|Birth name||Mahesh Prasad Varma The Guardian or Mahesh Srivastava The Economic Times|
|Nickname(s)||• Maharishi or The Maharishi The Guardian
• The Giggling Guru The Independent
• The Flying Yogi The Times of India
|Profession(s)|| Indian Spiritual Leader, Meditation Teacher
|Famous for||• Founding the Transcendental Meditation Technique
• Being The Beatles' spiritual advisor
• Founding The Maharishi Effect
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height The Cut||in centimeters- 163 cm
in meters- 1.63 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 4”
|Hair Colour||Black and White|
|Publication(s)||• 1963: The Science of Being and Art of Living
• 1965: Completed English translation and commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita
• 1968: Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Note: Maharishi has written more than 20 books on transcendental meditation. Global Good News
|Awards, Honours||1970: Man of Hope Award by the City of Hope Foundation in Los Angeles, US
1973: Golden Medal of the city of Delphi, Greece
1975: Appeared on the cover of Time magazine
2019: Honoured with Commemorative Stamp by the Indian Government International Maharishi AyurVeda Foundation
Note: He has been the recipient of several awards by different countries and has also been honoured with the "Keys" of different states of the US. E-Gyan
|Date of Birth||12 January 1917 (Friday)|
|Birthplace||Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India|
|Date of Death||5 February 2008 (Tuesday)|
|Place of Death||Dutch town of Vlodrop, The Netherlands|
|Age (at the time of death)||91 Years Reuters|
|Death Cause||Natural Causes The Guardian|
|Educational Qualification||A Master's degree in Mathematics and Physics The Guardian|
|Religion||Hinduism The Encyclopedia Britannica|
|Food Habit||Vegetarian The Gold Scales|
|Controversies||• The Beatles' and Maharishi's split (version 1): The band ended their stay at the Maharishi's ashram in Rishikesh in 1968 on a sour note after the Yogi was allegedly accused of sexual advances towards actress Mia Farrow who was accompanying the Beatles. The New York Times The Beatles Bible
• Version 2: Some reports also accused Maharishi of fondling with Jennifer Boyd (sister of Pattie Boyd, then George Harrison’s wife). Mint
• Version 3: In another revelation by Dr. Deepak Chopra, author and former disciple of Maharishi, the sexual allegations against Maharishi were fake. According to him, the reason behind the band's spat with the guru was because the Maharishi had objected to the Beatles using drugs at his ashram in Rishikesh. Dr. Chopra revealed that The Beatles used to take drugs like LSD or smoked cannabis during their stay in India, and the Maharishi took a strong view on the matter, which did not go well with the band members. MintWashington Times
• Maharishi's ashram linked to CIA plot: In 1968, an Indian news report said that the local police sources suspected a CIA agent named Russell Dean Brines in the Yogi's ashram. The same media house reported that Maharishi admitted that an American by the same name had come to his ashram in early March, a few weeks after the Beatles had arrived, but he denied any allegations of a spy in his ashram. The controversy raised a furore in the Indian Parliament but no concrete evidence was found to prove the charges. Scroll.in
• $9 Million Lawsuit filed against Maharishi in 1985: Robert Kropinski, a former TM follower, and six others filed a lawsuit against Yogi, the Maharishi International University in the US, and the corporate headquarters of the World Plan Executive Council, US with the charges of fraud, negligence and intentionally inflicting emotional damage. A jury awarded Kropinski $138,000. Yogi was, however, dismissed from the case because they were unable to serve him with legal papers. The Associated Press The Los Angeles Times
• Tax raid by the Indian authorities: In January 1988, Maharishi's establishments in and around Delhi and Jabalpur were raided by the Indian tax authorities on charges of falsifying expenses. Reportedly, the agencies seized cash, shares, jewellery, and fixed deposit receipts - all worth more than Rs. 50 lakh and foreign currency worth approximately Rs. 2 lakh. The seized documents also revealed that crores of investments and expenses (in rupees) allegedly incurred by trusts run by the relatives and followers of Yogi were actually fake. India Today
• Battle over Maharishi's fortune: Soon after the Maharishi's death in 2008, his nephews and followers divided into two groups to gain control of Yogi's assets. Each group claimed to be his real inheritors and sued the other for illegally selling the assets. India Today
• A book claimed TM is deceptive: The Transcendental Deception Book by Aryeh Siegel (former TM practitioner), published in 2018, claims that Transcendental Meditation organization is deceptive, authoritarian, and cultic. Transcendental Deception
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Unmarried|
|Parents||Father- Sri Ram Prasad (worked as a local tax official in Uttar Pradesh)
Mother- Name not known
|Assets/Properties||Holdings estimated at $250 million in the US (2008) The New York Times|
|Net Worth (approx.)||£2 Billion or Rs. 200 crores (2008) The Mirror|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was an Indian spiritual leader and meditation teacher who was popularly known for introducing his Transcendental Meditation technique to the West and was believed to have an estimated 6 million followers. Maharishi is still famous as “The Beatles’ Guru.”
