Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was widely regarded as a foremost authority on meditation—described by some as "an Einstein in the field of consciousness." He is known for his practical, scientific approach and his lifelong endeavor to relieve human suffering and bring the benefits of effective meditation to people everywhere.
He did not fashion himself as a "guru" with personal followers, but served as a teacher and restorer of Vedic knowledge. "I have no followers," he once replied to a journalist. "Everyone follows their own progress."
"A rediscovery to fulfill the need of our time"
On the basis of the knowledge that he received from his teacher, Maharishi revived the ancient meditation technique of "effortless transcending"—long lost to society even in India, the land of its origin—and reestablished the technique's original effectiveness.* He systematized the teaching of the technique into a seven-step course so that teachers could be trained to teach it in every language and the practice would give consistent, all-positive results for people everywhere—thereby preserving the Transcendental Meditation technique in its purity for this and future generations.
The once common belief that effective meditation is arduous and requires many years of practice to master—and that the full benefit of meditation is available only to recluses or monks—was the age-old misunderstanding that Maharishi proved wrong and turned on its head.
He created a self-sustaining, yet strictly non-profit educational organization with global scope to provide instruction in the technique and train certified teachers, structuring the organization so that all funds generated from course tuition go to support the teachers and perpetuate the knowledge and practice. Throughout his life—devoted single-mindedly to the fulfillment of this mission—he maintained the simple, humble lifestyle of a monk from the Himalayas, accruing no material possessions.
Always acknowledging and honoring the source of the wisdom that he was teaching, Maharishi gave all credit to his teacher and the Vedic tradition—the lineage of great masters through whom the teaching flows, a river of timeless knowledge.
"Through the windows of science — the dawn of a new era"
Over the years as he traveled the globe lecturing on meditation and training thousands of teachers, Maharishi met with many of the greatest minds of his generation—who practiced his meditation technique or sought discourse with him during symposia on his theory of consciousness. Maharishi discussed molecular chemistry with Nobel Laureate Melvin Calvin; environmental design with R. Buckminster Fuller; quantum mechanics with Nobel Laureate Dr. Brian Josephson; thermodynamics with Nobel Laureate Dr. Ilya Prigogine; the effect of meditation on stress with renowned researcher Hans Selye; the future of technology with Harvey Brooks of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; the structure of natural law with renowned physicist E.C.G. Sudarshan—and on goes the list of leading thinkers who were in frequent attendance at Maharishi’s talks.
His success as a meditation teacher is unprecedented: Never before in recorded history, even as far back as the flowering of Zen meditation throughout Asia, has a single meditation technique been learned by so many people (over 6 million) during the teacher's lifetime—and with such demonstrable results.
The Transcendental Meditation technique has spread naturally and effortlessly throughout the world mostly by word of mouth—one person experiences the benefits and tells another. A meditation practice could be this successful only if it were uniquely effective, and it could be this effective only if its founder possessed a clear, comprehensive, experiential knowledge of consciousness and human potential.
Maharishi's further achievement was to establish the practical benefits of meditation on the empirical ground of science—welcoming scientists everywhere to research the TM technique—lifting spiritual development from the realm of mysticism and bringing it into the clear light of objectively verifiable knowledge.
"May good belong to all the people in the world.
May the rulers go by the path of justice.
May the best of men and their source prove to be a blessing.
May all the world rejoice in happiness.
May rain come on time and plentifulness be on earth.
May this world be free from suffering and the noble ones free from fear.
May good belong to all the people in the world.
And may all the world rejoice in Enlightenment."
—Maharishi's wish for the world as he inaugurated the dawn of a new, enlightened era for humankind in 1975
*The "technique of effortless transcending"— the Transcendental Meditation technique — is referred to in the traditional language of India as "Bhavatita Dhyan."
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