Today is celebrated as the birthday of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, born in in central India in 1917.
I consider myself beyond fortunate to have met Maharishi several times during his lifetime. Vicki has actually worked with him – so how fortunate is that?
Maharishi often reminded us that what matters is not what someone does but what they are – their Being. Nevertheless, as we contemplate Maharishis colossal achievements, framing his life briefly may interest you.
I am mindful that neither myself nor anyone is capable fully of understanding the breadth and depth of what Maharishi was. He has been said to have said that it will take the world 400 years to understand what he was saying.
He earned a degree in physics at Allhabad University in 1942. Just before that he became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati who he was with until his passing in 1953. He then moved to Uttarkashi in the Himalayas having been charged with the responsibility of taking this precious knowledge of meditation to the world.
In 1955 he left the Himalyas for the south of India and began to teach the technique which he came to call Transcendental Meditation. He then travelled in India for two years. Everywhere he went, what he had to say found resonance with the people and he wrote “I had one thing in mind, that I know something which is useful to every man”. In 1957 he founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement to spiritually regenerate the world.
His early international travels began in Rangoon and ranged through the Far East, and ended in Hawaii. In 1959 he started teaching TM in Honolulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Boston, New York and London. Realising he had to make himself many-fold, he began to train teachers and continued touring the world.
He inaugurated “the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment” in 1975 when research began to support his contention that learning Transcendental Meditation by large numbers of people could lead to world peace.
He introduced the advanced T M Sidhi Program shortly thereafter and became progressively less accessible to ordinary folk, as he started to focus on the creation of world peace at around this time. A full account of the achievements of all these years may be found in Vernon Katz’ phenomenal new book: “Conversations with Maharishi.”
He was a tireless gushing fountain of knowledge and introduced us to the timeless wisdom of India framed in his unique consciousness perspective. He always connected everything to The Source – what he termed the Self Referral Structuring Dynamics of Consciousness, The Transcendent. So he unpacked Maharishi Ayurveda, Maharishi Jyotish, Maharishi Sthapatyaveda. We received these gifts successively through the 80s and 90s. I believe he put “Maharishi” in these names to remind us of the connection to the source of their great and universal utility. He in fact gave all the credit for all the knowledge to his master – and hence was always saying “Jai Guru Dev.”
He spent much of the late 80s in India, most of the 90s and all of the 2000s in Holland. His Transcendental Meditation movement is now represented in the majority of the world’s 192 countries, and the practice has been learned by some six million fortunate people.
All over the world there are Vedic Architecture projects bearing his name from St Petersburg in Russia, through the USA, the UK, Holland, India …
Perhaps his greatest achievement has been the revival of the Vedic traditions of timeless India, where as of today there are 1100 centers of his knowledge, over 2500 Vedic pandits practicing traditional peace-creating Yagya procedures, and some 70 000 yogic flyers included in the hundreds of thousands of children enrolled in a vast network of private schools. The significance of these numbers is far beyond the scope of this post.
Our beloved Maharishi passed peacefully on 5 February 2008 and was cremated at a state funeral in Allahabad in India.