What is Om?

What does ‘Om’ mean?

 According to the Vedic theory of creation, the creation begins with the vibration of the primal energy that has a sound symbol, Om! Om is ever considered the most suitable sound symbol of the Supreme Absolute, with the help of which a devotee can realize the Truth. It is the first sound, representing both visible and invisible, in the creation.

Om is transliterated as AUM. A is the first sound made by a baby coming out of mother’s womb. It is also the first letter in most of the languages. It is the most important vowel in Indo-European languages. No consonant can be pronounced without adding the vowel “a” in the end of it. Thus A is chosen as the first letter in AUM and is related to the visible creation, the external objects. This is the first state of consciousness. This is also called the wakeful state of the self, Jiva or mind. Letter U represents dream state and letter M stands for deep sleep state of the self.

Om is the sacred syllable representing Brahman, the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism—omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. Om, therefore, represents both the unmanifest (nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of God. That is why it is called pranava, to mean that it pervades life and runs through our praana (breath).

Vedic theory of creation

Om (also spelled Aum) is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras.

This mono syllable Om is composed of the three sounds A-U-M (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become (o). The symbol’s threefold nature is central to its meaning. Everything is contained in It:

  • “A” for Action of creation (Brahmā).
  • “U” for Upholding, and preservation (Vishnu).
  • “M” for destructive power of Mahesha.
  • Three worlds—Earth, Planets, and Galaxies.
  • Three sacred Vedas—Rig, Yajur, and Sāma.
  • Three names of God (Om Tat Sat).
  • Three Gunas of Nature.
  • Three aspects of Reality: Sat, Chitta, Ānanda.
  • O’ ham, sa Om. That which I am, is Om.
  • When God decides to create, “Om” is heard. Thus everything has its origin in “Om.”

Thus Om, mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. This meaning is deepened further by the Indian philosophical belief that God first created sound and the universe arose from it. As the most sacred sound, Om is the root of the universe and everything that exists. This sacred subtle sound continues to hold everything together.

When one leaves the physical body, by controlling all the senses, focusing the mind on God and the bioimpulses (Life forces, praana) in the cerebrum, engaged in yogic practice, meditating on Me, and uttering Om—the sacred monosyllable cosmic sound power of the Spirit—one attains the Supreme Abode. (Gita 8.12-13) To be continued ….   Read more on: www.gita-society.com/9upanishads.html


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