‘My spiritual master told me that life is bliss.
And you sit like that and you close the eyes
and you let your mind go deep within yourself
and you get to Transcendental Consciousness.
I did with him, and I found it so good, so good, so good.
I saw in the world people suffering and all, so I came out to say,
"No, no, no. Suffering is not good. Deep within you is bliss consciousness—
life is bliss.” How to explore it? Through the practice of Transcendental Meditation.’

—Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The Perfected Yoga

Maharishi Nagar, 1988

Maharishi: ‘Yoga (1), Samsiddha’–Yoga is one requirement, Siddha Yoga (2) is another requirement. Samsiddha (3) is the third requirement. And the values of these are very simple to understand.

Yoga we know is the summation of all the trends of mind–Yoga, Samadhi, Transcendental Consciousness. How it becomes perfected? Yoga becomes perfected when the Yoga state is not disturbed by anything. What could be the disturbing element–because that Yoga state is absolute silence–what could be disturbing to it? Only the activity could be disturbing to it. But when the action does not disturb the silence of the Yoga, then Yoga is perfected. It is a beautiful point.

So Yoga, that is bringing in one point all the different values of the wandering mind, and then that Kaivalya, that is the Yoga, Singularity, Self-referral, when that is not disturbed by anything, means no activity can disturb it.

Now here is a picture of Yoga and Karma-Mimansa, Jaimini. When Jaimini cannot disturb Patanjali–Karma-Mimansa cannot disturb the Yoga state which is Kaivalya–then Yoga is perfect–Yoga Siddha, Siddha Yoga.

Now Siddha Yoga is not enough, it should be Samsiddha Yoga. Yoga is this part, and Samsiddha Yoga is again as it was the case with Yoga and Siddha Yoga, that one could not be disturbed by anything. Then Samsiddha Yoga will be that where the union of Yoga and Karma, silence and Karma, will not be disturbed by anyone. And it happens only in the state of what is known as Vedant. That this silence and this dynamism, both are my Self. This is purely, fully awake.

In the Yoga it is Transcendental Consciousness, one is Self-referral. And then one knows the activity, because activity is also there. Activity means Devata. Devata is also there. Wherever there is Rishi there is Devata, there is Chhandas. So in this case the Rishi knows, but he knows Devata. And in the knowing of Devata Chhandas covers, and there comes that most intimate union of Yoga and Karma, when both are my own Self.

The two are not two, they are two aspects of my own reality, and this is fully awake state of Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chhandas, total Self-awakening. And in this state it is not yet the fully state of Gyan. They say: ‘in time’ the Yoga Samsiddha gets established in one’s Self. That is what is the path to complete elimination of pragyāparat, ‘in time’. And this is that Lord Krishna says somewhere else, this is that unity consciousness which having gained doesn’t get disturbed.


The yoga sutra and TM

While yoga is generally understood in America to be a diverse array of bending and stretching exercises that originated in India, the word yoga has a much wider connotation, and includes sitting with the eyes closed in silent, deep meditation. In India, yoga is a state of mind, not just an exercise for the body.

The primary text on yoga is called the Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali. This text includes 195 short aphorisms, called sutras.

The second sutra of the Yoga Sutra defines yoga. In Sanskrit, it reads like this: yogash chitta-vritti-nirodhah. In English, “Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind.” (Yoga is the complete settling (nirodha) of the activity (vritti) of the mind (chitta).) This is considered to be the classical definition of yoga.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra defines the depth of this experience as samadhi. Samadhi is a state of mind where there are no thoughts and there is no object of meditation, where the mind is fully expanded and in a state of “pure unbounded awareness.” Although for centuries scholars in the East and West had thought of this experience as extremely difficult to achieve, our generation has witnessed a remarkable new appreciation for the naturalness of deep meditation as a result of the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Vedic scholar and sage who brought to light the technique of Transcendental Meditation.

I think of attempting to meditate as something like learning how to swim. A beginner might be inclined to use too much effort, and thrash around in the water. But with proper instruction, you learn to relax in the water, take smooth strokes, and glide without effort. With proper instruction meditation is just as effortless.

Those familiar with the Yoga Sutra know that samadhi is something that is not achieved in isolation. It is the last of the eight limbs of yoga, called ashtanga yoga (ashta means ‘eight’ and anga means ‘limb’). The last three limbs (dharana, dhyana, and samadhi) have to do with meditation. I believe that most systems of meditation are good at dharana, but very few understand dhyana.

Let’s go into this a bit. Dharana is usually translated as concentration or steadiness. It is taking an object of meditation, such as a mantra, and focusing on it, usually by mentally repeating it over and over. It’s like focusing on individual drops of water, because the object of meditation is discrete. Dharana is a surface state of mind, and it is unlikely that a person could slip into samadhi from the state of dharana.

Dhyana is much different. It involves a lack of focus, a lack of effort, a lack of concentration. In dhyana the object of meditation is non-discrete. While dharana is like individual drops of water, Dhyana is a continuous flow, like oil on glass. This is where Transcendental Meditation comes in as a method of proper understanding and practice of meditation. TM allows a student, right from the beginning, to achieve dhyana and then experience samadhi on a regular basis. Sometimes even on the first day of TM practice a person will say, “It was so easy and silent and simple — my mind was in a perfect state of peace without any effort on my part.”

