1968_05_18--028_SP - Page 1

1968_05_04--023_SP_Guru from Rishikesh

THERE ONCE WAS A GURU FROM RISHIKESH PART II Having voyaged to India and satisfied the Maharishi of his good vibrations, our reporter throws toast to a monkey, breathes incense with the students of meditation, listens with Mia Farrow to the scream of a wild peacock and bestows a garland of flowers upon a Beatle. On the heights of the Maharishis academy in the Himalayas, the sweet, wayward discourse never ceased. The Beatles and the less celebrated guests appeared at stray moments between their meditations, wandering through the teak trees to the picnic table at the edge of the bluff. Sometimes holding flowers in their hands, sometimes throwing bits of toast to the monkeys, they talked of dysentery and cosmic consciousness, of poetry and their troubles with the tailor. The place had an air of timelessness about it, and now when I remember, I think of a succession of bland, vegetarian meals and a random sequence of events held together by the weird logic of images in dreams. The same gentle wind blew steadily from the south, and the Ganges kept up its old and sacred progress to Benares and the Bay of Bengal. Vultures drifted high up in the pale sky, but they watched the other shore, and their affairs, like the affairs of the men and animals they watched, didn't concern us. Neither did the clamor at the gates. Every day the reporters from the Indian press assembled in increasing numbers on the lower slope of the ashram, waiting with cameras and tactless skepticism. They remained below the barbed-wire fence, and occasionally in the afternoons the Maharishi ventured among them to speak gently of "the ocean of happiness within" and the "dive toward truth and light." Behind him walked a bearded monk in a white robe, holding an umbrella aloft to shade him from the sun. My own presence on the higher ground had been approved only on condition that I not disturb the Beatles or any other celebrity (most particularly Donovan or Mia Farrow if they should happen to arrive) with personal questions. They had come to him, the Maharishi said, in search of enlightenment and must therefore be approached with delicacy and circumspection. To the Beatles the Maharishi attributed the popular success of his spiritual-regeneration movement, and he doted on them with the proud fondness of a singing teacher or football coach. Often he referred to them as "the blessed leaders of the world's youth." and in his happiest moments he described George Harrison as "a sublime soul for whom God and all the angels give thanks." Always they came and went as a group, dressed in extravagant costumes and looking like figures from a fanciful romance. They wore chains and beads and heavy pendants, and 'id:- brig rideburns gave them the swarthy appearance o - gypsies. Their wives followed ,oft y qmon.7 The Maharishi took a childlike delight in mechanical things. He would pose for hours for photographers, and the day visitors came to the ashram by helicopter, he went for a ride.


1968_05_04--023_SP_Guru from Rishikesh
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