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Soham (Sanskrit)

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Soham (Sanskrit)

Soham is same as Pankaj Sohum (सो ऽहम् so 'ham[1]) is the Sanskrit for "I am He/That". (See also: Tat Tvam Asi.)

When it applies to a person's name, according to Vedic philosophy it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. Some say that when a child is born it cries Koham-Koham which means Who am I? That is when the universe replies back Sohum. You are the same as I am. It also stems from the Sanskrit word which means, "self pride."

When used for meditation, "Sohum" acts as a natural mantra to control one's breathing pattern, to help achieve deep breath, and to gain concentration.

  • Sooooo... is the sound of inhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that inhalation.
  • Hummmm... is the sound of exhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that exhalation.

Soham is also considered a mantra in Tantrism and Kriya Yoga, known also as Ajapa mantra, Ajapa Gayatri, Hamsa Gayatri, Hamsa mantra, prana mantra, Shri Paraprasada mantra, paramatma-mantra, and as such used notably on its own, in the meditation practice ajapa japa[2] and in the kriya practice shabda sanchalana.[3]

The mantra is also inverted from so 'ham (the sandhi of saḥ + aham) to ham + sa. The combination of so 'haṃ haṃsaḥ has also been interpreted as "I myself am the Swan", where the swan symbolizes the Atman.[4] An etymology of haṃsa "swan, goose" (in fact cognate with English goose) as from ahaṃ sa "I am that" is found in the 14th century commentary on the Vedas by Sayana (14th century).[5]

Contents

  • Soham 1
  • Hamsa 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4

Soham

so 'ham is an emphatic form of aham, the first-person pronoun ("I"), translating to "I myself".[6] Interpreted as a nominal sentence, it can also be read as "It/He is I". Its use as a mantra emerges in mystical Sanskrit literature of the medieval period. The mantra is sometimes claimed to originate with the Isha Upanishad (verse 16), which ends:

yat te rūpaṃ kalyāṇatamaṃ tat te paśyāmi yo 'sāv [asau puruṣaḥ] so 'ham asmi
"The light which is thy fairest form, I see it. I am [that] what He is (viz. the person in the sun)" (trans. Max Müller)[7]

In several Advaita Vedanta Upanishads

  • Dhyana-Bindu Upanishad[8][9][10][11][12]
  • Hamsa Upanishad[13][14][15][16]
  • Maha Vakya Upanishad[17]
  • Suka Rahasya Upanishad[18]
  • Surya Upanishad[19]
  • Tripuratapini Upanishad[20]
  • Yoga Chudamani Upanishad[21]
  • Yoga Sikha Upanishad[22][23]

Tantras

  • Gandharva Tantra[24][25]
  • Kali Tantra[26][27]
  • Kularnava Tantra[28][29][30][31]
  • Mahanirvana Tantra[32][33][34][35]
  • Niruttara Tantra[36][37]
  • Shri Nathanavaratnamalika[38]

Stotras

  • Bhaja Gaureesam[39]
  • Gowresa Ashtakam[40]
  • Shakthi Mahimnah Stotram[41]
  • Tripurasundari Vijaya Sthava[42]

Adi Shankara's[43] Vakya Vritti[44] subsequent works in the Nath tradition foundational for Hatha yoga

and foundational for Swara yoga the original script Shiva Svarodaya[56][57][58] as well as the classical yoga treatises Gheranda Samhita[59][60][61][62] and Shiva Samhita[63] all make mention of soham and hamsa describing its significance and when teaching uniformly teaches So on inhalation and ham on exhalation.

This traditional practice in its several forms and its background is described in numerous other books.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71]

Hamsa

Swami Muktananda - although teaching the traditional So on inhalation and ham on exhalation as a letter from 1968 to Franklin Jones reveals[72] - later published a book[73] teaching Ham on inhalation and sa on exhalation. This practice is described in several later books all referring to Muktananda.[74][75][76][77][78]

The teaching of Ham on inhalation and sa on exhalation is allegedly alluded to in a text of Kaśmir Śaivism, the Vijnana Bhairava:

Air is exhaled with the sound SA and inhaled with the sound HAM. Then reciting of the mantra HAMSA is continuous[79]

However, this verse 155a is not found in the Vijnana Bhairava first published in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies[80] but is quoted from a commentary by the Abhinavagupta disciple Kṣemarāja[81] in his Shiva Sutra Vimarshini (commentary on the Shiva Sutras)[82] in later editions of Vijnana Bhairava.[83]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In English language literature also printed as So’ham, So Ham, So-aham, Sohum, So Hum, Saham, Sa'ham, Sau-ha, Sah-karena/Sahkara = the sound of Sa
  2. ^ Satyananda Saraswati (1989). Yoga and Kriya: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of (2 ed.). Munger, Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga. p. 497 ff.  
  3. ^ Satyananda Saraswati (1989). Yoga and Kriya: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of (2 ed.). Munger, Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga. p. 668 ff.  
  4. ^ Alper, Harvey P. (1991). Understanding Mantras. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 104.  
  5. ^ Monier-Williams, s.v. "haṃsa".
  6. ^ Monier-Williams, s.v. "sa 6.": "it is often for emphasis connected with another pron. as with aham, tvam, eṣa, ayam&c. (e.g. so'ham, satvam, 'I (or thou) that very person'"
  7. ^ The Upanishads, Part 1 1879, p. 313. Müller gives the footnote: "Asau purushah should probably be omitted", taking these words as an explanatory gloss that was accidentally incorporated in the text.
  8. ^ "Dhyana-Bindu Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 61(b)-63. The Jiva comes out with the letter ‘Ha’ and gets in again with the letter ‘Sa’. 
  9. ^ Blavatsky, H P (2004). The Theosophist May 1891 to September 1891. Kessinger Publishing. p. 695.  
  10. ^ Parmeshwaranand Swami (2000). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanisads. Sarup & Sons. p. 140.  
  11. ^ Woodroffe, John George (1974). The Serpent Power - The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga (7 ed.). Courier Dover Publications. p. 76.  
  12. ^ Singh, Nagendra Kr (1997). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. p. 213.  
  13. ^ "Hamsa Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  14. ^ Blavatsky, H P (2004). The Theosophist October 1891 to March 1892. Kessinger Publishing. p. 75.  
  15. ^ Parmeshwaranand Swami (2000). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanisads. Sarup & Sons. p. 231.  
  16. ^ Singh, Nagendra Kr (1997). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. p. 493 ff.  
  17. ^ "Maha Vakya Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  18. ^ "Suka Rahasya Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  19. ^ "Surya Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  20. ^ "Tripuratapini Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  21. ^ "Yoga Chudamani Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. This mantra which is called “Ajapa Gayatri” (…) goes outside with the sound “ha” and goes again inside with the sound “sa”. 
  22. ^ "Yoga Sikha Upanishad". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 6.53 The prana goes out with sound “ham” and goes in with the word “sa”, and all beings naturally chant the mantra “Hamsa, Hamsa” (while exhaling and inhaling). 
  23. ^ Renfrew Brooks, Douglas (2000). Meditation revolution: a history and theology of the Siddha Yoga lineage. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 510.  
  24. ^ "Gandharva Tantra (abstract)". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  25. ^ Woodroffe, John George (2007). Shakti and Shakta. NuVision Publications, LLC. p. 343.  
  26. ^ Woodroffe, John George (2007). Shakti and Shakta. NuVision Publications, LLC. p. 343.  
  27. ^ Avalon, Arthur (2008). Hymn to Kali. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 27.  
  28. ^ "Kularnava Tantra". Retrieved 2009-05-17. Ham-Sah is the pathway breath takes in living creatures. This mantra exists in the form of exhalation and inhalation 
  29. ^ "Kularnava Tantra". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  30. ^ Chawdhri, L. R. (2007). Secrets of Yantra, Mantra and Tantra. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 93.  
  31. ^ Olson, Carl (2007). Hindu primary sources: a sectarian reader. Rutgers University Press. p. 506.  
  32. ^ "Mahanirvana Tantra". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  33. ^ Avalon, Arthur (2004). Mahanirvana Tantra Of The Great Liberation. Kessinger Publishing. p. 82.  
  34. ^ Dayal, P (1991). Raja Rao : A Study of His Novels. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 53.  
  35. ^ Mahanirvana Tantra is claimed to be a juridical fabrication in: Duncan, John (1978). Essays in classical and modern Hindu law. BRILL. p. 197 ff.  
  36. ^ "Niruttara Tantra (abstract)". Retrieved 2009-05-17. The letter Ha is exhalation and the letter Sa inhalation. 
  37. ^ Woodroffe, John George (1974). The Serpent Power - The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga (7 ed.). Courier Dover Publications. p. 76.  
  38. ^ "Shri Nathanavaratnamalika". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  39. ^ "Bhaja Gaureesam". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  40. ^ "Gowresa Ashtakam". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  41. ^ "Shakthi Mahimnah Stotram". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  42. ^ "Tripurasundari Vijaya Sthava". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  43. ^ Srinivasan, N. K. (2007). Safe and Simple Steps to Fruitful Meditation. Pustak Mahal. pp. 48–49.  
  44. ^ "Adi Shankara’s Vakya Vritti". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  45. ^ "The Yogavishaya of Minanath". Retrieved 2009-05-17. Hamsa Hamsa is the mantra upon which depends the bodies of living creates. It is meditated on as the collective form of vital breath in the knots. [28] 21600 times daily the word Hamsa is being pronounced -- in this way one constantly meditates 'So-aham'. [29] 
  46. ^ "Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati (abstract)". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  47. ^ Feuerstein, Georg (2002). The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 537.  
  48. ^ Siddha Guru Gorakhnath. Brahmamitra Awasthi, ed. Yoga Bija. Delhi, India: Swami Keshwananda Yoga Institute. p. 112. 
  49. ^ "Goraksha Shataka v42". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 42. With the sound of 'ha' jiva (in the form of prana) goes out; with the sound of 'sa' (in the form of apana) it enters (the body) again. The jiva repeats continually that mantra 'hamsa, hamsa'. 
  50. ^ Olson, Carl (2007). Hindu primary sources: a sectarian reader. Rutgers University Press. p. 439.  
  51. ^ Kiehnle, Catharina (1997). Songs on yoga: texts and teachings of the Mahārāṣṭrian Nāths. Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 155–56.  
  52. ^ Lakhota = sealed letter
  53. ^ Kiehnle, Catharina (1997). Songs on yoga: texts and teachings of the Mahārāṣṭrian Nāths. Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 185.  
  54. ^ Yogapar Abhangamala = collection of songs on yoga
  55. ^ Kiehnle, Catharina (1997). Songs on yoga: texts and teachings of the Mahārāṣṭrian Nāths. Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 301.  
  56. ^ Nair, Sreenath (2007). Restoration of Breath: Consciousness and Performance. Rodopi. p. 100 ff.  
  57. ^ Vennemann, Michael. Fürchte Dich nicht, Petrus Romanus - Teil 2. pp. 522–23.  
  58. ^ "Shiva Svarodaya (51)". Retrieved 2009-05-17. The Shiva Svarodaya scripture's verse 51 says, "The process of exhalation is said to contain the letter ham, and the inhalation contains the letter sa." 
  59. ^ Mallinson, James (2004). Gheranda samhita: the original Sanskrit and an English translation. YogaVidya.com. p. 127.  
  60. ^ Ma Yoga Shakti (1995). Gheranda samhita. La scienza dello yoga. Edizioni Studio Tesi. p. 181.  
  61. ^ Yogi Pranavananda (2000). Tony Rodriguez, ed. Pure Yoga. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 113 ff.  
  62. ^ "Gheranda Samhita 5:84". Retrieved 2009-05-17. Gheranda Samhita 5:84 indicates, "Breath of every person, in entering, makes the sound of 'sa', and in coming out (bahiryati), that of 'ham.' " 
  63. ^ Singh, Panchanan (2004). The Forceful Yoga: Being the Translation of Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Gheraṇḍa-saṃhitā, and Śiva-saṃhitā. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 275.  
  64. ^ Satyananda Saraswati (1989). Yoga and Kriya: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of (2 ed.). Munger, Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga. p. 497 ff.  
  65. ^ Devanand, G. K. Teaching of Yoga. Himalayan Institute Press. p. 116.  
  66. ^ Mumford, John (1999). Death: beginning or end? : methods for immortality. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 97 ff.  
  67. ^ Stutley, Margaret and James (1977). A dictionary of Hinduism : its mythology, folklore, and development 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500. London: Routledge. p. 372.  
  68. ^ Srinivasan, N. K. (2007). Safe and Simple Steps to Fruitful Meditation. Pustak Mahal. pp. 48–49.  
  69. ^ Tigunait, Pandit Rajmani (2000). Power of Mantra and the Mystery of Initiation. Himalayan Institute Press. p. 68 ff.  
  70. ^ Woodroffe, John (1910). Shakti and Shakta. Forgotten Books. p. 318.  
  71. ^ Xavier, G. Francis (2004). Yoga for Health & Personality. Pustak Mahal. pp. 98–99.  
  72. ^ "Letter from Swami Muktananda to Franklin Jones, April 23, 1968". Retrieved 2009-05-17. Harmonize the repetition of mantra with the breathing as follows: With "So" take it in and with "ham" bring it out. (...) When one's mind is fixed on "So" with the incoming breath and on "ham" with the outgoing breath it is mantra-japa. (...) Your beauty, your energy, your duty, your religion, your Guru and guide; your study, worship and prayer -- all lie in engaging yourself to the remembrance and repetition of "So'ham", "So'ham". This is my instruction, this is my precept. This is to followed or practiced, and reflected upon devoutly. 
  73. ^ Swami Muktananda (1992). I Am that: The Science of Hamsa from the Vijnana Bhairava. SYDA Foundation. p. 27 ff.  
  74. ^ Renfrew Brooks, Douglas (2000). Meditation revolution: a history and theology of the Siddha Yoga lineage. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 509 ff.  
  75. ^  
  76. ^ Kedar, Acharya (2003). The Sutras on the 5-Fold Act of Divine Consciousness. iUniverse. p. 150.  
  77. ^ Kedar, Acharya (2003). Vibration of Divine Consciousness: The Spiritual Autobiography of Acarya Kedar. iUniverse. p. 230.  
  78. ^ Sopory, S.K. (2004). Glimpses of Kashmir. APH Publishing. p. 103 ff.  
  79. ^ "Vijnana Bhairava". Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  80. ^ "Muktabodha on-line library Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies". Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  81. ^ Alper, Harvey P. (1991). Understanding Mantras. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 282.  
  82. ^ "Muktabodha on-line library Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies". Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  83. ^ Singh, Jaideva (1991). The Yoga of delight, wonder, and astonishment: a translation of the Vijñāna-bhairava. SUNY Press. p. 143 ff.  
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