Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, RIP


He inspired a zany American political party and a decent Beatles song, managed to keep the Beach Boys' mercurial Mike Love in some sort of spiritual calm, and was all-around an interesting character in one of the late 20th century's more interesting stories: the increasing number of religious and spiritual options and technologies available in the cornucopian West. Transcendental Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi finally transcended the physical world.

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  1. Maharishi what have you done
    You made a fool of everyone
    You made a fool of everyone
    Maharishi ooh what have you done.

    Maharishi you broke the rules
    You layed it down for all to see
    You layed it down for all to see
    Maharishi oooh you broke the rules.

    One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover
    She came along to turn on everyone
    Sexy Sadie the greatest of them all.

    Maharishi how did you know
    The world was waiting just for you
    The world was waiting just for you
    Maharishi oooh how did you know.

    Maharishi you’ll get yours yet
    However big you think you are
    However big you think you are
    Maharishi oooh you’ll get yours yet.

    We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
    Just a smile would lighten everything
    Maharishi he’s the latest and the greatest of them all.

    She made a fool of everyone

    However big you think you are

  2. Well, now that he’s dead, I guess it will be OK if I reveal my secret mantra:


    You may use it if you want to, it cost me $35 back in 1972. Don’t know what they cost these days. Perhaps I should have sold it on e-bay?

  3. Perhaps I should have sold it on e-bay?

    Probably. I think you could sell maggot infested dog feces on e-bay. It is a strange world we live in.

  4. It is my understanding Maharishi raised the TM introductory fee to upwards of $2500 as a sort of protest to the Western world’s post-Sept-11 reaction.

    Despite all the crap celebrity scene that surrounded him, he laid down some grand philosophical groundwork, and provided a context for reinterpreting great minds all the way back to Plato. This is truly a great loss.

  5. “It is my understanding Maharishi raised the TM introductory fee to upwards of $2500 as a sort of protest to the Western world’s post-Sept-11 reaction”

    What was the point of that?

  6. During my time with the Maharishi I learned something truly enlightening. I have never forgotten these words, I think about them daily.

    The Maharishi said, “Never…” wait, it was “Always,

    always carry a litter bag in your car. They don’t take up too much room, and it starts to smell, just throw it out the window”

  7. KingHarvest,
    Are the bogus claims of TM allowing meditators to fly included in what you call “grand philosophical groundwork”?

    Or do I need to be “reinterpreting” my understanding of flying to include hopping off one’s butt being captured by stop motion photography?

  8. The Beatles get lots of attention for their following of the Maharishi, but it was only a fad for them. Mike Love really took it seriously.

  9. What was the point of that?

    Convenient PR cover for increased revenues?

    Oh, and is the reference to religious technologies in the post a shout-out to the late lamented Robert Anton Wilson?

  10. Are the bogus claims of TM allowing meditators to fly included in what you call “grand philosophical groundwork”?

    No, yogic flying is a very minor tenet of meditation in general. Maharishi was able to show that great thinkers throughout history had bouts of intense personal insight, experiences that went deep into their own minds, that preceded works of great creativity. This applies to Einstein, Mozart, Hume, Kant, Descartes, St. Thomas of Aquinas, Plato, and others.

    He showed all the meditative traditions from Zen to Hinduism to Judaism’s “arguing with God” to Christianity’s contemplation were really getting at the same mechanism, just from different points of view. Previously puzzling (and thus ignored) portions of great thinkers’ memoirs were clarified in the context of profound meditative capacity, often without even desiring such.

    He helped refute the simplistically linear understanding of creativity and productivity, and alluded to the potential for paradigm shifts from a simple mental regimen. His technique offers a bit of productive spirituality in the absence of religion. Not bad.

  11. So, the Maharishi goes to a dentist for a root canal. The dentist tries to give him a shot of novacaine, but the Maharishi stops him.

    The dentist insists that without the pain killer, the procedure will be excruciating.
    The Maharishi replies, “With my training, I am confident that I may transcend dental medication.”

    No really. It’s much funnier if you could hear my Indian accent. I learned it from this guy:

    cut and paste or click on my name

  12. He and his group ruined the Blackstone Hotel. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  13. I was a TM’er for a while myself. Still meditate from time to time.

    While I didn’t agree with the increasing prices and therefore decreasing availablity of the movement’s classes and retreats, I believe what Maharishi brought to the world was, as the previous writer mentioned, a greater clarity and understanding of the commonality of many diverse philosophies and religions. Especially important was the commonality between them was a desire for a kind of clarity itself. As Maharishi once put it, “don’t fight darkness. Bring the light, and darkness will disappear.”

    While I became detached from the movement a long time ago, I definitely feel I was given clarity and light into my life from the teachings of this great person. I think the same is true for the world, but there is still a lot of darkness out there.

    -still bringing the light, e

  14. He and his group ruined the Blackstone Hotel. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    And the stock market crash of 1929 ruined the Drake hotel company. And John Drake ruined Timothy Blackstone’s mansion to build the damn thing. What’s your point?

  15. I believe what Maharishi brought to the world was, as the previous writer mentioned, a greater clarity and understanding of the commonality of many diverse philosophies and religions.

