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The Passing of a Spiritual Teacher: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Today I got an e-mail a friend forwarded to me announcing that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has just passed over yesterday, February 5.
Old memories came to my mind: For over 8 years, from 74 to 82, I had been in his Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement, with all my youthful enthusiasm. I went through the formation as a TM-teacher and later as a “governor of the age of enlightenment”, and even became head for a TM-“Academy for Vedic Science” during my student times. I met the Maharishi a number of times, and for a while I was dreaming to work in his surroundings.

At the beginning I was fascinated by the whole ambiance and the teachings, but then I increasingly found the orientation of the movement strange and too narrow. The grandiloquent vocabulary of the Maharishi, the commercial attitude of the movement and the missing focus on selfless service as an essential prerequisite for spiritual progress were some mayor factors. But at that time the decisive “kick” out of the movement for me was that on my spiritual path I came across several experiences, which didn’t fit into the quite simplifying spiritual “map” of TM. There was a “point of no return”, where I left the TM-movement and its world view from one day to the other. It took long years of search through a number of spiritual movements and teachings to get the “missing links” for the questions I had.

A friend wrote to me about this blogpost saying: “Your blogpost on MMY rang very true and paralleled my own experience after being a National Leader for 12 years. Lack of compassion exhibited by the TM movement is a serious failing in any ‘spiritual’ organization. It is possible that the over-centralization and trivialization of the teachers may improve and the original momentum be regained.”

The TM helped me to get out of the traditional religious background and to learn new vistas of thinking, even if they needed to be revised after a while. I have observed the movement from afar, through newspaper articles about their campaigns or when encountering articles of their Ayurveda business – déja-vu feelings kept coming. Looking back I’m grateful to the Maharishi for learning the steps of regular discipline and for gaining a basic understanding of Eastern (Vedic) wisdom. May he proceed on a lightful path.

The close of a fire ritual

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