blackball.GIFCLICK HERE! 
Support Our Sponsors -- Support Us!

Ad Info

TranceNet Home Page
[home] [research] [getting started] [law] [personal stories] [secrets] [news] [about TranceNet]

(Prev | Top | Next)


Profiling the colourful life and times of the high-flying godman

A hoary, flowing beard, piercing eyes and saffron robes are not the only things that Bhagwan Rajneesh and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have in common. They share, to use their own jargon, the same purvashram -- Jabalpur. Both, of course, did their modest bit in packaging and selling Indian spirituality to the West.

Mahesh Yogi, however, is the pioneer. Who, in the best traditions of godmen, has sedulously obliterated his origins. Which perhaps explains why some say he hails from Allahabad where, sources point out, he went under the name J N Srivastava, and was the eldest son of a local school teacher.

Around 1943, when the second world war was raging, Srivastava discontinued his studies and migrated to cooler climes, to Jyotirmath, north of Rishikesh to be precise. Saraswati Bhagwan Jagadguru Shankaracharya was then Jyotirmath's presiding guru and, even though Srivastava was a kayastha and not a brahmin, took him in and made him his secretary. This was in 1950.

In 1954, Brahmananda gave up the ghost. In the ashram, the predictable battle for succession was waged with the usual ferocity, but Srivastava's kayastha lineage put paid to his chances of becoming Shankaracharya.

After this, there are not many clues to Srivastava's whereabouts. Till three years later, in 1957, he surfaced as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in South India. In Madras, to be precise, as the founder of the spiritual regeneration movement. The peninsula was not to be had so easily, and Maharishi then turned West.

That was not so easy either. He held his first international conference in 1959, by which time the fancy tag 'transcendental meditation' was stuck on his form of spiritual exercise. The 'global meet', held at California's Sequoia national park, did not launch him on the road to supergurudom, and Mahesh Yogi returned to India.

He made one more attempt at overseas conquest, and in 1963 left for Europe. Around this time, the Beatles burst upon the music scene. Mahesh Yogi met them in 1964 and soon, along with sitarist Ravi Shankar, they came out with a heady package of music and orientalism.

This success, Mahesh Yogi very shrewdly calculated, could last only as long as the Beatles and he quickly changed tracks: now he launched his 'science of creative intelligence'.

For the touch of oriental mystique, Mahesh Yogi told his audience that his transcendental meditation (TM) sidhi programme originated from the teachings of the Indian philosopher Patanjali who had theorised, among other things, that superhuman feats like flying are humanly possible. Mahesh Yogi, it seems, oversold this line, which quickly earned him the appellation 'Flying Yogi'.

The US, at that time, was reeling under the hippie culture, and drug abuse was almost the order of the day. The federal government was willing to try out any nostrum, and TM was perceived to be the panacea. The US army was the first to be introduced to the technique, and many state prisons followed suit. The crowning glory came when the prestigious journal Science published a paper on it. Universities now began accepting PhD theses on TM.

The physics student from Allahabad had become a veritable money-spinner, and at one time, his organisation's annual budget was said to be much larger than that of many third world countries.

In November, 1984, he returned home, moving all his activities here. Thereby generating crores of rupees [millions US] in foreign exchange for the country.

And, contrary to the claims of Mahesh Yogi's followers that 'he has no pockets to keep money', the organisation has been buying up land at a frenetic pace all over the country, and one press report even disclosed that most of it was close to sensitive military installations. His investment within the country is said to be to the tune of Rs 50 crores [$43 million 1997 US].

Touching 65 now, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi perhaps came back to spend the autumn of his life in his motherland. And all was fine, till the government recently raided his organisation the reasons for which remain obscure. Perhaps it was only meant to convey the message, that such godmen are unwelcome in Rajiv's India.

(Prev | Top | Next)

[home] [research] [getting started] [law] [personal stories] [secrets] [news] [about TranceNet]

Internet Link Exchange
Member of the Internet Link Exchange

To comment on this or any other page, go to trancechat.

This page was last built with Frontier on a Macintosh on Fri, Sep 19, 1997 at 5:26:13 PM .

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.