Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to the Transcendental Meditation technique, a specific form of mantra meditation, and to the Transcendental Meditation movement, a spiritual movement. The TM technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1914–2008) and had reached global proportions by the 1960s.
The TM technique came out of and is based on Indian philosophy and the teachings of Krishna, the Buddha, and Shankara, as well as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and is a version of a technique passed down from the Maharishi’s teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev). The Maharishi also developed the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI), a system of theoretical principles to underlie this meditation technique. Additional technologies were added to the Transcendental Meditation program, including “advanced techniques” such as the TM-Sidhi program (Yogic Flying).
TM is one of the most widely practiced, and among the most widely researched meditation techniques. Transcendental Meditation was held to be a religion by three different United States courts in two separate cases. As many as six million people have been trained in the TM technique, including The Beatles and other well-known public figures.
In the 1950s, the Transcendental Meditation movement was presented as a religious organization. By the 1970s, the organization had shifted to a more scientific presentation while maintaining many religious elements. The movement now describes itself on a spiritual, scientific, and non-religious basis. This shift has been described by both those within and outside the movement as an attempt to appeal to the more secular West. The TM movement has programs and holdings in multiple countries.