Scriptural References to 'Hans'
In Hindi, Hans refers to the life-principle, the Supreme Energy which creates and energizes everything in existence. It is perfect beingness, perfect consciousness, and perfect bliss. It resides within every creature as soul. 'Hans' has the secondary meaning of 'swan', and in Indian spiritual literature the soul is often depicted as a swan, which flies away from its physical cage at death.
All scriptures glorify 'Hans'. It is the ultimate mystery, the secret of secrets. Someone to whom the mysteries of Hans are unveiled achieves the bliss of liberation. Hans is the secret phenomenon in which the entire universe is contained.
Hans is the Ultimate Truth, the imperishable, permanent entity which dwells within every being. Hans is Energy itself.
The one Hans pervades the terrestrial sphere in the same way as fire is present within water. Realizing it, the devotee conquers death." (Sveta Upanishad)
In 'Hans Upanishad' it is written:
"The spirit, dwelling within each being as fire is latent in wood and as oil is in sesame seeds, naturally remembers 'Hans-Hans'. He who realizes it transcends death. Hans is the invisible Gapari, it is Shiva and Shakti. It is the Mahamantra, the bestower of boons to those powers who grant boons to others. Creator, Preserver and Destroyer are at its command. Saints and sages who meditate on it attain the ultimate state."
"God is realized through meditation on 'Hans'. Merit/demerit, sin/virtue cease to exist when the mind, with its thoughts, imaginations and doubts, is dissolved in Hans. Then we are illumined by the all-pervading, self-existing Light, the Shiva-Shakti, the pure, eternal, stainless Self. This is what the Vedas say."
"Hans is the God of gods, the Supreme and Almighty. It creates Brahma the Creator, sustains Vishnu the Sustainer, and destroys Shiva the Destroyer: It is the swan which lives in the Manasrovar Lake of Shiva's heart. How could it ever be described? Even the Vedas say of it, 'No end, No end."
"Devotion to Hans is the quickest way to Self-realization. The life-breath is realized to be Hans itself. Countless sparks are contained in a fire's blaze and dispersed in all directions. In the same way, the solar, lunar and terrestrial spheres emanate from the minute pores of 'Hans', the universal centre of consciousness, and in time dissolve back into it. This cycle of emanation and dissolution is perpetual. Only the 'Hans' is eternal, unhanging, omnipotent and omniscient. Devotion to it alone brings liberation."
"Hans itself is the superior and greatest mantra. The purpose of the Vedas is to glorify Hans. This most powerful of all powers is also the most subtle and is imperishable."
"The Grand Mantra, 'Hans-Hans', is perpetually intoned (throughout the universe). Hans dwells in the cave of the heart of all creatures. When a meditator discovers the meeting place of the inhaling and exhaling powers of the breath, automatically he finds the 'unchanted chant' of Hans taking place. This is the level, naturally, where one has the vision of Hans."
In the 7th chapter of Raghav Bhatt's 'Dakshina Muni Samhita', are some very clear references to the Knowledge of Hans - 'The secrets of the Hans Mantra':
"In 24 hours a person breathes 21,600 times, which means that 'Hans-Hans' is remembered 21,600 times daily by the soul. The manifestation of this mantra in a body is called 'birth', and its
becoming latent is called 'death'. This natural, automatic remembrance goes on without our chanting it consciously. It energizes each and every cycle of respiration. The conscious attention given to this 'Hans Mantra', which is intimately connected with the breath, is called ajapa jap, or unchanted chant, and by consciously tuning into the natural mantra, all attachment to the world is severed and the highest state attained."
The Kathopanishad says:
"In the pure heart the divine Hans reveals its holy Light. Hairs itself is the sacrificial Me and the oblations offered. It is omnipresent and most subtle of all. It is not realized through Speech or mind. The only way is through the Guru's grace. To the fortunate soul on whom rests this grace, the Guru imparts initiation and realization. The humble devotee who serves the Guru sees the Divine Light of Hans within himself."
Yogis and tantriks have described precisely and clearly the step-by-step method of awakening Kundalini, piercing the six chakras and realizing the 'Hans' power in the Crown chakra or 'thousand-petalled lotus'.
"Hans is the soul in all creatures, beautiful as a lotus, and for the purpose of redemption assumes various bodies. 'Hans' is the bestower of bliss, imperishable and indivisible. It is truth-consciousness-bliss, the all-perfect, eternal Redeemer."