    I think there’s probably something to that.

  16. I was sadder when Anton LaVey passed this mortal coil. Now THAT is a philosophy for living!

  17. A decent Beatles song? I’d say Sexy Sadie is one of their most beautiful songs.

  18. My homestate of Iowa is home to Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA. The reason, allegedly, for the location in Iowa is because “Fairfield is in a fair field.”

  19. They bought the Blackstone when it was a decent, affordable downtown hotel and they mucked it up. Among the dumb things they did:

    – Close the beautiful main entrance on Balbo because it faced south and there was bad mojo or something from entering a building from the south. They made the crappy side door on Michigan into the only public entrance. Instead of walking directly into a gorgeous lobby, one walked down a long, low-ceilinged hallway, then upstairs into the lobby.

    – Not renew the lease for the Jazz Showcase.

    – Close the really neat hotel bar with the fishtanks.

    They ran a neat historic hotel into the ground. Now it’s gone condo.

  20. I snooped around and found a site where all sixteen TM mantras are listed with the age and sex of the initiates they are assigned to.

    Now, I understand why everyone I shared my mantra with had the same as me.

    As a historical note, the evolution and proliferation of TM mantras since the beginning are listed.

    (my name is linked to it)

  21. They ran a neat historic hotel into the ground. Now it’s gone condo.

    Actually I think the condo plans fell throught. It’s gonna be a Marriott.

  22. Namaste

  23. I’ve been on the Natural Law Party’s website, what exactly was so “zany” about it? Their platform sounds pretty sane to me. Am i missing something? maybe the candidates are kooks?

    “THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR NATIONAL PROBLEMS lies in proper education” – i’ve been thinking that for years.

  24. andrew,
    On first contact, Scientologists, can appear sane too. Some of the political and personal philosophy mirrors the personal responsibility of libertarianism. But, when you scratch the surface, the bat-shit craziness oozes out.

    Transcendental Meditation’s Natural Law folks are much like that. I appreciate their stand on marijuana and hemp, but they are a brick shy of a full load.

  25. .. Yogi’s gone?? .. who will take care of Boo-Boo now???

    .. Hobbit

  26. Thank you for posting about this great yogi. As a libertarian activist and teacher of kundalini yoga, I appreciate the union of liberty and consciousness. It’s a great theme, one that’s part of FLOW, the movement for peace and prosperity started by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and education entrepreneur/philosopher Michael Strong. And liberty can be found in one of the earliest philosophical documents of mankind – the Vedas. Chanted and then written thousands of years B.C., the Vedas gave us not only yoga, but also classical liberal phrases like “live and let live,” and “any interference with liberty is slavery”.


  27. the yogic flying thing was mislabeled, for whatever reasons, but the technique itself was a major kunalini shaktipat initiation, opening up awareness of the subtle body, and hugely valuable in the context of human development

    and mediation, what can be said, if you have ever taken it up in a serious way, you know the value … everything else will come and go in your life, but that door will never close

  28. Credit is due to Ringo (always my favorite Beatle) who was the first of the four to decide the Maharoonie was full of it and take a hike…

  29. What did the Maharishi say to the hot dog vendor?

    “Make me one with everything…”

    Thank you; be here all week…

  30. Lecture – Seattle, October 9, 1968
    Young man: Well, I don’t know that much about Ramakrishna.
    Prabhupada: All right. Yes?
    Young man: If we can believe the Beatles, you are not the only wise man to come out of the Indian hills to New York. What do you know of this Maharishi Yogi that has become so world famous, and what could you tell us of his teachings by way of comparison?
    Prabhupada: He’s famous amongst the fools. He’s not famous for me.
    Young man: Is he famous in India?
    Prabhupada: No. He cheated some fools because they wanted to be cheated. That’s all. And he finished his business. After befooling, then he retired. That’s all. Because you want to be cheated, some cheap method of become God immediately.

    Temple Press Conference – August 5, 1971, London
    Woman Interviewer: Thank you. So presumably you would encourage this movement of more people to find a spiritual life. You…
    Prabhupada: Yes, unless you take to this movement, you cannot be happy. That’s a fact. Therefore we invite everyone to study, to understand this great movement.
    Woman Interviewer: What worries me slightly is that since the arrival in Britain some while ago of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a lot of… He was the first guru that most people ever heard of, and since then there have been a lot of people and a lot of gurus that have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. And one gets the feeling that sometimes they’re not all as genuine as they ought to be, and I wondered whether you feel that it’s right that you could perhaps issue a warning to people who are seeking some new spiritual life that they should take care to make sure they have a genuine guru to teach them.

    Morning Walks – October 1-3, 1972, Los Angeles
    Jayat?rtha: They have a place in Hollywood. I’ve never seen it, but I know people who have gone there. They become like a fad, like Maharishi. Two years ago he was very big, thousands of people were coming.
    Prabhupada: Who?
    Jayat?rtha: This Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He was very big. He was in the newspapers and thousands of people came and paid thirty-five dollars, took initiation. But now you don’t hear anything about him. So this man will come, make a big show, make some money, but in two years he’ll just be a memory.
    Prabhupada: (indistinct) Why does he not come again? He has gone forever.

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