So His Holiness Maharishi has turned his Prada-clad toes up and levitated to the great goldmine in the sky. Like Deepak Chopra, he parlayed non-materialism into a multi-billion dollar business. His ability to shake down wealthy donors was legendary.
He made a fortune for example on the Important Planetary Transit of Guru Mesha Rashi, due to have occurred in May 2000. This Transit apparently was a Bad Thing, and His Holiness promised to counter it with a Global Yagya performance. For this ‘many large contributions are needed.’ Fair enough, Global Yagya doesn’t come cheap.
But he also flogged a wide range of products apart from Global Yagya. These include Blissful Joy oil, Peace of Mind tea and Golden Transition - the so-called ‘bliss in a bottle’.
When the Maharishi ‘University’ was established in the UK in the mid-nineties I was approached (maybe because I had done TM) about becoming a professor there. The remuneration package? Well, er, nothing actually. Mention of same elicited a sad shake of the head at my crass materialism.
The son of a tax inspector (sic), his superb business sense made him a multi-billionaire, and he lived appropriately. Although claiming to abstain fully from sex, evidence from recovering females adherents suggest that His
Horniness Holiness was a randy little bugger who’d hump the leg of a table.
Did all of this then make him a complete fraud and mountebank? In my view, he simply identified a product (TM), stripped it of its Hindu philosophical context, and flogged it to gullible Westerners. In this he was not much different to so many other providers of spiritual sustenance. And just like Norman Vincent Peale, who parlayed about two paragraphs of useful life skills into nearly 100 books, he minted it for every possible cent.
And at least his value proposition applied in this world.