According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “Mankind was not born to suffer, mankind was born to enjoy. The purpose of life is to expand happiness.” Human beings can get rid of their suffering, attain a state of happiness and share it with others by practising the technique of bhavateet dhyan, transcendental meditation (TM). TM is withdrawal of consciousness and senses from the external objects and concentration of the consciousness on the self.
Dhyan is different from upasana, the method of worship. Upasana depends on the religion, faith upheld by one. So, there can be as many upasana padhaties, methods of worship, as there are religions or sects. Dhyan means concentration of mind on God, or self, or the Supreme principle, or even on shunyata, nothingness. In Buddhism, almost a similar technique of dhyan is called Vipassana. Upasana, on the other hand, is continuous thought of Him. For example, naam jap, recitation of names of God, is a form of upasana.
The word ‘transcendental’ means ‘going beyond the limits of human knowledge, experience, reason’. TM ‘is a method of calming the mind and becoming relaxed by thinking deeply in silence, and silently repeating a special word or a syllable or series of words (mantra) many times in a row.
In the preface of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ‘The Science of Being and Art of Living’, Charles F Lutes writes that the term ‘transcendental meditation’ though seems very complicated and difficult to understand simply means a scientific method of ‘communication with the Infinite’. It is scientific because it is ‘systematic and produces measurable and predictable results.’ The outcome of TM is ‘realisation and fulfilment of the art of realisation’.
The technique of transcendental meditation is religion, sect, or faith neutral. It leads to the enhancement of one’s capacities to follow one’s own faith more enthusiastically.
The chief purpose of this meditational technique is to “put one in touch with his own essential self, the eternal Being within, by moving one's attention away from the surface consciousness of change, suffering and stress. One then becomes the Absolute Being, an experience which Maharishi calls ‘God-consciousness’.”
In fact, the practice does not require a prior understanding of any philosophical theory.
All that is required of the practitioner is to recite twice a day for about fifteen to twenty minutes a syllable, or a string of words -- mantra, with closed eyes. The mantra is chosen by the trained teacher, guru, according to the need of the practitioner. Since a guru is needed to understand the needs of the learner and to initiate the learner into the correct technique, the TM is also called guru-centred practice.
Regular practice of TM eliminates the negative feelings of stress and fatigue and replaces them with the positive feeling of well-being. This change has been scientifically proved by many researchers. Experiments in the laboratories have established that TM "increased creativity and flexibility, increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, improved relations with supervisors and co-workers" by creating a positive effect on the human mind and body. TM is not a passive state, rather it is a “state of restful alertness where the mind is awake but quiet, silent but alert.”