Svason Svas Rati Din

A Bhajan by Poet-Saint Sunderdas

In the concluding line of this bhajan, Saint Sunderdas, a great poet and spiritual teacher from Rajasthan, India, gives us powerful insight into the repetition of the mantra So’ham. He teaches that in the spontaneous repetition of So’ham, which takes place with each breath, day and night, “the Self exists in the form of Consciousness; the Self praises the Self on its own.” This evocative verse gives us an important road map to refine our practice and understanding of the mantra.

Considering the words “the Self exists in the form of Consciousness,” we can understand that the saint refers to the subtle, divine aspect of the breath—prana shakti. The scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism teach that divine Consciousness, when creating the universe, enters each being in the form of prana shakti, our life force. This subtle energy, which courses through our being and sustains our existence, is permanently aware of the divinity that is our very nature. It unceasingly proclaims this exalted truth: I am That.

This unbroken repetition, as saint Sunderdas sings, is “beyond the physical body, beyond the senses, and beyond the inner psychic instrument.”

Saint Sunderdas, therefore, compares the breath to a mala, a rosary of beads used for mantra repetition, but points out that it is “of a different kind.” A physical mala, a string of beads, supports our repetition of a mantra. The subtle energy of the breath is, itself, the mantra. Therefore, as the saint teaches, the mantra So’ham repeats itself spontaneously, “on its own.” It is an effortless repetition, which goes on as long as we live.

Naturally, there is self-effort involved in this practice. First, we can ponder these teachings again and again, and let our intellect fully imbibe the truth that the energy of our breath permanently proclaims: I am That.

In her Message talk for 2019, Gurumayi also teaches us to inwardly repeat the syllables of the mantra as we observe the flow of our breathing: ham on the in-breath and sa on the out-breath.

As we do so, again and again, our mind becomes more subtle and focused, and we develop the ability to tune into the subtle energy of the breath, and to rest our awareness on the ongoing, subtle repetition of So’ham.

In her Message talk, Gurumayi also draws our attention to the importance of constant, disciplined effort in order to experience the fruits of a spiritual practice. In this bhajan’s refrain, Saint Sunderdas urges us to “over and again, steadfastly hold on to this mala.” As we focus our awareness on the breath and silently repeating the syllables of the mantra, we gradually become able to perceive this effortless, subtle, ongoing repetition, and to relish the benefits of So’ham japa.

Sung by the music ensemble in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
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Bhajan: Svason Svas Rahi Din