The Use of Mantras: Veerum and Sohum 

            If we have difficulty slowing our thinking process, we can begin to use a mantram.  In Sanskrit, man means mind and tra means to control or lead.  We bring control over our mind by using a mantram.  The mind is like a monkey, jumping from one branch to another.  If we tell it not to jump around, it will go even faster.  It is like a child: if you tell it not to do something, immediately it starts doing that thing even more.  If you sit to meditate and try not to think, the mind will find a million topics to think over.  To quiet the monkey, we give it a banana.  Then it stops to eat and becomes calm.  A mantram is like a banana, which we give to the money-mind so it will become quiet and peaceful.  We give it this word or phrase to work on, to keep it busy and happy.

             But a mantram is also more than this.  The mantras we use are words, which are filled with a deep meaning and pregnant with universal energy.  They were originally used by the saints and seers of ancient times, thousands of years ago, and they have a great significance in lifting our thoughts and inspiring our lives.

             One mantram we can use is veerum, which means, “brave amongst the brave.”  As we repeat the word, we feel its meaning deep within ourselves.  “I am the brave amongst the brave” We see the challenge of life and we are not afraid.  We accept life as an adventure. 

            There are three levels on which we can use this mantram.  First you may want to articulated veerum, to say it aloud and feel the vibrations around you.  When your mind is very active or you have been in noisy congested place like a subway or in traffic, you can say the word out loud to clear your mind of harsh sounds.  Creating these sound vibrations will soothe you and bring calmness.

             Going to the next level, you feel the word on you breath as you inhale and exhale, creating silent vibrations without saying veer, aloud.  You feel vee as you inhale and rum as you exhale.  In this way, you feel a rhythm in you breathing and deep peace in your mind.  You can prolong the vee, taking a deep inhalation and you will see that your circulation will become calm and harmonious.  Slowly and gradually your heartbeats will slow down because tension has dropped away.  You feel a relaxed mood come over you.  You mentally think of this word as you feel it on you breath.

             Then you go to the third level and glide into your center.  It is very near sleep, but it is not sleep.  In this very deep state of meditation, your center opens to you.  H ere insights come and sometimes premonitions and mystical experiences.  Here, in the real Self, the whole treasure is waiting for you to see.

             We are like travelers on a dark and foggy night.  We can’t see where we are going and there is confusion and misunderstanding.  We sometimes feel very lost.  Then insight comes—it is like a flash of lightning in the night.  For a moment the horizon is illumined.  Then darkness returns, but what has been seen cannot be erased.  In the same way, in that moment of the experience of reality you are different, you are not any name or form.  You are aware of what you really are.  You are pure energy.  In this way the mantram takes you into your pure real self. 

            Let the mantram play on you breath, feeling vee as you inhale and rum as you exhale.  Allowing the breath to come and go, you feel the ebb and flow off the universe, You are no longer afraid of anything for there is nothing loses.  Life is continuously coming and going.  Something comes in one hand and goes out the other.  We stop clinging because we see that clinging ultimately brings suffocation and death.  Your body and your breath are changed with these vibrations of veerum.  The mantram begins to vibrate in all your activities.  At your job, in your family relations, or just relaxing quietly the subtle sound ring at the back of your mind.  You remember and feel that you are as brave as any of the bravest souls.

             There is another deep and powerful mantram you can use in a similar way.  That is sobam.  You inhale on so and exhale on bum, as with veerum.  So means “that” and hum means “I” or “this.” “That” and “this” are not really separate.  It may appear that “this” is here and “that” is there, but that is only the appearance of separateness everything is in relation to everything else.  If there is no “that,” there can be no “this”: “that” could not exist.  So is dynamic energy; bum is magnetic energy.  So is sky and bum is earth.  So and bum are all the poles of our existence brought into unity and har mony.  So is God, the universe, and the divine, the Higher Self, the real Self.  Hum is this human being, the microcosm, the subconscious, the accumulation of thought and the mind.  Hum is form and so is formless.

             When you use sebum, regularly, you are changing or altering your consciousness.  That which was commonplace becomes meaningful.  Going deep, you are aware not only of your body and mind, but of your indestructible energy.  You are not perishable.  You were, you are, you will be; this you experience in meditation.  Form in this life is always changing, but at the center of all form is the changeless.   We can see this center in all the forms.  For example, look at pictures of yourself in infancy, childhood, youth and today.  On careful reflection you will realize that you are still that essence which was within the changing forms in all pictures.  Then you know, “I was I am.  I will be.”

