Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

‘Soham’, when formally ‘given’ to you by a Jivan-Mukt Sat-Guru is ‘Sushumna Yog.

A Jivan-mukt has understood the real meaning of the Maha-vakya, ‘tat tvam asi’. Maha-vakya महावाक्य means the great saying, assertion, declaration, rule. ‘Tat tvam asi’ loosely means ‘you are that’, but understanding this and experiencing this means you have achieved Sadyo-mukti. ‘Tat tvam asi’ is called the Brahmaakara Vritti, ie the state of the mind which takes you towards the Eternal Intelligence. Only such a Jivan mukt Guru can ‘give’ you Soham in all its grandness. eg your friend calls you by your full name and then your Mom calls you by your full name. When your Mom calls you with your full name, you get all alert and awake, her voice and your name trigger something within you.

Soham is the right of every living being. You keep doing it regularly in some small way with intention and it will slowly reset your energy. (Like that friend calling you by your name.) And then at some point of time, you will meet your Sat-Guru who will formally ‘give’ it to you. (This would be like your Mom calling you). When you hear this mantra from a Jivan-mukt, you hear it from the Nirvishesh Brahma itself. The mantra then goes deep inside and resets your energy in a fast forward mode. This now becomes Sushumna Yog, the route to Moksh. It opens access to the Sushumna nadi and the Brahma-nadi within it.

Soham has the power to take you into Kevala-Kumbhak spontaneously. Kumbhak is commonly considered to be the pause between the act of breathing in-Purak and breathing out-Rechak. But actually ‘Kumbhak’ means a pause in breathing. The breathing stops. Kevala Kumbhak means the stoppage of breath when the mind is silenced, completely motionless. In your Dhyan when you reach a point where the mind is utterly calm, the breathing stops. This stoppage can be in mid-inward breath, in mid-outward breath or between the Rechak/ Purak, anytime. This is called the state of Kevala Kumbhak.

When the breath stops, your pran are in your conscious control, the mind/Manas is still. Soham dissolves the individual ego/ Ahamkara completely. Grants you perfect memory/ Chitta of yourself. Perfect intelligence/ Buddhi dawns on you. You gain the knowledge/ Vijnyan of the Eternal. 

Initially this kumbhak will be for short time, later it can extend to hours as a Samadhi. Kevala Kumbhak is the highest form of Kumbhak. For those who attempt reaching this Kevala Kumbhak by consciously manipulating pran, the entire and very complicated process is given in the Yog-shikha Upanishad. But attempt this only under the guidance of a real Guru who knows what he is doing. Do not experiment here. Else you can burn up your Nadi-s, if this happens you have to discard your current body and take another body/life. (I have heard examples where aspirants burnt their nadi-s and then physically died a few months later.)

For attaining Moksh, both practice and philosophy is necessary. One trains the pran/ vital energy and the other trains the mind. Mind can be controlled by only if you control Pran and the easiest way to control Pran is to focus on your breath. The spiritual path can be very dangerous if you do not follow a Sat-Guru. You are manipulating the energies enveloping your soul, it is risky without the proper guide. All the books in Sanatan Dharma, Brahma-sutra, Bhagvat Gita, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Devi Mahatmya, Ved, Vedang, Upanishad, etc emphasise the supreme importance of the Sat-guru in attaining Sadyo-mukti, Advaitya.

Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

I have seen my own Sat-Guru  in his physical shell as a Jivan-mukt and his full Advaita form after the shell dissolved.

A Jivan-mukt is innocence, untouched by physical/ emotional distress. Every word uttered by him is deepest philosophy. Every sentence when pondered upon, means only the Advaita. He cannot ever talk on any materialistic topic, he has transcended all this dross. He will not do moorti-pujas, pilgrimages, rituals, yadnas, homa or any other outer forms of worship connected to this illusory worlds, nor will he tell his disciples to do so. (My Guru would pointedly say no to all this as this. But he would tell us to increase our Dhyan.) He will give the same final mantra (Om/ Soham/ Hamsa) to all his disciples. To him, each one is the same Parabrahma. He does not discriminate among his disciples. He looks fresh and always welcoming. There are no bindings on how one has to be before coming before him. (Some Yogi-s are particular about women in their 5 days cycle. Or do not allow others to touch, have strict conditions on food etc). A Sat-guru has no requirements, no hang-ups, nothing. I have seen my Sat-guru eating out of silver plates and with the same innocence having simple food in the house of a poor disciple. Not finicky about habits, nothing. And this doesn’t mean that you can take him lightly. His aura is tremendous, you can not do anything but bow before him. All thoughts flee your mind in his presence. (I could never ask him for anything in words. Yet he always answered the questions I used to ask him in my mind). You feel the immenseness of him. Only those few people who have actually seen a Jivan-Mukt can understand what I have written here.

(Eg. Once he stopped his car in front of a Mumbai slum. My Mom was travelling with him. He asked her to go into the slum and call a woman, he told her the name. A elderly beggar woman came out. He asked her if she would like to go and live in his Math in Kolhapur district. She thought it over and said yes. He gave her money to buy some clothes and tickets. She lived in the Math and helped out in the kitchens. After some 25yrs, by his blessings, she left her body sitting in Dhyan. There are numerous such examples with my Guru.)

A Jivan-mukt’s body is linked to the Prarabdha-karma linked to the body at birth. So the body will play out its karmic activities. But the Soul is the pure Advaita. The pain/ pleasure of the body does not exist for the Soul. It has entered the Unmani-avastha, ‘beyond the mind’. The only purpose of the body is to enjoy/ endure karma. The soul has nothing to do with karma. You are not the body, you are the Soul, so its karmic pain/ pleasure has nothing to do with you. If you understand and experience this, you are Mukt.

Now whenever I see him he is in his full Advaita form, just the conscious Nirvishesh Brahma. It is very different and more intense.

