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Wisdom of Charles F. Lutes

Charles F. Lutes (1912-2001) was a Los Angeles concrete salesman who was initiated in Transcendental Meditation in 1959. He teamed up with Maharishi and travelled the world with him four or five times to open hundreds of meditation centres. In 1969 he became a TM teacher.

Charles was married to Helen (1902-2001), who learnt TM in 1959 with her husband. Maharishi appointed Helen as the first President of his Spiritual Regeneration Movement, SRM. SRM was conceived of in Madras in 1958.

The year after Maharishi founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1958, he was in Kashmir. He said he came in contact with Durga Bhagwati, (a form of the Divine Mother) also known as Bhawani - "Luka Pavani" she is termed in the transcript - and pleaded with her to alleviate the misery of mankind. At first she said no, help for humanity was not to come from her, for humanity was doomed to suffer increasingly due to how poorly and badly many people behaved. But after some more pleading on his part she understandingly encouraged him to gather lights to avoid impending darkness for a period of up to a few thousand years.

Maharishi wanted all TM-ers to know what Bhawani alerted him to around ten o'clock that morning, after he had got a pandit to sing praises for her outside the locked temple gate. Maharishi could not get in and got no response from the goddess at first as he stood by the gate. However, he started to talk of suffering humanity, and then she responded, "Is it not right to be safe behind the lock and not allow the misery to come in, eh?"

She went on to tell him she maintained and secured the time cycle itself, and now the time cycle demanded that people suffered: "This is the time for the people to suffer." Her key concern was to maintain the time cycle.

Maharishi, however, said she was almighty and could do something for people too.

Bhawani told him that morning that it was evening, and perfection had gone, so people had to suffer. [p. 4]

He did not take an o for a no, but said "No, no" and "You should do something", and reminded her that she had killed mighty demons in the past.

She agreed, adding she had killed them because those rich demons had a very mighty and far-reaching wrong influence, making others happier for a while a wrong way - to be followed by sufferings. So what she had done in the old times was needed, she confirmed. She also told that little heart demons cause wrongdoings and wrong influences.

Maharishi: "What made me happy was the support and the acceptance of the S!R!M!" [SRM] . . . from that Divine level" [p. 5]. "Raise the level of consciousness . . . that is the way!" [p. 6] "This conversation lays open the whole situation." [p. 7]

The situation: Our efforts for a few thousand years may alleviate much. And "the central point of Indian culture. Communication with Braham [i.e. Brahman] . . .
direct communication with Absolute Consciousness . . . direct communication with . . . the world of Gods . . . forces of nature [and] "something on the on the [!] Eternal level" . . .
This is the spirit of India."

Maharishi concluded that TM gives easy access to the life of Brahman, and that it is very fortunate that the TM work is recognised on the celestial field too, on that Divine level. "Extremely fortunate, and all glory to GURU DEV."

"Let all this message . . . reach . . . if possible all the people in the WORLD meditating," Maharishi ended with. [◦Maharishi transcript]


Bhawani or Bhagwati: The Bhawani temple that was closed one morning Maharishi came there, lies in Srinagar, Kashmir. Goddess Bhawani in its middle is in part Durga of ancient demon-killing exploits. "Luka" refers to a side to Durga - hard to see and very shy in a way. Another name of Bhagwati is "Durga Bhagwati", [WP, "Kher Bhawani"; "Durga"]

Mother of the Universe In philosophical terms, Durga is looked on as the supreme power of the Supreme Being, and hence the mother of the universe. She is believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Her traditional iconography holds keys to many high-levelled points concerning her. [WP, "Durga"]

A Puranic Story about Durga. The demon-killing story is a Purana tale where Durga crushes and devours her enemies of war. Mahisa, a demon who took shape as a buffalo, was oppressing the gods and defeating them in a battle. At that time Durga came to life to lead and win the fight. She sprang out of the many and various powers of the gods who individually and collectively had lacked the strength to defeat the demon on their own. Once born, she was unstoppable, and riding on a lion, which is taken to represent power. [Cf. van Buitenen and Dimmit 1978:224-25].

