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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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The birth name, birth date, and caste of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are not known with certainty, in part because of the tradition of ascetics and monks to relinquish family connections. Many accounts say he was born Mahesh Prasad Varma into a Kayastha family living in the Central Provinces of British India. A different name appears in the Allahabad University list of distinguished alumni, where he is listed as M.C. Srivastava. and an obituary says his name was “Mahesh Srivastava.”
Various accounts give the year of his birth as 1911, 1917 or 1918. Authors Paul Mason and William Jefferson say that he was born 12 January 1917 in Jabalpur, Central Provinces.The place of birth given in his passport is “Pounalulla”, India, and his birth date 12 January 1918. Mahesh came from an upper-caste family, being a member of the Kayastha caste, a high-status caste whose traditional profession is writing.

Early life

Mahesh studied physics at Allahabad University and earned a degree in 1942. While a few sources say that he worked at Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur for some time most report that in 1941, he became an administrative secretary to the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (also known as Guru Dev) and took a new name, Bal Brahmachari Mahesh. Coplin refers to bala brahmachari as both a title and a name, and considers that it “identified him as a fully dedicated student of spiritual knowledge and life-long celibate ascetic. He was trusted to take care of the bulk of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati’s correspondence without direction, and was also sent out to give public speeches on Vedic (scriptural) themes.
Brahmachari Mahesh remained with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati until the latter died in 1953, when he moved to Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand in the Himalayas. Although Brahmachari Mahesh was a close disciple, he could not be the Shankaracharya’s spiritual successor because he was not of the Brahmin caste. The Shankaracharya, at the end of his life, charged him with the responsibility of travelling and teaching meditation to the masses, while he named Swami Shantananda Saraswati as his successor.

Tour in India (1955–1957)

In 1955,Brahmachari Mahesh left Uttarkashi and began publicly teaching what he stated was a traditional meditation technique learned from his master Brahmananda Saraswati, and that he called Transcendental Deep Meditation. Later the technique was renamed Transcendental Meditation. It was also then that he was first publicly known with the name “Maharishi” an honorific title meaning “great sage” after the title was given to him according to some sources from “Indian Pundits” and according to another source the honorific was given along with Yogi by followers in India. Later in the west the title was retained as a name.
He traveled around India for two years interacting with his “Hindu audiences” in an “Indian context”. At that time, he called his movement the Spiritual Development Movement, but renamed it the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957, in Madras, India, on the concluding day of the Seminar of Spiritual Luminaries. According to Coplin, in his visits to southern India, the Maharishi spoke English rather than the Hindi spoken in his home area to avoid provoking resistance among those seeking linguistic self-determination, and to appeal to the “learned classes”.

World tours (1958–1968)

According to author William Jefferson, in 1958, the Maharishi went to Madras to address a large crowd of people who had gathered to celebrate the memory of Guru Dev. It was there that he spontaneously announced that he planned to spread the teaching of TM throughout the world. Hundreds of people immediately asked to learn TM. In 1959, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi began his first world tour, writing: “I had one thing in mind, that I know something which is useful to every man”.

Teaching over 5 million people Transcendental Meditation

During the past 50 years, due to Maharishi’s achievements more than five million people have learned Transcendental Meditation and over 40,000 teachers of Transcendental Meditation have been trained, opening thousands of teaching centres throughout the world. Hundreds of Maharishi schools, colleges and universities have been founded and Transcendental Meditation programmes have been introduced in private businesses, universities, prisons, the military and other public institutions.

Establish life according to Natural Law

Maharishi also completely restored the thousands-of-years-old scattered Vedic literature restoring the true significance of its theory and practice, organising it in the form of a complete and systematic science of consciousness.
Maharishi’s practical programmes quietly establish life according to Natural Law without requiring change in any area of endeavour, to irrevocably change the course of time in favour of peace and happiness for all mankind.


Further growth of the TM movement (1968–1990)

In 1968, the Maharishi announced that he would stop his public activities and instead begin the training of TM teachers at his new global headquarters in Seelisberg, Switzerland.In 1969, he inaugurated a course in his Science of Creative Intelligence at Stanford University, which was then offered at 25 other American universities.

