Continuing on this transcendental mediation thread, I just noticed a post about TM at Cosmic Variance.
Also, I recently bought Paul Mason's biography of the Maharishi, and have continued following the blog TM-Free. Oh, also, I watched a video by Steve Hassan (from TM-Free) about his approach to getting people out of cults. I'm still uncomfortable with this issue of new religion vs. cult. I apreciate the approach Hassan describes. He says often that he doesn't try to take anything away from people, only give them options. But at the same time he sees the situation as a war. Why am I so reluctant to be a warrior? Sometimes I feel like its weakness, sometimes strength. Maybe for me the reason is that most of the wars (be they family/work/politics etc.) that I feel pulled into choosing sides over just aren't important enough to me. Fighting in that war would screw up a bunch of other stuff that I find equally important.
Considering this question of being a warrior reminds me that the Maharishi focuses TMers on the first 6 books of the Baghavad Gita, with his own interpretation that the text refers to consciousness. The beginning involves Krishna urging Arjuna to fight against his family. I suppose this encourages TMers to see the struggle to enlighten the world through TM as an epic battle where individuals consciousnesses (even within a family) are fighting it out.
One way I think about TM is as a little like a micro-version of America. The people are mainly well-meaning and really believe they are doing good for the world. But the perspective is so narrow and solutions so simplistic that they often do more harm than good, while a few people actually get rich from the whole thing. So, basically, if it weren't for the arrogant megalomania that accompanies the whole thing, I'd be happy to call them spiritual/cultural/life style pioneers, trying to find meaning out of the complex world that doesn't usually fit very well into simple boxes.