Meditators Eyeing Bay State 'Peace Palace'

Yogi's Followers Seeking Donations, Location

Associated Press/June 2, 2003

Boston -- Followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are lining up donors and seeking a location in Massachusetts to build a "Peace Palace" where, they believe, groups of meditators will gather, levitate, and "transform the country."

The yogi's followers, who practice transcendental meditation, hope to build hundreds of such palaces nationwide. One is under construction in Bethesda, Md. Another has been built in Lexington, Ky.

The Boston group has bid for, but lost, a site in the city's Brighton section and looked at another site near the Burlington Mall.

The palace will be staffed by meditators who claim to levitate and it will "transform the country, reducing crime, violence and conflict overnight," the group said.

Skeptics say the project is a ploy to build the Maharishi's $3.3 billion empire.

Evan Fales, a philosophy professor at the University of Iowa, studied the levitation claims of the group and told the Boston Sunday Globe it was simply hopping.

"It's actually quite athletic, what they do. They get themselves bouncing. I'm very impressed, but I have to tell you that it has nothing to do with fields of consciousness," he said.

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