who simply meditate and those who subscribe to the ideology and lifestyle of Maharishi. (110)
The schismogenetic markers in Fairfield indicate that the community could be on the cusp of social upheaval. Whyte, commenting on Rappaport's discussion, noted that systems theory is weakest during periods of social upheaval; they are particularly suited, instead, for describing mechanisms of homeostasis. (111) Whyte advocates for the addition of a "perception paradigm" as a corollary for systems theory during these time periods. The perception paradigm is the society's construction of a perceptual model of the society itself. During periods of change, this perceptual model is in upheaval. The emic incoherence present in Fairfield is a clear corollary of the systems pathologies inherent in the structure of the community. The covert rifts and differences in perception are beginning to surface and create rifts in the community's "self." By understanding both the incoherence in the perception paradigm and the systems pathologies that facilitate schismogenesis, we can more clearly state that Fairfield could be undergoing social upheaval.
My research has shown that there is possibility for a schism or multiple schisms to occur in Fairfield. This could result in a schism between Fairfield and the global movement as well, as Fairfield moves in a new direction. If a schism were to occur in the TM movement, it could occur over the issue of "core teachings." The Global Council's perspective
is that Maharishi's core teachings must be preserved. Said one member of the Council, "We don't compromise on that at all." (112) This individual was the only person at MERU who implied that a schism could occur, yet he was confident that TM would persevere. "Something like this cannot die out," he claimed, "[TM] touch[es] this core of life and [is] a systematic way of teaching it." (113) Yet this is a different narrative than the one in Fairfield.
Some of those in Fairfield seem to believe that the movement as it exists now may not be sustainable, particularly in light of the challenges they are facing in their postcharismatic phase. There are those in Fairfield who believe Maharishi's teachings need to be updated and adapted even while others argue that these teachings cannot be changed. In the next five years, the situation at MUM and in Fairfield should become clearer. If the movement and MUM are able to pull themselves together, to fix the pathologies in their system, and still maintain the "purity of the teaching," they will have been able to keep the movement together.
However, they may also move deeper into internal factional schism, the foundations of which are already present in the Fairfield community. At this point in time, I cannot say which of these paths Fairfield will take, or the effect Fairfield's trajectory could have on the global movement. However, it is clear that there are schismogenetic markers in the community, made possible by the pathologies plaguing the social system.
While the TM movement is in itself fascinating, there are larger themes that can be extrapolated from this study and, perhaps, applied elsewhere. The first of these larger themes is the expansion of schismogenesis. While Bateson's discussion of schismogenesis is stimulating, his development of the theory into something widely applicable is limited. Here, I have offered a more nuanced approach to schismogenesis, including both overt and covert schismogenesis, and I have highlighted a processual understanding of schismogenesis. In my analysis, apostatizing schismogenesis lays the foundation for possible factional schism, which would be the ultimate result of a schismogenetic process. By widening the definition of schismogenesis and giving real-world examples of how this can play out in social organizations, this paper expands the role schismogenesis theory can play in anthropology. If we understand that schismogenesis is a process and that the various types are perhaps layers of this process, it will give us greater insight into the mechanisms by which social organizations undergo schism.
The relationship between systems pathologies and schismogenesis is also fascinating. If we understand systems pathologies to be maladaptive structures of a society, it seems inevitable that this would result in a schism of some form. Therefore, systems pathologies can be identified as precursors to schism, much like apostatizing and covert schismogenesis are precursors to overt, factionalizing schism. The process of schism, then, could begin with inherent pathologies in the system that threaten the system's survival. If the social system fails to address these pathologies, the foundations for covert schismogenesis and apostatization to begin. If these pathologies and the beginnings of schismogenesis still fail to be addressed by the social system, it is likely that factionalizing schism will occur, thereby carrying out the maladaptive nature of the systems pathologies. The system fails to survive because its pathologies have fed directly into social disharmony and thus resulted in schism.
This study took place in the context of charismatic leadership and the postcharismatic phase of the TM movement. Although this is a study of one specific group, it is entirely possible that this process could occur in a wide variety of social groups. To further understand the process I have proposed here, it would be advantageous to examine the mechanisms of schism in other social organizations, both those that have experienced charismatic leadership and those that have not.
Lane Atmore graduated with honors in 2016 from Grinnell College, where her majors were anthropology and Chinese. She was the recipient of CSA's Starting Scholar Award in 2016 for this paper, which is based on her senior thesis at Grinnell.
(1) Lane Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia? Cultivating a Culture of Sustainability in Fairfield, Iowa" (Unpublished BA, Department of Anthropology, Grinnell College, 2015).
