|Maharishi Mahesh Yogi|
The Maharishi in Puna in 1973.
|Born||January 12, 1917 (uncertain)
Jabalpur(MADHYA PRADESH), INDIA
|Died||February 5, 2008
|Parents||Father: Sri Ram Prasad|
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (born Mahesh Prasad Varma January 12, possibly in 1917 (other sources give the year as 1911 or 1918); died February 5, 2008 in Vlodrop, Netherlands) was the leader or "guru" of a new religious movement, often called "Transcendental Meditation movement", notable for influencing The Beatles and other celebrities of the period, for which reason he is also known as the "Beatles guru". Varma's given name was Mahesh, while maharishi and yogi are honorifics. Varma was known as "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi" beginning around the year 1960. His devotees referred to him as "his holiness".
In approximately 1939, the Maharishi became a disciple and assistant of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who was the Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of Jyotir Math, located in the Indian Himalayas from 1941 to 1953. The Maharishi credits Saraswati with inspiring his teachings.
Beginning in 1955, the Maharishi began to introduce the Transcendental Meditation technique (also known as TM) and other related programs and initiatives to the world. His initiatives include schools and universities with campuses in several countries including India, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and China. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's first global tour began in 1958, from which time his techniques and programs have been taught worldwide, yielding immense profit, providing the guru with an estimated yearly income of several million GBP during the 1970s.
In 1992, the Maharishi began coordination of his global organization from his residence in Vlodrop, the Netherlands. On January 11, 2008, he announced his retirement from all administrative activities and went into mauna (spiritual silence) until his death three weeks later.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born as Mahesh Prasad Varma in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh into a Kayastha caste family living in the Central Provinces of British India. Various accounts give the year of his birth as 1911, 1917 or 1918. Biographies by Paul Mason, William Jefferson, and Elsa Dragemark (quoting his uncle Raj Varma) say that he was born January 12, 1917 in Jabalpur, Central Provinces. The place of birth given in his passport is "Pounalulla", India. The name of his father is given as Sri Ram Prasad, his birth date as 12 January 1918.
A different name appears in the Allahabad University list of distinguished alumni, where he is listed as M.C. Srivastava. The name "Mahesh", an epithet of Shiva, indicated that the Maharishi came from a Shaivaite family.
According to his official biography, he studied physics at Allahabad University and earned a degree in 1942. In 1941, Varma became a secretary to the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who gave him the name Bal Brahmachari Mahesh. Besides indicating his family faith, Coplin says the conferred title "identified him as a dedicated student of spiritual knowledge and life-long celibate ascetic". Mahesh remained with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati until the latter died in 1953. In 1953, Brahmachari Mahesh moved to Uttarkashi in the Valley of the Saints in the Himalayas. Although Mahesh was a close disciple, he could not be the Shankaracharya's spiritual successor because he was not of the Brahmin caste. Canadian author and journalist Paul Grescoe reported that Mahesh was so disappointed at not being named Saraswati's successor that he filed a lawsuit, which was unsuccessful.
In 1955, the Maharishi left Uttarkashi and began publicly teaching what he stated was a traditional meditation technique that he learned from his master Brahmananda Saraswati, which he called Transcendental Deep Meditation and later renamed Transcendental Meditation. The Maharishi traveled around India for two years. At that time he called his movement the "Spiritual Development Movement", but renamed it The Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957, in Madras, India, on the concluding day of the Seminar of Spiritual Luminaries. According to J. Lynwood King in his book Fundamentals of Maharishi Vedic Science, the feedback Maharishi received from the diverse population that learned his technique suggested to him that it could be of wide benefit.
The Maharishi was criticized by other Yogis and more devout Hindus for oversimplifying their art and practices, who argued angrily that achieving spiritual peace without penance or asceticism was contrary to the tenets of traditional Hindu belief and without foundation in the Bhagavad-Gita. They also criticized him for charging fees for instruction in Transcendental Meditation, which they deemed to be the unethical selling of "commercial mantras". Guru Dev's successor, Swami Swaroopanand, states that, as a member of the trader class and merely Guru Dev's bookkeeper, the Maharishi had no right to teach meditation or to give mantras, and that "Gurus don't sell their knowledge, they share it."
In 1958, the Maharishi began the first of a number of worldwide tours. His first world tour began in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) and included the countries of Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and Hawaii. The Maharishi remained in the Far East for about six months teaching Transcendental Meditation. On December 31, 1958, the Honolulu Star Bulletin published an article about him saying: "He has no money, he asks for nothing. His worldly possessions can be carried in one hand. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is on a world odyssey. He carries a message that he says will rid the world of all unhappiness and discontent."
