Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Silverado Trail, St Helena, California, USA

February 5, 2008

This essay, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is the companion piece to Awake To Life.

It is also the sixth in an open group on People: It is also, with Laurence Platt Intersections, the prequel to "Which One Is Maharishi?".

I am indebted to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and to Gopal Rao who inspired this conversation.

A friend of mine died today, a man I love, a man I respect, a man who's given me and millions and millions of others so  much, Mahesh Prasad Varma aka Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Photography by Digne Mellor-Menkowicz

Transcendental Meditation Leadership Course

Kössen, Austria

August 1971

New window opens if not already open
Brahmachari 1939 Guru 1957 Maharishi with Laurence 1971 Unity Consciousness  1990 Sage 2006
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

No, I don't need the choir of angels nor the violins. I'm in a state of profound awe as the announcements of his passing serve to remind me of the almost inconceivably huge, extraordinary  contribution he made to our world.

He announced his life's work was complete. Shortly thereafter he left the planet. He didn't, it seems, die of  anything. He died because he'd reached the end of his life.

In the blazing light of overwhelming evidence that he successfully accomplished what he set out to do in 1957 when he founded his SRM  (the Spiritual Regeneration Movement) working near twenty hour days for five decades straight, the poignant detail of the self-determined way he chose to die may get overlooked. After he announced his life's work was complete, true to his spiritual origins as a brahmachari  he retreated into silence. After a month absorbed in studying the ancient Hindu sacred Vedic  texts, he died peacefully in his sleep ie attained mahasamadhi  right on schedule.

"It's perfect!" said Dorothy.

Choice, even in death, is the sign of a great, great man. His ashes will be committed to the Ganges  river, an honor bestowed on India's greatest saints.
Werner Erhard's acknowledgement of the traditions of the east is abundantly clear. Among others, Werner has hosted Rangjung Rigpe Dorje aka the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa Lama who is the spiritual leader of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhists, Tenzin Gyatso aka the fourteenth Dalai Lama, siddha yoga  founder Krishna Rai aka Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa, and Alan Watts. Of all the disciplines which he experienced before he created his magnum opus  of transformation, Werner says Zen is the  essential one. Forms of meditation appear in various processes in his work, although meditation itself doesn't play a pivotal role. Werner has gone as far as saying "Meditation is valuable until it's used like aspirin.".

I'm not going to laud Maharishi's stunning, rich legacy of, inter alia, Transcendental Meditation  and his World Plan  for global peace per se. Thousands upon thousands  upon thousands  of people have already done so, including The Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr who in the past have been infamously used by critics and skeptics ie the princes of darkness  to negate Maharishi's impact. Rather, I acknowledge him for the way his intention, for the way his word, indeed for the way his being  is a contribution to humanity.

Before there was transformation, there was the path. Fundamental to the concept of the path was "this isn't it  ... but if you find yourself a spiritual master  and devote yourself to him, he'll show you the way to moksha  ie liberation". Maharishi's devotion to his Master, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Maharaj, Jagadguru Bhagwan Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Himālayas, is completely and utterly inspirational.

Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Maharaj, Jagadguru Bhagwan Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Himālayas aka Guru Dev
Guru Dev
It is said Maharishi first laid eyes on his master whom he called Guru Dev  ie "divine teacher" when he went to listen to him speak. They probably didn't call those events guest seminars  in those days, but they may as well have. Maharishi was barely twenty three years old. It is said the headlights of a passing car illuminated Guru Dev's face just as Maharishi looked him in the eyes for the first time. From that moment on, Maharishi was a devotee.

It is said the legacy Maharishi set up and left for the world was at the behest of and as a gift to Guru Dev. When Guru Dev died and his body was committed to the Ganges river, it is said Maharishi, totally distraught at his passing, dived in after the coffin, almost drowning himself in a last ditch effort to be close to his beloved master, even in those impossibly final moments.

Next to the entry for devotion  in the Oxford English Dictionary, there ought to be a photograph of Maharishi. If you meld the distinction devotion  with possibility, you create a way of being epitomized by what Werner distinguishes as loyalty.

I first experienced the profound joy of service  in the hamlet of Calas de Mallorca, a seaside community on the east coast of Mallorca in the Mediterranean sea's Balearic Islands, a half day's boat ride off the coast of Barcelona Spain. I had the opportunity to prepare Maharishi's meals in his private kitchen with Hari Har Khan, his impish chef who traveled with him everywhere. That gave me the chance to be with Maharishi privately, he and I alone, as I served him his meals whenever he called for them, sometimes at all hours of the night - the man never slept.

In that kind of close up proximity, not much needs to be said. In fact it's already been said. He'd already entrusted me by allowing me into his personal space ie into his darshan. Such moments are way  beyond blessings. They're life altering  gifts.

When I learned Maharishi was leaving Mallorca, I wasn't sure what I'd do next. Then I overheard him saying to his personal secretary Eileen "Tell the boy  he should come too.".

Did I accept? In a heartbeat. Maharishi provided airfare to and accommodation in Fiuggi Italy - no questions asked, nothing expected in return. His generosity was as personal as it was universal.

It is said his last words on Earth were "I can only say: Live long the world in peace, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from suffering.".

It's clear to me Maharishi Mahesh Yogi firmly laid the groundwork for world peace like a possibility. Good bye Good Friend. Good bye Great Soul. Good bye Maharishi Great Seer. Heaven is welcoming you with open arms.

Jai Guru Dev.

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