MERU, Holland

Location of Kolleg St. Ludwig and MERU

MERU, Holland, is a residential and office complex which includes the residence of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a capital of the Global Country of World Peace, a campus of Maharishi European Research University (MERU), and other institutions of the Transcendental Meditation movement. It occupies the forested grounds of the former Kolleg St. Ludwig (Saint Ludwig College), a Franciscan monastery and boarding school.

The site is near the villages of Vlodrop-station and Vlodrop in Limburg, the Netherlands, adjacent to the Dutch-German border and the defunct Iron Rhine railroad, and surrounded by Meinweg National Park.[1]

The main structure was built in 1909 and the college operated with interruptions until sold in 1979. The Maharishi Foundation bought it in 1984, and the Maharishi moved there in 1990. He occupied a large residence built to his specifications from 1992 until his death in 2008.

Maharishi European Research University was founded in 1975 in Switzerland where it still has a campus. It has conducted and published research on Transcendental Meditation and related technologies. Several other institutions are also based there.

Contents

Kolleg St. Ludwig

Kolleg St. Ludwig

Due to the anti-Catholic Kulturkampf policy of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, many monasteries moved from Germany to the other side of the German-Dutch border.[2] A group of Franciscan brothers from Saxony purchased the land from the owner of a castle in the southern Limburg region of the Netherlands.[2]

The seminary building was designed by a monk and featured 600 doors and 1,200 windows, all covered by 17,000 square metres (4.2 acres) of roof.[3] Started in 1904 and completed in 1909, it was completely self-sufficient, with its own generators, workshops, wells, fields and orchards. A small-gauge railroad was built first to transport building materials and then to carry the 300 tons of coke used annually for heating.

It was evacuated during World War II and reopened as a school in 1951.[3] It closed in 1978.[3] It was attended by over 3,000 male students.

Maharishi Foundation purchase

The Franciscans sold the property to the Dutch government for use as a police training facility but it was never put to use. The Maharishi Foundation purchased the property in 1984 for USD 900,000.[4] It became the Maharishi's headquarters and residence in 1990.[5]

Maharishi residence

Maharishi residence

The Maharishi's former residence is two stories tall and faces due east.[6] Built in 1992,[7] it is the largest wooden structure in Holland and was constructed without using any nails at "vast expense".[8][9] One reporter described it as "reminiscent both of a Scandinavian sauna and the Taj Mahal",[9] while another called it a "giant pagodastyle wooden palace".[10]

The building was the Maharishi's residence for the last two decades of his life. In later years, the Maharishi rarely left his two-room quarters in order to preserve his health and energy.[11] He used videoconferencing to communicate with the world and with his advisors, including those in the same building.[11] The site is equipped with satellite dishes for video uplink to the movement's private television channel.[12] Built to the highest Maharishi Sthapatya Veda standards, the Maharishi is reported to have said that "the walls of this celebrated building ... in no way enclose his unbounded cosmic awareness". He said it helped him infuse "the light of Total Knowledge" into "the destiny of the human race".[13]

It contains the throne room[14] where the Maharishi met with his ministers. By 1996, it was being referred to as the "Maharishi Continental Capital of the Age of Enlightenment for Europe".[15] Tony Nader was crowned Maharaja Raja Raam there in 2001,[16] and it is now a capital of the Global Country of World Peace.[8][11] Floodlights illuminated the main building, and 164 flagpoles carried the flags of the individual nations of the GCWP. A spokesman said, "It's like a meditation-based United Nations."[17] Local authorities later limited the use of floodlights and required removal of the flagpoles.[18] The building is a tourist attraction, though security is tight.[9]

Demolition of College building

Partially demolished building behind illustration of proposed building

The original College building is old, inefficient, and in poor repair. It also does not meet Maharishi Sthapatya Veda standards, including a requirement to face due east.[4] Local preservationists applied for landmark status for the building, and it was declared a national monument in 1997. In 1998, the owners received a permit from the local government to demolish the building, but preservationists appealed. The owners started tearing down the building on September 12, 2001, immediately after a court ruled that it must be preserved. The demolition was halted quickly and the partially-dismantled structure is still standing, as of 2010.[6] A three-storey, nearly life-sized canvas illustration of the intended replacement building was put up on the front side of the partially demolished building. The local government later ordered its removal.[18] According to a 2008 new report, the MERU Foundation has indicated it may leave the site if is it not granted permission to demolish the old building.[18]

