Post by Phyllis Sheehan
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Conned Me!
In his book "Science of Being and Art of Living"
[Dear Phyllis -- I agree with you and, since what you have written
will be right there on the screen, I have omitted it. I was hooked on
the opening words of SOB (yes, that's what we used to call it!) which
I now think of as "Science of Being A Con Artist"]
I hope what I have posted below won't be too long for you and others
to read. It needs more detail, but maybe others can help with that.
Certainly we have seen quite a lot of detail already about his
finances and the (don't make me laugh) "raam" ROTFL. There is some
irony and just possibly enough circumstantial "evidence" to maybe make
a few who already wonder wonder a little more. -- anyway, here is the
first draft of something I mentioned before. PLEASE REMEMBER. MY/OUR
GOAL IS NOT TO HURT PEOPLE WHO DO TM. IF YOU DO AND YOU LIKE WHAT YOU
GET FOR WHAT YOU DO, THAT'S YOUR DECISION. WE/I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO
KNOW THAT YOU HAVE HELP FUND A MAJOR CON ARTIST WHO LAUGHS AT YOU DAY
AFTER DAY (this laughing business I will post some other time).
Some friends and I have put this together for no other reason than
that there is so little truth in the organization that propagates "tm"
and in the actual tm teachings themselves. Mahesh Chandra Shrivastava,
b. 12 Jan 1917, claims to have been a totally devoted disciple of his
great guru and master Brahmanand Saraswati, Jagatguru of Jyotirmath.
He was possibly faking then and certainly is faking now.
I know Mahesh's family name because I was introduced to his brother,
J. P. Shrivastava at Rishikesh by Shantanand. Shantanand said, "This
is Maharishi's brother." And the gentleman introduced himself as J. P.
Shrivastava. (I also had the opportunity to ask some of the very
earliest initiators who also confirmed this. A friend handled Mahesh's
passport and reported to me the date of birth.)
THESE ARE THE BASIC OPERATING THEORIES:
* The idea of Mahesh beguiling mahamudra and dzogchen teachings (which
will be explained a little bit below) out of some lama or lamas
fleeing the Chinese is no stretch at all. Mahesh is an insufferable
opportunist quite capable of ripping off anyone. No one needs to
explain this to those who have watched him carefully and the
disillusioned who no longer can take him at his purported face value.
Perhaps nothing can be shown to those who cling to their delusions
about Mahesh and his mantra meditation like the doomed to straws.
* I think that Mahesh well knew that even smart people will pay almost
anything to get something for nothing especially "hope" and
Mahesh's claims about tm sure made it sound like something really
worth it. Of course, we all bought into the personality of Mahesh. We
probably started because he was so cute, so giggly, so beguiling, so
promising, so clever when he answered questions in his singing,
squeaky voice with that adorable accent. Those of us who attended SCI
symposia were in awe as he took every scientist and philosopher by the
hand and led him or her around to his way of seeing things. He was
truly beguiling, with the BEbeing and softness of a dove and the GUILE
of the biblical serpent. But we just couldn't see it then.
* There is a dzogchen monastery at Dehradun (not too far north and
somewhat east of Rishikesh). It was founded in the 50's. Because we
believed everything that came out of Mahesh's mouth (CC in 3 to 5
years, levitation, that he was the closest of Guru Dev's disciples,
that he must be as cosmic as he seemed) we believed that after Guru
Dev died he indeed sat in a cave for some years until he introduced tm
to the world. I think there is more evidence that he was busy pumping
every lama and guru (Ganges River Valley saint) he could find for
whatever he could beguile from them. If he spent 13 years being Guru
Dev's factotum, then he already had a very accurate knowledge of the
who's who of the Himalayan foothills. Yet, for ourselves, we never
actually KNEW a thing. Just what was it that we thought we knew so
much about that we were so sure of Mahesh's "maharishiness"?
His Wholly Weaselness Mahesh the Fox demonstrated time and again that
he is as smart as they come, If nothing else, that was the whole
purpose behind those SCI symposia to make sure everybody got the
picture, read my lips: I am the smartest person on the planet, these
professors and scientists nuzzle up to me AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT.
He has covered his tracks well (secrets really work [sell well] if
they are actually secrets and no one can penetrate them) and made very
sound investments the "raam" ROTFL for example remember, he used
your money to do this, he didn't use it to create world peace, that's
for suckers to invest in, butt-bouncing and such.
The following is not, therefore "proof" but we think it is very
convincing. (For references purposes: "I" and "we" are used
interchangeably and neither refers to one of us nor to all of us.)
1 I don't really know that Mahesh got tm from some sincere and
unsuspecting lama whom he conned, but the similarities between "tm"
and the Tibetan Buddhist teachings of mahamudra and dzogchen are quite
interesting. I have cited sources, so you can sort this out yourself,
I have often enough seen him beguile the bejesus out of anyone who
knew something that he thought he might be able to use and we think
that is precisely why the Beatles got up and left Rishikesh he was
pumping them for information: about money, about contacts, about using
them to further his interests.
