Maharishi, Iowa -- Not everyone is at peace in Jefferson County with the possibility of using tax dollars to bring in experts on world peace. The plan in Vedic City is to attract 500 special meditators -- called pandits -- in an effort to bring about world peace through meditation. The city already has a building project under way to house the pandits, and some county residents fear that the local share of the sales tax proceeds will fund the project.
The city was founded in 2001 by followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which also has a university in Fairfield to teach the meditation. City officials say the pandit project is not in any way religious, but critics say the pandits are essentially Buddhist monks. The city said it hasn't decided how to use the sales-tax proceeds.