--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Michael Jackson  wrote:
> I am wondering what the deal is on puja anyway.
> This is what good old Tom Ball, Re-certified Governor of North Carolina says 
> on his blog and website about TM:
> But doesn't the Transcendental Meditation instruction ceremony involve 
> "offerings?"
> The TM instruction ceremony derives 
> from and  retains many elements of the traditional Vedic custom of guest 
> reception: offering a bath, fresh garments, food, etc. â€" all done  
> symbolically during puja as gestures of respect. The puja used in TM  
> instruction recites the names of the tradition of teachers and honors  
> them, most prominently acknowledging the latest representative of that  
> tradition, Maharishi's teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati, or "Guru Dev"  
> ("great teacher"). 
> There is no "offering to gods" or any such thing. It's more like giving an 
> apple to your teacher â€" very simple and natural. 
> I heard that the TM instruction ceremony mentions names of gods?
> The secular-type puja performed during Transcendental Meditation 
> instruction uses the traditional Sanskrit language of honor and respect 
> that's indigenous to the ancient Vedic culture. Although it may sound foreign 
> to Western ears, the formal 
> language is used ceremoniously and not religiously. For example, in this 
> Vedic performance, when Maharishi's teacher, Brahmananda Sarasvati, is 
> metaphorically compared to a 
> traditional deity of that culture, Brahma, the deity itself is not 
> appealed to or acknowledged one way or another. If you say someone is 
> "Christ-like," it's a way of expressing high adoration and appreciation. It 
> doesn't mean that you are engaged in worship or even believe in 
> Christ.
> There are others like former TM teacher Bob Fickes who say  the puja 
> ceremony helps to refine the awareness of the initiator and gives the mantra 
> its potency. He has said without the puja the mantra won't have the proper 
> vibration or potency.
> Still others, specifically Raja Badgett Rogers has said that the mantra 
> doesn't work unless there is the offering or dakshina of the fruit, flowers 
> and money, and it is the offering, the gift, that makes the mantra work and 
> of course the flowers and fruit are part of the puja.
> So to all you TM teachers or former TM teachers, what is the puja actually 
> for of the above possibilities or is it something different altogether? Or a 
> combo of the above?

Ah. TM double-speak. They'll be telling us mantras are meaningless sounds next!

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