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Home > Society > Indian Religion > Indian Yogis > Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian Spiritual Leader
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a renowned spiritual leader of the nation. He developed the Transcendental Meditation technique.
 Maharishi Mahesh YogiMaharishi Mahesh Yogi, a great Sage, was born into a Hindu family of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India with the name Mahesh Prasad Varma. It is said that Mahesh Prasad Varma was born on Friday, 12th January, 1917 to a minor official father in the Department of Forestry. Mahesh received an above-average education. Evidently he showed a certain promise in the scientific disciplines, although, as with many other students, the ancient Sanskrit language posed difficulties for him. Being offered with the rare opportunity to engage in higher education, he undertook degree courses in both physics and mathematics at Allahabad University. The acquisition of so much information only accentuated his hunger for deeper fulfilment.

Transformation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Having completed his studies in 1941, Maharishi became a secretary to the Hindu Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath. Shankaracharya gave him the name Bal Brahmacharya Mahesh. He remained with Brahmananda Saraswati until the latter passed away in 1953. Swami Brahmananda insisted that before accepting Mahesh as a disciple he must fulfill two preconditions: he should complete his studies at university; and more importantly he should receive parental permission before joining him. His father therefore listened to the Shankaracharya with extreme reservations but at length reluctantly consented to his son's departure.

Maharishi retired into silence for approximately two years in Uttarkashi district, a valley in the Himalayas known as the Valley of the Saints in 1953. It was the place where his own Master had lived in previous decades with his Master, Swami Krishananda Saraswati. In 1955, Maharishi left Uttarkashi, possessed of the knowledge of life bestowed on him by his Master. Maharishi later recalled his deep concern about the two apparent divergent realities of life. He noted the exalted quality of Vedic Literature that depicts all life as bliss, and compared that reality to the suffering humanity endures. He felt that "there was no reason why there should be a gap, because it's so simple for the individual to be on that level of universality and immortality. This was the natural feeling that was deep in my mind, that something should be done so that people don't suffer."

Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
From 1955, Maharishi started teaching what he states as a traditional meditation technique publicly. He later renamed it 'Transcendental Meditation'. The technique involves the use of a mantra or sound and the proper technique of how to use it. The mantras come from the age-old Vedic Tradition and the sounds are worked as the Mind Vehicle to settle down to the quieter states of awareness at its finer levels. This meditation programme has been taught worldwide to over 5 million people. Some Transcendental Meditation practitioners report that during the practice their mind becomes very alert but their body receives deep rest. The effects of the meditation continue afterward. To Maharishi this state is "Transcendental Consciousness" or restful alertness. He has founded many organizations of which the first began in 1957 'The Spiritual Regeneration Movement' in Chennai, India.

Philosophy of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
By 1958, Maharishi had begun the first of many worldwide tours. In spring of 1958, Maharishi's tours to Southeast Asia, included Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Everywhere he went people from all walks of life greeted him enthusiastically. Finally, the momentum of the tour took him to the island of Hawaii, and from there, on to America. During the 1960s and early 1970s practitioners of the technique became seen as part of the then current "counter-culture" phenomenon, at which time a number of celebrities learned the technique.

Celebrity students at that time included The Beatles (In 1967 the popular British rock group The Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation, and in early 1968 for varying lengths of time attended a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course in Rishikesh, India, under Maharishi's supervision). The Beach Boys, including singer Mike Love, who became a TM teacher and singer-songwriter Donovan, who befriended Maharishi and put his picture on the back cover of his 'A Gift from a Flower to a Garden' album. Comedian Andy Kaufman and magician Doug Henning were also students of Maharishi, while Clint Eastwood and David Lynch are two notable directors who have practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique. Lynch is currently involved in an effort to raise $7 billion to teach the technique to all students in the USA, via his David Lynch Foundation.

Maharishi travelled to Europe in early 1960 after starting the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in the United States of America. During the next two years, he returned to India and the Far East, before revisiting the U.S.A., Europe, and Africa. In 1961, he conducted his first international Teacher Training Course near Rishikesh, India, with over 60 mediators from India, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Britain, Malaya, Norway, the United States, Australia, Greece, Italy, and the West Indies. He continued to train teachers throughout the world, preparing them to teach the technique in exactly the same way, everywhere.

In 1972, Maharishi delivered a 33-lesson videotaped course in Fuiggi, Italy, that is described in the Maharishi University of Management catalog.

Maharishi wrote the text of his first published book, "The Science of Being and Art of Living". In the introduction to the book "the Beacon Light of the Himalayas", Maharishi makes the following offer to humanity: "Oh ye of the peace less and suffering humanity! My happiness desires to root out your suffering. Will you extend your arm and allow me to lift you up from the mire of misery and peacelessness?" The book was released in 1955.

Since 1990 Maharishi coordinates his global activities from his headquarters in the town of Vlodrop in the municipality of Roerdalen in the Netherlands. In weekly satellite press-conference and web cast after the September 11, 2001 attacks Maharishi started issuing cautions about the prevailing directions of societal change in the world. He made a solution to the current world problems that is 'creating large permanent groups of Transcendental Meditation- Siddhipractitioners performing their meditation programs to create the claimed Maharishi effect'. In 2007 Maharishi initiated what he describes as a seven- point, invincible defence program for every nation.

These are
1. Vedic Defence - creating an influence of positivity and coherence in collective consciousness through practice of Yogic Flying in large groups
2. Creating Problem-Free Government
3. City and country planning in accord with the principles of Vedic Architecture
4. Establishment of Vedic Medical Colleges to produce healthy medicines
5. Establishment of Consciousness-based education
6. Production of Vedic Organic Agriculture
7. Elimination of poverty through the support of adequate wages, housing, and education for those living in scarcity and suffering

This great man left the mundane world at the age of 91 in the year 2008.

(Last Updated on : 01/12/2011)
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