So the point is, in this world, there are very rare Jivan-mukt available, maybe one in a hundred million. If you have the all-consuming desire to Know yourself, you will meet one, like the beggar woman whom my Sat-guru picked out of the slums. But until this happens, it is best that you do your Soham-Dhyan. Better trust your own higher self rather than putting your trust in some dubious ‘guru’. There are so many frauds in this world who are more than ready to take advantage of your fire and your energy. A Yogi who is higher up on the route can help you but only a Sat-Guru can really guide you home.

Do your Soham-Dhyan as per your conscience. This will prepare you for the moment when you will meet your Sat-guru. ‘Soham’ is not secret, everyone knows it. But when you hear it from your Sat-guru as a Naam-mantra, ie with the intention that ‘Soham’ is your name, it changes your energies completely. The Advaita itself tells you your name and directs you to focus on this now onwards. I was very young when my Sat-guru ‘gave’ it to me, but I remember every second of that experience.

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There was a question for references on Soham. For me the biggest reference is that my Sat-Guru gave it to me. But you can go through the following if you are so inclined,

  • Brahma vidya upanishad mentions that Soham is the mantra.
  • Yog shikha upanishad mentions that the Ajapa mantra under the guidance of a Sat-guru and for Sushumna yog is ‘Soham’. This is a part of mantra yog. The only route to liberation is the Sushumna yog and the ones who follow this route are the Jivan-mukt. Liberation is possible in one life itself if you slowly, little by little but regularly perform Soham.
  • Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, my Sat-guru’s Guru-brother writes in his books that if one follows one’s Sat-guru’s direction and Soham-Dhyan, it takes two years to attain Moksh.
  • Isha upanishad mentions that Soham is the illumination, the highest blessing.
  • Brihad aranyak upanishad says that when the Advaita first took the form of the Purush, the first words said by this conscious intelligence were ‘Soham asmi’, ‘I am That’. The Purush is aware that he is the Non-dual, no one but him existed nor exists nor will exist. (For details on what the Purush is you will need to read the Sankhya philosophy.)
  • Hamsa upanishad, says that ‘Soham’ is the ‘kilak’, ie it is the pin, wedge, pillar, bolt, to which the entire ‘Hamsa soham’ mantra is fastened to. If you use this ‘Soham’ as a kilak, ie make it the sharp cutting edge of your spiritual practice you attain Moksh.
  • Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra mentions ‘Soham’ and ‘Hamsa’.
  • In the phalashruti of Vishnu sahastra nama, the highest One says that these 1000 names of Vishnu are equivalent to one Soham mantra.
  • There are several tantra books, philosophy commentaries and stotras which mention Soham.

If you think that ’Soham’ is very simple, try doing it for one hour with your breath as you do your daily commute sitting in the bus or train. See how many times you forgot to keep track of your breath. See how many times your attention was diverted from your breath and your mantra by what you saw/ heard in the train. Keeping track of breath is not so easy! But as you train your mind, direct it again and again to focus on your breathing pattern, you will notice changes in yourself. Your mind will become calmer, recovery from emotional outbursts will be faster, your health indicators will improve, you will look younger, fresher, your aura will become more intense etc. 

Sohams’s greatest power is that everyone can do it. All the time, in all conditions of the body/ mind. There is no binding of any sort on doing it. You can do it on your asan, in the bus, while you are having a bath, while walking in the park, at all times. Every breath you take should be converted to Soham, in every state. This means that you will be doing 21,600 Soham jaap every day! But then your breathing will also slow down. eg I have observed that when I am just sitting, reading or typing it goes to 2-3 per minute and sometimes stops. Slowed breathing increases your body’s life-span and health. The life of a person is measured in breaths, the more you sit in Samadhi or in Dhyan, the slower you breathe, the longer your body will sustain. 

Soham is the gem among the mantras, it gives the highest benefit, Sushumna Yog, and ultimately Moksh, Sadyo-mukti in the most easiest, safest, gentlest and kindest ways and in this one life-time itself.

 

Karma action fruits of action, Bhagwat Gita style

There were several questions, I have sort of combined them in this post. 

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

“Could you please write something on how meditation helps on karmic levels.” There was this question, so writing it as a post.

The short answer. If you do regular Dhyan, you will realise that Karma is an illusion. You will actually experience this fact. Then you remain in eternal happiness, Param-anand.

Now the longer discussion.

There are three types of karma,

Sanchit karma – the entire accumulated load from several lives which you have to rebalance at some point of time, either in this life or the next ones.

Prarabdha karma – that part from the above load which you have decided to rebalance in this current life. This is chosen by you at the time of birth and lasts till the moment of physical death. This can be seen from your horoscope. As long as your soul animates this current 5-layered body, its linked Prarabdha karma will run its course. It is like an arrow released and will continue its motion till it exhausts its energy. In case you attain Realisation, ie Sadyo-Mukti and become a Jivan-mukt, the body will continue to be animated and operate as per the chosen prarabha karma till the time of physical death. (Do read the posts on on Sadyo-mukti/ Krama-mukti and on Jivan-mukti/ Videha mukti.)

Agaami karma – The  karma which you will possibly create in this current life. If this is of a smaller magnitude, you will be able to rebalance it in this current life itself. But if it is of a larger magnitude, it will be added to your Sanchit karma and you will rebalance it in your future lives.

When you achieve Sadyo-mukti, ie experience yourself as the Parabrahma, the Advaita, the Nirvishesh brahma, all the stored karma Sanchit karma is burnt at that very instant. And now you are a realised soul, so creation of new karma will be impossible too.

Karma is linked to the 5-layered body which is animated by your soul. No karma can touch the Soul/ Atma. The Soul is beyond all concepts of karma. But when a Soul resides in the body it mistakenly believes that it is linked to karma, now this is called an individual soul or Jiv-atma. Eg there is the Sun in the sky and clouds over it. The clouds are nothing to the Sun and neither are linked to him. But we think that the Sun is covered by the clouds. The Soul is similarly covered by the clouds of karma. When you do Dhyan, these clouds are shown to be immaterial and you experience the Soul.

