"MY system of meditation is a golden link to connect and harmonise materialism and spirituality. It is a direct process to integrate man's life on earth." Thus spake Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who took spiritualism to the masses and packaged TM or transcendental meditation in a more easy-to-understand form.
The third of four children, Mahesh Prasad Varma, now revered by his followers as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was born into a rather well-off family. The exact date of his birth is not known. January 12, 1917 is the one given by his uncle Raj Varma, other dates are October 18, 1911; January 12, 1918; and October 18, 1918.
He showed a natural disposition towards the sciences, and as he grew up he graduated from Allahabad University. "I was completely dissatisfied with what I studied in college. Because I knew - this can't be the whole knowledge. I was searching for something complete whereby I could understand everything." For a while he worked at a local factory, but his restless spirit bade him to become a disciple to the Shankaracharaya. And with this he renounced the world, took the vows of celibacy, and began to call himself Bal Brahmachari Mahesh.
The Maharishi travelled all over India and met many great men He told his listeners that life was short, and so there was no point in being miserable. "Then why waste time in helplessness and suffer any agony in life? Why suffer when you can enjoy? Why be miserable when you can be happy? Now, let the days of misery and peacelessness be over and let their operation become tales of the past. Allow not the past history of agony to be continued in the present. Be happy and gay."
He held, in the late fifties, a Seminar of Spiritual Luminaries in Mylapore with a view to finding out a practical formula of spiritual regeneration of the world.
The Maharishi's goal now was to make the whole world spiritual, and to do that he would have to spread his message quickly and effectively, but he realised that the rate at which he was going, it would take at least 200 years to achieve that goal. "Then I thought: I must go to the most advanced country, because I thought — the country is most advanced because the people of that country would try something new very readily." Once his message was accepted there, it would be easy enough to spread it to the rest of the world.
His book Science of Being and Art of Living was published in 1963. It was the summation of both the practical wisdom of the ancient Indian texts and the latest scientific knowledge of the West.