By J.V. Lakshmana Rao
Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa: An aura of spiritually-charged Vedic energy permeates the sanctified land of Maharishi Vedic City, a stone’s throw from Fairfield, where a gigantic effort is being made to bring back peace and harmony to the world as described in India’s ageless scriptures — the Vedas. Maharishi Vedic City itself derives its name from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the transcendental meditation guru, who established the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) there in early 1970s.
The campus of MUM and its holy surroundings include Ved Bhavan, Argiro Student Center, Festival Hall, Vedic Observatory, Vedic Architecture Home, Maharishi Patanjali Golden Domes, Pandits’ Campus for 1,000 Vedic pandits, Maharashi School for students from pre-school level to 12th grade, and a huge complex for preparation of Ayur Veda herbal products.
Incorporated as a city a decade ago, Maharishi Vedic City consists, besides the MUM complex, about 450 houses, including 160 pandit residences and the rest are private houses. About 95 percent of the houses are constructed according to the Vedic Vasthu that stipulates the entrance to every house must face towards the east, and the kitchen must be located in the southeast direction of the building. Even the official residence of Vedic City Mayor Robert G. Wynne is built according to the Vedic Vasthu. Similarly the beds in the bedrooms in the Mayor’s bungalow are placed in the east-west direction with the headboards located in the east. In fact, it is mandatory by a city order that all new constructions must be according to the Vedic Vasthu. So when one visits Maharishi Vedic City, one will be delighted to see all houses have Brahmasthals with the Kalashas atop the buildings. Only about 5 percent of houses, which were old, remain being without Vasthu stipulations. If an old house is pulled down, the new house in its place must follow the Vasthu rules. Typically, all the residents use only organic food grown by local farmers.
The MUM celebrated Vedic Visitors’ Weekend and launched Global Peace Initiative honoring the wishes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for two days — November 4 and 5 — and invited mediapersons and a select group of guests. During these two days, the lectures by eminent scholars and scientists were centered on the efficacy of the scientifically proven transcendental meditation, and the MUM’s efforts for establishing peace and harmony in the world with a special emphasis on the US and India. Besides these lectures, the guests were also taken on a tour of the MUM facilities and the city.
The highlights of the two-day program were a three-and-half-hour Rudra Abhishek with the participation of 120 Vedic pandits, who chanted the Vedic mantras with sonorous reverberation for world peace and harmony, and a spiritually elevating benefit peace concert by Grammy nominee Chandrika Tandon.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in his farewell message on January 11, 2008, expressed his desire to establish Brahmananda Saraswati Fou-ndation, named after his teacher, to maintain a group of 9,000 peace-creating experts or pandits in India and another group of 2,500 pandits in the US for bringing global peace and harmony.
Welcoming the gathering on November 5, Michael Busch, an ardent practitioner of transcendental meditation and a key person of the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation, said realization of inner consciousness or atma of oneself was the goal of one’s life and the foundation of all knowledge. About 600 scientific researches were conducted on the efficacy of transcendental meditation and the results were amazing. “Atma is the base of education — the knowledge of a knower. The Upanishads speak about the knower, whose suffering can be removed by practicing transcendental meditation. Ten percent of transcendental meditation practitioners can make the world without war. Patanjali Yoga Shashtra says the practice of transcendental meditation by large groups is very effective,” Michael Busch added, emphasizing the need for creating large groups of Vedic pandits.
Speaking on the subject “Neurophysiology of Enlight-enment,” Prof. Fred Travis, said that yoga related to brain and was known as Chitthavriti, and questioned “does yoga lead to the state of meditation” and answered that it would lead to the deep neurostate of the brain. There were three cognitive controls — focus attention or experience inside mind (measured as gamma); open monitoring or outside mind (measured as theta), which could be influenced by a mantra; and automatic self-transcending or systematic activity of mind (measured as alpha). “If life can be compared to the Sun, the brain is like mirror and the reflection is the individual personality; and the yoga keeps the body and mind strong. If mind is like monkey, catch or control the monkey with yoga meditation, which automatically transcends mind to stillness. Meditation leads to creation of a strong mood of loving, kindness and compassion. Meditation or Vipasana, Zazen is mindfulness that reduces the intensity of pain. It decreases anxiety and reduces alcohol use, but not PTSD symptoms,” he said and added that pure consciousness or state of yoga was Satchitananda, when one felt the absence of time, space and body sense. Meditation would bring out inner experience to experience the life that was the transcendental consciousness. Thinking the mantra, even without knowing its meaning, would help a person to transcend from consciousness to higher level of consciousness. All the brain functions of various practitioners of the transcendental meditation were scientifically measured and proved with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Prof. Tom Egnes, who guides a group of doctoral research scholars, explained the effect of “Vedic recitation” on human mind and said transcendental meditation would lead one to the state of infinite silence and infinite dynamism. “Nothingness has a nature and that nature is experienced by a practitioner of transcendental meditation,” he added. The research scholars as a group participated in the Vedic recitation.
Speaking during the post-lunch session, Dr. Craig Pearson, executive vice president of MUM, stated that the transcendental meditation did not belong to any particular religion, but universal. He saluted India and the Indians for sharing the knowledge of transcendental meditation with rest of the world. The IQ of the students, who practiced transcendental meditation was very high and they were psychologically, physically and ethically very strong. The transcendental meditation was brought to the US 40 years ago by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the movement had doubled in its popularity and practice during the past five years.
Dr. Ramani Ayer, director of MUM board and a key person of the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation, said that like the Newton’s Law of Gravitation, the Vedic Culture was universal. Therefore, it should be popularized and shared among all peoples of the world.
Dr. Bevan Morris, president of MUM, who was on a visit to Spain, delivered his keynote address through a satellite phone on the subject — Consciousness-based education. He described Maharishi Vedic City was a global country for world peace. “This is the Vedic world created in the middle of the US. The MUM has been built on Vedic principles of peace-giving and evolution. Students from 86 countries are present in the university living in the Vedic traditions of India. Maharishi wanted a place for learning the meaning of life, which took the shape of MUM. Encouraged by the British government in 1971, which favored setting up consciousness-based education, new Maharishi schools came up in England. The Brazilian government was also encouraging yoga practice and transcendental meditation. Later countries like South Africa, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Bali, Canada, Israel, Thailand and others followed suit.
He said: “The transcendental