Out of the many different types of meditation, two are very similar and are often confused with each other — the Vedic and Transcendental Meditation techniques.
Both are mantra-based meditation techniques that use mantras to help calm your mind, boost your energy, and connect to your inner self.
But then, what is the difference between Vedic and Transcendental Meditation? Keep on reading till the end to find out!
What Is Vedic Meditation?
Vedic meditation is one of the oldest forms of meditation and has been used by humans for more than 5,000 years.
The origin of Vedic meditation lies inside the “Vedas.” The Vedas is an ancient body of Hindu text that created the foundations of Indian philosophy, Yoga (the art of living), Ayurveda (the science of medicine), and Vedic meditation.
This form of meditation is centered around a mantra — usually, a phrase repeated aloud or quietly in your mind.
The word “Mantra” itself is derived from two Sanskrit words: “man,” meaning the mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. Therefore, these mantras act as vehicles that allow your mind to travel from one state to another.
This is how Vedic meditation can help your mind escape from the worries of everyday activities to a much quieter and more profound place, allowing you to experience a calmer and deeper state of consciousness.
What Is TM (Transcendental Meditation)?
Transcendental meditation (TM) is a type of silent mantra meditation. Introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during the late-1950s, this type of meditation allows people to experience a state of relaxed mindfulness by helping them avoid unnecessary thoughts.
Similar to Vedic meditation, TM meditation is an effortless and straightforward form of meditation that uses specific TM mantras to help your body and mind settle down into a calm state of rest.
It includes sitting silently and mentally repeating a mantra for 20-30 minutes a day while sitting with eyes closed. Sounds simple right?
Well, you’ll be surprised to know that such an easy form of meditation can yield some significant health benefits.
For example, TM has been shown to decrease brain response to pain and stress by up to 40-50% in long-term meditators and reduce anxiety symptoms in patients with PTSD by up to 53-62%!
What Is The Difference Between Vedic And Transcendental Meditation?
The primary difference between TM and Vedic meditation is that the Vedic form of meditation is a more general type of mediation, while TM is more specific with personal mantras designed for every meditator.
An important thing to note about TM meditation is that its teachers strongly emphasize that its technique has to be taught by a credited TM instructor, and the mantras — generally a word or phrase in Sanskrit — have to be given to each mediator by them to be effective.
While Vedic meditation has independent teachers and isn’t so caught up in the convictions of organized structure, it has no such fixed rules and can even be self-taught.
However, that’s about it for all the significant differences between these two forms of meditation. TM is essentially a branded and trademarked form of Vedic meditation that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi popularised in the U.S during the 1960s.
Both practices involve mantra repetition to settle the body and mind and dive into a deep meditative state. Even the goals are the same — to let people experience greater peace, calm, and equilibrium.
Lastly, according to research, both forms of meditation also offer similar health benefits and help:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve anxiety, insomnia, and depression
- Enhance the immune system
- Reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis
- Boosts the efficiency of the brain’s executive attentional network
Here are some other commonly asked questions regarding these two meditation practices:
Q1. What’s The Difference Between Vedic Meditation Vs. Buddhist Meditation?
In contrast to Buddist mindfulness-based meditation techniques, Vedic meditation doesn’t involve reflection, processing of thoughts, and contemplation. Instead, it uses mantras to help empower and relax the mind.
Q2. I Find It Difficult To Stop Thinking. Can I Still Meditate Successfully?
Thoughts occur naturally and are part of meditation. During meditation’s rise to popularity, a false myth of “emptying the mind” has snuck in.
Our minds are designed for thinking, so you’re bound to have random thoughts during meditation — no one’s trying to stop them from occurring! Releasing these thoughts and negative emotions and refocusing on ourselves is the essence of mantra-based meditation.
Q3. How Do TM And Vedic Meditation Differ From Other Techniques?
All types of meditation are beneficial in their unique ways; it’s about finding the one that works best for you. What differentiates these techniques from others is that they’re straightforward and effortless while allowing meditators to have profound and deep experiences.
The added flexibility of the technique is a vast difference from others too. While most techniques require you to sit in an undisturbed, quiet place free of distractions, in Vedic meditation and TM, none of this is a requirement.
Q4. Do I Need A Designated Place To Meditate?
No, there isn’t a requirement for a “meditation space” in TM and Vedic meditation. It’s a tool that can be used anywhere from public transport to your office desk—making it much easier to integrate into your everyday life and practice without making sacrifices.
Q5. How Long Before I Start Seeing Benefits?
Many individuals experience “a shift” after their first session, with the majority feeling at least some form of increased energy or clarity of mind during the first few weeks of consistent meditation. Your family and friends often start noticing gross or subtle changes in your behavior and mood before you do.
Q6. Do These Techniques Conflict With My Religious Beliefs?
No, individuals of all spiritual traditions and faith practice Vedic and TM meditation. It comes from the same ancient texts from India that blessed us with Yoga. Similar to taking a yoga class, this form of meditation doesn’t require you to alter your belief system.
It’s not a cultish religion, lifestyle, or philosophy. It’s a practical technique that offers immediate and noticeable benefits to a person’s state of mind, health, and relationships.
The Takeaway: Vedic Meditation Vs. Transcendental Meditation
Both of these forms of meditation are, to an extent, the same. Both are mantra-based techniques designed to instill a greater sense of calmness and happiness. They also offer similar health benefits, such as reduced anxiety and stress levels.
The most significant difference is that TM is a more recent and trademarked brand of Vedic meditation.
In contrast to Vedic meditation, which is a more general form of meditation, TM is also more involved in the dogma of organized structure and is a more specific type of meditation that involves personalized mantras for each meditator and can only be taught by a credited TM teacher.
If you have any other queries regarding this topic or meditation, in general, you’d like us to answer, then please feel free to comment below. We’ll gladly answer any and all of your questions.