Beyond those empty streets and caveats for prevention resonated everywhere, Can you see clear skies these days? Can you see water bodies getting revived? Can you see mother nature taking deep rest these days? Just try to see the positive side of life, amidst the global outbreak of Coronavirus when our minds are fully occupied with both logical and illogical fears and negativity, the best way to get over it is calming down both physically and mentally. To survive in the present-day world, we need to balance ourselves and transcendental meditation is the first step in this direction.

TM introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the best approach to transcend our entire being from within and reach a better state of consciousness which is both tranquil and focused. It is a simple meditation technique to replace your thoughts with a state of peace and awareness. It sharpens the intellect, ensures better decision making and reduces stress, boosts immunity thereby improving one’s quality of life. In order to enlighten our youth regarding this powerful technique Chat on the Mat in conversation with Mr. Anand Shrivastava, Chairman of Maharishi Ayurveda, an initiative by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

hmy: What is Transcendental Meditation

Anand ji: Transcendental Meditation ™ is a meditation technique, which has been found to be very effective and can be easily practiced by anyone, anywhere, without any change in lifestyle and beliefs. Because of its simplicity, TM became popular all over the world in 1950, when its founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji introduced it to the West.

Simplicity and effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation attracted hundreds of scientists from various renowned universities and research institutions around the world and over 700 scientific studies have already been conducted documenting beneficial effects on almost every aspect of human life.

hmy: How does the technique work?

Anand ji: There have been several scientific studies to find out how does the technique of TM work. A few indicated that TM technique provides a unique state of deep rest to the physiology, called as restful alertness with alpha level brain activity. Some studies have shown that TM enhances brain wave coherence and mind-body coordination

The mind has two levels:

1) the active or the more crude level and

2) the silent or the finest level.

This silent mind, called by many names (Transcendental consciousness, “Sat Chit Anand”, or Bliss Consciousness, etc.) is not experienced on a daily basis, due to the wandering nature of our active mind. This silent mind is also a reservoir of infinite happiness, creativity, and intelligence. It is the natural tendency of the mind to go for more and more happiness. Because of this, the active mind is spontaneously driven in the direction of finer and finer levels to experience greater levels of peace and inner bliss and ultimately reaches the finer then the finest level, which is the level of transcendence, the source of all thoughts and creativity, this is the level of highest bliss.

This is the level of restful alertness where the mind while remaining fully aware yet experiences the highest level of restfulness. Having reached this level when the mind comes out in the level of activity, some or whole bliss continues to be with it. Regular alternation from the level of activity to transcendence and vice versa keeps enhancing the bliss value, which also reflects in the life of individual practicing the technique of TM regularly. TM technique is taught by certified TM teachers who follow a systematic way of teaching to ensure scientifically proven benefits. 

hmy: How was your personal journey with Transcendental Meditation?

Anand ji: I was very lucky to have received the technique of Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi ji directly at the age of 7. At that age, I did not know anything about spirituality, meditation, the purpose of life, stresses and so on. Maharishi ji came to my home town-Jabalpur for about a week. I was a regular visitor with my parents and used to sit in the front row throughout his lecture. One day he asked me if I would like to learn to meditate and I thought, since everyone is respecting him so much, whatever he says must be good for me, and I immediately nodded my head saying yes.

I learned how to meditate. Maharishi ji told me to do it regularly every morning and evening. I did follow as much as one would at that age, knowing nothing about the importance of meditation and this on and off practice continued until my graduation. After my graduation, I joined TM teachers training course at Rishikesh, became a teacher and with the permission of my parents continued living in the Ashram at Rishikesh. In 1975, Maharishi ji called me to Switzerland and since then I have traveled around the world several times, trained several teachers, opened various TM centers, visited several dignitaries and educational institutions in more than 75 countries.

I can say that I did not learn TM for any specific reason like stress or for health etc., but I have not encountered any stress in my life. It has been going on quite smoothly, any of the big or small achievements also did not affect me and I can confidently attribute this smoothness to TM.

hmy: What is challenging for a beginner in any kind of meditation?

Anand ji: I do not know much about any other kind of meditation and sometimes wonder how and why people say it is difficult to meditate or it is difficult to control the mind and concentrate on something. The best quality about TM is that it’s a simple and effortless technique, which does not require anyone to focus/concentrate/control the mind. When I learned TM at a very young age of 7, I did not feel any challenge. Also, almost all the people I taught, did not experience any challenge.

I cannot say anything about any other kind of meditation but TM is a very simple natural technique and to derive full benefit one must approach it in an innocent manner. The only challenge I feel people generally face is coming out of the self-created excuse of not having enough time to meditate regularly.

hmy: What is more important, positive mind or quiet mind?

Anand ji: In my opinion, quiet mind and positive mind both are synonymous to each other.

Mind gets absolute quietness only at the state of Samadhi that is the transcendental consciousness field, which is the source of all thoughts, creativity, and ability. It is by its nature that when a thought comes out from the transcendental field it is absolutely positive. We can say that a quiet mind is always a positive mind and a positive mind has to be a quiet mind.

We can also say that a negative mind cannot remain quiet or reach a state of transcendence. Similarly, for a turbulent mind, it is difficult to remain positive. TM helps an individual achieve that state of transcendence and maintain it regularly as they continue meditating. 

hmy: Can Transcendental Meditation be a guide for happiness?

Anand ji: Transcendental Meditation leads to the basis of lasting happiness.

In fact from the very first sitting, people start feeling moments of bliss during their practice of meditation.This experience of happiness continues in their regular work and increases day by day, as they continue to practice.

This increases positivity in their lives and they also start feeling support of laws of nature in day to day life, which further enhances the level of happiness.

hmy: How do you see today's world crisis with Pandemic COVID-19?

Anand ji: There is no doubt that the world is facing a big crisis. But we have to realize the fact that this Human Physiology, which we have received from mother nature has tremendous potential in the form of a very powerful and intelligent defense mechanism and self-repair mechanism. This further gets verified from the fact that despite having no medicine most of the people come out of the infection that means it is Human Physiology, which has fought the infection. We have to make every effort to strengthen our defense mechanism. For that, we have to ensure that we do not load our system with physical or mental stress.

We must remember that there is a very strong and close relationship between mind and body.Our physical balance improves mental bliss and mental bliss increases physical balance.Hence our practice of TM, Yoga Asanas, Pranayama and balanced and Sattvik diet according to our body type will definitely help us in increasing immunity. This will protect us from viral infection. But if due to heavy exposure, someone ends up getting infected, they will come out of it very soon without much damage to the system. So don’t worry, be confident, work on it and remain healthy. 

hmy: Message to young entrepreneurs.

Anand ji: Our young friends must always remember that mother nature has blessed us with her most sophisticated and advanced creation,

Human Physiology, which has infinite potential. It becomes our responsibility to make the best use of it for humanity and also to protect it from any wear and tear for its intended lifetime which has now been proven by modern science i.e. at least 100 years. Fortunately for us, our Rishis and Maharishi have made the greatest knowledge of the whole Vedic wisdom including yoga and Ayurveda available to us, which can help us living a life full of years and the years full of life. But don't forget that nothing comes for free. Mother Nature also expects us to provide the same level of care to her, as we would want for ourselves.