One of our old time teachers (actually, he became a teacher in 2 weeks
at Lake Louise) had been a disciple of Yogananda and had told Mahesh
everything about Kriya Yoga. Mahesh said it was ok to continue doing
Kriya Yoga, but to do tm first! Then, several years later, wonders of
wonders, one of the "age of enlightenment" techniques turned out to be
one of Yogananda's techniques. CAN YOU WONDER ABOUT THE "PURITY" OF
2 In the mahamudra and dzogchen (secret meditation methods in Tibetan
Buddhism), every teaching session begins with everybody reciting the
refuge prayer, a recitation of the great teachers of the past who
developed and handed down (preserved) these meditation teachings. CAN
YOU SAY PUJA?
3 In "Clarifying the Natural State" (available from Amazon), one of
the very great mahamudra teachers from 16th century Tibet says: "some
people take meditation to be a vacant state of mind in which the
former thought has ceased and the following thought has not yet
arisen. These ways are not embraced by vipashyana [the secret
meditation method] and so are grave faults." CAN YOU SAY PURE
A word about "secret" here: in the Tibetan tradition, "secret" means
self-secret. It is right there in the very nature of your ability to
think a thought, but you do not see it. In order for you to see it, to
understand it, to be able to use it, you have to have a teacher point
it out to you. This is vipashyana. CAN YOU SAY, "WHAT WE LEARN IN
PRIVATE WE KEEP IN PRIVATE"? CAN YOU SAY: WE THINK THE MANTRA AS
EASILY AS WE THINK ANY OTHER THOUGHT?
4 In the very beginning of the text (Clarifying the Natural State),
the author Takpo Tashi Namgyal, outlines many ways of calming
(shamatha) the mind. Among them is a technique to do at night: "At
night, focus the attention on a pea-sized white sphere between the
eyebrows." CAN YOU SAY NIGHT-TECHNIQUE?
Right after my teacher training course, Sattyanand came to our Centre
to give advanced techniques. Several of us (exalted tm teachers that
we were, two of whom were 2-week wonders and me) asked about the night
technique. Sattyanand was quite open about it, he said that originally
the technique had been to put your attention on the forehead, but
people found that too hard, so it was move to several different
physical places before it was to place the attention out in front of
A word about shamatha. In the time of the historical Buddha, Gotama
Sidhartha, meditation was well known. Unlike Mahesh who keeps
everything secret to keep the mystery and the hope going (and the
takers paying), the Buddha was very open. He said he was not a tight
fisted teacher who held this or that back for a price. He also talked
freely and in detail about his childhood and his teachers. He tells a
story from his youth about the ploughing festival. (Apparently not
unlike an Amish barn-raising social event.) Because he was only a
child, he got bored and went to the garden and sat under a tree where
he practised watching his breath. This is shamatha, being aware of the
breath coming in, being aware of the breath going out. It leads to
calmness and a state of peacefulness, just like tm. (But as the Buddha
later noted and as Buddhist teachers still teach: this by itself does
not lead to awakening, to freedom from suffering.)
Later, when the Buddha resolved to sit until he reached enlightenment
or die trying, he began with this shamatha which, as he himself tells
the story, he recalled from his childhood. What the Buddha added to
shamatha was vipashyana, awareness of the mind's nature. (And these
two, as the Buddha noted and as Buddhist teachers still teach: leads
to awakening, to freedom from suffering.)
5 Aside from that tape that he recorded in Scandinavia that found its
way to Joyce Collin-Smith (Call No Man Master), Mahesh has had very,
very little to say about the origins of tm. Curiously, nothing by this
name is mentioned in any ancient Brahmanical (Vedic) text so far
brought to light nor have specific references been found in any known
ancient or modern Brahmanical text to anything that even sounds
familiarly like tm. CAN YOU SAY BOGUS?
We concluded that it's the string that keeps the carrot attached to
the end of the stick that you need to pay a lot for that and that
Mahesh keeps well out of your reach that has kept Mahesh in business.
When it comes to secrets, people seem willing to pay any price to get
something for nothing, especially hope. CAN YOU SAY: FIRST YOU PAY,
THEN YOU LEARN AND THERE IS NO MONEY BACK GUARANTEE?
What we do find in the Tibetan tradition, especially, is something
called the secret mantra tradition. This is part of the Buddhist
tantra and an exceptionally distant cousin, many times removed from
the Hindu tantra. In this tradition, the repetition of mantras (not in
the tm fashion) is used with specific mantras for specific purposes.
CAN YOU SAY: WE SELECT THE RIGHT MANTRA APPROPRIATE FOR THE
6 I don't think anyone thinks Mahesh is stupid, dull-witted or
working with anything other than a very high IQ as well as a very
penetrating grasp of human nature.
So mixing some Hindu mantras with some shamatha (in place of following
the breath) and getting some people to come on some teacher training
courses ("I will multiply myself") was not particularly difficult. But
the "I will multiply myself" business didn't actually turn out to be
all that true. There was no way he was going to create his own
competition, after all. There was absolutely no way in this world that
he was going to make anybody the least little bit like he was. (Now
that he has nothing to lose, crowing a king is simply another foolish
thing you have paid for in place of using your money to fund
butt-bouncers in the bogus effort to magically create world peace.)
