Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1917 – 2008), Transcendental Meditation, and the Spiritual Regeneration Movement
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born as Mahesh Prasad Varma, in the city of Jabalpur, India. From an early age he was interested in spiritual matters and regularly visited saints and other sadhus.
He became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati in 1941, but continued his studies at Allahabad University where in 1942 he graduated with a degree in Physics. After getting his degree he became the Swami’s full time student and secretary.
The Swami had recently filled the northern Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) seat of Jyotirmath in the Indian Himalayas. At the age of nine Brahmananda left home is search of the spiritual path. At age fourteen he found his chosen master and lived most of his life in the forests, remaining in silence. At age 70 he accepted the Shankaracharya seat. He is reverently known as “Guru Dev” to Maharishi.
After the passing of his beloved Guru Dev in 1953, Maharishi retired to the caves of Uttar Kashi, high in the Himalayan Mountains. In 1953 he “felt” that for some reason he needed to travel to southern India, so he left his home and journeyed to the south not knowing what to expect. Some people saw him and asked that he speak about spiritual matters. He reluctantly agreed. News quickly spread that a “saint” from the Himalayas was visiting, and so one lecture after another was setup. Maharishi just went with the flow feeling that it was natures need.
Beginning in 1955 Maharishi began to introduce the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and other related programs and initiatives to the world. In 1957 the Spiritual Regeneration Movement was born in Madras, India. He spent time touring and teaching in many of the cities of India.
His first global tour began in 1958. He visited Burma, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and Hawaii. Every step along the way people greeted him with love and enthusiasm. He didn’t plan it, but one thing led to another. He would often get on the plane not knowing who, if anyone was going to meet him at the next destination.
In 1959 while in San Francisco, the movement was rename The International Meditation Society. His meditation technique, from Guru Dev and the tradition of Masters, became then known as Transcendental Meditation.
In 1961 he visited Austria, Sweden, France, Italy, Greece, India, Kenya, and England. He appeared on the BBC, and in that same year held the first TM teacher training class in India. There were 60 students.
In 1962 he visited Europe, India (again), Australia and New Zealand. He also completed the book; The Science of Being and Art of Living.
In 1964 he toured the World for the fourth time. In 1967 he presented a talk at Caxton Hall in London, which was attended by George Harrison’s wife. In 1968 the Beatles spent time with Maharishi at his center in Rishikesh, India.
In 1972 the World Plan was introduced with the following seven goals:
1. To develop the full potential of the individual
2. To improve governmental achievements
3. To realize the highest ideal of education
4. To solve the problems of crime, drug abuse, and all behavior that brings unhappiness to the family of man
5. To maximize the intelligent use of the environment
6. To bring fulfillment to the economic aspirations of individuals and society
7. To achieve the spiritual goals of mankind in this generation.
In 1972 the pioneering research done by Dr. Keith Wallace on Transcendental Meditation opened the floodgates to further scientific discovery. Prior to that only a few Buddhist monks were available for participation in research, but in the 1970’s the rapidly growing number of TM practitioners made finding subjects easier. The study also conclusively showed for perhaps the first time that the rest gained during the practice of TM was deeper than that of sleep.
Since then more than 600 scientific studies verifying the wide-ranging benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique have been conducted at 250 independent universities and medical schools in 33 countries.
In 1974 Maharishi International University was established in Fairfield, Iowa. In 1995 the school was renamed to Maharishi University of Management.
Advanced TM Techniques and the TM Sidhi program (1976) are also available.
In the year 2000 Tony Nader was named to be Maharishi’s successor. Dr. Nader has a medical degree from the American University of Beirut where he studied internal medicine and psychiatry. He received a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of brain and Cognitive Science, and has worked as a clinical and research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
After the Maharishi’s passing in 2008, Dr. Nader was given the title “Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam.”
Today Peace Palaces and TM centers can be found in almost every country of the world. More than 6 million people have learned Transcendental Meditation and about 40,000 students have been trained as teachers.
