Sunday, January 20, 2008

Maharishi Mahasamadhi Watch

File under: Final Satsang, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Apparently, right under our noses, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of TM™ infamy has given an exit speech and is expected to kick the bucket at any moment. Not surprisingly, he's still as nutty as a squirrel locked in a peanut factory:
One week ago, on the evening of January 8, in reviewing the progress of his global Movement and surveying the growing signs of peace in the world, Maharishi declared, "Invincibility is irreversibly established in the world. My work is done. My designated duty to Guru Dev is fulfilled." He resolved to use all his remaining time to complete his commentary on the Veda.
What does it say about a guru who goes to die as fully deluded as the Maharishi appears to be? He will leave this plane one of the most grandiose spiritual leaders of modern times, but he will certainly not be remembered as the savior of the planet he's conditioned his followers to believe he is. Sorry TM™ers, it was a quaint little dream, but it's one that had already died years ago.

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33 Comments:

At 1/20/2008 7:50 PM, Blogger gregory said...

we western guys argue about spiritual concepts none of us grew up knowing; meditation, development of consciousness and integration with being, because that little guy got a bug in his ass and got some idealistic indians to sponsor a flight to the west.

no one in middle america knew the word meditation in 1970, now everybody does, and has an opinion about it as well.

by fate or accident or karma or destiny, maharishi played a huge role in that process. you may mock his style, and don't forget to mock his followers, but the substance of his life has been a great gift to the world.

personally speaking, everything has come and gone, cities, relationships, careers, concepts, beliefs.... the only thing that has never disappeared is the inner room, entered via the door that opened in his company so many years ago

best thing that ever happened to me

enjoy

 
At 1/21/2008 9:12 AM, Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I have to admit Gregory has a point. Delusional the Maharishi may be, but, for better or worse, he was responsible for introducing concepts that were...well...mostly foreign to Middle America up until the late 1960s.

And I also must add that "Across The Universe" remains one of my favorite songs of all time. Jai Guru Dev(a) Ohm!

 
At 1/21/2008 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with Gregory. MMY changed the western world imo, opening up the possibility for us to even think of a word called enlightenment or meditation. I'm sure most of us would never even be in this space arguing the merits or demerits of particular Gurus had it not been for MMY.

 
At 1/21/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger jody said...

MMY changed the western world imo, opening up the possibility for us to even think of a word called enlightenment or meditation.

Absolutely not.

Vivekananda set America on fire for Vedanta in 1893. Then Yogananda came along on Vivekananda's coattails in 1920 and got America hooked on claptrap about siddhis.

While it's true that the TM™ Book was huge when it came out, folks were already thinking about yoga and meditation from other sources. Yogi Bhajan had "over one hundred yoga ashrams" in the states by 1972. It was the 60s that got people thinking about enlightenment. If you wanted to give credit to something for being exposed to the concept of enlightenment, it would have to be LSD.

If anything, the Maharishi's self-promoting himself to the world has resulted in an elevated awareness of Vedic ideas. But that's a world away from "opening up the possibility for us to even think of a word called enlightenment." All he really did was get stuck in a pathologically grandiose fantasy. Because the world is full of folks looking to repair themselves through religion, he was able to muster an army and some funds to buy a bunch of cheap real estate at the right time.

He is still stuck in his delusion, right up until the end. I really feel sorry for the guy. It would be one thing to say, "we tried, and did some good." It's another to say, "I've found 'growing signs of peace in the world' so I'm going to my death believing I've succeeded in single-handedly saving the world with my presentation of supreme Vedic truth."

 
At 1/21/2008 10:44 AM, Blogger nahor said...

On one level I believe that if MMY brought some people to an awareness of meditation or happiness, then great... but so might have a different teacher or even a club sandwich.

I think MMY served to bring the stigma of new-ageyness and spacyness to meditation and eastern spirituality -- a 60s attitude which is still there in many circles. And there's nothing wrong with that either. In trying to climb a non-existent mountain, maybe you can still learn something sitting in a cafe in town sipping tea.

