Transcendental Meditation is a globally recognized popular meditation technique that you may very well have heard of. Popularized by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation is another take on the ancient Vedic meditative traditions of India.
The name itself: “transcendental”, is in reference to the transcension of the ordinary state of consciousness we exhibit, entering higher realms of consciousness through concentration.
This higher realm of consciousness is said to have the meditator still, restful, and mentally peaceful. In fact, Transcendental Meditation has an entire host of mental, physical, and spiritual benefits.
The core aspect of Transcendental Meditation is the reciting of special mantras. Crucially, these Transcendental Meditation mantras are bestowed upon you by a qualified TM instructor.
The mantras are confidential and made up of a group of words decided by the sound quality and personal connection with the individual. They are typically in Sanskrit, and as they are inaccessible, we will include in this article the sacred sounds used to formulate these mantras.
So, in this article we’ll dive into the below:
- What Is Transcendental Meditation
- Origins Of Transcendental Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation Mantra Sounds
- How To Use Transcendental Meditation Mantra Sounds
What Is Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation is a technique that is predicated on ancient Vedic techniques.
The meditator with their eyes closed silently repeats a mantra (as mentioned bestowed upon them by a certified instructor) for a period of 20 minutes, pushing them into a state of relaxed awareness, not dissimilar to a trance-like state.
These mantras are combinations of special Sanskrit words that are well-known, but the combinations used are kept secret within the TM community, and unique to each TM meditator.To begin your meditation session, you will start with 30 seconds of quiet, followed by the repetition of the mantra your teacher provided you with.
It is important to note that there is no pressure to perfect the technique or to clear your mind of other thoughts. Instead, the goal is to sit with your thoughts and allow them to occur naturally.
As you practice Transcendental Meditation, your mind is meant to become gradually more peaceful and still.
As you repeat the mantra with closed eyes, your mind settles into a profound inner stillness, which can lead to an expansion of consciousness.
This heightened awareness is believed to be a wellspring of unlimited creativity, intelligence, and inner tranquility.
Consistent practice can facilitate easier access to this state of deep relaxation and increased awareness, ultimately yielding significant positive effects on your mental and emotional well-being.
How Is It Different From Other Techniques?
Transcendental Meditation advocates state that TM is different from other meditation techniques through how a meditator reaches silent or meditative states.
For example, Vipassana could be categorized under a category of ‘focused attention’, as the meditator applies sustained conscious effort to the object of meditation (bodily sensations).
Furthermore, the Zen mindfulness of breathing encourages meditative awareness without regulation of breath, i.e. using the breath as an anchoring point of concentration.
TM advocates term this type ‘open monitoring’.
So the first two categories are:
#1: Focused Attention
#2: Open Monitoring
TM fits into the category called:
#3: Automatic Self-Transcending
This is a type of meditation that requires no conscious training or concentration of the mind, as the transcension to the place of mental silence.
The idea is that the first two categories use a conscious, surface-level mind to transcend, but with automatic self-transcending, one spontaneously enters the higher state of consciousness through automation.
Origins Of Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation is practiced by around 5 million people worldwide. A part of its modern appeal is its celebrity following, with people such as Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, David Lynch, and Howard Stern advocating and practicing the technique.
In the 1950s, an Indian sage named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed the technique and started teaching it in India. Based on the teachings of his guru Saraswati, Transcendental Meditation has its roots in Vedic and Hindu philosophy.
In the 1960’s, Maharishi brought the technique to the West, establishing a number of non-profit organizations and centers to teach the technique.
Early on, TM piqued the interest of the Beatles, and the Beach Boys, bringing it into popular discourse.
Transcendental Meditation Mantra Sounds
The use of sacred Sanskrit words in mantras during Transcendental Meditation is thought to have a potent impact on both the mind and body.
The Sanskrit language is considered holy in numerous spiritual traditions and is believed to facilitate a connection between the practitioner and deeper aspects of the self and the universe.
