Murder, Suicides & Missing Persons at Iowa’s Maharishi Campus
There is a little known place near Fairfield, Iowa called Maharishi Vedic City, that officially incorporated in 2001. This little city, located right next to the Fairfield Municipal Airport, boasts its very own outdoor observatory, The Raj Ayurvedic Health Center, and a hotel located kitty-corner to the Maharishi Vedic Pandit Campus. The campus itself spans 80 acres, and consists of over 160 buildings designed according to the Maharishi Vastu Architecture, giving the appearance of army barracks. They accommodate 1,000+ male Pandits training to be world peace keepers. Pandits are students that train under the Maharishi’s instruction, spending 8 hours a day in transcendental meditation and chanting to create an influence of world peace, and they do this for 2-3 years. They begin their training in India, at a very young age, before moving to Iowa, fully funded by Maharishi followers. These Pandits arrive from India, and in 2014, it is alleged that over 160 Pandits went missing – shortly after, a mob of Pandits attacked the sheriff. Astonishingly, between 2008-2014 there were 20 suicides in the small town of Fairfield, with a mere population of only 9,400-10,000 during those years.
Whereas transcendental meditation and yoga prove to be highly beneficial, when done in this closely ruled environment in Iowa, perhaps the pros and cons need to be measured? Many past students, teachers, and locals have attributed the Maharishi to the likings of a cult. Even John Lennon had issues with the Maharishi, despite everyone proclaiming him to be his guru. Is it possible that too much transcendental meditation, governed by strict rules over ones daily life, can have an adverse effect? Where did the Maharishi emerge from, gain his popularity, and just how far does this “movement” go? Across the world. From broadcasting and publishing, to government and monetary systems, rebuilding cities, and creating “world peace” with a lot of structured rules, this movement has a grand world plan with some interesting connections.
What is going on in Iowa?
The state of Iowa has seen its fair share of tragedies, with the recent murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a staggering amount of unsolved murders, and a high level of missing persons reported, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. In 2013 the FBI got involved with trying to prevent an alarming number of young girls from being bought and sold, and turned into sex slaves at truck stops along I-80. It seems everything needs a closer look these days, and people should be both observant and vigilant.
The FBI says the problem is real. Law enforcement officials say I-80 plays a big part in helping men buy and sell young girls.
While many are kidnapped, some who run away from home are easy targets for pimps traveling through.
Now police are reaching out for help and some truckers are signing up. They are now the eyes and ears of our highways. They’re working with local law enforcement officials to stop this nightmare.
300,000. That’s a big number and it’s the number of children who are kidnapped and forced into sex trafficking each year according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 states and the FBI says thousands of slaves are brought to the United States each year from other countries. All of who are bought and sold for the sex trade.
Historical side note: The underground railroad in Iowa, otherwise known as “John Brown Freedom Trail 1859” runs clear across Iowa along much of I-80. This is a terrific 25-pg pdf containing photos and historical information, and this site offers an actual map where these locations fall. Whereas the underground railroad was a path to freedom from slavery, it’s parallel path – I-80, is a path to slavery. It’s tragic how history keeps repeating itself with different faces.
Maharishi Vedic City and Campus in Fairfield, Iowa
Right next door to the Maharishi Vedic City, in the town of Fairfield, is the Maharishi University of Management (MUM), founded in 1971 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the same Maharishi who incorporated Maharishi Vedic City. They have a sprawling campus across 270 acres, which also consists of the Maharishi School of The Age of Enlightenment (preschool-12), the Maharishi Peace Palace, a large recreation center, and two 20,000 square foot golden dome meditation buildings. Butting up to this campus is an Army National Guard facility, Abu Bakr Mosque located in the basement of the MUM library, and the David Lynch Foundation TV.