The TM Technique Defined:
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless process practiced 15-20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. It is unique among techniques of meditation, distinguished by its effortlessness, naturalness and profound effectiveness.
TM does not require:
Any belief system, special diet or change in life style, concentration or mind control, or special ability / mental aptitude. Anyone can do it.
from the book – The Science of Being and Art of Living
Experience shows that Being is bliss consciousness, the source of all thinking, of all existing creation. It lies out of all relative existence where the experiencer or mind is left awake by itself in full awareness of itself without any experience of an object. The conscious mind reaches the state of pure consciousness which is the source of all thinking. The almighty creative intelligence of the absolute is the source of all intelligence. Being is the source of all power. It is the source of all nature and all the natural laws which maintain the different forms and phenomena in creation.
The essential nature of Being is absolute bliss consciousness. Without the knowledge of the fundamental of life, absolute bliss consciousness, life is like a building without a foundation. All relative life without the conscious basis of the Being is like a ship without a rudder, ever at the mercy of the tossing sea. It is like a dry leaf on the ground left to the mercy of the wind, drifting aimlessly in any direction the wind takes it, for it has no roots to anchor it. The life of the individual without the realization of the Being is baseless, meaningless, and fruitless …
…There is one law of the universe which never changes, and there are innumerable laws which are responsible for all the changes in creation. The law that never changes ever maintains the integrity of the ultimate, essential constituent of creation. So this cosmic law is such that it never changes; yet, even while it never changes, it keeps on bringing forth newer and newer laws at different strata of nature. This results in the different states of creation, the different forms and phenomena …
… We have seen that Being lies beyond the subtlest stratum of creation in the transcendental field of absolute existence. In order to experience this transcendental reality, it is necessary that our attention be led in a concrete manner through all the subtle strata of creation. Then, arriving at the subtlest level, it must transcend that experience to know the transcendental Being …
… Life is the light of God, the expression of Divinity. It is divine. It is the stream of eternal Being, a flow of existence, of intelligence, of creativity, of purity, and of bliss …
… The laws of nature cannot be deceived; the reaction will come. If a man is jealous of you, you will find, when you search your heart, that you have been jealous either of him or of someone else sometime in the past. Be kind to him, and the surroundings will be kind to you; be loving to him, and the surrounding will be loving to you; begin to doubt, and the surrounding begin to doubt you. If you hate, the surrounding begin to hate you. If the surrounding begin to hate you, do not blame the surroundings; blame your own inner conscience …
… The all-permeating eternal existence of the Being is the basis of the body, mind, and surroundings of the individual, as the sap is the basis of all branches, trunk, leaves, and fruit of the tree. But when the sap fails to reach the surface levels of the tree, then the outer aspects of the tree begin to suffer and wither away. Likewise, when the Being is not brought onto the conscious surface level of life the outer aspects of life begin to suffer.
