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CNN Larry King Weekend

Interview With Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Aired May 12, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: exclusive, he was the Beatles' spiritual guru, and he turned the world on to transcendental meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gives his first TV interview in 25 years. Next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, from Vlodrop, Holland, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

He is the author of the famous book, "Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation." He has not done an interview in 25 years. The book has been newly revised and updated. And it's an honor to welcome him to this program.

Is Maharishi a title or a name?

MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI, SPIRITUAL GURU AND AUTHOR: Title, I think. People begin to call significant of the characteristic of the word "Maharishi." "Maha" means great and "Rishi" is a seer. The seer of reality. The seer, that's what people called, and it became a sort of name.

KING: What is transcendental meditation?

MAHARISHI: Transcendental meditation is something that can be defined as a means to do what one wants to do in a better way, in a right way, for maximum results. It's a program that the mind begins to experience its own finer impressions, finer thoughts, and then finally transcends the finest thought. And that is the level of what they call self-referral pure consciousness, which is the ultimate reality of life, pure intelligence from where the creation emerges, from where the administration of life is maintained, from where physical expression of the universe has its basis.

So transcendental meditation brings about transcendental consciousness, which is self-referral consciousness, the source of all intelligence.

KING: Why...

MAHARISHI: That level of intelligence becomes creative intelligence.

KING: Why does it sound so hard to learn? MAHARISHI: I've been teaching transcendental meditation for 40, 50 years in the world, and everyone who has learned it knows how simple it is, how easy it is, because one's own consciousness cannot be difficult to anyone.

It's one's own life. It's one's own intelligence. It's nothing difficult at all.

KING: Is there a major first step to take? Suppose I want to learn this completely, what's the first thing, other than getting the re-release of your book, the first thing I should do?

MAHARISHI: Intend to have a better life. Just intention to have a more successful life. Think better. Create better influence for others and for oneself. Just the desire to be a better man, that's all.

KING: So we begin with the desire, which sounds very nice, but does this require a change of personality?

MAHARISHI: Change of personality will be for good as a result of it. But the intention is, wherever one is, one makes a plunge into the transcendent. That's all.

There is nothing difficult, there is nothing complicated, only one has to have a desire to have a better quality of life. And for that, one has so much of scientific research now. Hundreds of scientific researches, volumes full of volumes there are.

And that you have mentioned that book, "Science of Being and Art of Living," that was the first book that I wrote about 40 years ago. And now dozens of books are there. Hundreds of -- thousands of these videotapes are there for the world.

KING: Why have you been quiet for some time now? Why have you not -- have we not seen you much?

MAHARISHI: No, I was not quiet. Only, I got into creating the effect. I was teaching transcendental meditation for 30, 40 years, but I found that the world is not yet to the extent of possibility in the field of good.

So I realized that talking about like this, and on and on -- I realized that talking is not too much important. Creating the effect in the world -- and now I am engaging in creating the effect in the world.

KING: What you have to say is very important. One would hope that from now on we'll be hearing more of you.

MAHARISHI: People know enough good, but they are not able to do it because the effect from outside, the influence from outside -- his own society, other countries, other cultures, even sun, moon, stars, galaxies, influence. So many, many influences from all over the world make the mind of a man, make his intellect to decide this and this and this. So if people do what they know to be good, the knowledge of good is enough in the world for them to be really happy and really peaceful and really remarkably friendly and supportive to everyone.

KING: Does it also improve you from a health standpoint? A physical health standpoint?

MAHARISHI: Great amount of scientific research is there to show that health is better because transcendental meditation deals with consciousness, and consciousness is the basic value of all the physical expressions. The entire creation is the expression of consciousness.

So when we handle consciousness through our attention, the consciousness becomes awake. More awake, so more healthy.

So we see this transcendental meditation has very good effect on health. It's like the gardener watering the root of life and supplying nourishment to all the leaves and all the branches and everything.

KING: Let me get a break and come right back with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. One of the great spiritual leaders in the world. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. His famous book of years ago, "Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation." He's the founder of TM. There has been a new release and a newly revised version of that historic book.

Everyone got to know the Maharishi when the Beatles went to visit him. I -- by the way, Maharishi, I send the best to you from Paul McCartney, who I saw last week; and I told him I was going to be with you, and he wanted to wish you the best.

We know that your good friends George Harrison and John Lennon are gone. What do you believe happens upon death?

