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Oprah visits Vedic pandits in the middle of Iowa cornfields
by Global Good News staff writer

Global Good News    Translate This Article
25 March 2012

After learning the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Technique, Oprah Winfrey became fascinated with the town of Fairfield, Iowa, a place in which many residents incorporate meditation into their lives. In order to investigate the town more thoroughly, Ms Winfrey recently dedicated an entire primetime television show to Fairfield.

She visited the large meditation domes that are one of the predominant features of the community, then moved on to something even more unexpected.

Ms Winfrey narrated:

'Two miles up the road from the meditation domes is another unusual sight in America, let alone Iowa. Eight hundred men from India live here. They are Pandits, or what you might call professional meditators, who practice TM for hours a day on this 80-acre compound, all in the name of world peace.' This was the first time television cameras had been given entry to film there, she said.

During her tour of the Pandits' village, Ms Winfrey was hosted by Candace and Rogers Badgett, two of the founders of the nearby Maharishi Vedic City.

Ms Winfrey explained what the Pandits are doing in the middle of Iowa cornfields.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's organization established this compound and arranged 'to bring the Pandits from India with the sole purpose of creating world peace. They spend eight hours each day here meditating and chanting. Like the meditators over at the dome, they believe in the power of numbers. By sitting together in silence and then reciting words out loud, they believe they can transmit positive energy across Iowa and ultimately the globe.'

She elaborated further on the Pandits' daily routine. 'They train in India as boys and young men and then move here, to Iowa, for two to three years. Most of the Pandits are in their 20s. They spend their days meditating, chanting, and studying Indian philosophy and science. They also play a little sports.'

Rodgers Badgett explained to Ms Winfrey, 'In the morning they do their traditional Transcendental Meditation. . . . And then they do the traditional chants. This chanting is such a long-term custom and tradition of India.'

'You go to school to learn to chant?' Ms Winfrey asked.

'Yes, even when they're quite young.'

Bhupendra-ji, one of the leaders of the Pandits, explained to Ms Winfrey, 'It comes from family to family.'

Global Good News will continue to feature Oprah Winfrey's recent primetime TV show, 'America's Most Unusual Town', which aired in March and April in the 'Oprah's Next Chapter' series on OWN.

© Copyright 2012 Harpo Productions, Inc.

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