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 How did AYAM go I AM?
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2072 Posts

Posted - Mar 21 2008 :  03:17:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I have until now not bothered with the meaning of I AM, since it is so clearly stressed in the lessons that the meaning of the mantra is irrelevant, it's the vibration of the sound that is important.

Now, everytime I introduce someone into AYP deep meditation I get the obvious suggestion from the person "Aha, so I shall just focus on my own plain being... I am?" And I have to stress the above - no, it's not the meaning of it bla bla... and I say "It may also be spelled AYAM".

For the first time I looked up AYAM on the web and saw that it actually means "THIS". That is very logical and fitting to meditate on IMO, although I am still very much aware of the fact that the meaning of it is still irrelevant!

Now... how and when and perhaps why did the sanskrit AYAM go into the Englified I AM? Does anyone know the history? And is it possible for English speaking persons to disregard the original English meaning of I am and realize that I AM in fact means THIS, or does the idea of the meaning in English (my being) linger in the back and disturb?

I always have gotten much more effect from using the AYAM version of the mantra than I AM, and my hypothesis is that I subconsciously have interpreted the mantra in English as "my being", which has been disturbing.

(By the way, when I listen after AYAM in meditation, very often I get a male choir chanting the mantra in low base tones, almost throat singing. I think I tune into a munk monastery somewhere... )

Edited by - emc on Mar 21 2008 03:19:32 AM


1457 Posts

Posted - Mar 21 2008 :  07:36:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sparkle's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi emc
When I introduce I AM to people they are generally of a Christain background.
The I AM seems to put their minds at rest somewhat, in sofar as there is a link with Christainity.
I am that I am.

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still

So I would say -- that although we are familiar with the I AM in Christainity and in fact it has links in many traditions, we don't actually focus on the meaning, it is the vibrational quality etc etc.

You can see then that I use it as a means to put people's mind at ease, and it seems to do that.

Is this cheating??
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191 Posts

Posted - Mar 21 2008 :  11:54:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit brushjw's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe the English word "I" - not the phrase "I am" - is derived from the Sanskrit ahám. From

Middle English ik, ich, i
Old English ic, ih
German ich
Old Norse ek
Latin ego
Greek eg
Old Church Slavonic az#365;
Lithuanian aš
Sanskrit ahám

Thus Yogani is preserving the Vedic tradition while using a familiar phrase. I think we'd be more apt to focus more on the meaning if he suggested "ahám" than "I am".

ahám namaste,
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2072 Posts

Posted - Mar 22 2008 :  03:41:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Louis, I don't doubt I AM is efficient, and i also see the link to Christianity and the suitability of using that as an English mantra. A little beside my question, though...

Joe, oki, you got me searching, thanks! You're right about aham = I. In a Sanskrit dictionary I found that it is (mainly?) the selfish I that is connoted:

ahaM = ii (I)
aha.nkara = tendency to identify oneself with external phenomena, the "I-maker"
aha.nkaara = egoism, selfishness, ignorance
aha.nkaaraM = false ego
aha.nkaaravimuuDha = bewildered by false ego


ayam = him, in one dictionary and
ayam = this, in another one.

If you back translate

I am = asmi

and can be combined as

aham asmi = I am

I can get stuck on details, and if noone brings more info on this, I will now believe I AM and AYAM are actually two different mantras with two different meanings! Please, correct me if I'm wrong. On the other hand... the pronounciation is the same (?) and since sound vibrations are what's working here, it might be the same mantra anyway? To the universe it's the same, it's just the language meaning of it that's differing down here on earth!

Edited by - emc on Mar 22 2008 03:46:08 AM
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31 Posts

Posted - Mar 22 2008 :  05:25:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello and Atma Namaste from Vienna, Austria!

I am also asking for clarification about "I AM". For me it is difficult to separate any meaning form the mantra. Is not vibration, a specific vibration, full of meaning?

In using the mantra "I AM", I have a feeling of: "I am not my body, I am not my feelings, I am not my thinking, I AM IMMORTAL, ETERNAL SPIRIT." Is this a good use of the mantra?

Thank you very much,

Andreas from Austria

Edited by - AustrianYogi on Mar 22 2008 07:29:34 AM
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5192 Posts

Posted - Mar 22 2008 :  10:56:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi All:

We use the sound-thought of the mantra in deep meditation. Meaning has no role in it. If meanings come up during practice, we treat them like any other thought and easily come back to the sound-thought of the mantra at whatever level of clarity or faintness we happen to be in the moment.

It is suggested not to analyze the mantra too much. As they say, "Just do it." (meditation, that is)

All the best!

The guru is in you.

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