MAHARISHI: Death is just a -- it gives a new start for a new journey. In the process of evolution, the body lasts for some time and then will take other body and take other body and take other body until the final redemption from diversity is transcended.

The totality is found. This is the potential of life, cosmic potential of life, immortality in its field of counting it in terms of time. Immortality.

KING: Do we know what stage we're in?

MAHARISHI: Absolutely. From the Vedic astrology point of view. Vedic astrology -- the Jyotishis calculate the whole of life from the past, and they calculate the whole of life in future. This is the field of Yagya. And when they find some wrong, negative influence from sun, moon, star or wherever, they make some Yagya. Yagya is a name for a Vedic performance which can avert the danger.

The Vedic way of life rests on "avert the danger that has not come." Prevention. It uses the knowledge to prevent problems from coming on. The Yagya system is so powerful that those who get the Yagya done by the Vedic Pandits, they find the obstacles don't have to be faced. Sicknesses don't have to be faced. Wrong things don't have to be faced.

One can be the master of one's own destiny if one follows the Vedic way of life, which is life according to natural law, which can prevent disorders.

KING: What about, Maharishi, those who are the victims of evil who cannot determine their own life? They're in a building on September 11 and they're gone. They couldn't make any determination. TM didn't help them.

MAHARISHI: Everyone has to go sometime or the other. And the basic principle about going or surviving is that no one -- now listen to me -- no one is responsible for giving any difficulty or any pleasure to anyone.

Problems or successes, they all are the results of our own actions. Karma. The philosophy of action is that no one else is the giver of peace or happiness. One's own karma, one's own actions are responsible to come to bring either happiness or success or whatever.

KING: If someone treats me harshly, if someone shoots me or kills you or harms a baby, how was the victim a participant in that other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

MAHARISHI: He is the carrier of my (ph) own influence. As you sow, so shall you reap. It's a very old proverb of mankind. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Sometime you may have killed that man, and then sometime now he comes to kill you.


MAHARISHI: What we have done, the result of that comes to us whenever it comes, either today, tomorrow, hundred years later, hundred lives later, whatever, whatever.

And so, it's our own karma. That is why that philosophy in every religion: Killing is sin. Killing is sin in every religion. Whosoever sins, whoever is killed, it doesn't matter. It's a sin.

KING: Right.

MAHARISHI: And sin in the will of God is a punishable offense. Because when you sin, when you've killed some man, what you are killing? You are killing the cosmic potential within the individual.

Individual is cosmic. Individual potential of life is cosmic potential. Individual is divine deep inside. Transcendental experience awakens that divinity in man. And when you kill a man you deprive him of that birthright of it.

It is the right of everyone to rule the world, to dominate in whole nature of the universe. Master of the universe is every man's potential insight, cosmic potential. When you kill a man like that you deprive him from getting to his human right.

It's a human right...

KING: What a wonderful way to look at it.

MAHARISHI: ... to live divinity.

KING: Where, Maharishi, were you on September 11?

MAHARISHI: I heard about it wherever I was. I don't remember now, because I don't look back in time. I have no time to look back. I have only look forward, forward, forward.

And now I have come to a level of creating a world free from problems. There have been always wars, there have been always this negativity and all this, throughout world history. It's not one instance. It's not one instance. So many Hitlers were born. So many Alexanders were born, all those things (ph). And so many will continue to be born on earth.

But now I have come to create a situation in the world through about 40,000 Yogic Flyers in the world and Vedic performers, performers of Yagya in the world, and I am collecting them in India. And I invite everyone to send their donations for this purpose, which will deprive the world of negative trends in life. I want to eliminate the basis of problems and basis of crime, and basis of terrorism. That is my message now.

KING: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is our special guest on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of transcendental meditation, the author of "Science of Being and Art of Living," which explains transcendental meditation. That book, released many years ago, has been newly revised and updated.

How do you deal personally with sadness? George Harrison just died. I know he was a friend of yours. How do you deal when someone you love or like is gone?

MAHARISHI: It's human nature to like those whom you like, and when they go it's natural to be sad about them. But it is inevitable. It's inevitable.

When I found transcendental meditation has done good for so many, so many, then now I'm thinking for the last two, three years -- I'm thinking of nations as a whole. Want to make the destiny of every nation to be free from problems, to be free from suffering, to be free from sin. I'm establishing a government in the world which will disallow the sprouting of negativity in any country, in any country. Governments are a failure today. Absolutely every government is a failure because problems exist everywhere and every government is sovereign.

