Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a simple, natural, and effortless technique that promotes deep relaxation and mental clarity. Rooted in the ancient Vedic tradition, TM was popularized in the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s.

Mantras and Their Role in TM


Significance of Mantras

In TM, a mantra—an unmeaning sound or word—is silently repeated to help the mind transcend active thinking and reach a state of pure consciousness. This simplicity is the core of TM, differentiating it from other forms of meditation that focus on contemplation or concentration.

Traditional Mantra Assignment

“6 armed Mañjuśrī (Skt: मञ्जुश्री) is a bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom (Skt. prajñā), meditational deity (yidam), gilt bronze, semi-precious jewels, mantra: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ (ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔). Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA” by Wonderlane is marked with CC0 1.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/.

Mantras in TM are traditionally assigned by certified teachers, chosen based on specific criteria such as age. This personalization aims to maximize the effectiveness of the meditation practice.

Challenges in Accessing Official TM Instruction

Cost and Geographical Barriers

Learning TM from certified instructors can be costly, often around $1,000. Additionally, geographical limitations may hinder access to in-person instruction. These barriers create a challenge for many individuals interested in practicing TM.

Independent Mantra Selection

Choosing a Mantra without Official Instruction

For those unable to access official TM training, finding or creating a suitable mantra independently is essential. The mantra should feel comfortable and resonate personally. It’s important to select a sound or word that doesn’t carry specific meanings to avoid distraction during meditation.

“6 armed Mañjuśrī (Skt: मञ्जुश्री), a bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom (Skt. prajñā), & meditational diety (yidam), gilt bronze, semi-precious jewels, mantra: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ (ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔). Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA” by Wonderlane is marked with CC0 1.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/.

Methods and Tips

Individuals can explore various resources to guide their mantra selection, such as books, online courses, and forums dedicated to meditation practices. Experimenting with different sounds can help in finding a mantra that feels natural and effective.

Alternative Resources

Books and Online Courses

Several books and online courses offer valuable insights into TM and mantra selection. Titles like “Success Through Stillness” provide practical advice and alternatives for obtaining a personal mantra without official TM courses.

Community Support

Joining online communities and forums can provide support and shared experiences from fellow practitioners. These platforms often share resources and tips for those navigating the practice independently.

Practical Tips for Effective Mantra Meditation

Qualities of a Good Mantra

A good mantra is simple, comfortable, and easy to repeat. It should guide the mind effortlessly to deeper levels of thought and awareness. Avoid mantras with specific semantic meanings to maintain a meditative focus.

Consistency in Practice

Regular practice is key to experiencing the benefits of TM. Aim to meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day, in a quiet and comfortable environment. Consistency enhances the depth and quality of meditation over time.

By exploring independent resources and maintaining a dedicated practice, individuals can successfully adopt and enjoy the many benefits of Transcendental Meditation, even without formal instruction.

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