Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a well-known spiritual leader and the founder of Transcendental Meditation technique. A disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Maharishi wanted to popularize the traditional technique of meditation learnt from his Master. Hence, he started public teachings of the transcendental meditation technique and commenced a world tour to popularize it among the westerners. After touring UK and USA, in order to spread the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, Maharishi returned to India and organized his first International Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh, which aimed at training the experienced practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Maharishi also established universities to combine Modern Science with Vedic Science.
Childhood & Education
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on 12th January 1917, in Raipur city of present day Chhattisgarh, India. Originally named Mahesh Prasad Varma, he belonged to a Kshatriya-caste Hindu family, living in a small village called Chichli, near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. He received his Master’s degree in Physics from Allahabad University, in 1940. During this period, he felt inclined towards spiritual life. He, then, became a disciple of Swami Brahmanada Saraswati, who gave him the name of ‘Bal Brahmachari Mahesh’.
After the death of Swami Brahmanada Saraswati, in 1953, Mahesh traveled to Uttarkashi, in the Himalayas. The two years he spent in Himalayas enabled him to deepen his meditation experience. He left Uttarkashi in 1955 and decided to teach the world the traditional meditation techniques, which he had learnt from his Master. He named these techniques 'Transcendental Meditation'. Meanwhile, he assumed the title of ‘Maharashi’, meaning a ‘great sage’. Thereafter, he started public teaching of meditation techniques. He started the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957, by establishing his first organization in Madras (Chennai) the same year.
Beginning Of World Tour
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi received positive feedback from Spiritual Regeneration Movement, which motivated him to expand his teachings. His tour to Rangoon (Burma), in 1958, marked the beginning of his world tour to teach the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Maharishi In US and UK
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi traveled to the United States in 1959, to establish his Spiritual Regeneration Movement there. It grew rapidly and became more appealing to the people in the United States, including celebrities of 1960s and 1970s. Some of the famous people who became students of Maharishi included the Beach Boys, singer-songwriter Donovan, Directors Clint Eastwood and David Lynch, Comedian Andy Kaufman and magician Doug Henning. After popularizing the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in the United States, Maharishi Mahesh traveled to Europe to expand his teachings further.
Back To India
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi returned to India after expanding his teachings in the US and UK. He established a number of administrative centers in India, where he gave lectures and taught about the Transcendental Meditation technique. In this process, a number of practitioners became experts, trained to serve as teachers of this technique. Maharishi organized his first international Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh, in 1961, where a number of meditators, from countries including India, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Britain, Malaya, Norway, the United States, Australia, Greece, Italy and the West Indies, were present.
Maharishi International University
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi established his first International University (later renamed Maharishi University of Management) in 1971. The classes for academic year 1973-74 were held in Santa Barbara, California. The campus was later shifted to Fairfield, Lowa (USA), which is its current location. Maharishi gave a series of lectures in Fiuggi, Italy, in 1972. Taped lectures and writings of the Maharishi, about Science of Creative Intelligence, have been stored in the University’s library. Maharishi University of Management is accredited with combining Modern Science with Vedic Science.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s increasing interest in Vedic knowledge motivated him to translate and give commentary on the first six chapters of Bhagavad-Gita. Meanwhile, he worked on the audio-taped version of the text of ‘The Science of Being and Art of Living’. It was later transcribed and published in 1963.
The TM Movement
The in-residence courses and assemblies organized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in various countries, for over 30 years, proved beneficial for the practitioners of Transcendental Meditation technique. The TM-Sidhi program designed by him is considered as an added advantage for experienced Transcendental Meditation technique practitioners. Group practice of this advanced program proves to be quite beneficial. The TM movement has become very popular. Many scientists have found physical and mental health benefits of the transcendental meditation technique. They accredit the technique with reducing stress-related ailments.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi breathed his last on February 5, 2008 at Vlodrop, Netherlands. During the years of his existence, he led humanity to a new era of peace and harmony. Today, there are more than 5 million followers of Maharishi, who seek to attain higher state of consciousness.
Awards And Recognitions
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was entitled to a number of awards and attained worldwide recognition during his lifetime. He was awarded the Man of Hope Award, by City of Hope - California, in 1970. Other awards and recognitions won by Maharishi include 'Golden Medal' of the City of Delphi - Greece; 'Key to the City of Houston' - Texas, USA; 'Key to the City of Los Angeles' - California, USA and 'Honorary Citizenship to the City of Winnipeg' - Canada.