 
At 1/21/2008 10:51 AM, Blogger jody said...

In trying to climb a non-existent mountain, maybe you can still learn something sitting in a cafe in town sipping tea.

The turban is off and sitting next to my head on the floor for that one.

 
At 1/21/2008 11:36 AM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

I'm not sure that promoting the idea of an imagined happy future state of being (a.k.a. enlightenment), the pursuit of which has cost many people a significant amount of time, effort, money and unhappiness ("After all these years, I'm still not there!" "I'm closer than you", etc.), is quite so noble a legacy.

In fact, perhaps the most successful aspect of MMY's effort was the effects of congregating a group of like-minded folk that surrounded him. After all, it was having hundreds of TM centers around the world, full of people who had little-to-no life, that allowed Telegroup (founded by a TM-er) to become the fastest growing telecom company in history (when the founder basically offered almost every TM-er in the world a job).

 
At 1/21/2008 11:51 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

gregory said...
you may mock his style, and don't forget to mock his followers, but the substance of his life has been a great gift to the world.

When asked about teachers like MMY, my Zen teacher would sometimes respond, "Better than nothing."

I think his point was that if a teacher inspires people to meditate, to examine and question what's going on in their minds, then the practice itself will give people a taste of something that might help them.

It's often the case, as with MMY, that the practice comes wrapped up in all sorts of silly ideas that are best discarded. But anything that gets people to try practicing is better than nothing.

Nowadays, there are so many alternatives open to someone who wants to explore meditation or inquiry, that there's no need to choose one with the baggage of dogma. Decades ago, though, it was more limitted, and it's likely that gregory is correct that lots of middle americans got their taste of meditation specifically because of MMY and his fame.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 1/21/2008 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MMY this and MMY that; it was ALL about The Beatles embracing him and then kicking him aside. If it weren't for The Beatles heading up to Rishikesh with their posse in tow, well.......we all know the history (hell, most of "The White Album" was written in that ashram. Those four fellows from Liverpool, look to those guys, they are/were "real" gurus, don't ya'll think? Check out George Harrion on www.youtube.com "Gopala Krisha".....!!!

 
At 1/21/2008 5:53 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Steven Sashen said...
I'm not sure that promoting the idea of an imagined happy future state of being (a.k.a. enlightenment), the pursuit of which has cost many people a significant amount of time, effort, money and unhappiness ("After all these years, I'm still not there!" "I'm closer than you", etc.), is quite so noble a legacy.

Yeah, it's true that the mind that thinks "I want to get something" is the root of suffering. And if what you want to get is "enlightenment" (or in TM-speak, "Cosmic Consciousness"), it's no exception.

But I'm not so sure that I'd ever say that time and effort etc spent practicing TM "costs" anything. A "cost" is only possible if your time would be better spent doing something else. Existing as a human being has no meaning and no reason, so it doesn't actually cost us anything, regardless of what we do.

Maharishi's influence may have caused lots of people to spend their time and effort in meditation, trying to get enlightenment. And it was time that would have otherwise been spent trying to get more money, or more interesting things, or a more attractive partner, etc. In either case, the "I want to get something" mind causes suffering, so I wouldn't call Maharishi's influence either noble or ignoble.

I'm open to the possibility that the very act of sitting quietly, doing nothing (meditation), may have some tendency to give people insight into their own thinking, into this "I want." I don't know... but maybe any type of practice of silence and stillness does a little good, makes the "I want" (and its inevitable suffering) just a little smaller than it otherwise would be.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 1/21/2008 8:40 PM, Blogger gregory said...

if we accept the idea of "no independent origination", sort of the formal way of saying all is one, or, there is only one thing, words based upon a "mystical" understanding that everything appears in the singularity of consciousness....

then it is something else that is responsible for the changes in the world, whether the aggregate, or the flow of the whole... implying that it is something like time itself that is responsible for change..