Many hidden powers: Maharishi is into some of the many-faceted sides to the Supreme Being as shakti in the transcript. In one view, there is One Shakti in essence, which diversifies into many Shaktis (Mothers, Goddesses), each with their own peculiarities or hallmarks and sounds (and mantras). Some Shaktis help men upwards, inwards. Others do it too, but at a low price or more. Others mislead people, make them go down or to hell, and so on. This is according to the shakti tradition (see for example Shankaranarayan 1975).

Even briefer: There are many powers in the world. Some assist humans greatly, others hardly, and still others not at all. Compare for example The Ten Cosmic Powers (1975) for details. In Sringeri Math there are five Shaktis (Brahman aspects) that are revered above others. They are at the heart of Smartism (almost the same as Advaita). [WP, "Sringeri Sharada Peetham"; Smarta Tradition"; "Shakti"]

Greater Time Cycles - speculations or poorly conceived? In Hindu philosophy one reckons with huge time cycles. The beginning of a cycle is termed morning, in full bloom it is "day", and its evening is when it is receding, to be followed by the night. Above there is a little play on juxtaposing (or mixing) our mundane "morning" and an "evening" of a wider cycle perspective. [EB, "Yuga"] [The four yugas: An orientation]

Martin Zucker's "Charlie"

When Charlie took over the administration of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, Helen served as his organizational assistant and a meditation guide, often assisting people with their personal problems.

The journalist and author Martin Zucker writes about how Charles F. Lutes was involved in the efforts of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to spread Transcendental Meditation around the world. As Maharishi's personal representative in the United States, "Charlie" handled much of the TM movement's business affairs and was a close advisor to Maharishi in organisational and practical matters.

Zucker met Charlie some time after 1974 on Charlie's Friday nights lectures in the big hall on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Zucker got interested in the TM story and what Charlie had to tell and wanted to write it. Maharishi permitted the project, and as a result Zucker and Lutes spent hours taping conversations and going over clippings and documents that Charlie had collected. Four chapters were shaped. However, the whole project was not finished as long as Charlie lived. After Charlie and Helen passed away in 2001, Zucker decided to publish the four chapters. They are online.

Charlie distanced himself from the TM movement after Maharishi introduced Yogic Flying, or rather, butt-bouncing on thick mats. "We cannot please everybody" is a Norwegian proverb that stands out.

For more than forty years Mr. Lutes discreetly healed persons and gave inspirational lectures in Westwood, California. He spoke on many topics that are perhaps no longer mainstream in the TM movement if they ever were, like the spiritual destiny of the USA.

Below are some words of wisdom from a series of 108 online lectures of Charlie Lutes (2005-2011). He was a wise man. References to books and Lutes lecture are at the bottom of the page.

A Little Simplistic Guidelines

- to complex givens, how helpful are they? and how helpful can they become? The same goes for simple solutions to complex problems. The best simple solutions may be wonderful! Here is a "tune to sing": "Go within for fit solutions." But it has to be done by fit measures according to what happens automatically or by itself when it happens. Otherwise the going within may not be very successful. TM does a lot good. Charlie advocates it. So do I.

Guidelines from outer sources may impress much and in some cases drown the inner guidance. Useful guidelines for meditators are still very valuable, and some are found in relevant yoga sources in the form of general codes of living and of going within. [Yajnavalkya Yoga]

A guideline that looks good and is taken out from its context, may become a little simplistic, all right, and look like a truism too. But as long as it is better than no guideline at all in a field, it could give a little help. As a matter of fact, it is recognised that the adages of Confucius look like truisms and that they have taken part in forming Chinese culture for a long time. So it is not all bad to seek out Charlie's truisms - statements that appear to be true to fact by and large - as long as they are not merely platitudes and claims without needed evidence.

