Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
There is unified wholeness in transcendental consciousness. ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Once known as the “giggling guru” for his easy laughter, Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008) built an empire of wealth on his Transcendental Meditation program, which initiated millions into the practice of meditation.
Born Mahesh Prasad Varma, Maharishi studied physics and mathematics at university before becoming a disciple of Brahmānanda Saraswatī for 13 years, whom he later called Guru Dev.
As Mahesh was not of the Brahmin cast, Saraswatī could not name him as his successor. Instead, Saraswatī charged Mahesh with traveling and teaching meditation to the masses.
These are ancient teachings, but now I have made them new. ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Mahesh began teaching meditation throughout India in 1955. Within a few years, Mahesh bestowed upon himself the title of Maharishi (“great seer”).
From 1959, Maharishi toured the world teaching meditation. Maharishi’s growing prominence brought criticism from other Indian sages and gurus, for his unorthodoxy in disseminating a simple technique without teaching other traditional Hindu concepts, particularly the need for internal discipline.
Maharishi’s fame peaked in 1968, when he was visited by The Beatles at his ashram in India. Maharishi’s meditation business continued to bloom in the early 1970s.
Maharishi introduced his sutra for levitation in 1978. Often called “yogic flying,” the technique launches the body into the air, defying known physics in the process.
In the last decade of his life, Maharishi increasingly limited his social contact, even as he retained interest in the potential for meditation to solve world problems.