Lynch is one of the biggest financial supporters of the Maharishi, and played a big role in its development. In fact in 2010, Lynch organized an American Indian Sustainability Conference with Bill Clinton giving the opening address, via a recorded message, hosted by the Maharishi University. Bill Gates Giving Pledge cohort, Ray Dallio, is a big supporter of David Lynch and meditation, and has given over $10 million to his foundation over the years. Even Marina Abramovic raves about Lynch’s work, and would very much like to meet him.
A Very Condensed Overview of The Maharishi TM Movement
In short, the schools, pandits compound, and overall lifestyle at the Maharishi all involves transcendental meditation as a requirement. Its headquarters are in Vlodrop, Netherlands, with operations all over the world. There are scientists and researchers who study the brain at the university, compiling data. There are many rules, and they are not allowed to be broken, as is prevalent in testimonies further down in this article, from those who have attended or taught there. Many celebrities have become very involved in TM throughout the years, and Jim Carrey was just awarded an honorary PhD in 2014 from the Maharishi University of Management.
Whereas Fairfield, Iowa hosts several Maharishi schools and facilities, these schools extend to Australia, Netherlands, England, South Africa, and India. Interestingly, the average age median for Maharishi Vedic City is 28, with an average income of $57,500, which is far greater than neighboring towns. The Washington Post reported, “His organization’s $3.5 billion in assets include a chain of hotels, a health food distribution network and a veritable library of instructional books and videotapes, in addition to real estate holdings that include a five-story, 20,000-square-foot building near the New York Stock Exchange.”
That is not the only way the Maharishi and friends made their millions. The Maharishi also founded numerous foundations, organizations, the Peace Palace, societies, 23 Maharishi Vedic health centers in 16 countries, a monetary system, global funds, Global Country of World Peace (worth reviewing), publishing, television and radio, and the World Plan Executive Council with many branches.
The World Plan Executive Council was established in 1972, in both Switzerland and Washington D.C. In 1985 an interesting civil suit was brought against them, which ultimately was dismissed and eventually settled. In the 1990s WPEC, in the United States, became the parent company to an American, for-profit, hotel subsidiary called Heaven on Earth Inns Corp.
The Maharishi’s Global Country of World Peace Arrives in Haiti
Raja Lucien Mansour (Raja of Haiti), trained by the Maharishi to serve his GCWP programs, setup shop in Haiti to teach Yogic Flying, with the intention of creating a problem-free, invincible country. In a 2008 article written by the group, they stated:
Raja Lucien said in 1983, during the historic Taste of Utopia Course (at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Global Country of World Peace, met with him and Dr. Gilda Mansour about Haiti. ‘With the unbounded compassion that belonged to Maharishi alone,’ Maharishi said to them ‘that he wanted to raise Haiti to a state of abundance and happiness’.
Maharishi had mentioned that it was the darkest place in the Western hemisphere. He wanted the Mansours to offer Haiti a school of thousands of students. ‘Today a light has begun to shine on the Haitian soil,’ said Raja Lucien, ‘and Maharishi’s desire is witnessing its own fulfilment as one hundred, and soon two hundred, Yogic Flyers have been trained by the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme administrator, Dr. Richard Robertson, under the care of the champion Yogic Flyer Dr. Eddie Gob, who is now the National Director of Haiti and advisor to the Raja of Haiti.
Yogic flying seems to have peeked curiosity by others as well. This is a very interesting article pertaining to Pakistani Military and yogic flying. “Amazingly, the defense strategy was based on a powerful advanced meditation technique – Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi program, including “Yogic Flying.” COL Torres was astounded. How could meditation prevent war?”
What exactly is yogic flying? Take a look inside one of the golden meditation domes in Fairfield, Iowa in this 5 minute video presentation by National Geographic:
Rajas are stationed all across the world, working toward the Maharishi’s goals. A Raja is a title for a monarch or princely ruler in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Here is a glimpse, provided by Wikipedia, so it may not be up to date, but gives a good idea of the coverage.
