The Story of MERU
In April of 1975, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Switzerland – a university promoting research into consciousness as a field of all possibilities. In 1984, MERU purchased a campus in a national forest near Vlodrop, the Netherlands. It was here where Maharishi spent the last 18 years of his life.
Over the last four decades, MERU Vlodrop has played many roles in the international Transcendental Meditation (TM) organisations. We’re the headquarters for the TM organisations’ administration worldwide, and a host for courses and retreats for the global and local TM communities.
Helping the global TM community grow in the understanding and experience of consciousness, MERU continues the mission Maharishi gave us: to promote a healthy, vibrant, and peaceful society for all.
But above all, we are a centre for knowledge – a place for understanding Maharishi’s profound framework of life. Helping the global TM community grow in the understanding and experience of consciousness, MERU continues the mission Maharishi gave us: to promote a healthy, vibrant, and peaceful society for all.
Table of contents
- The Vedic tradition and timeless knowledge of the Self
- How Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revitalised the knowledge of consciousness
- Maharishi’s consciousness-based programmes to improve life from every angle
- Dr Tony Nader, leader of the international TM organisations today
- MERU’s activities in 2020 and beyond
The Vedic tradition and timeless knowledge of the self
We start with the source of Maharishi’s teaching – the Vedic tradition, originating in India several thousand years ago. This Vedic tradition (from the Sanskrit word Veda, meaning knowledge) teaches that the basis of everything in the universe is pure consciousness – that everything we see, think, and experience arises from that unified field of Being.
This tradition has always held that diving within oneself through transcending provides the most direct path to experiencing the full value of consciousness. Enlightenment, or reaching our full potential, is latent within us all, and it is cultivated through regular experiences of transcendence.
Millenia ago, ancient sages and civilisations knew and practised this rich Vedic understanding of life. Over time this knowledge faded away from public awareness, with few people understanding the true value of Vedic knowledge. In its essence, this rich knowledge was lost – until Maharishi Mahesh Yogi entered the world stage in the 1950s.
How Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revitalised the knowledge of consciousness
As a young man, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi pursued studies in the sciences, completing his Master’s in physics at the University of Allahabad, India.
Shortly after his studies, he dedicated himself to serving the revered sage Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who was the head spiritual teacher of North India during India’s independence and was referred to as ‘Guru Dev’ – teacher of supreme knowledge. For many years, Maharishi devoted himself to serving and learning everything he could from Guru Dev. It was from him that Maharishi learned Transcendental Meditation, and discovered the enormous potential of this profound, effortless way to develop consciousness.
After years devoted to his spiritual development, Maharishi became moved to intervene in the conflicts and negative trends that threatened to destroy humankind. And so in the 1950s, Maharishi left the Himalayas to bring the knowledge of transcendence to the world. He knew that if people could only access this knowledge – and experience transcendence for themselves – everyone could at last enjoy a peaceful and prosperous world.
Maharishi knew that if people could only access this knowledge – and experience transcendence for themselves – everyone could at last enjoy a peaceful and prosperous world.
Soon, Maharishi began travelling around the globe giving public lectures and teaching TM to a wide audience. He taught people from all walks of life – from all ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, professions, and religions.
The response was immediate. Very quickly, Maharishi’s students experienced the internal and external transformations in their life from regular transcendence, and realised the power of TM to change the world. Many of them began training with Maharishi to become teachers of Transcendental Meditation to bring the knowledge to more and more people.
Meanwhile, Maharishi worked with top modern scientists and Vedic experts to research TM, and to explore the innumerable applications of all of Vedic knowledge for society.
Ultimately, Maharishi felt that the key to unlocking the full potential of humankind was to bring together the complementary fields of modern science and Vedic science. A proper understanding of Vedic wisdom in light of the many discoveries of modern science, Maharishi knew, had limitless applications for society.
A proper understanding of Vedic wisdom in light of the many discoveries of modern science, Maharishi knew, had limitless applications for society.
Maharishi’s consciousness-based programmes to improve life from every angle
While Transcendental Meditation is the core teaching and practice Maharishi brought to the world, he developed a wide range of programmes for people to support their TM practice and improve life from every angle.
Notably, he developed additional core advanced programmes of meditation, including the Advanced Techniques and the TM-Sidhi Programme, which train meditators to begin thinking and acting from the level of pure consciousness. Another cornerstone was developing consciousness-based programmes in virtually every field – including health care (AyurVeda), organic agriculture, music (Gandharva Veda), education, administration, and more.
