Monday, January 08, 2007

The Maharishi: What's in a Birthdate?

Happy January 12, campers!

Within the TM orgs, January 12 is celebrated as the Maharishi's birthdate. There are celebrations held in many of the Orgs' capitals and centers.

But were you aware there is a controversy over his actual birthdate?

  • The Wikipedia gives the Maharishi's birthdate as January 12th, 1917.
  • The Encyclopedia and give his birth year as 1911.
  • New Religious Movement scholar J. Gordon Melton -- whom some call a cult apologist -- offers birthdates for the Maharishi from 1911 to 1918.
  • Sujit R. Varma gives his birthday as October 11, 1918 on the Internet Movie Database as does the Kevo biographical database.

Why -- other than common human vanity about age -- would the Maharishi lie about his birthdate? It is rumored by critics that the Maharishi falsely reports his birthdate as January 12, 1917 because this is an astrologically auspicious date for a world religious leader.

1 comment:

Sudarsha said...

Hi, John -- it may well be that he is telling another lie to make himself look good, astrologically! I saw his Passport when we were in Spain (La Antilla). There, his birthday was, as I remember it, the month before my mother’s. Therefore January 1917. But, bribing an Indian official is almost public policy in India, so securing a more portentous date would have been easy … and getting someone to pay the bribe for him, a piece of burfy. I also suspect that, aside from or in addition to just plain vanity, Mahesh was secretive because that lent him an additional aura of mystique.

I do not know if you recall, but he had a favourite saying at one time: the actor can play god better than god. Perhaps he was looking for some forensics, so to speak, to add to his acting abilities? Who is to know?

I actually look forward to the Fall of the House of Shrivastava because there are many valuable and legitimate meditation teachers in nearly every corner of the globe now. They represent traditions focused on the well-being of the student, not the enrichment of the teacher.


Actually, the quote about the actor comes from Estes Park where he really was playing, if not exactly god, then certainly a wedic sage. A wedic sage who was getting his information from amateurs.

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