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Maharishi is a Sanskrit word, written as "महर्षि" in Devanagari (formed from the prefix mahā- meaning "great" and r̥ṣi - sage, poet or a singer of sacred hymns),[1] indicating members of the highest order of ancient Indian sages, popularly known in India as "seers," i.e. those who engage in research to understand and experience (and therefore know) nature and its governing laws.

Description and usage[edit]

Maharshi may also refer to "seers" or "sages" in India.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] The term became popular in English literature "sometime before 1890" and was first used in 1758.[9][10]

Alternate meanings describe Maharshi 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.[11][12]

The only ones who can adopt the title are those who achieve the highest state of awareness in the path of evolution and completely understand the working of parabramha. The Maharshis are capable of making others as saints and impart the knowledge of the working of the divine.[9][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).[13]

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008) was an Indian guru, known for developing the Transcendental Meditation technique and for his association with the Beatles.

The title was also used by Valmiki, Patanjali and Dayananda Sarasvati.[14][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MW Cologne Scan". Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  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 Dictionary Retrieved Nov 2011
  8. ^ Oxford Dictionary[dead link] Retrieved Nov 2011
  9. ^ a b Websters Online Dictionary with Multilingual Thesaurus Translation Archived 2011-11-18 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 2011
  10. ^ Merriam Webster Retrieved November 2011
  11. ^ Retrieved Nov 2011
  12. ^ Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (2002) Thames & Hudson, Retrieved November 2011
  13. ^ In Chambers Biographical Dictionary (2007) Retrieved November 2011
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.