- Yogi is known to be one of the first of his kind spiritual leaders with a cult-like following including numerous celebrities. The Times of India
- His father belonged to the Kayastha caste and worked as a local tax official in Uttar Pradesh, India. The Los Angeles Times
- After completing his secondary education, Maharishi attended Allahabad University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree. He later received a Master’s Degree in Physics in 1942.
- It was at Allahabad University that he began to practise yoga and started studying Sanskrit under Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Maharaja, who was a Hindu leader known as “Guru Dev.” He became a disciple of the Guru in 1941 and took the name “Bal Bramhachari Mahesh.”
- After leaving the university, Maharishi started working in a factory and shortly later, he turned to Guru Deva and trained under him for over a decade.
- When Guru Dev died in 1953, Maharishi went to Uttarkashi in the Himalayas, where he meditated for two years. The Los Angeles Times
- In 1955, Maharishi emerged from the Himalayas and devoted himself to popularising his Guru’s form of meditation, which was derived from the Hindu teaching of Advaita Vedanta. He adopted the name Maharishi, which means “great soul,” and he rebranded the meditation as “Transcendental Meditation” (TM). The Independent
- Soon, Maharishi went on a tour of India for two years. On 1 January 1958, at a conference in Madras (now Chennai), he announced the formation of a worldwide Spiritual Regeneration Movement for the spiritual revival of humanity through TM. MMYVV
- By March 1958, Maharishi had established 25 Spiritual Regeneration Movement centres throughout India. He then left India to travel to countries like Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya, Hong Kong, and Honolulu in Hawaii.
- Yogi began his world tour in 1959 and spent most of the year in the US. He worked on a three-year plan to introduce Transcendental Meditation to all the countries of the world.
- In the same year, Maharishi lectured and taught his TM technique in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and London.
- In 1960, Maharishi proposed the famous “Maharishi Effect.” According to the effect, 1 per cent of the population practising the TM technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population. His theory was confirmed and published in scientific research in 1976. TMhome
- Maharishi went on many more world tours between 1961 and 1965.
- In April 1961, Maharishi began his first Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh, India. He had 60 participants from various countries at the time. The Golden Scales
- His movement gained momentum in 1965 after Maharishi founded the Student International Meditation Society. The organisation gained thousands of members within a few years. The Los Angeles Times
- In 1966, Maharishi inaugurated the first International Academy of Meditation in Rishikesh. MMYVV
- On 24 August 1967, The Beatles, an English rock-music group, attended Maharishi’s lecture in London and requested a private audience with him. Reportedly, the Fab Four were mesmerised by Yogi’s words and were invited by him for a course on TM that weekend at the University College, Bangor.
- A year later, Maharishi invited The Beatles to spend three months at his ashram in Rishikesh, India.
- Commenting on the arrival of The Beatles in his ashram, Maharishi said to the media, The Print
Within three months, I promise to turn Harrison, Lennon, McCartney and Starr into fully qualified teachers or semi-Gurus of Hindu meditation. George and John have progressed fantastically in the few days since they arrived here. I am not pushing them too hard at first, only a few hours of meditation a day. I am feeding them high-level philosophy in simple words.”
- Of the four Beatles, Ringo Starr and his wife, Maureen, returned home early from Maharishi’s ashram, while Paul McCartney and his girlfriend, Jane Asher, left after 10 weeks. The remaining Beatles – John Lennon and George Harrison stayed back. The Independent
- The Beatles, inspired by their experiences in the Maharishi’s ashram, recorded “The White Album” later that year. Reuters
- Maharishi became the subject of criticism when The Beatles released their song “Sexy Saddie,” which was allegedly targeted at Maharishi after their strife with him. The New York Times
- Apart from The Beatles, Maharishi also taught his TM technique to several prominent figures like the Beach Boys fame Mike Love, Mia Farrow, and filmmaker David Lynch, among others. The Los Angeles Times
- In 1967 and 1968, after becoming the Beatles’ guru, Maharishi appeared on many American magazine covers like Time, Life, Newsweek, and more. He also appeared on TV shows and gave many lectures. The Golden Scales
- Maharishi’s encounter with The Beatles also increased his international fame, and he gradually started touring the world. He certified over 40,000 meditation teachers and set up several TM centres, schools, and universities across the globe. MMYVV
He established one of the most famous universities, the Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.), in 1971, formerly known as Maharishi International University in Iowa, US.
- In the mid-1970s, Maharishi extended his TM technique to the corporate sector and gained much attention. Reportedly, many Wall Street employees took a $1,000 intensive course on Transcendental Meditation. The Golden Scales
- Around the same time, Maharishi started his TM-Sidhi program, which introduced “Yogic Flying” to the world. He said the technique to be the ultimate level of transcendence in which the followers sit cross-legged in a lotus position and hop off the spongy mattresses.
- In 1975, Yogi tried spreading his philosophy of TM to thousands of Americans at once, by appearing on a talk show hosted by Merv Griffin. The Los Angeles Times
- Maharishi embarked on a global tour to inaugurate the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment 1975, and in the same year, he established the Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Switzerland.
- In 1982, Maharishi founded the Maharishi Ved Vigyan Vishwa Vidyapeetham, an educational institution, in Uttar Pradesh.
