Sometimes I too go into the mindset where I believe in and excuse the teachings of Mahesh Prasad Varma (the given name of "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi"), even though I know about his lies, double-crossings, opportunism, contradictions, deceptions, back-pedaling, deceit, two-facedness, and all the rest. I am very puzzled by my cognitive swings, and have tried to understand why I still get hooked. I hope my thoughts on this topic will be helpful for other people recovering from the world of Mr. Varma.
I've come to realize that one reason I get re-hooked is that deep inside I believe he is special. Maybe a saint. Maybe God Incarnate, like Jesus or Krishna. Or maybe God's prophet, like Moses or Mohammed. Maybe enlightened, like the Buddha.
If I believe that, then I believe he has a direct pipeline to Ultimate Truth. And if he has a direct pipeline to Ultimate Truth, then it is not my place to critique him, but to follow him. As we say in the West, "God works in mysterious ways," so no matter how obscene or absurd Mr. Varma's teachings seem to me, I still need to support them.
Why would I think that Mr. Varma has a direct pipeline to Ultimate Truth? Here are some of my reasons. Did you fall for any of these, or for others? What convinced you to follow Mr. Varma?
Well, I believed he was God's messenger partly because he was so wise, intelligent, quick-witted, well-rounded, self-assured, patient, loving, all-knowing, joyful, blissful. Because he spoke with such authority and confidence about spiritual things. Because he claimed lineage from Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Because he claimed to be enlightened (or did he only imply it? Does anyone remember his comments on this?)
But most of all because of his amazing aura. Personally, I found his aura overwhelming. His skin was radiant, almost translucent, and it acted like a mirror. It seemed to reflect light. It was actually hard to look directly at him - looking at him was a little like staring into the sun. He virtually shimmered when you looked at him.
And his physical energy field! Oh my! When I was in his presence, I felt transported, high, entranced. Engaged. Intoxicated. I couldn't think straight when I was near him. "I" disappeared - my personal thoughts and personality disappeared, swallowed in the immensity of Love, Power and Energy. Being around him felt like being around an electric generator. It was virtually physical. Like a tidal wave, it would almost knock me over. (It did in fact physically knock over a friend of mine - she fell backwards and I had to catch her.)
Before he'd start a lecture, he'd look slowly around the room at his audience. As his gaze approached me, I felt like a laser beam was approaching. When he looked directly at me, I felt naked. I'd lose all power. I felt he could see right through me, to all my sins. A friend of mine once handed Mr. Varma a flower, and as my friend walked back to his seat, he radiated so much energy (that he had absorbed from his physical proximity to Mr. Varma?) that people in the audience swayed as he passed them. When I sat at Mr. Varma's feet as he begged us to become TM teachers, I could feel only bliss, joy, silence, power, magnetism.
I could go on with more memories - but I'll stop there.
Of all Mr. Varma's attributes, I think it was his amazing energy field more than anything else that swayed me to believe he had Ultimate Truth. So I think it's important for me to demystify his energy field if I'm going to unhook a little more from my belief in his teachings. And if you were influenced by his energy field, I hope this discussion will be helpful to you too.
So, to get a little objectivity and insight into Mr. Varma's powers, I'm going to run a little survey below, engage in some informal, non-scientific data-gathering. If you'd like, please share your stories, comments, answers, insights with us in the "comments" section.
Here is my survey:
(1) Were you ever in the presence of Mr. Varma?
(2) If so, did you experience anything like what I described? Or did you experience something different? Something positive? Something negative? Nothing at all? What did you experience? Do you have any particular memories you would like to share?
(3) Do you know of other people who experienced something similar to me? Or something different? (What?) Or nothing at all?
(4) Were his "vibrations" the same each time you were near him? Or did they change? Did they come and go? When? In what way?
(5) What did you make of his energy at the time?
Did you think it was proof that he was enlightened? Divine? A saint or prophet?
Or did you think he was evil, possessed, working with a dark power, etc?
Or that he simply had an impressive skill, but it didn't prove anything about his spiritual status?
Or did you think he was simply charismatic, a con artist, using hypnotism to produce these results?
Or that we were suggestible, responding to expectation, unconscious material, or peer pressure?
(6) How do you interpret today your past experience of Mr. Varma's vibration?
(7) What does various literature, (Hindu, yogic, religious, scientific, psychological or otherwise), say about this sort of vibration?
(8) Was Mr. Varma's energy "our little secret," our "elephant in the living room," in the TM movement? Did you have an impulse to not discuss it with other TMers or with outsiders? Did you not tell outsiders about his aura because it would sound too religious or brainwashed? Was his energy the thing that convinced you to follow him, but you lied to yourself or to outsiders about that, and said you followed TM due to its scientific research or results?
(9) Have you ever experienced a similar energy around anyone else; or do you know anyone who has? What do you - or they - make of it?
(10) What made you give your heart and/or mind to Mr. Varma?
Now it's your turn.