Reuters, Feb. 4, 2003
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — The Dutch Central Bank said on Tuesday an organisation founded by Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had not violated the law by issuing and using its own currency in the Netherlands.
The Global Country of World Peace organisation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian mystic living in the small southern Dutch village of Vlodrop, issued brightly coloured notes of one, five and 10 “raam” last October.
The bank, which said on Saturday it would investigate the currency, said it had received no indications that any laws were violated.
“It is within the boundaries of the law…as long as the Maharishi doesn’t suggest that this is legal tender and it doesn’t resemble the euro,” central bank spokesman Tobias Oudejans said.
“There is a closed circuit; transactions can only be made at certain shops,” he added.
The Maharishi brought “transcendental meditation” to the West more than 40 years ago. Among his six million followers worldwide have been the Beatles, who famously travelled to India in 1968 to meditate with him.
Most of the “raam” currency notes are distributed in the Netherlands, where more than 100 shops accept them at a fixed rate of 10 euros per raam.
The Global Country of World Peace also aims to use it as a type of “currency,” which would not be legal tender, to help people barter goods and services as part of its aid programmes in developing countries.