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Meditation is a very misunderstood word. Modern people think that listening to relaxing music or not thinking of anything or sitting motionless in a dark room is mediation. All this is good to relax your mind, but it won’t do anything for your spiritual progress.

The correct word is Dhyan. There is no translation possible of this Sanskrit word ‘Dhyan’. Here you are required to elevate your limited awareness to the level of the Parabrahma by thinking of yourself as the Parabrahma itself. This continued thought is called Dhyan. You concentrate on this one thought exclusively. No other thoughts are allowed to enter your mind except this. You give all your attention to this thought, you appreciate its non-duality, its existence within yourself.

Dhyan means ‘motionlessness’. This ‘absence of movement’ has very deep connotations. The continuous motion of the three-Gun, the Satva-Raja-Tama is stilled. Prakruti stops her performance, ie the illusion of manifested creation stops. You observe oneself, you become a witness. And you identify with the catalyst who remains still rather than the puppet who is in motion.

You are required to sit (post here). Not lie down, as you will go to sleep. Neither can you stand or do any actions while doing Dhyan, because your mind will also think on how to do these actions or how to keep standing without falling. Dhyan needs continuity of the physical state so that your mind can concentrate only on the non-dual subtlest intelligence within you. So you have to sit. If the body is at rest the mind also rests. It becomes easier to focus.

But there really are no rules on how to sit or where to sit or how to sit at what time etc. But to begin with, you have to fix your place (asan) and also a time, eg daily at 7am or whatever is possible on a regular basis. This will help your mind get used to the idea of Dhyan. Later, with practice, as the mind gets trained, there are no rules as this becomes a constant thought. Even later this goes deep that every instant is a Dhyan. This will continue non-stop till physical death. If you are able to strongly hold on to this thought at the instant of death you will attain the highest Sadyo-mukti of the Videha kind when you exit the body.

The life you are living is actually a preparation for the instant of physical death. If you concentrate on something for a life time, you will easily be able to concentrate on it at the moment of your exit thus achieve it. The moment of exit is the most powerful moment of your life. Eg if you concentrate on the idea that you are a devotee of Vishnu, you will go to Vaikunth. If you concentrate that you are a devotee of Shiv, you will go to Kailas. These states are called the lower Krama-mukti. The moment of physical exit is the critical point. If at this moment you are fixed in the idea that you are the Parabrahma, you will attain the highest possible Sadyo-mukti of the Videha kind. You will be able to do this only if you have trained your mind for a life-time, so we are all required to do Dhyan.

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

There are just the three possible mantras which are possible for Dhyan, Om, Soham and Hamsa.

Om is generally used by people who have renounced all forms of material bindings and are totally focussed on the Eternal. There is are specific ways of using Om, this will be taught to you by your own Guru. I know someone very senior who does Om Dhyan. Aged, now in his 70’s, his wife too in her 70’s. He was initiated when he was in his 20-s, after which his family got him married. His wife once told me that he used to beg for her permission to become a formal ascetic, but she refused. If you practice Om-dhyan in all its intensity, it is equivalent to formal asceticism. Even if you feel attracted to material life from time to time, it will be superficial because Om will always strongly pull you inward. Om is is Sanyas. Sanyas सम्यक् न्यास means that you are putting the Conscious energy perfectly within yourself. Once you start it in real earnest, you cannot get interested in or remain much in the material illusory world, the Eternal will pull you very strongly.

Then Hamsa and Soham are the two Ajapa mantras. Every living being unconsciously recites these mantras with every breath. If you adopt them as your Mantra, now onwards, you will use them consciously. Hamsa is the Ajapa mantra when you first exhale and mentally recite ‘hmm’ and then inhale and mentally recite ’saaa’. Together it makes ‘hamsa’. The details of this are given in detail in the Hamsa upanishad. But this upanishad is so utterly high level that even if you understand what it means, you won’t be able to perform the process. Possibly it involves Hatha yog too as complicated movements of pran and bandha etc are described in it. Hamsa vidya is when this mantra gains power with regular practice. I have not been taught it so do not know more. But it is a very powerful means of attaining the Self.

Soham is the second Ajapa mantra. My Sat-Guru taught all his disciples the ‘Soham’ mantra. Here you breathe in with the internal sound ‘sooo’ and exhale with the internal sound of ‘hmmm’. Together it makes ‘soham’. It is called the Ajapa-Gayatri by some people. It enlightens you to your real nature. The only thing you have to do is to internally recite the ‘soo’ and ‘hmm’ with your every breath. All the time, every breath. This is all you need to do. Soon it will become so intense that even if you deep sleep or dream, you will consciously recite it continuously. Never force your breathing, always breathe normally gently as you do. No sound should be created by your breathing. Some people breathe heavily and a sound is created by the air moving in your nose. Avoid this, it cause damage to your Nadi-s. The breathing should be noiseless, only then you will ‘hear’ the associated ‘soo’ and ‘hmm’ sounds. If you can sit down in a formal Dhyan even 1-2 times a day then it becomes even more intense.

Everyone can do Soham-jaap. Some people have this misconception that higher level mantras can be given only to the higher aspirants. This is incorrect. A genuine Sat-Guru will give you the full and final Mantra in the first step itself. You and me both are the Advaita, the Eternal. We are all capable of focussing on our real name. Maybe someone has lesser power of concentration to begin with, but the Mantra is so powerful that it does its own work.

Now the thing is with the householder’s life, Gruhast-ashram, we are required to perform all activities related to society, family, spouse/children etc. So doing Dhyan thrice a day 1hr each session may not be possible. So the best option is to do Soham jaap whenever you can, 1-2 mins whenever you are free, during the day/night, when you are travelling etc. This will ensure that your mind is gradually trained to think of itself. ‘Soham’ is Sushuma Yog, you will pull you towards yourself with its power. And if you get time, if you can sit in formal Dhyan, your progress towards yourself will be faster.