The word "sovereign" is a misnomer. Their sovereignty lies in not being able to give a problem-free administration to the people. I'm establishing a problem-free administration on the basis of the constitution of the universe.

The constitution of the universe is total natural law. Natural law, we say from the field of science. Will of God, we say from the field of religion. It's the same thing.

Natural law administers the infinite diversity of the universe. And I'm going to establish the government on the basis of this cosmic constitution of the universe. Cosmic constitution is a stable constitution.

Manmade constitution requires change every four years, five years. Election of the people. The whole thing is a fraudulent thing. Administration is a matter of expert intelligence.

KING: But how...

MAHARISHI: It shouldn't be exposed to voters on the street.

KING: How do you change a system of governments and nations and people who are opposed to one another, and presidents and kings and emperors and dictators, how do you change that?

MAHARISHI: I'll be establishing groups of people practicing Yogic Flying and Vedic Pandits performing the Yagyas, which will eliminate the negative influence on life on earth.

This is how my plan is to improve the quality of life on the world by minimizing the negative influences from the sun, moon, stars, and from everywhere, through (ph) those groups we'll be establishing. We'll be establishing groups in every country.

I have already this -- our organization teaching TM in all the countries and all the governments like it, because it has a better quality of life. Only we have to concentrate now with the help of each government, because no government wants chaos and problems and difficulties and crime in the country.

That is a very good thing. But because every government is governed by manmade constitutions, and manmade constitutions are full of human weaknesses and human failings, that is why I'm adopting the constitution of the universe, which is the will of God, high above everything.

Merciful nature of God, total value of natural law, which is profusely narrated and detailed in the Vedic literature. Ancient Vedic literature with all this total knowledge of natural law and the programs to eliminate any difficulty or problem that may be coming from anywhere.

We don't allow the problems. We create that shield. Protect ourselves. That is the Vedic way of life.

KING: Do you believe in perfection?

MAHARISHI: I am bringing perfection in life. It's not a matter of belief. I have the positive programs. I have the concrete programs to create perfection in life.

I want to create every government to be free from military. Military is a defeatist feature of a government. Government is not able to protect the nation, and therefore they engage the people -- give them food that you will die for other people.

The whole thing is absurd and inhuman. I want to create a global government. A global government.

I have created a country of global -- global country of world peace where no one would harm anyone. Where no one would do any wrong to anyone. The government will not need a military to protect itself because the principle is that any military is a big sinner. And the sin must come to the whole population.

KING: We'll take a break and come right back. The Maharishi's movement has its own political party called the Natural Law Party. It's in many, many countries.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

How can you be so optimistic based on all the things you see wrong in the world?

MAHARISHI: Optimism comes from the so many scientific researches to prove that transcendental meditation, which I have taught for 40, 50 years in the world, works to create a better man.

In Fairfield, we have that management university. And the professors of the management university have found that the world is being managed badly. Governments are not competent to prevent problems, and therefore, higher intelligence is needed to enrich and support the present situation of every government.

Every government, as I said already, has a manmade constitution. And manmade constitutions have the value of human failings and human weaknesses. That is why constitutions are there and the government is there and the people are there and the laws are there. But those laws are futile. They are not able to prevent wrong.

The corruption has been there. All those -- crime has been there throughout the ages.

KING: But what...

MAHARISHI: Punishment has been there by government throughout the ages. But punishment and fear of death, hanging them in the jails and all that. That has been there, but crime continues.

Therefore, something else has to be done. And that something else I am going to do from the level of the Vedic wisdom of life, which proclaims man is divine. Man is all competent. Human potential is universal potential, universal capability.

So the concept of government has to be raised to that merciful, fatherly treatment of the population by the governments.

KING: Do you weep? Do you cry when someone you love dies?

MAHARISHI: There is no reason to cry, because I know the -- everyone has to go on and on, on the path of progress, path of progress, path of progress. There is nothing to cry about something.

When the sun sets at the end of the day, one doesn't cry for the sun. It's happening, it's happening. The same sun that is setting is going to rise again and again, set and again rise and again set.

So one knows the progression of life. Now I am working on the possibility of collective destiny of the nation towards all good.

KING: What do you make of other modern conveniences? What do you make of television? Cell phones?

MAHARISHI: I'm using the television to have my message reach the people, and that is all.

KING: So you accept that progress goes on, and that we make progress in things like prescription drugs. Life gets better. We extend life.

