WHO.TV, Nov. 5, 2002
Vedic City, November 5, 2002 – The sights and sounds of agriculture are at the heart of life in Jefferson County. It’s been this way for decades. But just beyond the corn fields and bales of hay, something out of the ordinary is cropping up. It’s transcendental meditation to the United States in the 1960’s. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced The Beatles to transcendental meditation. The group quickly severed their ties, believing the Maharishi to be a fraud. But their short-lived relationship helped the Maharishi develop millions of followers over the years and completely transform a small town in southeast Iowa.
In the early 1970’s, the Maharishi brought his form of meditation and a holistic approach to life to Fairfield, Iowa and soon the Maharishi University of Management was formed on the old Parsons College campus.
Students say the college combines meditation with education. The old Parsons College buildings were replaced with newer structures that meditators believe create a healthy and happy environment just by their design and color. One of the most visible distinctions is the gold domes where students and others meditate at least two times a day for 20 minutes. School administrators say it relieves stress and helps raise IQ. According to the Maharishi, when students relax and reach a higher level of consciousness through meditation, they become more intelligent and creative.
Even outside of class, students are encouraged to lead happy and healthy lives. Vegetarian, organic meals are served in the dining hall. Students say it’s not a typical college campus. There is no drinking or staying out late.
The university is a temporary home for students. But over the years many have stayed and started families. That brings us to the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. It introduces the same principals to a younger generation, K-12. The private school is a sign of what the town of Fairfield has become and what it will continue to be.
The mayor of Maharishi Vedic City, Dr. Bob Wynne, says the community is a precisely planned one, “The beauty of this city is that it is designed from the ground up. Planned every building and tree,” said Wynne.
Even on a rainy day you’ll notice a certain brightness to the city. Most of the rooftops are gold with a small dome in the center. And, the buildings, including the hotels and houses, face east. It’s part of a natural architectural design called ‘stapathya veda’. The city even uses it’s own currency, the Raam. Vedic City has its own constitution and it is ruled by a king. These components, say residents, create good health and happiness.
“I wouldn’t want to be the mayor of any other city. It’s lots of fun because basically it’s problem-free administration,” said Wynne.
But ten years ago when development started, many questioned whether the project would be finished. That was when the town’s first building, The Raj Health Spa, was being built.
Ten years later, the answer is clear. Currently there are 200 people living in Vedic City. But the mayor says developers are making room for 8,000. And 8,000 is an important number, not only in the name of progress, but in the name of world peace.
Vedic City residents say sixty studies show that if that number of people practice transcendental meditation at the same time, at the same place, it’s enough positive energy to create a neutralized world.
It’s a goal that seems a little off-the-wall to people just down the road. “We tolerate each other, that’s probably the best word I have for it. We try to come up with some kind of compromise we can live with” said Jim Flinspach, a Fairfield farmer.
But to meditators, the road to enlightenment and world peace now leads to Vedic City. A place officially on the Iowa map, where people continue to come here to live by the principals of a man named Maharishi.