What is the transcendental?
The moment you start witnessing yourself, you will see three layers of existence within you. One is the outermost; anybody can observe it; it is objective; it is material; it is your body.
The second layer behind it is your mind, your thoughts, your dreams, your expectations. Only you can see them, nobody else can see them from outside. They are not objective: they are subjective, but they certainly are. They exist in their own way; you cannot deny them their existence. Certainly on a different wavelength, not as solid and physical as the body, but you can see them, they direct your life, they are your hopes, your projections, your expectations.
The first layer is called the objective and the second layer is called the subjective. But beyond both there is a witness which can watch both the body and the mind, the material and the nonmaterial. This witness, this consciousness, this awareness, is beyond both. It is neither material nor nonmaterial, because it is beyond both. And you cannot go beyond it. You cannot witness it. You have come to the very end of the rope, you have come to the very bottom of existence. This awareness is called the transcendental, because it transcends the duality of body-mind. And to be centered in it, you have come home, because there is no way beyond it. Here ends the road.
Suddenly you find everything in its perfection. Nothing is missing, nothing needs improvement, refinement; everything is as it should be. And this feeling, that everything is as it should be, brings a tremendous gratitude. The perfection of existence fills you with tremendous joy that you are a participant in a perfect existence, that you are an invited guest, that you are welcome here, that the whole existence needs you. If you were not here, it would miss you. There would remain some place vacant. Nobody else can take your place. This gives you individuality and dignity and a great blissfulness. For the first time you are at ease with existence, with trees, with stars, with the ocean. The whole becomes your home. This is the transcendental.
It is called transcendental because it transcends all duality and brings you to a state of oneness. This is the ultimate outcome of a meditative consciousness.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi calls his meditation Transcendental Meditation. That is an unnecessary repetition of words. “Meditation” is enough, or “transcendental” is enough, because both mean the same. Meditation brings you to transcendence and every transcendence is nothing but the ultimate flowering of meditation. And what he calls Transcendental Meditation is neither transcendental nor meditation; it is just chanting a certain name.