Hong-Sau Mantra



could I change the mantras from hong-sou to sou-hong ?

—Lars, Sweden


Dear Lars,

Swami Kriyananda frequently addressed this subject during his life of teaching meditation. He explained, as Yogananda himself, did, that the Hong Sau mantra for meditation has its origins in the Hong Sau Upanishad from ancient times. More importantly, however, is the explanation that Hong Sau (vs So Hum) is an affirmation of our oneness with God whereas So Hum, or sou-hong, is a declaration of it being fact. Both are true, but the former is considered more realistic and humble whereas the other can be viewed as presumptuous. Yet, nonetheless, I’ve heard Swamiji state that either one was ok.

I’ve encountered students (having taught hundreds in my lifetime) who have various and sundry challenges with the Hong Sau mantra. It is said, however, to resonate subtly with the astral breath, or, more specifically, with the “sound” of the movement of energy in the pran and apan nadis (channels). It is therefore considered to be a helpful attunement vehicle.

We who are disciples of Yogananda are encouraged to use the mantra as our guru has taught it to us. But if you sincerely feel more in tune with sou-hong then experiment with it, then see if it does, indeed, work better for you. If you happen to be a disciple of Yogananda, I would encourage you to pray for guidance in the matter as well, and to “check-in” with him from time to time if you are using sou-hong. ok?


Nayaswami Hriman