Monday, February 5, 2018

10 years ago: Good riddance to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

On February 5, 2008, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died at the age of 90. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, born Mahesh Prasad Varma, was a devotee of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati--better known as Guru Dev--before introducing "deep meditation" in 1955. He made his first global tour in 1958, and his first visit to the United States in 1959, when his movement was incorporated in California as the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation. The Maharishi didn't attract too many followers until he began using Western marketing techniques, appealing to the Western desire for self-improvement while deceptively promoting his movement as scientific and non-religious. By 1966, the Maharishi's movement was known as Transcendental Meditation, which has been aptly described by a Christian pastor as a "trade name for Hinduism."

The Maharishi's popularity skyrocketed when he became spiritual adviser to the Beatles, and soon attracted the Beach Boys and other celebrities as followers. TM continued to grow in wealth, membership, and influence, although the movement suffered a setback in 1977 when the Christian anti-cult Spiritual Counterfeits Project initiated a court case in New Jersey over the teaching of TM in public schools, and the court ruled that TM was religious and that teaching it in public schools in New Jersey was a violation of the separation of church and state. The Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 in an effort to achieve political success for TM, but has been overwhelmingly unsuccessful.

The Maharishi spent his last two decades in the Netherlands, and died 26 days after his 90th birthday, and a week after announcing his retirement from leadership of the movement he had founded, with leadership then being assumed by several of his nephews. Transcendental Meditation was estimated to have about five million followers at the time of the Maharishi's death. The wealth of the movement is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but because Hindus believe that the material world is just illusory, they're able to accumulate such wealth without any qualms, because it doesn't mean anything to them. TM continues to deceive people around the world, but will be among the works that will be destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the brightness of His coming.

For more information, see some of the blogs on my blogroll and sites of interest. See also my posts:

A new documentary film takes a skeptical look at Transcendental Meditation (May 30, 2010)

50 years ago: Then-obscure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tours Canada (September 30, 2013)

50 years ago: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi underwhelms Edmonton on his first visit to the city (November 10, 2016)

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