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1969 Maharishi Interview
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Maharishi Interview with Leslie Smith.
BBC Radio 4, UK. October 14, 1969.
A rare and important resource for understanding Transcendental Meditation.
Transcription by Istituto Scientia (from original recording by courtesy of BBC).
Part 1 - What Transcendental Meditation is.
Maharishi: Transcendental Meditation is a process of experiencing consciously the subtle state of thinking and getting to the source of thinking, and the source of thinking is a reservoir of energy and intelligence.
Thought flows, due to energy, and it takes a direction, due to intelligence. [...] When the mind goes deep within, the thinking process...
Smith: ... as in sleep, you mean?
Maharishi: Not in sleep. In sleep the mind is tired [...] and remains on the same level. Here, in Transcendental Meditation, the mind becomes sharper and sharper and it experiences the finer states of thought, and by the time it explores the source of thought, it gains bliss consciousness.
Smith: What has the word 'transcendental' got to do with this?
Maharishi: 'Transcendental' means: the mind [...] 'transcends' the experience of thought[...], gets through the [...] finest state of thought and thereby it is 'transcending' the field of thought. That's why we call it 'Transcendental Meditation'.
Part 2 - How to practice Transcendental Meditation.
Smith: Suppose [...] I say: please tell me how to meditate transcendentally. What advice would you give me?
Maharishi: I'll suggest to you... one syllable.
Smith: A syllable? What you mean?
Maharishi: By syllable I mean some sound...
Smith: ... like 'rose', for example, 'room'... ?
Maharishi: No, some sound which will not have any meaning. Its value will be just the sound.
Smith: Well, could you give me an example of such a sound?
Maharishi: [...] When we say a rose, then the mind goes on the rose and the mind floats on the horizontal level [...]: thinking, contemplating something, is the horizontal activity of the mind...
Smith: ... can you give me an example of such a syllable?
Maharishi: Examples? We don't give [...]
Smith: So you keep it a secret.
Maharishi: It's a secret. Everyone is told to keep that sound, on which he experiences the subtle states [...], to keep it in himself.
Part 3 - Why someone would want to meditate.
Smith: Suppose I come to you and I say: "Why should I meditate transcendentally?" , what answer would you offer me?
Maharishi: ... For the expansion of the mind. Mind should expand. In psychology we know that the man uses only a small portion of his mind.
Smith: So, the benefit would be to myself.
Maharishi: Of course.
Smith: Nobody else?
Maharishi: [...] On the social behavior: when one has an expanded state of consciousness, when he is happier and he thinks clearer, whatever he does and how he behave is on a much improved level.
Smith: How can you be sure that this state will make a better person?
Maharishi: Because, if a man uses a small portion of mind, he must be small in his understanding, in his thinking, in his feeling, in his behavior. And, if he uses a bigger portion of mind, he must be a man of much clearer thinking, more powerful thought, more refined and more accomplishing in the field of action, with sweet behavior in love and harmony...
Smith: It doesn't follow that he will be a better person: he might be a worse person, because he might use a greater portion of his mind to do the harmful things than the smaller portion of his mind has already let in to do.
Maharishi: Ha ha... But the thing is that the source of thought, where is the source of energy and intelligence, is bliss consciousness.
Smith: What do you mean with "bliss consciousness"?
Maharishi: "Bliss consciousness" creates a very happy, jolly mood.
Smith: The sort of happy, jolly mood that people claim to get from a bottle of whisky?
Maharishi: And then, the after effects of whisky are disasters, but the after effects of meditation are much more natural, because one comes out with a happy mood, and then he enjoys the world better and behaves much better, the actions are more profound.
Smith: But why should he behave much better? I mean: are you teaching him the different between right and wrong?
Maharishi: No, we don't teach him the difference between right and wrong. We improve his level of consciousness, and then he sees what right is and what wrong would be, and then he behaves better within himself.
Smith: Has nothing to do with God at all, has it?
Maharishi: The whole creation and everything has to do with God, but belief in God has nothing to do with Transcendental Meditation [...].
Part 4 - The difference between Transcendental Meditation and prayer.
Smith:Is Transcendental Meditation just another way of talking about prayer?
Maharishi:I wouldn't say. If you want to connect prayer with Transcendental Meditation, we would say that this practice will make a man for effective prayer,
because of the increased capacity of the mind, every thought of his will be more powerful and then his prayers will naturally be more powerful.
This is not a matter of prayer, but, if one wants to make prayer after meditation, he will pray better.
Smith: Everything that a persone does, will be done better after meditation...?
Maharishi: ... will be done better, and more profoundly...
Smith: So, if a man is very cruel, he will be even more cruel after meditation.
Maharishi: No. Cruelty is expression of stress and strain. Now stress and strain just dissolve when one gets to bliss consciousness.
All criminal tendencies and wrong habits and taking pleasure in troubling others, these are all the expressions of the stressed mind.
In bliss consciousness, with Transcendental Meditation, one becomes more contented, and at the same time clearly thinking, and so there is no chance of increasing the bad habits in a man.
He ceases to be bad, all his actions are much more right and righteous, more reasonable for himself and for others, and his love increases.
Part 5 - The link between Transcendental Meditation and society.
Smith: This has nothing to do with society as a whole, it is totally selfish.
Maharishi: Absolutely, it is totally selfish, and makes a man a better man.
Smith: When you say that it is selfish, what precisely do you mean?
Maharishi: Every tree has to be very selfish in soaking the water and maintaining its greenness, to make the whole garden green.
Smith: But we are not trees, we are living human beings and we have responsibilities one to another.
Maharishi: Of course, yes. We cannot think of a better society without a better man, and to be a better man, his outer life has to be integrated with the inner life of being.
Smith: If you keep people talking with this bliss consciousness, a person by attaining this, no longer experiences suffering.
Maharishi: Very right. A man should not suffer, and why should he?
Smith: Well, I'll tell you one reason why he should suffer, because if we do not suffer, if we do not experience with others the suffering that they have, we loose our impetus to care.
Maharishi: No, no, no. Suffering is damaging to life and damaging to progress.
Smith: How is it possible to care for people unless you can experience with them suffering?
Maharishi: Through increased capacity of loving more.
[transcription to be completed soon]