WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ''SOHAM''?CAN WE MEDITATE ON IT ? PART--01...INNER YOGA-23
THE MEANING OF ''HAMSA'' (Swan Symbolism);---
1-Universal Self (Paramahamsa) Reflected as Individual Self (Hamsa) in all of us. 2-"Aham" means "I." This is the greatest of all Mantras. This is the Mantra of Paramahamsa Sannyasins. This is an Abheda-Bodha-Vakya which signifies the identity of Jiva or the individual soul and Brahman, the Supreme Self. This Mantra comes in the ''ISAVASYA Upanishad:---- "Sohamasmi." 3-Just like holy Hindu sacred syllable Om, the word Soham also has several esoteric (Difficult to understand)connotation ( secondary meaning of a word). 06 MEANING OF ''SOHAM'';-- FIRST Meaning ;----- A-I am He--- Soham is a Sanskrit word formed by two words: Sah (he) and Aham(I). By Sanskrit grammatical rules of sandhi(fusion of two words), these two words are combined to give Soham. What is the meaning then? --- B-Soham means He I (am) or I am He. It is the answer to the great philosophical question:- Koham?( “Who am I?”). Real myself is nothing but Individual Self. Now another question: “Who is He then?” That He is none other than the greatest force that controls everything, that is Brahman or Universal Self. With this understanding the meaning of Soham now becomes:--- C-INDIVIDUAL SELF IS UNIVERSAL SELF; - This is the highest no-dual philosophy taught by Shri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadah as proclaimed by our Upanishads and Vedic Scriptures. We are God. Our real Self(real “I”) is nothing but God. We cannot understand this eternal truth due to ignorance. Our Supreme Spiritual Masters help us by removing the ignorance to realize our true Individual Self that is not different from God. SECOND Meaning; -- A-Breathing-- Soham is breathing process. So, it is the basis of our life. Our inhalation makes the sound “Soooo” and exhalation is “ham”. Some masters identify it in the reverse way: Sooo on exhalation and ham on inhalation. Both are equally valid. They are same, just like Shiva and Shakti . Each and every breath reminds us the non-dual principle of Vedas, we are not different from God. B-Sometimes, Soham is called Hamsa mantra also. Some Scriptures regard incoming breath as ham and exhalation as sah. Although, the word Aham gets shortened to ham, the meaning remains the same. Also, in Sanskrit Hamsa means a white swan that symbolizes the Individual Self. C-Thus, non-dual awareness of “I am the Universal Self ” is intricately connected with our breathing. This is why focusing our attention on the breath is an extremely powerful technique to go into a deep meditation. We can connect with the our real nature of all powerful Universal Self by via Soham i.e. breathing....... THIRD Meaning ;--- Ajapa Japa (no chanting, but chanting!) Our breathing itself chants Soham as mantra automatically for us. All we need to do is to bring our attention to it to transcend ourselves into a meditative state. How? The power of all mantras, Shridevi transcends us to a Samadhi state. Since Soham is chanted involuntarily in breathing it is also called Ajapa japa(no chanting by us, but automatic chanting by itself!) or Ajapa Gayatri. FOURTH Meaning; ---- A-Shiva and Shakti (Tantric Perspective);---- As discussed above Soham is formed by two words: Sah (He) and Aham(I). He is Shiva . Every Sanskrit letter or word is loaded with immense power of Shridevi. Aham is the collective power of letters A to Ha in Sanskrit alphabet, i.e. Parvati. B-It means that, the power of Shiva and Parvati present in our inhalation and exhalation. In other words, Shiva and Shakti form breathing that sustains our lives.....As described by the greatest poet Kalidasa, Shiva and Parvati are like parents; they protect us. C-Along the similar lines, here is another tantric perspective. Sah is Shiva. Aham is Shiva’s “I” awareness which is also called Vimarsha in our Tantras. So, Soham means Shiva and his power Parvati (Shakti). FIFTH Meaning; ---- A-Yoga, Merging with the Universal Self;-- Sah is He(Universal Self a.k.a God) and Aham is I. We think that we are separate from God due to ignorance. Your duration of life is counted really by so many 'Soham' breaths in the light of Yoga. It is not really made up of so many years. By the practice of Pranayama, you save the Soham-breaths and thus can prolong your life. B- Our soul is our guru.....who is always with us ..The moment,,,,, we get the touch of soul 'Grace, we realize that we are not at all different from God. OUR SOUL IS THE PART OF SUPERSOUL......SO ,,By this Grace, we actually merge with THE SUPERSOUL /PARAMBRAHMAN /GOD ...by real yoga. C-Similarly, merging two words Aham (I) with Sah (God), we get Soham. In other words, Soham implies the process of merging ourselves with the God, i.e. real traditional yoga. SIXTH Meaning;-- Modified OM----"Soham" means "He I am" or "I am He", "I am Brahman." "Sah" means "He." Soham is only OM. Delete the consonants S and H. You get OM. Soham is modified Pranava or OM. Some like 'Soham' better than 'OM.' Because they find it convenient and easy to associate it or mix it with the breath. Further there is no effort in doing Japa of this Mantra. If you simply concentrate on the breath, if you simply watch the breath, that is quite sufficient. THE IMPORTANT POINTS;---