mukhtananda, osho, mmy, the zen guys, the new generation gurus, east and west, the whole deepening of understanding that seems to be the essence of life, just arises naturally

and if you are aware of the "no independent origination" idea, it makes it hard to blame individuals for anything, life is like it is, good and bad in everything

one has to think that one is separate from life in order to point fingers at others, which i guess has an advantage, we don't have to suffer the emotional pain of compassion

in the long run, i don't think it is sustainable to think in that way, meaning, it has no advantage inherent in it, except to protect one's self from an imaginary problem


enjoy, thanks for your time,

gregory

 
At 1/21/2008 8:55 PM, Blogger jody said...

one has to think that one is separate from life in order to point fingers at others, which i guess has an advantage, we don't have to suffer the emotional pain of compassion

One doesn't have to "think" one is separate from life to comment on the interaction between apparent beings.

Compassion takes many forms, including throwing contrast on habitually rosy-lit situations.

 
At 1/21/2008 9:55 PM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

Hey Stuart,

I don't have the notion of "cost" that implies people could or should have been doing something "better" (another concept to which I don't subscribe) were they not attempting to "fly" in a large padded room... merely, that there was a lot of time, effort, and cash spent in the pursuit of attainment.

-S

 
At 1/21/2008 11:00 PM, Blogger gregory said...

"Compassion takes many forms, including throwing contrast on habitually rosy-lit situations."

yeah, this is what george says too, preventing any rosy-lit views on islam, iraq, terrorism... it is a big bad world and we need protectin'

 
At 1/22/2008 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to find the mantra "hare hare london bus" as revealed by Banana Ananda the Beer Yogi [of Planet Gong fame]. I remember spending such wonderful hours chanting.

Better than trying to get money. Better than trying to get a partner. I discovered how to hail the bus.

Such enlightening times. And all spawned from old Sexy Sadie himself. ;-)

 
At 1/22/2008 7:26 AM, Blogger jody said...

this is what george says too

Well then, I guess it's a good thing I don't have an entire armed forces at my behest.

 
At 1/22/2008 8:56 AM, Blogger gregory said...

"Well then, I guess it's a good thing I don't have an entire armed forces at my behest."

yeah, me too.... god knows if i had a machine gun, there would be a lot of open space in tiru, the fake guru capital of the world

 
At 1/22/2008 9:15 AM, Blogger gregory said...

i am over reading h ref="http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com/">adventures in capitalism and here is this quote which nails what maharishi did with his endless world plans, projects, etc...

"According to Buckingham, great leaders rally people to a better future. They transform our fear of the unknown into confidence in the future by defining the future in such vivid terms that all their followers can see where they are headed."

this is from the january first post, and here is a bit more (from the world of business)

As we've seen in each of these roles, the critical skill is not balance, but its inverse, intentional imbalance. The great manager bets that he will prevail by magnifying, emphasizing, and then capitalizing on each employee's uniqueness. The great leader comes to a conclusion about his core customer, his organization's strength, its core score, and the actions he will commit to right now, and then, in the service of clarity, banishes from his thought and conversation almost everything else. The sustainably effective individual, by rigorously removing the irritants from his working life, engages with the world in an equally imbalanced fashion."

imbalance as a valuable skill

enjoy

 
At 1/22/2008 10:45 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Stuart - My Zen teacher always said that nothing is better than nothing.

I think the primary disservice that the Maharishi did with his grandiose plans, schemes and claims was to allow a lot of people to dismiss meditation as a tool and technique, because a) he continually blurred the line between TM and meditation as a whole, and b) his claims were so consistently ridiculous and physically impossible that they overshadowed the actual ideas and benefits behind them.

 
At 1/22/2008 10:58 AM, Blogger gregory said...

eric, i think it took maharishi about two minutes to figure out how dumb and materialistic and stressed out americans were, and know he had to change everything if he wanted to do his job

 
At 1/22/2008 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the old coot started the ball rolling for many more than Vivekananda or Yogananda ever did. I learned TM in '67, before the Beatles visit to India, and there was already a lot of interest on college campuses. They offered intro lectures followed by initiations every couple of months at my UC campus, and there were lots of takers. Student rate was $35, which seemed like a lot at the time. Most of the people I was initiated with moved on to other practices sooner or later, or gave up meditation entirely.

