Hamsa means swan in Sanskrit. It also means, I am one with the Divine. Aham (I am) So (the Divine). Hamsa mantra is also Soham. They are the same mantra. 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. As we inhale So, we allow Divine Love to replenish and recreate us, pouring light into each photon of this body. This miraculous process continues day and night, each moment we breathe. But most of us are so lost in the sensory stupor of worldly distraction, we are not conscious of the divine process of Hamsa. We have forfeited our birthright for a bowl of porridge (Gen 25:31).
But all we need to do is bring our 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 its silence is unruffled by thought.
The still point where out-breath and in-breath kiss, between the sacred 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. The silence of the heart vibrates with the eternal music of the Vedas. And the mathematical resonance of this mantric music formulates the laws of physics that create the universe.
Hamsa is the inner science of all meditation practices, and the subtle dynamic within all mantras. 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 energy of the mind.
Where is the mind going? What location is it seeking? The mind is ever restless till it finds its home in its source: 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. All true mantras settle into waves of Hamsa that dissolve in the silent pulse of Absolute Being, where breath becomes still.
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 of the living Peace that surpasses understanding, the stillness beyond thought. To 'know that I Am God' is to know Aham, I am, merging with So, the Divine.
Would you like to perform a very great service to humanity, right now? Would you like to provide healing and nourishment for the whole earth? Then repose on the still ocean between your breaths. Rest in the grace of Hamsa. Awaken the depth of inner silence.