What you see –
For health reasons or even the exotic value that it carries, India has become synonymous with meditation, yoga and nature therapy. MetroMela came across one such method of achieving peace of mind - Transcendental Meditation.
On interacting with members of the group that follow and promote this form on meditation, we realized that there does seem to be some value and worth in their talk. What adds credibility is that these members are all well-qualified and educated individuals, with some of them working at high ranks in public and private sectors.
The meditation group has men and woman of all age groups, who host the club meetings at their houses or other common venues. The meeting venue generally has just a small make-shift temple with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s photograph, some incense sticks and a lot of white flowers. The group sits around this temple, performs a small puja, followed by a group-meditation.
What you get –
Sometimes it is tough to explain in words what one witnesses. Such is the experience at this meditation group. People ranging from 18–80 years of age all sit together, worship and meditate to understand their inner self. For those with migraine, chronic headaches, depression, etc, the meditation form is said to be therapeutic.
Learning the meditation
technique takes about two weeks. The first class is when the teacher explains the history of the meditation forms. This initiation process takes 2-3 hours and the new student is taught in detail the practice of meditation. The teacher also gives each student a secret mantra for chanting, which he is not supposed to share with anyone, It is said that if you share the mantra, its powers reduces.
After the first session, you are asked to meditate twice everyday for 15-20 minutes each time. Three days later, there is another session, called ‘Checking’ where the student is asked to fill out certain forms with reference to the experiences through the meditation sessions. The teacher thus helps the student to correct any flaws in the practice and sorts out all the questions that there might be. Another ‘Checking’ is done in a week’s time.
Post this, the student can contact the teacher for any problems relating to meditation and have another ‘Checking’ done. Otherwise, they can regularly meet at the group’s meetings, whenever they are held.
The Delhi centre of the Transcendental Meditation was run by Purshotam Sharma for almost 25 years, till his demise. The group now has no definite in-charge, and is thus run by the senior members who are responsible for conducting meetings and initiating new members.
There is a certain selflessness to this group, as neither the new nor old members are expected to give any donation for learning or practicing meditation. The new students have to give the teacher a token of money as gurudakshina (payment for the knowledge gained), which can be as less as Rs. 10. This money goes into the club’s common account. The members at times voluntarily contribute towards the club’s account, which can be a minimal amount also.
This meditation form has had many celebrity followers, including the great music band, The Beatles. They were followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and had come out openly to acknowledge his impact on their lives and music. It’s also known that they travelled to Rishikesh in India to learn meditation from Maharishi.
Our verdict –
Unlike many other forms of meditation that might expect you to spend a lot of money or time, transcendental meditation is easy to learn and simple to exercise. However, its impact on an individual is known to be deep as it aims at cleansing and understanding one’s inner self better. As Purshotam Sharma often said while teaching his pupils - It is like dipping into the sea, inside one’s soul each day and bringing out new pearls.