In explaining TM's particular methodology, Roth makes a sensible defense for the TM trademark: it's a matter of "quality control." Given that meditation has been rendered so much a part of capitalism that people casually market themselves as mindfulness "coaches," there's an even greater need for standardization. "Mindfulness is so diffuse that anybody can say anything," Roth said. "And from a scientific standpoint, that's very dangerous."
More simply: Are you transcending with a small t, or Transcending, capital T? For instructors of TM, it makes all the difference, and keeping the mantra a secret is a part of standardizing TM instruction, according to Roth.
"Keeping [the mantra] private is actually to avoid confusion. When you learn, I give you a sound, a mantra, and it's yours. These mantras are over 5,000 years old. I don't have 7 billion different mantras, someone else could have your mantra," he says. "But the way you think it, the way it fits you, fits your person, whatever it is, is going to end up being different than somebody else. And so we ask someone, when they learn, just keep it to themselves."