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This article is about the title. For the film, see Maharshi (film).

Maharishi is an anglicized spelling of the Sanskrit word Maharṣi महर्षि (formed from the prefix mahā- meaning "great" and r̥ṣi meaning "seer"). Maharishi is often used as an addition to a person's name as an honorary title. The term was first seen in modern English literature in the 18th century.[1]

Description and usage[edit]

Maharishi may refer to a Hindu, or Vedic, guru or "spiritual teacher" of "mystical knowledge". Additional meanings cited by dictionaries include: sage, poet, spiritual leader, wise man and holy man.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Alternate meanings describe Maharishi as a collective name that refers to the seven rishis or saptarishis (including Maharishi Bhrigu) cited in the scriptures of Rig Veda and the Puranas, or any of the several mythological seers that are referenced in Vedic writings and associated with the seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major.[9][10]

Maharishi may refer to any individual who has added the title to their name.[1] According to Brewers Dictionary, outside of India, the most well known Maharishi was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who founded Transcendental Meditation and made it available to the West.[2]

Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) was an "Indian sage" with a philosophy about the path to self-knowledge and the integration of personality espoused in books by author Paul Brunton and Ramana's own writings such as the Collected Works (1969) and Forty Verses on Reality (1978).[11]

Kavi Yogi Maharishi Dr. Shuddhananda Bharati (1897-1990) is an Indian holy man who has worked all his life to write his high ideals: One World, One God and One Humanity living together in peace and harmony in a transformed world. His education is to impart his learning and knowledge for all those who are seeking God. Sivananda Saraswati his friend gave him the title of Maharishi in Rishikesh in 1954. Shuddhananda Bharati is the author of creative and literary works with diverse writing styles: epic and lyric writings, melodramas, operas, comedies, pastoral theologies, novels, short stories, biographies, notes on famous works, essay-writings, Bharata Shakti Kavi Malayam is his magnum opus. He was also a close friend of Ramana Maharshi with which he meditated a lot in Arunachala hill.

The title was also used by Maharishi Valmiki, Maharishi Patanjali and Maharishi Dayananda Sarasvati.[12][13][14]

The term Maharishi became popular in modern English literature "sometime before 1890" and was first used in 1758.[1][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Websters Online Dictionary with Multilingual Thesaurus Translation Retrieved November 2011
  2. ^ a b Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2009) Retrieved November 9, 2011
  3. ^ In Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary (2004) Retrieved November 2011
  4. ^ Collins German Dictionary (2007) Retrieved November 2011
  5. ^ Drury, Nevill (2002) Watkins Publishing, The dictionary of the esoteric: 3000 entries on the mystical and occult, page 200
  6. ^ Luck, Steve (1998) publisher: George Philip Ltd, The American desk encyclopedia, page 499
  7. ^ Online Etymological Dictonary Retrieved Nov 2011
  8. ^ Oxford Dictionary Retrieved Nov 2011
  9. ^ Retrieved Nov 2011
  10. ^ Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (2002) Thames & Hudson, Retrieved November 2011
  11. ^ In Chambers Biographical Dictionary (2007) Retrieved November 2011
  12. ^ J. Agarwal (15 September 2008). I Am Proud to be a Hindu. Pustak Mahal. pp. 191–. ISBN 978-81-223-1022-1. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  13. ^ J.M.Mehta (22 December 2005). Essence of Maharishi Patanjali's Ashtang Yoga. Pustak Mahal. ISBN 978-81-223-0921-8. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  14. ^ J.P. Mittal (1 January 2006). History of Ancient India: From 7300 BC to 4250 BC. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 270–. ISBN 978-81-269-0615-4. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Merriam Webster Retrieved November 2011