Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the Indian guru who first met The Beatles in 1967. They became fascinated by his techniques of Transcendental Meditation, and in 1968 visited the Maharishi's spiritual training camp in Rishikesh, India.

The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967He was born Mahesh Prasad Varma on 12 January 1917, in the Panduka area of Raipur, India. He studied physics at Allahabad University, and in around 1939 became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who from 1941 was the Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of the Indian city of Jyotir Math.

In 1941 Maharishi became a personal assistant to Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, whom he knew as Guru Deva. Maharishi was given the name Bal Brahmachari Mahesh by him.

Maharishi remained with Brahmananda Saraswati until he died in 1953. Afterwards Maharishi moved to Uttarkashi in the Valley of the Saints, in the Himalayasm before leaving in 1955 to teach a meditation technique he called Transcendental Deep Meditation, later renamed Transcendental Meditation.

He began the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957 in Madras, India, and the following year began the first of many worldwide tours to bring his techniques to a wider audience.

We'd seen Maharishi up north when we were kids. He was on the telly every few years on Granada's People And Places programme, the local current affairs show. We'd all say, 'Hey, did you see that crazy guy last night?' So we knew all about him: he was the giggly little guy going round the globe seven times to heal the world.
Paul McCartney

George Harrison's wife Pattie had become interested in Eastern philosophy and religion following a holiday in Bombay towards the end of 1966. The following year a friend invited her to a lecture on Transcendental Meditation at London's Caxton Hall.

When Pattie heard that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was giving a series of talks at the London Hilton, she persuaded George to come along. On 24 August 1967 the couple, plus John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Jane Asher were in front row seats, listening to the Maharishi speak.

Advertisement about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Times newspaper, 3 August 1967

I got the tickets. I was actually after a mantra. I had got to the point where I thought I would like to meditate; I'd read about it and I knew I needed a mantra - a password to get through to the other world. And, as we always seemed to do everything together, John and Paul came with me.
George Harrison

Ringo Starr was unable to go to the lecture, as his wife Maureen had given birth to their son Jason on 19 August 1967.

I came home and put on the answerphone, and there was a message from John: 'Oh, man, we've seen this guy, and we're all going to Wales. You've got to come.' The next message from from George, saying, 'Wow, man - we've seen him. Maharishi's great! We're all going to Wales on Saturday, and you've got to come.'
Ringo Starr

The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967

After the event The Beatles were granted a 90-minute private audience with Maharishi. He impressed them with his philosophy; the next day they traveled to Bangor, north Wales, to attend a Transcendental Meditation seminar.

I think he realised that these boys could get his message across real fast. And so after we met him, he brought up the idea of us going on tour again and opening up a place in every city. But we didn't do that, because things began to change.
Ringo Starr

The train left London's Euston Station on 25 August. All four Beatles were on it, along with Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Donovan. However, John Lennon's wife Cynthia missed the train after being mistaken for a fan and held back by a security guard.

I remember Cynthia not making the train, which was terrible and very symbolic. She was the only one of our party not to get there. There's a bit of film of her not making it. That was the end of her and John, really, weirdly enough. There was a big crowd at the train station, and there was another to meet us in Bangor. We all wandered through in our psychedelic gear. It was like a summer camp.
Paul McCartney

The Beatles spent two nights in Bangor. Due to the last-minute decision to attend, they had to sleep in a rented schoolroom along with the other students of Maharishi. In Bangor they were each given personal mantras.

The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967

The Beatles' encounter with the Maharishi coincided with their realisation that LSD didn't hold the answers they were hoping for. They held a press conference to reveal their new passion for meditation, and announced that they had given up drugs.

They came backstage after one of my lectures, and they said to me: 'Even from an early age we have been seeking a highly spiritual existence. We tried drugs and that didn't work.' They are such practical and intelligent young boys that it took them only two days to find that Transcendental Meditation is the answer.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein had been due to join them in Bangor after the August Bank Holiday. However, he never made it: his body was discovered at his London home on 27 August 1967. He had died of an overdose of barbiturates mixed with alcohol.

The Beatles' confidant Peter Brown telephoned Bangor with the news. Their reaction to the press revealed how far The Beatles - Lennon and Harrison in particular - had embraced Maharishi's teachings.

We loved him and he was one of us. Maharishi's meditation gives you confidence enough to withstand something like this, even after the short amount we've had.

We all feel it, but these talks on Transcendental Meditation have helped us to stand up to it so much better. You don't get upset when a young kid becomes a teenager, or a teenager becomes an adult, or when an adult gets old. Well, Brian is just passing into the next phase.

