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Businesses thrive in Vedic City's meditative environment
by Naomi Grossman
Indus Business Journal Translate This Article
25 June 2005
On 25 June 2005 Indus Business Journal reported:
The neighbouring Iowa towns of Fairfield and Maharishi Vedic City have gained national attention for the entrepreneurial boom sparked by an influx of practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation Programme who moved to be close to Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.). The IndUS Business Journal article interviewed a number of highly successful local business-owners and looked at the unique attributes that contribute to the unparalleled prosperity of the small midwestern towns.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of business.
IndUS Business Journal described M.U.M. as 'a university founded on principles of Vedic 'consciousness-based' education and brought to Fairfield in 1974 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Writer Naomi Grossman noted, '...Maharishi is credited with introducing the Vedic tradition—an ancient Indian philosophy—to the United States. Vedic is a Sanskrit word meaning knowledge and the philosophy incorporates the principles of natural law in everything from health care to architecture to world peace.'
Of the 10,000 people in Fairfield and Maharishi Vedic City, nearly 3,000 are estimated to be practitioners of Transcendental Meditation. Grossman said that between 1980 and 1990 alone, over 2,000 people moved to the Iowa college town, whose industry was once manufacturing and farming, and 'helped to redefine it as a thriving business centre'.
Business-owner Eric Schwartz told Grossman that he moved his investment company to Fairfield in 1992 so that he could live in a large community of TM meditators. Although initially he was concerned about the impact on his income, revenues actually rose every year—from $500,000 in 1992 to $65 million in 2003 and $105 million last year. The magazine, Investment Advisor, named Schwartz broker-dealer of the year in 2003.
Grossman also interviewed Jim Davis, the head of Chappell Studio Inc./Marathon Foto. In the 1970's, in Chicago, Davis started taking pictures at sports events and eventually made a business out of it. In 1998 he and his two partners (all practitioners of TM) decided to move the business to Fairfield. The business has since grown to 50 employees and 1,500 different accounts.
Davis credits the practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme for the success of his business. He was quoted as saying, 'A good business person has a good sense of intuition and TM helps to develop your intuition.' He continued, 'It's a mental technique that expands awareness and helps you think outside the box. It allows you to think like an entrepreneur.'
The article noted that even the local private children's school, called the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, has TM as part of its curriculum.
'Research shows that the continued practice of TM enlivens areas of the brain that are normally not used and integrates it with other parts,' Davis was quoted as saying.
Fairfield mayor, Ed Malloy, said that property valuations in the city have doubled over the last 15 years and, unlike many small rural towns in Iowa, the city is growing. A 35,000 square foot convention centre was recently built downtown.
He also said that over the last 10 years $200 million in venture capital funding was invested in new startups in Fairfield. The article cited Hawthorne Direct, founded by Tim Hawthorne, another TM practitioner. The company pioneered the infomercial and now manages over 350 direct response television campaigns.
The article also mentioned The Raj Ayurveda Health Center, a Maharishi Vedic City spa that attracts guests from all over the country.
Schwartz's firm currently has $17 billion under management. He started out with five employees and now has 156 employees in Fairfield and another 825 advisors in 300 locations across the country.
Asked about what contributed to his impressive success, Schwartz said that part of his success had to be attributed to the reduction in overhead costs, which went down by 28 per cent when he relocated to Fairfield. He said the local talent pool also helped.
'The TM community doesn't drink, do drugs, or smoke so we don't have employee related problems,' Schwartz was quoted as saying. He also gave credit to the practice of TM, which he said gave him the creative insight to move his business into fee-based brokers, which now accounts for 58 per cent of his business.
'TM gives a broader perspective so you see problems as opportunities,' he said.
Grossman pointed to the existence of Maharishi Vedic City as the result of the entrepreneurial spirit combined with a dedication to a Vedic way of life. 'In 1991, three men from Fairfield bought 1,000 acres right near Fairfield with the intention of building a Vedic health spa complex. They built a few buildings on the property, but then realized they wanted more. They bought another 1,000 acres and had the city incorporated as Vedic City.' Fairfield mayor, Ed Malloy said that the developers felt the city was a 'good way to showcase the value of [the Vedic tradition] in community development. The city could represent all areas of Vedic knowledge, architecture, health, education.'
Every building in the new city is designed according to Vedic principles, called Maharishi Sthapatya Veda design. The city government recently banned the sale of non-organic food.
Mario Orsatti, a media officer at the Maharishi University of Management's Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy told Grossman that TM and other Vedic principles were becoming a part of mainstream America. 'Thirty years ago, most people would look at you cross-eyed if you said you were involved in TM,' he said. 'Now people say it sounds interesting. Everybody is familiar with it. Doctors now ask, what are you doing for stress? We're in an epidemic of stress and the ancient Indian culture has good answers.'
Grossman noted that over the past 15 years, the National Institutes of Health has given $21 million in federal research grants to the Maharishi University of Management's Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention.
Dr Robert Schneider, director of the institute, said that their research indicates that the practice of TM positively impacts everything from blood pressure to crime rates.
He observed that TM has practical applications in the business world by increasing productivity and problem-solving abilities and lowering healthcare costs by as much as 50 per cent among TM practitioners.
Every day Global Good News documents the rise of a better quality of life dawning in the world and highlights the need for introducing Natural Law based—Total
Knowledge based—programmes to bring the support of Nature to every individual, raise the quality of life of every society, and create a lasting state of world peace.
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