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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Meetings With Enlightened Men
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Monday, July 8,2019

Meetings With Enlightened Men

By Cary Bayer  


George Gurdjieff wrote a remarkable book called “ Meetings with Remarkable Men,” which he began in 1927, and which was published in an English translation in 1963. Fifty years after it first saw the light of day in our language, I’d like to offer this column called, “Meetings with Enlightened Men.” I had the inspiration for this column for the July issue, in which Independence Day is featured, while visiting Monticello, the beloved home of Thomas Jefferson in central Virginia.


Ten years after Gurdjieff’s remarkable book was available in English, I had the great good fortune to spend five months with a remarkable man named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. What follows below are some parallel observations of Thomas Jefferson, whose Declaration of Independence played a major role in the enlightenment of many governments, and Maharishi, whose Transcendental Meditation played a major role in the enlightenment of many people.

Jefferson was a political thinker influenced by Age of Enlightenment (late 17 th century and 18 th century) thinkers like John Locke and Voltaire; Maharishi inaugurated what he called the dawning of a different Age of Enlightenment in 1973. Both believed strongly in higher education. Jefferson founded and designed the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Maharishi founded Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and played a major role in designing the curriculum.

On Happiness

In his famous document that set our original 13 colonies free from England, Jefferson wrote that people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are probably the most famous words from this most famous of American documents. Maharishi, also linking the Creator with human happiness, wrote, “The purpose of Creation is the expansion of happiness.” He echoed those sentiments when he said, “Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness.” He also wrote:

“Enjoy your life and be happy. Being happy is of the utmost importance. Success in anything is through happiness. More support of nature comes from being happy.”

On Serenity

From happiness, it’s just a short jump to serenity, of which our third president wrote, “It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.” Elsewhere, he noted, “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” The guru to the Beatles noted that, “The golden gate to peace in life is the experience of bliss, and it is easy for everyone to acquire this great glory and live it throughout life.”

On Identity

Jefferson wrote: “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act!

Action will delineate and define you.” Maharishi taught the technique of Transcendental Meditation to give you the experience of your true Self at the transcendental level of your mind.

On Consciousness

The political thinker wrote that, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” The spiritual thinker said that “Fulfillment is structured in achievement, achievement is structured in action, action is structured in thinking, thinking is structured in knowledge, and knowledge is structured in consciousness.”

On Enlightenment

Our nation’s first Secretary of State wrote: “Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.” Maharishi said, “The goal of the Transcendental Meditation technique is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.”

On Government

Our second Vice President wrote that, “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” The sage who taught people how to raise their state of consciousness said, “Nature’s government spontaneously brings satisfaction to everyone because it promotes all innumerable, diverse tendencies of life in the evolutionary direction.”

On the Laws of Nature

Jefferson wrote that, “A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” Maharishi noted: “When the mind is attuned to the cosmic law, all the laws of nature are in perfect harmony with the aspirations of the mind. He also wrote: “You are the master of all the laws of nature if you know the transcendental field.”

On Time

Jefferson, who emphasized doing, wrote, “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.” Maharishi, who taught how to attain the state of Being, which is the basis of thinking and doing, wrote, “The factor of time is very vital in life. Those who have accomplished great things in the world have been those who valued time in their life.”

The Spirit of Jefferson

For those who believe in channeling, I’ll close this column by saying that while driving to Monticello recently, I heard a recording of a man speaking at a Unity church claiming to be channeling the spirit of Thomas Jefferson.

Interestingly, the enlightened words that came out of this spirit sounded even more like what Maharishi might have said in the 20 th century than what Jefferson did say in the 18 th . From the Unity event, it seems as if our President from another age has been turning into an ageless sage.


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