Promoter inspired by Maharishi.
Columbia is slated to join the ranks of a handful of U.S. cities with a Peace Palace affiliated with an organization led by Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Peace Palaces are located in Lexington, Ky.; Bethesda, Md.; Houston; and Fairfield, Iowa, home of Maharishi University of Management. But after a recent convention in Europe, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi challenged his organization to launch 2,600 Peace Palaces throughout the United States and 3,000 worldwide, Columbia Peace Palace Director Jim Morrow said.
“Maharishi said there’s an excessive amount of world tension, fear and stress,” said Wally DeVasier, director of the Fairfield Peace Palace and former pilot for the guru.
DeVasier said spreading Peace Palaces would counterbalance the world’s problems and improve the health and well-being of communities.
Peace Palaces are used primarily to teach Transcendental Meditation, or TM, a technique that practitioners say transcends the mind to a consciousness level that dissolves stress and improves health, energy and problem-solving creativity. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced the ancient ways of meditation to the world about 40 years ago. He’s the guru who taught The Beatles.
Peace Palaces are typically two-level, 12,000-square-foot modular buildings on up to 10 acres. They are constructed using Sthapatya Vedic principles, an ancient Indian architectural system that focuses on the orientation of buildings and natural laws of harmony and order. The facilities provide space for learning, spas and stores that sell stress-reduction and health-related products. Day spas offer herbal oil massages and other therapeutic services.
Morrow said a search is under way for land and a group of local “founders” to help fund the Columbia complex through donation or investment. Meantime, the developers plan to open a smaller-scale Maharishi Enlightenment Center in a retail strip mall. The enlightenment center will offer the same programs, products and services as the Peace Palace, he said.
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“We’re currently negotiating with four different firms to lease space in the best Vastu spaces we can find in Columbia,” Morrow said, referring to ancient principles of building location and alignment. Suitable sites must face true east or true north and not be near any “inauspicious” bodies of water to the south or west, Morrow said.
Morrow went to Spain and Italy in 1972 to learn TM from Maharishi. He taught TM in Wyoming until 1976, when he got into “more conventional work” in the telecommunications field as family finances began to pinch. At one point, he said, there was a large percentage of meditators in his southwest Wyoming community, including the mayor and other local leaders. They were mindful of a promise made by the guru.
“Maharishi said that when 1 percent of the population meditates, the earth yields up its treasures,” Morrow said.
A short time later, significant oil and gas reserves were discovered in the region, he said.