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

Now when you sit for Dhyan, each breath is considered to be one life time. Each breath is used to burn the karma of a life-time. It is a very intense exercise. Can you imagine the focus needed to consciously convert the energies of say five hundred million breaths, which is about a 65yrs life span, into one breath? But this does happen when you are very highly focussed on your mantra, not otherwise. If you practice daily, it will eventually happen with you too.

Even if you cannot reach this intensity in this lifetime, whatever you did will be carried over into your next life. So it is an asset you are generating. Dhyan makes the Mind still. And then the benefits of a relatively calm mind are obvious. You will look younger, more healthier, live longer, more mentally stable, more rational, less perturbed by events around you. Even if a karmic event occurs in your life, you are more easily able to navigate through it. And the chances of creating deep-rooted Agaami karma are also reduced as you do not react to situations from your deepest core. You are more in tune with your conscience. You go through events without disturbing your innermost self. The intensity of your desires will reduce with time. Frustrations disappointments reduce in intensity as your mind fluctuates less.

Then when you continually contemplate on your Reality, you force your mind to think of Yourself repeatedly. You realise, dimly at first and then very strongly that the creation which surrounds you is an illusion. As you remove the bindings laid on you, your experiences in Dhyan become more profound. You enter even deeper into yourself, you realise that Karma itself is an illusion. You are the Soul, this intention becomes stronger and stronger. You finally realise that there is no difference in the states of happiness/sadness. Every instant is filled with the awareness of non-duality.

So the short answer is again that if you do regular Dhyan, you will realise that Karma is an illusion, you experience this reality. You will always be in eternal happiness, Param-anand.

This post is basically from the Brahma-sutra, from what I was taught by my Sat-Guru and what I personally practice.

 

Your conscience and your soul

This really old Hindi song to me is beautifully meaningful. A rough translation, “I walked together with Life. I blew away every worry into smoke and went on. Grieving about past tragedies was meaningless. I celebrated every tragedy and walked on. What was given to me, I accepted it as destined. What was lost, I forgot it all and went on. There is one point where there is no difference between happiness and sorrow. I consciously brought my heart to this final destination and went on.”

Sounds heard during meditation

There was a question on this, so a quick post. As you do your regular spiritual practice using the mantras Soham or Hamsa or Om, you will see signs of your progress. These are not achievements in any sense of the word, just signs that you are following your route. As per the Hamsa upanishad this is the sequence of the sounds,

  1. Chinni – a single sound heard occasionally, like a single chirrup of a cricket
  2. Chinni- chinni – a sound like crickets, but tinkling-like and pleasant.
  3. Bells ‘Ghanta’ ringing – a deep tolling bell
  4. Conch ‘Shankh’ being blown
  5. A musical instrument’s string being plucked ‘Tantri’
  6. Cymbals ‘taal’ 
  7. Flute ‘Venu’
  8. Drums ‘Mridanga’
  9. War drum ‘Bheri’ 
  10. Thundering ‘Megh-naad’ 

When you do your practice and do it for sometime, you first hear the single ‘chini’ type of sound occasionally. Then when you start hearing the second sound and till the last thundering sound, these sounds are on all the time, a muted continuous background sound. You can hear them all the time if you are in a silent room. In fact you can feel their vibrations in your body if you are sitting quietly in a silent room. Sometimes one sound will predominate and at other times some other sound. Some of the sounds are on high pitch and some are very low bass notes. Each is a constant sound, eg you will not hear varying pitches in the stringed instrument, it will be like someone picked just one string and its sound is heard constantly. It not like someone is playing your chakras like a guitar! You have to sit in a silent room as they cannot be heard properly in a noisy environment. If you use ear plugs, you might miss out the lowest pitched ones. Also do not plug your fingers in your ears, as you will then ‘hear’ the muscles in your fingers snapping, this will interfere with your ‘listening’ to your inner sounds. A silent room is best. 

You will also hear other sounds as your Ajnya chakra gets more charged up. Eg sounds of bumble bees, birds twittering, frogs croaking, wind rushing, the constant flow of a river, white noise etc. You will also hear single sharp cracks and thudding sounds as if a wood has snapped or a huge weight has fallen next to you. You will hear so many sounds in your Dhyan. But these are one-off sounds, you don’t hear them always on.

And don’t worry if you don’t hear them all or all in sequence or if you do not remember hearing them. In deep Dhyan, the Mind, both conscious and unconscious, is switched off. So whatever visions appear before you or sounds you hear, you might not be able to clearly remember them after you get up.

Sounds heard during mediation

Then while you are ‘hearing’ all this you will also have these effects on your body. These really happen so do not feel scared when they start. Pran moves along your body in waves, so the hair on your skin all stand up for minutes (very common). You feel coolness on your skin. You feel wind rushing on your skin. Your throat constricts and your sound box moves upwards. The body muscles contract and tremble spasmodically. You might feel pain and then again it gets soothed. There may be cycles of these sensations. You might feel pressure in your third eye area, or on the top of your head at specific points, you might feel coldness trickling down your head. You might feel your third eye ‘pop’, ie something like ‘air’ popped out from there. Your backbone might stiffen, your neck posture can rearrange itself. Eyes will get sealed shut, you will not be able to open them even if you want to. 

But in Dhyan, you are not supposed to get involved in observing these things. Your only job is to sit comfortably, breathe slowly, focus on the third eye and recite your mantra in your mind.

Then these things initially happen only when you are actively sitting on your Asan and focussing intently. The Mind has to be still. These generally won’t happen when you are in office and doing your official stuff. (But if you take a 5min break and do a quick mini-Dhyan in office you can experience all this there too.) And as this happens when you are doing your Dhyan you might not really be aware of these separate processes. I really wasn’t aware of much of these things until I read the Hansa Upanishad. As I read the descriptions I realised that this stuff had happened but I was so immersed that it did not register nor did I remember it when I got up.

