(by Swami Nirmalananda Giri, Editor)
The contents of Atmaprabha were given in response to invitations in 1943 and 1945 for Sri Gajanana Maharaj to attend or send a written message to the Jayanti Utsav (Birthday Celebration) of Sri Ramana Maharshi. The request was not just because of the reputation of Gajanana Maharaj as a great yogi, but because of the Soham Sadhana he advocated, which was in complete consonance with the teachings of the Maharshi.
Someone asked Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi: “What is the purport of the teaching that one should meditate, through the ‘I am he’ [Soham] thought, on the truth that one is not different from the self-luminous Reality that shines like a flame?”
Bhagavan replied: “The purport of teaching that one should meditate with the ‘I am he’ thought is this: sah-aham: So’ham; sah the supreme Self, aham the Self that is manifest as ‘I.’ If one meditates for a long time, without disturbance, on the Self ceaselessly, with the ‘So’ham–I am he’ thought which is the technique of reflection on the Self, the darkness of ignorance which is in the heart and all the impediments which are but the effects of ignorance will be removed, and the plenary wisdom will be gained.… The body is the temple; the jiva is God (Shiva). If one worships him with the ‘So’ham–I am he’ thought, one will gain release” (Collected Works [Section] 29).
Once Sri Ramana Maharshi was shown the Sanskrit text of Devikallotara Jnanachara Vichara Padalam (A Study of the Exposition of Supreme Wisdom and Conduct to Goddess Ishwari by Lord Shiva) written on palm leaves. He said that this writing was very, very important, and himself translated it into Tamil with his commentary. Sri T. K. Jayaram then translated it into English, including the following:
“[Shiva said to Parvati:] The means by which this mind, which is restless and moves about quicker than the wind, can be brought under control, is indeed the means to obtain liberation; is indeed what is good for those who seek permanent Reality; it itself is pure Consciousness and the state of firmness; moreover, it alone is the righteous duty to be followed by discerning aspirants; it alone is the pilgrimage to holy waters; it alone is charity; it alone is austerities. Know that there is no doubt about this.” (8-9)
Bhagavan’s comment: Now all your pilgrimages are over. Soham Sadhana is the last pilgrimage.
“Repeatedly say thus: I am He, the eternal, Omnipresent Reality which is Brahman. Meditating thus for a long time, whoever abides imperturbably, will become the Supreme Brahman, thereby attaining immortality.” (60)
Bhagavan’s comment: This is the secret of the Nath Panth. Here comes “I Am He” or “He I Am”–Soham. Our system also says this. Meditate thus for a long time on the Self. You have to say repeatedly: “He I Am”–Soham. This sixtieth verse is very important.