Before Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, popularly known as Maharishi, arrived in the U.S., in 1959, there was no “meditation,” “mantra,” or “yoga,” Dr. Susan Shumsky, one of Maharshi’s long-time disciples and best-selling author and a practitioner of yoga and meditation, and other self-development disciplines for decades, reveals in a memoir, “Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles’ Guru.”
Yes, Maharishi was the Beatles’ guru. Fifty years ago, in 1968, when Mia Farrow, the Beatles, Donovan, and Mike Love visited the yogi’s ashram, known for his technique of Transcendental Meditation, the shock waves hitting Rishikesh, India, reverberated around the world, she writes in her new book. The result, she notes, was the iconic album of The Beatles, a.k.a. the “White Album,” written in India, and Maharishi's meteoric rise to fame.
Shumsky credits Maharishi with making yoga and meditation household names. “Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles” details the time she lived and studied with Maharishi in India, the Swiss Alps, Fairfield, Iowa, and elsewhere. Shumsky served on his personal staff for six of those 22 years.
Only a handful of the six million people who learned Transcendental Meditation had firsthand experience of Maharishi. Shumsky was one of them, and she spills the behind-the-scenes story about this enigmatic guru and the celebrities who followed him.
In her memoir, Shumsky reveals fascinating details about the ashram, the true meaning of the songs the Beatles wrote in India (including “Sexy Sadie,” “Dear Prudence,” “Get Back” and more), why Maharishi believed Ringo was the best meditator of the Beatles, the reason the Beatles left India and why it wasn't about Mia Farrow, why the Beatles made a pact to never disclose the real reason they left, Maharishi's shocking prediction for the Beatles that came true, Maharishi's devastating comment when John Lennon tried to return two years later, why George Harrison apologized to Maharishi, and true stories of the intense emotional roller coaster of being a disciple of a guru from India.