This week marks the death anniversary of Mahesh Yogi, the Indian guru who brought transcendental meditation to the West in the sixties and became a spiritual teacher to The Beatles, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and countless other celebrities.
Today, the legacy of the Maharashi, as he was popularly known, is evident in the widespread appreciation of meditation: Over 6 million people worldwide practice the technique the Maharishi introduced – transcendental meditation. An even larger number practice other forms. Health professionals and practitioners extol its many benefits, which range from anger management, lowered blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, reduced post-traumatic stress and simply a healthier lifestyle.
In the 1960s many Americans may have only known Hinduism through meditation, but the story of this country’s relationship with Hinduism is much longer and more complex.