Guruphiliac: March 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Seeking The Old TM™ Master Raghvendra

File under: Lost and Found Gurus

Today we received this email:


I'm a fan of your website, and was wondering whether you could assist me with a search as outlined in this article.

I met Paul Saltzman when he was in Rishikesh, and I'm keen to help him if I can. As that journalist notes, there's no trace of Raghvendra here - as he apparently fell out with the Maharishi's people and left town.

Might someone among your network still remember where he went, or is there someone who might know someone who might know something?

I've attached a few lines of context, which refer to a second guy whom Paul is trying to trace - an American called Al Bragg, who'd be roughly 70 by now. Any pointers on either of them would be gratefully received.

Thanks for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Daniel Simpson
This passage describes Paul Saltzman's first meeting with the man he and Daniel are seeking, Raghvendra:
As I hung around New Delhi, not knowing what to do, I was desperate for relief. A new American acquaintance, Al Bragg, asked me if I wanted to come along to hear the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi give a talk on transcendental meditation. "I'll try anything." I said, jumping at the chance. That night, the large auditorium at New Delhi University was jam-packed, overflowing with foreigners and Indians as we squeezed in against the wall at the back. On stage, a low dais was festooned with flowers. After ten or fifteen minutes, a short, curious little man draped in white cotton, with long scraggly graying hair and beard, entered at the rear of the hall and walked down the center aisle. Close behind, twenty Westerners followed, each of them wearing colorful Indian clothes and garlands of red, white, and orange flowers around their necks. They were, it turned out, part of a group of meditators on their way to At the entrance stood a faded, yellow, wood picket-fence gate. It was locked and a man in a slightly tattered, dark blue Nehru jacket stood guard. He spoke no English but motioned to someone inside and a short young man in his early thirties, with a lovely light-brown complexion and a short, dark, trim beard came to talk to me. He introduced himself in a quiet, warm voice as Raghvendra, a disciple of the Maharishi, and asked if he could help me. I told him I had seen the Maharishi speak at Delhi University a few days before and that I'd come to learn meditation. Raghvendra was kind, but firm, "I'm very sorry but the ashram is closed because the Beatles and their wives are here, and were doing a meditation teacher's course." I had nothing to lose: "You have to teach me." I said, " I'm in a lot of emotional pain." He considered this for a moment, then said, "I will ask the Maharishi. I will send you a cup of chai, but I may not be back for two or three hours."

I thanked him, dropped my backpack to the ground, and plunked myself down. I had no idea the Beatles would be there and, at that moment, it was not good news. I spent the afternoon resting there by the gate and wrote a letter to my parents and one to my girlfriend, hoping she would reconsider. A few hours later, Raghvendra returned. Again, he was soft-spoken and kind.

"I'm sorry," he said, "the Maharishi says 'Not at the present time'."
Apparently, at some later point, Raghvendra did in fact admit Saltzman and teach him meditation. While y'all know what we think of TM™ (a laughable global domination pyramid scheme that has folks selling sand at the beach to other folks), we'd like to see Saltzman contact his guru, Raghvendra, if he is in fact still alive.

If anybody has any clues, either about Raghvendra or the American, Al Bragg, please leave a comment or contact Daniel Simpson here.