Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Maharishi

The yogi was 91.

It is easy for us to laugh at the man and his teachings (levitation? come on), but without him (and those four lightning conductors), the two worlds - East and West - would not have come closer to one another. One could say that America's present-day interest in Yoga, meditation, Eastern religions and alternative systems of medicine would not have happened without the Maharishi.

I will argue that without him, "White Album" wouldn't have happened. And Paul wouldn't have flown back early to London. And George and John wouldn't have stayed back in India. And the Beatles wouldn't have broken up. And David Lynch wouldn't have made his films. And I should stop now.

Whether or not he "made a fool of everyone", the man from Jabalpur leaves behind quite a legacy.

If you want to see some really cool pictures of the Beatles in Rishikesh, you will want to check out this site: The Beatles in Rishikesh (the photo galleries are on the top left-hand corner of the page)

6 comments:

Rahul said...

One could say that America's present-day interest in Yoga, meditation, Eastern religions and alternative systems of medicine would not have happened without the Maharishi.

Oh, come on. When the Beatles met the Maharishi, "Norwegian Wood" was already a couple of years old. The west had known Indian music, via Ravi Shankar, for a decade and a half or so, courtesy Yehudi Menuhin and others. Yoga came to the west from B K S Iyengar, again by way of Menuhin. "Eastern religion", "alternative medicine" (acupuncture etc) had been well studied in the west; but that meant mostly east-Asian culture. Only recently (since the 1980s?) have Hinduism and ayurveda attracted the same level of interest, and I don't quite see the Maharishi's contribution, given that even the Beatles got tired of him rather quickly. His greatest legacy is his comedic value, in particular the yogic hopping...

km said...

LOL@ comedic hopping :)

Sure, Yehudi Menhuin, Ravi Shankar - and before them people like Aldous Huxley, Isherwood, Ginsberg, Watts etc - were instrumental, but MMY and the Beatles were definitely the tipping point for the masses.

Think of it as the Internet before Compuserve and AOL came along.

lekhni said...

Yes, I guess it's the "Yogic flying" that everyone will remember about Mahesh Yogi.

km said...

Lekhni: hey, it could happen. David Lynch seems to believe it.

Falstaff said...

I don't know. I agree that MMY and the Beatles were a tipping point, but I'm not sure how much that had to do with MMY specifically. I mean, he was just one generic Eastern mystic, right? If he hadn't been around presumably the Beatles would have found some other fruitcake to latch on to.

I would say it seems to me that MMY never understood the gravity of what he achieved with the Beatles, but then, he never understood gravity, period.

km said...

Falstaff: Completely agree with the fruitcake comment. Just like The Who found Meher Baba.