onsdag 6 februari 2008

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, originally uploaded by oddsock.

I was sorry to hear that he died yesterday, in his nineties. His great achievement, forty years ago, was to bring a certain style of interior spirituality to the west. It was a style that had to a great extent been lost from the mainstream Judeo-Christian practice and through his work, people in the west were helped to recover an important strand in their own older tradition.

But the task has to be repeated in each generation, and today, two trends can be discerned. One is a crude and strident exteriorised religion, typified by evangelical protestantism of the US variety and by militant Islam, which have much in common with each other.

The other, which also has its danger, that being an over emphasis on liturgical style, is traditional orthodox Christianity, of which Russian Orthodoxy and the liturgical movement now in train under pope Benedict, are exemplars of a religion with more potential interiority.

But nowadays, the Maharishi's concentration on the interior dimension also seems to lack an essential balance. However, the hollow present-day preoccupations with money and celebrity need to be countered, and the work he did needs to be done all over again.

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