The Upanishad says these following are the effects on the body as you progress, body feels pins and needles, hair stand up. Then there is pain as the pran pierces through the Sushumna nadi. (Or you might feel an oily dense liquid thing which would be the Kundalini moving) You might feel that things are snapping and breaking inside you. Shivering and trembling of muscles occurs. Saliva collects in your mouth. Then nectar collects in your throat, ie the secretions of the pineal gland are now available for your conscious use. You will be made aware of the secret knowledge ie things which you had read earlier will now give different secret meanings, you will spontaneously ‘know’ so many things about yourself and others around you. Then you will know the secret of mantras also you will hear mantras being spoken in your ears as you do your Dhyan, or even when you are sitting silently anywhere. The 9th step is that you gain control over your body, ie you can dissolve it to pure energy and reform it again wherever you want. You will also gain complete control over your Ajnya chakra, you will be able to ‘see’ energies which cannot be described. The last step is the realisation of the Parabrahma at the Brahma-randhra ie at the very top of your head, at the very ‘center’ of the Sahasrara chakra complex. 

Your 5-layered body is the vehicle with which your Soul will cross the geometry created by Prakruti and your Soul will finally realise itself. These signs are very clearly mentioned in several texts and they do happen. For some aspirants they may merge into one single event and they may not even realise that these have happened. These are not achievements, they are merely signposts that you are on the right route and progressing. However interesting these on-the-way things may seem to be. You as a spiritual aspirant should never relax your focus on the ultimate prize, Moksh

 

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Your conscience and your soul

Someone asked me, ‘What does the soul contain? Where is the mind in our body? How do I know it is my higher self taking decisions in my day to day life happenings?’. Here are some points which you can think over if they make sense to you. Some of this is from standard books and some from my personal experiences and understanding.

‘What does the soul contain?’

Your Soul is your awareness, a spark of divine energy. There is an energy inside you which is aware, conscious, alert, intelligent. It is because of this awareness that you animate this ‘body’ (your ‘body’ has 5 layers, detailed post here). When the Soul’s aware energy exits the body, the body loses awareness ie dies. Your Soul is constant, unchangeable, eternal, indestructible. The body is obviously destructible. The body exists only for the sake of creating and enjoying/enduring karma and its repercussions. The horoscope can analyse just this 5-layered body. The horoscope cannot be used to analyse the Soul. The enveloping layers of the body are sometimes called ‘Maya’ ie the undefinable or ‘Deha-buddhi’ ie the intellect limited by the enveloping body. This geometric envelope obscures the light of the Soul. Thus your awareness is obscured, lowered and limited to only the body, you cannot perceive or experience your real nature. You are made to forget that you are pure awareness, pure Soul. It is like a fog drawn over your real Awareness. As you forget that you are the Soul, you start believing that you are the body.

Most of your clients will be in this category, they fully believe that they are the 5 layers of the body. Thus they create more karma, the impulses of their past karmas affect them deeply, they deeply laugh/cry and enjoy/endure Maya. You can chart out their life reasonably accurately using their own horoscope’s patterns. Your horoscope shows your Prarabdha karma ie how much karma have you have decided to go through in this life. The body will continue till this target is achieved then dissolve. And the horoscope also shows the possibility of Agami karma, ie how new karma will be created in this life. (Sanchita karma is your total karmic backlog)

Some people who have done practices to increase their ‘awareness’ understand that they are not the body but are the pure Soul. These people know this as a concept but they have not experienced this in the real sense as yet. They are working on it, doing their regular spiritual practice with intention. These people are somewhat immune to the ravages of karma on the body, but they are still influenced by it. You might see this happening to yourself if you are a spiritual aspirant. eg you are committed to your spiritual practice and in one critical transit of Saturn or Rahu/Ketu or Jupiter (slow planets), you lose all your focus. The material beckons you again, you want to go out with your girlfriend/ boyfriend or you suddenly feel that spiritual path is going well so now it is time to enjoy some material comforts. Your Deha-buddhi or Maya tries to assert itself and to pull you away from your pursuit of Awareness. These are testing times, if you lose focus now, you slip very badly.

As you advance deeper into your spiritual practice, as you increase your awareness levels, you get nearer to the pure Soul Experience. As you reach closer to your destination, the karmic impacts lessen but the karmic tests become even more subtle. If you cross all these and Realise the Soul, you are called a Jivan-mukt. At this stage, you are pure Soul, your awareness, consciousness, intelligence has reached the highest possible position, this is called the Advaita state. You experience yourself continually. You are aware of yourself all the time, in every state, in every condition of the body, you remain immersed in Intelligence, you Know you are the Soul. At this state your Soul has removed the envelope Maya, dissolved the Deha-buddhi and Seen itself forever. The fog has cleared and the light shines through. Now the Soul may remain in the body till its prarabdha karma is exhausted, ie till the physical dissolution of the body. But during this period its Awareness is Eternal. During this period from Realisation to the death of the physical body, the Soul is completely dissociated from the karma of the body. Whatever may happen to the body, You are not concerned in any way whatsoever. And you are Pure Awareness now, you do not create any more karma, ie no Agami karma is created and Sanchita karma is burnt the instant you See yourself.

So in short, Soul is Awareness. When you experience yourself as the Pure Awareness, the Nirvishesh Brahma, you attain Nirgun Moksh.

Your conscience and your soul

The soul is located ‘behind’ the Ajnya chakra in a dedicated ‘ashta-padma-dala-chakra, ‘eight-petalled Lotus’ chakra. This is a specialised chakra, ie the Brahmanadi within the Sushumna nadi loops around itself here and creates this specific energy vertex. These loops are in all possible dimensions. The Hamsa Upanishad describes this chakra in detail. The Soul resides here in an energy form called ‘Hamsa‘. (This Hamsa is composed of the energies of Agni, Soma Rudra, Rudrani, Kaal, Om and Bindu.)