Now, to which degree could non-documented claims blended with platitudes be considered all right? There is often many a murky "faith trick" involved in faith-lectures, so better be on guard. Consider, for example, that if you pollute a clear stream with muddy tributaries, the result may neither be pure nor tasty. If you mix Vedanta thought with religious stuff from other sources, imbued with other outlooks, there is a risk of "polluting the clear stream" for the sake of being accepted.

We can deal with seeming platitudes in various ways to make them operate.

  • One ways is to reflect if they reveal something that seems quite aligned to one's personal experiences, and relevant in a life.
  • Another is to add comments "for obvious reasons" and other reasons.
  • Another is to reformulate them so that they seem to apply better in this world.
  • And another way is to put them into a handy, defining structure, a matrix, to be able to make even wider use of them. Seeing is believing: [A Tao Way]


Charlie said . . .

Truth is both relative and absolute . . . There is a shortcut, the Transcendental Meditation technique, whereby we may construct a clear channel from ourselves to the Almighty, and thereby quickly gain absolute truth. [Lecture 1]

Once the apple that has started to fall from the branch, it will at last reach the ground, says Maharishi. That is seldom a wrong outlook. But there are exceptions, as when the apple lands in a net. Further, many apples from lower branches get to the ground faster than apples from the top of the tree. We can bear in mind that not everyone gets quickly all right through TM either.

Truth is the solid foundation we should build our lives on. [Lecture 1]

The "solid foundation" is not material, but linked to a subtle realm, "Truthland".

It is [possibly] useless to run in search of God somewhere far off in the universe. We should seek out God here on earth. [Lecture 3]

He cannot say it is useless if he has not tried, if he has not run in search of God far off or far out, can he? By "seek out God" it is not a duality-form that is meant, in some forms of Vedanta, but the Self. The finding is called Atmabodha or Atmajnana in Sanskrit - Self-knowledge. Adi (the first) Shankara advocates it.

Working in a selfish manner, we create bondage. [Lecture 3]

What about working selfishly so as not to get bound and restricted? A little simplistic outlooks may still be of use to lots of persons, although outcomes may depend a lot on the neighbours also, for example.

The real worker in this universe is personified as the mother of the universe. [Mod. from lecture 3]

Dr Rudolf Steiner comments on something quite similar by something like "Who does the work is the one that feels weary." Are we getting weary from work, or is it Divine Mother as us, for example? It could be time to ponder.

What we have to ask ourselves is: Am I working to remove my ignorance in order to obtain liberation? [Lecture 3]

Or we may wonder, "Am I working at all if Divine Mother does all the work in the universe?"

Whatever we set in motion, we are responsible for the scope and nature of the activity that ensues. [Lecture 4]

This is not always so, although it is a partial truth. Just consider: If you set something horrible in motion, and someone appears and make some quick changes to the end of making the results delightful to all and sundry, how responsible are you for all the good things that follow?

To help make a parent happy and comfortable in their old age is indeed good karma. [Lecture 4]

What makes a bad person or parent happy, may not be good in itself. For example, an old drunkard father or mother, craving beer, wine and booze, may get "happy and comfortable" by alcohol for a little while there, but things are often getting out of hand thus, with family ruin in its long-range wake. So stupid help at times equals something bad. Bad favours don't see how people are, and how worthy the things that make them happy are, and cooperate with bad fares. [Compare]

Responsibilities come in many forms and in many degrees such as sole responsibilities, joint responsibilities and group responsibilities. [Lecture 4]

Meditation lessens the impact of numerous afflictions that came into one's life. [Lecture 6]

Results depend on what outbalances which. Too many afflictions may become a problem that feeble, short meditations do not solve. A sense of proportions is needed. One has to weigh influences along the road too.

The more experiences one has in life the wiser and quieter one becomes, and more contained and less given to unnecessary speech. [Lecture 7]

Still, taciturn ones may not be wise for that reason alone. As it is put in the teaching poem Havamal, verse 27:
A witless man, when he meets with men,
had best in silence abide;
For no one shall find that nothing he knows,
If his mouth is not open too much.