According to their website, the Maharishi’s vision was, “To develop every student’s total creative potential through Consciousness-Based℠ education, thereby raising every nation to invincibility and creating peace and prosperity for our world family,” accompanied by a list of goals provided on their website. At the age of 90, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi passed away at his home and headquarters in Vlodrop, Netherlands on February 5, 2008, but his work continues on. According to Religion News Service, at the time of his death, there were 15,000 certified teachers and 200 TM centers in the U.S., including David Lynch’s foundation, which seeks to introduce schoolchildren to transcendental meditation.
What Made The Maharishi So Popular?
There was a big popularity push in the late 60s about just how incredible this “guru” is. Most would have you believe that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the Beatles guru, amongst other celebrities, and therefore, why shouldn’t he be yours as well? In fact, there isn’t an article that exists without the Beatles in the headline or mentioned throughout. If you search the internet for images of the “Beatles and Maharishi”, you will find numerous photos that became the central focus, in what seems to have been quite the marketing campaign. However, John Lennon may disagree with this theory that he was their “guru”, and likely wouldn’t be too happy if he were still alive.
In a nutshell, the New York Times claims that the Beatles were using LSD to tap into the cosmic subconscious, and the Maharishi had promised to get them there without chemicals. The Beatles agreed to attend a retreat in Bangor, Whales at the end of August, 1967. Coincidentally, and very unfortunately, their manager Brian Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose at age 32, just days after the Beatles arrived at the retreat. They were absolutely devastated.
It is claimed that the Maharishi helped them through this shock, and in February 1968 they flew to Rishikesh to devote themselves to his instruction until April, when John rounded them up, marched down to the Maharishi’s ritzy abode, and said, “we are leaving. If you’re so cosmic, you’ll know why.”
Although the media would have everyone believing that this “guru” saved the Beatles lives, John tells quite a different story in the song he wrote about the Maharishi, which was later changed to “Sexy Sadie” on the White Album, at the request of George. Some believe it to be sarcasm, but clearly he had issues with it all, or he wouldn’t have grabbed the band to leave, and later talked about it negatively.
Lyrics to the song:
Well let me tell you something
About the Maharishi camp
There were one or two attractive women there
But mainly looked like, you know
Schoolteachers or something
And the whole damn camp
Was spying on the ones in the bathing suits
And they’re supposed to be meditating
And there’s this cowboy there called Tom
Who plays cowboys on TV
And my, did the Beatle wives go for him in a big way
I wondered what it was –
It was his tight leather belt
His jeans, and his dumb eyes
They seemed to love them eyes
(What’s wrong with his eye? You have big eyes.)
Me, I took it for real
I wrote six hundred songs about how I feel
I felt like dying, and crying, and committing suicide
But I felt creative and said:
“What the hell’s this got to do with
What that silly little man’s talking about?”
But he did charm me in a way
Because he was funny, sort of cuddly
Like a sort of, you know
(Like a teddy bear)
Little daddy with a beard
Telling stories of heaven
As if he knew
You could never pin him down
But he often spread rumors through his right hand man
Who used to be with the CIA
And told about the planes he saved
How Maharishi came through the storm on a plane
And the pilot was getting worried they couldn’t land
When Maharishi looked up
And with one foul look
(According to the man who works for him)
Everything was OK and they landed
After that I thought: lies
But who was that woman that looks like Jean Simmons
That keeps going to him for private interviews?
She must have been about forty, forty-five
Kept telling about her husband cause he wasn’t there
He was always trying to get a private audience with the Maharishi
And he kept refusing
I knew only one thing:
He must have had some of his own
It must have been that little Indian piece
She came with the tailor
And could sit at his feet
And that was one in five hundred
The rest had to wait like good American people
In lines to see the master walking on the petals
Who lived in a million dollar staccato house overlooking the Himalayas
He looked holy
(But he was a sex maniac)
I couldn’t say that, but he certainly wasn’t…
In the true sense of the word, that is
John Lennon speaks about when they left the Maharishi in Rishikesh in this 2-minute radio interview clip:
Oprah has been promoting the town of Fairfield and the Maharishi for many years through multiple articles and video series, and had the honor of meeting 800 resident Pandits in 2012. Despite all of the security, private property signs, and no outlets, they welcomed Oprah for a tour, seen in this 4-1/2 minute video. She was thrilled to be the first one ever allowed inside the compound.