(2) 19:6/15/2015, 6/17/2015. Field interviews will be cited in the following pattern: Assigned number of interviewee:Date of interview. Where interviews cited were informal, the date will not be recorded.
(3) Craig Pearson, Deep Sustainability Colloquy Address (Maharishi University of Management, June 2015).
(5) 19; 26.
(6) 2; 4; 5; 19; 26.
(8) 1:6/12/2016; 2; 4.
(10) Joseph Weber, Transcendental Meditation in America: How a New Age Movement Remade a Small Town in Iowa (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2014), 6.
(19) Weber, Transcendental Meditation in America.
(20) 1:6/15/15; 5:7/2/15.
(21) Weber, Transcendental Meditation in America.
(22) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"
(23) "The Inside-Out Approach: Finding Your Life Path," and "Science and Technology of Consciousness," course description, Maharishi University of Management website, accessed May 30, 2017, https://www.mum.edu/why-study-here/unique-elements/career-preparation/the-inside-out-approach/.
(28) 3:6/27/2015; 4:7/29/2015; 26.
(31) 1:6/12/2015; 4:6/29/2015.
(34) 12:3/2/2016; 4:6/29/2015.
(35) 12:3/2/2016; 4:6/29/2015; 6:7/7/2015.
(36) Maharishi University of Management, www.mum.edu.
(37) Weber, Transcendental Meditation in America.
(39) Weber, Transcendental Meditation in America.
(40) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"
(44) 35:1/18/2016; 30:1/18/2016.
(45) 32:1/20/2016; 34:1/21/2016.
(46) 20; 34.
(47) Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), 358-59.
(48) Ibid., 358.
(49) Ibid., 359.
(50) 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35.
(51) Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, 364.
(53) 30; 40.
(55) Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization.
(57) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"; Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization.
(58) Gordon J. Melton, "Introduction: When Prophets Die: The Succession Crisis in New Religions," in When Prophets Die: The Postcharismatic Fate of New Religious Movements, ed. Timothy Miller (Albany: State University of New York 1991), 1.
(61) 30:1/18/2016; 43:1/18/2016.
(62) Milton Yinger, Religion, Society and the Individual (New York: MacMillan, 1957).
(63) Gregory Bateson, Culture Contact and Schismogenesis: Reprinted in Steps to and Ecology of Mind (New York: Ballantine Books, 1972).
(64) Bateson, Culture Contact and Schismogenesis.
(65) Jonathan G. Andelson, "Coming Together and Breaking Apart: Sociogenesis and Schismogenesis in Intentional Communities," in Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective, ed. Susan Love Brown (Albany: State University of New York, 2002), 131-51.
(66) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"; 4:6/29/2015.
(69) Roy Rappaport, "Maladaptation in Social Systems," in The Evolution of Social Systems, ed. J. Friedman and M. J. Rowland (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1978), 50; Mary Catherine Bateson, Our Own Metaphor: A Personal Account of a Conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991); Gregory Bateson and Mary Catherine Bateson, Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred (New York, MacMillan, 1987).
(70) Rappaport, "Maladaptation in Social Systems," 50.
(71) Rappaport, "Maladaptation in Social Systems," 50.
(74) Rappaport, "Maladaptation in Social Systems," 59-60.
(75) 35; 36; 37.
(76) 36; 37.
(81) Irving Hexham and Karla O. Poewe, New Religions as Global Cultures: Making the Human Sacred (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997), 167.
(84) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"
(85) Atmore, "A Taste of Utopia?"; 6:3/23/2016.
(88) Melton, "Introduction," 1-13.
(92) 35; 36; 37.
(94) 4; 12; 35; 36; see also epigraph to this paper.
(95) Rappaport, "Maladaptation in Social Systems."
(98) 1:6/12/2015; 2:6/23/2015.
(100) Raymond H. Prince, "Cocoon Work: An Interpretation of the Concern of Contemporary Youth with the Mystical," in Religious Movements in Contemporary America, ed. Irving I. Zaretsky and Mark P. Leone, eds. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974), 225-71.
(101) Ibid., 265-66.
(102) Ibid., 265.
(103) Andelson, "Coming Together and Breaking Apart."
(104) Victor Turner, "Liminality and Communitas," in The Ritual Process (New York: Aldine Press, 1969).
(107) Helena and Roland Olson, His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: A Living Saint for the New Millenium: Stories of His First Visit to the USA (Shenectady, NY: Samhita Productions, 2001).
(108) Ibid., 248.
(110) Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival and Cult Formation (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986).
(111) Anne Whyte, "Systems as Perceived: A Discussion of 'Maladaptation in Social Systems,'" in The Evolution of Social Systems, ed. J. Friedman and M. J. Rowlands (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1978), 73-78.
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