The Impact of Maharishi's Vedic Science Based
Education in Higher Education:
The Example of Maharishi International University

Christopher H. Jones

Maharishi International University
Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.A.

Part 5

Maharishi's Vedic Science as a source of change. The final discovery in analyzing with these students the sources of change at Maharishi International University was one which we take to be the organizing principle for understanding MIU's unique effectiveness. One student, when questioned about the elements of a college education - the teachers, other students, the curriculum, and the physical facilities - stopped the line of questioning for a moment. The greatest influence, he said was "the knowledge of Maharishi's Vedic Science." In exploring his answer, it became clear that he did not refer solely to his experiences of growth of consciousness during the group practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, or to the knowledge in texts alone. He was not thinking primarily of the theoretical or applied knowledge of Vedic Science he had gained through lectures and class discussions, or even of the practical principles about the development of consciousness that he had gained through discussions outside of class with friends and faculty. In probing further, he seemed to be referring to something larger that encompassed all of these. He was referring to an integration of theoretical and practical knowledge, an integration of understanding with experience of the deepest levels of consciousness.

Other students were less direct in expressing this same idea. One young woman, quoted above in reference to the integrating of heart and mind, had difficulty locating the source of change in her life. "It's so subtle," she said, "I can't put my finger on it. It's something to do with my schooling, with the environment [structured at MIU]. It's many different variables." She also was searching for a term that could encompass more than her experience or her intellectual understanding. This something we feel is the unique integration of knowledge available in Maharishi's Vedic Science, the science of the Samhita value of consciousness where theory and practice come together as one expression of knowledge, where the knower is the known.

Thus, even though it seems almost tautological on the surface, what we have come to in our analysis of the research, the survey findings, and the interviews we have conducted, is that the most significant factor in any system of education is the knowledge that it offers - but knowledge in the deepest sense, knowledge that is structured in one's physiology. Hence in Vedic Science based education, the most significant change agent for students' lives is Maharishi's Vedic Science - not the intellectual descriptions alone, nor the experience alone, but the organized experience, the directly experienced understanding of the most fundamental level of reality at which the knower is the known. This understanding and experience represent knowledge in its purest and most powerful form (cf. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1969, p. 312 on "knowingness").

This discovery helps explain the difficulty faced by most higher education institutions today. For here, too, knowledge in this deeper sense of lived knowledge is the most powerful agent for change, but the knowledge which is lived by the students is at a level which lacks the unifying and integrating qualities of pure consciousness, the Samhita value of consciousness. Thus, instruction in physics lacks the experience of that most orderly and energetic level of consciousness, which is the home of all the laws of nature, the unified field. Instruction in mathematics lacks the experience of the field of all possibilities, which is the universe of sets, the foundation of mathematical theory. Instruction in physiology lacks the experience of the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness which is the basis of the functioning of DNA, the totality of information at the basis of physiology. In every field, lack of the experience of the basis of human consciousness deprives the discipline of the knowledge of its deepest, most fully unified, most fully integrated level. The effect of this knowledge on the life of the student, therefore, is substantially less than an education that provides this experience.

This significance of knowledge for college impact has been expressed in graphic form in a model of college impact presented in Figure 2. The model shows the relation between the various factors that interact to generate "the college experience" and which lead ultimately to the outcomes of college. Thus it is an "Outcome Model for Higher Education." It provides a synoptic view of the major factors which determine the effectiveness of a higher education institution or system and lead to the outcomes of that system.

Because the process variables - those variables which together compose the educational program - stand in an immediate relation to time, they are the ones which, as the graphic indicates, are connected to the knowledge and experience of college. By knowledge here we refer not only to the disciplinary knowledge which most professors consider their primary responsibility, but also to the more practical knowledge of life conveyed explicity in class discussion, and implicitly in the conduct of the faculty.

In the standard model of college outcomes, the model would stop at this level of knowledge, explicit and tacit, that drives college life. Knowledge in a Vedic Science based institution, however, is integrated and unified by the experience and understanding of a single source for all of the methods and findings of the disciplines - the Samhita of knower, known, and process of knowing. The components of Maharishi's Vedic Science Based Integrated System of Education described above - the technologies of Maharishi's Vedic Science, the knowledge of Vedic Science, and the SCI based teaching techniques - all contribute to this integration and unification of knowledge.

Any or all of these components of Vedic Science based education can be - and have been - easily incorporated into any educational system. At MIU they are all employed systematically for the maximum growth of the students.

S.L. Dillbeck and M.C. Dillbeck have shown in some detail (1987) how these components are used in Vedic Science based education and have given a full rationale for each. For our purpose it is necessary only to emphasize that these components are derived from the knowledge and experience of Maharishi's Vedic Science and that they serve as the means by which teaching faculty connect the knowledge of the discipline to Vedic Science.

This outcome model is meant to present at a glance the logical relationships among the many factors contributing to the impact of a college. It includes those factors found in institutions based on Maharishi's Vedic Science, but is not meant to be limited to such institutions. It presents in graphic form two of the major conclusions of this paper, (1) that the knowledge offered by an institution is the most fundamental level causing change among students, and (2) that the most significant outcome of higher education is the most general one-the degree of integration, balance and wholeness gained in individual and collective life.

Summary and Conclusion

We began this article by stating that the challenge in higher education today is a challenge of substance. According to this view, our educational institutions are not addressing the transcendent issues that give meaning to students' lives. Based only on the objective, surface values of knowledge, they expect too little of students and hence deliver too little. The proposed cause for this shortfall has been the unavailability to most institutions of knowledge of the absolute basis of the knower and how to develop this fundamental element of the process of education.

