The second mantra is ‘soham’. Here the sequence of awareness is reversed – the ‘sa’ syllable for exhaling comes before the ‘ha’ syllable for inhaling. This mantra, therefore, starts the sadhak on his inward journey and at the same time makes him aware of his deeper self. For, ‘aham’ means self and this mantra should be understood as ‘sa-aham’ being chanted rapidly.
The third mantra envelopes the second and adds the sound of the presiding deity Lord Shiva. Thus it is ‘Shivoham-shivoham’ and it is chanted in unison with the ‘in’ and ‘out’ breathing. The sadhak rises above the multiplicity of the external reality and begins to merge with the dichotomy of the self and Shiva. Note that the sound of ‘aum’ is already ensconced in this and the previous mantra.For, ‘aum’ is the last mantra. It is the bija sound for the ‘third-eye’ or the Ajna-chakra. We have seen it is the abbreviation of the entire Sanskrit vowels and mute consonants from ‘a’ to ‘ma’ . Its annunciation traces the entire organ of speech from the glottis to the lips or the labial region. When chanted it resonates sonorously in the cranial cavity urging the sadhak back towards the realm of para-vaak or the Unknown Naad-Brahman.