Other buildings

Pre-fabricated buildings at MERU

As of 2006, about 50 followers of the Maharishi live on the property in temporary huts.[11] A 2007 press release says that 12 Raja palaces have been constructed on the site.[13] Leading members of the TM movement have lived or visited there, including Tony Nader (Raja Ram), John Hagelin,[5] and Doug Henning.[19]

There is a plan to build a Maharishi Tower of Invincibility on the site, one of dozens planned for construction around the world. A ground-breaking ceremony was held in 2008, shortly before the Maharishi's death.[20] A movement website shows plans for the eight-story tower and other buildings.[21] Another website says that the tower has received initial approval.[22]

Aerial photographs show the development of the site.[23][24] In 1998, the overall redevelopment plan for the location was budgeted at USD 50 million.[4]

Maharishi European Research University

Maharishi European Research University (MERU) was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Seelisberg, Switzerland in 1975.[25] Its purpose is to conduct research into the effects of Transcendental Meditation and higher states of consciousness.[25] The original campus was in a Victorian-era hotel above Lake Lucerne.[26] The first chancellor was physicist Larry Domash;[26] David Orme Johnson was the vice-chancellor. Institutions bearing the MERU name have also operated at Mentmore Towers, an estate in Buckinghamshire, England, and at Bissendorf, Germany.[27]

Notable alumni include Bevan Morris, Ashley Deans, Neil Paterson,[28] Mike Tompkins, and possibly John Gray.[29] As of 2010, eight of the thirty-eight members of the Board of Trustees of Maharishi University of Management (Iowa) are MERU alumni, including the president and vice president.[30]

Other institutions

Sign at the gate

The property also houses Maharishi Vedic University (MVU), Maharishi University of Management (MUM),[31] Maharishi College of Perfect Health,[32] Maharishi Open University (MOU),[31] and Maharishi Purusha Programme.[33] MOU is a distance learning institution that presents video lectures via satellite TV and webcasts. There are other MVC and MUM institutions in other countries.

Stichting Maharishi Global Financing Research, which issued the GCWP's RAAM currency, is also located at MERU. So is the Council of Supreme Intelligence of Maharishi's Global Administration through Natural Law.[34]

Events

According to movement sources, a number of large gatherings have been held at MERU. The first meeting of the movement's "World Federation of Traditional Leaders" was held at MERU in 2000 and attended by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.[35] In 2005, a week-long inauguration of the "Dawn of Sat-Yuga" was held by the Maharishi with 2000 movement leaders from around the world.[36] The Maharishi's 2006 "Parliament of World Peace" was held simultaneously in MERU and at the Brahmasthan of India over a five week period.[36] Guru Poornima celebrations have also been held there.[37]