All that is good, is it not?

MAHARISHI: Right, right. Anything that is helpful to life, anything that will save life from pains and suffering and all those difficulties, that is -- that is our intention, to have a better world created.

And for that, I am now working from the administrative level. I'm creating an ideal of administration where people will not make mistakes. And when they don't make mistakes, they don't create the reason for suffering for themselves.

So people should be saved from sinning, from killing each other, from this. This is our teaching. "Help thy neighbor" is a very old axiom of mankind. Help thy neighbor.

KING: The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is probably the only law you need. Every other law fits it.

Why has mankind never done -- I mean, what you say makes sense, but mankind has never done it, never.

MAHARISHI: If man is told he is divine, he is almighty, powerful, when he is trained to have his thought come to materialization without much effort, everyone would go for it.

It's the education. It's the education.

If a man is a criminal, that is the defective administration that he has been raised in. It's a defective administration, cruel administration, away from the real potential of life which is, in the will of God, evolution, evolution, evolution.

KING: What part in all of this, Maharishi, does money play? There have been stories that you're the -- you're -- that you have started what is a multi-billion dollar business.

MAHARISHI: I lack only $1 billion to make the world a better world.

So many months ago, I had publicized in the American papers that $1 billion endowment fund will raise enough this Vedic Pandits to fly about. We want to engage 40,000 people on a permanent basis, and they will have enough intense influence of coherency in the world consciousness. And anybody who wants to have peace -- and everyone wants peace -- they were invited to donate.

But I realized later that I was talking to the -- this capitalist country. And capitalist country in their own fog. Unless they get something privately themselves, they'll not indulge into it.

So money has become prominent in a world of capitalism. That I realized when nobody sponsored for world peace, and everybody wants world peace. But they will not...

KING: Take part.

MAHARISHI: ... part with some of their huge billions and millions in the bank.

So I said, all right.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come right back. We have two more segments left with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

His original book, "Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation" -- he's the founder of that movement -- has just been republished and newly revised and updated.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He's coming to us from Vlodrop, Holland.

What is Yogic flying? MAHARISHI: Yogic flying is that level of creative intelligence in the self-referral consciousness that will materialize the intention. Whatever the intention, materialize the intention.

And what is this thing? This is the same creative intelligence from natural law that makes huge galactic universe float in the empty space.

Every galaxy -- huge weight galaxy, they are all flying in empty space. What is that?

It is the creative intelligence at the level of pure intelligence when pure intelligence in its self-referral, unified state assumes the role of fluctuations of waves, like that, like that, like that.

So the same law of nature is captured in the transcendental field of one's consciousness. And then with the thought that I should be in the air, the body lifts up, body lifts up.

KING: Are you saying, then, that man is capable of every -- man could fly if he had obtained this consciousness?

MAHARISHI: That has been proved -- how many times -- as many times as people are flying. Four, five million people are flying in their private values (ph). Now we want to have bigger groups.

And bigger groups have been found to create that worldwide influence. They influence the whole world consciousness towards positivity, towards harmony, towards higher values of intelligence.

That is why we have the proof. We have enough proof in the Vedic literature. And we have enough proof from the modern science that our teaching has that influence which will create a better world, means a positive world, a harmonious world.

That is why we want to have a global administration of natural law.

KING: Now...

MAHARISHI: We will not disturb the existing administration by manmade laws in any country. We are creating of our own government, which is utilizing natural law, which we have from modern science and which we have for effective Vedic science.

So we have enough ammunition to win the race.

KING: How do they learn more about this? They could buy the book, and the revised update of it. Is there someplace they can contact direct to get more information?

MAHARISHI: I have hundreds of centers for teaching transcendental meditation everywhere.

KING: Do you believe in a god? MAHARISHI: I believe in God. And I believe in the custody of God vested in kings. And I'm very happy to have your name as "King." It's the King!

KING: I'm a King.

MAHARISHI: I want to establish a government in every country that will support life in the country. This drama of four years, five years, change the government, change the government, is only useful to the foreign powers.

They think democracy -- I used to say "damn the democracy," because it's not a stable government. It's only useful for foreign powers. It's a bad thing for any nation to change the -- a man comes for four years, now he is the president. And then he goes to jail tomorrow -- here, there. Such inadequacy in the field of administration must create a very chaotic population in every country. And that is the situation in the world.

The whole field of education is very inadequate. It doesn't make the human physiology totally function. The medicine -- the field of medicine is very poisonous. It's full of inadequacies, and full of those what we call, all these negative things -- the side effects of modern medicine...