The possible eight tendencies of this chakra are – 1. doing virtuous actions, 2. sleep, laziness etc, 3. doing cruel actions, 4. doing inauspicious deeds, 5. sensual gratification, 6. doing movement type of activities, 7. indulging in lust/sexual desires and 8. desire for accumulating material stuff. These eight tendencies are linked to the eight loops of the chakra. ie when Soul/awareness is linked to a particular loop, tendencies linked to it are activated in the body. When awareness exists ‘between’ these loops, there is indifference to material pleasures, an ascetic mindset. The three states of existence, waking state, dreaming state, deep sleep state are linked to the central axis of this ‘lotus’, at the ‘stamen’, ‘basal sepals’ and ‘innermost seed’ of this ‘lotus’. The fourth state, Turiya is possible when the Awareness leaves this chakra. And the final Turiya-teet, the beyond Turiya, ie Moksh is possible when this Awareness merges itself in the Eternal Non-dual. The Upanishad says that 1crore jaap/ repeats of the Hamsa mantra lead to Moksh.

Your conscience and your soul

Where is the mind in our body?

There are 5 layers of the body. Physical body is anna-mai-kosh. Subtle body is the three layers of pran-mai-kosh, mano-mai-kosh and vidnyan-mai-kosh. Causal body is the anand-mai-kosh. Then is the Soul within these multiple layers. This complex is called a Jiv-atma, the individual soul, as it is enveloped in this body/karmic baggage.

Mind is the Mano-mai-kosh, which is concerned with mental processes and emotions. Here emotions are on a relatively low level as the power of discrimination does not exist in this layer. ie all living animals who can understand pain have this layer active in their bodies. This layer is a part of the subtle body, sookshma sharir, controlled by the Moon in your horoscope. When you physically die, the outermost layer, physical body, anna-mai-kosh is discarded. So when you exist in the Pitr-lok, the dimension of the spirits, your soul is enveloped by a 4-layered body. Imprints stored in these 4 layers require several life-times to be rebalanced. This is why you can gauge your past lives from your horoscope especially in the Sudarshan chakra format.

Its between you and your conscience

‘How do I know it is my higher self taking decisions in my day to day life happenings?’

A personal example. Quite a few years ago, I was suffering because of an intense black ritual done by someone to damage me. A very deep damage on all levels. So I was doing healings, taking help from genuinely kind tantriks, ie using ‘white magic’. The pain was very intense, recovery was slow and I was really very scared. Someone I trusted, almost a brother, offered to do a secret ritual to help me, he did not give me the details. I asked my brother for his opinion. He in good faith said to give it a shot. So despite not being very convinced myself, I agreed and that person did the ritual. My conscience was in doubt but in the temptation of hastening my recovery, I agreed to get it done. But this was not the correct way, I actually got scolded badly by a very high level divinity. Then I suffered through these additional karmic repercussions. And it was a burden on my conscience. I had asked my brother for his opinion, the person who did it was genuine, they both wanted the best for me. But the final decision was mine, I had agreed despite the doubt raised by my conscience. Thus I suffered through the karma, I had regrets and felt very ashamed. So whoever might suggest something to you, however tempting it maybe, if your higher self/ Antaratma/ conscience is in doubt, it will come to a bad end. And it is your decision, so you alone are responsible for what happens to you.

The inner light of your Soul is your conscience, the Antar-atma. If you are doing spiritual practice, stilling your mind and emotions, the voice of your conscience is all the more audible.

Suppose you are in a situation and you have to choose between options. Naturally you will have evaluated the material aspects of both the options in depth. You know what will give you your desired material results. Now you put it to your conscience. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus between your eyebrows, look in your third eye. Recite Soham (or any other mantra you prefer) a few times with your breath. Still your emotions and your scattered thoughts. Then gently think about the option you propose to take. Do you feel right about it? What kind of visions are triggered by this thought? Do you see a flash of bright happy colors, bright lights or depressed dark colors, blackness? Does your heart feel lighter or heavier. You might have physical signs like hair standing on end or feeling cold or a constriction at your throat or something. Your conscience will find some way and give you a sign that the action you chose is appropriate or not. And it will give you very clear signals. Once you have your answer do not ask your question again and again. And once you are clear about your decision, do not listen to others who might try to sway or convince you to go against your conscience. However tempting it may be do not go against your inner voice. This voice comes from your Soul itself.

I do not advocate using horoscope, runes, cards or any divination tools for these conscience related decisions. These divination tools are more linked to the sub-conscious mind. Sometimes cards show you what you consciously want to see, I have seen this happen several times. Or you choose to see those meanings in them which you desire on the material front. So you deceive yourself, attracted by the temporary gains you think you see.

(Classic example, you get 4 of Cups ‘Luxury’ in the Thoth tarot, for a relationship question. This card can show a potentially emotionally nurturing relationship but there is a very deep imbalance in it. This card indicates that you desire deep emotional fulfilment, but this relationship under question is the wrong way to go about it. This card represents temporary superficial attractiveness with an undercurrent of deep stagnation. You have deep emotional needs but you are aggravating the imbalance by desiring things which you don’t really need! This relationship in question is a dead end and you need to focus on something else which gives you real and deep emotional satisfaction. Now which Tarot reader has read so much into the energies of the cards to give this sort of interpretation? And the name ‘Luxury’ can tempt you to get into the relationship and then into emotional trouble later.)

Your conscience goes deeper than the conscious or the sub-conscious mind. It is your actual Soul showing you its Light. For a brief moment the Light of the Soul pierces through the enveloping fog and shows you the direction most appropriate for you. And finally you are responsible for your decisions, whatever happens to you, happens by your choice.

So Choose well.

Its between you and your conscience

 

 

The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Every practice of Sanatan Dharm/ Hinduism, the ‘eternal right action’ requires that,

  • you remain in control of your breathing pattern,
  • focus at your third eye
  • and mentally recite a Mantra.

Unless these 3 conditions are satisfied you will not gain control over the pran/vital energy moving in your energy body. And if you do not control the pran, you will not be able to do anything else further.