In 1959, the Maharishi lectured and taught the Transcendental Meditation technique in Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and London. While in Los Angeles, Maharishi became a guest at the home of Roland and Helena Olson and their daughter Theresa, who wrote several books about their experiences. He continued to visit the Olsons' home over the next few years.
In 1960, the Maharishi traveled to many cities in the countries of India, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. He lectured, taught the Transcendental Meditation technique, and established administrative centers where practitioners could gather for meetings in his absence. During his visit to England, the Maharishi gave a lecture at Caxton Hall in London and met Leon MacLaren, the founder and leader of the School of Economic Science (SES). While in Manchester, England, the Maharishi gave a television interview and was featured in many English newspapers such as the Birmingham Post, the Oxford Mail and the Cambridge Daily News. This was also the year in which the Maharishi trained his first Transcendental Meditation teacher, Henry Nyburg.
In 1961, the Maharishi continued his travels by visiting the countries of Austria, Sweden, France, Italy, Greece, India, Kenya, England, USA and Canada. While in England, the Maharishi appeared on BBC television and gave a lecture to 5,000 people at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In April 1961, the Maharishi conducted his first Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh, India with 60 participants. Over 60 meditators from India, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Britain, Malaya, Norway, the United States, Australia, Greece, Italy and the West Indies attended. Teachers continued to be trained as time progressed. In this same year, the Maharishi began to introduce additional knowledge regarding the development of human potential, and began writing his translation and commentary on the first six chapters of the ancient Vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita.
His 1962 world tour included visits to Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand. The year concluded in California where the Maharishi dictated his book The Science of Being and Art of Living. In Rishikesh, India, beginning on 20 April 1962, a 40-day course was held for "sadhus, sanyasis, and brahmacharis" to introduce TM to "religious preachers and spiritual masters in India".
In 1963, the Maharishi addressed ministers of the Indian Parliament during his tour of cities in Europe, Asia, North America and India. Twenty one members of the Indian Parliament then issued a public statement endorsing the Maharishi's goals and meditation technique. His Canadian tour generated news articles in the magazine Enjoy and in the Daily Colonist, Calgary Herald and The Albertan.
The Maharishi's fifth world tour in 1964 consisted of visits to many cities in North America, Europe and India. During his visit to England he appeared with the Abbot of Downside, Abbot Butler, on a BBC television show called "The Viewpoint". In October of that year, in California, the Maharishi began teaching the first Advanced Technique of Transcendental Meditation to some experienced meditators. While traveling in America, the Maharishi met with Robert Maynard Hutchins, the head of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and U Thant, the Secretary General of the United Nations.
While the Maharishi began to advertise his Transcendental Meditation to a western audience from 1958, successfully establishing a number of branches for his movement, his worldwide success-story begins in 1967 with his association with The Beatles. This association was brief, ending in the "Indian Summer" of 1968 at the International Academy of Meditation at Rishikesh.
The Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in August 1967, studying with him in Bangor, Wales, and in early 1968, traveled to Rishikesh, India to "devote themselves fully to his instruction". Starr and McCartney left after a few weeks because of food and other personal reasons. Lennon and Harrison departed two weeks later after hearing a rumor that the Maharishi had made sexual advances towards Mia Farrow and a few other women. Lennon wrote the song "Maharishi" (with the lines: "what have you done? You made a fool of everyone") as he was leaving. Later, at the request of George Harrison, the title and lyrics were changed from "Maharishi" to "Sexy Sadie".
The New York Times reported that the influence of the Maharishi and going to Rishikesh to meditate, weaned The Beatles from LSD and inspired them to write many new songs which later were recorded on the White Album. While the Beatles were in India, they recorded a version of a song called “Spiritual Regeneration”, reported to be a "theme song" for the Maharishi’s program. In a press conference on April 3, 2009, prior to his performance at the David Lynch Foundation benefit concert ”Change Begins Within”, Paul McCartney commented that Transcendental Meditation was a gift the Beatles had received from Maharishi at a time when they were looking for something to stabilize them.
In the book, Paul McCartney; Many Years From Now, Barry Miles says that for the media, the Maharishi was well cast with "liquid eyes, twinkling but inscrutable with the wisdom from the East" and that Robert Crumb lampooned the Maharishi in his most famous character, Mr. Natural, the bearded, robed, and sybaritic guru. Miles goes on to say that in spite of the media's skepticism for the Maharishi's spiritual message, they seized upon him because young people seemed to listen to his pro-establishment, anti-drug message.
