Guru’s disciples find peace in crime-ridden estate

The Independent (England), Aug. 3, 2002
By Paul Kelbie Scotland Correspondent
03 August 2002

Disciples of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru who taught the Beatles that all you need is love, have been searching for the perfect place to build a palace of peaceful meditation for 10 years.

Now they have found it in one of the most deprived housing estates in Scotland, next to a betting shop and opposite a boarded-up shopping centre where alcoholic loafers meet. Tillydrone in Aberdeen, which has been the subject of many regeneration projects, is a centre of burglaries, vandalism, and vehicle thefts.

Despite the backdrop of boarded-up windows and graffiti-covered buildings, representatives of the transcendental meditation (TM) organisation believe the site is ideal for their £150,000 centre, the first of its kind in the UK.

Although not known for its tranquillity, Tillydrone fulfils the criteria set by the Maharishi 10 years ago for establishment of his “lighthouses of coherence”.

The reason Tillydrone is so “special” is that the slope of the land, the direction of the nearby river Don and the proximity to the North Sea fit in with the ancient spiritual principles followed by TM devotees.

But whether the Maharishi Vedic Centre, which could be built in five months, will succeed in turning the area into a haven is debatable. “There is a bit of a drugs problem in the area,” said Sergeant Alan Keith of Grampian Police, who is not convinced meditation is the answer.

Transcendental meditation’s most well-known practice is yogic flying, in which practitioners sit cross-legged and bounce up and down on a soft surface to levitate. “Maybe Tillydrone’s not such a peculiar place for it after all,” said one resident. “Anything not nailed down here usually flies off … and vanishes without any trouble at all.”


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