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Understanding World Religions

Religion is the driving force behind much of what happens in the world today -- particularly when it comes to the "big three" religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Religious differences have and continue to spark wars, create nations, and spawn ongoing conflict down through the centuries. No matter what religion you adhere to (or even if you claim that you don't adhere to any religion at all), you need to have a basic understanding of the world's religions in order to understand what is happening in the world today so that you can be better informed and a more useful citizen of your nation and of the world. Without some knowledge of religion, you will not understand the underpinnings of what is happening in an increasingly global society.
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Aug 7, 2016

Our quote for today is from Karl Menninger. He said, “It is doubtless true that religion has been the world's psychiatrist throughout the centuries.”

In this our last podcast, we are completing our journey through Garry R. Morgan's book, "Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day."

Our Understanding World Religions topic for today is, "Transcendental Meditation"

Transcendental Meditation, popularly known as TM, typically would be considered a New Age religion. For its size and popularity, it will be covered in a brief chapter of its own.

The movement and related organizations were founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He was born in northern India in 1917 (some sources say 1911, others 1918) and earned a university degree in physics before renouncing worldly pursuits to become a disciple of Swa-mi Brah-ma-nan-da Sa-ra-swa-ti, better known as Guru Dev. Following Guru Dev’s death in 1953, Maharishi (a Hindi title meaning “great seer”) continued to meditate and reflect, including two years spent in a Himalayan cave. These meditations on Guru Dev’s teachings became the basis for TM.

Ma-ha-ri-shi Mahesh Yogi moved to the U.S. in 1958 and founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in Los Angeles. Although the initial response was small, the antiestablishment mood of American youth in the later 1960s produced an interested audience for his message of peace and tranquility. The Beatles began to follow him, even spending time at his ashram (meditation and training center) in India, and this publicity brought rapid growth. After a few years, there was a falling-out with the Beatles, especially John Lennon, who called Ma-ha-ri-shi “a lecherous womanizer.” (George Harrison continued to practice Hinduism; his former estate outside London is now a Hindu temple and retreat center.) The adverse publicity brought a decline in numbers, and in the early 1970s Maharishi returned to India.

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