These are just a few examples from his life’s work, and it’s virtually impossible to overstate all that Maharishi accomplished during his lifetime. In just a few decades, he completely shifted the public’s understanding of meditation – taking it out of the realm of mysticism and showing that it was something easy, practical, scientific, and useful for even the most influential members of society.
He also demonstrated that when large groups of people practising TM and the TM-Sidhi Programme meditate together in one place, the collective consciousness of a society changes for the better – negative trends decrease and are replaced by positive trends.
While Maharishi’s body of work is expansive, it is also simple at its core: if we want to improve any area of society, we must use the technologies of consciousness to reach our highest goals. This is because consciousness is the basis of life itself, just like roots are the basis of a tree. If we water the root of a tree, the tree is able to bear abundant fruit; in the same way, if we attend to the regular development of consciousness, we nourish and improve every aspect of our life.
While Maharishi’s body of work is expansive, it is also simple at its core: if we want to improve any area of society, we must use the technologies of consciousness to reach our highest goals.
In all these initiatives, Maharishi brought out what society needed at the time. But he did it all with a clear understanding of the needs of the future – planning ahead so the full value of Vedic knowledge will be available for all generations going forward.
Dr Tony Nader, leader of the international TM organisations today
One key aspect of Maharishi’s planning for the future of the international Transcendental Meditation organisations was choosing an individual accomplished in the field of knowledge to succeed him.
To that end, he named as his successor a scientist and scholar with mastery in both modern science and the ancient Vedic tradition – Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.R.R., an MIT- and Harvard-trained neuroscientist and one of the world’s great Vedic scholars.
Dr Nader has extensive clinical and research background as a medical doctor and neuroscientist. He also worked closely with Maharishi for many years on the science of consciousness and developing Maharishi’s consciousness-based programmes.
This scholarship on the Veda by Dr Nader deepens our understanding of the scientific significance of the Veda, showing that the physical body is an expression of consciousness; that physiology and intelligence are different aspects of the same reality.
Dr Nader’s scholarship deepens our understanding of the scientific significance of the Veda, showing that the physical body is an expression of consciousness; that physiology and intelligence are different aspects of the same reality.
Additionally, to offer a unified and complete explanation of the relationship between the abstract and the concrete, between the changing and non-changing, Dr Nader wrote a seminal paper in the International Journal of Mathematics and Consciousness titled: ‘Consciousness Is All There Is: A Mathematical Approach with Applications’.
In recognition of Dr Nader’s achievements and profound knowledge of both modern science and Vedic Science, Maharishi gave him the honorific title Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam (M.A.R.R.).
Today, Dr Tony Nader not only provides leadership and guidance to Maharishi’s international organisations through his scholarship, training with Maharishi, and personal experience. But he also provides a voice for a new age – expressing the timeless principles of consciousness in a language that contemporary audiences can understand.
Ultimately, Dr Nader’s vision is to bring happiness, health, and peace to the minds and hearts of the whole world family. And like Maharishi, his total focus is to help remove conflicts in society, so that higher values and beautiful goals become the guiding light of everyone.
MERU’s activities in 2020 and beyond
MERU draws from all this rich knowledge, scholarship, and tradition to support the TM organisations under Dr Nader’s leadership. Specifically, we do this by providing a space for the global TM community to develop the understanding and experience of consciousness.
Through in-residence courses and retreats at MERU, meditators can refine their practice of TM and further develop themselves. The knowledge they gain during these events supports this development through increased intellectual understanding of the nature of life as Maharishi taught it.
Through Vedic recitations, meditators can participate in the enlivenment of natural law in their consciousness and in the environment, and can honour the rich Vedic heritage from where TM originates, a heritage recognised by UNESCO as a ‘masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity’.
Through the MERU Volunteer programme, meditators wanting to fast-track their self-development can spend a longer period of time at MERU and take advantage of a unique opportunity for personal growth, community, and knowledge.
These are the core activities at MERU – and no doubt, we will be expanding our programmes each year to meet the increasing demand for the knowledge of consciousness.
But at the end of the day, our mission, and our invitation to you, is simple. We offer the experience of pure consciousness from every angle of life. Because the more people experience pure consciousness, the better our world will be for everyone.