Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1918-2008

Transcendental-meditation sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, known as the "Giggling Guru" for his ready laugh, espoused the joys of inner happiness to his 5 million followers, who included celebrities like the Beatles. A peace-loving hippie as well as a hard-nosed capitalist, Yogi commercialized his spiritual techniques in what critics called a lucrative cult business enterprise. Yogi convinced the West that meditation reduces stress-related ailments, but his flirtations with "yogic flying," in which practitioners concentrate their cosmic energy on trying to levitate, were widely mocked.

Deena Guzder