- In December 1983, the first assembly called the “Taste of Utopia,” consisting of 7000 Yogic Flyers (the square root of one per cent world’s population at that time), was organised in Fairfield, Iowa, US. Allegedly the effects of “The Maharishi Effect” were seen every time such assemblies were held. Maharishi World Peace Society
- Maharishi shifted his headquarters to a former Franciscan monastery in the small southern Dutch village of Vlodrop, The Netherlands in 1990. The Seattle Times
- On 11 January 1990, Yogi incorporated a private unlisted non-government company called Maharishi Vedaland Private Limited. The Economic Times Through this company, Maharishi aimed to fulfil his vision of building Transcendental Meditation-themed amusement parks – “Vedaland.” Maharishi Vedic CityThe Chicago Tribune
- In July 1991, Maharishi fell grievously ill after the alleged poisoning of his orange juice, as told by one of his former disciples, Dr Deepak Chopra. Maharishi suffered from severe abdominal pain and inflammation of the pancreas, kidney failure, and a heart attack. He was flown to a private hospital in England where the doctors declared him clinically dead initially; however, after putting him on life support, Maharishi started recovering miraculously within 24 to 36 hours. Huffpost
- Maharishi entered politics in March 1992 when he founded The Natural Law Party (NLP) (now defunct). The party’s ideology was largely based on his philosophy of Transcendental Meditation, Indian spirituality, and quantum physics. Boasting of the only pan-European organisation at the time, the NLP was incredibly well funded and contested 310 seats in the 1992 European Parliamentary elections in Britain. The party didn’t win any seats and won only 0.19% of the vote in constituencies in which it contested. India Today Great British Politics
- Around 1992, Maharishi began sending groups of his “Yogic Flyers” to various countries to promote world peace through group efforts in TM and the TM-Sidhi Programme.
- Yogi raised the fee in 1993 from $35 to $2,500 for his five-day course to learn Transcendental Meditation. The Economic Times The Cut
- The Government of Madhya Pradesh established a university named after Maharishi in the state, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Vedic Vishwavidyalaya (MMYVV), in 1995. Maharishi was the founder and the first Chancellor of MMYVV. MMYVV
- In the same year, Maharishi University of Management was established in the United States, Japan, Holland, and Russia. He also inaugurated several Maharishi medical colleges and universities around the world to train doctors in his Vedic approach to health. MMYVV
- On 30 July 1996, Maharishi formally established the organizational structure of ‘Maharishi’s Global Administration through Natural Law.
- In 1998, to administer his Natural Law on a global scale, Maharishi established a global network of 8 satellites broadcasting in 18 languages on his TV channel – Maharishi Veda Vision.
- On 7 October 2000, Maharishi founded The Global Country of World Peace (GCWP), a non-profit organization to promote Transcendental Meditation, education, and the construction of “buildings for peace” in the world’s major cities. He even issued a formal currency for the city called “Raam.” The New York Times GCWP Three years later, the Dutch Central Bank approved the Yogi’s currency Raam and was accepted in Dutch shops at a fixed rate of 10 euros per Raam. BBC
- Yogi also worked to eradicate poverty in the world. In 2000, he established the “Programme to Eliminate Poverty” under which he aimed to fulfil the goal through the development of unused agricultural lands, using Vedic Organic Agriculture principles and practices. MMYVV
- On 25 July 2001, Maharishi’s followers incorporated a Maharishi Vedic City in Iowa, US. Its construction was done according to Maharishi’s Sthapatya Veda principles of “harmony with nature.” In 2012, a television show titled “America’s Most Unusual Town” about the Maharishi Vedic City aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network and featured Winfrey’s visit to the Vedic City. Oprah official website
- Maharishi founded The Maharishi World Peace Trust of Germany in 2003 to build Peace Palaces in the 60 largest cities of Germany and other large cities of Europe. In a year, the Yogi was guiding the creation of 3,000 Peace Palaces around the world.
- In 2004, he founded the Parliament of World Peace, and while addressing the gathering, Maharishi said, MMYVV
I invite four people from every city to come forward with the desire to establish peace, prosperity, and happiness in their Motherland. Through these people, I will raise their nation above the reach of problems and build a mansion of permanent peace in the world.”
- Maharishi suspended complete teaching of the TM technique in the UK for almost two years in 2005 because he opposed Britain’s involvement in the ongoing war of Iraq. The Herald
- Renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was a former disciple of the Maharishi. Hindustan Times
- In 2007, Maharishi prepared for death by retiring to concentrate on silence and studied the texts which had first inspired his teachings.
- The following year, Yogi announced his retirement from all administrative activities and went into silence until his death three weeks later.
- After his death in 2008, a chartered flight carried Maharishi’s body to Allahabad from his headquarters in the Netherlands for the last rites. The body was taken in a flower-bedecked truck for a grand cremation. Rediff
- On 10 February 2008, Maharaja Adhiraj Raja Ram (Dr Tony Nader) was officially crowned the successor of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He is a Lebanese doctor who studied with Maharishi for 25 years. The Times of India
- Maharishi was survived by four nephews, and each inherited 12,000 acres of land in India. Vancouver Magazine