5 February 2008: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritual leader, passed away

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was one of the most eminent spiritual and religious leaders in India. He is more popularly known for the technique of Transcendental Meditation. Born on 12 January 1917 in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Maharishi’s original name was Mahesh Prasad Varma. The great spiritual leader breathed his last on 5 February 2008 in Vlodrop, Holland.

Childhood and Education

There is debate about the exact time, birth name and caste of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. However, it can be said with a fair degree of certainty that he was born in a Kshatriya Hindu family near Jabalpur, MP. His father, Sri Ram Prasad, is believed to have been a local tax official in the department of civil services.

Mahesh was a student of Physics at the Allahabad University and received his graduation degree in 1942. It was from the time of his graduation that he became inclined towards spiritualism. He was a follower of Swami Brahmanada Saraswati. 

Early life and Tours in India

On demise of his guru Swami Brahmanada Saraswati, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi went to Uttarkashi in the Himalayan Ranges and practiced meditation there. He continued his meditation and prayers for almost two years. After leaving Uttrakashi in 1955, he set about spreading the meditation techniques to the world at large and try to reduce suffering. The traditional meditation techniques which he learnt from his guru were preached under the name of Transcendental Meditation. He received the honor of being called ‘Maharishi’ since then. In 1957, he started the Spiritual Regeneration Movement with its first organisation in Chennai.

The spiritual leader traveled to many parts of India during 1955-57. While visiting various places in South India, Maharishi spoke in English so that his teachings could reach the common masses without language becoming a barrier.

Traveling abroad

The first international tour of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi began in 1959. The first tour took him to Rangoon, Myanmar. He also taught Transcendental Meditation in Thailand, Singapore, Malaya, Hawaii, Hong Kong, and so on. In the same year, the saint preached his meditation techniques in Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and London. Along with capturing the interest of common people, Maharishi attracted the attention of many celebrities. In 1959 only, he started the International Meditation Society and similar such organisations for spreading his teachings and meditation techniques. Some centers in San Francisco and London were also established.

In the coming years of 1960-68, he visited almost all corners of the world to spread his Meditation Technique. The great saint appeared in many interviews for newspapers, magazines as well as on television and radio. His interviews appeared in some of the top English newspapers like Oxford Mail, Birmingham Post and Cambridge Daily News. He also appeared on the BBC television where thousands of people followed him. His talks were also held at the London’s Royal Albert Hall, where about 5,000 people were in attendance.

The Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Among the eminent international personalities and groups which were influenced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Beatles need a special mention. It is said that Maharishi was the spiritual advisor to the Beatles and this association became a talk of the town. It was in 1967 that The Beatles met Maharishi, and since then started following him. This association is remembered to date and it is said that The Beatles reached new heights of popularity after these meetings and sessions with Maharishi.

Maharishi International University

It was in 1971 that the first international university was established by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Modern science and Vedic science were combined to deliver holistic knowledge. Though the initial classes were held in Santa Barbara, California, the university later shifted to Fairfield, Lowa. Maharishi also authored many books on Transcendental Meditation. Along with this, he translated many books and delivered religious discourses.

Death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

In the last years of his life, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi stayed at Vlodrop and breathed his last there on 5 February 2008. By now he had millions of followers all over the world. Maharishi received innumerable awards and recognition from across the globe all throughout his life, although he will be remembered most for the novel technique of Transcendental Meditation.


Also on this day

1927 – Inayat Khan, Indian educator, passed away

1936 – K. S. Nissar Ahmed, Indian poet, was born

1976 – Abhishek Bachchan, Indian actor, was born

1990 – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Indian cricketer, was born

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