Whenever his friends are going through hard times, Ram Shrivastava helps out by teaching them Transcendental Meditation. Here’s the story of how TM has changed and shaped Ram’s own life.
When did you learn Transcendental Meditation?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: I come from a family of meditators — both my parents are teachers of the TM technique. So I had been doing the children’s walking technique since I was little.
By the time I was old enough for the grownups’ technique I really wanted to learn it. I had seen my mum meditate sitting down and I wanted to do it the same way as adults do (laughing)!
Being a school-going boy, I was not regular in my TM practice and could only manage evening sessions. I started to meditate again regularly at university, when I was pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Did you notice any difference between the times when you were meditating regularly and when you were not?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: In contrast to the performance of my elder sisters in school, I was a relatively average student. Both my sisters were meditating regularly all the time and performed exceptionally well. The teachers were always wondering during the parent-teacher conferences, “Why is Ram not doing as well as his sisters?”
When I started meditating regularly at university, I also started getting good grades. I was still the same person; I was still studying the same way! The only difference was that I meditated regularly.
Things spontaneously started to go in the right direction as I got regular in my meditation sessions. And that’s when I happened to hear my dad talk about Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in the United States and I got curious. Even though I had already decided to go to the Indian School of Business (a top business school in India), I looked up MUM online. As I was going through the website and reading the testimonials of the students, all of a sudden I felt: “Why am I going to a normal business school?”
So I spoke to my dad and told him there was this opportunity at MUM for MBA and Sustainable Business that sounded really interesting. Without hesitation he said: “If you want to go there, that’s the best option anyway!” I applied to MUM and my application for MBA was accepted. And from there on my life-changing journey began….
My first impression of the place was great! I was just amazed by how TM was incorporated as a part of the curriculum and how it was just “a way of life” for professors as well as students.
During the second semester of the first year, one of my roommates started talking about the Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course (TTC) — how it had been the most amazing experience of his life. I again felt a strong pull to go in that direction.
I called my dad and told him that there was a TTC coming up that summer. My parents were very supportive of the idea right away.
So I finished my first year at MUM and headed for the teacher training. I did not have a clear idea of what it would be like, but I had a feeling inside that this was the most fulfilling thing I could do at that time.
Did TTC live up to your expectations?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: Yes. There are no words to really describe this experience. The way you are looking at the world, or maybe the way the world is looking at you, becomes absolutely different!
What were your first experiences like as a Transcendental Meditation teacher?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: After TTC, I went back to India to teach for a few months before returning to MUM to finish my degree. So the first groups of people I taught were all my close friends and relatives.
The experience was brilliant. As Maharishi has said, when you teach people to do Transcendental Meditation, you are whispering Infinity to them. It’s the highest level of knowledge you can pass on. Even now, when I mainly work for Maharishi Ayurveda Products, I still try to teach at least one group every month.
The great thing is that in India a lot of young people are learning TM and are really benefiting from it. By now almost 100% of my friends have learnt to meditate.
What changes have you seen in your friends as a result of that?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: Whenever we hang around, it is on a totally different level than before — it’s so positive all the time!
My fiancée was also among the first people I taught. At that time she was applying for Ph.D. programs in the United States and was really stressed out. Transcendental Meditation helped her a lot and things worked out great for her. She got a full scholarship to study in the U.S.
I imagine it is a bit easier recommending TM to people in India where meditation is a mainstream practice and you don’t have as many prejudices to overcome?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: Yes, certainly. When I see a friend going through a hard time I can just tell him: “You need to meditate. I am going to teach you TM the day after tomorrow. Be there at 5 o’clock!” And he’ll do it. So we do have that privilege here.
At the same time, there are all these different meditation techniques and spiritual teachers out there. Sometimes people are afraid that maybe TM will not fit in with their beliefs. We always tell people that we are very happy when they follow their own religious practice. Meditating will not interfere with it in any way whatsoever. It will just increase faith and devotion in their own religion and beliefs—and improve their lives on so many other levels as well.
In one way, people in India are very interested in scientific research. At the same time they also need the emotional side, not just the charts and graphs. Sometimes too much of the scientific studies might make them feel that perhaps this is too difficult for them to do. So we must explain to them that if even a ten-year-old child can do it, they as grownups certainly can!
How would you encourage people to learn Transcendental Meditation?
RAM SHRIVASTAVA: I would say that the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Just try it out! You deserve to have the experience that Life is Bliss!