Thursday, February 07, 2008

Not Dead Beatles Go With The Flow

File under: Final Samadhi and The Siddhi of PR

Since the passing of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, practically every news item we've seen has mentioned the short period between 1967 and 1968 when the Beatles embraced TM™, blowing it up to appear as the defining event for all parties involved. We doubt it was as much for the Beatles, but it's sure turning out to be for the Maharishi. If he's going down in history as anything, it's as the onetime guru to the Fab Four.

In support of that hagiographic distortion, the still alive Beatles have chimed in to recognize the Maharishi's passing:
Sir Paul said: "I was asked for my thoughts on the passing of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and I can only say that whilst I am deeply saddened by his passing, my memories of him will only be joyful ones."

He added: "He was a great man who worked tirelessly for the people of the world and the cause of unity. I will never forget the dedication that he wrote inside a book he once gave me, which read 'radiate, bliss, consciousness', and that to me says it all. I will miss him but will always think of him with a smile."

Starr also released a statement paying his respects. He said: "One of the wise men I met in my life was the Maharishi. I always was impressed by his joy and I truly believe he knows where he is going."
Radiate. That's the key to understanding the Maharishi's metaphysics. Too bad it's nothing but a quaint idea. The world will be better served when the TM™ org finally drops the woo-woo nonsense, realizes the "Maharishi Effect" is in fact only wishful thinking and spend their resources doing something that actually helps. Maybe soup kitchens or food banks would be a good place to start. That's one Maharishi effect we're probably never going to see.

Labels: ,

15 Comments:

At 2/07/2008 9:19 PM, Blogger sfikus said...

My experience with TM was some time ago. I have connections with Fairfield, and completed a 4 year degree at MIU. I have since moved on, as my spiritual progress is my own responsibility, and none other's.

I see and hear rather polemic viewpoints about TM, the "Maharishi", and the Movement in general. To attack the works of any teacher involves judgment, which is purely a reflection of mind and ego. To recognize that the works of any teacher provides many sage lessons in the value of personal responsibility in one's own spiritual development involves a detachment and Self Awareness that serves one well.

As an adult with common sense and plenty of life experience, as well as exposure to many other sundry practices, techniques and paths, I have learned to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were, in order to try to truly understand the innate value of any particular teaching or teacher. During my time with TM, I learned a great deal about Vedic tradition, spiritual practice, devotion, and the guru/disciple relationship. What I have found is that with all life lessons, the best teachings are never direct transfer of information, but are multi-layered experiences with surface as well as deeper, Universal Truths. Some carry a knock on the head, some are diversions, some come with Grace.

Object Lesson - the primary role of any organization is to perpetuate the organization.

While yes, the TM Technique, Sidhi Techniques and many trademarked products and practices trade on fragmented and sterilized ancient knowledge, many were and are still introductions to the path of spirituality.

Under scrutiny, the many TM-branded products and techniques end up this and that, generic and scrubbed to be inoffensive, and widely available in any and all traditions. But the true gift Mahesh gave to the world - SCI, the Science of Creative Intelligence - is greatly overlooked. With this discipline he was able to tie together the subjective experience of sadhana, or spiritual practice, and the objective experience of every day life, and ultimately all of creation - and then build a university curriculum around it.

There is but one Absolute Source. All of Creation springs forth and unfolds systematically from within it. No matter what technique you practice, what guru you follow, what path your journey brings you down, this is the One Universal Truth.

So fine, Mahesh leaves behind an organization that made him rich, served his own family well, sucked its followers into poverty consciousness, and is rife with political maneuvering and pandering that mimics closely the indulgences that helped bring on Reformation.

But really - how does that affect me? I have free will, common sense, and a good amount of life experience. I make choices every day that lead me farther along my path. Do not all individuals, including the followers of TM also possess these?

My only true desire is God. First and foremost, my relationship is with God and only God. No person, no organization, no path and most especially no teacher can or will eversupercede that. This is both the birthright and the responsibility of all sentient beings in all universes.

Still, I bow down in respect, gratitude and recognition of a man who brought many of these lessons and challenges to me, that I could grow to leave him and his organization behind, on my path to communion with the Divine.

I bow down before you, I honor your role in my journey to God. I have no more karma to burn with you, I desire no more karma to incur with you. I release you, I release you, I release you.