The New York Times reported in 2008 that Harrison and McCartney reconsidered the accusations. McCartney said that the rumors of sexual impropriety were raised by Alexis Mardas who "had agendas of his own, and may have fabricated (or at least exaggerated) the story". Harrison commented, "Now, historically, there's the story that something went on that shouldn't have done — but nothing did". Farrow's autobiography is ambiguous about the incident: she describes "panicking" and fleeing after the Maharishi put his arms around her in a dark cave, immediately after a private meditation session, and that "at my level of consciousness, if Jesus Christ Himself had embraced me, I would have misinterpreted it."
The brief association with the Beatles resulted in celebrities rushing to be associated with the Maharishi, initiates including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, the Beach Boys, Mia Farrow, Kurt Vonnegut and Vidal Sassoon. Because of his involvement with many wealthy celebrities, the Maharishi began to be ridiculed for the display of his love of luxury, such as his habit of touring in a Rolls-Royce, and his business acumen. Alexis Mardas, head of the Beatles' Apple Electronics, noted the luxurious infrastructure at the Rishikesh ashram. Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' road manager, recalled his opinion in reference to obtaining rights for a feature film that, "This guy knows more about making deals than I do. He's really into scoring, the Maharishi". Private Eye ridiculed the guru with a character named "Veririchi Lottsa Money Yogi Bear". The Maharishi was also parodied by comedians Bill Dana and Joey Forman in the 1968 comedy album "The Mashuganishi Yogi", and by comedian Mike Myers in the movie The Love Guru and in the character "Guru Maharishi Yogi" featured in the BBC sketch Goodness Gracious Me.
In 1968 Maharishi announced that he would withdraw from public activity and began training meditators at his global headquarters in Seelisberg, Switzerland, who would take over the teaching of the technique.
The success of the TM movement following its association with the Beatles resulted in immense personal wealth for the Maharishi, who made a number of fortunate property investments with the funds he amassed. In England, he bought Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, Roydon Hall in Maidstone, Swythamley Park in the Peak District and a Georgian rectory in Suffolk, and his income in the 1970s was reported at six million GBP per year.
From the mid 1970s, the Maharishi began to target business professionals, adapting his message to promise "increased creativity and flexibility, increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, improved relations with supervisors and co-workers". His TM movement came to be increasingly structured along the lines of a multinational corporation. The foundation of the Maharishi International University in 1974 falls into this period. In October 1975, the Maharishi was pictured on the front cover of Time magazine.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the TM movement began to shed its identity as part of the hippie counterculture, making incursions into the US American cultural mainstream. This included increasingly outlandish claims about the powers of TM, including the reduction of crime by the practice of "Yogic flying". Adoption in government agencies and public schools was stopped when a US court in 1977 declared the movement to be religious, and therefore adoption of TM by public organizations in breach of the separation of church and state (First Amemdment). During the 1980s, the movement came under increased scrutiny due to accusations of fraud and pseudo-scientific deception.
An attempt on the Maharishi's life was made in Delhi on 1 August 1991. He collapsed after having been handed a glass of orange juice by "a foreign disciple". He was taken into intensive care with kidney and pancreas failure. He survived the attack, but took almost a year to recover. The poisoner was never apprehended.
In 1992, the Maharishi relocated his headquarters from Seelisberg to a converted monastery in Vlodrop, Netherlands, where he resided in isolation, communicating to the outside world mainly via video, and later via the internet and Veda Vision, a subscription-based satellite TV channel. The Maharishi's ambition continued to grow, and he began to develop aspirations of forming a world government. Beginning in the 1992 and until about 2004, the Maharishi made a number of attempts to attain an increased political influence. The Natural Law Party was an attempt at forming a transnational political party, which participated in various elections, including the US presidential elections of 1992, 1996, and 2000 with John Hagelin as candidate, who was dubbed "Raja of the Invincible America" by the Maharishi. Also from the 1990s, the Maharishi unsuccessfully attempted to establish a sovereign microstate. He founded the Global Country of World Peace for this purposee, which among other initiatives offering USD 1.3 billion to the President of Suriname for a 200-year lease of 3,500 acres of land and in 2002 attempted to impose a king on the Talamanca reservation in Costa Rica.
