My experience of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s funeral cremation, Allahabad, India, 2008

maharishi mahesh yogi funeral fire

On the 5th of February, 2008 at about 2pm I got the news that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had dropped his body and moved on. For years I had listened to his amazing talks about enlightenment, world peace and Transcendental Meditation. I even had the opportunity to tell him my spiritual experiences while meditating on which he gave a beautiful commentary that lasted for half an hour.

Maharishi-2007

By 10pm that night a friend knocked on my door and said, “do you want to go to India?” I jumped out of bed put on a coat, walked through a snowstorm and went to my friends place to start applying for the Indian visa. 11 hours later I was in downtown Chicago running to the consulate after a 9 hour, all night drive through a blizzard.

asher-fergusson-chicago

Miraculously I got my visa (they at first told me I would have to go back to Australia to get it!) and was on the next flight to New Delhi. It was wonderful to land in India, even though it was my first time it felt like home. We took an all day train to Allahabad and arrived there at about 6pm.

By that time I was soooo tired but some kind of energy returned to me upon throwing my bags off the train that only stopped for 60 seconds. We took an auto rickshaw to the school/ Ashram where Maharishi’s body was being displayed. As we got closer and closer I felt more and more energy and happiness inside.

My friend and I stepped out of the vehicle and headed straight for the epicenter of this Vedic chanting that blasted from loud speakers. We neared a small shed that many people lined up to enter. We picked up a hand full of flowers at the door and walked in.

Galactic Silence, Unbounded Bliss, Light, Expansion of the Heart and Tears of Joy.

I was 2 meter’s away from Maharishi! It was absolutely like nothing I had ever experienced before – beyond words, beyond thoughts only a feeling of deep love and appreciation. Even though Maharishi had left his body days earlier I was feeling as if he was still there. The power and light that emanated from his body was incredible. I thought to myself, “now I know for certain he is the real deal, he is a fully enlightened master“.

david-lynch-maharishi-funeral

All kinds of people from all over the world came to this cosmic party. You may have heard of the filmmaker David Lynch who loves Maharishi and promotes Transcendental Meditation all over the world. In fact his foundation has already provided scholarships for more than 100,000 at risk children to meditate!

maharishi-crowd-funeral

maharishi-funeral-procession

The next day was the funeral and cremation. I was sitting at the cremation ground while a huge procession of people carried Maharishi’s body from the room where he was displayed the night before. It was like a gigantic power of energy and bliss was moving towards us. There were drums, whistles and cheering. As they got closer and closer the energy and excitement grew immensely. I strongly believe that Maharishi had an enormous aura of power, bliss and peace that extended for miles.

preparing-sandalwood-mahrishi-funeral

Maharishi’s family had the honor of preparing the funeral pyre with large blocks of sandalwood. Apparently it is auspicious to touch the wood that burns the body of the enlightened. I was lucky to give some incense that was put on the pyre.

girishi-varma-maharishi-funeral-cremation

Dr Girish Varma and Dr Prakash Srivastava, two of Maharishi’s nephews are picture here. They were the main people who performed the ceremony and lit the fire.

maharishi-cremation-fire

I had my eyes shut most of the time and was experiencing so many emotions – sadness, happiness, joy, bliss, anger, peace and fulfillment. I had many very spiritual experiences during the 3-5 hour ceremony. It was like Maharishi was giving me more of his unbounded reality as the elements in his divine body were being liberated back to the Earth.

Cremation-ceremony-after-burning

After the cremation we were able to walk around the pyre three times. For some reason I sat down beside the coals where the wind was blowing. The hot ashes hit my face as I meditated very deeply. I was being fried on every level both spiritually and physically.

