Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has died in his home in Vlodrop, Holland his advisors announced Wednesday. Last week, the founder and leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement announced his retirement and retreat into silence, which was unexpected by many of his followers.
Believed to be around 91 years old (the Maharishi was unsure of the exact time of his birth), he has been teaching TM and creating an multinational institution for over 50 years. Senior advisors acknowledged that the Indian guru had been working sometimes 20 hours a day for many years, and that his intent was to spend the last days of his life in silence, immersed in the ancient Vedic literature from which TM originates. The intention for his retirement was to dedicate his time to completing a commentary on the Vedas, an immense body of literature that dates back over three millennia.
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The Maharishi is best known to the world as the guru to the Beatles and the founder of the TM movement which spans the globe with presently over 5 million followers. He first introduced the TM technique to the west in 1959 with the intention of fostering global peace and enlightenment, and spent the subsequent half century as an entrepreneur and monk who grew a multi-million dollar industry, which included everything from universities to real estate.
"He had been saying he had done what he set out to do," his spokesman, Bob Roth, told the Associated Press. Mr Roth said the Maharishi died peacefully in his sleep due to "natural causes – his age".
The TM technique of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi continues to be quite popular today, though many critics of the movement exist. The current focus of the organization is to bring the TM technique into schools.