During the early 1990s, the Maharishi was closely associated with Deepak Chopra. While the Maharishi led a reclusive life in Vlodrop, Chopra toured on his behalf, spreading TM to Eastern Europe and to a lesser extent to the Muslim world. The association ended as the Maharishi was accusing Chopra of trying to compete with him for the position of guru in July 1993, asking him to stop travelling or writing books, leading to Chopra's leaving the movement in January 1994. In 1993, and 2003 decisions were made to significantly raise the fees for learning the TM technique.. 
In 2003, David Lynch “lent his name” to a fund raising project to raise USD 1 billion "on behalf of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi", to build 100 "Peace Palaces". Lynch said "I know that the Maharishi's peace plan will work and I want to do what I can to help it." The Natural Law Party remained active until 2004 in Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and in a number of European countries.
On January 12th 2008, Maharishi declared: "It has been my pleasure at the feet of Guru Dev [viz. Brahmananda Saraswati ], to take the light of Guru Dev and pass it on in my environment. Now today, I am closing my designed duty to Guru Dev. And I can only say, 'Live long the world in peace, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from suffering.'”
On 5 February 2008 at Vlodrop, Netherlands, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes. The Agni Samadhi Vedic rites were conducted on a high plateau on the grounds of a temple the Maharishi had been in the process of building in homage to his Master, overlooking the confluence of the Ganges in Allahabad, India. The funeral was carried by Sadhana TV station and was presided over by one of the claimants to the seat of Shankaracharya of the North, Swami Vasudevananda Saraswati Maharaj. During the military salute, the soldiers reversed arms but did not fire a salute, in honor of the Maharishi's life-long dedication to the creation of world peace. (As reported by Sadhana TV station, 11 February 2008.)
The Maharishi was survived by a number of nephews and nieces. One nephew, Girish Varma, is chairman of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools Group and chancellor of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Vedic University in India.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is one of a number of Indian gurus who brought Neo-Hindu adaptations of Vedantic Hinduism to the west. As such, he stands alongside other 20th century figures such as A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sri Aurobindo, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Muktananda, Osho and Sathya Sai Baba.
Over a 30-year period the Maharishi held many advanced, in-residence courses and assemblies in North America, India and Europe for practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique. These courses consisted of long meditation sessions, lectures by Maharishi, discussions based on personal experiences of meditation, questions from course participants, and organizational meetings. This type of in-residence course style continues to this day.
In the mid 1970s, the Maharishi began the TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, as an additional option for those who had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for some time. According to Coplin, this new aspect of knowledge emphasized not only the individual, but also the collective benefits created by group practice of this advanced program. This new program gave rise to a new principle called the Maharishi Effect. The Maharishi believed that this group practice of the technique benefited the environment.
Maharishi Vedic Science, or MVS, is based on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's interpretation of the ancient Vedic texts. MVS includes two aspects, the practical aspect of the Transcendental Meditation technique and the TM-Sidhi Program, as well as the theoretical aspect of how MVS is applied to day to day living.
These applications include programs in: Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH); Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, a mathematical system for the design and construction of buildings; Maharishi Gandharva Veda, a form of classical Indian music; Maharishi Jyotish (also known as Maharishi Vedic Astrology), a system claiming the evaluation of life tendencies of an individual; Maharishi Vedic Agriculture, a trademarked process for producing fresh, organic food; and, Consciousness-Based Education.
According to educator, James Grant, a former Maharishi University of Management Associate Professor of Education and the former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Maharishi brought out a "full revival of the Vedic tradition of knowledge from India" and demonstrated its relevance in many areas including education, business, medicine and government. 
Maharishi International University (renamed Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in 1995), the first university Maharishi founded, began classes in Santa Barbara, California, in 1973. Then in 1974, the university moved to Fairfield, Iowa, where it remains today. The university houses a library of the Maharishi's taped lectures and writings including the 33-lesson, Science of Creative Intelligence course, originally a series of lectures given by the Maharishi in Fiuggi, Italy, in 1972. Described in the MUM university catalogue as combining modern science, and Vedic science, the course also describes certain higher states of consciousness, and guidance on how to attain these states.
The Maharishi also introduced theories of management, defense, and government, programs said to alleviate poverty, and introduced a new economic development currency called the RAAM. In 2000, the Maharishi began building administrative and teaching centers called "Peace Palaces" around the world, and by 2008 at least eight had been constructed in the US alone.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in his farewell message on January 11, 2008, announced the establishment of the Brahmananda Saraswati Trust (BST), named in honor of his teacher, to support large groups totaling more than 30,000 peace-creating Vedic Pandits in perpetuity across India. According to Bevan Morris, the Prime Minister of the Global Country of World Peace, the BST is an endowment fund to "support the Vedic Pandits to perform Yagyas and Graha Shanti for all 192 countries of the world generation after generation".