For the past twenty-five years I have been teaching at Maharishi University of Management, an institution of higher education where all students, faculty and staff practice yoga and Transcendental Meditation as part of a traditional university curriculum. It’s been incredibly fulfilling to see my students begin their study of yoga and meditation with the effortless, natural achievement of the state of Samadhi. It provides an ideal foundation for the study of yoga in all its facets.

Of course, all aspects of the limbs of yoga are fascinating—the five yamas, the five niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. None are difficult to understand and practice, and the rewards are significant. Pretty much everything a person can think of can be achieved by the practice of yoga. Settling the mind, establishing peace, and then desiring and acting from that deepest level of intelligence and the experience of vibrant, holistic health and happiness are all the natural result of successful practice of this ancient science of life. I look forward to writing more about the different dimensions of yoga in the weeks ahead.

Samadhi is the beginning, not the end of Yoga


This article is for yoga people—for the throngs who have re-discovered this ancient yet very sophisticated approach to exercise. Tens of millions have taken up yoga because it’s gentler and kinder to the body, yet fun and challenging, and effective in promoting overall fitness. People also appreciate yogafor its settling effect on the mind. The unhurried pace of yoga practice and the focus on the concrete details of stretching, balancing, breathing, helps a person leave behind the concerns of a busy life and enjoy the present moment.

Though practicing yoga poses (“asanas”) can be quite enjoyable, many yoga practitioners suspect that they could take their practice to a higher level by learning to further integrate body, mind and spirit through the experience of deep meditation. There’s good reason for the notion that meditation can make yoga, a good thing, even better. For one thing, almost every system or school of yoga recommends meditation, at least theoretically. But yoga students often put off starting meditation, perhaps fearing that they lack the steely discipline and laser-like concentration assumed to be essential for success.

One reason many assume meditation to be difficult is a common misunderstanding of the eight-limbed or Ashtanga system of yoga laid out in the revered Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

In the text of the Yoga Sutras, the eight limbs of yoga are presented in the following order:

1) the five yamas or personal virtues, such as ahimsa or non-violence, and satya, truthfulness

2) the five niyamas or rules of life, including shaucha, purification, and swadhyaya, study

3) pranayama, the breathing practices

4) the asanas, the poses of yoga

5, 6, 7,) the three stages of mental practice, pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana or meditation.

8 ) Samadhi, the union of the busy thinking mind with its deepest, most silent level, the unified field of consciousness, the Self. Think of an individual wave settling down and experiencing the unbounded ocean.

However, despite the fact that Ashtanga translates as eight LIMBS, and not eight STEPS or stages, many have thought Patanjali meant that his eight-fold approach should be practiced only in this step-by-step, sequential order, starting with the personal virtues and observances, and culminating in meditation for the purpose of gaining samadhi.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created a stir in the world yoga community some 40 years ago when he traveled the world teaching the Transcendental Meditation program, a simple, easily-learned technique to bring the direct experience of samadhi. Maharishi was teaching anyone interested, even if they were completely new to yoga. In Germany, a delegation of yogis came to Maharishi and asked him about this.

Maharishi welcomed the delegation and began by establishing common ground with them—respect for the authority of Patanjali. He then, however, explained his view that Patanjali had, due to the long lapse of time, become badly misinterpreted. The order of Patanjali’s famous eightfold yoga had, he said, become the reverse of what Patanjali intended. “The practice of Yoga was understood to start with yama, niyama (the secular virtues), and so on,” Maharishi said, “whereas in reality it should begin with samadhi. Samadhi cannot be gained by the practice of yama, niyama, and so on. Proficiency in the virtues can only be gained by repeated experience of samadhi.” In other words, it is mistaken to think that improved morality and behavior is required to reach samadhi; rather, Maharishi said that better behavior and morality comes as a result of the experience of that most unified and blissful level of life.

For example, Maharishi said, one can only truly progress in ahimsa or non-violence as one grows in the consciousness that there is a common unity of all things. This unified reality of life is directly experienced in samadhi. Similarly, he said, asteya or non-covetousness can only be truly achieved when one feels fully contented, and the most stable inner happiness naturally comes through repeated experience of the eternal field of bliss-consciousness in samadhi.

Bliss consciousness: this is the higher level that yoga is meant to take us to. Yoga means union. One definition of yoga is the union of body, mind and breath. Although that alone can bring good results, there is a higher level of meaning: the union of the thinking mind, or small “s” self, with the big Self, cosmic intelligence. The result of that, according to the Yoga Sutras, is serious bliss.

