G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Maharishi Yogi, Did You Make a Fool of Everyone?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is credited with introducing the Beatles and other stars to ancient Hindu meditation methods, died on February 5, 2008. He introduced the Transcendental Meditation movement to the West in 1959, with the intention of creating individual peace and enlightenment.

By the time of his death, it had grown into a multi-million dollar empire.

Indian newspapers- including Marathi Sakal- have been laudatory of him. As always not a word of skepticism.

This is what Carl Sagan said about Maharishi:

“…Perhaps the most successful recent global pseudoscience - by many criteria, already a religion - is the Hindu doctrine of transcendental meditation (TM).

The soporific homilies of its founder and spiritual leader, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, can be seen on television. Seated in the yogi position, his white hair here and there flecked with black, surrounded by garlands and floral offerings, he has a look.

One day while channel surfing we came upon this visage. "You know who that is?" asked our four-year-old son. "God." The worldwide TM organization has an estimated valuation of $3 billion. For a fee they promise through meditation to be able to walk you through walls, to make you invisible, to enable you to fly. By thinking in unison they have, they say, diminished the crime rate in Washington, D.C., and caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, among other secular miracles.

Not one smattering of real evidence has been offered for any such claims.

TM sells folk medicine, runs trading companies, medical clinics and "research" universities,and has unsuccessfully entered politics. In its oddly charismatic leader, its promise of community, and the offer of magical powers in exchange for money and fervent belief, it is typical of many pseudosciences marketed for sacerdotal export…”

(“The most precious thing” from ‘The Demon-Haunted World’ 1996)

His former disciple John Lennon admitted to "an error of judgement", writing the scathing "Sexy Sadie" about him.

Sexy Sadie
------The Beatles

hoSexy Sadie what have you done
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie ooh what have you done.

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules
You layed it down for all to see
You layed it down for all to see
Sexy Sadie oooh you broke the rules.

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover
She came along to turn on everyone
Sexy Sadie the greatest of them all.

Sexy Sadie how did you know
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie oooh how did you know.

Sexy Sadie you'll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie oooh you'll get yours yet.

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
Just a smile would lighten everything
Sexy Sadie she's the latest and the greatest of them all.

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie.

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie.


Artist: Dana Fradon The New Yorker 20 January 1968

7 comments:

Chetan said...

I had met a cab driver in Des Moines, Iowa who was a great fan of Maharshi Yogi. He got agitated when I said that I thought he was a conman who was duping people on the basis of false promises of world peace through transcendental meditation and asked me for my email. The very next day he sent me a link to a video of people jumping while what seemed to be in Padmaasan. He asked a rhetorical questions as to how I can be blind to the fact that this amounted to the Maharashi fulfilling his promise of teaching 'flying.'

In a perverse sort of way, I prefer Osho/Rajneesh to other such babas. (Disclaimer: In my hormone fueled youth I had voraciously consumed most of his literature, believing him to be 'enlightened') At least he was honest about his intentions to his disciples. When quizzed about his collection of rolexes and Rolce Royces, he always maintained that there was no discrepancy in his teachings since he never claimed asceticism to be a path for enlightenment and in fact believed that it was the rich who had an upper hand when it came to spirituality since all their primary needs were satisfied. Somewhat like the Maslow's theory of hierarchy with self actualization being the top of the pyramid of human needs, he said that the poor were too concerned with fulfilling their primary needs such as food water shelter and education to children to be bothered with religion and spirituality.

Anyways, this is a simplistic example and an anecdote about a person whom I used to be enamoured with in my youth. I know that having studied saint poets of Maharashtra, you will definitely have a different view on poor and their spirituality. Yet I couldn't resist sharing these views.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Chetan,

You are bang on. Yes, I have different views on spiritual needs of poor.

Spiritual need is as basic as food, water, shelter and sex. It's not just a need but also a prime mover. A thought like "Vitthal is navigating me through this minefield infested world" helps one walk.

Organized religion is another matter though!

I too prefer Rajneesh. In fact, I like him because he was very honest about sex as very few of us are. I read him from time to time. He has something interesting to say like say Khushwant Singh.

best,

Nikheel Shaligram said...

This remind me the simple preachings given by Gondavalekar Maharaj and his disciple Prof. Keshavrao alias Dada Belsare. I have met him and listened to his Sunday morning session on Dnyaneshwari from 9 to 10 a.m. at his Malad, Mumbai residence.There was not a single paisa in their devotional empire. In fact, Dada Belsare was a family-man, his son was professor and Principal of one college in Mumbai.I hope you have at least heard about Dada Belsare.
Any comments?
Nikheel

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Nikheel,

Poor me. Again I don't know Dada Belsare beyond his name.

Dada Belsare's life sounds like that of Eknath. The most under-rated of Marathi speaking saints but one of the very best. Eknath lived in one of the most difficult periods in the history of Maharashtra and yet did some pathbreaking things.

But I know Gondavalekar Maharaj.

I liked "simple preachings" part.

best,

mangesh said...

Dear Aniruddha,
Indeed the preachings of Prof. Belsare were very simple and straightforward to all levels of mankind. his weekly meetings on Friday evening with his disciples have been recorded by one of the attendees, Prof. Kelkar and they are published in 3 volumes. Besides, Prof.Belsare's preachings also have been published in Penguin style smaller books, which could be carried within our pockets.
Mangesh Nabar

waman said...

Dear Aniruddha,
I waited for your blog on Baba Amte, but it seems that you pay more importance to internationally famous people than Baba, who has all his life worked for destitutes, without preaching.I don't want to write any more harsh, but this is what I wish to express frankly.
Waman Karnik

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks and sorry to disappoint you.

You can say what you feel like without mincing words about this blog. Please don't be sorry about any thing.

I have nothing to say about Baba Amte at this stage.

A lot of great people like P L Deshpande and Vijay Tendulkar have spoken about Baba's work in the past.

best,