03 POINTS;- Can we understand the real meaning of Soham?--------- 1-Actually, Soham is a very mystical word. The meaning of Soham cannot be clearly understood just by reading. 2-One has to realize Soham by experience through practice of traditional yoga with the help of a Realized one. 3-Soham is nothing but Shiva and Shakti together. We need to merge with Shiva and Shakti. Soham itself is the Highest Knowledge. So, the realization of Soham is the greatest purpose of life. WHAT IS THE PREPARATION TO MEDITATE ON ''SOHAM''?--- 14 FACTS;-- 1-Meditation on 'Soham' is same as meditation on OM. Some repeat a compound Mantra "Hamsah Soham-Soham Hamsah." Before you practise Soham Dhyana or meditation on "Soham" you must practise the Neti-Neti (not this, not this) doctrine. 2--You must negate or deny the body and the other Koshas by repeating ("Naham Idam Sariram"-"Aham Etat Na.")---- "I am not this body, mind or Prana. I am He, I am He-Soham, Soham!" 3-Repeat this Mantra mentally. You should feel with all your heart and soul that you are the All-pervading, Omnipotent, All-blissful Soul or Brahman. This is important. Then only the full benefits of meditation or Japa of this Mantra will be realised by you. Mere mechanical repetition will not help you much. It has its own benefits. But maximum benefits can only be realised in feeling. 4-FEELING IS THE SELF REALISATION; -
If intellect tries to feel, "I am Brahman, I am Omnipotent" and the Chitta tries to feel, "I am a clerk in the chief court; I am weak; I am helpless. What shall I do for money for my daughter's marriage? I am afraid the judge will fine me," realisation is not possible. 5-You must destroy all wrong Samskaras or impressions, all false imaginations, all weaknesses, all superstitions and all vain fears. Even if you are in the jaws of a tiger, you must powerfully roar-"Soham, Soham, Soham, I am not this body!" Then only you are a real Vedantin. 6- Even if you have nothing to eat, even if you are in the roll of unemployment, you must say with great force and power, "Soham, Soham." You have been spoiled by the mind and by Avidya (ignorance). It is Avidya, it is mind that has brought one to this limitation through identification with this body. Pierce the veil of ignorance. Tear the five sheaths. Remove the curtain of Avidya or nescience, which is a great nuisance. Rest in your own essential Satchidananda Svarupa through the force of Meditation on `Soham' Mantra...... 7-The Jiva or the individual soul is repeating this Mantra 21,600 times within 24 hours. Even during sleep the Soham-repetition goes on by itself. Watch the breath very carefully and you will know this. 7-1-When you inhale the breath, the sound 'So' is produced. When you exhale, 'Ham' is produced. This is termed Ajapa-Mantra because this is done without moving the lips along with the breath. Repeat 'So' mentally when you inhale, 'Ham' mentally when you exhale. Practise this for two hours in the morning and evening. If you can repeat for 10 hours, it is all the more good. You must practise meditation for full 24 hours when you advance on the path. If we study Hamsa Upanishad, we can find real rest during meditation. There is no necessity for sleep. 8-The repetition of the compound Mantra "Hamsah Soham -Soham Hamsah," creates a deeper impression. We say 'God is Love-Love is God.' Similarly repetition of 'Hamsah Soham-Soham Hamsah,' gives more force. This intensifies the force of the Mantra. The aspirant gets more internal strength from the Atman or the Soul-force. His conviction grows stronger. This sort of repetition corresponds to the repetition of the Mahavakya, "Aham Brahma Asmi. Brahmaivahamasmi-I am Brahman. Brahman am I." 9-"Anal Haq" of the Sufi-Fakirs corresponds to Soham of the Paramahamsa-Sannyasins. Guru Nanak highly extols this Mantra. 10-Many teachers claim that hamsa is energizing and so'ham is relaxing. They teach that when we hear so'ham, prana is descending. On hearing hamsa, shakti (energy) rises. Other teachers claim the exact opposite. Of course, we are all different; half of us are natural belly breathers, half are chest breathers. It is not surprising that everyone doesn't respond the same way. You will need to experiment and find out which form of hamsa breathing energizes you, and which form calms you. Once you know, then you are ready to employ this tool in your practice. 11- Preparing for a Yin Yoga class, you may want to use the calming breath. Preparing for a yang practice, you may want to use an energizing breath. 12-Of course, hamsa breathing can be used outside of your yoga practice too. We all have times in life when we are too stoked up and need to relax. The hamsa breath can be useful then. At other times, we need a quick boost of energy, and the opposite breath may be ideal. Now that we know how to stimulate or calm our inner energies, let's investigate how we can direct these energies.Ajapa means "unpronounced," thus this is a silent mantra. 13-In the beginning of your practice, simply watch the breath every now and then. Meditate for one hour in a closed room on Soham with Bhava and meaning. You can watch the breath with silent Soham-repetition while sitting, standing, eating, talking, bathing, etc. This is an easy method of concentration. 14-Soham is the breath of life. OM is the Soul of breath. Eliminate 'Ha' and substitute 'I.' Soham will become 'So I am.' If you concentrate on the breath you will notice that the breath is gradually becoming very, very slow when concentration becomes deep. Gradually the repetition of Soham will drop when there is deep concentration. The mind will become very calm. You will enjoy. Ultimately you will become one with the Supreme Self.contd.... .....SHIVOHAM.......