KING: Yes, but ...

MAHARISHI: ... huge. I have in my room -- I have in my room the whole height of a floor full of about 8,000 or 10,000 bad articles on modern medicine. But modern medicine continues, continues.

Those who are producing medicine, they are only producing because they get money. It doesn't matter if people die or suffer from any more diseases.

And the governments support it. Your own government (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was hearing, is subject to so much of corruption. All this is because life is not taught to the boys in the younger age.

Education is very, very inadequate. The whole drama of science is a big fraud, everywhere. Hiroshima was created in the name of science.

Peace cannot be created in the name of science. No. Hiroshima can be created. Afghanistan can be created. And now Middle East can be created.

This is science. The whole thing is fraud. The whole thing is sinful. And the -- those who will get into that come to that realization. Sin -- killing is sin. Whosoever kills, it is sin, and the sinner will go to hell.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with our remaining moments with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, right after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: In our remaining moments with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, let's talk about yourself.

Do you have a family?

MAHARISHI: The world is my family. I count them...

KING: You have no children of your own?

MAHARISHI: That is what a family means -- all the children of the world.

KING: I know, but I'm just asking if you have children from your loins.

MAHARISHI: I am a single person. I'm a Purusha. I'm a -- what do you call it -- Sanyasi, if you understand the word. I'm a monk, if you understand it...

KING: You're a bachelor.

MAHARISHI: ... monk.

KING: Do you have special diets that you eat?

MAHARISHI: I think that diet that I eat, everyone eats the same thing -- some rice, some dal, some chapatis, something vegetables. But I like this organic, organic. I recommend to people organic agriculture -- Vedic organic agriculture. Huge amount of scientific research has shown that with the Vedic hymns, with the Vedic melodies, the nutrients grow in the trees very much in the fruits, in the crops, in the vegetables.

So that is why -- what I am promoting in the world.

KING: How old are you?

MAHARISHI: I have almost forgotten when I was born. I was told before.


MAHARISHI: I never look back. In my habit, I never looked back. I never looked back.

KING: Are you in good health?

MAHARISHI: I am in fairly good health. Yes, yes, fairly good health.

KING: Do you go to doctors?

MAHARISHI: Doctors come to me even before calling them. They like to see me year after year the same way, like that, like that.

But the main thing is not so important what I am. What is important is my program for the world, that the world will be a better world. It will be free from sins. Governments will be preventive administrations in the world. That is important.

I'm not important for the world. I'm here for some time, gone. And everyone will finish the whole story.

But I have promoted a program which is practical, positive and simple for every individual...

KING: Where...

MAHARISHI: ... and for every nation.

KING: ... where did you learn it?

MAHARISHI: I learned it from my master. I address him as His Divinity, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, in the Himalayas in India. And that I hold to be the tradition of Vedic masters.

And that I came to teach in the world, and I felt successful results on the individuals, and now I am going to have successful results on the basis of nations -- nations.

National governments everywhere, whatever they are now, I think they are groping in darkness. And I have the lamp. I put the lamp, and the light from the lamp will illuminate all their darknesses.

My nature is not to fight. I give the message, I give the experience, and people take it, and more people take it. And now, I'll have a government.

I've created a government, and created the head of this government -- a great scientist, Dr. Nader Raja Raam. He is MD, PhD.

He has researched in the human physiology that the whole human physiology is the expression of the underlying field of consciousness, the same way as physics has discovered self-referral quantum field as the field of consciousness -- self-referral.

On that basis of the realization or the discovery of the ultimate field, I'm going to create a world of that profundity of perfection which belongs to the perfection of the government of nature.

KING: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from Vlodrop, Holland.

His book has been newly revised and updated, the version of the original book of many years ago: "Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation."

Optimistic? You bet.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Good night.


KING: Can you explain what happens when you pray? What do you do? Who are you talking to? Are you asking for something?

BILLY GRAHAM, CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST: I believe that -- no. I believe that the greatest form of prayer is praise to God. We have to praise him, because he is the mighty power back of this vast universe.

Even Hubble hasn't found yet the end of this universe. And we don't know that it has an end.

But back of all that is a supernatural being that we call God. And if I know God personally, as I believe I do, that is so overwhelming, I -- there's no way to conceive it, no way for me to think about it. It's so beyond me.

So that's the reason I have to come by faith and believe it.