“The trinity of experience becomes the unity of experience.”
So went the definition of transcending that one of the shankaracharyas shared with Maharishi. It is short and concise.
I came across this more lengthy description that I share here as something of a background for the following post on Witness-Consciousness. It’s an excerpt from Maharishi’s commentary on a verse from the Bhagavad Gita.
As long as mind is associated with the object, so long is it the experiencing mind; but when the object of experience has diminished to the point where it has disappeared, the mind ceases to be the experiencing mind. Conscious mind becomes consciousness. But during this process of transformation, it first gains the pure state of its own individuality…
The verse does not speak of the mind but of “thought” as being steady. The Sanskrit word used is chitta, which signifies that aspect of mind which is a quiet and silent collection of impressions, or seeds of desires. Chitta is like water without ripples. It is called “manas” or mind when ripples arise.
When the mind gains this state of chitta, or thought, then it stands steady, like “a lamp that does not flicker in a windless place”. It holds its individuality in the void- the abstract fullness around it – because there is nothing for it to experience. It remains undisturbed, awake in itself. Imagine a silent wave on a silent ocean, ready to expand and merge into the silence of the deep.
And I have to wonder: is chitta the repository of what the Buddhist calls conditionings?
Is this individuality in the void the “silent witness”?
How is this individuality different from ego?
I am not sure. So, read on:
…This verse describes a further step in the practice… [having taken] the mind to the state where thought – the resolute intellect – stands by itself, steady and unmoved….[then] with continued practice, this steady intellect gains a clear experience of its individuality, it begins to retire. The process of retiring begins with the expansion of individuality, and when this happens the intellect, begins to gain the unbounded status of Being.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, v 19 & 20.
And there you go. The trinity of experience has become the unity of experience.