Q: Dear Gurudev, kindly explain the meaning of Asangoham (a phrase often chanted by Gurudev in the advanced course).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am not this – that is what Asangoham means. For example, I am wearing the cloth, but I am not the cloth.
The body is mine but I am not the body. I am not the thoughts, I am not the mind. Like this you go on to negate one by one all the layers of identity. And finally when you ask, ‘Who am I?’ You will find nothing!
‘I am nothing, I am just the space.’ That is what Asangoham is.
Sangoham means being one with it. If I think I am my clothes, then that is a problem. I am beyond all these layers of existence.
If I think that I am my thoughts, my emotions, my sensations then I lose track of my vast nature. Therefore to reach the realization of our vastness we say, ‘I am not this and I am not this’, repeatedly.
Mano Budhyahankaar Chittani Naaham, Na Cha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghraana netre Na Cha Vyoma Bhumir Na Tejo Na Vayuh, Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham
- From the Atmashtakam (By Adi Shankaracharya)
I am not the mind, intellect, memory or ego. I am not this, not this, not this.
This is the way of negating and going into that hollow and empty space. This Shiva Tattva is what I really am. This realization is what meditation is; that is Samadhi.