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Dr Vernon Katz reflects on Maharishi's unique contribution to the world - Part I: Early years with Maharishi
by Global Good News staff writer
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10 June 2008
Dr Vernon Katz, Visiting Professor of Vedic Science and Trustee of Maharishi University of Management, recently addressed an assembly of faculty, students, and participants of the Invincible America Assembly at the university.
Dr Katz is an eminent Sanskrit scholar, renowned for his contribution to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation and Commentary, Chapters 1-6.* Maharishi's translation and commentary is regarded by scholars as a supreme contribution to the vast field of Vedic literature. Although the Bhagavad-Gita had a greater number of commentaries than any other scripture, Maharishi realized that no previous commentaries had brought to light the essential point of the teaching. He has described the Gita as the essence of the Vedic literature which offers a complete guide to practical life in enlightenment.
Dr Katz received his doctorate from Oxford University in England, studying Sanskrit under Dr Radhakrishnan, who went on to become President of India, and economics under Dr Harold Wilson, who became Prime Minister of Britain. He was one of the first to meet Maharishi during his first world tour when he arrived in London in 1960. Dr Katz was instructed by Maharishi in Transcendental Meditation, and has since participated in all the advanced programmes and courses offered by the Global Country of World Peace. In addition to his work with Maharishi on the Bhagavad-Gita, Dr Katz also contributed his expertise during Maharishi's translation of the Brahma Sutras, and is currently collaborating on a translation of the Upanishads with Dr Thomas Egenes, Professor of Sanskrit at Maharishi University of Management.
During his address, Dr Katz shared his reminiscences from earlier days of working with Maharishi and attending courses under his guidance. His anecdotes illustrated not only Maharishi's unique and deeply profound contributions in bringing to light the knowledge of integrated life in enlightenment, as taught in the Vedic literature, but also revealed Maharishi's own very blissful nature and deep joy of life.
Dr Katz began his talk with an observation that the innumerable aspects of the physical environment of Maharishi University of Management were all reflections of Maharishi's creativity—even the buildings had taken shape from principles of Vedic Architecture brought to light by Maharishi. Every aspect of daily life in the university, including the courses offered, the daily routine of the students, the entrepreneurial creativity of the numerous businesses in the community, had all sprung from knowledge given out by Maharishi in his fifty years of offering his Vedic knowledge to the world. 'He was so endlessly inventive, he would create and create, always some new initiatives,' Dr Katz said.
Dr Katz remarked especially on the latest programme of bringing hundreds of Vedic Pandits from India to America, calling it a 'complete miracle' which only Maharishi could accomplish.
'This Maharishi could do', Dr Katz said, 'because of his establishment in Brahman Consciousness.** Brahman is a field of all possibilities and for one established in that, there are no barriers, no obstacles. He is completely free to think the impossible, and that is what Maharishi has done.'
Dr Katz explained what he regarded as the source of Maharishi's greatness and wisdom, saying, 'He attributed everything to his Guru (teacher), Brahmananda Saraswati,*** he was the inspiration and guiding light for everything Maharishi accomplished. There was no ego involved, he did not appropriate anything to himself. Maharishi laid everything at the feet of his Guru Dev.' Dr Katz also spoke of the great joy and enthusiasm which Maharishi had for his many activities. 'He enjoyed what he was doing every minute, something good was happening and he was happy.' Here, Dr Katz was reminded of a quote from Maharishi, 'I was walking on the soft ground of Guru Dev's grace.'
Commenting on Maharishi's tendency for taking new initiatives, Dr Katz said that everything Maharishi did, others would follow. He spoke of the earliest people who learned Transcendental Meditation during the first years of Maharishi's teaching in western countries. 'Meditation was an outrageous thing when we started, it was simply not accepted. Today so many millions are doing it.'
Dr Katz also described all the vagaries of surroundings and circumstances which confronted Maharishi during his early days in the West. Maharishi would never mind the environments he found himself in, he would sometimes address an audience who were not always positive, not always receptive; but when he spoke, everyone listened. As Dr Katz said, 'He just shone, he spoke out his message and his focus was completely on what he had to do, no boundaries at all—he just spoke what he had to say, and I thought it was great.'
'One has to think,' reflected Dr Katz,' why did he subject himself to all this? He could have been in Himalayas, he could have had a life of silence, but he chose to come out to teach Transcendental Meditation to the world. It was just pure compassion.'
The continuation of the talk by Dr Katz will be presented in Part II in the coming days of Global Good News.
*First published in 1967 by International SRM Publications; now published by Penguin, 1990, ISBN-10: 0140192476; ISBN-13: 978-0140192476. For more information about Maharishi's translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, including a video book review, please visit Maharishi's books.
**Described by Maharishi as the highest state of human development, characterized by the experience that everything is Brahm, Totality.
***Maharishi's Master, Shri Guru Dev, His Divinity Brahmanand Saraswati, Jagatguru Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Himalayas.
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