Alok John explores Liberal Democrat leader’s past
Following the inconclusive British election, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, can choose, albeit within political constraints, whether the Conservatives or Labour will govern.
It has been reported in the British press that, as a young man, Nick Clegg was a devotee of the Maharishi’s transcendental meditation for six years.
Osho had a poor opinion of TM, and I have put some of his quotations about TM below. One would have more confidence if Nick Clegg had done dynamic meditation for six years or even six days. But I suppose if he had he wouldn’t be about to get into bed with Conservative leader David Cameron (perish the thought!)
Here are the quotations :
“Question – What do you think of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Views on Transcendental Meditation
Osho – Transcendental meditation is neither transcendental nor meditation. But still what he is doing is good. What he is teaching in the name of meditation is only an ancient method of chanting. If you chant any word or any mantra continuously inside the mind, other thoughts stop because they don’t have any space. And this continuous chanting is a certain device of auto-hypnosis; it is not meditation. It does not lead you to any spiritual enlightenment, but it certainly gives you a good feeling of wellbeing and health. You will feel refreshed — just as you feel refreshed after a good shower; but a shower is not a transcendental meditation.
So there is nothing wrong with what he is doing. It cannot harm anybody. He is harmless, but he is misdirected. He is giving a toy which is not the real thing. If people enjoy toys — and many people enjoy toys — I have nothing against them. If they are happy, that’s perfectly good.”
“2. What Maharishi Mahesh Yogi calls Transcendental Meditation is only transcendental stupidity! Certainly it is transcendental — it is no ordinary stupidity, it is very sacred! — but stupidity is stupidity, and when it becomes transcendental it becomes more dangerous, more poisonous.
3. And all these people, like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi teaching transcendental meditation, are giving techniques which mind feels perfectly good with. The mind can use it. But there is not going to be any growth. The technique is not bad, but it simply gives you an illusory feeling of well-being — as if you are evolving… and you are standing where you have been; there is no evolution, no growth. All these people are exploiting humanity by giving techniques — and this is the worst exploitation because it stops evolution. I am against all techniques.”
“ The West is unnecessarily making tremendous effort in analyzing the mind — utterly useless unless they accept a transcendental state. And that’s why again and again they get cheated by frauds.
For example, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is cheating the whole of the West by any stupid thing. First it was transcendental meditation, then people became fed up with it because it was not meditation; it was mind repeating a mantra. You were not going beyond the mind, so what is transcendental in it?
So his earnings became very low; he had to invent something new. So he has invented spiritual yogic flying. First he started by spiritual levitation: you can meditate and become so light that you will start rising upwards! — and you can find idiots everywhere… And people were paying four hundred dollars for learning spiritual levitation. In the first place what are you going to do by… even if you levitate, what purpose is going to be served by it? In the second place nobody was levitating; people were hopping….
The West is being exploited by all kinds of frauds for the simple reason that the West has not looked into the matter of meditation itself. So any idiot goes and says anything, and gathers followers because they don’t know what meditation is. Neither will chanting a mantra nor hopping nor levitation…
These things have nothing to do with meditation. Meditation has only one meaning, and that is going beyond the mind and becoming a witness. In your witnessing is the miracle — the whole mystery of life.”
“And there are methods for grown-ups too, for example Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation. It is just a lullaby – a little sophisticated. It is meant for grown-ups, for adults. It is a process of auto-hypnosis. The mother is no more there and your wife certainly is not going to sing a lullaby to you. She can freak out, but she cannot sing a lullaby! She can throw pillows at you, but she cannot sing a lullaby! She will say, ”I am not your mother!” And you cannot ask her either, ”Please sing a lullaby,” because that will hurt your male chauvinist ego.
So you start repeating a mantra. It has to be in some dead language which you don’t understand – Sanskrit, Arabic, Latin, Greek, Chinese, anything that you don’t understand. If you understand you will not get into it. If you understand, doubts will arise. If I say, ”Just repeat ’Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola’,” you will repeat it two or three times, and then you will say, ”What nonsense I am doing!” But a Sanskrit mantra is just like ”Coca-Cola,” nothing special in it. But you don’t understand so you believe that there must be some secret in it, some great mystery in it, and you go on repeating it. You are singing a lullaby to yourself; soon you will fall into sleep.
Transcendental Meditation and methods such as it have become more important in the West for the simple reason that the West is losing the art of how to fall asleep. People are suffering from sleeplessness more and more; they have to depend on tranquillizers. Transcendental Meditation is a non-medicinal tranquillizer. And nothing is wrong if you know that you are using it as a tranquillizer, but if you think that you are doing something religious then you are stupid. If you think this is going to lead you to meditation you are a fool, an utter fool, just a simpleton.
It is not going to take you into meditation because meditation means awareness. It is taking you towards just the opposite of awareness: it is taking you towards sleep. I am not against sleep – a good sleep is a healthy thing. And I prescribe TM for all those who suffer from sleeplessness, from insomnia. It is perfectly good, but remember that a good sleep has nothing spiritual about it. It is good for the body, it is good for the mind too, but it has nothing to do with the spiritual dimension. The spiritual dimension opens up only when you are awake, fully awake. And the only way to be awake is to drop all sleep and all dreaming.”