Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was an Indian Guru who founded the Transcendental Meditation Movement based on the unique meditation technique developed by him. It has more than 5 million followers around the world. He was also the guru to the Beatles, which had a huge impact on the cultural history of the west.
Born, Mahesh Prasad Varma in January, 1917, Maharishi studied physics at Allahabad University and received his masters in 1940. His keen interest in spirituality and finding a deeper meaning in life, made him take up rigorous Yoga and meditation practice under his Guru, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of Jyotirmath in the Indian Himalayas. It was in 1958 when he first came to the USA and shared the knowledge of Transcendental Meditation with the western world. “Transcendental meditation is something that can be defined as a means to do what one wants to do in a better way, a right way, for maximum results”, he said.
“Life is not a struggle, not a tension. Life has not to be suffering. Life is bliss”– Maharishi
Maharishi’s encounter with the Beatles was a momentous occasion which went on to have a profound impact on western spirituality. The Beatles were fascinated by Maharishi when they first met him on his lecture tour in London, UK. They realIsed that LSD wasn’t the answer they were looking for and went on to visit his Ashram in Rishikesh, in 1968 to learn meditation. The Beatles were the cultural icons of their time which further popularised the movement around the world.
Among some of his prominent disciples is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living. “He was an emperor and an ascetic. I have never seen someone as deep as Maharishi“, said Sri Sri. Many famous celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, director David Lynch, Ellen Degeneres, Katy Perry and also author Deepak Chopra have been influenced by Maharishi and practice Transcendental Meditation.
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower, and draws all good things toward you. Allow your love to nourish yourself as well as others. Do not strain after the needs of life. It is sufficient to be quietly alert and aware of them. In this way life proceeds more naturally and effortlessly. Life is here to Enjoy!” – Maharishi
Maharishi certified more than 40,000 meditation teachers, wrote many books, set up schools, TM centres and even universities. He even encouraged scientific research on the effect of meditation on the mind and body, impacting healthcare, psychology and neuroscience. He was even featured on an Indian stamp in 2019. Maharishi passed away in February, 2008, leaving behind a huge legacy.
Maharishi played a huge role in bringing the ancient spiritual tradition of Sanatan Dharma to the west, changing the course of history. His universal teachings of love and brotherhood spread happiness wherever he went. In his own words, “If one is not happy, one has lost the very purpose of life…”