Describing the nature of the Perfect Guru, this verse says that he pervades all the worlds, is pure, eternal, beyond illusion. He is realized through singleminded devotion, is Knowledge itself, eternally awake, the Dweller in the thousand-petalled lotus, eternal bliss, most excellent, Divine Light itself, self-effulgent and present in every heart. Obeisance over and over again to such a Master.
Garhpatya, initiating Upkosala, tells him, "Earth, fire, food and the Sun are my abodes. There I dwell, but the sun-like Supreme Person, Hans Soham, I am He, indeed. He who realizes and meditates on Him, destroys his sins, reaches old age and lives in glory, the possessor of the world. He does not perish. I protect him in this world and the next." (Chandogya Up.)
The Brihadaranakya Upanishad says that Hans, the Divine Light, the Supreme Being, in the sleeping state of an individual, dreams, and when the person awakes, experiences the world and gains worldly goat. Due to birth, he gets a place to stay in this world or the next. This self-effulgent, radiant Hans nourishes the nest of the human body through the vital breath and the Lord of the breath, the Nectar. When he leaves the body, he roams free and achieves his immortal form. He goes where he likes, unfettered. This Divine Entity dwells within all.
"Hans is the Discerner, totally Knowledge-permeated and Knowledge itself. It dwells in all purity and resplendence in the firmament, at the altar and is the Divine Guest. It dwells in the valiant and in the noble, and is worshipped at the domestic altar. It dwells in the sacrifices, it dwells in space. It manifests in all that is born in water, on earth, on the mountains and of sacrifice. It is the True and the Great.
When this Power enters a body it draws the breath upwards and casts it downwards. All the senses minister to Him, the Adorable, Who is seated in the Manasrovar Lake of the heart." (Kasha Upanishad, 5.1).
"There is no other way than the Knowledge of Hans to realize the Eternal. The person who imparts this supreme science should be served wholeheartedly and with full awareness. The disciple should accept any command which the Guru gives and carry it out cheerfully. Having received Knowledge from the Guru and seen the soul through the soul, let go of caste, dependence on scriptures,
status, etc. without hesitation, and please the Guru. This is the way to liberation."
The entire animate and inanimate creation arose through the power of 'Hans'. This power is eternal and primeval. Hans tatsushushtva tadevanu pravishat - after creating the universe, Hans resides within h. Sages realized that 'Aum' was not the ultimate the 'Hans' entity is even more subtle and secret than 'Aum', and this entity is described in the Vedas as sa rashtha sa paragati.
When a person practises the Hans-mantra and delves into its secrets, he discovers the junction of the ascending and descending breaths and there he sees for himself the Divine Light of 'Hans'. At this point remembrance of Hans mantra becomes automatic.
The Upanishadic sages were of the definite opinion that
"The only way to break through the bondage of birth and death to achieve liberation is the Knowledge of God (Hans). It is impossible to reach the indescribable state any other way."
The sage Narad declared that for devotion to Hans no external paraphernalia such as flowers, incense, oblations, etc. are necessary. Hans is seen through devotion of mind. Hans, the dweller in the heart, is beyond even Turiya, the superconscious state. The most secret Hans is seen only at the level of Nirvikalpa, beyond all thought and imagination.
The Vedas, Upanishads and Purtanas as well as other Indian scriptures talk about 'Hans', albeit esoterically, and say that it has been worshipped since time immemorial. It is the Word about which the Bible says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Its naturalness, profound secrecy, and intimate, unbreakable connection with life is described in many verses. The ancient sages declared, Hans
prano rabhedah - Hans and the life-breath are the same - thus establishing that life is Hans-permeated.
Hans is described in the Ramayana as the father and mother of all life, and as being greater than both the unconditioned, unmanifest Absolute, which is all-pervading, and the manifest Personal, which incarnates from time to time. How?
God has two aspects - Nirguna (absolute and unconditioned) and Saguna (manifested with attributes). Both are unfathomable, inexpressible and incomparable, but Tulsidas, author of Ramacharitamanasa (also known as Tulsidas Ramayana), says, "In my opinion the Holy Name (i.e. Hans) is greater than both, as both are at its command. This is the Name which Lord Shiva chose out of millions of names, to enshrine in his heart. This is the power which enables the bestowers of boons to bestow."