Asher-and-friends-maharishi-cremation-ceremony

Afterwards I was so burnt that my face began pealing almost instantly. By that evening I was so tired that I slept very deeply. During the night I had further spiritual revelations and darshan of Maharishi.

picking-up-maharishis-ashes

The next day after the fire had burnt down, Maharishi’s family picked up all the ashes into large urns. These were later distributed all over India to the holiest rivers.

rowing-to-sangam

On that same day we went out to the “sangam” which is the confluence of three rivers – the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. This is one of the holiest places in India and really has a divine, celestial feeling especially at dusk.

kevin-and-justin-sangam

There were hundreds of people who gathered in the boats to witness the release of Maharishi’s ashes. These are two friends Kevin and Justin.

Asher-on-Mahashivaratri-in-the-Brahmasthan

Following the 10 days that I was at Allahabad I went to the central point of India known as the Brahmasthan. In this place Maharishi has constructed an entire city for Vedic Priests to perform group meditation and traditional ceremonies that involve chanting the Vedas. I was there at the Brahmasthan doing my own long meditation for 6 weeks. It was a sublime experience that gave me deep rest and rejuvenation.

maharishi-vedic-pandit-brahmasthan-panorama

I want to thank all the people who helped me go to India because without you I wouldn’t have fulfilled my life long wish of seeing Maharishi in person.

If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it. Also if you were there then please leave a comment about it below.

As Maharishi always used to say, “Jai Guru Dev.” Which means I give thanks to the divine teacher.

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52 Comments on “My experience of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s funeral cremation, Allahabad, India, 2008

  1. thanks for sharing this, asher. i was there that day, also. i’m still not ready to put it all into words. it was somehow the worst and best day of my life. jai guru dev

    • I am glad you got to be there. Yeah it has taken me more than 2 years to actually write something down. Even still this is only a fraction of what actually happened. I would need to write a whole book in order to give justice to the greatness of Maharishi and the experience of being there for his final worldly liberation…

      • I see you posted your comments about MMY four years ago. I met him in 1970 and through direct experience know what he spoke and what he was was Truth. I cannot believe the blessings he bestowed on us all. He is in my mind and heart every day. Thank you for posting your experience at the funeral. I went to Allahabad for Kumba Mela a few years ago and felt I was at finally at Maharishi’s home. Have you been to the ashram near Rishikesh?

  2. jaigurudev…just by reading your experience, i felt like having darshan of Maharishi…you can say it was my past karma, that some circumstances build up..inspite of being in India, i couldnt reach ALLAHABAD. But presence of maharishi, i feel nearer an nearer day by during an after meditation…after hearing the sad news I was crying like a kid..but sudenly a thought came ”Was MAHARISHI a mere body..? the person who has taught us the truth and experience of unboundedness… then i smiled and knew MAHARISHI was always there, is there and will be there, for them who meditates regullarlly and experience unboundedness as a living reality….jaigurudev

    • Yes, Maharishi is certainly everywhere especially in the hearts of those who met him, or who practice his Transcendental Meditation and other techniques.

      Before I feel that there was some slight localization of this enlightened consciousness but now it is dispersed evenly throughout the world.

      • I am a teacher working in allahabad but I have not visited this holy place after reading your experiences tomorrow I will visit this place

        • Go to LakshmanJule to the ashram. You can not imagine the splendor and power.

  3. Asher ji,

    What an incredibly personal and timeless journey to India. So, so fortunate to desire this pathless path. Thank you for touching all of us with your amazing words and beautiful photos.

    Gratitude.

    ~Eric

    • Thanks Eric.

      Yes you’re right about India being timeless! I have been there every year for the past 3 years now and each visit brings a clear glimpse into eternity.

      See you soon

      Asher.

  4. Who says Maharshi Ji is not in this world he is still in the feelings of us i saw his image in Asher, Eric, Josephs & Joye as you all are having love for each and every individual although i never meet Maharshi Ji but after knowing you people i can imagine how great that person is if his followers are like you all.
    i want to see you all
    see you soon
    your’s friend
    NALIN

    • Thank you dear Nalin ji,

      Yes, you are right for sure – Maharishi is in the heart of everyone. His consciousness is so great that it extends beyond space and time. And his legacy of knowledge and techniques for the removal of suffering will be present on Earth for thousands of years.