Oprah Meets Iowa’s Pandits
The Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment: Preschool-12
What Former Residents of The Maharishi and Fairfield Are Saying
Let’s be clear. Meditation has incredible benefits, and transcendental meditation can be a very powerful tool, as well as yoga. This article is not about meditational practices, but rather the inconsistencies with a longtime marketing campaign, what many are saying who once attended, and missing persons that seem to have been forgotten. That said, there are some startling revelations in these example articles below, that are worth giving a full read, especially this first one.
Author Susan Shumsky spent 20 years with the Maharishi, and served on his personal staff for 6 years during the time the Beatles attended. Susan shares her amazing story of how they were all (1,000 of them) told they needed to go to Fairfield, Iowa, her experiences while there, how she broke free, and what she now refers to as a “cult.”
The first seeds of TM’s cult-like characteristics emerged in August 1979 in Amherst Massachusetts, where Maharishi gathered 2,600 meditators for a World Peace Assembly. There he made the fantastic claim that the Goddess “Mother Divine” had told him that crime, war, and environmental toxins had polluted the earth. Maharishi’s “World Plan” to create global peace wasn’t working fast enough, and therefore the Goddess was threatening to annihilate the entire earth’s population. After Maharishi pleaded with her, she purportedly agreed to give him one last chance.
Maharishi then declared that time had run out and there was a world emergency. All of us must pack our bags, relocate our families to Iowa within one week, and meditate together in order to prevent certain global annihilation. So about 1,000 of us moved to Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa, where the cult gradually took over our lives, as we squandered our fortunes on various increasingly expensive TM courses and products.
Two gigantic geodesic domes slathered in gold paint were built on the MIU campus—one for men and another for women, where we practiced group meditation twice daily. Every telephone-broadcast from Maharishi terrorized us into believing that if we didn’t adhere to this program, we would be responsible for nuclear holocaust or the end of the world. His manipulative fear-and-intimidation tactics proved extremely effective motivators.
A Childhood Of Transcendental Meditation, Spent In The ‘Shadow Of A Guru’.
Author Claire Hoffman estimates that she’s spent at least 2,200 hours of her life meditating — but not because she became a devotee of the practice as an adult. Her mother was a follower of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Hoffman spent most of her childhood in a community in Fairfield, Iowa that was devoted to Transcendental Meditation.
Suicide in Fairfield: Iowa town struggles with mental health awareness
Between 2008 and 2014 there were 20 suicides in the small town of Fairfield, and this author believes it to be in connection with the Maharishi TM movement not allowing those with physical and mental illness to acknowledge it, and instead feeling shame.
When Indian Parliamentarians saw a CIA plot in the Beatles’ stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram
This is a fantastic article regarding the lower house of the Indian parliament alleging that the yogi was in cahoots with the CIA, how the local Uttar Pradesh government gifted land to the Maharishi for an airstrip under pressure from powerful central leaders, and how former KGB Yuri Bezmenov had revealed that he had been their after the Beatles so as to learn about what kind of people went there.
Eye Opening Wikileaks Emails Pertaining to The Maharishi
It would seem the Maharishi had many eyes on him, and quite possibly working with him. If one didn’t know better, one might review everything and think this was a pretty well orchestrated, and carried out operation, but that would be speculation. Wikileaks has a series of leaks on TM and the Maharishi. Below are a small handful, but all can be accessed freely via Wikileaks.
“Some former TM teachers have described the TM organizations as operating at the upper level as a cult or Vedic sect.”
