Pronunciation of the Hong-Sau mantra


I speak Gujarati. I came across a lesson on the Hong Sau technique written in Hindi from Yogoda Satsang Society in India.

The pronunciation of the words Hong and Sau are dramatically different in Sanskrit then they are in English.

I hold the Sanskrit language far superior to any other language because it is the language of the Chakras.

In Sanskrit the word Hong is pronounced "HUMMMM"

and the word Sau is pronunced "SAHA"

Am I right about the Sanskrit pronounciation and which way is better?

—bob, USA


Hello Bob,

The mantra is pronounced differently in different parts of India: Hum Sah, Ham So, Hong Sau, and others. Paramhansa Yogananda said that, of the modern Indian dialects and languages (including modern Sanskrit), Bengali is the closest to ancient Sanskrit, and the Bengali version of this mantra is Hong-Sau. That is how he taught the technique.

Still, we must realize that any verbal expression (whether vocalized or thought) of this mantra is but an imperfect approximation to subtle inner sounds made by the movements of the breath. Those inner sounds constitute the real mantra; the outward approximations are surrogates intended to help one tune in to the true inner sounds. It is that “tuning in” that can take one into deep inner stillness.

From that point of view, I suppose one could say, “Take your pick among the various versions.” But for followers of Paramhansa Yogananda, there is a compelling reason for Hong-Sau to be the preferred version, regardless of which version is closer to the actual inner sound: Hong-Sau is what Yogananda taught, and practicing any technique in the way the guru teaches it is one way in which to attune to his consciousness. That consciousness is a force far more powerful than any mantra could ever be.

Blessings on your practice,