Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.


Birge, Kingsley H.

Second Advisor

George S. Maier


Sociology, in concerning itself with methodology and cultural determinism,may have overlooked the value of human experience in determining social action. We feel that the structural-functionalist point of view is not mutually exclusive with that of symbolic interaction theory. The field of collective behavior has not adequately explained a certain incidence of human activity called Transcendental Meditation. This paper will define Transcendental Meditation in sociological terms and explore its growth in terms of structural-functionalism,as well as in terms of the symbol-making faculty of human experience.

In the first chapter, the author will state his

biases and background as well as the problem and purpose of the paper.

In the second chapter, Transcendental Meditation will be defined through an explanation of its concepts in sociological terms. A view of the TM program will also be reported. Following this in the third chapter, the origins of TM will be discussed~showing its basis to be in a tradition of Indian gurus and following its development in the United states until the present. The history of TM will

proceed through biography of leading figures, with special mention of innovations in the TM institution of teaching and events in the growth of the 'movement' of TOO that are

of key importance.

Having set down the history of TM, in the fourth chapter we will discuss TM in terms of various sociological models. We will try to identify TM as either a social movement; a charismatic organization or a bureaucracy.

In the fifth chapter we will look more closely at the structure of the organization that teaches TM in regard to its own functioning; that is, compliance, communication, socialization and recruitment, and also in regard to its relationship with national institutions, such as military, industry, religion, and government.

Finally, we will explore TM in terms of individual and group goals and offer an explanation defining the growth of TM.

Throughout-the paper, sociological perspectives will be applied to phenomena that exist in the society today. It is not within the scope of this paper to verify all the sociological implications and appraisals offered. It is hoped that this will not invalidate the ensuing discussion. It is also hoped that this paper will expand the horizons of sociology and offer some direction in future studies of collective behavior. If this is accomplished, the author will be gratified and indebted to his teachers. If not the author takes full responsibility.

This paper is dedicated therefore to Mr. Birge, Mr Morrione, Mr. Geib as well as to my parents who have encouraged me, my friends whom I have interviewed, and to His Holiness, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi whose teaching has uplifted hundred of thousands of people in the world and may bring about the development of new thresholds of peace and prosperity for mankind.


Transcendental Meditation

Included in

Sociology Commons