1) This particular email from Hungary to Syria is rather disturbing, chalked full of coded messages on many topics, with several mentions of the Maharishi, and ends with this: “On 5 February 2008 at Vlodrop, Netherlands,  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes. In clouds below freezing, when ice crystals gain enough mass they begin to fall.” Rather than offer pure speculation on the multitude of messages to be deciphered, review this correspondence closely.
2) In a 1976 telegram from the Department of State to Paris, France, it was realized that the Maharishi was now screening people, which seemed concerning to those in this message – “Krepps may have alternative of rejoining Maharishi program where he was previously stationed and awaiting charter flight returning to U.S. about April 14, place of departure as yet unknown.” See full message. Why is this person “stationed” at the Maharishi, and why were they concerned about screening?
3) Transcendental Meditation Domain of Atlanta Directors Meeting Notes, 2005-2007 about getting involved with public schools, media, authorities, etc. This is a very interesting read.
4) In 2009 the Maharishi sent legal notice to the Examiner to remove what they believed to be a defamation article on the Maharishi because it made references to a “cult.” This made it in the Wikileaks files. Yet today, one can scour the internet and find endless articles making similar claims about the Maharishi.
5) Jumping back to 1975, a telegram from Kabul, Afghanistan went to the Department of State, Secretary of State, TOKTO (likely a type error meant to say Tokyo), and Bangkok, Thailand regarding Nathaniel Goldhaber’s discussion about wishing to sell broadcasting equipment to the Afghanistan government. This equipment was developed for ETV purposes at the Maharishi University of Fairfield, Iowa. Goldhaber reported he was in Japan and Thailand before coming here, and it would be useful to have any suggestions regarding “how we can evaluate/assist Maharishi project.” A follow up transmission from the Secretary of State to Afghanistan, signed Kissinger, was made.
Who is Nathaniel Goldhaber from This 1975 Correspondence?
Despite not appearing on any of the Maharishi’s website, Goldhaber apparently opened one of Maharishi’s first transcendental meditation centers in the U.S. in 1966, and helped found the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. He was a very close associate of the Maharishi. In 1976 he wrote ‘An Alphabetical Guide to the Transcendental Meditation Program’ with two other authors. In 1979 he was a top aide to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor William Scranton III, who was also a follower of Maharishi. In 1984 he founded Centram Systems West, known as TOPS, which he later sold to Sun Microsystems where he then served as Vice President. TOPS (transcendental operating system) allowed transparent file sharing among Macs, PCs, and Unix, using the AppleTalk protocol. In 1989 he became president of the Cole Gilburne Fund, a venture-capital fund specializing in computer software. In 1991 he was the founding president of Kaleida Labs, a joint venture between IBM and Apple. In 1995 he founded Cybergold, an internet marketing and payment system that was acquired by MyPoints that was worth $160 million in a stock-for-stock deal by August, 2000. In 2005 he established Claremont Creek Ventures with parnters, specializing in IT investment, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This was published in The New York Times in 1992:
Apple Computer Inc. and I.B.M. confirmed today that they had appointed A. Nathaniel Goldhaber, a venture capitalist and computer entreprenuer, as president and chief executive of their joint venture, Kaleida.
Mr. Goldhaber became interested in meditation in the 1960’s and spent several years working directly with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the former guru to the Beatles. In 1971, he established Maharishi International University, now an accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in Fairfield, Iowa.
From 1979 to 1982, Mr. Goldhaber worked in Pennsylvania politics, initially as special assistant to the lieutenant governor and later as the interim director of the state’s energy agency. He left government to build a career in high technology and founded his first company, Centram Systems Inc., which developed networking for early personal computers.
According to his profile on his website, he’s an emeritus member of the Executive Board of the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley. He is an Advisory Board member of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and advisor to the Center For Entrepreneurship and Technology (CET) at UC Berkeley. He serves as a member of the US Secret Service Electronics Crimes Taskforce, and is an Emeritus Board Member and Advisor to the Federation of American Scientists.
