8. Maha Mass Media

The Fab Four Find Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Meditation Goes Mainstream

From the book: In August, 1967, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gave a public lecture at the Hilton Hotel in London. It was probably the most consequential public event by an Indian spiritual teacher in the West since Vivekananda in 1893–not so much for what was said, but for who was in attendance. Included in the overflow crowd were three lads named John, Paul, and George.

MMY and Fab Four - CopyJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

 

It was unpremeditated (as it were), but a marketing genious couldn’t have done better; for the youth market, the Beatles were the mother of all endorsments. Suddenly, words like mantra and guru entered the vocabulary and Transcendental Meditation became the preferred method of consciousness expansion and personal growth.

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Maharishi was on the cover of national magazines, his lectures sold out arenas, and he was on national television with the likes of Johnny Carson.

Video: Maharishi explains TM, 1968

Before long the first scientific studies on the physical effects of meditation were published. This was a game-changer: meditation began its quick, steady surge from counterculture to mainstream. By 1975, there were hundreds of published research papers and Maharishi appeared twice on Merv Griffin’s syndicated talk show — the Oprah of its day — with mid-American icons like Clint Eastwood and Mary Tyler Moore. Meditation had been legitimized as a stress-buster for ordinary everyday Americans.

maharishi_time_magazineMMY with Merv(jpeg)

The TM movement continues to play a significant role in the assimilation of Vedic ideas and practices in America, largely through scientific research and the efforts of the David Lynch Foundation.

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Official site of the TM movement

2008 documentary by History International

Videos of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

More to come. Links, articles, etc. are welcome.