Om Namah Sivayah

 
At 2/07/2008 9:31 PM, Blogger jody said...

To attack the works of any teacher involves judgment, which is purely a reflection of mind and ego

To speak or write is purely a reflection of mind and ego. These cannot be escaped as long as we're communicating.

I'm certain that the lives of many have been improved by association with the Maharishi, but I'd also say that has much more to do with the devotee than the object of devotion.

Bottom line: if the Maharishi really cared about the world, he'd have taught TM™ to all comers for free. Instead, he's left the world with a pie-in-the-sky social solution that's named after him, one that costs thousands of dollars for the privilege to practice.

 
At 2/08/2008 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sfikus:
I bow down before you, I honor your role in my journey to God. I have no more karma to burn with you, I desire no more karma to incur with you. I release you, I release you, I release you.

Om Namah Sivayah

I love this! I will print it, blown up, and paste it in my office, home, puja room, wherever, and use it liberally. This is the most useful sentiment I've seen in such a long time!

Thanks for this

 
At 2/08/2008 6:39 AM, Anonymous A Man said...

Oo! Sanctimonious waffle from guru worshippers. Oo we are so priveliged.

 
At 2/08/2008 8:03 AM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

FWIW...

"if the Maharishi really cared about the world, he'd have taught TM™ to all comers for free."

Now, I'm no fan of charging $2,500 to learn mantra meditation. But I think the comment above may be a non-sequitur (or awfully close).

That is, I'm not sure teaching for free, or a fee, is necessarily representative of anything specific.

Or, perhaps more to the point, any large organization requires adequate financing to perform it's business activities. If the money doesn't come as compensation for those activities, directly, then it has to come from somewhere, or the organization collapses.

I was involved with a group that supported itself entirely on donations, and they occasionally came close to shutting down for lack of funds. Were it not for the (lucky) support of a few millionaires, the "free" teachings wouldn't exist at all.

Often, the idea "the teachings should be free" comes from Westerners who see what they THINK is free in the East, not realizing that there's an entire community behind the scenes with a tradition of providing support the teacher and her/his teaching activities.

In fact, I just remembered a Burmese meditation center that used to offer teachings "for free" to the Western students who made the long trip East. But it was really a scholarship program, supported by the locals who had to sacrifice greatly in order to provide that support.

Anyway, I bring this up now, but the free/fee thing is ripe for a different discussion, no doubt. Or maybe, like lunch, there's no free meditation ;-)

 
At 2/08/2008 8:10 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

A Man said......Oo! Sanctimonious waffle from guru worshippers. Oo we are so priveliged.

One man's asshole is another man's crown of thorns. Maybe that's more to your liking, a man. I thought what sfikus said was clear and well thought out. If you didn't like his religious termenology, maybe my remarks are a better fit for you...

 
At 2/08/2008 6:21 PM, Blogger jody said...

I think the comment above may be a non-sequitur (or awfully close).

While it's true an organization needs to survive, and also true there's nothing wrong with asking for a modest fee to help support that org, asking for $3000+ to learn an exceedingly simple meditation technique cribbed from kindergarten-grade Hinduism from an org that claims their technique will save the world is a bit disingenuous.

If the Maharishi really did want to save the world, he would have made it inexpensive enough to be affordable by more people. If he had cut the price to something more reasonable, like $250, he probably would have generated many more converts than he did, perhaps actually giving something to the world other than a continuously bold and vivid demonstration of his avarice.

 
At 2/08/2008 8:14 PM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

Agreed.

(re: $250 vs. $2500, or more)

 
At 2/08/2008 11:13 PM, Blogger gregory said...

sfikus... luminous and clear writing

meditation has practical value, eh?

 
At 2/09/2008 6:31 AM, Anonymous A Man said...

Biff!Bash!Oo!Ow!
The world loves America for its aggression.
Assholes? Crowns of thorns?
I don't know what you're on about.

Why can't gurus just do the loaves and fishes bit, with some water to wine thrown in, sell it all and there you are, free money to pay for halls, admin staff, rolls royces, whatevers?

My take on sfikus.

'My experience with TM was some time ago. I have connections with Fairfield, and completed a 4 year degree at MIU. I have since moved on, as my spiritual progress is my own responsibility, and none other's.'
They got their teeth into him, but he grew out of it.

