SOHAM MEDITATION TECHNIQUE AND RESEARCH STUDY
Soham Meditation Technique and Research Study
Vigraha naham, indriya naham…. kutaham Soham. ’-RAMANA MAHARISHI
Ramanamaharishi says,” I am not this body; I am not these sensations. I am not these thoughts. Who am I? I am ‘That”
Soham the sound of breath, the first sound ever one heard when the soul took a form. Almost all the meditation techniques that lead us to truth or ultimate happiness have a significance on the breath involved. This very breath is a means that helps one tread the path to the truth. Observing this very breath, it’s feel, rhythm and minute details, we find the sound as “soo ham.”
Shodasha bhany hamsa ko…. Purusha darbara hai – Saint Kabir describes the soul as a radiant, bright light, as radiant as sixteen sun gods put together; where the unique sound of the Veena is audible and that these liberated souls served the Raja, i.e. the Sat Purusha -the ever existent Lord.
This Sanskrit word, SOHAM correlates to the sound of inhalation as Soo and Hum - as the sound of exhalation and meaning of Sohum is “I am He” or “I am That” individual self with the universal self, a mantra of immense significance in the tantrism and kriya yoga. “Hong – Sau” meaning being the same “I AM HE/THAT” is a technique Sri Paramahansa Yogananda brought it to the west in 1920. Om mantra is like a studded jewel within Soham mantra.
Mention from the Vedic texts explains that Soham and Hansa have the same significance. That is; the ‘Hakar’ sound of exhalation represents a manifestation of God Shiva and Sakar sound of inhalation; corresponds to that of Sakti (Goddess Parvathi) and that Humsa and Sohum have got the same meaning. One should constantly be aware of the reflection of the sound of the breaths the ‘Sohum’, for ultimate success and ideally, this mantra is continuously repeated and mentally, i.e. Ajapa-Japa.
In Muladhara and Anahata, automatic formation of the sohum/humsa-mantra takes place. Its japa is like an ocean with infinite bliss. Contemplation on its meaning during sadhana bestows one with emotional wellbeing. Ahead of all these sounds is the stillness, silent sound out of which they all emerged. Contemplation of the mantra, when practised with awareness on it’s meaning, gross vibrations and feeling associated with the mantra yields fruitful results. Finally, there is the soundless sound, the essence of the mantra. The meaning of this silent sound of the Soham mantra can only be experienced by following the sounds inward to that place where it’s essence is revealed. Only with conviction and persistent attention to it is what that makes the voice clear, not the elimination of the other people sounds. The Soham mantra is extremely useful when practised along with diaphragmatic breathing.
1. To study the effect of “SOHAM” meditation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in long-term meditators while they were meditating and not meditating(control period) to study the emotional state, attention and working memory of the meditators. Results showed activation of the left side of various brain regions.
2. The voxel?based morphometry (VBM) analysis, anatomical correlates of long?term meditators involved in the practice of “SOHAM” meditation have been studied. Results indicate significantly higher grey matter density in the brain stem, ventral pallidum, and the supplementary motor area in the meditators as compared with age?matched non-meditators and this implies enhanced intellect.
3. Deepika of Dev Sanskrit Vishva Vidyalaya studied the effect of Ajapa Japa on stress levels of 20 students (2013) through simple random sampling using stress scale. Results of Ajapa Japa proved that the individuals experienced peace, happiness, developed positive thinking & self-esteem, balanced state of mind and emotions, improvements in self-reported behavioural flexibility, better sleeping habits, lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate levels, indicating less severe illnesses and a slower ageing process. They have increased word fluency. Improved blood circulation in the face region by getting rid of toxins for glowing skin, decreased medical expenditures, decrease smoking addictions. Thus one can control his Surya and Chandra swaras and hence the functioning of the body and the mind through this meditation -ajapa japa.
Sohum/Humsa mantra meditation corrects the imbalance when practised through proper breathing techniques, persistent practice and imparts the following benefits;-
• Enhanced self-esteem
• Destroys Taapa or pain
• Develops blood circulation
• Balances the endocrine system
• Improved breathing -inculcates deep breaths
• Ideal blood pressure, enhancement of cognitive skills
• Relief from pain between our muscles, back and the knee section
• Helps explore the inner energy or prana, relieves stress and aids focus
• Enhanced intellect, memory with greater clarity
• Improves one’s personality, makes a qualitative transformation in the Sadhaka’s vision
• Oxygenates the skin making it look younger and glowing
• Balanced hormonal production for an overall sense of well-being
• The health of the lungs enhanced and can serve as adjuvant therapy for asthma
• Improves the stamina of the person, enables the performance of the physical and mental tasks ideally
• Stimulates the inner organs and activates the nervous system thus enhances the alert level of the body.
• Helps stimulate chakras, thereby strengthens the immune system and aids a disease free body.
• Destroys all delusions, bestows longevity and energises Prana
• Removes all fears and feelings of insecurity, attracts positive energy thus relaxes the mind and body.
• Awareness, alertness, self-control, enlightened thoughts and spirituality enhanced
• Mantra destroys the three Granthis or knots of ignorance, Avidya, Kama and Karma
• It bestows Ashta Siddhis (special spiritual powers)
• Emotional and psychological health and overall wellbeing
Ultimately, it is that brilliant light for sadhakas/practitioners- the pilgrims on the path of enlightenment.
Om Paramahamsaaya Vidmahe Mahatatvaya Dhimahi. Tanno Hamsha Prachodayaat
“May we realise Humsa that is our self as Swan and meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self.
May Humsa illumine us.”