In the mid-60s the time was right, and MMY and his program were there. He's proved himself to be a total nutcase, and I don't give him credit personally, but I'd argue it is undeniable that TM put meditation and eastern thought in general on the radar in the west. I've met people from so many traditions, from Zen to Amma to Sufism, who first learned to "sit" with TM. The timing and the talent for promotion came together very nicely.

 
At 1/22/2008 12:52 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Eric said...
I think the primary disservice that the Maharishi did with his grandiose plans, schemes and claims was to allow a lot of people to dismiss meditation as a tool and technique

I personally don't use meditation as a tool to get something. It's more a matter of just exploring and questioning whatever appears in this moment. I'm pretty sure that there are a number of other people who practice this way, maybe including you.

But the world is filled with people who are passionately trying to get something. If you tell them about just sitting quietly and looking into "What is this?" they'll never listen. They'd never even try to meditate if they didn't think there was something grandiose that they'd get out of it.

So along comes Maharishi. And masses of people are influenced by him to try meditation, in the sense that they at least made a daily practice of being still and silent for a little while.

Because of MMY's teachings, these people did meditation with some really foolish ideas. But maybe without him, they wouldn't have tried it at all. It's still an open question to me... maybe getting a taste of meditation practice of any sort does help eventually remove a little suffering. Maybe it's better than nothing (i.e., never practicing stillness and silence at all).

As for the people who aren't so wrapped up in gradiose desires... they'd either ignore MMY and find a practice without so many silly ideas, or they'd try TM for a while and move on to a different, less silly style.

Anyway, that's why I'm thinking that maybe it's OK to point out the silliness of MMY's grandiose ideas... but still be open to the possibility that they're better than nothing.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 1/28/2008 9:12 AM, Blogger John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I haven't posted in a looong time, so I thought I'd throw this into the mix: Many critics consider Transcendental Meditation a cult led by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. For an alternative view of the TM Movement, readers may be interested in checking out TM-Free Blog, TranceNet.net, or my counseling site, KnappFamilyCounseling.com/cultsb.html, where individuals recovering from Transcendental Meditation and similar groups will find helpful information.

John M. Knapp, LMSW
http://KnappFamilyCounseling.com/cultsb.html

 
At 7/02/2008 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things are seen very differently according to the observer's level of consciousness. Maharishi saw clear signs of irreversible consciousness (hence, peace) development on the planet. He was one of the major contributors to this process as well. Look around: Tolle, Hawkins, and many other enlightened beings are showing that the world's global consciousness level has increased, and is continuing to do so. There is no going back from this process (what Maharishi meant by "irreversible").
Embrace it.
Peace and Enlightenment to All.

 
At 7/02/2008 11:44 AM, Blogger jody said...

Things are seen very differently according to the observer's level of consciousness.

Another completely erroneous expectation about self-realization that the ego-monster known as the Maharishi polluted the world with.

 
At 7/02/2008 12:00 PM, Blogger gregory said...

you might want to investigate spiral dynamics before you poohpooh the idea of different levels

 
At 7/02/2008 3:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

you might want to investigate spiral dynamics

Another New Age™ projection onto someone's interpretation of current scientific knowledge, a la What The Bleep Do We Know?, is meaningless up against the nondual truth that we all are. You can know more and more things about the subtle realms, but they ALL have no more to do with your nondual truth than my dog's ass.

 
At 7/02/2008 6:31 PM, Blogger gregory said...

it's a model for describing differences in people, how some people can understand non-duality, some cannot ... or how some people think their religion is the one way, and others can see all religions as being pretty much the same. there are differences in the manifested world, non-duality is just a concept to many, or not even that.

 
At 7/02/2008 6:41 PM, Blogger jody said...

it's a model for describing differences in people, how some people can understand non-duality, some cannot

It's just more David Hawkins-like bullshit as far as I can tell. Just another "visionary's" ground-breaking new paradigm for understanding everything. We get about three of those per year now.

