Tributes paid to Maharishi

Followers gathered at the Dutch home of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Thursday to remember the late guru to the Beatles who brought transcendental meditation to the West.

In a tent decorated with pots of roses, daffodils and orchids, the main leaders of the Maharishi’s movement addressed an audience of hundreds, praising the life and works of the Indian mystic, who died overnight on Wednesday aged 91.

“His holiness brought meditation to the world,” said Bevan Morris, prime minister of the Maharishi’s Global Country of World Peace movement. His funeral will be held in the Indian city of Allahabad on Monday, a spokesman for the group said.

Paul McCartney and his fellow Beatles went to India in 1968 to see the guru and much of their music after the trip reflected their experiences — good and bad — there.

“I can only say that whilst I am deeply saddened by his passing, my memories of him will only be joyful ones,” McCartney said in a statement on Thursday.

“He was a great man who worked tirelessly for the people of the world and the cause of unity.”

Dressed in white robes and adorned with golden crowns and pendants, the main leaders or Rajas of the movement sat on red velvet seats on a podium, sometimes listening to the speakers, sometimes drifting off into deep contemplation.

After a five-minute group meditation, prominent members of the movement recounted the contributions the Maharishi’s practices had made to society, education, science, health, agriculture and defence.

Transcendental Meditation

“Transcendental Meditation was ruled a religion by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Docket No. 76-341 (H.C.M.) Civil Action, in the case of Alan B. Malnak. et al., Plaintiffs, v. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, et al., Defendants, in a summary judgment issued October 19, 1977, followed by an order and judgment, filed December 12, 1977.”
Is TM a religion?

The Maharishi set up universities and schools all over the world and his Natural Law Party — which promotes yogic flying, a practice that involves sitting in the lotus position and bouncing into the air — has campaigned in dozens of countries.

Transcendental meditation, known as TM by its followers, involves reciting a mantra that practitioners say helps the mind stay calm even under pressure.

It gradually gained medical respect over the decades as the Maharishi challenged Western scientists to investigate its health benefits.

The Indian mystic moved his headquarters to the small southern Dutch village of Vlodrop in 1990, occupying the site around a former Franciscan monastery.

Many practitioners came to lay flowers at the gates of his residence on Thursday, a golden-yellow wooden building surrounded by gardens solid with animal figurines and facing a circle of flags from all around the world.

“It’s like a meditation-based United Nations,” said a spokesman.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday February 8, 2008.
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