John Lennon, 1967

4 responses on “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  1. Dr-go-frak-yourself

    This is the same guru that KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov talks about in the youtube documentary “Deception was my Job” and shares the experiences he had with Maharishi Mahesh.

  2. Franz Rickinger

    Regarding Mr. Mahesh`s activities of teaching one really should know his story about how it came along that he has started to teach even he never had wanted to do that. Mr Mahesh has reported it as follows:

    When he had stayed at Uttar Kashi (after the death of “Guru Dev”), he found an elederly sadhu with whom he “felt well”. They used to sit together practising their meditation some times. Some day Mr Mahesh faced a problem with his “staying in samadhi”:
    A thought kept on coming into his mind “Rahmeshwaram”; it didn`t come all the time but repeatedly; just that thought “Rhameshwaram” (a famous Shiva temple in South India). After a while he asked that elderly sadhu about that “pheneomenon”. The elderly sadhu looked at him in a manner like “Oh, it seems that you aren’t yet a real yogi”.
    Then the elderly sadhu said: “Go there an come back to get rid of that thought; but don`t forget that it’s ok down to Hardwar; beyond Hardwar it’s the world of MAYA, it’s MAYA”.

    Mr Mahesh followed that advise and finally reached Rhameswaram. There he went for mediations into the temple for some weeks or even months. After that period of time he felt “Now it’s alright, it’s gone” and he started his way back to the valley of the Ganges.

    Somewhere near Madaras he has been approached by a man who has run a bookshop. That man had asked Mr Mahesh. “Do you talk?” Mr Mahesh replied or may be just expressed: “What you call talking talking, yes, what you call lecturing, no”.

    Mr Mahesh has been quite sure that he had expressed that he hasn’t done a vouch of silence either but neither would he want to give lectures nor would he want to teach.

    Yet that man came back and said to Mr Mahesh that he had anounced lectures for him and that he would be in need of the headline for his lecture.

    Mr Mahesh was surpised, “took it to be the will of God”, gave that man the requested themes and asked him for a copy so that he would know about what he would have to lecture.

    The lecture was very succesfull and one lecture after the other got announced and just like that the whole “movement” would have come about, has said Mr Mahesh in the context of his TM teacher training courses.

    Now what’s Interesting? A man doesn’t want to do something and another man creates a situation that the first man would have to do what he doesn’t want to do.
    According to the standards of the western world that’s a violation of freedom and not acceptable. How to explain how that “violation” came about?

    In the year about 2000 a tourist guide about India got published by Baedeker and I happend to read in that book a story that Duke Elington has reported in a biography:
    Duke Elington had stayed near Madras in a noble hotel. He went for dinner in his hotel and took his decision according to the menu card he had been given. He asked the waiter whether that what he had decided for were available. The waiter shook his head. Duke Elington decided for something else and asked “is it available?”. The man shook his head once more. Like that it went on for about 4 days. When Duke Elington said that he would like to have some fish and asked whether it were available the waiter shook his head again. Duke Elington then thought: “We are here next to the ocean and they don’t have fish?” and he decided to understand the shaking of the head as a “yes”. And it worked.

    The story shows that there are parts of India where a certain shaking of the head is used to express a “yes”.

    Now back to Mr Mahesh. Mr Mahesh didn’t like to use the word “no” as one could see when one has been round about him him for a while. Instead of saying “no” he used to shake his head. He used to try to avoid to use the word “no”

    Thus I suppose that Mr Mahesh had said to that librarian “What you call talking, yes; what you call lecturing” ; after these words he shook his head instead of using the word “no”.

    And it seems to me that thus he had caused that misunderstanding that he then has taken to be “the will of God”.

    If Mr. Mahesh would have really followed the advise of that elderly sadhu,he would have had to take that “violation of his expresed will” as something like: “Oh, that must be due to MAYA, not the will of God and better I don’t take it to be caused by evil-mindedness but better I take it to be a phenomenon of misunderstanding, of illusion, of MAYA”.

    Yet Mr Mahesh prefered to take it to be the will of God. May be Mr Mashesh had forgotten that advise “Don’t forget, beyond Hardwar is the field of MAYA”.

    The advise of that elderly sadhu given to Mr Mahesh in the situation of Mr Mahesh would have been a beautiful, secure, good strategy to handle such problems.

    This shows in what sense it’s very true that Mr Mahesh “made fool out of all”. Whenever the work around lecturing and teaching had got to much for him, he left it to others with the lame excuse that “I had said that I don’t want to lecture, you want me to teach, it’s your karma not mine”.

