Wednesday, 06. February 2008
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The guru who introduced transcendental meditation to the West, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, died at his Dutch home overnight, aides said on Wednesday. He was said to be 91.


The reclusive Indian mystic shot to international prominence when the Beatles - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - visited him in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1968 to learn his transcendental meditation techniques.

Film footage of the four Beatles sitting cross-legged and dressed in white robes with garlands of flowers was beamed round the world. Beach Boy Mike Love, singer Donovan and U.S. actress Mia Farrow joined the sessions.

Here is some vintage film footage:
The Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, 1968 (02:56)

The Beatles left the course before the end for various reasons, with much media attention given to John Lennon's statement that he left because he came to believe rumors that Maharishi had made sexual advances toward a young woman. According to several John Lennon biographies, the singer/songwriter felt "disappointed and betrayed" by Maharishi, to the extent that when Maharishi asked him why he was leaving the Rishikesh camp, Lennon reportedly snapped, "if you're so bloody enlightened, you should already know why." Paul McCartney and George Harrison disputed the rumors in subsequent interviews.

"His passing is profoundly sad. But I for one, am among the millions who are grateful for what he shared with us," said Love. "We will miss you, but your great light will shine on."

After teaching other 1960s and 70s icons, the Maharishi with the flowing hair and white beard gained a worldwide following and had more than five million people studying his methods.

"His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ... passed away peacefully," his Global Country of World Peace movement said in a statement.

"Maharishi's work is complete. He has done what he set out to do in 1957 -- to lay the foundation for a peaceful world. Now, Maharishi is being welcomed with open arms into heaven."

Here is another tribute to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (06:40)

The Maharishi moved his headquarters to the small southern Dutch village of Vlodrop in 1990. A memorial service will be held there on Thursday before an expected funeral on the Ganges river in India, a spokesman said.

The guru periodically emerged to appeal for funds to promote world peace, building a huge business empire estimated to be worth billions of dollars ranging from real estate dealing to a company selling ayurvedic medicine and cosmetics.

In 2002, he said he could combat world terrorism and war if he could raise $1 billion (510 millin pounds) to train 40,000 expert meditators.

The Maharishi set up universities and schools all over the world and his Natural Law Party -- which promotes yogic flying, a practice that involves sitting in the lotus position and bouncing into the air -- has campaigned in dozens of countries.

Transcendental meditation, known as TM by its followers, involves reciting a mantra that practitioners say helps the mind stay calm even under pressure. It gradually gained medical respect over the decades as the Maharishi challenged Western scientists to investigate its health benefits.

Film director David Lynch, a TM practitioner, said: "It has changed my life, my world. I am not alone. Millions of other people of all ages, religions and walks of life practise the technique and enjoy incredible benefits."

Last month the Maharishi stepped down as head of his organisation and said he would be "retiring into silence".

Born in central India, the Maharishi started studying meditation after completing a degree in physics in 1940. After a retreat in the Himalayas he decided to take his techniques to the world, first visiting the United States in 1959.

According to the TM organisation, the Maharishi's message remained constant: "Life is bliss. Man is born to enjoy. Within everyone is an unlimited reservoir of energy, intelligence, and happiness."

Text source: Reuters

Here is a documentary, aired 2007 on the History Channel, features David Lynch, John Hagelin, Deepak Chopra, Mike Love (The Beach Boys), The Beatles, Donovan, Merv Griffin and more.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Duration: 43 minutes.

"Don't fight darkness - bring the light, and darkness will disappear"
-- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Purusha:

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Purusha: Part 1 (06:15)
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Purusha: Part 2 (08:54)
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Purusha: Part 3 (03:51)

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Related Links:

BBC Four: Interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Photo Collection:Early photos of Maharishi
Transcript: Larry King interview with Maharishi aired on May 12, 2002 by CNN.
Swami Lakshmanju, Tat Wala Baba, Devraha Baba and others speak on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Stories about Maharishi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - Biography and Links
Maharishi official website
Transcendental Meditation official website

Transzendentale Meditation (TM) nach Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Schweiz
Transzendentale Meditation (TM) nach Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Deutschland

Here is a publication entitled 'Beacon Light Of The Himalayas', published in India in late-1955/early-1956.


This is a very scarce book and a book of historical significance, which includes transcripts of several discourses of Maharshi Bala Brahmachari Mahesh, (later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi महर्षि महेश योगी, letters and speeches in support of his mission, many photographs taken on the occasion of the Kerala Maha Sammelan, October 1955 and an early version of 'Guiding Light' (a short biography of Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati).

See all 168 pages here: Beacon Light of the Himalayas (PDF, 45 MB).
Found on Guru Dev.
Category: Meditation & Mind | People & Organisations |

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