A disciple of Sri Gajanana Maharaj wrote two small booklets of poetic verses in the old Marathi literary language that very few understand now. Our ashram had them translated into English. Most of the material had already been printed in Light of Soham, but only a few days ago I was searching through our sources and culled out the following teachings of Maharaj which for some reason had been missed before. They are very important, especially the first one, so we are making this blogpost and will be including them in a future book of commentary on his teachings.
The importance of Soham is that it changes the mind’s attitude [bhava, outlook] as soon as it is chanted [repeated/intoned]. You will experience it yourself; watch it changing you from within.
False gurus and false yoga methods keep their followers waiting for results, giving all kinds of reasons–usually implying some lack on the part of their followers–as to why they are not getting any significant and lasting effects from their practice. Mostly they claim that time is needed for the followers to become purified or prove their sincerity before “guruji” brings about their success through his “grace” won by their effort. The implication is that the follower is totally dependent on the false guru–and often the whole “guru-parampara” lineage.
But Soham sadhana practiced correctly by an aspirant who has ordered his life to conform to the principles of yama-niyama will yield results virtually immediately. And it will not be in the form of flashing lights and chills and thrills, but in very real change in the yogi’s perceptions and inner condition, or bhava. (A Brief Sanskrit Glossary defines bhava: “Subjective state of being (existence); attitude of mind; mental attitude or feeling; state of realization in the heart or mind.”
Right away the Soham sadhaka experiences peace, contentment and freedom from all anxiety or doubt regarding his practice and his spiritual future. As I have related elsewhere, within five minutes of my first time practicing Soham japa in time with the breath I suddenly said to myself: “O! I love this!” In a short time I had to go out for a few hours, so I sat in the back of the car with Soham, and it was the happiest day of my life. A day or so later I had to go for a trip taking about an hour and a half both ways, and I again sat there marveling at the wonder that was Soham Yoga.
This was in contrast to all the previous bogus yogas I had practiced which produced some peculiar sensations but ultimately produced nothing–except for the ones that literally harmed me mentally and physically. If I had bought the proverbial “pig in a poke” I would at least have had a pig to show for all my trouble and sacrifice. With Omar Kayyam I could say that I went out the same door I came in, but with some scars.
Soham healed and removed those scars and did the needful, including giving me the insight and courage to say that I had wasted my time and trust on fake gurus and fake yogis. But I never feared or was anxious about my Soham sadhana. Nor did I need “faith” in any teacher or teaching. Most of all I understood that my confusion and waste of time was my own fault–that I had willfully blinded myself with “guru bhakti” regarding the tricksters I had even literally worshipped–and unquestioningly obeyed in practice of methods that were getting me nowhere. I lied to myself with rationalizations about Sri Guru and the latest “jet plane route to God” that always proved so pitiful it did not even crash, just fizzled out, “not with a bang but a whimper.” I was responsible–not the fake guru, the fake yoga or the fake organization that was going to be the eventual cause of world peace and enlightenment. (Some even claimed to be “the religion of the future.”)
Soham sadhana changed my entire perspective and dispelled my fear of speaking the truth about the holy con games of the yoga world.
But best of all, I really did experience the effects of Soham and watched it changing me from within. I had peace, contentment and confidence.
Soham Kevalam. Soham Alone.
With just meditation [and japa of Soham], you will understand everything one after another. No other effort is required. This is just the practice you need to continue.
I hardly need to point out that this is an astonishing statement. Right away (often immediately) Soham sadhana begins to open the sadhaka’s understanding and gives insight where before there was incomprehension. And everything unfolds in a definite, precise order. Nothing depends on moods, expectations or external conditions, and definitely not at all is there a continuing need for a guru or teacher, since in the Nath Yogi tradition someone who already knows the practice instructs the aspirant in Soham meditation and japa, and the matter is closed. From then on the yogi’s practice will be guide and teacher. Amazing but true. Nothing is needed but the yogi’s perseverance in Soham japa and meditation.
The importance of practice is that you will get experiences serially. Also this cannot be achieved in just one birth without accumulations from previous births.
Again it is affirmed that in Soham sadhana everything comes about in order, just as a journey on foot is accomplished by taking a step at a time. And there is no skipping or shortcut either needed or possible. Again: Soham Kevalam.
The second sentence is not a rationalization for the yogi not accomplishing everything in time, as it would be in the mouth of false gurus and false yogis. Rather it is a statement that no one comes to Soham Yoga without accumulation of much spiritual karma in previous lives. So the fact that the yogi has learned Soham Yoga is proof that he has the requisite qualifications and karma and can attain the goal in this very life if he perseveres. The moment the Nath guru-teacher concludes the simple instructions the yogi is on his way and he alone decides whether he perseveres and succeeds. It truly is a matter of Going, Going, Gone. (Gate, gate, para gate, para sam gate, bodhi–swaha!)
This physical body is the temple of God. Life is the form of Lord Shiva. Leaving aside all the remaining ignorance just repeat Soham.
If this body is the temple of God, then he who dwells in it is God in essence. If this life is itself a manifestation of the Supreme Purusha (Shiva) it needs to be only realized or recognized as such–in other words: experienced. Everything that does not lead to this realization is ignorance and should be ignored as the yogi immerses himself at all times in the japa and meditation of Soham.
You might say, “If there is blessings of a guru, then that person can achieve anything.” But there is no shortcut to the practice.
