Mahesh Yogi and the media


My Desicritics piece on newsmen chasing the Beatles at Rishikesh drew flak from devotees of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Larry from Canada wrote that I was “totally superficial, with lack of any inkling of spirituality”. Another commenter wanted to know if I can claim to have made any contribution to Indian culture & philosophy that is remotely comaparable to that of Mahesh Yogi. They reckoned ‘foreigners’ were far more appreciative of Mahesh Yogi and his transcendental meditation than most Indians. Wrote another ‘foreigner’: “I think the media in India suffers from inferiority complex. They don’t seem to give the benefit of the doubt to those who are their own”.

Devotees can’t be faulted if they did not share the media perception that  Mahesh Yogi made news worldwide in the 60s because of his celebrity connection, rather than Transcendental Meditation, of which he later became the global guru . It was the Beatles who drew newspaper reporters to Rishikesh in 1968. Cynthia Lennon, a Beatle’s ex-wife, in Sunday Times article, has quoted John as having once told her, “for a spiritual man the Maharishi had too much interest in public recognition, celebrities and money”.

I got hammered by a desi critic for my reference to the life-style at the Mahesh Yogi ashram. Maybe he was a businessman, in the sense that he brought millions of dollars for India by selling the ancient art of meditation. What, if he hired high-powered security to guard his ashram, and built a helipad with his funds – Tere pet me dard kyun hota hai (need I translate this?) 

As for the media having been kept out of the ashram , a critic justified it saying, the media deserved to be kept away even today, if this is the trash they can come up with in the name of journalism”. Incidentally, the ‘trash’ I wrote for the web has been reproduced in the Garhwal Post.               


One Response

  1. I’m back after a little jaunt around Africa, the land where the lion roars and the internet connection sputters. Hence out of touch. My apologies. And my shastang namaskar to one who has actually spoken to a beatle!

    Yes, Mahesh Yogi always struck me as a bit of a fraud. He had a good deal of charisma, though. He used to appear on TV quite regularly here in Mumbai a few years ago. Amongst his more ridiculous antics was “levitation” which was basically people sitting cross legged and bouncing along on their backsides. My son, then 3, found this most hilarious, throwing up on our new sofa, so uncontrollable was his laughter. I remember the wife being most distressed and banning that channel altogether.

    I have a good Mahesh Yogi joke:
    Q. Why did Mahesh Yogi refuse to take anesthetics for his tooth extraction?
    A. Because he wanted to transcend dental medication.

    Cheers! I’m planning a trip to Bangalore next week. If I am able to get away to Mysore, would love to meet you over a cuppa.

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