Goldhaber graduated with a BA in 1973 from the Maharishi International University (now called Maharishi University of Management), an MA in 1985 from the University of California, and a PhD (H.C.) from Maharishi University of Management in 2013.
One has to ask, with a resume this impressive and his extensive background with the Maharishi, why isn’t he mentioned anywhere on the various Maharishi’s websites, and what was his connections with the governments in these Wikileaks emails?
Nathaniel’s background is indeed impressive, but his mother and father may have one-upped him. Gerson Goldhaber, who passed away in 2010, was a particle physicist. At the age of 65, Gerson and his team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a Department of Energy (DOE) office of science lab managed by the University of California, discovered “dark energy.” He eventually shifted to astrophysics and joined a group known as the Supernova Cosmology Project. They studied supernovas and exploding stars, and in 1997 observed the universe’s expansion was not slowing down, but rather speeding up. Gerson made numerous discoveries in his lifetime, and named them after his children and others children, as they have many physicists in their family. One wonders if he ever had the pleasure of enjoying the Maharishi’s Vedic Observatory, sitting on one-half acre in open-air fashion and constructed of masonry sundials, that is said to be the only complete example existing in the world of this timeless knowledge.
Gerson Goldhaber’s wife, Sulamith Löw Goldhaber, was a nuclear chemist who died suddenly in 1965 while traveling with him to India. Eventually, in 1969 he married Judith Margoshes Golwyn, who had served as lead science writer at Berkeley Lab and collaborated with him on many projects during their 41-year marriage. Many relatives are also physicists, including his older brother Maurice Goldhaber who was a particle physicist who lived to be 100.
Murder at The Maharishi Campus in 2004
Not surprising, even in an article about a murder at the Maharishi University, they include the “Beatles’ guru” in the subheading. The Guardian reported in 2004 that Shuvender Sem, a 24-year-old student at the university, sat down in the dining hall to eat with fellow students. He suddenly stood up, taking a knife from his pocket, and plunged it into the heart of 19-year-old Levi Butler. Sem managed to stab him three additional times before he was restrained. Butler was pronounced dead at the hospital, and surprisingly, Sem remained calm as a cucumber with the police. The knife he used, belonged to dean Joel Wysong.
Earlier that day, Sem had stabbed another student in the face with a pen, causing him to receive seven stitches. Apparently he was taken to the dean’s apartment for supervision, and it was there that he stole the knife.
Sem was charged with aggravated assault for the first attack and first-degree murder for the second. The university hadn’t reported the earlier crime which led to allegations that they intended to cover up the violence. Some believed that transcendental meditation may exacerbate existing psychological problems in students. Butler’s family was outraged that Sem was allowed to continue his day at the premises after the first incident, which ultimately resulted in Butler’s death.
Dr. Kari Druhl had taught physics at the university for 13 years and left after becoming disenchanted with the movement, stating, “’There were certainly initial benefits for some of the students but the promise of complete enlightenment is just not true … it just doesn’t happen and I saw how this intense meditation can damage some students, particularly if they have mental problems.” He went on to state, “’There was a definite understanding between staff members that you must not allow any bad news to leak out. You were required to keep up this image of a perfect campus at all costs.”
A “Flash Mob” of up to 80 Pandits Attacked a Sheriff in 2014
On March 11, 2014 up to 80 Pandits (Hindu Indian Priests) vandalized and threw rocks at a sheriff’s truck. While the media called the incident a riot, the sheriff called it a “flash mob.” The Des Moines Register did a fantastic job detailing this incident, how the locals feel about the Maharishi compound, and extensively details the life of a pandit after touring the compound. They state that some of the people who have parted ways with the meditators associated with the Maharishi University of Management, call the Indian priests victims of human trafficking.