About a month after I arrived in India I met a man who showed me a photo of his very famous guru. Then he explained that his guru had taught him a very complex yogic technique along with several complex variations–all at the same time. He concluded, “Guruji told us that it was usually taught only in several stages, but said that by his grace we would be able to do it all.” Then he admitted that he never had done it all, nor had any other of his fellow disciples!
A true and worthy teacher gives instruction in Soham sadhana which is already part of the very nature of the aspirant, who therefore needs no shortcut since Soham is already in him as his inmost existence. The way is simple and easy. It only needs traveling.
You only need to just practice the path that I have shown you. This is the path which will take you across.
Relative existence is called the ocean of samsara, and it must be crossed over or transcended. Soham sadhana takes the Soham yogi over and into Self-realization. Sustained practice alone is needed.
The teacher shows us the path–the practice. And that is the sum of it. He does not “empower” us or the mantra. The idea of claiming to empower the divine sound of Soham is insane, but the guru ego is insane, as is the disciple ego.
You are neither any god, goddess or any other being. You are the Original Form [Adi Rupa]. You are yourself Brahma Prakash–Brahman in the form of Light.
Since we truly are “neither any god, goddess or any other being,” the idea of doing japa of a mantra that produces the form or bhava of such beings is foolish and pointless. Rather, since we are that which Gajanana Maharaj here says we are, the only reasonable–and therefore effective–mantra is Soham, the mantra of our own Self and the Supreme Self.
Go after Soham Sushumna. Having taken a human birth, this is the bhakti (devotion) you should be doing.
Here we see a very different concept of bhakti than the one usually propagated. That is because Gajanana Maharaj was a yogi–a Nath Yogi–and therefore had an understanding that the merely sentimental non-yogi could not possibly have. Adi Shankara said that jnana (wisdom/knowledge) was actually knowing God, and bhakti was the process of attaining jnana through meditation.
The Sushumna is the central nadi in the spine up which the Kundalini rises to the Sahasrara and transforms the yogi into a mukta purusha, a liberated being. This is only possible through prolonged practice in which the japa of Soham enters the Sushumna. (This can only be experienced or understood by those who persevere in Soham sadhana.) Therefore Gajanana Maharaj tells us to “go after” this state. It is not to be attempted deliberately, but must be experienced naturally as a result of adept Soham Yoga practice. He elsewhere said, “When the power of breath gets an upward turn, the breath proceeds upwards through the Sushumna and… proceeds to the brahmarandhra at the centre of the brain. The Soham consciousness then merges in the unknowable Supreme Self and the sadhaka attains perfection.”
Only perfection (siddhi) in Soham sadhana can accomplish this.
Holding the Soham Sudarshana in hand, forcibly conquer the evil tendencies.
“Sudarshana” refers to the Sudarshana Chakra, which A Brief Sanskrit Glossary defines as: “The invincible weapon of Lord Vishnu which is able to cut through anything, and is a symbol of the Lord’s power of cutting through all things which bind the jiva to samsara. Thus it is the divine power of liberation (moksha).” Sudarshana Chakra is the moksha mantra Soham in which the Soham Yoga adept immerses his consciousness and entire being and thus conquers all evil tendencies and dispels all illusions and obstacles to total Self-realization. And it does not do so by “shakti” (power) but, as I say, by the consciousness inherent in Soham which pervades, purifies and perfects the yogi’s entire being.
Where is the Soham Sudarshana? The Soham Sudarshana is in the breath, which eliminates the anxieties pertaining to the physical body, the material world, and the divine [daivic] world.
Practice reveals that Soham and the breath are inseparable, that essentially they are the same thing. And the union of the breath and Soham comprise the Soham Sudarshana which transforms and transmutes the entire existence of the sadhaka into the life divine.
Fearlessness and freedom from anxiety and insecurity are fundamental effects of Soham sadhana in the mind and life of the Soham yogi.
When the jiva [individual Self] and Shiva [the Supreme Self] merge through Soham, from my experience that is the way whereby you become immortal.
Soham is innate in both the jivatman and the Paramatman, therefore through Soham sadhana they unite and the immortality of the Supreme Self is revealed in the individual Self.
Concentrate your mind and listen to my words: Soham is a Purna [Complete, All-encompassing] Mantra. With this you will become Self-realized.
There is nothing right and true that the Soham mantra cannot accomplish. Soham embraces the entire being of the yogi. Thus Self-realization becomes the persistent yogi’s constant and permanent state.
Soham is the seed for Self-Realization.
Plant the seed of Soham in yourself through constant japa and meditation of Soham, and Self-realization will be the natural fruit that develops.
All the siddhas meditate on Soham.
This means both that the siddhas, including those in Siddhaloka, the highest level in relative existence, are immersed in the liberating awareness of Soham, and that they all ultimately attained liberation through Soham, even if their involvement with Soham only began in higher worlds.
Through Soham meditation, one is purified.
Through Soham sadhana, on all levels of his being the Soham yogi is purified by the total elimination of all that is not the Self.
Soham meditation imparts the ultimate state of mukti: liberation.
You will come to know this for yourself by your own practice. It cannot be otherwise.
- Soham Yoga: Its Theory and Practice
- Light of Soham-The Life and Teachings of Gajanana Maharaj of Nashik
- Foundations of YogaTen– Important Principles Every Meditator Should Know
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