The Maharishi has written more than twenty books on the Transcendental Meditation technique and Maharishi Vedic Science.
In 1955, the organizers of The Great Spiritual Development Conference of Kerala, published The Beacon Light of the Himalayas, a transcribed, 170 page, "souvenir" of the conference. Authors Chryssides, Humes and Forsthoefel, Miller, and Russel cite this as the Maharishi's first published book on Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation is not mentioned in the text of the book. The book is dedicated to Maharshi Bala Brahmanchari Mahesh Yogi Rajaram by his devotees of Kerala and contains photos, letters and lectures by numerous authors which appear in various languages such as English, Hindi and Sanskrit.
In his 1963 publication Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation and Commentary, the Maharishi describes the Bhagavad Gita as "the Scripture of Yoga." He says that "its purpose is to explain in theory and practice all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level." In 1964, the Maharishi attended the All-India Yogic Conference held in Calcutta, India, where he said that the teachings contained in the Bhagavad Gita was misunderstood in the current age, "the practice of yoga was misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied," resulting in "weakness in the fields of thought and action". The Maharishi said that the source of his commentary was his master: "We are just an innocent means for the spontaneous flow of that knowledge – that's all."
While working on his translation and commentary of the Bhagavad Gita, the Maharishi began audio taping the text of Science of Being and Art of Living, which was later transcribed and published in 1963.
During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of celebrities such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Deepak Chopra, Jane Fonda, Mia Farrow, Shirley MacLaine, Joe Namath, Stevie Wonder, Russell Brand, and Howard Stern, as well as author Kurt Vonnegut and Major-General Franklin M. Davis, Jr reported using the technique.  
Singer-songwriter Donovan (who befriended the Maharishi and put his picture on the back cover of his A Gift from a Flower to a Garden album) also learned the technique. Performer Andy Kaufman and magician Doug Henning were also students of the Maharishi. Howard Stern interviewed the Maharishi twice and credits Transcendental Meditation with saving his mother from depression. Clint Eastwood and David Lynch are two notable film directors who practice Transcendental Meditation.
Republican Party politician William Scranton, another student of the Maharishi, lost his 1986 bid for the Pennsylvania governorship when political consultant James Carville ran a television spot about Scranton's affiliation with the "guru".
In an interview with the Washington Post, film director David Lynch says he met the Maharishi for the first time in 1975 at the Spiritual Regeneration Movement center in Los Angeles, California, two years after he learned Transcendental Meditation. Since then, Lynch has been an ardent practitioner and supporter of Maharishi's programs and has said that the Maharishi is “his guru”.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is credited as the author of more than 16 books.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (January 12, 1918 – February 5, 2008), developed and introduced the Transcendental Meditation technique (also known as TM) and related programs and initiatives, including schools and universities with campuses in countries around the world
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (January 12, 1918 - February 5, 2008) was an Indian guru (a teacher of spirituality). He was most famous for his development of Transcendental Meditation. He also was known for his association with the rock bands, The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
His birth name was either Mahesh Verma Shrivastava or Mahesh Prasad Varma. His parents were Hindus from the Kshatriya (warrior) caste. He was born in Raipur, India. He graduated from Allahabad University in Uttar Pradesh, and began his career as a physicist. His physics work made him interested in the sound vibrations made by spoken syllables, and how those vibrations could change a person's body or consciousness. In time, he became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who was called "Guru Dev". He later became the swami's secretary. He could not become the swami's , because of India's caste system, but he could become a guru on his own. Guru Dev gave him the name "Bal Brahmachari Mahesh". Later he adopted the name Maharishi ("great teacher"), while "yogi" was a name given to teachers of yoga.
