14 August 1911|
Gummidipoondi, Tamil Nadu
|Died||28 March 2006
Yogiraj Shri Vethathiri Maharishi (1911–2006) was a spiritual leader and founder-trustee of the World Community Service Center in 1958 in Chennai. He founded over 300 yoga centres around the world and wrote about 80 books, many of which became academic textbooks. He was declared the 19th Siddha by the Dravidian University.
After spending several years in various minor employments, he established a textile concern that grew to employ over 2,000 workers on a profit-sharing basis. Maharishi regularly participated in intense meditation and introspection, which he claims brought him full enlightenment at the age of thirty five. At the age of fifty, he closed his commercial ventures and devoted himself solely to spiritual service. However, he remained a "householder", i.e. he did not break his family ties or take vows of renunciation, but rather lived in the indigenous Siddha tradition, maintaining family ties.
Shri Vethathiri Maharishi wrote over 2000 poems on philosophical subjects. In the Indian philosophical tradition, his philosophy corresponds to pure advaita; it may be called pantheistic monism. His language and attitudes are contemporary, non-sectarian and non-dogmatic. He authored about 75 books in Tamil and English, and continued to write until his death.
Vethathiri strove to find answers to three questions: “What is God?” “What is life?” “Why is poverty in the world?” The search to find these answers as well as to further his lot in life led him into various fields of endeavour, including becoming a qualified practitioner of two systems of Indian indigenous medicine, Ayurveda and Siddha, and certified practitioner Homeopathy as well. Vethathiri led the life of a householder until he was 50, and then changed the course of his life from being a businessman to teach and write about his experiences of purported divine revelations. He published many books in English and Tamil. Between 1972–1993, he visited the USA, Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.
Vethathiri Maharishi’s claimed to synthesize a complete science of living for the betterment of humanity through: Simplified Kundalini Yoga meditation, Physical Exercises, Kaya Kalpa Yoga and Introspections. Vethathiri’s lifetime works are called Vethathiriyam, which literally translates as a roadmap to the mountain of knowledge. He claimed that a deep understanding of nature is essential for living in harmony with the law of nature, while balancing material well-being with spiritual progress.
In 1958 Shri Vethathiri Maharishi founded the World Community Service Centre (WCSC), a non-profit registered society with a view to work towards World Peace through individual peace. As of today, more than 200 trusts and about 1000 meditation centres have been registered and affiliated to WCSC in India. From 1972 to 1993, he travelled abroad annually, lecturing and teaching extensively in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and USA
In 1984 he founded the "Vethathiri Maharishi Yoga and Kaya Kalpa Research Foundation" based in Aliyar, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu in the name of Arutperunjothi Nagar. This is located on Pollachi-Valparai Highway SH-78, next to Azhiyar Dam and State Transportation buses are available to Arutperunjothi Nagar from Pollachi. Facilities are provided for large groups to stay and undergo SKY courses of several days in duration. The Temple of Consciousness is the centerpiece of the campus.
In 1998 the Brain Trust was established to bring together intellectuals of various fields to discuss the issues facing mankind and work towards solutions for bringing about peace and harmony to the individual and to the world at large.
Receiving from former Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja the first copy of a commemorative postage stamp on Vethathiri Maharishi, the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said that the centenary celebrations and postage stamps on eminent persons and freedom fighters would help the youth to be inspired and emulate such personalities.
Talking about Vethathiri Maharishi, the former Chief Minister said "The teachings of Vethathiri Maharishi (1911–2006) have been receiving acclaim because the spiritual leader possessed the "weapon" of rationalism. To attract people, the spiritual leader did not use magical powers or claim that he was in contact with god. As he had possessed rationalism that would help people to realise themselves, his teachings and messages were still adored.
Ramalinga Swamigal (1823–1874) and Vethathiri Maharishi were conscious of the influence of superstitions on people and they strove for showing the correct path, Mr. Karunanidhi said.
N. Mahalingam, industrialist and president of the Temple of Consciousness, Aliyar, recalled his relationship with Maharishi and said the World Community Service Centre founded by the spiritual leader was an outcome of the Satya Gnana Sabai of Adigal.