What is the goal of Transcendental Meditation?

“The goal of the Transcendental Meditation technique is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.”

In 1970, the Maharishi held a TM teacher training course at a Victorian hotel in Poland Springs, Maine, with 1,200 participants. Later that year, he held a similar four-week course with 1500 participants at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California.In 1970, after having “a little trouble with Indian tax authorities,” he moved his headquarters to Italy, returning to India in the late 1970s.That same year, the City of Hope Foundation in Los Angeles gave the Maharishi their “Man of Hope” award.

“And with the Transcendental Meditation technique we have a natural and effective means to dissolve even deeply rooted fatigue and stress. This is the way to unfold full value of life.
“Even in the first days of meditation we find that our eyes seem to be a little more open, our mind seems a bit more clear. Our feeling towards our friends seems to be more harmonious.
“And then, as the practice continues every day, a time will come when we will start living life free from all stresses. We cleanse the awareness of all stresses and strains, leaving the conscious mind completely free in its pure value.”

Shortcut To World Peace

Through his development of the TM-Sidhi programme and particularly the group practice of Yogic Flying, Maharishi gave to the world a technology that enables a tiny proportion of the population to create a peaceful, coherent influence reliably reducing crime, sickness and accident rates. When applied on a global scale, the group practice of Yogic Flying offers the first scientifically validated method to create world peace.
To create and maintain world peace permanently, Maharishi designed the Global Peace Initiative. The Global Peace Initiative is establishing a large group of specially trained Vedic Pandits whose practice of Yogic Flying along with their performance of Vedic Yagyas can create a profound and measureable influence of peace for the world. In 2008, Maharishi founded the Brahmananda Saraswati Trust to support this group of professional peacekeepers in perpetuity.

A Systematic Approach To Gaining Enlightenment

Meditation and the path to enlightenment had been misunderstood for centuries, even in India. They were considered largely the domain of religion or philosophy, often associated with renunciation. Maharishi brought to light the Vedic truth that meditation is not based on effort and concentration, and can be practised by anyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, or religion. He laid out a systematic path for development of higher states of consciousness, in which our full cosmic potential becomes a living reality of day-to-day life.
Inspired by Maharishi, researchers began to investigate the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Since 1970 when the first research was published, over 600 scientific studies conducted at more than 200 independent research institutions in 35 countries have documented the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for the mind, body, and society as a whole. Many of these studies have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific, medical, and professional journals.

The desire to know yourself

The desire to know yourself and understand your connection to the universe is natural. For centuries, it has inspired saints and sages to turn within seeking enlightenment. When most people enquire about Transcendental Meditation, they are looking for the simple, practical everyday benefits that the practice brings.
However there are also those who want to learn Transcendental Meditation for reasons which may be difficult to put into words, for self-knowledge, self-awareness, inner peace, spiritual development and enlightenment. All these are equally valid reasons for learning, and are, in a sense, exactly what Transcendental Meditation provides.
Transcendental Meditation provides access to the profound silence of the inner self that is deep inside everyone. With regular practise, the peacefulness and bliss of that inner experience is naturally integrated into daily living leading to an enlightened life with a fully developed heart, mind and soul.

Organizations and businesses

The Maharishi is credited with heading charitable organisations, for-profit businesses, and real estate investments whose total value has been estimated at various times, to range from US$2 to US$5 billion. The real estate alone was valued in 2003 at between $3.6 and $5 billion. Holdings in the United States, estimated at $250 million in 2008, include dozens of hotels, commercial buildings and undeveloped land. The Maharishi “amassed a personal fortune that his spokesman told one reporter may exceed $1 billion”. According to a 2008 article in The Times, the Maharishi “was reported to have an income of six million pounds”.The Maharishi’s movement is said to be funded through donations, course fees for Transcendental Meditation and various real estate transactions.

In his biography of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Story of the Maharishi (published 1976), William Jefferson suggests that the financial aspect of the TM organisation was one of the greatest controversies it faced. Questions were raised about the Maharishi’s mission, comments from leaders of the movement at that time, and fees and charges the TM organisation levied on followers. Jefferson says that the concerns with money came from journalists more than those who have learned to meditate.

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