So-ham

Soham (so ‘ham सो ऽहम्[1]) is the Sanskrit for “I myself” or “It is I” or “He is I” or “I am That”.

so ‘ham is an emphatic form of aham, the first-person pronoun (“I”), translating to “I myself”.[6] 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)[7]

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 SohamYou 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.
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