Charlie Lutes on Maharishi and The Pool by Diane M. Rousseau

Maharishi taught Charlie things are not always as they seem to be on the surface.
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Photo of Maharishi and Charlie F. Lutes Rishikesh Ashram, India.

“Maharishi and The Pool” is a story that was told to my husband Ray and I by Charlie Lutes in 1989. Charlie did not tell me what year this event happened in India, only that it was in the early days at Maharishi's Rishikesh Ashram. Photo by Alan Waite.
- Diane M. Rousseau

Charlie Lutes on Maharishi and The Pool
by Diane M Rousseau

Charlie's Story of “Maharishi and The Pool” as told to Diane and Ray Rousseau

One day Maharishi was looking at the grounds of the Rishikesh Ashram and he turned and said to Charlie, “Charlie, I want a big Olympic swimming pool!” Charlie thought, “whatever Maharishi wants”, and so he was placed by Maharishi in charge of this new pool project. Charlie told me that, even though he was placed in charge of the pool project, it was not unusual for Maharishi to personally appoint others to a project, both skilled or unskilled, so that somehow a place would be found “for hearts” who were enthusiastic. All those who were additionally picked for the work of the pool construction were told personally by Maharishi to, “pay attention to Charlie, work together, get past any differences quickly and see the project through to the end.”

Drawing on his experience as an Executive and working for a top Construction, Steel and Cement company in the USA, Charlie had the plans for the pool drawn up professionally, along with a lists of material details and for needed equipment. On the first day the project was to start, several men were already digging in the place where the pool was to go, and had not waited for Charlie to arrive. There was already a disagreement amongst them about what side of the pool they were to start with, who worked with whom, who was the “leadership”, and so confusion had already begun. Because Maharishi had picked them personally, Charlie went back to Maharishi and explained the problems, and Charlie said Maharishi just smiled, waved his hands, and said it would be okay, and not for Charlie to worry.

Early the next day the digging continued, now with about 20 men working, many of whom had ideas of their own on how it should go. The problem for Charlie was he had the Plans professionally done on how the pool should be laid out. This included the land being surveyed for the proper building of an Olympic sized pool with a shallow and deep end, a diving board, proper drainage, and pump and filter installation for water purification and circulation.

Several days passed, and Charlie, who was concerned as to labor efficiency, approached Maharishi. Maharishi was interested to know how the pool was coming along and the progress. Now there were more men working on it than before, plus several more men who were overseeing the project and giving advice, and only two workers were actually listening to Charlie. Charlie voiced his concerns to Maharishi, because he could see already that the pool was not measured to a perfect rectangle, or the right size, and there was still no “deep end”.

Maharishi was unfazed, waving his hand that it is okay, as he smiled and told Charlie, “Take care of it.” Charlie was beginning to be frustrated; being a professional in these matters, he understood that in a project like this the delegation of jobs was to be expected and that the construction plans were needed… and it was not going well.

Several men came to Maharishi the next day and they complained they were not being listened to by the other workers. Charlie said that these men had not been listening to him either, and Charlie just remained quiet as he sat next to Maharishi, waiting to see what Maharishi would do or say. Maharishi stopped smiling and just looked at them and asked, “How is the pool coming?” Charlie told me they did not answer Maharishi's question, but instead began to complain about their differences, about each other, along with the problems of leadership and ideas. To all this, Charlie said that Maharishi told them, “… they had done enough good work... they did not need to work on the pool anymore” and then he sent them off to a new task.

Maharishi then asked Charlie how many men were still working on the pool. Charlie said about a dozen were left and that he (Charlie) would oversee their work and make the needed changes, corrections in length, shape, and depth. By now cement had been ordered and the pool still needed a drainage and filtration system, a proper shape, it still was not excavated to the right depth, and it still needed a deep end and a place for the water pipes for water circulation.

Charlie told me that he was “getting more and more frustrated” as he could not get most of the dozen men left to focus or listen to him, or the proper order of work for construction in what was needed. The pool now was about 3ft deep, but still did not have straight lines, or true shape or length and needed a slope for a deep end. Charlie said the problem was not in the working, it was that many of those working would not work with each other and much bickering continued, including where the deep end of the pool should go.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Charlie F. Lutes Rishikesh Ashram, India. Photo by Alan Waite.

The plans were clear and Charlie said he was frustrated as he had wanted to hire professional contractors in the beginning, so that it all went smoothly with each worker doing their job. Maharishi had overruled this and had picked men from around the Ashram who were living there, or staying for a time. Charlie told me he was now starting to “feel like” this idea of Maharishi's was maybe not about the “pool.” At the beginning there had been about twenty men that Maharishi had appointed, now there were about ten men left. Charlie's job was still to over-see everything and to make sure that when it was completed it would be an Olympic sized pool, with a diving board and deep end. Each day Maharishi wanted to know how the pool was coming, and now Charlie was starting to dread being asked.