"God omnipresent, imperishable, the One and only. He is truth, consciousness and bliss. Even though He dwells in every heart, all creatures suffer misery and want. However, the devotee
who meditates on the Name is naturally saturated in bliss. The greatest sorrows are turned into joys."
"The devotees of Kali Age are of impure mentality and their minds wallow like fish in an ocean of sin. The wish-fulfilling tree of the Name manifests itself as Hans, the destroyer of delusion. Remembering the Name brings an end to all the fears and perplexities of this world. It is one's father and mother in this world and his benefactor in the next."
'Hans, the Divine Swan in the Lake of Shiva's heart, and in whom the yogis' minds dwell, manifests , like the wish-fulfilling tree, to save the devotees in Kali Age. By remembering the Name, Tulsi became St. Tulsidas."
"True saints and impostors can both be found in this Age. The true and the false resemble nectar and poison. Though born in this world of the same Heavenly Father, they are as different in character as the lotus and the leech, which both spring from water. Although everyone knows what is good and bad, a person pursues only that which appeals to him. A wicked person will do good actions if he associates with good people, but his basic nature won't change. Even impostors, worthless characters totally lacking in spirituality, are venerated on account of their holy robes."
"These impostors put on saddhu's robes and deceive people. But the Holy Name puts an end to their game. Just as Vishnu manifested as Narsingh to destroy the demon king Hiranyakashipu, so Holy Name manifests itself in a human form to bring an end to the Kali Age itself. The Name protects the devotees who remember it; just as Narsingh protected Hiranyakashipu's son, Prahlad."
Syambu Manu and Satrupa performed severe penances to gain a boon from the Lord. Living on fruit and roots, and meditating on the Divine; they ever craved to see with their own eyes Him Who is indivisible, infinite, attributeless, beginningless and endless; on Whom meditate devotees of the ultimate Reality, which is Bliss itself; undifferentiated, and totally incomparable. The Vedas can only describe it as 'no end, no end'. However, even such a Lord is subject to the love of devotees, and for their sake assumes a human form to play out His drama among them. This is the same Lord from a particle of Whose being emanate a number of Brahmas, Vishnus and Shivas.
"The omniscient Lord, seeing the devotion of the royal couple, said, 'Ask for whatever you want.' His voice was full of compassion and as sweet as nectar, and when they heard it they were thrilled with love. They bowed and said,
'Hear us, O Lord! In granting Your devotees' desires You are a wish-fulfilling tree and are like mother to them. The dust from Your feet is adored by the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. You are easily accessible through service and are the Giver of all blessings. You protect those who take shelter in You and are the Lord of all creation, both inanimate and animate. O friend of the forlorn, if You have any love for us, be pleased to grant us this boon. Let as feast our eyes on that form of Yours which abides in Shiva's mind and which is sought by sages; which dwells like a swan in the Manasrovar Lake of the sage Bhusundi's mind and whose manifest and absolute forms are glorified by the Vedas and the saints. Then the Lord, full of affection for His devotees, revealed Himself."
"On His left shone His Primordial Energy, the Mother of the universe, the All-beautiful and All-virtuous, from a fraction of Whose being emanate countless Lakshmis, Umas and Saraswatis, and Who shines like the full moon."
"The Lord's countenance, which resembled the autumn full moon, was the very perfection of beauty. Lovely were His cheeks and chin. His teeth, nose and red lips were charming. His smile put to shame the rays of the moon. His eyes were as beautiful as lotuses in full bloom and His loving glances stole the heart away. The tilak-mark on His forehead (representing the three psychic nerves of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) shone with divine lustre."
"A crown adorned His head. His long curly hair looked like a swarrn of bees. His breast was decorated with a garland of flowers and a sandalwood necklace. His shoulders were broad and strong and His arms long. His lotus feet were indescribably glorious and shone with heavenly light."
"I will incarnate Myself in your line with My Energies. My deeds will be a source of delight to My devotee. My Primordial Energy, the Mother of the universe, will embody Herself, too."
The Eternal Power, which, as Hans, pervades the universe and energizes every being, manifests Itself to bring heavenly joy to devotees and the pure-minded and to bring erring humanity back to the path of Truth. This is the Divine Law, because only that Power can give Knowledge of Itself. So the Lord uses his Nature to embody Himself in human form. Whenever devotees have called upon Him, the Lord has come as a human being.
Such a one was Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, through whom this Divine Power redeemed thousands upon thousands of souls.