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Inside Maharishi's Ashram: A Personal Story Paperback – January 25, 2017
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About the Author
Rhoda Orme-Johnson grew up in a Jewish community in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Vassar College as a scholarship student where she majored in mathematics and minored in philosophy. In 1963 she married her husband David Orme-Johnson. When he completed his BA in Psychology from Columbia University, they moved to Takoma Park, Maryland, where Rhoda programmed abort trajectories for the Apollo project, and later got her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Maryland. After four years of living in Switzerland and France at the international headquarters of the TM organization, she became one of the founding faculty, professor and chair of the department of literature and languages at Maharishi International University (now Maharishi University of Management). Over the years she has published scholarly papers connecting Maharishi’s Vedic Science to literature, both ancient and modern, and collected his talks on literature and language into a volume called The Flow of Consciousness. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Literature and Language (MUM Press, 2010). Rhoda divides her time between her home in Florida and her summer place in Fairfield, IA.
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I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rhoda Orme-Johnson for my book, A Symphony of Silence. I knew of her pioneering work as one of the founders of Maharishi International University (Now MUM), and her loving partnership with her spouse, Dr. David Orme-Johnson. But until I did the interview, I did not realize her level of competency in so many areas, such as, educator, scientist, mathematician, business leader, and writer. She is a renaissance woman.
Rhoda paints a picture, and opens a window for the readers to view a magical time Inside Maharishi’s Ashram, which as she demonstrates in her unique voice, was not confined to a building, place, time, or space. Rhoda’s reflections describe a precious life experience with precision, humor, and love; her writing is descriptive and creates images for the reader.
In my opinion, this is one of the best books written not only about TM, and Maharishi, but is a human story that we can all relate too; it is a reflection on the magical moments that shape our hearts and minds. Rhoda’s style of writing has the fragrance of a novel highlighting the life of a seeker of knowledge and truth. Rhoda’s journey takes us on a roller coaster ride from the magic of sitting with a world teacher, to her practical accomplishments in business without ever losing the poetry beneath the surface waiting to emerge. Enjoy the ride it is the synthesis of heart and mind.
In this warm and easy to read memoir, Rhoda Orme-Johnson shares her story, at the same time taking us deep into the life and teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi over a span of 35 years. She and her husband David, world-renowned researcher on Consciousness and its development and application, lived with Maharishi in Europe and the USA, traveled with him and for him to remotest Himalayan India and earthquake-ravaged Armenia where they taught thousands to meditate, wrote important scientific papers, were founding faculty members of Maharishi’s university in Iowa, all the while raising two children. Oh, and earning her PhD. And writing a couple of books.
She takes us inside meetings with Maharishi where his global strategies to uplift world consciousness were formulated. In touching moments, she shows how, even with the whole world in his attention, he was aware of every person around him, and repeatedly acted on their behalf. When he discovered that Rhoda had cancer (from which she recovered decades ago) without any conversation between them he ordered special health treatments for her. When she was uncomfortable to the point of fearfulness in a wild crowd of celebrants in India, he quietly told David, “Take care of Rhoda.” Himself a monk and surrounded almost entirely by single men and women, he welcomed the Orme-Johnson children and treated them with love. These personal nuggets are juxtaposed with stories of scientific conferences attended by world-class scientists including Nobel laureates, interventions of large groups of meditators sent to world trouble spots to promote harmony, and explanations of some of the deep and complex teachings on the Vedas that Maharishi brought out in the last decades of his fruitful life.
I think Rhoda was well aware that she was living history in the making. Yet she does not shy away from self-critique. “That was another of my mistakes,” she tells us several times. “I still had a lot to learn.” Yet the book is filled with her personal achievements. In reading it, I several times thought of some famous lines by the great poet, Walt Whitman: “Camerado, this is no book. Who touches this, touches a man.” This book reveals an extraordinary woman living an amazing life. You will enjoy it and learn from it.
Most recent customer reviews
An insider's look at the TM organization from someone who was present for a great number of important events in the history of history of the organization.Read more
Wonderful story telling about Maharishi, marriage, and child rearing.