 
At 7/03/2008 1:24 AM, Blogger gregory said...

worse, ken wilbur

 
At 7/03/2008 10:12 AM, Blogger jody said...

worse, ken wilber

While Wilber et. al. have their own brand of bullshit, it is by no means stinkier than Hawkin's. That man has done more to promote spiritual ignorance than 1000 Ken Wilbers.

 
At 11/20/2008 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who peed on your Cheerios?

Your disrespect betrays your ignorance & miserable wretchedness:

"Well, I can't seem to find any pure guru, so let me smear & badmouth one whom (in my ignorant yet flippant opinion) is false."

Do you REALLY believe you're bringing truth & changing minds? How can we ever thank you for your brilliantly illuminating counsel?

Was MMY's teaching TOTALLY devoid of merit? Here's just one reason I think not: I know a disciple of his. She hasn't missed a SINGLE day of meditation in over 30 years. He must have taught her SOMETHING right.

That's not true about you, obviously.

When it comes to Yogananda, you're stepping on my lineage. You can kindly shut your gaping ignorant mouth about him. He pulled Mahasamadhi (the REAL DEAL) in front of 40,000 witnesses. As if THAT weren't enough his body showed NO sign of rigor mortis (let alone decay) for 20 DAYS afterward. Let's see you do it. Until you match this feat, shut your gaping ignorant mouth.

You might try cracking opening Autobiography of a Yogi (Yogananda wrote it, you ignorant slob) & contemplating the frontispiece: "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe", which is what Jesus was complaining about (John-4:48). He's talking to YOU. Faith is the first thing you (one?) would need to make ANY spiritual progress. You obviously have no faith in any divinity. Fortunately for you, faith in yourself (whoops! the divine aspect of yourself) can be sufficient.

You're not a lost cause. It's never too late to start all over again from scratch & begin your practice of yoga.

Good Luck with your Life. You're obviously going to need it. There are tons of false gurus, but believe me, the nature of your problem has nothing to do with them.

 
At 11/20/2008 11:43 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Your disrespect betrays your ignorance & miserable wretchedness

Or, your disrespect betrays a complete lack of spiritual clarity.

I can't seem to find any pure guru

There is no such thing. There are many who have come to nondual spiritual understanding, but they're are all no better than anyone else: animals with language skills.

Do you REALLY believe you're bringing truth & changing minds?

I'm expressing my opinions about gurus and the metaphors they abuse.

Was MMY's teaching TOTALLY devoid of merit?

No, but that doesn't mean he wasn't psychotically grandiose.

She hasn't missed a SINGLE day of meditation in over 30 years. He must have taught her SOMETHING right.

Her discipline is the result of her neuropsychology, not his teaching. She came with that discipline, or the potential for it, even if she hadn't realized it before she accepted him as her guru.

That's not true about you, obviously.

Oh no, not at all.

You can kindly shut your gaping ignorant mouth about him.

I can say whatever I want about him. He was miracle-mongering in Autobiography, so I reject his interpretation of nondual truth.

He pulled Mahasamadhi (the REAL DEAL) in front of 40,000 witnesses. As if THAT weren't enough his body showed NO sign of rigor mortis (let alone decay) for 20 DAYS afterward. Let's see you do it. Until you match this feat, shut your gaping ignorant mouth.

Regardless of the circumstances of his death, he appears to have rendered you an exceedingly rude and angry person. Can we take this as a sign of the efficacy of his teachings?

You might try cracking opening Autobiography of a Yogi

I read it and reject much of it as myth, superstition and half-truth.

You obviously have no faith in any divinity.

You obviously have no idea about my faith.

Fortunately for you, faith in yourself (whoops! the divine aspect of yourself) can be sufficient.

I don't need any faith in the Atman.

It's never too late to start all over again from scratch & begin your practice of yoga.

Your idea that there are only certain correct practices goes a long way to keeping you from seeing the plain truth of your own Atman, which was no more in Yogananda than you or any other creature.

the nature of your problem has nothing to do with them.

We all gotta keep on keeping on.

 

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