If you do the breathing or the yogic posture/Asan without the accompanying Mantra, the Sadhana/practice becomes tamasic in nature. The energies invoked will be unmoving, dull and eventually discordant. You are working with your own personal energies, do not experiment. If you do make errors, you will suffer on the internal levels, you might gain physical health but spiritually you will remain nil.

Reciting the Mantra mentally is compulsory. Mantra is not ‘religious’. It is a form of the Universal energy, you are entraining your personal energy with it, so that you attain the Ultimate.

The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Now for doing Dhyan there are only 3 Mantra options,

  1. ‘Soham’- the best option if you want to experience Moksh – you mentally recite ‘So’ while breathing in and while breathing out ‘ham’ mentally. So together it is ‘Soham’. Anyone can do it without formal initiation from a living Guru.
  2. Or ‘OM’ – mentally recite one single OM as you breathe in and one single OM as you breathe out. This much can be done by anyone. (There is one another way of using the OM but you will need a proper enlightened Guru for its initiation)
  3. Or ‘Hamsa’ – mentally recite ‘Ham’ while breathing out and while breathing in ‘Sa’. Together it becomes ‘Hamsa’. This too can be done by anyone without any formal initiation.

‘So’ here is the Universal consciousness/ Param-atma and ‘ham’ is the narrow sense of self/ individual soul/ Jiv-atma.

  • So = Sa + O = success, knowledge, accomplishment + eternal Anahata/unstruck sound (there is sound but nothing was struck to create it)
  • Ham = Ha + M = Eternity + completion, endlessness, the Bindu – this is also a beej mantra when pronounced aloud as ‘hang’

When you breathe in, it is called Purak (filling). This is linked to ‘Sa’ (sa-kaar). When you hold your breath now it is called Antah Kumbhak (internal measure/base) this is linked to the vibration of ‘O’. When you breathe out it is called Rechak (emptying) this is linked to “ha’ (ha-kaar). And when you hold your lungs empty now this is called Bahya Kumbhak (external measure/base) linked to the ‘M’ vibration.

Kumbhak is the important part of breathing, here the inward and outward going breath are balanced perfectly and there is perfect stillness as described in the Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. This is also the limit/joint, the conscious energy of Sandhya which is also called the Devi Mahamaya. She creates, maintains then destroys and is all pervading.

In the deeper Dhyan phases, the ‘sa’ and ‘ha’ Akshar somehow get ‘deleted’ and only ‘OM’ the primordial Nada remains. This will take some time but it will happen. You keep practicing and witness it when it does happen.

The Ida naadi is linked to the ‘Sa’ and the Pingala naadi to the ‘Ha’. When the ‘Ha’ and the ‘Sa’ get ‘neutralized’ (can’t find a better word) the OM remains. After this the Ida/ Pingala shut down and Sushumna naadi gets active. The pran from the Universe which enters through your third eye chakra moves into the Sushumna. It starts the process of ‘cleaning’ it out. Only when it is completely ‘clean’ and ‘through’, can the energy of self-identification /kundalini enter it and move through it till it reaches the top-most chakra, Moksh.

‘Soham’ is the energy which pulls the Kundalini up towards its merger with the Ultimate. ‘Hamsa’ in this sense would be the energy of manifestation and ‘Soham’, the energy of dissolution. Both are interlinked and equal in the real sense. For creation you need to have a dissolution first, then only can something be created. And for dissolution to happen you need creation in the first place which will be then dissolved. These two are very powerful mantra, but they still are defined. Each is defined in relation to the other, thus are not the Ultimate on their own. They are the link to the Ultimate.

The Ultimate is pure OM.

(How would you describe a pearl? White, small, round, pearly, iridescent, from an oyster, etc. But these terms describe its properties in relation to something else. They do not describe the pearl as such, stand-alone, on its own. Thus a pearl cannot be really described, or can it?)

Now these two mantras are also called the ‘Ajapa Gayatri‘. Ajapa means ‘not counted/recited’. Jap means to count and recite. If you pay attention to the ‘sound’ of your breath, it does sound like ‘so’ when breathing in and ‘ham’ as you breathe out. You are always reciting Soham when you are breathing, unconsciously. See, you are always reciting a Mantra as you breathe. Breath without Mantra is not possible. You do not realise it, but you are doing a 21,600 times jaap of Soham every day. But the trick is to be aware of this continuous sound of Soham. This awareness is called ‘Soham Yog’ or ‘Hamsa Yog’. Your Dhyan is the means to this goal.

When you recite Soham mentally with your breath you are ‘churning’ the internal pran/vital air with your focussed breathing, in and out. You are attracting the Ultimate consciousness by repeatedly calling out its name ‘Soham’ (it becomes OM later, your real name). And you are applying force on the closed door of the Sushumna by focussing on the third eye chakra. The door will open!

shri_smarth_sadguru_muppin_kadsiddheshwar_maharaj
Samarth Satguru Shri Muppin Kadsiddheshwar Maharaj

My Guru taught me the Mantra ‘Soham’ in this life 37 yrs ago. It is the simplest and safest means to achieve your spiritual goal, Moksh.

But do you have the Intention? How long will you Play till you decide to come Home?

 

Essential spiritual practice

There are several spiritual practices, doing Yogasan/yogic postures, to doing mantra-jaap/reciting mantras, doing karma-kaand/rituals, to doing Dhyan etc. Every type of practice has its own importance, and throughout all our several lives we adopt one practice after the other, till we reach our objective. Now in the tangible sense all these spiritual practices do only one thing, silence the mind. The purpose of our spiritual life is to be able to consciously control the movement of pran/vital energy in the nadi/energy channel system of the body. This control is linked to the act of breathing. And the act of breathing is linked to the emotional state. And the emotional state depends on the the lens of perception, the mind.