References

  1. ^ MERU, Holland 51°09′26″N 6°09′21″E / 51.1571°N 6.1558°E / 51.1571; 6.1558 (MERU, Vlodrop)
  2. ^ a b "College St. Ludwig in Vlodrop" (in Dutch). Roerstreekmuseum. Archived from the original on September 9, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5scqdfkdn. 
  3. ^ a b c Munnix, Door Peter (1979). "College St. Ludwig in Vlodrop" (in Dutch). http://www.roerstreekmuseum.nl/hvr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&Itemid=167. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c CORDER, MIKE (January 25, 1998). "Plan to demolish monastery pits guru against neighbors // Followers want to raze the building to avoid anxiety, depression and criminal tendencies". Austin American Statesman: p. A.11. 
  5. ^ a b Koppel, Lily (February 6, 2008). "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a Guide On the Beatles' Spiritual Path, Dies". New York Times: p. C.10. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/06/world/asia/06maharishi-1.html?_r=1. 
  6. ^ a b Max, Arthur (February 19, 2006). "A Guru's Goals Still Center on Peace and Love". The Washington Post: p. D.01. 
  7. ^ "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi". The Times (London (UK)). February 7, 2008. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3320882.ece. 
  8. ^ a b JONES, DAVID (March 18, 2006). "MY AUDIENCE WITH THE YOGI ; Whatever became of the Maharishi who bewitched The Beatles with his mystical teachings on meditation? DAVID JONES tracked him down to his bizarre private kingdom (complete with its own currency) where he conducted one of the most extraordinary interviews of his career". Daily Mail (London (UK)): p. 34. 
  9. ^ a b c Osborn, Andrew (December 4, 2001). "Real lives: Holy man of Maastricht: Since George Harrison’s death, the papers have been full of pictures of him with his Indian guru in the 60s. So what is the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi up to these days?". The Guardian (London, England): p. 4. 
  10. ^ Jones, David (February 7, 2008). "Lennon was right. The Giggling Guru was a shameless old fraud". Daily Mail (London (UK)): p. 22. 
  11. ^ a b c d KOPPEL, LILY (October 8, 2006). "Encounter: Outer Peace". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/magazine/08wwln_essay.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. 
  12. ^ Honigsbaum, Mark (August 15, 2005). "All you need is love and peace - but not in destructive Britain, so maharishi pulls out: Followers split as 95-year-old guru ends meditation teaching in 'scorpion nation'". London (UK): p. 3. 
  13. ^ a b "Global Reconstruction will provide fortunate living conditions for everyone" (Press release). Global Good News Service. June 5, 2007. http://www.globalgoodnews.com/health-news-a.html?art=1181073654230287. 
  14. ^ Williamson, Lola (2010). Transcendent in America:Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814794500. 
  15. ^ "Turn on, tune in, make a killing". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): p. 4. February 18, 1996. 
  16. ^ "Mahesh Yogi reopens meditation centres in Britain". The Hindustan Times (New Delhi). January 31, 2008. 
  17. ^ Hornby, Catherine (February 7, 2008). "Memorial pays tribute to Indian guru Maharishi Yogi". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 2, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5tAhjfM3n. 
  18. ^ a b c VON LANGE, EBERHARD (August 12, 2008). "Wegberg: Zieht die Meru-Stiftung aus?" (in German). RP Online. Archived from the original on September 27, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t44vPRkR. 
  19. ^ O'Brien, Tim (April 15, 1991). "Title:Magical, mystical Veda Land aims to enlighten the world. (Maharishi Veda Land)". Amusement Business 103 (15): p. 3. 
  20. ^ Thomasson, Emma (January 28, 2008). "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi steps down as head of meditation empire". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t3EpudvN. 
  21. ^ "Fortune Creating Homes: Vedic Architecture Maharishi Sthapatya Veda". vedicarchitecture.com.au. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t78LKSuP. 
  22. ^ "Maharishi Tower of Invincibility in MERU, Holland closer to fruition". Global Good News. November 21, 2009. http://www.globalgoodnews.com/world-peace-a.html?art=125873305311726836. 
  23. ^ "Aerial photograph: MERU". http://www.uclakathjaa.de//klosterstludwigvlodrop/images/img_3861-2.jpg. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  24. ^ "College St. Ludwig". roerstreekmuseum.nl. http://www.roerstreekmuseum.nl/Ludwig/index.htm. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b Olson, Carl (2007-08-15). The many colors of Hinduism: a thematic-historical introduction. Rutgers University Press. pp. 338–340. ISBN 9780813540689. 
  26. ^ a b Bernstein, Jeremy (2009-10-15). Quantum Leaps. Harvard University Press. pp. 32–34. ISBN 9780674035416. 
  27. ^ "Deutsche MERU-Gesellschaft". Archived from the original on April 3, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040403233338/http://www.netlink.de/meru/home.htm. 
  28. ^ COBB, CHRIS (October 30, 1993). "Party of the flying yogics gets a free ride from the taxpayers". The Vancouver Sun: p. A.10. 
  29. ^ Some sources say Gray graduated from Maharishi International University instead of MERU.
  30. ^ "Board of Trustees". Maharishi University of Management. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t7yWbvVm. 
  31. ^ a b Nader, T.; Rothenberg, S.; Averbach, R.; Charles, B.; Fields, JZ.; Schneider, RH. (2000). "Improvements in chronic diseases with a comprehensive natural medicine approach: a review and case series.". Behav Med 26 (1): 34–46. PMID 10971882. 
  32. ^ "International Ayurveda Training Centre of the Maharishi College of Perfect Health". Maharishi College of Perfect Health. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t7F881Js. 
  33. ^ "Maharishi Purusha Programme". purusha.eu. Archived from the original on September 9, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t7FIx2Ko. 
  34. ^ "Offer of Invincibility To Every Nation". Maharishi Vedic University. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5t7GBH29e. 
  35. ^ Sithole, Mabutho; Sapa (October 21 2000). "Independent Online". Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5ufIAIyKi. 
  36. ^ a b "Maharishi's Achievements 1957–2008" (PDF). Global Good News. 2008. http://dl.globalgoodnews.com/pdf/achievements.pdf. 
  37. ^ "A Dutch fete for Guru Poornima". The Hindu (Chennai): p. 1. September 5, 2006. 

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