Friday, July 2, 2010

The Maharishi Mahesh yogi And Vedic City Iowa

While eating my lunch the other day I decided I was in need of background noise and more often than not, The Travel Channel is THE place for ignorable white noise. So the Travel Channel is where I went. But instead of white noise I tuned in just in time to watch a story on a disturbing little town in Iowa which had chosen to base not only it's laws but its architecture on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

About The Maharishi:
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died in 2008 at age 96, he was a spiritual Guru and founder of the transcendental Meditation or TM movement in the mid to late fifties. TM, Mahesh claimed, was originally given to man 5000 years ago by the Hindu god Vishnu and had subsequently been lost and rediscovered throughout the millenia until finally being bestowed upon himself in the thirties by Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. The movement reached it's pinnacle in the early seventies when Mahesh became the guru to the Beatles as well as various other celebrities of the day.

The Vedic writings on which Mahesh's techniques and belief system were based are as always, ancient, vague, and metaphoric enough to allow believers to interpret and add to them as they see fit, which Mahesh was more than happy to do. At the height of the movements popularity he introduced an "advanced form" of TM called "TM-Sidhi" . Besides greater spiritual enlightenment, Sidhi promised followers the ability to generate a peace inducing field, invulnerability, and every one's favorite, the ability to float and fly. Wow, that does sound advanced.

Around the same time Mahesh also developed theScience of Creative Intelligence or SCI. Criticised by both James Randi and Carl Sagan as a pseudoscience SCI was an obvious attempt to make Mahesh's beliefs seem less supernatural, more scientific and therefore more appealing to a wider audience. You know, kind of like Creationists and the intelligent design movement and by "kind of" I mean EXACTLY THE SAME AS.

Vedic City:
Having declared itself the capital of the "Global Country of World Peace", Which the town's homepage descibes as; " A country without borders for peace loving people everywhere " , founded of course by Mahesh in 2000, the people of Maharishi Vedic city Iowa are working hard to keep Mahesh's cult alive.

Residents of Vedic city gather several times a day for meditation, adhere to a strict vegetarian diet(all food is legally required to be grown organically), and must build their homes facing east in accordance with vedic architecture. Homes must also adhere to precise Vedic proportions, include an interior silent core, a perimeter boundary called a "vastu fence" and a gold-colored fixture on the roof, called a "kalash". All of which are of course vital to cosmic awareness, inner conscientiousness, world peace and the usual variety of made up spiritualism nonsense.

Besides naming it's very own Mansion Hotel as the physical capital of the imaginary global country, the town also houses a variety of Mahareshi-themed "educational" facilities including: Maharishi Vedic University, Maharishi University of Management, Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, Maharishi Open University, Maharishi Spiritual University, and Ideal Girls School. An impressive list for a town which, as of a 2006 census, had only 222 residents.

But my personal favorite program in Vedic City has to be Vedic Defense, descibed in it's entirety as follows;
"Founded to become a “lighthouse of peace” for America and the world. The City is working to establish a permanent group of peace-creating experts whose daily practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation™ (they added the trademark not me, seriously)and Yogic Flying techniques will promote coherent national and world consciousness and thereby prevent any negativity from arising in America or in the family of nations."

Translation: They believe that by practicing mantric meditation, which is all TM is, that they they can effect the ever popular global conscientiousness in a positive way. Thus creating an impenetrable bubble of peace for all around them regardless of weather or not those around them actually believe in TM. Sounds like perfect conditions for a million dollar challenge to me.

Links And Additional Content
There was so much to be said about this insane little town and the Transcendental Meditation movement that it was hard to decide what to leave out. Vedic science alone was deserving of it's own entry and may still get one. So be sure to follow these links as well as those throughout this article to the; town's homepage, the Maharishi University site and the Wikipedia page for Maharishi Vedic city. All of which will provide you with even more links and information to support my assertion that; like scientology, the poeple of Vedic city and followers of TM are not harmless eccentrics to ignore or laugh at but a cult worth paying attention to.

Don't believe Yogi's can fly? BEHOLD! Yogic flight in action! This clip is also a fine example of why I blocked animal planet. Posted by YouTube user:gobeyondthought

I never said we couldn't laugh at them.

Image Credit: Mahesh photo, unknown
Mayor Bob Wynne photo taken from the Town's homepage.
Video posted by YouTube user: gobeyondthought

1 comment:

  1. wow. you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.