Beatles’ guru yogi dies


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died on February 5 at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. He was thought to be 91 years old.

“He died peacefully at about 7:00 pm.,” said Bob Roth, a spokesman for the Transcendental Meditation movement that Maharishi founded. He said his death appeared to be due to “natural causes, his age.”

He began teaching transcendental meditation in 1955 and brought the technique to the US in 1959. But the movement really took off after the Beatles attended one of his lectures in 1967.

Maharishi retreated last month into silence at his home on the grounds of a former Franciscan monastery, saying he wanted to dedicate his remaining days to studying the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement.

With the help of celebrity endorsements, Maharishi parlayed his interpretations of ancient scripture into a multi-million-dollar global empire. His roster of famous meditators ran from Mike Love of the Beach Boys to Clint Eastwood and Deepak Chopra, a new age preacher.

His rise to fame came with his association with the Beatles, who first attended one of his lectures in August 1967 in Wales as they looked for a way of attaining higher consciousness in the aftermath of that year’s Summer of Love. The Beatles were so charmed by the self-effacing guru that they agreed to stay at his India compound, starting in February 1968, an astonishing choice for what was then the world’s most celebrated music group.

But once there, Maharishi had a falling out with the stars after rumours emerged he was making inappropriate advances on attendee Mia Farrow. John Lennon was so angry he wrote a bitter satire, Sexy Sadie, in which he vowed that Maharishi would “get yours yet.” Maharishi insisted he had done nothing wrong and years later McCartney agreed with him. Chopra has disputed the Farrow story saying that Maharishi had become unhappy with the Beatles because they were using drugs. — AP