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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi--Homeward Bound

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s presence is strongly felt in India where he’s been on a buying spree for the last three years. He’s purchased land in almost every corner of the country, concentrated mainly in the south and “near ordnance factories or defense establishments.” Says one politician from Madhya Pradesh, “Maharishi spends money as if he were removing dust from his hands.” Little wonder. According to Madhu Jam, a reporter for India’s Sunday magazine, Maharishi’s worldwide assets total over Rs 4,000 crores or $400 million. TM’s world government, with its ten ministries and representatives in 140-plus countries, annually spends 150 million rupees ($15 million) each year to maintain its various organizations and hundreds of ashrams in India.

One of Maharishi’s most ambitious projects has been that of founding siddha lands--400 to 500-acre plots to spread peace and tranquility, to provide employment, and to increase prosperity. The success of those agricultural-industrial complexes is dubious, however, According to one employee, the accent is “more and more TM and less and less galis (abuses). We don’t fight or use bad words after we started dhyan (Maharishi’s meditation)....that (working better) does not matter so much. If you don’t work but do your dhyan and watch your language, you can continue (living here) until eternity.”

Other TM Indian endeavors include ownership (under the rubric Siddha Corporation) of such industries as handmade paper, tiles, plastics, fiberglass, rugs, electrical insulators, and ceramics. TM also plans to operate a daily newspaper (to be called Gyan Yug) from their new Indian headquarters in Jabalpur. From there they have a direct telex link to TM’s international headquarters in Seelisberg, Switzerland.

Changes for Maharishi and TM appear to be imminent. “According to reliable diplomatic sources,” the world government in Seelisberg “has not been paying all its taxes.” Recently Maharishi wrote to Indira Gandhi, “asking her to allow him to return to India permanently.” He “offered to liquidate his assets abroad and return home.”