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Lok Dal MLA Mahendra Singh Bhati in a conversation with Anuradha Dutt

Mahendra Singh Bhati, the Lok Dal-B MLA [similar to Congressperson] from Dadri, is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's most vocal opponent. The reason is that the yogi's vast property, which goes under the name of Maharishinagar, at NOIDA, on the outskirts of Delhi, falls within Bhati's constituency.

What motivated you to raise the issue of the Maharishi's property at NOIDA in the state assembly?

Some farmers who were in debt wanted to transfer their land. NOIDA had already notified three villages that transfer of land for purposes other than agriculture was banned by them. There is a village near this particular ashram, where a farmer had purchased a tractor from a bank and he could not make payment because of his meagre resources. And he wanted to sell the land to someone who wanted to construct a building on the land. He did not get permission. This motivated me, as even without permission, this ashram was constructed, while the farmer was not given permission.

You `'re positive the ashram was constructed without permission?

Oh yes, because I had gone to NOIDA and enquired from the authorities. In 1982, a notice was issued to the Maharishi's ashram, not to construct anything on this green belt. After 15 days, people from the ashram went in person to NOIDA and assured them that they would stop construction after 15 days. Even then they did not stop it. And the construction went on.

One part of NOIDA is for residential purposes, right?


But the ashram does not fall within that area at all.

They didn't get the permission. No site plan was approved by the authorities. They did it on their own. The construction was done by them without any prior permission from any authority, not even from the government. Maharishinagar is self-styled. Maharishi even offered to build a police station. He was told that then it would be his. You'll be surprised to know that in NOIDA, close to the police station. beside the road that leads to the ashram, a shop has been demolished. But they didn't go into the ashram.

There's a village called Khora, which is one of the 37 villages notified by NOIDA. Hundreds of houses here were demolished by the NOIDA authorities without any notice. There was also some firing. This occurred on June 26 last year. At that time I had written to them, demanding why they had not razed the ashram since they had demolished some other buildings. What was the reply?

We are looking into the matter.

Are the reports about the little boys inducted as students, dying under research and treatment by these vaids, true?

I haven't heard of it, actually. The teachers were appointed here. And the duty of the teachers was to collect the boys. And most of the teachers did that. Thereafter, brainwashing was started.

Where are they now? Have they been transferred elsewhere?

Transferred or left. Some of them were working here in tea shops, in Dadri.

About these boys who left the ashram, can you say more?

One of the boys stayed at my house. I asked him whether I should write to his home or arrange to send him back. He said, "Guruji told me that if I ever saw my mother's face, she would die. I can't go home."

They used to be brainwashed?

Brainwashed. He used to tell them that you are all going to rule the whole world. By the medium of Veda and science.

How were the children treated?

Completely ill-treated. The food which was handled by someone else, contained insects in the rice, roti -- you can't imagine the ill-treatment.

Were they clothed by the ashram authorities?

They gave them clothes. I've been to their sleeping quarters. Small rooms in each of which 12 to 15 boys slept. They had also got corrupted. Even the teachers were not proper.

What do you mean by that? Are you referring to homosexuality?


And the teachers were also involved?

Yes. The teachers were involved in this too. Out of fear some of the children became homosexuals.

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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.