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Beacon Light of the Himalayas, IntroductionThe Beacon Light of the Himalayas has been suppressed by the TM movement for over 40 years -- even though it contains the Maharishi's first-known writings. Apparently for very good reason.
They contradict nearly every contemporary teaching of the TM movement.
The Beacon Light of the Himalayas is a transcription of a speech, given in English surprisingly enough, at a gathering in Kerala in 1955. The gathering was held partly to celebrate the legacy of the Maharishi's teacher, Guru Dev(a), partly to celebrate the passing of that legacy to his successor, and partly to organize a religious revival in Northern India.
In the most shocking point for orthodox TMers, the Maharishi admits that any word, even the prosaic "microphone," can be used for meditation. Years later, he and his teachers will insist that not only will other words not work, but they imply that mantras like Benson's famous "one, one, one" may actually cause psychological damage. Only TM mantras are guaranteed to "be life supporting."
The Maharishi admits directly that the TM mantras not only are not meaningless, they are the names of Hindus Gods such as Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva.
Nama-Japa is the repetition of God's name. When practiced silently, this is identical to Transcendental Meditation.
"Normally it does not take more than one or two weeks for a man to experience the great unbounded joy called Samadhi . . . . and he is sure to feel completely peaceful and happy within about seven days. " The Maharishi is claiming to offer enlightenment in just seven days! But wait, there's more! With his particular brand of enlightenment, you not only get the Ginzu knives, you get material wealth as well!
The Maharishi's theory of "two sets of mantras" for married and celibate people -- and especially the danger of practicing "OM" for noncelibates -- is utter nonsense. You will find no such teaching in Shankara, Patanjali, Vyasa, or any other recognized authority.
"If you are not feeling peace and happiness you should be wise enough to doubt the correctness of your devotion, you should be wise enough to think that your method of devotion is wrong." Most if not all TMers begin experiencing bouts of "unstressing" within six months of regular practice, as well as during and after long in-residence courses. Would this mean that TM is not the proper path for most TMers using the Maharishi's criteria?
Mahesh Varma inflates his title to "Maharshi Bala Brahmachari Mahesh Yogi Maharaj" -- ludicrous for an unordained itinerant teacher in his mid 30s. Imagine a tent-revivalist stumbling out of the American backwoods, preaching, converting, and collecting money under the name, "The High Prophet Jesus Christ Saint." This is a close English approximation to "The Great Seer Shiva, the Enlightened One."
As the Maharishi develops over the course of three days, his dead teacher, Guru Dev or Brahmananda Saraswati, is the object of TMers' devotion. He believes Guru Dev to be the incarnation of Shiva, whose grace alone can lead to enlightenment and salvation.
Many readers, in and out of the TM movement, may be surprised how often the Maharishi refers to this as "my sadhana," or simply how often he uses the words "I, me, mine." By the 1970s he referred to TM as an age-old technique passed from teacher to student for thousands of years and rarely if ever refers to himself in the first person.
There is no doubt here that the Maharishi indicates that chanting and mantras while performing yajnas (yagyas) are for the express purpose of summoning the Vedic Gods. Twenty years later he will absurdly insist to his Western students that the Vedas are not religious documents, the Vedic Gods are mere symbols for the forces of nature, the philosophy of TM is not a religion, and its mantras have no meanings.
When the Maharishi speaks, as he does often in this discourse, of bringing souls to his Lord, he means bringing converts to Shiva just as literally as any tent-revival preacher brings souls to Jesus in the U.S.
The Maharishi's discourse takes a sudden left turn away from orthodox Hindu thought. He casually slips in the idea that spiritual practice will bring about material wealth. To our knowledge, no respected Indian spiritual figure or scripture agrees with this tenet. The belief that holiness and wealth intertwine is as central to the Maharishi's idiosyncratic brand of Hinduism as it is to certain Christian televangelists who insist that "God loves you! and so Money loves you!"
The Maharishi introduces for the first time a hallmark of his teaching: that attaining bliss is easy, quick, and certain. Even his teacher, Guru Dev, spent decades pursuing spiritual perfection! Yet the Maharishi will insist for over 40 years that using his special, secret techniques one can easily and quickly become enlightened.