A lot of people adored Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the leader of the Transcendental Meditation Movement, who died yesterday. Maharishi was known as the giggling guru and he preached world peace and pure consciousness for every man.
Strangely, one of his biggest fans and followers was neo-noir film director David Lynch, who has authored films such as Blue Velvet and Lost Highway that explore something that seems more like subterranean consciousness. David runs a charity that aims to teach children TM and he has given many talks on the benefits of meditation.
I gave him a call at his production office here in Los Angeles and see what he was thinking about the day after the death of his guru.
Me: How are you David? How are you feeling?
David: I’m doing OK, Claire, it is a big day, was a big day yesterday.
Me: Do you feel sad?
David: I felt very sad, but also, very happy. Very happy that I knew Maharishi, that I got his meditation and very happy for the world that Maharishi brought out unbelievable cosmic knowledge and was able to bring enlightenment to the people and peace on earth. Now it is up to the people he left behind to follow through and put the pieces in place, Claire, and it’s going to be a beautiful world.
Me: Are you one of the people?
David: Everyone plays a part, I’ll do what I can do. I’m cutting a documentary that I’m making right now of a fifteen country tour I did in November to establish invincible universities for peace, with Maharishi’s consciousness based education. For me it’s also just telling people what I know about Maharishi.
Me: What does it mean to you that Maharishi is dead?
David: Well, Maharishi dropped his body. It’s like a man is in a car and the car is old and the man gets out of the car and rolls the car into the water into a lake. Do we feel sorry for the man? The car is gone but the man is there. No problems for Maharishi. People are sad because that voice of wisdom is gone.
Me: How do you tell the world what his significance was? In simple terms.
David: Maharishi, you could say, Maharishi is a man of peace. A man of love. A man of wisdom. And if you listen to him, if you take up those teachings, your life will get better and better and better.
Me: How’s your life?
David: Great.Yeah. Sure.
Me: You remember the first time you met Maharishi?
David: I met Maharishi the first time face to face in 1975 in Los Angeles, California. It was at that center of Spiritual Regeneration Movement in LA, where I had started meditating. And Maharishi came to that center and it was his last visit, and I was there that night, along with three or four hundred people.
Me: And what was your first impression?
David: My friend had gotten a bunch of flowers to present to Maharishi and I handed him my flower and for the briefest moment our eyes met and when Maharishi looks into your eyes, and he looks into yours….well…it’s an incredible, incredible moment.
Me: Well, I have to ask, and I know everyone must, but isn’t there a black cloud of negativity in your films?
David: Everyone does ask. I went to to 26 countries, and in each one they say ‘how come if you’re so happy you make these films?’ The answer is films, books, music, all these things reflect the world in which we live. And up to now the world has been a dark and troubling place. Stories have great contrast, through the centuries, they have positive and negative swimming together. But I always end up saying the artist doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering. Have it on the screen but have the people come out of the theater into a world of peace, of a beautiful world. They don’t have to suffer in their lives
Me: Are you suffering?
(lots of giggling….)
Me: Do you consider yourself part of the TM Movement?
David: NO! I’m not in the movement, I’m a TM meditator, and you know, I have done lots of talks since I’ve heard about Maharishi’s peace creating groups and no one seemed to be listening. I’m not technically part of the movement. I’m just a person who knows what meditation has done for himself.
Me: Did you do a puja [a Hindu ceremony] today?
David: No, no. These things are internal things. Like I said there’s nothing to worry about — everything is good. Everyone is sorry that Maharishi’s voice is no longer in the world, but there’s more ways than that to communicate. Everything is very good. I just feel that there’s a connection, and everything is very good.
Me: Well thank you for talking to me.
David: Good deal Claire. Write something beautiful for Maharishi.
Me: Um, OK. Ill try.