'To attack the works of any teacher involves judgment, which is purely a reflection of mind and ego.'

This is how they get people to beleive anything they say.

'To recognize that the works of any teacher provides many sage lessons in the value of personal responsibility in one's own spiritual development involves a detachment and Self Awareness that serves one well.'

But he's level headed enough not to get to stuck on it all.

'As an adult with common sense and plenty of life experience, as well as exposure to many other sundry practices, techniques and paths, I have learned to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were, in order to try to truly understand the innate value of any particular teaching or teacher.'

He is sincere and sensitive and devoted.

'During my time with TM, I learned a great deal about Vedic tradition, spiritual practice, devotion, and the guru/disciple relationship.'

Interesting lesson in comparitive cultures/religions.

'What I have found is that with all life lessons, the best teachings are never direct transfer of information, but are multi-layered experiences with surface as well as deeper, Universal Truths. Some carry a knock on the head, some are diversions, some come with Grace.'

Dunno.

'Object Lesson - the primary role of any organization is to perpetuate the organization.'

Dunno.

'Under scrutiny, the many TM-branded products and techniques end up this and that, generic and scrubbed to be inoffensive, and widely available in any and all traditions. But the true gift Mahesh gave to the world - SCI, the Science of Creative Intelligence - is greatly overlooked. With this discipline he was able to tie together the subjective experience of sadhana, or spiritual practice, and the objective experience of every day life, and ultimately all of creation - and then build a university curriculum around it.'

SCI a gift to the world? I'm in the world and I don't feel any particular benefit from whatever SCI is. Putting inner peace into a curriculum sounds OK, though I don't know the details of what he did. My answer was to throw a sickie when school was too stressful/violent/mind numbing.

'There is but one Absolute Source. All of Creation springs forth and unfolds systematically from within it. No matter what technique you practice, what guru you follow, what path your journey brings you down, this is the One Universal Truth.'

Aye.

'So fine, Mahesh leaves behind an organization that made him rich, served his own family well, sucked its followers into poverty consciousness, and is rife with political maneuvering and pandering that mimics closely the indulgences that helped bring on Reformation'

Sounds nasty. I was probably in bed when we covered the reformation at school.

'But really - how does that affect me? I have free will, common sense, and a good amount of life experience. I make choices every day that lead me farther along my path. Do not all individuals, including the followers of TM also possess these?'

Feet on the ground.
Do followers of religions/religious figures really have those qualities of common sense? Is it Ignatious Loyola that said 'Give me the child and I will give you the man'?
People are vulnerable and malleable and sometimes the damage lasts forever.

'My only true desire is God. First and foremost, my relationship is with God and only God. No person, no organization, no path and most especially no teacher can or will eversupercede that. This is both the birthright and the responsibility of all sentient beings in all universes.'

Passionate guy. Knows his onions.

'Still, I bow down in respect, gratitude and recognition of a man who brought many of these lessons and challenges to me, that I could grow to leave him and his organization behind, on my path to communion with the Divine.'

Again, outgrew it all.

'I bow down before you, I honor your role in my journey to God. I have no more karma to burn with you, I desire no more karma to incur with you. I release you, I release you, I release you.'

Trying to get the last couple of teeth out.

Nice guy, don't know where the sanctimonious bit went. Time short. Gotta go. Bye.

 
At 2/09/2008 9:14 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Jody said...If he had cut the price to something more reasonable, like $250, he probably would have generated many more converts than he did...

As a TM teacher in the 70's and early 80's, that's what people were saying when it cost $35-125. We were allowed to teach people for free, if they seemed sincere and had no money. Charging money for instruction, period, reduced everything to business. Add to that that Maharishi cared nothing about people. He cared mostly about himself. The jolly things that Paul and Ringo said about Maharishi might also have been said about Hitler by some of his benefactors who had known him in the early 30's.

 
At 2/09/2008 6:59 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

Maha used a great need people have to sell shit , some of it was ok shit. If that's the pricey asshole, you want to wear on your head cool! I presume all bow down to me too , as you should!!!

 
At 2/10/2008 7:44 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

sfikus said...
To attack the works of any teacher involves judgment, which is purely a reflection of mind and ego.

