Bharatheeya Samskruthi  »  Atharva Vedic Upanishads - X
Mahavakya Upanishad
The Maha Vakya Upanishad is an exposition of the mahavakya or the great saying, "Hamsa Soham", which is popularly known as Hamsa mantra or Soham mantra and whose significance is explained in detail in the Vignana Bhairava in a conversation between Lord Siva and Parvathi.

Hamsa means, "I am that" and soham means, "That I am." Together they mean I am That and That I am. It is called Mantra Maheswara or lord of the mantras. It is said that one should chant this mantra in combination with the in breathing and out breathing and its constant practice would lead to self-realization. The Maha Vakya Upanishad teaches us how to concentrate our minds on this great mantra by practicing pranayama, pooraka and rechaka. The outcome of this practice is said to be neither samadhi nor siddhis (powers) but union with Brahman Himself.

God Brahma said:
I would explain this Upanishad based on inside experience. The personal knowledge "that this Sun is Brahman" is got by chanting Ajabha Gayatri viz., "Hamsa Soham." The ever joyous Paramatma would set in if, after controlling Prana and Apana by Pranayama, and attaining it (pranayama) by constant and long practice of Pooraka and Rechaka (macro, micro as well as together) and making the mind concentrate on the same Brahman in three stages.

It would shine like one thousand suns and would be complete like the shore less sea. That experience is neither Samadhi nor Yoga Siddhi and nor mixing of the mind. That is merging with Brahman as Brahman is always single.

The sages who experience this tell as follows: I know that Purusha with the shining light who is beyond darkness, who makes shapes, who names them, who provides for them and who is the brave Purushottama. The one who finds out that Purusha; who was announced as Para Brahman by Brahma in the primitive times and who was found out by Indra in all the four directions, attains the deathless state in this birth itself. There is no other method for salvation.

I am that sun who is the ethereal light. I am that Siva who is that sun of Knowledge. I am the very clean light of Atma. I am all the light that we know. Whoever reads this Upanishad of Atharva-Veda gets the same holy effect as reading the complete Vedas. He would definitely attain the place of Maha Vishnu.

Here ends the Maha Vakya Upanishad, as contained in the Atharva Veda.

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