Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the famous guru to the Beatles, has died at the age of 91.

The Indian spiritual advisor passed away at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop today.

The Maharishi is best remembered for introducing transcendental meditation techniques to the Beatles in the 1960s.

Footage of the band members sat cross-legged, dressed in white robes and covered in flowers at a residency in the Himalayas, was beamed across the world in 1968.

"His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi… passed away peacefully," a statement from his Global Country of World Peace movement said.

"Maharishi's work is complete. He has done what he set out to do in 1957 – to lay the foundations for a peaceful world. Now, Maharishi is being welcomed with open arms into heaven."

A memorial service is expected at Vlodrop tomorrow, with an official funeral to be held on the Ganges River in India after.

His spokesman, Bob Roth, told the Associated Press news agency: "He had been saying he had done what he set out to do."

Mr Roth confirmed the Maharishi died in his sleep around 18:00 GMT on Tuesday, due to "natural causes – his age".

From the 1950s the Maharishi was committed to spreading transcendental meditation around the world.

The technique is primarily based on yoga and is claimed to enable people to gain deep rest and a "state of pure consciousness".

It soon gained international recognition after the Beatles, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, singer Donovan and actress Mia Farrow visited India to mediate with the Maharishi.

While the Beatles later fell out with him, Mr Love claimed that the Indian guru would be missed.

"His passing is profoundly sad. But I, for one, am among the millions who are grateful for what he shared with us," the Beach Boy said.

"We will miss you, but your great light will shine on."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi moved to Vlodrop in 1990 and had recently announced his retirement, claiming he wanted to spend his final days studying ancient Hindu Vedas texts.


06/02/2008 12:30:29