Dear Probers of Inner Space:

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru of Beatles, Beach Boys, and Mia Farrow Sinatra, had arrived in the New World. The Light of Asia had come to bear the message of transcendental meditation to the youth of America. Embarking on a nationwide tour with the Beach Boys of twenty appearances in nineteen days, the soft-spoken little Hindu from India assumed a lotus position on an early-American couch at Washington’s Roman Catholic Georgetown University and prepared to meet the press.

Attired in a silken robe, his gray-streaked shoulder-length hair flowing over a lei of twenty dozen white carnations presented by the Society of American Florists, the Maharishi easily stood out from the double-breasted, slash-pocketed, turtlenecked New York advance men who surrounded him. His nut-brown face, aglow with twinkling dark eyes and a smile that refused to be hidden by a wirey white beard and black mustache, projected his message of joy and tranquility. Plucking the petals of a yellow chrysanthemum, he spoke of “an underlying unity present in the different parts of life as sap is present in a plant here and here and here and here.” Meditation, he claimed, is the way to this unity that enables one to “live 200 per cent of life—100 per cent outer, material life, and 100 per cent inner, spiritual life.” Furthermore, if people would meditate, not only would wars end but also natural disasters, which are caused by “eruptions of hostile influences in the atmosphere.”

I asked him if his meditative plan was strictly humanistic or involved a relationship with a personal God. He said, “It is purely humanistic to start with,” but after a time “one easily finds his god.” His tactful reply to my question, “How do you view ...

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