… If health and harmony are to be enjoyed in life, somehow the transcendental value of Being must be brought out and infused into all aspects of life – body, mind, and surroundings …
… Speech is the expression of both the heart and mind together. Therefore, for the speech to be right, it is necessary that the man be right in his heart and mind …
… Joyfulness is a quality that cultivates and spreads love. And again, that is the result of the overflowing love of the heart. Joyfulness, love, kindness, and tolerance should be cultivated. With all these qualities comes the contentment and overflowing love of the heart and mind which is the basis of good social relationships …
… When the individual as risen to cosmic consciousness, all his thoughts and actions are part of the cosmic purpose. Then, whatever he does, speaks, and thinks help the process of evolution. They help to neutralize the unnatural influence created by those minds that are not integrated…
… Nature moves on and on in evolution, and this process of creation is eternal. It is therefore not possible to bring nature to the level of the transcendental Being. But, because the eternal ever-changing field of nature is eternally permeated by the state of Being, it is possible to make the transcendental Being vibrate in the surroundings. This is possible by eliminating the disharmony that might be radiated by the individual who is not cosmically evolved. This disharmony should be properly understood…
… The bliss consciousness of the absolute Being and the relative joys of the variety of creation should be lived hand in hand. This means the fulfillment of life in cosmic consciousness…
… The fulfillment of religion lies in gaining for man a direct way to God realization and all that is necessary for making him a complete man, a man of fully integrated life, a man of great intelligence, creativity, wisdom, peace, and happiness…
… The ultimate fulfillment of psychology lies in enabling the individual mind to attune itself and remain tuned with the cosmic mind, in bringing a fast coordination of the individual mind with the cosmic mind, so all of the activity of the individual mind is in conformity with cosmic evolution and with the purpose of cosmic life…
… The fulfillment of philosophy lies in making a man realize that the transitory values of day-to-day coexist with the permanent and imperishable values of eternal life…
To the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Bhagwan Shankaracharya, Jyotir-Math, Himalaya, and as blessing from him this book is presented to all lovers of life desirous of enjoying all glories – Worldly and Divine.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Lake Louise Canada, 1968
The depth of the lake and the ripples, and the beautiful reflection of the glacier, reminds me of the story of inner life. The mind is deep like a lake, the ripples on the surface represent the consciousness mind, the activity of the mind on the surface. And the whole dept of the lake is silent. And that is the subconscious mind, which is not used by the wave.
But if, the wave could deepen and incorporate more silent levels of the water, the waves would become the waves of the ocean, the mighty waves. This is what happens in transcendental meditation. The surface activity of the conscious mind deepens and incorporates within its fold the depth of the subconscious. And with practice, nothing remains subconscious. The whole subconscious becomes conscious. And a man starts using full potential of the mind…
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)” 1970
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a very natural procedure of experiencing the finer state of the thinking process and to arrive at the source of thought, which is the pure field of creative intelligence; pure awareness, unbounded awareness is at the source of thought. And through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, the awareness reaches that source of thought. One feels relaxed, one feels happy inside. The bodies anxieties disappear.
Transcendental Meditation is a practice for 15 to 20 minutes morning and evening; and everyone feels fresh throughout the day; more vital more energetic. So Transcendental Meditation is a procedure for enrichment of life, for betterment of life, for more success and more progress and more joy of life.
Question: Which is the technique used to teach Meditation?
The technique is taught in seven stages. A man is told how much physically he’ll become better, mentally he’ll become better. His behavior will improve. All this anger and anxieties, they will disappear. So a man is told in the beginning what benefits he gets. And then he’s told how reliable is the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). For the last fifteen years I’ve been teaching throughout the world. Seven, eight hundred thousand people now are practicing Transcendental Meditation in different countries. So it’s a reliable thing. People should know that it is something which is reliable, something which is simple; everyone can do it, and the effects are great. And when they know this, they want to practice it.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “How Transcendental Meditation Restores Balance in Society”
Question: How does TM help with stress and aging.
Large amount of scientific research has shown that release from stress is the first effect that comes from TM. It just quiets down the mental activity and releases stress. This in terms of the Vedic literature is called balance. Stress means imbalance; imbalance in the relationship of mind and body. Mind and body relationship gets strained and through TM it gets rebalanced…
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “Why is it important to practice Transcendental Meditation.”
Question: I’m trying to ask some basic questions because our readers don’t have the understanding of what’s going on; so I’m going to have to go back to the beginning.
Maharishi: No no, your readers want basic things. Because if you control the base, everything will be self-controlled. Your readers are intelligent in this country.
I just want to know, basically, what is TM, and why should people practice it?
TM takes the mind, the conscious mind, to Transcendental Consciousness. This Transcendental Consciousness has come-out to be known as, Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature. Now, Transcendental Meditation is the first step to opening the door of all possibilities; because it takes human awareness — takes the human conscious mind — to be that which the physics has declared to be the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature. Now, why should people practice Transcendental Meditation? The reason is that everyone wants to fulfill one’s desires; and if one has this technique to think from the Unified Field, then one would be thinking from that ground where all the Laws of Nature are active. In order to get the support of Nature, we want absolutely everyone in the world to practice Transcendental Meditation.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi speaks about Love in a 1967 recording:
Love is the sweet expression of life. It is the supreme content of life. Love is the force of life, powerful and sublime.
