Image: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
AP file
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the International Meditation Society and "The City of Nations" in Kashmir, is seen in London, England, in this Aug. 24, 1967 file photo.
updated 2/5/2008 8:53:34 PM ET 2008-02-06T01:53:34

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, has died at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said Tuesday. He was thought to be 91 years old.

"He died peacefully at about 7 p.m.," said Bob Roth, a spokesman for the Transcendental Meditation movement that the Maharishi founded. He said his death appeared to be due to "natural causes, his age."

Once dismissed as hippie mysticism, the Hindu practice of mind control that Maharishi taught, called transcendental meditation, gradually gained medical respectability.

He began teaching transcendental meditation in 1955 and brought the technique to the United States in 1959. But the movement really took off after the Beatles visited his ashram in India in 1968, although he had a famous falling out with the rock stars when he discovered them using drugs at his Himalayan retreat.

With the help of celebrity endorsements, Maharishi — a Hindi-language title for Great Seer — parlayed his interpretations of ancient scripture into a multi-million-dollar global empire.

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