Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2008) at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. His date of birth was not known, but devotees said he was about 91.
"He died peacefully at about 7 p.m.," said Bob Roth, a spokesman for the Transcendental Meditation movement that the Maharishi founded.
Roth said his death appeared to be due to "natural causes, his age."
Once dismissed as hippie mysticism, transcendental meditation, the Hindu practice of mind control that Maharishi taught, gradually gained medical respectability.
He began teaching TM 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 later had a famous falling out with the rock stars.
With the help of celebrity endorsements, Maharishi - a Hindi-language title for Great Seer - parlayed his interpretations of ancient scripture into a multimillion-dollar global empire.