There is an intelligence that is the guiding force for the universe, the one that is the most powerful and ancient. The Soham mantra, which resonates “I am he/that”, indicates an association with that divine intelligence, the oneness of all.
The Meaning Of Soham
In order to understand what soham means firstly we need to know the etymology of the word soham. It is made of of two words of sanskrit language, Sah + Aham = Soham.
Sah is ‘HE’ in Sanskrit and Aham means ‘I’. I am He is soham.
But who is he? Who is that? He is the brahman – the universal soul in vedas. He is the paramatma, ishwar, Shiva, Vishnu for idol worshipers, higher cosmic intelligence for scientists. he is not only referenced by these names but also by other names in different cults and traditions. In Spite of these names all are pointing to the same concept that there is super consciousness.
And who is I? I is not a body or mind. Identifying I with body and understanding soham is filling the mind with ego like a balloon. The I in soham is not just mere the body of five elements. Neither I is the mind which swings in sattvic rajasic and tamasic gunas. Here I is Soul. The soul of individual is the soul of universe. The soul of the impure mind is as pure as the ultimate reality. Vedic literatures identifies The I with the Brahman, the absolute reality.
This is what soham says “I am that”. It is the mantra to remind and experience that we all are connected and run by the same intelligence. In fact we ourselves are “that intelligence”.
The mantra of expansion is Soham. But to experience we need to remove impurities of mind with continuous sadhana. Otherwise “I am That” is just a bunch of few knowledgeable words.
Practice : Soham Meditation / Soham Chanting
Match the mantra with breathing. Align the inhalation with ‘So’ and exhalation with ‘Ham’. Once you do this you will get to know automatically that mantra goes with the breathing naturally.
Along with each breath you takes in you will get calmer and calmer. Your consciousness will spread wide with each breath. One can chant the mantra vocally though or can do it silently with breathing as ‘ajapa japa’. Ajapa japa is the chanting inside the mind where words are not spoken. Also called manasik japa and sagarbha pranayama. In this even the tongue is stationary. Manasik japa is where you do chant in mind and sagarbha pranayama is doing pranayama with mantra chanting. But there is no rule, it’s all up to the practitioner. But still I say doing it silently is more powerful as per the experience.
Being aware of the each breath coming in and going out with the feeling “I am that” is so beautiful. Meditation on soham or chanting soham mantra is the connection to the source. In fact soham meditation is the experience that “I myself is the source”. Seeing the each being as I, is crossing the boundaries of ‘vyashti’ (individuality) and going to ‘samashti’ (all collective) is soham. It is the journey from jeeva (individual self) to paramatman (universal self). Raising consciousness from individual to the supreme higher consciousness is what soham is.
How to meditate
- Begin by training body to be comfortable in a sitting posture keeping the spine straight. Meditative pose like padmasana is best suitable for the meditation. One can also sit on chair. Uplifted spine deepens the breathing so keep it erect.
- Close your eyes and take 3-10 deep inhalations and exhalations to prepare your mind for meditation/chanting.
- Observe your body from head to toe and toe to head. Be aware of your sitting posture and breathing. Take all your attention to body parts, relax and focus.
- Breath is getting deeper and deeper. Now attune your breath with mantra soham. While inhaling listen to “So” and while exhaling feel “ham”. Gradually mind will go into deeper states. Be in the state and experience it. Be witness of the mantra, body and breath.
- Stay with the mantra as long as you want. Feel the inner space before finishing up. With the feeling of gratitude gradually return your awareness to the breath, the physical body, and the area around you. Before releasing the sitting posture and opening your eyes, place your palms of your hands onto eyes & face. Now make small movements in your body, stretch your arms and legs before getting up.
- Be thankful for the moment and experience within.
Soham is the natural mantra like om that is our true nature. The mantra is already resonating within us with each breath. We just need to pay attention while inhalation and exhalation, mantra is already there. The process actually is to shut the mind and listen the naad (mantra) inside.
Benefits of Soham Mantra
- More Prana Shakti! The more deeply we breathe with mantra the more pranic energy it will generate.
- We are inhaling more oxygen that means more positive cleansing energy and we are exhaling more carbon dioxide which means toxic energies are releasing. This will ease you out and relax you. All stress and worries, anxiety and restlessness will release with each mantra.
- Connecting one self with the source is like plugging with the power bank. The depression and inferiority complex will fade away when we know “I am That”.
- The more peaceful you are the more focus is. Relaxed mind always takes better decisions.
- More concentration! You are better at studies, learning and observing. 🙂
- Body becomes healthy! When we experience the truth that the intelligence which is running mind and body, is I, then we use mind and body as a tool with that understanding. Thus we become more respectful towards the mind and body. We take care of them.
- We become compassionate. Anger and jealousy fades away because now we know that all is me. So how can i be angry on other I. In contrast compassion will be there to all beings. Because we all are connected. We are One, Sohum.
- Soham mantra is death of ego & ignorance and at the same time birth of self. Happy Blissful Me! Satchidanand!
- Hence brings more confidence, fearlessness and positivity.
- Balances the chakra system.
- Meditation on soham bestows spiritual upliftment and new experiences towards the real self.
In conclusion the soham mantra is essential for physical health, mental health and for the seekers who are on the path of self – realization. It is the journey towards real me.
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