A great turning point is when one becomes an initiate and begins to awaken from the great sleep of materiality. [Mod. lecture 7]

Hidden mysteries within our silence have to be fathomed and revealed. [Mod. lecture 7]

One living simple life may be able to bear the strains of true spiritual living. [Mod. lecture 8]

By trial and error and continued growth . . . one builds up . . . an acquired nature. [Lecture 8]

Bringing our vehicles under control is one of the principle and essential functions of the will. [Lecture 9]

Will power is a very important part of human life. [Lecture 9]

Bill power is also something to reckon with.

Thoughts going forth with strength often produce startling results. [Lecture 10]

The collected thinking of people form thought strata in the astral, the same as clouds form in groups of clouds in the sky here on earth. [Lecture 10]

Those of high spiritual development who send forth thoughts of evil and destruction, or desire to injure someone, are usually injured themselves. [Modified from lecture 10]

If our real intent in life is to grow and become spiritual then the way will be made easier for us. [Lecture 11]

We are in for receiving pain and suffering we create all around. [Mod. lecture 11]

Life as we know it is where the non-self appears separate from the Self. [Lecture 12]

How true! But how useful? Nimbarka's Vedanta looks as fair as can be before Advaita is reached.

At the upper end is God and at the lower end is man. [Lecture 13]

The path of yoga develops the mind . . . and a balanced mind fills the body with life-giving currents. [Lecture 13]

One on the spiritual path, in order to be successful, must travel. [Lecture 14]

Compare: "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

Correct feeding of information into the brain-computer is necessary for perceiving things. [Lecture 14]

The mind is so constructed that when you show it a way to greater happiness and one begins to experience bliss not too much faith is needed. [Lecture 15]

The purpose of life is to forge fully developed humans and not to let us remain just as children. [Lecture 16]

Belief in reincarnation affirms that we unfold our various destinies, coming in the end to such conclusions as we have earned by our own individual conduct. [Lecture 17]

What we learn is that happiness comes with right thinking, speaking and doing, and pain comes with wrong doing. [Lecture 19]

Like children, we must learn, and like children, we also come of age. [Lecture 19]

In TA, Transactional Analysis, the id, libido, is called the Child and classified as one of the personality instances. That inner Child loves warm hugs and pleasant strokes, like monkeys may do too. Stages of life relate to the id development physically and socially, according to such as Erik Homburger Erikson. To keep the "fire" alive, try to do things that please your natural sides in fit ways throughout life. Many do not know how to, so here are a few tips. See what children like to do, and do similarly, well adapted to grown-up life if needs be. Courses in painting, cookery, and many other activities may be pleasing. Within the ageing body frame the little Child intact, if the round of life goes well. To keep one's child nature is good. Only be alerted to that tastes differ, and also may change throughout life.

The thoughts and deeds of humans build cloudy formations around the earth. When such formations or charges of energy reach a certain level of power, they cause great constructive or destructive effect upon the earth and upon the people on the earth. This affects the solar system as well. [Lecture 21]

"Seeing is believing, but how to validate the truth of such assertions? By statistical measures and seeing it first-hand, if that is feasible for you.

Charles F. Lutes, Charlie Lutes, Literature  

Dimmit, Cornelia, and J. A. B. van Buitenen, trs. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University, 1978.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica (Online and DVD)

From The Himalayas to Hollywood: A Personal Account of Maharishi's Early Days. by Charles F. Lutes as Told to Martin Zucker. Canoga Park CA Fall 2006. - Online.

Lutes, Charles F. Lectures. Online Series. Vincent J. Daczynski, 2005-2011.

Shankaranarayan, S. The Ten Great Cosmic Powers. 2nd ed. Pondicherri: Dipti, 1975.

WP: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia. Online.

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