Mystics: Soothsayer for Everyman

What do Shirley MacLaine, the Beatles, Mia Farrow and the Rolling Stones have in common? The answer, as any tabloid reader knows by now, is a starry-eyed devotion to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a bearded Indian guru who preaches a method of "transcendental meditation" that might be summed up as how to succeed spiritually without really trying.

India, of course, has countless yogis, swamis, mystics and meditators who variously expound Hinduism's belief that ultimate reality can be known not through reason, but only through the soul's intuition of itself. Though some of these holy men have managed to get a...

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