My Maharishi – Daily Life and Travels with My Master

“The government is nothing but a reflection of the average state of consciousness of those whom they govern.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Episode Summary

Over the period of 25 years, Thom Knoles got to spend many extended periods of time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a student and a ‘replicant,’ one of many charged with the task of sharing Vedic wisdom with the world.

In this episode, another instalment of the My Maharishi series, Thom recounts some of the aspects of daily life and travels with Maharishi, including Maharishi’s tireless round-the-clock efforts to fit as much teaching into his lifetime as he possibly could.

Warning – This episode may require you to reassess your current standard for ‘busy’. 

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Episode Highlights


An Unusual Man in Every Respect



The Light of the World 



Ask, Ask



Who’s Awake?



Conscious Rest



My Waking is More Restful than Your Sleep 



I’m in a Hurry 



More Multiplication


Jai Guru Deva


My Maharishi – Daily Life and Travels with My Master

An Unusual Man in Every Respect

[00:00:00] Let’s continue with a few remembrances—we call these in Sanskrit, smritis: a smriti is a memory of a pivotal event—about experiences that I had with my Maharishi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my guru.

[00:01:01] Maharishi was a very unusual man in every respect. Not only his appearance, his behavior, his lifestyle. This was somebody who chose to have no private life. In the quarter of a century or so that I had opportunities to be with him or travel with him, I noted that there were people in his room at all times of day and night. He hardly slept.

[00:01:31] Maharishi was very well known to continue his lectures on until 12 o’clock at night or one o’clock in the morning, and even later, and people would start looking very tired at the end of this time so he’d send everyone to go off and rest. And then there was always a select group of people who would sit with him in his private room after the lectures were over with, wherever that private room happened to be, and he traveled a lot.

The Light of the World

[00:02:00] And typically he would lie down on a couch or a sofa, he was not known for sleeping in beds, per se. He liked lying down on a couch or a sofa, and he had his silk robes on and sometimes his pashmina shawl would be there, to cover him. And he would lie down with his head propped up on one hand, lying on his side, and then he would want us to start asking him questions, “Ask, ask,” he would say.

[00:02:28] He liked to have the room very darkened, and on many occasions the room was just faintly illuminated by a rolling map. This is one of those devices that you can put on a wall, quite large, about say three feet across from left to right, and about two feet from bottom to top. A rolling map of the world that showed you where the sun was shining and where the darkness was on the earth at any given time, showing you all the time zones of the earth.

[00:02:59] And the surface of the map rolled on two rollers, very quietly dragging into the sunshine, the various countries that were entering the dawn and showing you which countries, which continents were entering the dark of the night.

[00:03:14] He loved looking at that map and watching it roll past. And because the earth is largely covered with water, when the light shone on it, it shone a very subtle blue into the room. And that kind of subtle blue was the only light that he preferred to have in the room. He didn’t like the light to be bright at night.

Ask, Ask

[00:03:35] And so those of us who worked around him very often worked with what Americans call flashlights, what Commonwealth people called torches, the little device you use in your hand to illuminate things.

[00:03:46] And there would be at least four or five of us taking notes on what he was saying on the questions that were asked of him, his ideas for his worldwide organization and his thoughts on various topics that we would sometimes raise when he wanted us to ask questions.

[00:04:06] And so he would lie there and then occasionally in the middle of answering a question, he would doze off. And while dozing you’d hear him snore a little bit like [snoring sounds], and then in the middle of a snore, he would wake up and continue the sentence, right from where he’d left off.

[00:04:28] And then, if he dozed off for a few moments and you didn’t ask anything, and if you let the room go quiet, he would sometimes open his eyes and say, “Ask, ask,” so we had to ask him something.

[00:04:42] This was his sleep. This went on typically from sometime around, at least in the times I was with him, from sometime around 2:00 AM, until say approximately four or five or so, and then he was up and ready.

Who’s Awake?