The flower of life blooms in love and radiates love all around. Life expresses itself through love. The stream of life is a wave on the ocean of love. Life is expressed in the waves of love, and the ocean of love flows in the waves of life.
What a comfort love brings to the heart. The heart tickles with the thought of love, and waves of life begin to roll on the ocean of love.
Love is highly sensitive. It is the most delicate power of life. And life is a most dynamic expression of love.
The silent force of love knows no barrier. It takes the life from the ruggedness of mountains, to the roughness of the sea, and there, in silence of wilderness, and even so in the noisy horizon of the sea, the vast expansion of the unbounded love from a distance brings a breeze cool and fresh to cool the heart and soothe the pangs of separation.
Let not the din of the world, and the thick and thin of life disturb the fullness of love in us. Let us be full of grace, and full of light.
No drop of precious love is ever wasted. For every drop of love flows the unbounded ocean of bliss. And the ocean of bliss unfolds the love divine and fills the heart.
The divinity of the heaven dwells in our hearts as love. Love in the heart of man is the shrine of God on Earth.
With age and experience, the tree of love grows. It grows with the growth of life and evolution, and finds its fulfillment in the eternal love of the omnipresent God, which fills the heart and overthrows the darkness of ignorance.
Love as love is universal. Personal love is concentrated universal love.
Simple, innocent, natural, normal state of love, without inhibitions, is a divine quality, which is the natural quality of graceful life.
Love shall save us from wrong, and guide our part in life. Love shall forever shine on our way, and the light will guide our steps whether we go slow or fast.
The light of love shall forever be with us on our way. Love shall forever be the anchor of our life. We shall be in love, and love shall be in us. We shall live in love, shall grow in love, and shall find fulfillment in love eternal.
Quotes from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life.
When we think of failure, failure will be ours. If we remain undecided, nothing will ever change. All we need to do is want to achieve something great and then simply to do it. Never think of failure for what we think, will come about.
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!”
The whole purpose of life is to gain enlightenment.
Nothing else is significant compared to that completely natural, exalted state of consciousness.
So always strive for that.
Set your life around that goal.
Don’t get caught up in small things, and then it will be yours.
Having the Kingdom of Heaven within you, you have no right to suffer in life; you only have to enjoy the grace of God.
Consciousness is the basis of all life and the field of all possibilities. Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.
We are not responding to this instant, if we are judging any aspect of it.
The ego looks for what to criticize. This always involves comparing with the past.
But love looks upon the world peacefully and accepts.
The ego searches for short comings and weaknesses.
Love watches for any sign of strength. It sees how far each one has come, and not how far he has to go.
How simple it is to love, and exhausting it is always to find fault, for every time we see a fault we think something needs to be done about it.
Love knows that nothing is ever needed but more love.
It is what we all do with our hearts that affects others most deeply.
It is not the movements of our body or the words within our minds that transmit love.
We love from heart to heart.
The goal of the Transcendental Meditation Technique is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.
It (prayer/wisdom) is not through logic but through love; it is not through words but through a wordless state called meditation-a state of no mind.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.
Enlightenment is the normal, natural state of health for the body and mind. It results from the full development of consciousness and depends upon the perfect and harmonious functioning of every part of the body and nervous system. When one is using the full potential of the mind and body in this way, every thought and action is spontaneously correct and life-supporting. This is life free from suffering; life lived in its full stature and significance.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi dedicated his life to teaching Transcendental Meditation to the World. He humbly proclaimed that this ancient wisdom (TM) was revived by his master Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and that he was just a conduit for spreading the message.
Today more than 6-million people practice TM. It is an exemplary transcending meditation technique, and well worth your while to investigate further.