             If you experience this changelessness, you will always know that “I am here.”  We must break our fear of annihilation, of losing our self.  This fear goes very deep in our mind.  When you truly know “I am,” then you realize “I will be” and “I can do.” On the inside you feel the passive “I am” and on the outside you experience the active “I can do.”

             When you have that experience, then you no longer are concerned with inferiority or superiority.  Seeing all life, you know you are equal to all, even the greatest Masters, the sages and the Enlightened Ones.  You must go beyond the intellectual level, beyond words and concepts, to real experience; then you break the barriers between the saints and yourself and you become their friend.  If we do not believe, we cannot receive.  One who continues to live in a gutter cannot become the companion of one who lives in a palace.  If we think we are nothing, if we feel helpless and weak, then the distance between ourselves and God will remain.

             I remember one story, which illustrates this feeling of unity.  One night a young man went to pay a visit to his lover.  It was very late so he climbed a tree near her window and called our softly to her.  She heard him and asked,  “Who is it?”  He replied, “It is I, Caliphs.  I have come to visit you.”  But the girl answered,  “Go away.  There is no room here for you.”

             The young man was an aspirant and so he went to a nearby grove of trees and there he sat in meditation, pondering what might have caused his lover to respond in this way.  After a while he had a flash of insight and returned.  Again he climbed the tree and called to her.  Again she asked,  “Who is it?” Then he smiled and said, “It is a being, Just being.”  The door was then opened to him.

             What did he see in his meditation? He saw that he had gone to her with adjectives and nouns, he did not go as essence.  Thus he was an outsider.  When he dropped the description and the outer concern and became in tune with inner reality, then there was no separation and she was waiting to welcome him.

             This story is an example of what we are doing with ourselves in meditating on sohum.  We are opening the door to our own higher consciousness, bringing union, breaking the separation between the inside and the outside, the interior and the exterior.  This is the meaning of sohum. 

            So can also mean truth.  We are meditating that “I am truth.” Truth is not something borrowed from outside.  Truth comes from within us, it is our real nature.

             So also means love.  We are repeating “I am love” as we repeat the mantram sohum.  We do not cultivate love from the outside; it is a wellspring, always flowing from within us.

             In this way we use this mantram to bring harmony and oneness in life.  We feel this unity and we do not put God in a temple or a church far away.  George Bernard Shaw once said,  “Beware of the man whose God is in heaven.”  When God is in the distance, then man can do anything without interference.  But when we see and experience God inside ourselves, there is no separation, no duality.  That animating divine spark is everywhere, vibrating in every cell of our body.  Without it we could not live for one second.  As you inhale feel So, and as you exhale feel bum.  Your breath begins to flow in rhythm.  The vibration build and you feel oneness.  Repeat the mantram silently.  There is no need to articulate it.  Feel it, experience it, and be I tune with yourself. 

            Reaching this stage of meditation, you begin to live with joy; creatively and adventurously.  Each day you see how you can test yourself.  Each morning you think that you will create a new day for yourself.  Regardless of the weather, you will create and sustain an inner climate.  If the day is properly used youfind real satisfaction when you again come to meditation in the evening.  Then you observe and see how the day was invested.  You will not pass a single day without awareness if you practice this meditation. 

            In this way meditation slowly changes your life.  You come from dazzling outer light into the cool moonlight atmosphere inside, from the active outer world to the receptive inner kingdom where there is peace and stillness.  We are taking a journey with “sohum,” gliding ever inward to our essence where we shall find the blessings of the universe. 


What is Meditation? |Beinning Practice | Beginning Meditation: calming Down and Observing Yourself and Your Breathing| Developing One-Pointedness |Deeping Meditation: Emtrying and Focusing | Impediments to Growth: The Ego |Continuing Practice: Meditation on Hrim and Breathing |How Shall we Approach Life Through Meditation? |The Use of Mantras: Veerum and Sohum |Seeking Our True Nature |Deepening Meditation: who Am I? |Deepening  Meditation: Eliminating  Negative Traits |Meditation: The Art of Life and Experience of Light | Review |Meditation and the Art of Communication |Guided Meditation: Experiencing Light and Life| Meditation in Jain Philosophy|Sense Beyond the Senses| Perfection Is in Us|Realize What You Are