Commenting on the experience of union with the Self through meditation, Maharishi says, “The intensity of happiness is beyond the superlative. The bliss of this state eliminates the possibility of any sorrow, great or small. Into the bright light of the sun no darkness can penetrate; no sorrow can enter bliss-consciousness, nor can bliss-consciousness know any gain greater than itself. This state of self-sufficiency leaves one steadfast in oneself, fulfilled in eternal contentment.” (from Maharishi’s translation and commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, 6:20)

Back to why people could think that this natural, blissful process could be difficult—unfortunately, as meditation is generally taught, this perception is all too accurate. Patanjali defines yoga as “the complete settling of the mind” (Yoga Sutras, 1.2). However, because most types of meditation available today involve some degree of concentration, effort, control, they tend to prevent the mind from completely settling down. The Transcendental Meditation program, in contrast, is a technique of no-doing—it does not involve trying of any kind, and so it allows the meditator to easily dive within.

But can an easy, effortless meditation be “real” meditation, leading to enlightenment? Yes. Some have misunderstood the simplicity of TM. The Transcendental Meditation program is actually the revival of meditation in its pure and original form. It is simple and easy because it is natural—in full accord with the fundamental nature of mind and body. That is also why it is so efficient. Nature is always extremely efficient. For example, all motion in nature follows the path of least action or effort. In the same way, one practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique effortlessly dives deep within the mind.

The cultivation of this topmost of the eight limbs of yoga nourishes the whole tree of yoga as no other can. Yoga practitioners who add the Transcendental Meditation practice to their daily routine report that it adds a deeply satisfying dimension of silence, consciousness, and appreciation to their asana practice, and to life. Samadhi is both the beginning and the essential ingredient of a truly blissful yoga practice.


1. Body drops, but Consciousness stays where it is
Cosmic Consciousness (CC) is a state where the small 's' has become big 'S'.  And big 'S' Self means unboundedness, eternity. When the status of the individual has expanded to unboundedness, that is his status and that is he. When the status is unbounded, he is beyond time and space.

He's all over. Once he is all over, where can he go?

In our meditation that unbounded awareness has already expanded to eternity, to infinity. Infinite is the boundary of the individual consciousness. On the level of the body he is so many feet long and so many feet wide. But his awareness is so much unbounded. When the individual is so much unbounded, and the body ceases to function, then what will happen to that unbounded awareness? Nothing can happen to It. That It is 'I' capital. Unboundedness.

And therefore, it doesn't leave the body and doesn't go anywhere, because being everywhere it cannot leave a place and go to another place. It cannot leave one time, go to other time.

So the unboundedness is free from the boundaries of time and space. And that is why a man living Cosmic Consciousness does not go somewhere. His body goes from manifested state to unmanifested state. The body goes, he doesn't go.

Now how does CC grow? How does one grow in CC? We have known it is the growth of the nervous system. Growth means transformation. Purification of the nervous system. Modification of the nervous system. Due to which that pure consciousness becomes permanent.

One example will clarify this situation. Green water in a glass. Now the sun is shining everywhere and the glass is in the sun. The reflection is green. This is like the small 's' self- when the nervous system is not purified, it is green, it's not very clear. Nervous system is clouded with all kinds of impurities. Now that green water has green reflection.

The sun, shining evenly everywhere is not green. It's neither green nor red or no color. It's colorless. If we modify water, green water being modified, green becoming less and less. That means the reflector of the sun is being modified, resulting in the modification of the reflection.

The water becoming less and less green, the reflection is becoming less and less green. Less and less green means more and more towards the nature of the sun. Less and less green reflection means more and more becoming

like the sun. At a point, at one particular moment, the water is no more green. Completely pure.

The reflection then is a reflection. It has its structure according to the shape of the glass, but that the quality of the reflection is the quality of the sun.

The reflection feels, 'I am the sun'. This is realization.

Just like that, the nervous system, reflecting the omnipresent being, and the reflection is of a particular quality. But with transcendental meditation the modification of the nervous system keeps on improving the quality of the reflection.

Quality of reflection keeps on becoming purer and purer. A time comes when the individual reflection, the Self, has gained the quality of omnipresent being. Hundred percent. The Self is Being.

The small self has gained the status of big Self, big 'S'. In this state, due to the nervous system, the big Self can be located and yet it is unbounded.

When the reflection has become like the sun, and the reflection has gained the quality of the sun around it, then it is omnipresent sun. It is the same sun that is shining everywhere. Yet, because of the glass it has its individuality. So it is an individual entity and it is omnipresent sun both at the same time.

Now, the glass breaks. Water spreads. What has happened to the reflection?

Nothing has happened to the reflection except that it ceases to be located. The reflection that was here when the glass was intact was the same sun as everywhere - it has the same quality. Now the glass is not there, it's broken.

Where has gone the reflection? It has gone nowhere. It's just there, because it has already gained the status of the sun. When the body drops, nothing happens to it. It doesn't go. It doesn't come out from the body and doesn't go anywhere because anywhere it can go, it already is there. And therefore we don't talk in terms of death.

A man who has risen to Cosmic Consciousness, we just don't talk about him in terms of death. We talk about his body ceasing to function. He doesn't depart from the body. He doesn't go anywhere. Only for other people he ceases to be located.

The above is said to be an excerpt from a lecture given in August 1970 at Humboldt State College by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi