Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights and Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — SOHAM— That I Am

May 4, 2021

Soham — That I Am  

 Swami Venkatesananda     You can use the mantra SOHAM, (‘That I am') in conjunction with a personal deity if you have one, or without if you don't. If you have a personal idea of Christ, Buddha or whatever, then sit and feel “He is the reality". Not that ‘"I am Christ" (that is absurd) but that “He is the sole reality in me". If that is true — then who has all the worry? He does! If God is the sole reality in 'me', then the problems also belong to Him!

      When this terrible ego — 'I', 'me', — clears away, about ninety-eight percent of the problem is gone, because ninety-eight percent of the problem was created by the ego. For instance, when there is a headache do you know what makes it worse? The question that arises within you “Why me?" ("Why should this headache come to me?") Have you asked yourself: “Good heavens, why not me!" It is 'why me?' which resists the headache and makes it worse.

      The problems which worry us so much in our life are common to nearly everybody. Millions have domestic problems and financial worries. Ninety-eight percent of the problem is the egotistic question “Why me?" Consider, “Why not me? Am I something special that everybody else in the world may suffer but not me?" This consideration gets rid of the egotistic approach.

      Any solution, whether it is called japa, repeating a mantra, prayer or meditating — whatever be the solution — if it takes the ego aside it solves ninety-eight percent of the problem. The two percent which will still be there will be so silly that you wouldn't want to mention it to anybody! It is when the 'me' is so big that you go around grunting and griping, telling the whole neighborhood about it. It is that that creates the headache. However this ego is but a shadow; hence the creation is not real.

      Therefore the solution is simple. Let the whole mind be saturated with this mantra. The mantra says “Not I, but He is the reality." It is in this manner that the mantra has a redeeming feature.

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