Apparently, the program’s administrators were returning one of the men to India due to “administrative improprieties”, without telling the others, and he was one of the more popular Pandits. Jefferson County Sheriff Greg Morton was asked to be there in case of a disturbance, creating a level of distrust. Goldstein, dean of Global Country and the legal counsel for the Fairfield university, said the man was returned to campus and a group meeting was held, followed by six others being “voluntarily” sent back to India.
Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy also believes in the need to keep Pandits away from outside influences, but would like to see a little more transparency. Malloy is a donor to the Pandit Project.
The Pandits are here on R-1 visas issued to religious people. This is curious because they claim they are not a religious organization. One former Fairfield TM-er, Gina Catena, who now resides in California, believes that Pandits are being used as a fundraising tool. She also feels that “this dream is an eternal carrot-on-a-stick, never to be achieved.”
The Pandits live in barracks-style trailers ranging from 2-10 bedrooms, with two or more to a room, inside a guarded fenced-in compound they are only allowed to leave if escorted. They receive room and meals, plus $200 a month, in which $150 is deposited to an Indian bank account for their families. They have no access to the internet or cellphones, have to purchase prepaid calling cards to call home, and the TV is tuned to Indian news programs via satellite in a common area. They are prohibited from outside influences and cannot even have contact with the guards. Despite this, one guard told the reporter that the pandits sometimes offer him money to purchase them alcohol or tobacco. He doesn’t believe it’s right to bring people from a third world country and isolate them. He believes “these are regular human beings told they’re a god on earth, and they have to control their passions, ego, and temperament.”
Goldstein believes they provide a facility that is self-sufficient, and states “it’s not quite fair for us to judge and project our values on the lifestyles they should have.” Gosh that just seems like an oxymoron. He believes them to be content, yet how does this explain over 160 Pandits that appear to have gone AWOL, or disappeared, that he himself admits to?
Over 160 Missing Pandits from Iowa in 2014
Just prior to the March 11 flash mob attack on a sheriff, Hi India Chicago reported on 163 Pandits that went missing, in January, 2014. It seems to be the only U.S. paper that was talking about it. Several Indian sources picked up the story, such as Aljazeera News India, NDTV India, and India Today. Yet, for some unknown reason, Hi India’s story, the only U.S. source that originally reported on it, seems to have been washed from their website. There had been 1,050 young Indians brought to the Maharishi that year and 163 of them had gone missing. The Des Moines Register calls it AWOL. Goldstein says that sometimes Pandits wander off and later return. But how is this possible when they are in a fenced-in security area and not allowed to leave without being escorted? These news sources refer to them as “missing.”
These reports go on to state that the management running the Maharishi facilities did not even care to trace the missing people. They say that the Global Country of Work Peace (GCWP) does not know about the plight or flight of these Vedic scholars and said, “they have jumped the fence for immigration purposes or for chasing their American Dream.” But this doesn’t make sense either, being as they are here on R-1 visas for religious purposes, they are not authorized to work other jobs, and Shawn Neudauer of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said if the men are breaking the terms of their visas, that’s an issue for the State Department.
Investigations by Hi India found that the kids of the program are enrolled at the young age of 5 in India, with the permission of their parents, who reside in low-poverty Hindi speaking areas. The parents are promised their children would be given education up to 12th standard, then turned into Pandits or masters of the art of Hindu religious rites and services. After 10 to 15 years, qualified Pandits have a choice to remain with the organization or leave the center and work outside on their own. Hi India found that kids were rarely provided education beyond fifth standard.
According to one Pandit, a contract is prepared and signed by the organization and the Pandit for rules, regulations, and compensation, before the visa application is processed. They are sent to the U.S. for two years, at which point their visa is either extended or they are sent back to India and given another 2-year visa.
Hi India reported that the contract is drafted in English but a copy is not given to the Pandit. The contracts state they will be given $50 while in the U.S. and $150 to India, but the $150 is not given on a monthly basis to their families, but is instead, considered bond money. If the Pandit behaves well, when he returns to India 2-years later, the compensation will be given to him or his family.
