Hamsa means swan in Sanskrit. It also means, I am one with the Divine. Aham (I am) So (He, God). Hamsa mantra is also Soham. They are the same. Vedic literature declares that this two-syllable mantra is the subtle sound of breathing out and breathing in.
As we exhale Aham, we pour ourselves back into the ocean of Divine Love, whence we were born. As we inhale So, we allow Divine Love to replenish and recreate us, pouring light into each photon of the body. This miraculous yet ordinary respiration continues day and night. But most of us are so lost in the sensory stupor of worldly distractions, or dreams, that we are unconscious of the divine process of Hamsa. Like Esau in the Bible story, we have forfeited our sacred birthright for a bowl of porridge (Gen 25:31).
All we need is to return, return to the most primordial and effortless activity. Bring awareness back to the dynamic meditation that is already happening in each breath. As striking two stones generates a spark, so the gentle friction of in-breath and out-breath generates Shakti, the energy of creation. And just as a swan settles softly upon a still lake, so the luminous grace of Divine Love reposes in the heart-space when the silence of the mind is un-rippled by thought.
The still point where out-breath and in-breath kiss, between the syllables Ham and So, is a dimensionless dot that seems so brief yet is filled with eternity, seems so small yet is the womb of worlds. Suns and galaxies arise from this infinitesimal bindhu, which is the same jot that the Jewish mystics called ayin soph or, the infinitesimal point of No-Thing from which the Light of creation shines. Thus an ancient Yoga text, Vijnana Bhairava, declares:
The supreme Goddess, whose nature is to create, constantly expresses herself as exhalation and inhalation. By resting awareness in the space of the heart, between the descending and ascending breaths, one experiences Bhairava, the source of creation.
In Yogic tradition, the name of this heart space is Anahata, meaning un-struck sound. A Vedic text declares, Adau Bhagavan shabdha rasahih: "In the beginning, the Lord manifested the universe through a stream of sound." This heart-silence is the source of all mantas, or divine vibrations. All the laws of physics are structured into these mantric sounds. And this symphonic ocean of silence becomes the Vedas, the original scriptures. The entire material universe vibrates out of this primal sea of mantric music.
The same vision is presented by modern quantum science. All material particles arise from vibrations in empty space, "fluctuations in the vacuum," which are "virtual photons of light" and "virtual electrons" of energy. The universe pre-exists in vibrant silence.
Hamsa contains the inner science of all meditation practices: it is the subtle dynamic within all mantras, the link between meditation and breath. Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning a vehicle that carries awareness back to its home. The word derives from mannas (mind) and tra (vehicle). From tra we get the suffix tron, as in electron, a vehicle for electricity. Thus a mantra is a vehicle for the mind to ride back to its source.
Where is the mind going? What location is it seeking? The mind is ever restless till it finds its home in the silent radiance of the heart.
When the Guru gives the precious gift of mantra to the devotee, the mantra effortlessly transports the swan of awareness on wings of grace to this quiet lake of Anahata, the unstruck music of the heart. All true mantras settle into waves of Hamsa, and Hamsa settles into Om, the silent pulse of Absolute Being. There, the breath becomes still. Or, more precisely, the individual breath merges with the cosmic breath, pervading the universe.
In this communion, meditation fulfills the Biblical injunction to "Be still and know that I Am God" (Psalm 46:10). This is neither a belief nor a theology, but a direct experience. We can taste the living Peace that passes allunderstanding, the stillness beyond thought. To "know that I Am God" is Hamsa: to know that Aham merging with So.
Would you like to perform a very great service to humanity, right now? Would you like to provide nourishment to the whole earth? Then repose on the still ocean between your breaths. Rest in the grace of Hamsa. Awaken the healing pulse of inner silence.