Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Biography

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Biography

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1914 -2008) – The Guru of Transcendental Meditation

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, originally baptized as Mahesh Prasad Varma was the developer of the Transcendental Meditation technique and was the leader or "guru" of the TM movement, sometimes characterized as a neo-Hindu new religious movement. Varma's given name was Mahesh, while Maharishi and Yogi are honorifics.

Born: January 12, 1918, Jabalpur, India
Died: February 5, 2008, Vlodrop, Netherlands
Education: Allahabad University (1942)
Parents: Sri Ram Prasad
Books: The Science of Being and Art of Living

Birth Details

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi‘s birth name, birth date, and caste are not known with certainty, in part because of the tradition of ascetics and monks to renounce family connections.
According to some accounts, Mahesh Prasad Varma was born into a family of the Kayastha caste living in the Central Provinces of British India. He was listed as M.C. Srivastava in the Allahabad University list of distinguished alumni.

Different accounts give the year of his birth differently, such as 1911, 1917 or 1918. On the other hand a few sources say that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came from a lower-caste family, the predominant view is that he was a member of the Kayastha caste, a high-status caste whose traditional profession is writing.

Personal Biography

Varma was a physics student at Allahabad University and earned his degree in 1942. Following graduation, he is believed to have worked in a factory and later he became a secretary to the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Shankaracharya addressed him as "Bala Brahmachari Mahesh". The title denotes someone who is "a dedicated student of spiritual knowledge and life-long celibate ascetic". Mahesh remained with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati until the latter died in 1953, when Brahmachari Mahesh moved to Uttarkashi inUttarakhand in the Himalayas. He was trusted to take care of the bulk of Saraswati's correspondence without direction, and was also sent out to give public speeches on Vedic themes. Although Mahesh was a close disciple, he could not be the Shankaracharya's spiritual successor because he was not of the Brahmin caste. In 1968, a Canadian author and journalist, Paul Grescoe reported that "A British magazine said his teacher was Jagad Guru Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Guru Dev was his short name. For 13 years, the Maharishi was his pupil. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was disappointed at not being named successor when the Guru Dev died. He also launched an unsuccessful lawsuit." At the end of his life, the Shankaracharya charged Maharishi with the responsibility of travelling and teaching meditation to the general public. He named Swami Shantananda Saraswati as his successor.


According to the movement, four to six million people have been trained in the TM technique since 1959. Among the notable practitioners were The Beatles, David Lynch, John Hagelin, Mia Farrow, and Doug Henning. Deepak Chopra, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, John Gray, and Barbara De Angelis were some of the followers who became spiritual teachers or self-help authors.

“The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we


are for what we could become.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“I let people make remarks about me, but it doesn't touch me, all those remarks.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“seem to be done honorably.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Where is the money going to come from?
From wherever it is at the moment.”
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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