Maharishi Mahesh Yogi steps down as head of meditation empire

AMSTERDAM Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:37pm IST

Related Topics

Election 2014

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who became a guru to the Beatles, stepped down this month as the head of the organisation that brought transcendental meditation to the West, an aide said on Monday.

"His work is done and now he'll be concentrating on the field of silence and dedicating himself more to pure knowledge rather than administrative matters," Benjamin Feldman, finance minister for the Global Country of World Peace, told Reuters.

After teaching the Beatles and other 1960s and 70s icons to meditate, the Indian mystic gained a worldwide following with six million people taking his courses. He moved his headquarters to the small southern Dutch village of Vlodrop in 1990.

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

The reclusive guru with a flowing white beard has periodically reemerged to appeal for funds to promote world peace, building a business empire ranging from real estate dealing to a company selling ayurvedic medicine and cosmetics.

YOGIC FLYING

He has 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.

Reported to be 91, the Maharishi is "fairly well", Feldman said and plans to stay in the Netherlands for the time being. Maharaja Nader Raam, a Lebanese doctor who has studied with the Maharishi for 25 years, will take over the organisation.

Feldman said the Maharishi's work would live on because he has trained tens of thousands of teachers over the years.

His followers broke the ground in Vlodrop on Monday for a "tower of invincibility" memorial to the Maharishi that will be replicated in 48 countries, Feldman said.

He said the Maharishi was not disappointed that his promotion of group meditation had not yet achieved its aim of creating universal peace and prosperity.

"Sometimes it takes time for the world to catch up. The Maharishi is very, very satisfied that the influence has been created and it will only expand and become stronger and better known and more widely applied," Feldman said.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Exit Door

Exit Door

Japan's NTT DoCoMo to exit India telecoms joint venture - sources.  Full Article 

New Nokia Head

New Nokia Head

Nokia to name Rajeev Suri as next CEO on Tuesday - report.  Full Article 

Good Impression

Good Impression

New Microsoft CEO Nadella impresses Wall Street, stresses challenges.  Full Article 

Paucity of Rains

Patchy Rain

Met office rules out surplus monsoon in 2014   Full Article 

FB Newswire

FB Newswire

Facebook courts journalists with newswire tool.  Full Article 

Times Top List

Time 100

Janet Yellen, Miley Cyrus odd bedfellows in Time's list of 100 most influential.  Full Article 

Boat Tragedy

Boat Tragedy

From God.com to photography, Korea ferry founder has diverse interests.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage