His full name is Mahesh Kumar Shrivastava, but “Shrivastava” would put a stop to all his pretensions, at least in India, and that would affect others too. He is not an initiated sannyasin in any of the old orders, because again, there are only ten sannyasin orders in India. I have been trying to destroy them, that is why they are all angry with me.
These orders are again castes, but of sannyasins. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi cannot be a sannyasin because no sudra can become an initiate. That’s why he does not write “Swami” before his name. He cannot, nobody has given him that name. He does not write behind his name, as Hindu sannyasins do, Bharti, Saraswati, Giri et cetera; they have their ten names.
He has created his own name – “Yogi.” It does not mean anything. Anybody trying to stand on his head, and of course falling again and again, can call himself a yogi, there is no restriction on it.
A sudra can be a yogi, and the name Maharishi is something to replace “Swami,” because in India things are such that if the name “Swami” is missing, then people would suspect something is wrong. You have to put something else there just to cover up the gap.
He invented “Maharishi.” He is not even a rishi; rishi means “seer,” and maharishi means “great seer.” He can’t even see beyond his nose. All he can do when you ask him relevant questions is giggle. In fact, I will call him “Swami Gigglananda,” that will fit him perfectly. That giggling is not something respectable, it is really a strategy to avoid questions. He cannot answer any question.
I have met him, just by chance, and in a strange place – Pahalgam. He was leading a meditation camp there, and so was I. Naturally my people and his were meeting each other. They first tried to bring him to my camp, but he made so many excuses: that he had not time, he wanted to but it would not be possible.
But he said, “One thing can be done: you can bring Bhagwan here so that my time and my scheduled work is not disturbed. He can speak with me from my stage.” And they agreed.
When they told me I said, “This is stupid of you; now I will be in unnecessary trouble. I will be in front of his crowd. I don’t have to worry about the questions; the only problem is that it will not be right for the guest to hit his host, especially before his own crowd. And once I see him I cannot refrain from hitting him; any decision I make not to hit him will be gone.”
But they said, “We have promised.”
I said, “Okay. I’m not bothered, and I am ready to come.” It was not very far, just a two minute walk away. You just had to get in the car, and then get out again, that was the distance. So I said, “Okay, I will come.”