They go on to state that if management of Vedic City find out that there are Pandits wishing to leave the U.S., they create a mock travel plan to where the Pandits are taken in a van to Chicago O’Hare airport and dropped at the entry gate. They are asked to wait for the aircraft to arrive, while the driver leaves and then returns, as a scare tactic. One Pandit told them that some of the more strong-willed Pandits run away from the airport for better prospects, while the other are picked up by the driver and taken back to Vedic City.
They go on to state the following:
According to sources in the Indian consulate in Chicago, in a situation where an Indian passport holder is considered or presumed gone missing and his passport is left behind, it has to be returned immediately to the nearest Indian mission which has to also be informed about the circumstances in which the Indian citizen went missing.
The Chicago consulate, however, says the GCWP has never returned or deposited any passport and neither has it shared any missing person information. According the sheriff’s department and police department of Fairfield, Iowa, no missing person report has ever been filed by the GCWP.
Some may look at all of this as an unfortunate situation arising from a low poverty area, or those with strong religious beliefs. Others may see this as a form of human trafficking, where children are forced to live a certain way, then shipped off to another country and confined. One thing most people would probably agree on is that these Pandits do not appear to be happy, fulfilled, or enlightened.
Maharishi School in Australia Was Under Investigation in 2016
In 2016, the Maharishi School in Reservoir was under investigation for receiving a series of complaints, one being that the school was selling students alternative medicines to treat their anxiety, behavioral issues and learning difficulties. Over half of the students had left over the course of a year due to high stress levels, lack of physical activity, and the teachers disregard for educating.
When Principal Steve Charsis was asked about the medications, he denied it. This is an interesting parallel to the murder case in Iowa, where former teacher Dr. Kai Druhl stated that he recalled a student with schizophrenia being told to come off his medications, as meditation along with a herbal remedy would cure him. The student ended up having a major breakdown.
Principal Charsis said, “it’s a good school that really cares for their kids. We are ensuring that we look at all aspects of their children’s development.” Peter Fenwick, the chief executive of Maharishi Global Administration through Natural Law, the governing body of the school, said the VRQA had only identified minor breaches of compliance, and that “students and parents are very happy at the school.” This seems an odd statement on the heels of over half the students leaving the school.
Most people who have tried meditation would likely agree to its benefits. Some have even endeavored into transcendental meditation and found incredible results from that as well. It’s hard to dispute the benefits these techniques offer. But this isn’t about the benefits one receives from meditation. This is about a worldwide movement governed by rules with extreme consequences, and a sense of power and control over the masses, and to what end? They can continue to cry “defamation” all they want, but it doesn’t preclude the fact that numbers of students, Pandits, teachers, children, and locals have all raised grave concern over their practices, nor does minimizing and suppressing violence offer an excuse to the family of Levi Butler, who was murdered under their watch.
When people are not allowed to speak up, discuss, and process their emotions in an environment that assures you the highest level of enlightenment, this can be incredibly damaging, as observed in the above testimonies. There are most certainly Pandits, students, and young children that attend these schools, who would very much like to speak up and share their views of the Maharishi and their environment, but are in great fear to do so.
Meanwhile, they have monopolized the minds of many across multiple countries, and it seems their followers and financial supporters have every intention to see this through. What is their ultimate end goal? World peace doesn’t seem to fit the bill here. It seems only practical that a thorough investigation be done, where numerous residents, students, and Pandits are called upon in a private and independent setting to speak freely about the concerns they may have. It would also be prudent for an investigation into where all of these missing Pandits went. Maybe they did fly the coup or travel back to India, but what if something else happened to them? This is a country where people call in missing persons, no matter their age, within 24-hrs of them missing. Why hasn’t the management at the Maharishi reported this? They are here on R-1 visas, they have a contract with their parents, and a responsibility to uphold. How is turning a blind eye honoring those responsibilities, or promoting any sense of world peace?
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