Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.–Ernest Hemingway
There was little fanfare when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died in 2008 at the age of 91–a brief obituary and some newspaper items about the Beatles meeting him India in 1968. In fact, whenever Maharishi’s name appeared in the press, the Beatles grabbed the headlines. Yet the diminutive pundit who introduced a unique form of meditation to the west changed the lives of millions, from ashrams to board rooms all over the world.
Little Monk – Heart Like a Lion
A disciple of 20th century Indian Saint Brahmananda Saraswati of the Shankaracharya tradition, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a spiritual teacher with a masters in Physics. He started the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957. Realizing the label would not have the same appeal in western culture, he changed its name and began teaching the technique he learned from his master using specific Indian mantras. If you were not living in a cave during the mid-20th century, chances are you’re acquainted with this meditation.
Educated in the sciences, Maharishi concluded our decisions and actions are tied directly to the physiology and bio-chemistry of the body, as well as neural pathways of the brain or nervous system. By observation and experiment he demonstrated how meditation affects the mind and body by lowering blood pressure, lessening A.D.H.D. and various other physical, social and emotional disorders. Dr. Deepak Chopra was one of Maharishi’s early proponents in the United States.
Another advocate was physician Herbert Benson, founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and former professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. After learning Maharishi’s meditation technique, Dr. Benson experimented on his own. Substituting other word imagery for Indian mantras, he called his method “The Relaxation Response.”
Do Less Accomplish More
Research over the last 50 years confirms what eastern cultures have known for millennia. While sitting with eyes closed for 20-30 minutes twice daily, beginning by repeating a mantra, the meditator seemingly isn’t doing much of anything. Yet while in the transcendental state, deep stresses are released and greater health prevails. The person returns to the active waking state refreshed, relaxed and able to function more effectively with less effort. Maharishi coined the two phrases “do less, accomplish more,” and “do nothing, accomplish everything.” A student of the Tao Te Ching of Lao-Tsu will be familiar with the following:
“The further one goes, the less one knows
Thus the Sage does not go, yet he knows
He does not look, yet he sees
He does not do, yet all is done.”
Non-Duality and Yogastha Kuru Karmani
Roughly translated, the above Sanskrit phrase from the sacred Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, means “established in Being, perform action.” The story told in the Gita is an allegory for every human being. The scenario is a battlefield where prince Arjuna is morally confused about whether or not to fight and kill his own relatives. Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna, “This body is the battlefield.” The war is the struggle all spiritual aspirants experience when dealing with the results of their actions. In other words, life is a continuous struggle when lived in the world of duality or ignorance.
In the realm of higher consciousness or cosmic consciousness, Maharishi’s teaching never approached meditation spiritually. Yogastha Kuru Karmani is as close as it gets. Supposedly, if you continue meditating somehow you will become enlightened and live life in oneness with the Self. But what does all that mean? Maharishi’s “Do Nothing, Accomplish Everything” means you are not the doer. Yet many people say they have practiced various forms of meditation for decades and have yet to achieve that state of self-realization.
“The Power of Now”
In his book, “The Power of Now,” in seminars and videos, modern day spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describes non-duality as “being present.” When we are totally present, in the moment, without interference by the ‘egoic’ mind, whatever decisions we make or actions we take will be the right ones because we are not the doer. Therefore, when a person is totally present he is living in the harmonious state of oneness with God.
In a previous article, “Consciousness Rising and the Art of Being,” the paragraph “Courage Under Fire,” I write about being with American soldiers who had to fight off a Vietcong attack on a village where I was staying. Faced with having to make on-the-spot decisions, the soldiers performed with unimaginable courage and profound efficiency. With no time to think, they acted spontaneously, and they saved my life. They were completely in the moment, which is our natural state. It was like Arjuna taking his cue from Krishna.
A Golden Age
Hatred, genocide and war would be impossible if the entire planet lived in the harmonious state of oneness. The key is to live in that state 24/7. India abounds with stories of people who lived in caves for decades until they achieved God realization. 2,500 years ago The Buddha struggled endlessly before sitting under a Bodhi (fig) tree for six years until he attained enlightenment. Though there might be a few, most 21st century aspirants are not suited for that role. Yet many have lived and studied in the presence of realized teachers for decades and are still seeking “the brass ring.”
Perhaps the earth is older than even scientists think. Or not. Is it possible there once was a golden age when all humans lived with love and respect for each other? Could it be that because times got to be so good, people became careless and forgot about the importance of vigilance?
Today there is an urgency to evolve. Rising consciousness demands it. No one gives you enlightenment. It isn’t earned by good deeds or withheld by bad. Everything happens in accordance with the laws of nature, i.e. automatically. Consciousness does not make mistakes.