[00:04:59] He would go into the bathroom and shower and wash out his dhoti, the silk robe that he wore, and hang it out to dry and put on the one from the previous day that somebody had ironed for him, but that he’d washed out by hand, and come out and his hair would be glistening wet and his beard would be wet, and he’d look up at the world map and he would say, “Let’s start. Who’s awake?”

[00:05:28] And he loved making telephone calls. He would call people and whoever was awake, sometimes he would wake them up in the middle of their night, from wherever he was, but mostly he was fairly respectful of people’s sleep time. Except for ours.

[00:05:46] And he had three shifts of people, in most of the times I was with him, who looked after him. Eight hours from early morning until lunchtime, another eight hour shift from lunchtime until eight hours later, and then a night shift of people who were expected to be there with him all through the night and taking notes and answering questions and things.

Conscious Rest

[00:06:11] So he himself slept, if we could even call it sleep. He rested as he put it. He didn’t refer to it as sleeping. He rested for, in that semi-horizontal position, for about two hours every night, and then the rest of the 22 hours of the day, he was up and moving about, sometimes lecturing for upwards of 12, 15 hours in any given day and never looking tired, always just filled with energy.

[00:06:42] And he said to us that he was wanting to train us to be like him. And I underwent that training. I found it very, very helpful to learn how to rest very deeply, even with my eyes open. How to rest very sufficiently, even if there were only two or three hours of lying-down time available in the night.

[00:07:05] I found it extremely helpful in the process of raising my own children, for example, my young son Asa, last night, decided to wake up at three and I had to use the Maharishi technique from 3:00 AM until about seven to continue to rest myself sufficiently to come to this meeting and give these recordings.

[00:07:29] So Maharishi was somebody who believed that dynamic restfulness did not require you going unconscious, that you could rest consciously…

My Waking is More Restful than Your Sleep

[00:07:40] I asked him once when we were on a long flight, on what basis was he able to keep, this is when I first met him, was able to keep moving because he was talking all through the flight.

[00:07:51] He had some Vedic Pandits, people who are experts in the sound of the Veda, chanting to him in the aircraft. And this was back in the day when on an aircraft, almost everybody smoked cigarettes, 70% of the people in the airplane had cigarettes lit up and there was a blue haze of smoke, right through the cabin. He seemed to be unconcerned about any of that. He didn’t care.

[00:08:16] And I said to him, “How do you do this?” And he looked at me and he said, “You have to understand, my waking state is more restful than your sleep. This is what I’m training you to do, for your waking state to be more restful than other people’s sleep. And then you’ll have the capacity to continue on and on.”

I’m in a Hurry

[00:08:38] He said, “You see I’m in a hurry. This body will only last a certain amount of time,” it lasted almost a hundred years by the way, but, “this body will only last a certain amount of time and we have to get this knowledge out to the whole world.

[00:08:54] “The whole world has become so curious about this and we have a limited amount of time to train enough people to get all of this knowledge out. So I have to train people how to meditate and then those meditators have to come up through the knowledge until they become curious enough to become teachers of meditation. And then I have to bring this knowledge through them, to the rest of the world. I can’t do it all on my own so I’m in a hurry. Sleep is a waste of time.”

More Multiplication

[00:09:25] So this is another little anecdote about my master and his lifestyle. He ate, usually about once, maybe twice, in a day, about the amount of food that would fit into a bowl that could easily sit in your two hands. He didn’t eat that much.

[00:09:47] Although when he did eat, he ate with great gusto. He really enjoyed eating. And I also remember that my mother would have been appalled because he continued talking with his mouth full while he was eating, because he was in such a hurry to get the knowledge out. He would just be munching away at his food while continuing his sentences.

[00:10:10] So as it turned out, he got hundreds of thousands of hours of knowledge out to the world in recorded form. And more importantly, he trained the people whom he wished to train to be his replicants, those who replicated him. He wanted to multiply himself and he managed to multiply himself sufficiently that we’re able here today to teach everything that he had to teach and to do more of this multiplication.

[00:10:57] Jai Guru Deva.

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