      I hope you’re doing well Nalin – see you soon.

      Asher.

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  6. Today I was in a launch meeting with my colleagues where my friend spoke about his exprience during his visit to Nepal.
    He explained about body burning ceremony and showed us photos taken by him from the ceremony. I got interested to have some information and made a primary internet search where I got surperised by your story of Maharishi’s funeral cremation, Allahabad, India, 2008.

    Regarding your pure feeling and beautiful sences toward humanity, equality, enlightenment, world peace and Transcendental Meditation, i hereby invite you to have some study about such subjects from Islam prospective and approach where you can find complete and perfect samples of meditation who are capable to take you to the most perfect and ever highest target i.e. GOD.

  7. Thank you so much for writing this, Asher. I am a 40 year meditator and a Governor, and I literally felt like I was there reading your account. What an unlikely set of circumstances brought me to your website, such a joy to read. Jai Guru Dev.

    • I glad you liked it John. I had to write something down so that people could have a glimpse into what it was like to witness such a profound cosmic event.

      Best Wishes,

      Asher.

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  9. Hi Asher,

    When I read this I thought you might like to read my account of the funeral, but it is a good deal longer, and with photos as well, in PDF. If interested I can email it.

    What I thought to post is my account of the evening Maharishi took mahasamadhi which I sent to my newsletter list the next day. Here it is:

    Dear Friends,

    On January 11, 2008, Maharishi gave his farewell address to his worldwide family, saying that he had fulfilled his “designed duty to Guru Dev” and was handing over all responsibilities to his Rajas and Ministers and national leaders, and retiring from activity. It was an emotion-filled tribute that followed, with all the assembled dignitaries of the Movement giving their personal appreciations and cherished memories. He asked his Rajas if he deserved a gift of a memorial, to himself and Guru Dev, for what had been brought to the world: a Tower of Invincibility in each of the countries overseen by the Rajas.
    A little over a week ago, it was resolved that the first tower would be built right next to Maharishi’s house. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Monday January 28. Offers of funding poured in from around the world.

    Today, February 5, 2008, having fulfilled his duty to Guru Dev, Maharishi took mahasamadhi. He has left his mortal body, but he remains with us eternally in spirit, in our hearts, in the very Silence that permeates every grain of creation.

    I remember the first time I saw Maharishi, it was in the auditorium at Humboldt University, California. He walked through the line of people on either side, gently taking the flowers people offered him. I didn’t have any flowers, it was a new concept to me to give flowers to a man. But it was so natural that I wished I had a flower to give. He glanced at me with a brilliant gleam in his eye, a smile, and a soft Jai Guru Dev as if to say, “It wasn’t necessary, just enjoy.” My heart melted in joy. It was a time made indelible in my memory. In the many years since, he personally touched me several times.

    Tonight, around 7:30 pm everyone here collected in the big meeting tent where Maharaja Raam announced the news. We listened to sahasranam, and then did puja to Guru Dev. The air was saturated with incense, purity, and a sanctified transcendental bliss colored with a soft silent sadness. Then the Rajas and Directors were invited by Maharaja Raam to Maharishi’s house, then everyone was invited to go.

    The very first time everyone was invited into Maharishi’s house was just before he entered it the first time, about 10-11 years ago, no doubt with much celebration. This time it was quiet. Only a few whispers. Single file we slowly made our way upstairs to the brahmasthan room that Maharishi had spent so many hours in the past 10-11 years, pouring out an inexhaustible flow of knowledge and inspiration and guidance to Movement leaders, to Purusha and Mother Divine, and to the whole world, through every modern system of communication.