Once you intend that you want to to Experience, there is no going back. This simple Intention releases tiny energies which coalesce to become bigger, you will sense your body getting lighter, brighter, the blockages getting loose, the attachments of the outer world getting fainter, your chakras moving ever faster, your kundalini energy getting active and blasting you out of this construct called Maya/Universe.

Essential spiritual practice

The mind is like a whirlwind, happy, sad, now flowing like a river, then flying off to the sky. Every sense organ, taste, smell, sight, touch and sound gives this mind even more objects to run behind. If you think, it is something like a monkey, restless. Observe a monkey in the park and you have your mind, it is so full of purpose but without a focus, sometimes this, sometimes that! Now the trick is to give this mind a focus, something it concentrates on and then force it to concentrate. Something like putting blinkers on a horse so that it can be put to work and productive. Your mind is the ocean of all the astral energies of all your existence, your past/present/future/parallel lives all at once. It also contains the memory of your Higher self, but unless it becomes still, you cannot access. It throws its waves and foam at you, distracting you.

Now what should you concentrate on? Very frankly there is only one thing in the universe, You! You are everything. You are unique, the one, You Are. So concentrate on yourself. But then you are not the flesh-body that you see staring back at you in the mirror. You are more, but right now quite unaware. So you read books written by enlightened Gurus, Teachers, Enlightened Souls, listen to their voices, feel their blessings. You read their experiences and desire the same experience for yourself. But remember you are not your Guru, his experience is his, your’s will be yours. The importance is always to the one who Experiences. You are ‘You’.

This ‘You’ resides within you, ‘behind’ the third eye chakra, this place is called the Kuthastha. (You are the unchangeable supreme essence located at the top Bindu of the Meru hyper dimensional geometry). So you concentrate at the pitch darkness that you see at your third eye. It takes a lot of strength of Will to stare at darkness, doing your practice, hoping that You will be kind to yourself and Show Yourself. This ‘You’ has a name too, it is ‘Om’. So while you are staring at the closed door of the Kutastha, you will keep knocking on it too, calling out to Yourself, by your name. This is the Mantra.

Now who is a Guru? Not everyone wearing a saffron or white dhoti/kurta is a Guru. There are several fakers out there. In this modern world someone with not so clear motives gets a bit of siddhi while doing sadhana, he immediately starts collecting disciples. And then uses the energies of faith that they willingly give over to him. Never give your faith to anyone so easily. Your faith is your energy, be very careful with your faith. For accepting any theory or anyone in spiritual matters, there are 3 criteria,

  1. This must be detailed in and examined in depth in an accepted authoritative book. (Granth prachiti) eg, the Vignyan Bhairav Tantra, the Bhagwad Gita, the Veds, Devi mahatmya, Upanishads, etc.
  2. Then this theory must be explained by an accepted authority, a Teacher who has experienced it himself first. (Guru prachiti)
  3. And this is the most important test, your inner you/Conscience/Antaratma should accept it as being correct. (Atma prachiti) You must examine things for yourself. You are the final judge. Sanatan Dharm ensures freedom. Choose what your intuition/sense understands to be correct, there are consequences both good and bad, so be very careful when you choose this spiritual path and the practice that you will now perform. The choice is ultimately yours alone.

Now concentrating is a very dull task, your mind runs away, dragging it back takes Conscious Will. So now we have to reinforce this will. This requires faith. Your first source of faith is the example of your Guru, or what you read in your accepted Book. You look at your Guru, you want the experience that he is existing in. You read the description of the Paramtattva in the Book and want to experience it for yourself. This faith works like a crutch, you lean on it for support. But once you start experiencing your own stuff, you should leave aside this crutch too. The job of a Guru is to hand-hold till the tipping point, once you start seeing the lightening flashing at your third eye the job of a Guru is over. Now your faith is in your own experience, it is very liberating. The essentials of a spiritual practice are very easy, in fact ridiculously so. It is breath and mantra. If you can be aware of these two things the rest of it will automatically fall into place. You do not have to do anything else at all. Is it really this simple? Yes it is, to read this line it seems quite easy, but you are up against your own Mind! See how strange it actually is.

You take efforts for maintaining your body, looks, house, place in society etc. You work, get tired, earn money to support your family. A smudged lipstick has the potential to ruin your day. You have told your mind, trained it, throughout your innumerable lives that these things are quite important. Now suddenly you turn around and tell the Mind, ‘no no this is not important, leave all this and come away to find the Real Self!’. I guess the Mind would roll its eyes and go rofl! It cannot come out of this training so easily. It fights back. So you too have to fight your Mind. This is the reason all Vedic gods/goddesses have countless weapons depicted in their hands. They give these powers to you, helping you fight your personal Kurukshetra. The 1000th name of Vishnu is, ‘Sarvapraharanayudha’, ‘the one who is equipped in every possible way at every possible time ready to fight’.

So the basic practice everyone has to start with is the Ajapa mantra, Soham or Hamsa. Try to be aware of your breathing pattern throughout the day. Make it a habit, train your mind. Whenever you are not – speaking or eating or doing some thinking work, you should be reciting your mantra in your mind, either Soham or Hamsa, consciously along with your breathing action. This means you do not let your mind wander, you are giving it a focus at all times. If you try to hear to your breathing sound, it sounds like ‘so’ when you inhale and it sounds like ‘hmm’ when you exhale. Thus Vignyan Bhairav Tantra has these 2 Ajapa mantras, ‘So-hum’ or ‘Ham-sa’. (Will put a separate post on these next.) This is the essential spiritual practice, the tiny pebble which initiates everything. As your mind starts entraining itself to this mantra, the Universe will also recognise your Intention and things will come in so beautifully, you will soon get time to do proper Dhyan regularly. And then you know the way to Your own Self.

Your Intention, the power of your Will and your Faith in yourself is the foundation of your spiritual path. Always be confident about yourself. After all you are the Ultimate yourself, the Creator of your Universe.

 

Essential spiritual practice

(Thank you to the kind soul who suggested this topic, I hope reading it triggers something good for you!)