In reviewing the research on college impact, the lack of this knowledge was brought out strongly in Astin's findings which show that it is the peer culture rather than the classroom that thus far has accounted for the main effects of college. The scarcity of significant effects in the crucial areas of human development also highlights the concern over the substance of a college education.

In contrast, the research on Maharishi's Vedic Science based education at MIU shows that students are developing in factors, such as intelligence and field independence, that previous research indicates do not typically develop among college students. In addition, findings on the physiological changes, the development of consciousness as a whole, and the societal effects resulting from the group practice of the technologies of Vedic Science, have expanded the arena of college impact to include a much broader and deeper range of effects than previously thought possible. The figures reported for the alumni surveys reinforce the more objective findings in that they show graduates' remarkably high level of satisfaction with the long-range benefits gained in college. Both sets of findings should inspire a renewed hope in the efficacy of higher education, as well as an expanded idea of what may be conceived as assessment.

Institutions based on modern science and its objective approach to natural law have been found unable to significantly affect the deeper levels of the students' lives. Maharishi International University, by contrast, shows that it is possible, by placing Maharishi's Vedic Science at the basis of the educational experience, to develop the latent mental and physiological potential of the student toward higher states of consciousness. Research on basic knowledge and skills of MIU students indicates that through Maharishi's Vedic Science based education the development of consciousness occurs simultaneously with the growth of the information and skills necessary to play a productive and successful role in society. Finally, research on the "Maharishi Effect" indicates that development of consciousness among students also has a measurable, positive environmental impact that benefits society at large.

From the theory and research we have arrived at two conclusions, significant both for future research and for contemporary practice: first, that the growth of consciousness expressed in increasing integration or balance is the most subtle and important outcome of Vedic Science based education; and second, that the primary agent for this achievement is the knowledge an institution has to offer. Further, we have concluded that it is the knowledge and experience of the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness at the source of creation, available in Maharishi's Vedic Science, that accounts for the rapid and integrated progress experienced by students at MIU.

These dynamics of cause and effect in the educational process are explained most clearly and concisely in the language of Vedic Science itself, particularly in the Rig-Ved, which Maharishi describes as the essence of the Vedic literature. One verse in the first mandala (chapter) of the Rig-Ved explains this precise connection between the knowledge of the self-referral state of consciousness and balance or integration of life. The verse expresses, according to Maharishi, the essence of his Vedic Science and its application to human life:

Richo akshare parame vyoman
Yasmin deva adhivishve nisheduh
Yastanna veda kimricha karishyati
Ya ittadvidus ta ime samasate
(Rig-Ved I.164.39)
Maharishi (Maharishi Vedic University, 1985) translates:
The verses of the Ved exist in the collapse of fullness (the Kshara of "A") in the transcendental field, In which reside all the devas, the impulses of creative intelligence, the laws of nature responsible for the whole manifest universe. He whose awareness is not open to this field, what can the verses accomplish for him? Those who know this level of reality are established in evenness, wholeness of life. (p. 101)
The first half of this verse presents the theme of self-referral and sequential transformation by which the unified field, the Samhita, the field of unity, becomes the field of diversity. The second half of the verse presents the possibility of direct experience of these mechanics, and the value for human life of that experience. In the terms that we have used in this paper, the verse implies that unless students are allowed to understand and experience the Samhita of consciousness at the basis of their lives, the rest of the knowledge they gain in the disciplines will be of little use to them. As they experience the underlying reality of the unified field, however, the knowledge of the full range of the discipline will bring evenness and wholeness to their lives.

Students at MIU describe clearly these mechanics of transformation in their own lives. They describe the growing integration or balance of life and they attribute it directly to their growing knowledge of Maharishi's Vedic Science, which presents, above all, the knowledge of the Samhita of knower, known, and process of knowing. The "Richo Akshare" verse of the Rig-Ved, therefore, expresses the beginning and end of knowledge as found in the lives of MIU students.

From the perspective of Maharishi's Vedic Science based education, one can envision a time when higher education institutions will eliminate their current problems, including their fundamental problem of substance. Maharishi has clearly expressed this possibility:

All the problems of education - and further - all problems of life anywhere in the world or in heaven, arise from inadequate education. . . . And the problems of education are the problems of knowledge. . . . This Vedic Science, this science of pure knowledge, delivers the fruit of all knowledge in everyone's self-referral consciousness. In simple words, the fruit of all knowledge should mean the ability to know everything, the ability to do everything, and the ability to achieve anything. . . . The fruit of all knowledge will be delivered to everyone in one's own consciousness as soon as Vedic Science is an aspect of education. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in press)
Beyond the difference Maharishi's Vedic Science will make to every student, one can foresee an elevation in the role of faculty as they become able to give out scientific knowledge about the full range of life in its subjective as well as objective expressions. They will have an opportunity to regain their natural role as leaders in society. Educational institutions also will be able to fulfill their time-honored role in society by becoming centers of knowledge and organizing power.

We began on the hopeful note expressed by the publication of the recent calls for reform in higher education. We saw in these the rise in expectations that precedes any real progress in society. Based upon the achievements of Maharishi International University and the possibility of the expansion of this system of education to other institutions, however, more than hope is called for. Maharishi has said that "through proper education we can accomplish anything." Through education he has predicted the dawn of a heavenly life on earth. This life is the natural outcome of the simple system outlined here. We end with Maharishi's own offer to educators everywhere:

It is our joy to offer to the custodians of education in this generation a perfect, and yet simple system of education which will accomplish the goal of education - the creation of a perfect man and Heaven on Earth. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1988, p. 9)

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