From Malnak v. Yogi to Quiet Time
Chapter 2 examines Malnak v. Yogi(1979), the first federal appellate case to scrutinize under the Establishment Clause meditation practices from a religion other than Christianity. Malnak found that a New Jersey elective high-school course in the Science of Creative Intelligence/Transcendental Meditation (SCI/TM) was “religious” despite being marketed as “science.” A concurring opinion by Judge Arlin Adams articulated criteria for identifying “religion.” Malnak analyzed the textbook written by Indian-born Hindu Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (c. 1918–2008) and chants used in the pūjā ceremony—which involves prayers for aid from deities, bowing, and offerings to the deified Guru Dev—where students received a secret Sanskritmantra, identified by Maharishi as “mantras of personal gods.” Following Malnak, TM was rebranded as “TM/Quiet Time” and, although students still receive secret Sanskrit mantras in a pūjā, TM continues to be taught in public schools with funding from the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Because Malnak identified “religion” through belief statements, subtracting the textbook and adding scientific studies deflected attention from how the practice of mantra meditation might encourage acceptance of metaphysical beliefs. The chapter argues that secularly framed programs may be more efficacious than overtly religious programs in promoting religion.
Keywords: Malnak v. Yogi (1979), Science of Creative Intelligence/Transcendental Meditation (SCI/TM), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, pūjā, Sanskrit, mantra, rebranded, TM/Quiet Time, funding, David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace
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