Summary from an article by David W. Orme-Johnson & Lee Fergusson

World peace is the urgent goal of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s revival of the consciousness-based technologies of ancient Vedic India. Towards this end, Maharishi created a worldwide organisation, founded universities in several countries, and trained over 20,000 teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique who in turn have taught it to approximately ten million people, which for five decades has increasingly created an influence of harmony in the world. Maharishi’s approach to peace is through creating coherence in collective consciousness, which he holds to be the fundamental force governing the quality of life in society. The individual is the unit of collective consciousness, with each individual contributing to all collective levels—family, city, state, national, and world.

Reciprocally, each level of collective consciousness influences every individual’s mind and behaviour. Therefore, the quality of consciousness of the individuals in society is the grass roots cause of the quality of collective consciousness. Stressed and sleepy individuals not only have poor judgement, make mistakes, and cause suffering for themselves and family, friends, and associates, they also propagate an influence of stress into collective consciousness that affects everyone in society, inclusive of the entire world. Through Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation technique, the individual mind effortlessly transcends through increasingly subtle levels of thinking to arrive at the completely silent state of pure consciousness at the deepest level of the mind, which is unbounded awareness and infinite peace. Pure consciousness is held to be the direct experience of the transcendental unified field of Natural Law governing all forms and phenomena in the universe.

Extensive research shows that regular experience of it through Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation technique and his advanced TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, creates an influence of harmony, not only throughout all levels of the individual’s physiology, mind, and social behaviour, but also throughout all levels of collective consciousness with which the individual is associated. The influence of the meditator on his or her family, community, nation, and world enhances lively, creative, and dynamic interactions among the different groups in society. Collective behaviour on every level becomes harmonious and mutually supportive, unifying society into one orderly, evolutionary, balanced structure of natural law. This is called coherence in collective consciousness.

Maharishi identifies the basis of war and terrorism as stress in collective consciousness, which is the opposite of coherence. In this view, mistakes, problems, and difficulties within individual lives accumulate as collective stress. When stress in collective consciousness is left to increase unabated, it reaches a phase transition threshold at which point violence breaks out in society, such as in violent crimes, strikes, riots, terrorism, and war. The way to reduce stress in the individual and society and ultimately to end war is to transcend, which is to bring pure consciousness to the awareness of the individual mind and hence into collective consciousness. Not everyone in society needs to meditate to have this effect. A general principle in science is that the coherent elements of a system have a more powerful effect than the incoherent elements. Extensive, well- controlled empirical research demonstrates that when 1% of a local or national population experiences pure consciousness through the practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation technique or when a group of the square root of 1% of a population experiences it through his Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, greater coherence in collective consciousness is propagated, thereby resolving conflict and improving the quality of life of the city, nation, or world. The phenomenon of 1% of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique improving the quality of life in the larger society is called the Maharishi Effect, whereas the effect created by a group of the square root of 1% of the population practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM- Sidhi program is called the Extended Maharishi Effect.

Research carried out internationally by multiple research teams to investigate the theory and research on the Maharishi Effect began in the early 1970s and continues to the present day. Of the 700 studies on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, more than 50 have investigated its effects on society. These studies have shown such changes as reductions in crime, accidents, mortality, war, and terrorism and improvements in economic indicators and the general quality of life.

Moreover, this body of studies is the only truly experimental research in the history of the social sciences to show such holistic improvements in society on the scales of entire cities, states, nations, and the world. Included in these studies are ones that have experimentally created groups practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in large populations with the predicted outcomes on specific social indicators, lodged in advance with independent project review boards.

This research has used state-of-the-art statistical methodologies to control for trends and cycles in the data, indicating that the observed changes were new and unpredicted. These studies have controlled for a wide range of demographic, political, environmental, and other variables, ruling out alternative hypotheses. Some studies have used causal analyses, which indicate the causal role of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs in causing the measured improvements in society. These findings have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented and published in the proceedings of professional conferences.

This article is a summary from an article by David W. Orme-Johnson & Lee Fergusson.

The current paper has been written to overview the theory and research on this historic phenomenon that is now improving the destiny of humanity.