What Are They Hiding?
The puja translation as supplied by the TM organization to the U.S. District Court (Civil Action No. 76-341)
Meaning Of the Puja, TM’s Initiation Ceremony
Ask pre-1970 TM Teachers, and they'll tell you that the Maharishi severely changed his story about the TM Puja when he began claiming that the TM initiates did not participate in the Hindu Puja.
Old SRM teachers were instructed in the secret reasons why TM students are required to bring fruit, flowers, and handkerchiefs to the Hindu initiation ceremony -- which is what the TM Puja is.
The white cloth stands for the offering of the soul of the initiate, the flower for the blossoming of the Lord's presence in the initiate's heart, and the fruit for the offering of all the fruits of future actions -- literally all material wealth, success, happiness, and so forth.
The Puja -- as practiced in the TM movement -- is a religious ceremony meant to tie the soul of the initiate with Guru Dev, the Maharishi's long-dead teacher Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and ultimately to Maharishi as the true teacher/guru.
How did we ever believe the student was not involved in the ceremony? They are required to supply the major offerings -- the fruit, flowers, and handkerchief, they are required to hold a flower, they are required to be present, and they are asked to kneel at the end.
If you were to stand in front of a Catholic altar, were required by the priest to bring sacrificial offerings, required to hold a palm frond while he recites prayers, and finally were asked to kneel down -- wouldn't you be a participant? http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/secrets/puja/alternate.shtml
TM Mantras are not meaningless sounds. They are the Names of Hindu gods.
“Soma and the Gods” Maharishi’s truly bizarre, idiosyncratic theology
In a nutshell, the Maharishi describes a sort of parasitic relationship between TMers and the vedic gods. TMers produce the magical chemical soma in their gut -- but it isn't something they can use directly. The gods, principally Indra, descend from heaven and feed on the soma in the TMers' belly. In return for this primitive relationship, the gods grant all manner of boons. TMers become successful, happy, prosperous, and develop supernormal abilities. http://minet.org/www.trancenet.net/secrets/soma/index.shtml