A few days later another group of five men working on the pool came to Maharishi, they were upset because they felt they were working harder than the others, including Charlie, who they did not want to listen to for directions. To all this, Charlie again said nothing and was silent, and waited to see how Maharishi was going to deal with this. This time Maharishi looked off for a few moments, seemingly as if he had not heard their complaints. Then, Maharishi turned back and smiling, simply asked, “how is the pool coming”? Several men got angry and walked out without speaking to Maharishi, leaving two who still wanted an answer from Maharishi on their complaints and for direction. Maharishi thanked them for their good work and told them that they were now needed elsewhere on the Ashram for a different project.

Charlie told me he was stunned, as now there were only four or five men left. They were nowhere near where they should be on this project; the “pool” itself was just a large 3ft hole, not big enough for swimming, had no piping for drainage, it was all the same depth and that it not had been leveled for the pouring of concrete. Though Charlie was there to make sure it was done right, he could not get the men to look at what was needed or see the plans with the diagram of how an actual Olympic sized pool should look. All these men, in one way or another, wanted to help Maharishi and Maharishi had given strict instructions they were “to listen to Charlie who was a professional in this line of work” and to get it done. Maharishi did not want to hear any more complaints. Maharishi still would not allow Charlie to hire the people needed for the job. When asked, Maharishi just smiled at Charlie, and waved his hand, indicating it would somehow be OK.

Charlie said at this point he really understood this was not just about the pool, but he said he decided to “see it through, no matter what happened!” Charlie said Maharishi had a reason for all this, one he did not share, and Charlie knew that included not allowing him to hire the professionals he needed. Back at the “pool”, Charlie said only four men were now working. They were not as skilled as some of the others had been, but he hoped that now, as they were all that were left, maybe this would help them to focus on completing Maharishi's pool.

Charlie said it did not take long for the bickering to start again, and again, three of the four men went to see Maharishi. Charlie decided to walk with them, wondering what would happen this time. Charlie said they all walked up to where Maharishi was sitting in the shade of a tree. Charlie could see that Maharishi seemed to expect them and before they could even speak, he asked, “how is the pool coming”? Charlie said it seemed as if “all the wind was knocked out” of the men. They just stood there, silent. Maharishi then thanked them for their work and told them they would now work on something else. Charlie, bewildered, said he did not know what to do, there was now only one man at the pool, still digging by himself. Though this man did not really listen, he was quiet and his heart was about getting the job done for Maharishi; this was the man's way of quietly giving.

Maharishi looked at Charlie, but this time he did not ask “how the pool was coming.” He told Charlie he was happy and with a twinkle in his eyes said the “pool” was instead to be “a nice garden!” Maharishi then asked to see the man who was out there by himself, with “one pointed attention” to getting it done, doing what he knew how to do, same as Charlie. Charlie was picked as head of the “project” because Maharishi knew Charlie would see it through until he said otherwise. Charlie said though Maharishi really did want the pool and even though it did not happen, Maharishi had used it as means to discern loyalty, knowing something good would come out of it. At no point did Charlie ever see Maharishi get impatient or upset, he remained calm and often had a benign smile.

Charlie told me the lone dedicated man was then “promoted” and assigned to help Maharishi in a greater and more personal way. The unfinished part of the pool was filled with concrete and a small hole was made at the bottom; which was good for the drainage of plants to be placed in the new garden. It was filled with dirt and some plants and then a tree was added and no one looking at it would had ever known, or thought, that once, it was to have been a pool.

Lessons With Charlie: Things are not Always as They Seem

Part of my lesson times with Charlie were often to listen to these stories of Maharishi. Then I would tell him what I learned, or what I thought was behind actions of Maharishi. I had my own business at that time, and a project I was then currently working on seemed to parallel Charlie's previous experience. Charlie taught me perseverance and to have more faith and patience, no matter what I thought the outcome would be. God does send us messages, even though we might feel what we are doing is not appreciated, seen, or even recognized; God knows and sees our dedication and our hearts. “See the job, do the job” with one pointed attention from love.

Diane M. Rousseau and Charlie F. Lutes, Seattle, Washington, 1991. Photo by Ray J. Rousseau

Charlie said even though the pool never happened (which he had thought would have been a great draw and addition to the Ashram) he realized the project ended up being a means for Maharishi to truly know who was loyal and would help him. Things were really expanding at that time and Maharishi needed to know who would respect his decisions and choices.

Things are not always as they seem on the surface.

It is at the start of a project that the Thought or Cognition is at its most pure and will create the energy for the Vision; and for this to happen, love and dedication is needed. The heart of the matter is that all lessons are of great value; they are important on several levels, and they teach and guide to discern, to persevere and to have faith. Also, they also illustrate the importance of keeping one's word, and to see something through to the end if at all possible, to be kind, patient, and to trust, so we all work together for the greater good.

Written with love and gratitude,
Dr. Diane M. Rousseau

Copyright © 2023 Diane M. Rousseau

May the light and love of God prevail. Please let us know how we can help.

Tags: maharishi mahesh yogi charlie f lutes

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