    One has time to let the reality of events sink in while waiting in line. My thoughts touched on wonderful memories of Maharishi and also the events of the day. A mixture of joy and sadness. And a bit of apprehension. What would happen to his Movement now that he isn’t prodding it to move at every turn? I felt the thoughts of others, similar. A lady couldn’t hold back and wept.

    Finally I reached the door of the brahmasthan room. I could see it was full of Rajas and Ministers, meditating or just silently watching. It was also full of all sorts of beautiful gifts from years of celebrations, on tables, on shelves, and free standing. Devatas and elephants, Faberge eggs and flags, building models, and innumerable other gifts with so much concentrated gratitude emanating from each. But the most striking decoration was the row of several huge pictures of Guru Dev above all that. which Maharishi could see from his couch every day. They dominated everything. Maharishi’s life always was 100% devotion to Guru Dev. As he said just a few weeks before, he offered his EVERYTHING to Guru Dev.

    His mortal remains sat upright on a bed, wrapped in white except for his face, garlanded in a few thin strands of flowers from head to foot. Maharaja Raam sat meditating next to the bed.

    I couldn’t stand. My mentor, my teacher, my infallible guide through the perilous roads of life had gone silent. I bowed in prayer of gratitude and a request. Somehow I felt it instantly answered.

    Such a divine master is so rare that it has been our extraordinary great fortune to have been touched by his compassion and transformed by his knowledge. He altered our personal destinies and the destiny of the whole world. I think it is quite fair and true to say he saved the world from annihilation, several times probably. I know he saved me, many times, in ways I can barely comprehend, much less describe.

    Within our hearts Maharishi will always remain. We pray that his work, the work of Guru Dev, will carry on ceaselessly through his Rajas, Ministers, Directors, Governors, sidhas, meditators, and all lovers of life, and continue to bring Invincibility to every nation and to unfold the full glory of life in enlightenment in every sincere seeker.

    Jai Guru Dev,

    Steve

    • Thanks for adding your experience Steve – it is nice to hear what it was like in Vlodrop and to see Maharishi soon after he took his Mahasamadhi.

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  14. Thanks for your blog. I found it in google while i’m searching ‘how to survive in india as a tourist’. good work asher!

  15. Hi Asher,

    feeling glad to read article. its really heart touching. I had not there at that time due to some personal; reason. but i always goes at samadhi, approx once in every month. And really feeling very light in my heart….thanks a lot for sharing this…

  16. Asherji,
    I loved meeting you at the Maha Kumbha Mela. Your website confirms my intuition that you are destined for sainthood. Everything about you and your art is a beautiful expression of Sat Chit Anand. I was especially delighted to see myself meditating in front of Maharishi’s funeral pyre on the left side of your circumambulation photo! I hope to sneak into more of your blissful play. Jai ho. douglas

    • Hi Doug,

      Thanks for the kind words. I was also very happy to finally meet you after hearing rumors of you for the past 6 years (all good ones of course). Hopefully we will meet again in the not too distant future!

      Cheers,

      Jai Guru Dev

      Asher.

  17. Hey Asher,
    amazing pictures and description, really! I’ve been growing up in a family that practices TM, and Maharishi has always been such an inspiration to me! I have to admit that I even cried a bit because your experience sounds so wonderful! I strongly believe Maharishi never left :)
    Jai Guru Dev

    • Hi Julia,

      I agree with you that Maharishi never left but now is more in the hearts of all of us. Also his legacies such as the Brahmasthan of India where there are 1000’s of Vedic Pandits creating such a thick atmosphere of bliss will go on for the foreseeable future.

      Jai Guru Dev

      Asher.

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  32. Beautiful, Asher. I am glad you got to experience Maharishi’s ineffable darshan. I was there, too. It was indeed a blessed, magical time. Jai Guru Dev. My blog has a few stories about being in Maharishi’s presence (you may have heard them already), but I do intend to add a story about the cremation ceremony. I’ve already got the title: “A Lynchian Moment”.

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