Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Judge Sentences Criminal To TM™

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Backroom Gurudom

A circuit judge in St. Louis has sentenced a crack-smoking vote defrauder to a course in Transcendental Meditation:
Judge David Mason of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri sentenced her to four years of probation on both the drug and election charges, but she could face three years in jail if she violates her probation.

She also must get training in transcendental meditation and perform 180 hours of community service.
Why would a circuit judge in the U.S. insist on a TM™ course as rehabilitation you ask?
Mason is an advocate of transcendental meditation, a practice led by a Hindu holy man named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which the judge believes is an effective relaxation and stress-management program.
Besides being a clear government endorsement of religion and thus a violation of the constitution, it's also a clear conflict of interest for the judge. TM™ costs the big bucks. Who is going to pay for it? If the state does, it's definitely an endorsement of religion. If the defendant is required to pay for it, Mason may as well be a fee collector for the Madharishi, and that's a violation of the constitution as well.

It looks like the Madharishi's tendencies have rubbed off on a devotee who is in a position of power with the state. That's not good given the old man's penchant for throwing mountains of money at impossible dreams in a rush to see them manifest before he dies.

We hope this one is developing. We'd hate to the think that the government will develop a preference for TM™, especially given the fact that it's an exceedingly simple technique that is thousands of years old. This makes the buying of it no different than paying for salt water by the ocean. But we suppose it's not that much different from $10,000 toilet seats and free golf trips to Scotland by the Republican friends of notorious lobbyists, anyway.

8 Comments:

At 4/05/2006 6:16 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Jody,

Do you really consider the practice of Bija Mantras the exclusive realm of Hinduism? I don't, personally. To me, sanskrit mantras are the "property" of the world, and could be taken up (or not) in any religion. They are more like a science imo. In that the chanting, or practicing of certain sanskrit sounds, when done properly, produces particular results in individuals, and, with the proper evaluation, could be measured, why not say it's science? Sure, MMY and TM movement are money grabbing and all the things you claim, but that doesn't make mantras a religion by my rights. Just because a group of statue worshippers have claimed those mantras, doesn't make them theirs. Nobody really knows where the Vedas came from, nor where these mantras came from. Some scholars believe they came from outside of India and were incorporated into the local pagan religions, creating "Hinduism". But really, the vedas, from where all of these mantras come, at no place, dictate idol worship, if properly read.

Having learned TM at one time, (when it didn't cost $2500!!!) I found it to quite relaxing. I didn't know anything about sanskrit, hinduism, or any of that at the time. When I was shown a tape of MMY, I didn't even make the connection of who or what he was. I just knew that I felt better when I sat and remembered the mantra given to me by a too-conservatively dressed woman, whom I believed had problems of her own :-)) So who knows? Maybe that judge will have done someone some good by giving that practice. The TM movement is surely a cult, and a weird one at that, with their declarations of a World Government, lead by Rajas, etc. and so forth, but the practice itself doesn't annoy me or alarm me a bit.

 
At 4/05/2006 9:12 AM, Blogger jody said...

Do you really consider the practice of Bija Mantras the exclusive realm of Hinduism?

I consider their origin to be Hindu.

But really, the vedas, from where all of these mantras come, at no place, dictate idol worship, if properly read.

You mean, if properly spun.

The Madharishi tried to get the courts to rule that he was not promoting a religion. He got denied.

Maybe that judge will have done someone some good by giving that practice.

It violates the constitution. I don't want the government in the religion business, regardless of what I think of that religion.

I'm a member of the Vedanta Society, but I don't want judges to start sending people to meditation courses there, either.

 
At 4/05/2006 9:40 AM, Blogger facedog said...

I agree with OTOH. In fact, judges have been sentencing people to learn TM for decades in much the same way they used to send young males to the military.

The practice of TM is subtle and Maharishi did a great job in developing how it is taught. I feel I got far more from it than simple relaxation although that alone is priceless. Although I am grateful to God for the meditation I received from Maharishi when it cost $35, I don't really owe Maharishi himself anything, since I paid in advance for everything I received.

 
At 4/05/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger H.H. Swami Saiexposedananda said...

Mantras are supposedly free, and are given by the guru to the disciple upon the latter's declaring his committment to the spiritual path. It is a spiritual exchange.

Years ago I had a discussion with a TM follower and asked him why his guru was charging money. The reply, with a lot of other silly one-liners, is that if he couldn't afford it then he didn't deserve to be initiated with the mantra.

 
At 4/05/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Jody,

I still disagree on this one. Although Hindus use sanskrit mantras, and they mix them up with religious icons, etc., the vedas do not anywhere tell people to do idol worship of any kind (if you can find where they do, let me know -- maybe it's a poor translation made by a foreigner). Rig Veda is the basis of the other vedas. It doesn't prescribe worship of any idols. Practices of idol worship which include mantras appear to have extracted mantras from, for example, Yajur Veda (Rudram) and added the original pagan stone worship; Atharva Veda (some Devi Pujas) and done the same....etc.

I also don't want the government enforcing religion of any kind on me. But sanskrit mantras are not a religion. They are a science. Now the fact that TM has gone so far into the nether reaches of yagyas and all the crap they sell could be a basis for calling them a religion, and therefore prohibiting TM practices from being prescribed. But the mantras are not religion, imo, and in the opinion of many others (not just TMers).

Hate to be argumentative, but there you are. :-))

 
At 4/05/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

the vedas do not anywhere tell people to do idol worship of any kind

Regardless. The Vedas are a religious canon.

But sanskrit mantras are not a religion. They are a science.

That's just TM™ propaganda.

the mantras are not religion, imo, and in the opinion of many others (not just TMers).

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, they are.

 
At 4/05/2006 4:38 PM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Well Jody,

The Supreme Court may also decide that women shouldn't be entitled to have abortions in the United States if current trends tell us anything. I'm not certain the Supreme Court is always right.

Aren't I a pain?

:-))

 
At 4/05/2006 4:43 PM, Blogger jody said...

I'm not certain the Supreme Court is always right.

Certainly not all the time, but in the case of TM™ they were.

 

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