The late Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi lived out his final years in a golden yellow wooden residence on a secluded site of a former monastery. His house was surrounded by a well-tended garden dotted with animal figures that lit up at night. Two blue elephant statues with raised trunks flanked the front gate.
Visitors removed their shoes when entering the building constructed in a traditional Vedic architectural style in harmony with natural law patterns of orientation, placement, proportion and materials. Nearby was a tent decorated with pots of roses, daffodils and orchids. Rajas in white robes and golden crowns sat on red velvet seats, sometimes drifting off into deep contemplation.
India? Nepal? No, the Netherlands. The former Beatles guru, the man who brought Indian mysticism to the West and attracted westerners to his ashram in India, lived his last years in the Dutch countryside, close to the small town of Vlodrop near the German border.
The most interesting part of the house was the “Centre of Silence” right in the middle. It sounds like it might be their main meditation room, but it turned out to be a meeting room for the Maharishi’s Global Country of World Peace movement.
The room was full of flowers and pictures of Indian saints hung on the walls, but my eyes were immediately drawn to the table in the middle of the room, which was covered in trays overflowing with glistening golden coins.