Transcendental Meditation Meaning

What is the meaning of Transcendental Meditation?

Transcendental Meditation means that meditation which is beyond the 3 modes of material nature i.e., mode of Goodness, Mode of passion & mode of ignorance.


Before we wish to understand what Transcendental Meditation is, we must try to understand what transcendental platform is. If we know what is this transcendental platform, we can definitely understand transcendental meditation.

We are on various platforms as far as our present situation is concerned right now. Out of various statuses of conditioned life, as we learn from Bhagavad Gita chapter 3, first is the bodily conception of life (indriyani parany ahuh; BG 3.42). Everyone in this material world is under this bodily concept of life. Someone is thinking, “I am Indian”, Somebody’s thinking, “I am American”. Somebody’s thinking “I am White”, Somebody’s thinking “I am Black”, Somebody’s thinking “I am Muslim” or “I am Hindu” or “I am Christian” ” Somebody’s thinking he is something else. So, everyone is thinking, “I am this body.” This bodily conception of life is called the sensual platform, and we think happiness means sense gratification. That’s all.

In Srimad Bhagavatam 10.84.13, it is mentioned yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke, which means anyone who thinks that we are a body made up of skin, bones, blood, urine and stool (tri-dhātuke meaning mucus, bile and air) is not the right path to self-realization. And if someone is too much engrossed with bodily concept of life, they are recommended to practice the yoga of meditation, the dhyana-yoga system.

Now, how to do Dhyana-yoga?

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6.13-14, Krishna says to Arjuna,

samam kaya-siro-grivam
dharayann acalam sthirah
sampreksya nasikagram svam
disas canavalokayan

prasantatma vigata-bhir
brahmacari-vrate sthitah
manah samyamya mac-citto
yukta asita mat-parah

meaning, “One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.” For this, one has to move to a solitary and sacred place; away from big cities and towns; go alone, sit in a certain way and practice these yogic postures on his own. There are so many details involved as well.

What one can achieve through this?

From the bodily concept of life (sensual platform) one can transcend to the spiritual platform through this Dhyana-yoga. This is true for any method of spiritual realization.

Furthermore, from Bhagavad Gita 3.42, we also understand that

indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah

By transcending the bodily concept of life (indriyani or senses), transcending the mental concept of life (manah or mind), and transcending the intellectual concept of life (buddhir or intelligence), one can come to the real spiritual platform (we or soul), which is called the brahma-bhutah stage. Anyone who has reached this spiritual platform or transcendental platform or brahma-bhutah stage has a symptom, he is always joyful, there is no moroseness. He does not hanker after anything, nor does he lament for anything; unlike the 2 symptoms of hankering for things (which one does not possess) and lamenting for things (which one has lost) are very evident in the bodily concept of life.

The question is now, Is it feasible in the present scenario for us to be able to practice Dhyana-yoga? Let us hear what Arjuna had to say to Krishna on this, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra!

In this Age of Kali, everyone is disturbed, always full of anxieties, and life is very short, people are generally not interested in any transcendental subject matter. They are interested only in the bodily concept of life. When one is always disturbed by so many anxieties, how can he ascend to the platform of transcendental realization?

It is very difficult in this age. It was difficult even five thousand years ago, when Arjuna took instruction on meditation from Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita. Arjuna was a royal prince; he was very much advanced in so many ways. Yet on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra he said, “My dear Krishna, it is not possible for me to practice this dhyana-yoga process. I am a family man; I have come here to fight for my political interest. How can I practice this system, in which I have to go to a solitary place, I have to sit down, I have to cease from sex? It is not possible.” Arjuna was so much more qualified than we are now, yet he refused to practice this meditation process.

So, reaching the transcendental platform by the hatha-yoga or dhyana-yoga system is not at all possible in this age. And if somebody is trying to practice such so-called meditation, he is not actually practicing transcendental meditation. You cannot perform this transcendental meditation in the city. It is not possible. That is very clearly stated in Bhagavad-Gita. But you are living in the city, you are living with your family, you are living with your friends. It is not possible for you to go to the forest and find a secluded place.

But Krishna says you must do this to practice transcendental meditation. Then, how to do this? And what is practically feasible in this age?

So here, in this age, if you want to rise to the transcendental platform, then you must follow the recommendations of the Vedic literature: kalau tad dhari-kirtanat. In this age, simply by chanting the holy name of God one can reach all perfection. This chanting system is not introduced by any mental concoction, to make things very easy. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced this process of transcendental meditation five hundred years ago. Also, the Vedic literature recommends it, and it is practical. Anyone who takes up this process immediately experience a transcendental feeling as soon as they begin chanting Hare Krishna. If you practice, you will also see how you are rising to the transcendental platform. So chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the only process of transcendental meditation; it’s a perfect fit for people of this age (Kali-yuga).

The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is mentioned in various scriptures as the only means of deliverance in this age of Kali.This transcendental sound vibration will immediately carry you to the transcendental platform, especially if you try to hear so, while you are chanting, that your mind is absorbed in the sound. This Hare Krishna sound vibration is non-different from Krishna. Since God is absolute, there is no difference between God’s name and God Himself. In the material world, there is a difference between water and the word ‘water’, between a flower and the word ‘flower’. But in the spiritual world/absolute world, there is no such difference. Therefore, as soon as you chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, you immediately associate with the Supreme Lord and His energy.

It is mentioned in Kali-santarana Upanisad 

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
iti sodasakam namnam kali-kalmasa-nasanam
natah parataropayah sarva-vedesu drsyate

The sixteen names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare/ hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare destroy all the inauspiciousness of the age of Kali. This is the conclusion of all the Vedas. (Kali-santarana Upanisad from Krishna Yajur Veda).

harati hridaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih.
krishih smarane tac ca nas  tad-ubhaya-melanam iti krishnah.
ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupah. atra sloko bhavati.

“These three seed names of the maha-mantra of the Supreme Lord (Krishna, Rama and Hare) can be explained in the following way:  {1} “Krishna” which means “He who is all-attractive,” {2} “Rama” which means “He who is the reservoir of all pleasure,”and {3} “Hare” indicates the Lord’s inconceivable energy.

You haven’t got to change your situation. If you are a student, remain a student. If you are a businessman, remain a businessman. Woman, man, black, white anyone can chant Hare Krishna. It is a simple process, and there is no charge. You simply have to catch it up and try it. You’ll very quickly come to the transcendental platform. When you hear the chanting, that is transcendental meditation.

Simply chant, at home or anywhere. There is no restriction: “You have to chant this Hare Krishna mantra in such-and-such a place, in such-and-such a condition.” No. Niyamitah smarane na kalah. There is no restriction of time, circumstances, or atmosphere. Anywhere, at any time, you can meditate by chanting Hare Krishna. No other meditation is possible even while you are walking on the street, but this meditation is possible.

Benefits (from Scriptural references):

sanketyam parihasyam va
 stobham helanam eva va
 asesagha-haram viduh

One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.2.14)

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ
kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt

“ ‘Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Viṣṇu, in Tretā-yuga by performing sacrifices and in Dvāpara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can also be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.’
(Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya Lila, 20.345)

harināmamahāmaṃtrairnaśyetpāpapiśācakam |
hareḥ pradakṣiṇaṃ kṛtvā sakṛdapyamalāśayāḥ ||

All the grievous sins are removed for one who worships Lord Hari, the Lord of all lords, and chants the holy name, the Maha-mantra.

(Padma Purana, 3.50.6)
kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet

My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 12.3.51)

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