Transcendental Meditation (sometimes shortened to "TM") grew out of Guru Dev's teachings, and the Maharishi's own physics studies. A person practices Transcendental Meditation by sitting quietly, and mentally repeating a "holy in Hinduism. In Transcendental Meditation, the sounds are used purely as sounds independent of any associated meanings in any language.Meditating helps a person to relax, and to concentrate on important things. During this meditation a person transcends conscious thought to a quieter state of mind, and this gives the technique its name.", of syllables or names considered or
The Maharishi began what he called the "Spiritual stress and learn how to focus would improve their lives, and in time make a better world. He taught for nearly ten years, with little public notice. He also published a book, The Science of Being and the Art of Living, and recorded a spoken-word album, that explained his beliefs.Movement" in 1958. He traveled around the world, teaching Transcendental Meditation to ordinary people. Unlike many gurus, he did not require followers to give up their everyday lives, or move to an to live and study. He believed that helping people to relieve
During 1967, during the last months of his ten-year "world tour", he visited England, and people there began to join his Spiritual Regeneration Movement. One person who joined was Pattie Boyd, the wife of George Harrison, who was a member of The Beatles. Harrison had learned to play the sitar, an Indian musical instrument, and was interested in Hinduism. He had not found a guru whose teachings interested him. When Pattie told him about the Maharishi, he became interested, and all four Beatles went to a lecture given by the Maharishi. They sent a message to him, asking to meet in person. All of the Beatles were interested in TM, because it was simple and they could continue on as musicians, instead of having to change their lifestyle. They each joined the movement, and began to promote the Maharishi and his teachings. They even announced that they gave up the use of drugs, which had earlier caused for the band, because of what they learned.
Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was also interested in TM, but had many problems in his personal life. He decided not to join the Beatles when they traveled to Wales to attend a weekend class given by the Maharishi, and stayed home. Later that weekend, Epstein overdosed on sleeping pills, and died in his sleep. The Beatles were very hurt by the news, and worried about what would happen to their careers. Maharishi tried to comfort them, telling them to think happy thoughts about Epstein, and let his spirit find peace.
The Beatles wanted to study with the Maharishi in India. They had just started their own company, Apple Corps, and with Epstein gone they had to work out many details for themselves. They could have found another manager, but decided they did not want one, and looked after Apple personally, until their helpers could take over running the company. Finally in early 1968, they made the trip to India.
The Beatles enjoyed the atmosphere in India, and the free time they had between classes, and began to write songs for a new album, which was later called the "White Album". One by one the Beatles lost interest. Ringo Starr, who had a sensitive stomach, became sick from the spicy food served at the ashram, and headed home after just a few days. Paul McCartney in time became bored, and also headed home. George Harrison and John Lennon stayed longer, but were upset when "Magic Alex", a friend who came to India with them, began to tell them stories about the Maharishi trying to have sexual intercourse with some of the women who came to the ashram. This Harrison and Lennon, and they went home the next day.
The Beatles were earlier interested in making a movie about the Maharishi and his work. When they began to talk with him about it, he surprised them by knowing more about business matters than they ever expected, and by asking questions about his share of the movie's profits. They did not think a "holy man" would be interested in such things. Between this and Magic Alex's stories, the band decided the Maharishi was a . They publicly him, telling the media they thought he was something other than what he proved to be. Lennon wrote a song about him, whose words went "Maharishi, what have you done? You made a fool of everyone." He later changed the name "Maharishi" to "Sexy Sadie", to keep the Maharishi from seeking revenge of some kind, or a lawsuit, against him.
Years later, the Beatles realized Magic Alex's  McCartney and Harrison began again to say good things about the Maharishi, and to promote his work. Starr called him "one of the I met in my life." Lennon never forgave Maharishi for letting him down personally, but still used TM from time to time. Lennon realized that he had been looking for a , and that any father figure he found was going to let him down in the end, so he was better off to work out his own problems.were false.
The Beatles were not the only celebrities to get involved with the Maharishi and his work. Actress Mia Farrow, folk-rocker Donovan and Mike Love of the Beach Boys also studied with the Maharishi in India, and the Beach Boys later promoted TM, much more than the Beatles ever had. They toured together with the Maharishi, and Mike Love insisted people who worked for them meditate daily. The association did not work well for the Beach Boys, and an album they recorded at a school started by the Maharishi sold poorly. In time most of the Beach Boys lost interest, but Love continued to promote the Maharishi and his works.
Magician Doug Henning also became a follower of Transcendental Meditation. He campaigned to open a theme park called "Vedaland", based on Hinduism and the Maharishi's teachings. after his death, Doug Henning's widow continued the campaign.
Scientists studied people who meditated, and learned that TM really did help them to relax, and to think more clearly. A few Christian ministers and writers denounced TM, calling it "a into Eastern religions", and said that mantras were really a way of invoking the Devil or demons. Other Christians saw no harm in it, or encouraged people who wanted to meditate to instead chant the name of Jesus Christ, or a name for God, or a line from a psalm or Christian prayer. In any case, TM went on to help many people around the world, and it is still taught as a form of meditation.