Yet there was always the possibility that you might attain CC. CAN YOU
RECITE THE WAY THAT TM WILL LEAD TO COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS? CAN YOU
STILL PRETEND TO BELIEVE IT?
Some may recall his words about Lillian Rosen (one of the first
non-Hindu persons he trained to teach advanced techniques: "when
someone teaches advanced techniques they may be seen to be a guru;
with Lillian, I know I am taking no chances" well, you had to be
there; it was both funny and very cruel). Yet the possibility was
always there (carrot on stick fashion) if we could just get cosmic
enough and he almost let it out that just maybe Lillian was close
enough to merit this great honour. CAN YOU SAY, "WHAT IS YOUR MANTRA"
CAN YOU FOLLOW A SIMPLE FORMULA? CAN YOU SAY, "NOW SAY NAMAH AFTER
XXX" AND SO FORTH? THEN YOU, TOO, MUST REALLY BE COSMIC.
We often watched in fascination as Mahesh would ask about some other
meditation method or some other guru someone had been with before
coming to him and tm. "Oh, what does he teach?" "Oh, what does that
mean?" "Oh, and how were you told to do that?" He could be so darned
innocent, so charmingly dumb and uninformed, we just had to tell him
everything we knew. Didn't we. He could pump anyone this way for
information and did. CAN YOU REMEMBER THOSE SCI SYMPOSIA? CAN YOU
REMEMBER ALL THOSE QUESTIONS THAT MADE MAHESH LOOK SO WISE AND SO
DEEP? CAN YOU ASK A PROFESSOR A QUESTION AND THEN, WHEN THE
OPPORTUNITY ARISES, REPEAT HIS ANSWER AS IF YOU, TOO, WERE A
PROFESSOR? MAHESH COULD/DID/DOES.
Later he would take all this and work out the details of his
increasingly "advanced" and increasingly expensive courses. DO YOU
REMEMBER THE 108? DO YOU REMEMBER THE 6-MONTH COURSES? DO YOU REMEMBER
THE GOVERNOR'S COURSES? HOW MANY DIFFERENT COURSES WERE THERE? HOW
MANY ARE THERE NOW? HOW MANY WERE YOU ON, HOW DEEPLY ARE YOU STILL IN
DEPT? HOW ADVANCED DID YOU BECOME? * *HOW MUCH MONEY* * DID MAHESH
INVEST AFTER ALL THE TEACHING WE DID AFTER WE GOT SO ALL FIRED UP
AFTER ALL THOSE COURSES AND ALL THAT HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?
We were always in total spellbound awe of him as he can continuously
faked sincerity and innocence. What is the old saying? If you can face
sincerity you've got it made. He could fake it (as we found out in
private a few times) and he certainly knew he had it made; it was like
trading a baby something shiny for some candy. Actually taking candy
from a baby is no simple task, but something shiny is a whole new ball
game! CAN YOU REMEMBER HIM SAYING: NOBODY CAN LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS I
CAN" SOME TEACHERS CERTAINLY CAN.
7 Mahesh has always been able to do a lot with a little; to churn out
brilliant sounding explanations for what I think just might be
meaningless experiences (see number 3 above, for example). And conning
really smart people is his specialty WHO CAN SAY ENRON? It's not so
far-fetched. We believed him when he said that if the progressive West
were to take up tm, then his beloved India would also take up tm and
put an end to suffering there. What a humanitarian.
What he meant was that the more "really smart" people he conned in the
West, the more money he would make and those poor Hindus back home who
worship holy people (like His Wholly Weaselness Mahesh the Fox
himself) would fall for it (after all, back in India, at least in the
60's, 70's and maybe the 80's, being rich was absolute PROOF that you
were the next best thing to absolute success in this world, every
Hindu knows that we think the people of India are not that gullible
and we have more respect for them than Mahesh apparently has, had,
whatever.) When there was an earthquake in northwest India, DO YOU
REMEMBER THE BAGS OF RICE, THE CLOTHING, THE MONEY MAHESH'S
ORGANIZATION SENT TO HELP THOSE PEOPLE HE CARED SO MUCH ABOUT? NEITHER
Why do we care so much?
First of all, playing with people's heads is a very damaging thing to
do. CAN YOU SAY UNSTRESSING?
Getting rich by conning the ignorant (re-read the last sentence of the
third dot ("*") paragraph at the top) is not all that hard and then
beginning to invest after you hold some huge teacher training courses
(Do You Remember The 70's?) isn't that hard either and you can have
the appearance of actually offering low cost accommodation for these
teacher training courses. DID YOU USED TO SAY THAT MAHESH IS JUST A
SIMPLE MONK TRYING TO HELP THE WORLD?
Mahesh discovered he could ask for any amount of money to perpetuate
his con game. We think he makes Jimmy Baker look almost saintly (Tammy
Faye will never look saintly, just too much makeup) and to appear to
hold the world (maybe just the US) hostage for $1billion (which is
certainly gutsy) just reeks of rotten. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT FULL PAGE
SPREAD IN THE NY TIMES RIGHT AFTER 9/11?
Well, there is more, but this is enough for now.