If someone were to write, "Arguing for or against a political view or candidate is purely a reflection of mind and ego" ... I'd say, huh, whatever, what's that got to do with anything? We're humans, we think critically, and communicate our perspectives and understandings. This is a good thing. When we stop doing that, we won't be humans, we'll be sheep.

I'm not sure that the "reflection of mind and ego" comment has any coherent meaning at all. WHY should we refrain from judging the value of the works of a teacher?

Steven Sashen said...
I'm not sure teaching for free, or a fee, is necessarily representative of anything specific.

For a concrete example:

At the zen center I practice with, if someone asks to learn meditation, we teach them for free. This reflects the fact that we think it can be a helpful practice, and it's good for the world to make our teaching and practice available.

None of us is motivated by making a profit; we all have real jobs outside the zen center for that purpose.

For sitting retreats (including sleeping and eating at the center, and extra individual attention), we charge $45/day. People who find all this valuable may choose to support the center, usually with donations on the order of $25/month. Some who can afford to do so voluntarily donate more.

We have no trouble at all paying rent, utilities, insurance, etc, from the $45/day retreat fees and freely given donations.

Then again, we don't offer a spa-like experience. People who come to our programs and retreats get the teaching and practices of our tradition, that's all. There aren't any fountains or expensive artwork etc etc at our center.

If an organization charges fees that are much greater than ours... my suspicion is either that the teachers or management are motivated by earning a living from the teaching (rather than by trying to help humanity), or the extra fees go towards amenities not essential to meditation.

There's nothing wrong if someone wants to go to a center that gives them a nice vacation while they learn to meditate. But that shouldn't be confused with the costs associated with simply offering a meditation teaching and practice.

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

 
At 2/11/2008 1:57 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

I think if you want some pithy truthful statements from Beatles you might need to see John or George, both of them wrote great devotional music, and were already pretty fervent seekers at the time Maharishi showed up. i don't think Paul or Ringo were as let down, they took what they wanted and got out. so it's no skin for them to make innocuous , fatuous statements now.
I don't really think too many people reminisce out loud about the good old days of knowing Hitler, even if they want to. i think the 60's will always trump the 30's as the decade to romanticize and i think Maharishi gets a pass just for being a 60's phenom. I may be wrong about John and George , they may have just not cared to say much if they were still around, but any living Beatle has to say something ,it's their karma. this must be one of the things that is meant by the term Grateful Dead! No longer having to do press!

Steven Sashen said...
I'm not sure teaching for free, or a fee, is necessarily representative of anything specific.

it seems to me that many organizations, teachers, and wannabes use an entrepreneurial model, so it seems fee scales become paramount . I think naturally this begins to out weigh practice and integrity. I think i see a lot of people now trying to buttress ego and avarice with spirituality, so that they can feel pretty righteous about being pushy and self centered and maybe not have to look too hard at themselves. personally i like to keep my spirituality more on the down low vis a vis work. Because i hope it speaks for itself.

 
At 2/12/2008 12:00 PM, Anonymous Ron said...

***My only true desire is God. First and foremost, my relationship is with God and only God. No person, no organization, no path and most especially no teacher can or will eversupercede that. This is both the birthright and the responsibility of all sentient beings in all universes.

RESPONSE: My Guru's opinion about what a sincere seeker is: "i see a sincere seeker as one who doesn't give up and will look at an opportunity that is presented*

My Guru explains that a sat Guru is what you are without the coverings, and the Guru is there to guide one to remove these coverings but not to live your life, you make your choices and live with them.

Now I ask the writter, you are old enough, have you worked directly with a Guru one to one? That translates in my opinion and experience to being able to pick up the phone, send an email and get an immdediate response directly from the Guru?

Or do you consider what you have already done to be working with the Guru one to one? and regardless, is the seeking over with and your state of consciousness now resting in Realization?

This is all your business, just bringing up some points. Maybe you want to continue as you have, maybe this door I am presenting may be one of interest to walk through.

About the door, my path is working directly with a Guru, 5 are restng in Realization after being in this path from 1-5 years. One of them is a housewife with 3 babies. My Guru's comment about this path- it must be practical

Ron Fried

sidha7001@aol.com

 

Post a Comment

<< Home