Threats of libel lawsuits are once again running across the blog world. An Irish blogger, Gavin, has been threatened with a cease-and-desist letter from the lawyer of John Gray, author of the pop psychology book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”
“Dr.” John Gray seems to have taken offense when Gavin described him as a “fraud” after reading his educational credentials. None of Gray’s degrees come from accredited universities. His PhD comes from a defunct school that had a reputation as a diploma mill. Even more interesting are his alleged B.A. and M.A. degrees, from Maharishi European Research University.
Now here we are entering my home turf. In the 1970s, Maharishi’s unaccredited schools in Europe were closed and a new campus, Maharishi International University, was established at Fairfield, Iowa, about 25 miles from my home. It took a few years, but somehow the tiny college managed to get accreditation recognized by the US Department of Education. But it is possible to get a degree from an accredited college and still be a fraud.
The Maharishi’s Trancendental Meditation cultists are well known in the local community as crackpots and lunatics. Recently they have become notorious for razing historic old buildings on their campus (the former site of Parson’s College) because they did not conform to precepts of Vedic architecture, for example, the toilets did not face north (no, I am not kidding). But Maharishi University’s notoriety comes largely from the course they consider their highest teaching, levitation. The largest building on campus is known as the “Golden Dome,” normal people would describe it as a gymnasium, except this building’s sole function is to provide a place for practicing levitation. Here is a short video that appeared on the local news show from KCRG-TV, showing Maharishi University students demonstrating levitation inside the Golden Dome.
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Now any rational person would not recognize this as “yogic flying” or “levitation,” they’d call it “hopping up and down on your butt.” There is nothing yogic about this whatsoever except that you sit in the Lotus Position. But the Maharishi cultists claim it is physically impossible to hop while seated in the Lotus Position, any upward motion comes from supernatural forces. Balderdash.
But deluded people come from around the world, and pay tens of thousands of dollars to be trained in this balderdash. It is part of the Trancendental Meditation Sidhi Course, which is supposed to confer supernatural powers, such as levitation, omniscience, invisibility, superhuman strength, teleportation, etc. And the primary reason Maharishi University was created was to teach the Sidhi Course. In order to gain accreditation, they must also teach other courses in math, science, etc., but those courses are always described as Vedic Science, Vedic Math, etc. and are all merely preparatory studies for the Sidhi Course. Somehow I doubt these courses are as worthwhile as regular science and math courses at conventional universities.
But let us return to the issue of John Gray and his fraudulent educational credentials. It must be obvious to anyone who watches the “levitation” video that John Gray’s B.A. and M.A. degrees from Maharishi Research University of Europe are worthless. I have suggested to Gavin that he issue a retraction of his statement asserting Gray is a fraud, if Gray will publicly demonstrate levitation to him, in person. Alternately, Gray could demonstrate any Sidhi Power, such as invisibility or teleportation. That way we all can assess whether Gray passed his Sidhi Course at Maharishi University and accept his degree as legitimate. Unless Mr. Gray can produce a convincing demonstration of the Sidhi Powers he learned at Maharishi University, we will all know he is a fraud.