It is also believed that the sounds of Sanskrit words possess inherent vibrational qualities that can be beneficial to the mind and body by promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, and fostering a sense of inner peace and well-being.
However, importantly, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi actually promoted the use of words devoid of meaning, or at least to not ascribe them meaning during mantra recital.
He alludes that meaning is static and fixed. But transcendental consciousness naturally goes beyond a fixed meaning or position.
While there may not be publicly available Transcendental Meditation Mantras, there are commonly used sounds that we are aware of.
Transcendental Meditation Mantra Sounds By Age
It is known that Transcendental Meditation Instructors ascribe sounds based on gender and age. We list them here:
- 0-11 years old: eng
- 12:13 years old: em
- 14-15 years old: enga
- 16-17 years old: ema
- 18-19 years old: ieng
- 20-21 years old: iem
- 22-23 years old: ienga
- 24-25 years old: iema
- 26-29 years old: shirim
- 30-34 years old: shiring
- 35-39 years old: kirim
- 40-44 years old: kiring
- 45-49 years old: hirim
- 50-54 years old: hiring
- 55-59 years old: sham
- 60+ years old: shamla
Transcendental Meditation Mantra Sounds By Gender
Also with gender, you can expect different sounds for men and women.
For men, you can expect:
For women, you can expect:
Popular Mantras For Transcendental Meditation
You can also expect to see the below sacred words used in Transcendental Meditation:
If you are practicing Transcendental Meditation, you might find the “Aum” mantra to be particularly effective.
“Aum” is a highly revered sound in Hinduism, believed to symbolize the resonance of the entire universe.
When you repeat this mantra during your meditation practice, you may experience a profound connection with your innermost self and with the world around you. The Aum mantra is known for its ability to facilitate deep relaxation and inner tranquility.
Additionally, the sound of Aum is thought to have beneficial effects on both the mind and body, contributing to enhanced health and overall well-being.
In the Transcendental Meditation technique, the Hum mantra is another potent sound that practitioners can utilize. This particular sound is linked with the throat chakra and is thought to promote better communication and self-expression.
By repeating the Hum sound during meditation, you may experience a soothing effect on your mind, leading to greater inner serenity and stillness.
If you are seeking to develop stronger communication abilities and foster a more profound sense of inner peace, adding the Hum mantra to your Transcendental Meditation may be highly beneficial.
The mantra “Aim” is also beneficial for those practicing Transcendental Meditation.
By reciting this sound during meditation, the pituitary gland may be activated, resulting in more balanced hormone levels and an enhanced sense of well-being and emotional stability.
Additionally, the Aim sound can assist in eliminating distractions from the mind, encouraging greater focus and concentration.
As a result, incorporating the Aim sound into your TM routine can promote deeper relaxation and a heightened sense of inner peace.
How To Use Transcendental Meditation Mantras
Transcendental Meditation is taught through individualized one-on-one teaching sessions by instructors licensed by the Maharishi Foundation. To receive mantras for Transcendental Meditation, it costs a fair bit of money – with courses ranging from $400 to $1000.
Typically, people learn the technique through several personalized sessions, and a lifetime of follow-up sessions (case by case).
So short of signing up for those sessions, we recommend using any of the above sounds in coordination with each other.
Importantly, mantra use is not unique to TM, so feel free to explore any type of meditation that works for you.
To practice Transcendental Meditation with use of the mantras, you could use this framework:
- Sit in a comfortable chair, keeping your spine and neck straight with your eyes closed
- Begin with a short period of silence, followed by easing into the first word of your mantra.
- Repeat your mantra silently, in your mind, at no particular speed or rhythm.
- Continually do not think about your breathing.
- Generally focus on the mantra, and allow thoughts to float in and out of your perception.
- Meditate for 20 minutes, followed by 3-5 minutes of mantra-free silence before opening your eyes
It’s recommended to practice daily, once before breakfast and once before dinner.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, and would like to learn more about meditation and the different techniques available, why not check out our other articles: