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Wikipedia I". Soham (so 'ham सो ऽहम्) is the Sanskrit for "I myself" or "It is I" or "He is
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 Soham.You are the same as I am.. It also stems from the Sanskrit word which means, "self pride." When used for meditation, "Soham" 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 and in the kriya practice shabda sanchalana. 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. 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). so 'ham is an emphatic form of aham, the first-person pronoun ("I"), translating to "I myself". 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) In several Advaita Vedanta Upanishads Dhyana-Bindu Upanishad Hamsa Upanishad Maha Vakya Upanishad Suka Rahasya Upanishad Surya Upanishad Tripuratapini Upanishad
Yoga Chudamani Upanishad Yoga Sikha Upanishad Tantras Gandharva Tantra Kali Tantra Kularnava Tantra Mahanirvana Tantra Niruttara Tantra Shri Nathanavaratnamalika Stotras Bhaja Gaureesam Gowresa Ashtakam Shakthi Mahimnah Stotram Tripurasundari Vijaya Sthava Adi Shankara's Vakya Vritti subsequent works in the Nath tradition foundational for Hatha yoga Matsyendranath's Yogavishaya Gorakshanath's Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati Gorakshanath's Yoga Bija Gorakshanath's Goraksha Shataka Jñāndev's Lakhota Jñāndev's Yogapar Abhangamala and foundational for Swara yoga the original script Shiva Svarodaya  as well as the classical yoga treatises Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita 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. Hamsa Swami Muktananda - although teaching the traditional So on inhalation and ham on exhalation as a letter from 1968 to Franklin Jones reveals - later published a book teaching Ham on inhalation and sa on exhalation. This practice is described in several later books all referring to Muktananda.  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
Sooooo. Remembering the Soham mantra often during the day can be a very useful practice. it declares I am that I am that I am that I am. When remembered repeatedly.. Hummmm.—Vijnana Bhairava. The nervous system is the arbiter between the tense body and the noisy mind. is the sound of inhalation. Hansa. with exhalation somewhat longer in duration than the inhalation. When trying to meditate it is extremely common to have tension in the muscles and noisy thoughts in the mind. This has been known by the Yogis for thousands of years.. and has also come to be widely known in recent years by the modern medical and psychological community.. Who am I? Soham provides the answer. I am that I am. that I am. Other names or designations: The mantra is also designated as Hamsa.Sooooo. is through the breath. soham. is the sound of exhalation. slow speed. this verse 155a is not found in the Vijnana Bhairava first published in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies but is quoted from a commentary by the Abhinavagupta disciple Kṣemarāja in his Shiva Sutra Vimarshini (commentary on the Shiva Sutras) in later editions of Vijnana Bhairava. and quiet the mind is through Soham mantra practiced at a steady. and in turn. Universal mantra: The Soham mantra has been called the universal mantra because of the fact that its vibration is already a part of the breath.. easiest. Hamsa (or hansa) poses the question. Hamsa mantra: The Soham mantra is also called the Hamsa mantra. 155a However. and is remembered in the mind along with that exhalation.. I am that. Sohum. soham. relax the body. is the sound of inhalation. Click here for an online practice of Soham Meditation.. and in turn the body and mind.. and most direct ways to train the breath. Soham translates as I am that. and is remembered in the mind along with that inhalation. is the sound of exhalation. I am that: While the English translation may not be as important as the quality of the sound vibration. that I am The finest bridge between body and mind: Breath is a bridge between the body and the mind. One of the best ways to regulate that nervous system. . or So Hum. Value of Soham and breath: One of the finest. Natural mantra: The Soham mantra is a natural mantra because it is already part of your nature.. and Hummmm. So Ham. regulate the nervous system. sing the sound So Ham Soham Japalehe Manawa Soham. Oh mind. and everybody breathes. or here for a CD of the same practice.
and then to deeper meditation beyond. through the dimensions. with no jerkiness. Third. This may be done either in a seated meditation posture or lying on your back in the corpse posture. as it flows in and out. Steps of practice: While the Soham mantra can be used alone. going from outer to inner.Soham and diaphragm breathing: The Soham mantra is extremely useful when practiced along with diaphragmatic breathing. After these three. work with the diaphragmatic breathing and awareness of Soham mantra at the space just below the breast bone. to the sides. Meditation on the gross breath leads to awareness of the subtler energy of prana. Allow your attention to rest in a space about the size of the palm of your hand. using whatever mantra or focal point you normally use for meditation. allow the mind to be aware of the vibrationSooooooo as your attention moves upward along the subtle cord of the spine (sushumna). at the upper abdomen. You may or may not be literally aware of the stream. Systematic practices: The three methods described above can be used in order. depending on your predisposition. breath. However you experience this flow is okay. and have no pauses between the breaths. As you exhale. steady stream of energy and consciousness flowing up and down between this area near the base of the spine and the crown of the head. you may want to move your attention to the space between the breasts or between the eyebrows. be aware of how that space move moves back outward. be aware of how that space gently pushes in. First. training the mind in one-pointedness. As you inhale with Sooooooo. and you may or may not experience it as a milky white stream of light. allow attention to flow up and down along the spine with the Soham manta. Gradually allow the exhalation to elongate. As you exhale with Hummmmmm. Focus attention on the feel of the breath. your attention moves systematically inward. Exhalation gently rounds back into inhalation. and how the lower ribs flare slightly outwards. it is most effective when practiced in conjunction with the other steps of meditation. the cognitive sense of touch. Be aware of a thin. just below the breast bone. and inhalation gently rounds back into exhalation. As you inhale. come to rest at the bridge of the nostrils for meditation on the Soham mantra. . and then inhaling upwards. so as to exhale completely. exhaling down from the top of the head to the base of the spine. though it is universal practice). remembering the vibrations Sooooooo and Hummmmmm. and mind (Such practice has been popularized as a part of kriya yoga or kundalini yoga. Allow the breath to be smooth. Allow it to be comfortably slow. at the upper abdomen. Soham at the nostrils: Meditation with Soham at the bridge of the nostrils is a very effective practice that stabilizes and purifies the mind. becoming twice as long as the inhalation. through the chakras towards the crown of the head. allow the mind to be aware of the vibration Hummmmmm as your attention moves downward along the subtle spine towards the perineum at the base of the spine. Second. Soham in breath along the spine: One of the deeper ways to use the Soham mantra is through spinal breath. to one-pointedness. feeling the touch of the air in the nostrils. from gross to subtle. and you will find it is a very beneficial meditation practice. by coordinating body. By doing the practices in this order. at the flat place between the genital area and the anus.
Counting the mantras: While it is not at all necessary to count the repetitions of the mantra. I am that. Though you may not be literally hearing an audible sound of the mantra. somewhat like a song or an advertising slogan might start to repeat in your mind. and to the sound from which that wave sprung forth. not the word: For meditation. so entangled in the external world that we never take the time to listen within. Songs within: There are many songs being played within. so-hum. so-hum. While you might initially be using your will power to remember the mantra. It also can give some definition to your practice. we follow the word. I am that. ever repeats itself. one might begin by using the word and reflecting on it's grosser meaning. When that remembering comes automatically. I am that.including stretches or hatha postures. so-hum. The inner vibrations of Soham mantra can be felt. Thus. By counting one bead per breath. By starting with the external meaning of the Soham mantra. it means a constant. back through the wave form from which it came. One might think of so-hum as the . That sound. Listening and remembering versus speaking: The vibrations of the Soham mantra are allowed to arise in the mind field and to repeat themselves. it sings the song of the Soham mantra. like the waves ever flowing in the ocean of bliss. The heart sings a song that resonates throughout the body. To develop stability in your mantra practice. it gradually will be noticed more automatically. so-hum. or perhaps one year. the gross level of the syllables of the mantra may or may not still be there. the breath. The brain plays steady notes that can be heard when we are still. the stance of attention is more like listening or remembering than it is one of speaking the mantra. it is the truth. heard. The typical set of mala beads has108 beads. In the case of Soham mantra. and experienced at ever subtler levels. The vibrations themselves are the guides. and the word has an external meaning. We are so busy. it takes about 1520 minutes or so to complete one round of the mala. it is called ajapa japa. particularly if the mind has a habit of wandering and wondering about length of time of the practice. it can be useful to do an intentional practice of one mala (or other number) per day for a period of 40 days. over and over. Japa and ajapa japa: Recitation of a mantra is called japa. At that point. it can sometimes be comforting to do so. The word leads back to the sound: Sound creates a wave form. Swarodaya: The science of breath is called swarodaya in Sanskrit. pervasive awareness of the flow of subtle energy related to the mantra and the exhalation and inhalation. This is not mere poetic reflection. A still subtler meaning of ajapa japa is having a constant awareness of the felt or experiential meaning of the mantra. and a variety of breathing practices. to hear the natural melodies that will guide us still further inward to the finer music of consciousness. The meaning of swara is a ripple of sound. meaning that the repetition called japa is coming without effort. declaring. but they are seldom noticed. Use the sound. survey of the body or relaxation. the wave form creates a word. so-hum. the science of breath is the science of the waves of sound in the ocean of consciousness. starting and ending on some significant date. and the meaning of swarodaya is the ocean. The breath sings a song. A single round with the mala can be a useful preparation for meditation without the counting.
and the mind. the essence of the mantra. peaceful state that is preparation for advancing into the depths of meditation. lead us inward to the still. so-hum of the breath ebbing and flowing through the gross and subtle bodies. the chakras through which sushumna travels come into alignment or balance. It is not about repressing thoughts. By blowing the vibration so-hum.wendynewton. Its primary intention is to help magnetize our consciousness to sushumna and then to brahma nadi. Blow on the fire to make it burn: The latent spiritual energy of kundalini is to be awakened by stirring that fire of kundalini-shakti. and I find that there is usually some confusion about the mantras themselves and how to apply them. However. The breath. the thoughts of the mind are allowed their life. the deeper. Ham Sah Kriya: Ham/Sah or Sah/Ham? Getting to the Bottom (or Top) of It. there is only one way to do so. the mantra has a gross vibration and meaning. and ultimately. Balancing chakras: By training the breath with Soham mantra. so-hum. If anyone wants to know the meaning of silent sound of the Soham mantra. The process comes in stages. leading attention further inward. So too.literal sound that can be heard by listening to the passage of air at the nostrils.com) Ham/Sah Kriya is practiced as part of the ISHTA Diksha (the practices leading to meditation). whether there is any room for variation. Next. It means developing a steady. truer practice for the student of meditation is to seek the subtler level of the Soham mantra. to move energy up and down the spine. the Soham mantra is like gently blowing on a glowing ember. straightforward method that can be done by virtually all people. moving the attention up and down the central channel of sushumna. one after the other. Attention is required: There is one skill that is of utmost importance to meditation. as you listen passionately to the so-hum. which is itself a subtler version of the mantra. there is the soundless sound. regardless of the other activities of the mind. but is more like listening intently to the whisper of a beloved friend in a crowded room. ever brighter. allowing it to become the guide. Words surely have their place in relation to the external world. though actually a result or manifestation of the kundalini. and that is training the attention. the meaning is revealed in direct experience. not the elimination of the other people. Gradually and surely. to move us toward re-connecting our individual energies (Jiva Atman) with their universal source (Brahman). Finally. but the sound vibration itself is a finer. At first. and that is to follow the sounds inward to that place. more powerful guide within. I am often asked about this practice by students. and how to practice them . Finding the silent sound: All of these sounds. The Soham mantra is a simple. is a means of awakening the fire. growing ever bigger. and go into the sound itself. silent sound out of which they all emerge. there is the feeling associated with the mantra. unbroken relationship with the so-hum of the breath. Then. by Wendy Newton (reprinted with permission from www. It is your conviction to attention that makes the voice clear. there is a constant presence or awareness of the mantra. the glow turns into a fire. It is a foundational practice of ISHTA yoga. Inside. This brings the mind into a pleasant.
We are moving. perhaps. as part of the asana practice. move our consciousness into sushumna and then into brahma nadi. we can move consciously or unconsciously. and sometimes distracting. they begin to take us away from the learning rather than moving us toward it. questions are numerous. In this instance. so there is a balance to be struck between the discipline of practice and the asking of questions (or one could say the indulgence of creativity). At the same time. questions are always good if they come out of your own first-hand experimentation. In learning any practice. Practicing on your own mat and noticing the effects helps to root and deepen your learning. natural. lies some of the confusion. we are participating in what you might call a reverse process. If they become over-intellectualized. even if only for a period. and full understanding of the practices may come slowly over time. Ham then is used to make us aware of the transformation of this energy throughout our physical bodies. Our body and mind are active (even if calm). An attitude of accepting not knowing. and Sah is a mantra that resonates the energy of inspiration. is essential to opening us up to learning new things. Sah/Ham. connecting it with the breath as we move through our asana. A closer look at the mantras. and surrender to internal stillness. My intention here is not to describe or teach the practices (which should be learned directly from an ISHTA Yoga teacher at the ISHTA center or in a private lesson). And therein. and I often think of it as stoking an energetic fire with appropriate fuel. You can think of mantras not so much as ordinary sounds. At ISHTA. but we also sometimes teach its reverse. This technique is done as part of the asana practice. The Ham/Sah Kriya in Meditation When we sit for meditation. but to discuss some of the finer points as a learning tool. Sah helps us to connect with our source in order to draw energy into our system (inspiration). our energy naturally and gradually reconnects with source . on or off the mat. but as vibrations that carry resonance having specific effects on our energy systems. it is important to try to first learn it the way it is given. Ham is a mantra that resonates the energy of transformation. If you become confused about why the mantras are used on inhale or on exhale. you could say that we are engaged in life. it is also important to try to understand the underlying purpose of the practice. It is almost as if one needs to first go through a process of submitting to the effects of the practice without questioning in order to begin to have a visceral experience of it.in relationship with the breath. At the beginning. To foster that sense of conscious participation in the process of life we use the mantra Sah/Ham. not as part of meditation. For me. orienting yourself to the basic principles of the mantras will help to take you out of “right/wrong” brain and into a deeper understanding of the practice. without any variations. and we need to draw energy into our system for use in that activity. As we withdraw our energies from activity. Just as we can breathe consciously or unconsciously. This is pretty heady stuff. Ham and Sah may help. we teach Ham/Sah Kriya as part of a practice leading into meditation. or connection with universal source consciousness. and practicing yoga is about participating consciously in life. or in connection with a visualization up or down the spine. Patience and persistence are essential! The Sah/Ham Breath in Asana When practicing asana.
a simple breath practice On average. In this practice. As with all kriyas. we can feel energy moving within us. half are chest breathers. Hamsa Mantra . Iyengar says they are actually combined. laying down. while Sah transforms our individual consciousness to merge with that source. and perhaps counting sheep. Once you know. prana is descending. We prepare by turning off the light. Does this feel energizing or calming for you? Next reverse it: hear "sa" on the inhalation and "ham" on the exhalation. sleep then comes on its own. Of course. take a little longer with the preparatory practices. and be gentle. half of us are natural belly breathers. Allowing the meditative experience to be what it is rather than searching for an imagined outcome takes a lot of the pressure off. This is because it can be felt as a stress if you are practicing the kriya with an active (or over-active) system. If you feel stress or frustration. and actually allows the process to happen more easily. Ham/Sah is a purification technique. It is not surprising that everyone doesn't respond the same way."  While we chant this barely audible mantra with each breath. They teach that when we hear so'ham.(spirit. Experiment with hearing "ham" on the inhalation and "sa" on the exhalation. not something you can actively do. On hearing hamsa. When we surrender to the process. we are all different. "Ha" is the sound of the breath on our exhalations and "sa" is the sound of the inhalations. universal consciousness. Does this change the energetic feelings? Many teachers will claim that hamsa is energizing and so'ham is relaxing. This is called the "ajapa mantra. give yourself time. shakti (energy) rises. You will need to experiment and find out which form of hamsa breathing energizes you. then you are ready to employ this tool in . Ham Sah Kriya is practiced only once we have moved into a state of pratyahara (or sense withdrawal). it’s also important to remember that Ham/Sah Kriya is a practice that helps us to move into a meditative state. Simply moving into pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and bringing focus and awareness to the spine and the subtle channels that lie within that structure helps to purify the energy system that underlies our physical self. It is similar to the process of falling asleep. Some people need longer than others to come to this state. Ham/Sah Kriya is a technique that is helpful in encouraging individual consciousness to reconnect with and transform back to its source.we hear "hmmm" on the inhalation and a sighing "sa" on the exhalation. As with all meditative techniques. It is very important to remember that in the ISHTA Diksha. six hundred times a day we chant the mantra Hamsa. Meditation itself is something that you can only prepare for. because we are moving from activity into stillness. and Ham now serves to help move our energy back in the direction of reconnecting with source (Brahman). Other teachers claim the exact opposite. every creature creates so'ham on the inhalation (which means "He am I") and hamsa on the exhalation (which means "I am He"). the mantras reverse. twenty-one thousand. Close your eyes and notice the way your energy state is altered while you inhale and exhale. and the mantra is called "So'ham" . and which form calms you. Some traditions reverse this. Brahman).
the two syllables become So'haṁ. Haṁsa indicates a dual affirmation. . So'haṁ indicates saḥ (He) + ahaṁ (I). the two syllables become Haṁsa. we must understand that there is a fundamental difference between how Vedantic tradition treats the Ajapa Mantra and how the Agamic/Tantric tradition treats it. automatically. Before we proceed further. Texts of Vedanta uniformly accept and teach that the sound of inhalation is so(or the syllable sa) and the sound of exhalation is haṁ (or the syllable ha). Preparing for a Yin Yoga class. and means “He I am. but it affirms the most fundamental of truths propounded by the monistic tradition – that you are one with the Ultimate Reality. Instead of reaching. In the Tantric context. you may want to use an energizing breath. Hamsa Mantra. known as the Ajapa (unchanted) Mantra. In other words. or ahaṁ (I) + sā (she) – meaning “I am She”.600 times daily! Not only is this mantra being silently recited by every living being. let's investigate how we can direct these energies. Multitude of Vedantic and Tantric texts explain this mantra. with every breathing cycle (So'haṁ) we affirm the fundamental non-dualistic Vedantic teaching of the oneness of the Atman (ahaṁ) and Brahman (saḥ) Texts of Tantra. We all have times in life when we are too stoked up and need to relax.” Essentially. This affirmation is no different than the Vedantic affirmation of the oneness of the individual Atman and the Paramatman (Brahman). and it is a lot healthier.  Now that we know how to stimulate or calm our inner energies. etc. Ajapa Gayatri. The hamsa breath can be useful then. The essential teaching of the Ajapa Mantra. in Shaiva Tantras like the Vijnanabhairava Tantra. Haṁsa indicates ahaṁ (I) + saḥ (he) – meaning “I am He”. You may be surprised at how effective it is. Hamsa Gayatri.your practice. you may want to use the calming breath. Together. try working with the breath for a minute or two. accept and teach that the sound of inhalation ishaṁ (or the syllable ha) and the sound of exhalation is sa (the syllable sa). and the opposite breath may be ideal. The Unchanted Mantra The non-dualistic traditions of both Vedanta and Tantra tell us that without even knowing or realizing it. and Vaishnava Tantras like the Lakshmi Tantra. At other times. however. On the one hand. In the Vedantic context. it is a silent reaffirmation of the Vedantic great statements (mahavakyas ): tat tvaṁ asi (That Thou Art) and ahaṁ brahmāsmi (I am Brahman). Of course. particularly those classified as Yoga Upanishads. in contrast. Preparing for a yang practice. we are silently chanting a mantra 21. is that the very process of breathing is a mantra. This teaching is elaborated in multiple Upanishads. The sound of inhalation plus the sound of exhalation together form this mantra known as So'haṁ or Haṁsa. for that cigarette to calm you down. Soham Mantra. Put together. This is dealt with in multiple Shakta Tantras like the Todala Tantra. an extension of the teaching on prana (vital life-force). or that third cup of coffee or a cola to give you a pick-me-up. we need a quick boost of energy. hamsa breathing can be used outside of your yoga practice too.
In fact. whether they are chanted out loud. in Vaishnava Tantras. Regardless of the term used to refer to the Ajapa Mantra. the personification of supreme mantra of the Rigveda. is that of the oneness of the masculine and feminine principles. ha represents Narayana. or ha-sa. That means. seen as a dual principle of Shiva-Shakti. counting them on the fingers or on a string of beads. an unfolding of Shakti from Shiva. or recited mentally. Ramana Maharshi on Mantra Japa Question : For controlling the mind. Before beginning a japa breath control is prescribed. is given the honorary title Paramahaṁsa (supreme swan) because s/he is now a liberated being. the terms So'haṁ and Haṁsa are used interchangeably in both traditions to refer to the Ajapa Mantra. the Haṁsa (which means swan) is depicted as a vehicle ofGayatri Devi. by stopping the breath. doesn't it? If. The two syllables of the Haṁsa (ha + sa) are taught in the Tantric tradition to represent Shiva (ha) and Shakti (sa). Since the Vedantic and Tantric traditions of Hinduism are not mutually exclusive. both traditions accept the Ajapa Mantra as the base mantra upon which all mantras ride. Without knowing this real meaning people think that it means repeating with the mouth the words `soham. what remains is . All rights reserved. Bindu-Nada. pronounced without vocalizing. Aum Namah Shivaya. therefore. first do pranayama [regulating of breath] and then begin repeating the mantra. the phase of breath for which the syllables stand remains unchanged within the given tradition.The other affirmation inherent in the Ajapa Mantra. Narayana-Sri. and sa represents Sri. the great yogis of Hinduism have used sound and breath to understand both evolution from the Divine and involution back to the Divine. the five elements in the body are bound down and controlled. the in-breath reflects involution. mastered the esoteric teachings of Prana therein. performing japa of the ajapa [unspoken] mantra or of omkar [the sound of `om']? Ramana Maharshi : What is your idea of unspoken and involuntary japa [ajapa]? Will it be ajapa if you go on repeating with the mouth `soham. which is characteristically and uniquely Tantric. I am he']? Ajapa really means to know that japa which goes on involuntarily without being uttered through the mouth. a refolding of Shakti back into Shiva. what we find is that the doctrines of one system intermingle with the other. As a result of this. and the out-breath reflects evolution. Agnideva © 2008. the very process of breathing (Haṁsa) also affirms the absolute oneness of the Divine. which of the two is better. The terms Shiva and Shakti may be replaced in Shaiva-Shakta sources with Sun (ha) and Moon (sa) or Bindu (ha) and Nada (sa). and through this vehicle come to full and direct realization. One who has understood the meaning of the Haṁsa mantra. Nevertheless. soham' [`I am he. With regards to the Ajapa mantra. In the Tantric tradition. soham' hundreds of thousands of times. Regardless of the tradition. Similarly. Sun-Moon. therefore. Pranayama means first closing the mouth.
Good or bad. Ramana Maharshi : Where is the brain? It is in the body. whatever is done never goes to waste. is ajapa. The sounds arise from thoughts. where is the need for the sounds? Japa. All other thoughts are first subordinated until they disappear. that japa itself becomes the Self. the brain in it and also ascertains that the brain is its seat. Because you are with other . aham' [`I. It is however called dhyana because it is made with effort.absolute consciousness. becoming mental. Question : Is there no benefit at all in doing japa with the mouth? Ramana Maharshi : Who said there is no benefit? Such japa will be the means for chitta suddhi [purifying the mind]. When it becomes mental it is called dhyana. Dhyana. it is said to be contemplation. like the flowing down continuously of oil. Question : The mind is said to be from the brain. I say that the body itself is a projection of the mind. The thoughts are form the mind. Effort is necessary so long as thoughts are promiscuous. looking to the stage of development of the person concerned. Question : Should we not contemplate the japa and repeat it orally also? Ramana Maharshi : When the japa becomes mental. That is ajapa. Is it not the mind that is meant? Ramana Maharshi : All these are only the workings of the mind. Knowing this. The object of japa or dhyana is the exclusion of several thoughts and confining oneself to one single thought. contemplation and mental japa are the same. It is the mind which creates the body. Question : Sri Bhagavan has said that the japa must be traced to its source. Japa helps to fix the mind on a single thought. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. gayatri and everything. Only the differences and the merits and demerits of each will have to be told. for one must think before one expresses the thoughts in words. Question : Is not mental japa better than oral japa? Ramana Maharshi : Oral japa consists of sounds. how could that which is repeated by mouth be ajapa? The vision of the real Self which performs japa of its own accord involuntarily and in a never-ending stream.the real Self. If you know who it is that is doing japa you will know what japa is. becomes contemplation. I']. Therefore mental japa is better than oral japa. That Self will by itself be repeating always `aham. Dhyana is your true nature. Then that thought too vanishes into its source . As the japa is done repeatedly the effort ripens and sooner or later leads to the right path. When thoughts cease to be promiscuous and one thought persists to the exclusion of all others. The mind engages in japa and then sinks into its own source. If you search and try to find out who it is that is doing japa.
but only by abiding as that. So I try again.thoughts. is a meditation on spontaneous repetition of a mantra. Source: from David Godman Excellent Book "Be As You are" Meditation ajapa japa Ajapa Japa Dhyana(So-Ham meditation) Ajapa japa Dhyana. And yet a name is given to you and you answer to that name. Question : People give some names to God and say that the name is sacred and that repetitions of the name bestow merit on the individual. Instead of wandering about repeating `I am the supreme'. Similarly. a very simple and effective practice to reach this goal. Can it be true? Ramana Maharshi : Why not? You bear a name to which you answer. Question : So mechanical repetition is unproductive? Ramana Maharshi : Acute diseases will not be cured merely by repeating the name of the medicine but only by drinking the medicine. that is right. Question : While making japa for an hour or more I fall into a state like sleep. because you have identified yourself with the name. namely of identifying yourself with the mind that does the japa. Similarly. Hence its merit. To be able to concentrate . Japa means clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts. Like we already know. But your body was not born with that name written on it. Repetition of the name is remembrance of what it signifies. Ramana Maharshi : `Like sleep'. If that dhyana becomes effortless it will be found to be your real nature. Question : How should I carry on japa? Ramana Maharshi : One should not use the name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion. abide as the supreme yourself. nor did it say to anyone that it bore such and such a name. Because you are now associated with the ego. That is its purpose. the bonds of birth and death will not cease merely by doing many repetitions of mahavakyas such as `I am Siva'. Therefore the name signified something and it is not a mere fiction. Ajapa Japa is. It is the natural state. On waking up I recollect that my japa has been interrupted. concentration is a very important if not the most important practice to help us reach meditation. The misery of birth and death will not cease by vocally repeating countless times `I am that'. So you must have the experience repeated until you realize that it is your natural state. you consider that the natural state is something which interrupts your work. in this sense. Your present doubt is due to that false identity. God's name is effective. You will then find that japa is extraneous but still it will go on automatically. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-realization or jnana. you call the continuity of a single thought meditation or dhyana.
A third factor will be use to increase our focus and this will be according to the movement of the breath and energy in the body. take off your watch and glasses. It is where we want our energy to flow freely and harmoniously . This pathway begin at mooladhara chakra (perineum for man and cervix for women) and end up at ajna chakra (pineal gland). Ajapa japa use many different objects for this purpose. With Ajapa japa practice we’ll be consciously repeating the mantra So-Ham using the breath and the sound to focus our mind. Taking a witness attitude. and the movement will be the anchor for the focus of our mind. Gyan or Bhairava mudra. Then move your awareness to the body sensation from toes to head. Like looking at a movie screen we'll let our mind play its deepest and far rooted memories film. Stage two: Before starting Ajapa Japa Dhyana do a short kaya sthairyam (body stillness) practice. the sound. By allowing them to surface and acknowledging there presence we take a step to understand our self and subsequently to modify our own attitude. . while breathing in the sound created was like the sound “SO” and while breathing out the sound created was like “HAM”. Those deep rooted memories have significant influences on our behaviour andour way of thinking and deeling with our environment. With this practice will be visualizing the energy moving up from mooladhara to ajna and down from ajna to mooladhara. Adopt ujjayi breathing (restriction of glottis) and if you feel comfortable adopt ketchari mudra (tongue fold tip on soft palate).the mind we need an object on which we bring our attention on. Your spine is straight the shoulder slightly back and relax the head is straight and chin slightly in. Then move your awareness to the outside sounds. Stage one: Sit comfortably. make sure your body is still. Unnecessary to say that it is enough to keep our mind out of the usual daydreaming mode! Another important aspect of the practice is the purging of the mind. Be aware of your body posture. Make sure that nothing can disturb you practice. we’ll learn about our unconscious self and its surprising content. pattern and behaviour. There is an important psychic pathway in the body its name is shushumna. Move from the furthest to the closest sound. steady and comfortable. When the suffix “a” is added to “japa” it mean that the repetition of the mantra become spontaneous. The Practice. Make sure that you are now still. Your hands are on your knees with Chin. relax and grounded. During the practice we’ll be doing SO-HAM for a while then we’ll stop this practice and allow our mind to evacuate or to express it unconscious content by focusing on the dark space at the for head area call “chiddhakasha”. move from one sound to the other without trying to identify the sounds but just by observing the different sounds. The breath. So they realise that we are unconsciously repeating the mantra “SO-HAM” all day long. turn off your cell phone. Japa mean repetition of a mantra. The Yogis have discover that our breath was having a particular sound.
don’t censure any thought or feeling. Continue this practices of SO-HAM keeping ujjayi. the screen in the dark space at the forehead area. Stage five Add the sound “SO” to your awareness while the breath is in. breath normally and focus on chiddhakasha. Harmony. feel the cool air in and the warm air out. Allow anything to surface be attentive take a witness attitude. Keep the feeling of Joy. Then slowly increase the depth of you breath. Fell comfort and at be at peace with yourself and surrounding.Then become aware of the outside sounds. Be completely focus on those object. . focus again on the breath. the sound and the movement. Feel your breath in and out of the nostrils. again become aware of the breath in and out of the nostrils. ketchari and awareness on the movement. let the mind shows its content. Don’t get emotionally involve into what you are seeing or feeling let it be. your mind has deep rooted memories and it is a perfect time to allow them to surface and show themselves to you. They are part of you and you need to acknowledge them. Stay focus on your breath for a while. breath and sound. make it become deep and slow. End up the practice by chanting Om three times. you can even feel the hair of you nostrils moving with the breath. Now you see them with different eyes and it is time to redigest them with awareness and compassion to you and other. then again take time for chiddhakasha dharana. but you cry with a witness attitude. Keep focus. then bbring your awareness on your body sitting in the studio or your room. do palming one time and open your eyes slowly when you feel ready.Stage three: Then bring your attention to the breath. It is a time of purging. If you feel to cry you cry. And continue this sequence as long as you feel comfortable Stage eight Then you stop SO-HAM practice. Become the breath. Happiness. Love and Peace with you and spread it to everyone you’ll meet. Stage four Beginner stage Imagine the breath in moving from the navel to the throat and the breath out moving from the throat to the navel. Stage seven Then go back to SO-HAM practice for another 5 to 10 minutes. Stage six After about 5 to 10 minutes stop the practice. and “HAM” when the breath is going out. Advance stage Feel the energy moving from mooladhara chakra to vishuddhi ksetram(passing all other ksetram on the way) to bindu with the breath in and down from bindu to ajna chakra down to mooladhara chakra (passing all the other chakra on the way) with the breath out.
Ujjayi breathing is usually done during ajapa japa . Whatever mantra you choose. is the continuous repetition of a mantra. According to the Bhagavad Gita. What I get from ajapa japa is a feeling of thoughts. Japa. It is practiced by bringing about a slight contraction in the throat (please note: ujjayi is contraindicated if you suffer from low blood pressure so if this is the case just do the practice while breathing normally). or a Buddhist or Christian mantra. emotions. certain passages and stanzas declare that the breath goes in with the sound of So and comes out with the sound of Ham. Soham means "I am That". As is the case with most yoga practices (in particular pranayama and meditation). So in a sense ajapa japa is not something you do.3:02pm. However. life starts to feel less complicated. just the sound and the vibration. which literally means "muttering" in Sanskrit.Practice. or the divine quality which is within all of us.Ajapa Japa Meditation By Caoimhe Whelan Submitted by Ambarish Keenan on Sun. Other mantras can be used in ajapa japa. but traditionally the mantra Soham is used as it corresponds with the natural sound of the inhalation and exhalation.long. stick with it. the Gayatri Mantra. . the ‘3 P's' are required if you hope to gain some benefits and insights from ajapa japa . In some of the Yoga Upanishads such as Yogashiksha. it is not important to reflect on the meaning of the mantra. Breath Another important aspect to ajapa japa meditation is the breath. deep and soft with a very quiet hissing sound which is audible only to you. Patience and Perseverance! Ajapa japa was not a practice that I felt particularly drawn to when I was first introduced to it. This is a yoga meditation technique which involves constant mental repetition of a mantra with breath awareness. It is said that japa comes from the mouth but that ajapa japa comes from the heart. or happens automatically without conscious effort. less of a challenge and the constant repetition of the mantra gives me a sense of tapping into something deep. It only becomes ajapa japawhen the repetition of the mantra becomes spontaneous. such as a personal mantra given to you by a teacher or guru. strong and unchanging within myself. indicative that mantras can help us to free the mind of blockages Any mantra can be used in ajapa japa. 26/04/2009 . where That is pure consciousness. and its movement as it flows through the body. but something which may or may not happen when you practice japa regularly over a long period of time. and all the stuff of the mind just gradually falling away until all that is left is the breath and the mantra. As you do the practice you must be aware of the breath. But as is often the case (in my experience at least!) the practices that I put up the most resistance to initially are the ones that I eventually feel strongly drawn to. "Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the Self in inner solitude through meditation". It's this ‘Self' referred to here which ajapa japa can help you to glimpse or experience in some way. Mantra The Sanskrit word mantra comes from man (mind) and tra (to liberate). And as thoughts fade.
As you inhale the level rises and as you exhale it falls. In the initial stages of the practice breath awareness is watched in the frontal psychic passage between the energy centres located at the naval and throat. Mentally repeat the mantra So as you breath in and Ham as you breathe out. According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati. refreshing bath and washes wonderfully the subtle body or astral body.Leave awareness of the frontal psychic passage. Start to mentally synchronise the breath with the mantra Soham. . You might find that it helps to visualize the breath and prana move like liquid in a glass tube. Be aware of every single breath you take. or nonattachment. 3. Not a single breath should go unnoticed." For more information on Ajapa japa please refer to Dharana Darshan by Swami Niranjananda Saraswati. like a cat purring). 4. Feel the breath and awareness move in the frontal psychic passage from naval to throat on the inhalation and from throat to naval on the exhalation. The use of a mala during the practice of ajapa japa can help you to stay focused and aware. Switch your awareness from the body to the breath. "Japa purifies the heart and steadies the mind.the inbreath becomes So and the outbreath becomes Ham. Japa gives health. It scorches samskaras and induces vairagya. In more advanced stages the breath is observed through shushumna nadi (along the length of the spinal column). Rest the hands on the knees in chin or jnana mudra. strength and long life. Allow the breathing to return to normal. Chant Om three times. A mala is a string of 108 beads used to count repetitions of the mantra. Be aware of the body and of stillness. In the absence of a mala you could count repetitions by touching the thumb on the pads of the fingers. Allow the inner space of the mind to be filled with the sound of Soham. Be aware of effects. Japa roots out desires and makes one fearless. 5. It gives an exhilarating. on the inbreath moving awareness and breath from naval to throat and on the outbreath from throat to naval. Doing Ajapa japa Meditation: There are several stages to this practice but just the most basic form of ajapa japa is outlined here. so it can give an indication of how far you have progressed in the practice. wealth. 1. Sit in any meditation pose and take some time to settle the body. Ending the practice . the mantra and the movement of prana between the throat and naval. again become aware of the physical body and become fully grounded. the mantra and the breath. You must consciously notice every ingoing and outgoing breath. Continue in this way with total awareness of the breath. It removes delusion and gives supreme peace. Continue for a few minutes. 2. The breath and the mantra should become one . Take some time to externalize your awareness.During ajapa japa you must maintain total and unceasing awareness of what you are doing. or of thoughts. Start to do ujjayi pranayama (making a soft hissing sound as you breath.
. However. The sadhana of ajapa japa is as old as the Upanishads. Gandhiji has also written that the name should come from within the heart. 2. In ajapa japa there is a very efficient process of locating the awareness. 1. the breathing remains normal throughout. it is called japa. However. In some of the Yoga Upanishads such as Yogashiksha. Thus awareness of the mantra continues throughout the practice without any break. February 1963. Valmiki was initiated by Narada into Ulta Nama. This is concentration on a subtle object. Many of the ancient sages practised ajapa japa. and even in samadhi there is no change. we do not know any mantra as such. there are certain practices in yoga where one becomes introvert and at that time there is automatic suspension of the breath. This is achieved through the practice of ajapa japa when the mantra is adjusted with the breathing process. Many sadhakas have this difficulty. where is your awareness? Think for a second about where you are. it is called ajapa. it must extend into infinity. you do not know where you are. Those who have read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali know that first of all one has to concentrate on a concrete object. When the name is uttered from the mouth. one must meditate on the same object with closed eyes. the reason being that in samadhi the breath is suspended and kumbhaka takes place spontaneously. However. One must concentrate on the simple awareness of its presence. this problem is solved. through a meditative practice it can be located at any particular centre of your body. In order to attain samadhi. when it is uttered from the heart. In the practice of ajapa japa. Let me ask you at this moment. we need a method of repeating the mantra so that it does not end. Bombay. Gandhiji explained it in his own way. Even now those who follow nirguna pantha sampradaya like Radaswami Pantha. which is this very ajapa. By practising ajapa japa both stages of concentration can be achieved. due to the continuity of breath and mantra. however. in the practice of ajapa japa. the consciousness is located with the breath and mantra. No. This is the ajapa gayatri which the jiva continuously repeats. In the practice of ajapa japa. Importance of the breath Ajapa japa is a complete sadhana and through it one can have direct experience of samadhi. When the concentration on a concrete object is complete with open eyes. 1964. Vol. Therefore. so you cannot locate it. Your awareness or consciousness is extroverted and dissipated. and not only from the mouth. Ajapa japa is a complete practice in itself.The Original Ajapa Japa Swami Satyananda Saraswati Talk and practices given at Cama Hall. In the shastras it is said that one should practise anahata japa which never ends. Apart from samadhi. originally printed in YOGA. in all the other yogic practices one has to have complete control over the breath. The difficulty is that the aspirant becomes extrovert after a short meditation if the lung capacity is not adequate. you will find certain passages and stanzas which declare that the breath goes in with the sound of So and comes out with the sound of Ham. practise ajapa japa. Kabir Pantha etc.
relaxation and total awareness. The above illustration refers to ida and pingala. as it were. but they had to return again because they were tied. your breathing will be completely relaxed. At this time one should give up all worldly work and meditate. representing the vital force. The normal rate of inhalation is 15 times in a minute. The alternate functioning of ida and pingala takes one away from the inner consciousness. it is not ajapa japa.600 times in 24 hours. are tied and retire to the centre. representing the mental force. There should be no automatic breathing. the component of the breath is utilized to harmonize the body and mind and awaken the spirit. When sushumna is not flowing. it is a complete practice in itself and through it one can enter the spiritual realms. By conscious breathing and prolonging the breath. You must sit in one steady posture throughout the practice of ajapa japa. thus making it possible for sushumna to function. you will breathe 10. Conscious breathing In ajapa japa the three important points are: deep breathing. Lie down and feel as if you are going to sleep. As and when the concentration becomes deep. So it is important that ida and pingala should be balanced in the process of meditation. ida and pingala.600 rounds of japa per day. like a watchman.Therefore. i. and 21. Automatic breathing goes on at night when you are asleep also. It is only when the two birds. one black and the other white. that sushumna awakens and the process of meditation takes place spontaneously. They flew away for a short distance. Finally they got tired and slept peacefully near the peg. Balancing ida and pingala In the practice of ajapa japa. the breathing will become slower. and the left nostril corresponds to ida or chandra nadi. In the practice of ajapa japa you make the breath as long and as deep as when you are snoring. The body should not shake and the mind should not . observe the continuous rhythm of the two breaths. it indicates that sushumna is flowing. You must have unceasing awareness of every ingoing and outgoing breath. There were two birds. but there is no audible sound. In the shastras this is experienced in the following way. rhythmic and proportionate. when both the nostrils flow equally. longevity is increased. They are the two birds. Breathe deeply like a person in deep sleep. It is a common experience that when sushumna is flowing. You must consciously notice every ingoing and outgoing breath. even without the help of a guru. 900 times in an hour. So long as ida and pingala function alternately. effortlessly.e. one does not achieve concentration even with great effort. After a few days practice. During the practice you must maintain complete and unceasing awareness of what you are doing. Both the birds were tied to a peg with separate strings. The breath flow in the right nostril corresponds to pingala or surya nadi. Not a single breath should go unnoticed. Thus they flew and returned many times. Instead of 15 breaths per minute. samadhi cannot be attained. According to swara yoga. Thus a person who has perfected ajapa japa will do 21. the heart or the self. meditation is wonderful because there is harmony in the entire system. Meditation posture Now we come to the asana.
while the vibrations that are created by the outgoing breath sound like Ham. centralize your awareness either at trikuti (the eyebrow centre) or at anahata chakra. there should be continuity. go on removing them. One day you do it. It is not physical mortification. go on to the next stage.’ Then go on counting until you come to ten. count two with the outgoing breath. On the count of five. Next synchronize the mantra Soham with the breath. There should be no mental pause between So and Ham. Maintain unceasing awareness of the breath and mantra. Put aside all worries and problems. peace and bliss. After two or three minutes resume the practice of ajapa japa. Foster collective consciousness and undistracted awareness. Do not produce any sound while breathing. Feel that you are introspecting upon Soham. Make yourself as light and relaxed as possible. ‘I am aware of five with the ingoing breath and I am aware of five with the outgoing breath. At the same time. you can also adjust your personal mantra with the breathing process. it is sustained endurance. SIX STAGES OF AJAPA JAPA Before beginning the practice. but the next day you lose patience. Again be alert. Go on counting like this until you reach five. So is the introspective sound of the ingoing breath. maintain the fullest awareness that you are counting ten. Feel that you are definitely counting five. Breathe in with So and breathe out with Ham. sit in the meditation posture and relax yourself physically and mentally for a few minutes. you need not think of the literal meaning of this word at all. Stage 2: Synchronizing Hamso with the breath . Feel calmness and serenity.run here and there. count two with the ingoing breath. there is a method of relaxation through counting the breath. Repeat this whole process two or three times. Intensify your awareness of the ingoing and outgoing breath. count one with the outgoing breath. Say to yourself mentally. create a mental vacuum. Feel the breath flowing in and out. Whatever thoughts come to you. Practise this stage for one month. Stop all thoughts. After perfecting it. You take a pledge that you will sit in one posture for 45 minutes every day and practise ajapa japa. The breathing is not automatic it is conscious. The ingoing breath moves downward from the throat to the navel and the outgoing breath moves upward from the navel to the throat. you must keep your resolve and continue the practice with patience for a month or so at least. Think only of shoonya. There should be continuous awareness of the ingoing and outgoing breath and Soham. If you prefer. the third day you lose interest and the fourth day you forget about the practice altogether. It is not ahamgraha upasana. In order to have success. Soham merely indicates the complete circuit of introspection upon the ingoing and outgoing breath. Become aware of the movement of prana with the breath. After integrating the mantra with the breath for a few minutes. be alert. The sound So joins with the ingoing breath and the sound Ham joins with the outgoing breath. If you are very tense. Stage 1: Synchronizing Soham with the breath Now start deep. rhythmic breathing. this makes one round. Count one with the ingoing breath. deep and relaxed. After Ham pause a little. continue conscious breathing in and out. If you practise with Soham.
sukhum. Practise this stage for one month and after mastering it. There is no pause in the breath. Experience emptiness. reverse the process. The process of deep breathing. Introspect upon Ham while exhaling and upon So while inhaling. relaxation and total awareness will be the same in this practice of Hamso as in the practice of Soham.During the first stage of ajapa japa. Be aware of the two individual sounds and do not unite them. Be conscious of Hamso throughout. As you breathe out. Ham is the introspective sound vibration of the outgoing prana and So of the ingoing prana. After practising this for a few minutes. which is more difficult and demands greater imagination. . There should be total awareness of the centre of meditation. As you breathe in. Do not put any pressure on the centre. In this stage the form of consciousness is a continuity. Thus alternately introspect on Soham or Hamso without any break. In this process there are two important factors: annihilation of the external consciousness and expression of the calm and quiet atman within. . Be aware of soundless. peaceful and relaxed breathing. . After Hamso there will be a short pause. be aware of the breath passing up from the navel. Simply concentrate your mind there. create a mental vacuum. After two or three minutes again resume the practice of individual So and individual Ham. go on to the next stage. Focus your consciousness at the centre of meditation. you introspect upon So with the ingoing breath and ham with the outgoing breath. . Now stop this practice and empty your mind. Now introspection is neither upon Soham nor Hamso. making an endless circle of Sohamsohamsohamso . Stage 3: The individual sounds of So and Ham In the first stage you formulated your consciousness of the pattern of Soham. Practise this stage for one month and after mastering it. Again after some time start the endless circle of Sohamsohamsohamso . After So there is a pause and again after Ham. take your consciousness either to trikuti or anahata chakra. So merging with Ham and Ham merging with So. Centralize your consciousness at the centre of meditation. After ajapa of Hamso for a few minutes. go on to the next stage. Mentally feel anandam. . Now in the second stage. be aware of the breath passing down to the navel. There should be no pause between Ham and So. At the end of the practice heighten your awareness of peace and rest. inhalation follows exhalation and exhalation follows inhalation. Stage 4: Merging of Soham and Hamso Start rhythmic breathing. but upon the individual sound of So with the ingoing breath and ham with the outgoing breath. Prolong the vibrations of So and join them with those of Ham. In the second stage you reversed it to Hamso. Now integrate the Soham mantra with the breath. paramam. Breathe in and out with full awareness. Remove all thoughts. Stage 5: Spinal passage rotation with kundalini visualization and Soham Now we come to the practice of rotating the consciousness in the spinal cord. shantam and mangalam.
you need not practise shanmukhi mudra. Now become aware of the spinal passage and take the ingoing breath from ajna chakra at the top of the spinal passage down to mooladhara chakra at the base. because if one can do it successfully. Close your eyes with the index fingers and lips with the ring and little fingers. After exhalation. rhythmic breathing. with the ingoing breath and the vibrations of So.First relax yourself mentally and psychically. Then while exhaling with the vibrations of Ham. Now retain your consciousness at mooladhara chakra for a few seconds while holding the breath. perfect and conscious mindfulness or awareness of what you are doing. add the Soham mantra. At mooladhara retain the breath and consciousness for a few seconds and meditate on the kundalini. During this brief period of rest. rotate . Meditate on kundalini for a few seconds. Then release the breath. Simply inhale and retain the breath. While inhaling take the vibrations of So from ajna chakra down to mooladhara. serenity. While holding the breath inside. In this practice the important things to be considered are rhythmic breathing. and complete relaxation. Rotation of the consciousness seems a little difficult in the beginning because it requires great imagination. After simple rotation of the breath and consciousness through the spinal passage and the chakras. As the breath moves down the spinal passage. good dreams and a change in mental outlook. you ascend the spinal passage. Visualize the red inverted triangle and within it kundalini. passing through each chakra junction. you descend the spinal passage. Practise deep. the dormant potentiality. passing through each chakra in turn. then exhale from mooladhara back up to ajna. Take a deep breath in and then close your nostrils with the middle fingers. which sleeps at the base of the spinal cord coiled up like a serpent with its tail upward and its mouth downward. At mooladhara you retain the breath consciousness and focus on kundalini for a few seconds. With the vibrations of So descend from ajna to mooladhara. rotate your consciousness in the spinal column. do not create emptiness. This practice is very important. heightened imagination. Stage 6: Soham with shanmukhi mudra This practice is more difficult and requires greater imagination. one will get peace. try to feel it piercing each chakra in turn. First of all. but do not try to name them or stop at any one. pause for a second or two at ajna. but with a little practice later on it becomes quite real and easy. pause at ajna and practise simple self-awareness. Just be aware of yourself. It is said that the person whose kundalini awakens gets peace first and knowledge next. To sum up. In the second part of the sixth stage. During the period of retention. Then exhale with the mental vibrations of Ham back up through the spinal passage from mooladhara to ajna. This meditation should be considered as successful if the practitioner gets peace and wisdom. and with the vibrations of Ham ascend from mooladhara to ajna. After exhaling with Ham. patience and control over the breathing process. practise self-awareness and mindfulness. Thus the fifth stage consists of rotating the breath and consciousness in the descending and ascending passage of the spinal column with the vibrations of So and Ham. practise shanmukhi mudra. Close your ears with the thumbs.
You need not worry about this. It is only when you finish the process of brooding that you realize you were thinking about such and such a thing. etc. breathing. you will never have success. The necessity of mindfulness Throughout these practices of ajapa japa. Descend from ajna to mooladhara. You have to be conscious of every process of breathing. During this period when you are brooding over the problem. Whenever your mind. Complete system of mental training This exposition of the method of ajapa japa being practical. the method of mindful concentration upon the breath was propounded. In meditation. four. If you fail to remember or understand this most important point. be alert. This is the fundamental and the only point in meditation to be remembered. they will immediately stop. This is called unceasing continuity. not much has been said here about the psychological significance of this kriya. It is a psychological fact that when you want to control the mind. you are not mindful that you are brooding. But if you quietly watch the mental activities. Therefore. but be aware that it is wandering. Therefore. While practising meditation. if you forget that you are meditating. be mindful that you are visualizing. it will wander ruthlessly and you will fail to control it. even if you meditate for a century. No mental activity should go unnoticed. The most important things in the practice of ajapa japa are rhythmic breathing and mindfulness or total awareness. drowsiness. your awareness dissipates. be absolutely awake and vigilant. While meditating there comes a state of tandra. If you can concentrate. However. You go on thinking of a certain problem for fifteen minutes or so. Throughout the process of meditation. and this is the trouble with almost every aspirant who meditates. It also has a sacred significance which has been hinted at in several cryptic and . You should never be unmindful of the process of concentration. then ascend to ajna and exhale. two three. if you count one. This is not meditation. In short. you must be mindful of every activity. but be aware of every tendency of the mind. stay at mooladhara for a few moments. you should become mindful of its every activity. In meditation. I always emphasize one point: be aware of what you are doing. be aware that you are concentrating. Even if it wanders. it is not to be forgotten that ajapa japa offers a permanent cure for all mental disorders and its therapeutic importance can hardly be overemphasized. Mindfulness should be unceasing and unobstructed. you will never get success in meditation. your consciousness. let it do so. concentration is not as important as mindfulness.your consciousness in the spinal column. in all the practices of ajapa japa I have tried to impress upon you this truth that instead of commanding the mind to stop forcibly. It is the very nature of the mind to wander and slip. Be conscious that you are counting. Rest and practise self-awareness in between rounds. your mind should not wander even for a single second.
Pare bhaave. higher secondary. This has been explained in the practices of ajapa japa. The fifth stage is a bit difficult in the sense that it requires greater power of imagination and concentration. A burning lamp cannot give full illumination if its glass is covered in smoke.mystical formulas in our ancient literature. (145) Anvay Bhooyah-bhooyah: being. Sah-atra: that have. There are different systems of meditation. in meditation there are four stages: relaxation. It removes the impurities of the mind. the light or the power of the atman is within us. in the supreme consciousness. the vagaries. Vijnanabhairava Satyananda 145. dissipations and distractions of the mind. It will take you some time to master it. Ajapa japa is a complete method of mental training. The light manifests itself when the physical consciousness. The practices of ajapa japa aim at achieving this end. So long as you do not transcend the body. Ajapa japa meditation helps one to withdraw the senses and awaken selfawareness. thinking of an idea). The first group relates to the body. you must begin right from the first stage of meditation and gradually go to the last. Similarly. Svayam: self. Out of these six practices. Even so. In order to attain success. you will not attain perfect serenity and peace. These and other important aspects of ajapa japa can better be discussed and understood after one has gained the experience of doing the japa practice. again and again. college and university education. awareness.e. the personality itself are eradicated totally. but once you do. the mind and the intellect. the sixth stage will also become much easier to practice. Hi yaa: is also. the third to the intellect and the fourth to the higher consciousness. Bhaavanaa: thought. in order to obtain the highest degree. Japak so'tra svayam naado mantraatmaa japya eedrishah. Bhaavyate: contemplate. Japah: recitation. the intellectual consciousness and. Japa dhaiana on the supreme consciousness Bhooyo bhooyah pare bhaave bhaavanaa bhaavyate hi yaa. the mental consciousness. unification and transcendence. but it does not manifest itself in our daily life because of the hindrances of the thought process. . you can conveniently practise the first four stages at home every day without difficulty. In an academic career one has to go through the primary. the second to the mind (i. Nadak: sound. Only when the glass is cleaned will the lamp shine fully. lastly.
this is also japa. goes outside. Flawsa fuintseti: mantra Hamsa. NHyaahah: always. Hamsa dharana Sakuarenu bahir yaali Itakaarena vishel pimah. Translation The breath is exhaled with the sound 'Ha' and inhaled again with the sound 'Sa'. Hence this dharana equates the act of breathing and the subsequent sound that is emitted as the real japa which has been infused in each and every being. Jeevo: individual. one can practise japa of anything. you are practising japa on her/him. which is the sound of the soul. Thus the individual always repeats this particular mantra Hamsa. After birth it is the guru who reminds us of this inborn treasure we have received as our natural heritage. Soham is the self-bom mantra. Bahir-yaati. Japaii: recites. 155b. japa now implies the idea uf mantra repetition.sound (which is spontaneously produced) is verily the soul of mantra. it can be said that by remembering your beloved the whole day.Mantraatmaa: atma of mantra. experiencing the anahad nada. that is reverberating throughout the universe. or the atma of all mantras. Svayam nado refers to the ajapa japa mantra Soham or Hamso that emanates from the heart centre. Commentary . (155b) Anvay Sakaarena: making the sound 'Sa'. That self. This is the real japa because all mantras have emanated from that anahad. The divine consciousness initiates us into this mantra at the very beginning of our existence in the mother's womb. Visket: enters or comes inside. Punah: again. Commentary Japa literally means 'repetition'. is these two mantras which once again bring us in touch with our creator. However. or unstruck cosmic sound. Maniram: mantra. For example. and is regarded as the soul or source of all mantras. for it. or anahata chakra T with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath. Japa is done like this. Japya: recitation. Hamsahamsetyantunt mantrarti jeevo japah nityashah. One can practise repetition of the remembrance of an idea or thought. In the same way one can continuously remember the Lord or contemplate on die idea that one is in the supreme conscious state. Eedrishah: like this. Due to constant association with mantra. Translation Contemplate on the thought of being in the supreme consciousness again and again. Hakaarena: with the sound 'Ha*. Allium: this particular.
The Jiva always utters the Mantra twenty-one thousand and six hundred times in one day and night. day and night. This sound of the breath is an intimate aspect of your being. Thenreciting of the mantra HAMSA is continuous. Exhalation produces the sound 'Ha' and inlialation 'Sa'. Prana pulls Apana. He who knows and realizes this mutual pull which is pulling to the top and bottom. Apana pulls Prana. Ilamsa is the self-born mantra which you receive from the Divine. This is called Ajapa Gayatri and is ever the bestower of Nirvana to the Yogins. 30 It goes outside with the sound “ha” and goes again inside with the sound “sa”. This generates the experience of the pancha vayus as they flow in the body.156. “Hamsa”. Breath is the mantra. would help one get rid of all sins. Dhyanabindu upanishad 61(b)-63. Eventually. 32 This mantra which is called “Ajapa Gayatri” would give salvation to all yogis. This dharana is also related to the first dharana in sloka 24. which subsequently leads to awareness of the cosmic prana or supreme source of the breath. or die exhalation to the inhalation by repeating Hamso. It is the mantra of the supreme Goddess. The Jiva comes out with the letter ‘Ha’ and gets in again with the letter ‘Sa’. You can join the inhalation to the exhalation by repeating the mantra Sobam. The beings keeping on chanting this mantra as “Hamsa”. 31 The beings always keep on chanting this mantra day and night twenty one thousand and one hundred times.edge you have been repeating this mantra from the moment you were horn because this sound is created by the outgoing and ingoing breath. however. which means 'spontaneous repetition'. 33 . an awareness of the gap between them should be developed by focusing at the point where the inhalation aims into exhalation or exhalation turns into inhalation. Yoga chudamani upanishad The Jeevatma (the soul of the physical individual) is under the control of prana which goes up and down as well as apana. you would realize the truth this very moment. If you could perceive this with total understanding. you come to know the self. understands yoga. Air is exhaled with the sound SA and inhaled with the sound HAM.'Ha' and 'Sa' together form the mantra of ajapa japa. and is the utterance of that supreme consciousness. Through understanding the mystery ol Soham or Hamsa. There the mind dissolves spontaneously. Vijnana bhairava Odier 155 a . Thus Jiva always utters the Mantra ‘Hamsa’. and is thus a natural and spontaneous way to turn the awareness towards the inner self. repeated twenty-onethousand times. ‘Hamsa’. because the prana and apana vayus mentioned there further manifest as the breath. Just a thought of this mantra. Even without your knowl.
. This is chanted in the Sushumna after being taught by the Guru in an inverted manner (Hamsa inverted is soham). 35 Yoga sikha upanishad 1. This is the greatest among the sciences of the soul. Hamsa” (while exhaling and inhaling). no chanting which is equivalent to this. Soham (I am it)” is called Mantra Yoga. and all beings naturally chant the mantra “Hamsa. This chanting of the mantra “Soham. 34 This Ajapa Gayatri which rises from the Kundalani supports the soul. and no wisdom equivalent to this and in future also this is not likely to be there.5 The prana goes out with sound “ham” and goes in with the word “sa”. He who knows this will know the Vedas.There are no practices as holy as this.
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