    There`s also that story of shankara that even Mr Mahesh has narrated sometimes:
    Somewhere there was a rope laying around in some forest. A man has come along and didn`t look there clearly and spread the rumour that a dangerous snake were there.
    People were forbidden to go there etc and a big upheaval occured. It went on like that amidst fear and “don’t go there!”, etc” until someone looked objectively to that “snake” and saw that it onlys had been a rope.

    A teacher of religion (Pater Wisnet) has told to us at ground school that once he had been at Papa Neuguinea to spread Christianity. He had to go across a river but it was rather difficult to get down to the river. Thus he had been very happy when he saw something that he looked at as the solid stem of a tree. Yet when he had put his foot onto it, he noticed that it had been a boa constructor, a snake with a length of more than 10 meters.
    He had taken a snake to be something like rope.
    That had been rather dangerous.

    At a TM-center I once got witness of the following;
    One young man had been near finishing his study.
    Some TM-teachers in his centre now thought;
    Better we choose him to become the centre-leader; otherwise he might fall off working for the TM-movement after he would have finished his study; finally working for the TM-movement is the most important thing, it’s like having to do the will of God….” .
    See that was some such upheaval “don’t go there, there’s a dangerous snake” in the context of “snake and rope”.
    Such strange behaviour might result in dangerousness, too.

    These two examples show that both sides of that teaching of the philosopher Shankra are of practical importance.

    By the way, Shanakra is said to have come from the South of India; may be exactly that
    problem with shaking and nodding the head had been know to him.

    Mr Mahesh, according to the line of reasoning in my report, had taken a “yes that he had expressed against his intention” as “I had expressed a no”.

    And one should know one more fact: When Mr Mahesh has talked about the death of Swami Brahmanda Saraswati, his “Guru Dev”, he used to say, that after a while some little paper with just 3 names on it appeared and it were taken to be his “last will” about who should become the Shankaracharaya of the North after his death.

    In the Internet, however, one can find an official last will of Swami Brahmanda Saraswati that had been done by help of a notary and that had been deposited at the notary. That was not a small paper with just 3 names on it!

    Mr Mahesh had been the private secretary of Swami Brahmanda Saraswati over many years (the present Shankaracharya has said that in an interview that got part of the movie “David wants to fly”).
    As the private secretary, I think, he should have known very well that an official last will had been done and that it was that document that “was found” after the sudden death of the Jagad Guru of Jothir Math in 1953. Thus, I’m sorry, it is the truth that Mr Mahesh didn’t tell the truth always; he had thus tried to make himself “to look greater” and the Shankaracharyas – that had been initiated into sanyasin and who had been selected by Swami Brahmanda Saraswati as those who were able to pass on hs teachings – to look like “rather unimportant”.

    50% of the mantras that Mr Mahesh has used were classical mantras, knowable from the ancient scriptures according to an interview with one Shankaracharya. The rest of those so-called “Mantras” were more or less freely invented by Mr. Mahesh.

    Of course one can read something and one can make something useful out of it; yet, unfortunately, sometimes bad things are made out of information here and there. Mr Mahesh’s teaching activities caused both: Positive effects, but more or less harmful effects have resulted here and there, too.

    Two last remarks:
    As a conclusion of my report, someone might think that it would be a good idea to
    go to the Shankaracharya of the North instead of continueing to search for such knowledge in the “TM-movement”.
    That might sound rather logical.
    Yet there’s one very servere problem:
    In the magazine “Alpinwelt” of the German Mountain Club I once read that “Sickness of Height” might occur even at a height not higher than 3000 meters.
    The seat of teaching where a Shankaracharya of the North is used to stay during
    summer time is at Badrinath temple and that temple lays at a height of more than
    3000 meters.
    Thus it cannot be useful in general to go there at all.
    Mr Mahesh has made many people eager for such knowledge; yet he couldn’t even
    tell them a safe path to fulfill that thurst for such knowledge.

    If it had been all due to that misunderstanding then one would see that Mr Mahesh
    used to laugh with one eye and at the same time he cried with the other one.
    The title “sexy sadie” thus looks like having hit the situation of Mr Mahesh precisely.
    On the one side he had always been very sad about the missed chance for his wanted carreer as a real good celebetarian sadhu and on the other side he had that strange
    sort of laughing etc
    In the film “David wants to fly” a lady reports about her sexual experience with Mr Mahesh,
    by the way. Thus the Beatles’ hint at even sexual activities of Mr Mahesh got supported
    by that witness a few 10 years later . (That sort of documentary had been in the cinemas, too)

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