The Giggling Guru

Several weeks ago I accidentally turned the TV on to the Merv Griffin show. Within moments I realized that this hour would be a big moment in my life. (That’s the impression Merv conveyed to me.) And it would definitely be another high point in his.

You see, the most honorable Maharishi, driving force behind Transcendental Meditation, was going to appear live on Griffin’s show. Griffin was overjoyed. Ever since Merv had discovered Transcendental Meditation and the teachings of the Maharishi, he had become a new creature. And it appeared to me that in the process Merv’s objectivity had also changed—it had disappeared! (A conversion characteristic of other than TM enthusiasts.)

So instead of the usual talk-show setup—several chairs, a small table, and the like—the studio was arranged like a mini-worship center. A special high-backed chair had been set up for the Maharishi. It looked as if it was covered in satin (but who can tell you when your TV isn’t doing its job?). And there were flowers everywhere; it seemed that everyone in the studio audience held one.

After movie star Clint Eastwood had been introduced and had given his TM “testimony,” the Maharishi made his entrance. Merv stood in awe. So did Clint and the rest of the studio audience. I sat. The guru, dressed in a white flowing robe, pitty-patted to his place smiling his patented, inane smile. And this was his most significant action during the show. From then on, he proceeded to giggle as Merv and Clint gushed over him.

Basically, the whole program made me sick.

I could never imagine Jesus appearing on Merv’s talk show like that. I think he would have wanted a regular chair, and I’m certain he would have responded to questions with much more than a silly ...

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