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  I AM THAT   " HAMSA"

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Asato Ma Sad Gamaya (Lead me from unreal to the Real)

Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya (Lead me from ignorance to knowledge)

Mrityor Ma Amirtam Gamaya (Lead me from death to immortality)

         Soaham means "I am he' or " I am that" . Reversing and reading the word backwards it becomes AHAMSAH. Deleting the first A makes it HAMSAH or HAMSA, meaning 'I am that". In this statement I is the Individual making the statement, and "that"  is   the pronoun referring the third person, but generally connotes Brahma. Thus the statement 'Hamsa" declares the identity of the first person with the third person and it means I the speakar is the same as that Brahma; I am non-different from Him. This is stated in Ishavasyopanished as: " That person who is in Sun. I am that" say a devotee.

       If such a statement is made by a narrow minded individual. It would appear egotistic tall claim of Godhood by a mortal. Even if is said by a person totally devoid of ego, it may sound egotistic to a listener.

       Let us analyse the pronouns "I' and "that", I is the personal pronoun, it is the subject, making the statement ."That" is the third person singular pronoun and forms the object. Anything and everything that is not "I' becomes 'that". So "that" includes, he, she, it, they etc. So "I am that" means I am he, I am  she, I am it, I am you etc. Whether it is a he, she or it , everybody refers to himself or herself as "I". Therefore "I'   is in everything and it pervades everything. Every "that" has its own "I" ; and that "I' is same in all, it pervades everything. All pervading entity which is called Brahma. Hamsa (I am that) means the all pervading entity which asserts "I', "I" in every thing that is Brahma. "I am that" doesnot mean   that God, sitting up in heavens, but the God that resides in the heart of every living thing. Knowing this fact, a saint views Brahma in everything and becomes compassionate towards all living beings.

       Myriad of objects, sentient and insentient, through appearing distinctly separate, all  are pervaded by the same "I" that is Brahma. Because of the limitation of our sense perception and ignorance  we perceive them as different from each other.

Sri Krishna Says in Bhagavadgita :

       God resides in the heart of all beings.In the from of universal fire "I" am in the bodies  of  all  animals. "I" pervade everything in this world, Lord is present equally in all objects, "I" am in the heart of all.

        These and many similar declarations appearing in all different scriptures   state emphatically that " Brahma" alone pervades everything in the  universe.

        In ordinary usage, when we say I, that is a different I. By I, You, He, in ordinary parlance, we mean the body, the limited individual. I want, i ate, he gave etc refer to body. In certain cases, especially wisemen, may refer or imply the mind by I , YOU etc. But in Hamsa (I am that) the I is entirely different. This "I" is the underlying principle which imports consciousness to body and mind. In the presence of that consciousness alone our body and mind become alive and capable of saying "I". In the absence of that consciousness our body will fall lifeless, begin to decay and look horrible. That same consciousness is the life-giving principle in every living being from tiny insect to the biggest animal, that alone asserts "I' ness and energises the mind to think  and body to work. The pronouns "I" and "that" in Hamsa (I am that) connote this life giving principle, all pervading consciousness. With that connection the sages pronounce the words Hamsa "Soaham" and aham Brahmasmi etc; not with the limited individual ego. They do not have the limited individual ego of the body consciousness. They have destroyed the individual ego and attained  the oneness with the universal consciousness. "I" (Aham) and that (Sa) of (TAT)  do not mean different things, instead connote the same consciousness of Brahma. They see Brahma in everything.

Bhagavan Krishna says in Bhagavadgita-        

        For a sage, a learned Brahma, a cow, an elephant , a dog eater are all same. He sees the same universal consciousness equally in all.

       The individula "I" has no existence in the absence of 'that' consciousness. The individual "I" exists only because of the existence of "that". When I is denuded of its individuality, I becomes pure and of the same nature as that. Now identical with that, I merges with that. Now identical with that, i merges with that. This merging or union is Hamsa Yoga.

  Han(han) the root from which Hamsa is derived, means to kill or destroy. The   word Hamsa also means He who destroys the individuality and thereby the suffering of the individual and make him merge with the universal. Such an individual overcomes or escapes the cycle of birth and death.

 
 
 

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Last Updated: Sat Dec 25, 2004