Learn about the meaning of: Om...
- A Sanskrit mystic syllable used by
Hindus and Buddhists in religious rites,
originally among the Hindus an
exclamation of assent, like "Amen",
then an invocation, and later a symbol
of the trinity formed by Vishnu, Siva and Brahma.
is the most sacred syllable often spoken during the practice of
any Hindu rites. It is a holy character of the Sanskrit language,
the language of God. The character is a composite of three
different letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The English
equivalent of those are "a", "u", and
"m", and represent the Trinity.
The Trinity is composed of the three supreme Hindu Gods: Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. These three letters when pronounced properly in unison create an invigorating effect in the body. Because of its significance this sacred syllable is spoken before any chants to show God we remember him.
Om is also known to be the sound from which this whole universe is created. It is called 'Pranavam' in sanskrit, meaning the beginning of new universe. In Hinduism, it represents the whole universe...
Before the beginning, the Brahman (absolute reality) was one and non-dual. It thought, "I am only one - may I become many." This caused a vibration which eventually became sound, and this sound was Om. Creation itself was set in motion by the vibration of Om. The closest approach to Brahman is that first sound, Om. Thus, this sacred symbol has become emblematic of Brahman just as images are emblematic of material objects.
The vibration produced by chanting Om in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that first arose at the time of creation. The sound of Om is also called Pranava, meaning that it sustains life and runs through Prana or breath. Om also represents the four states of the Supreme Being. The three sounds in Om (AUM) represent the waking, dream and deep sleep states and the silence which surrounds Om represents the "Turiya" state.
Because the first of the three states of consciousness is the waking state, it is represented by the sound "A" pronounced like "A" in accounting. Because the dream state of consciousness lies between the waking and the deep sleep states, it is represented by the letter "U" which lies between the "A" and "M". This "U" is pronounced like the "U" in would. The last state of consciousness is the deep sleep state and is represented by "M" pronounced as in "sum." This closes the pronunciation of Om just as deep sleep is the final stage of the mind at rest. Whenever Om is recited in succession there is an inevitable period of silence between two successive Oms. This silence represents the "fourth state" known as "Turiya" which is the state of perfect bliss when the individual self recognizes his identity with the supreme.
The symbol Om:
Just as the sound of Om represents the four states of Brahman, the symbol Om written in Sanskrit also represents everything. The material world of the waking state is symbolized by the large lower curve. The deep sleep state is represented by the upper left curve. The dream state, lying between the waking state below and the deep sleep state above, emanates from the confluence of the two. The point and semicircle are separate from the rest and rule the whole. The point represents the turiya state of absolute consciousness. The open semicircle is symbolic of the infinite and the fact that the meaning of the point can not be grasped if one limits oneself to finite thinking.
The power of chanting Om:
Meditation on Om:
Retire to a quite place, sit down, close your eyes and completely relax your muscles and nerves. Concentrate on the space between your eyebrows and quieten and silence the conscious mind. Begin to repeat "Om" mentally while associating the ideas of infinity, eternity, immortality, etc. You must repeat Om with the feeling that you are the infinite and all-pervading. Mere repetition of Om will not bring the desired result. Keep the meaning of Om always at heart. Feal Om. Feel that you are the pure, perfect, all-knowing, eternal, free, Brahman. Feel that you are absolute consciousness and the infinite, unchanging existance. Every part of your body should powerfully vibrate with these ideas. This feeling should be kept up all day long. Practice regularly and steadily with sincerity, faith, perseverance and enthusiasm in the morning, midday and evening.
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