Ukrainian delegation visits FairfieldGroup impressed with Maharishi School, Vedic City
Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment hosted a delegation Thursday from the eastern European nation of Ukraine.
The group of six Ukrainians spent the morning and afternoon touring classrooms in the elementary, middle and high schools. They shared stories about their native country and, on at least one occasion, treated the students to classical Ukrainian folk songs. The students, for their part, described the instruction they receive in the form of “project-based learning,” and had a chance to ask the delegation for its thoughts on the current political crisis surrounding Russia’s annexation of Crimea, part of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Alla Mazur said she owns a summer home in Crimea and is very worried about what will happen to her house. She plans to live at her other home elsewhere in Ukraine until Russia leaves Crimea or she can be certain Russia will respect her property rights.
“I don’t want to be a citizen of the Russian Federation,” she said. “If the law is clear, I will continue to go there in the summer, but not now.”
Mykola Diduk, national director of the Transcendental Meditation program for the Ukraine and who served as the group’s interpreter, said Russia’s invasion in February came as a surprise to nearly all Ukrainians.
“Ukrainians do not want to fight,” he said. “We want to resolve the situation through negotiation.”
Members of the delegation said tourism to Crimea has come to a screeching halt and that access to the peninsula is confined to flights from Moscow. All of them were deeply troubled at the prospect of full-scale war between the two countries.
Igor Prodan, one of three TM teachers in the group of Ukrainians, said he believes only a stable state of consciousness brought on by meditation can relieve the collective stress both sides are feeling.
In Barbara Hays’s middle school math class, the school’s international character was on full display. Students were asked to stand if they or their parents were from another country, and more than half of the students rose to their feet. Members of the delegation said they were greatly impressed with the diversity they saw in the school.
Richard Beall, head of Maharishi School, asked the members of the delegation what it meant to be Ukrainian. Mazur said Ukraine is developing very quickly and has a strong information technology sector, thanks to many Ukrainians mastering their skills in California’s “Silicon Valley.” Prodan said Ukraine is, in one sense, a place inside a border, but in another important sense it is a land of unlimited potential.
Thursday’s visit to Maharishi School concluded a week of activities in Jefferson County for the delegation. During an interview with The Ledger, each member shared what they found surprising or fascinating about the United States.
Svitlana Sulimova said the United States is the world’s “highest civilization,” evidenced by the mix of races, religions and nationalities that live together. She said most Americans seem to be optimistic for the future, law-abiding and respectful to others.
All of the Ukrainians in the delegation practice TM and hope the practice becomes widespread in their own country. Several of them commented on how much they liked Maharishi Vedic City in particular because of the way the city was laid out according to Vedic principles and that the buildings were built according to Maharishi Vastu architectural designs.
Prodan said Vedic City was very impressive and a model for future cities. When he is asked to describe Vedic City to his friends in Ukraine, he tells them it is a “city without problems.” He wants as many Ukrainians as possible to visit the city, and he hopes a similar town will be built in Ukraine.
Natalia Klyzub said Ukrainians want to improve their country but they’re not sure what model to follow. After visiting Vedic City, she knew what she wanted her country to look like. Liliia Lysova has dreamt of creating a new city near her hometown for 23 years. She said she would like to build a new city according to Vedic principles rather than attempt to dramatically change an existing city.
Mazur said her dream was to build something like Vedic City in Crimea, but now that it is under Russian occupation, she would rather build it elsewhere.
The Ukrainians said TM started growing in popularity in their country in the early 1990s when Crimea State Medical University opened a department of Vedic science. Many members of the delegation learned TM at that time or shortly thereafter. Diduk started TM after seeing an advertisement for it claiming it would improve his health, and he needed to get in shape because he was about to join the military. Lysova said she is able to use every technique Maharishi Mahesh Yogi prescribed except Maharishi Vastu architecture. Prodan, who taught Lysova TM, said she shouldn’t feel bad because she has an “east entrance to her heart.”