What is the meaning of OM and its essence? Why it is so important that almost everyone knows this ancient Hindu/ Vedic Symbol. OM or AUM (Sanskrit: ॐ) is a sacred sound scripture symbol, representing the universe within its vibration. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
I notice in my Yoga classes that everyone accepts and enjoys chanting OM. However, chances are they have no idea of its essence. It just feels right! Isn’t it? I thought to formulate a short blog about its essence, so the next time you chant OM, you actually experience what the great yogis and sages of India had experienced – True Bliss and Oneness resonance.
Om is an ancient Sanskrit “word” that was first experienced by the greatest yogis and rishis. It was more about the essence of Om than the chanting of it. gradually, as the experience was shared and used in scriptures, the word came forth and people started chanting it to get the experience of it. Now the question is, What is the experience of OM?
It is somewhat difficult to describe with words but Om represents everything and nothing at the same time. In other words, integration and differential at the same time. The true form of vibrational energy that exists within every sub-atomic particle. Its the seed of all the creation and manifestations. Just like an acorn seed has the immense power and beauty of a mighty oak tree. This seemingly small word has all the power of the universe. It is the beginning, middle and the end of it all or the past, present and future.
Chanting Om brings into your awareness the physical reality of this world and your body, the subtle impressions of the mind and emotions and the thoughts and beliefs of your life and this world.
As the Mandukya Upanishad explains the perfect state or superconscious state and all that precedes it are a part of Om. The sound can also be displayed in its more complete form of Aum (A-U-M). When chanting this way it seems as if the sound has three parts, as I explain my students to experience A-U-M in its pure vibration from within:
OM Explained – A U M
The A (Aaaa): sound represents the creative/ creating aspect of the universe and all the gross objects within it. Aaa is the beginning of all sounds. This is the most common letter that starts Sanskrit alphabet. With this syllable, you can experience the existence of the universe through the vibratory sense within. When you chant this sound notice that it resonate and vibrate in the Belly.
The U (Ooooh): Sound signifies the maintaining energy of the universe and the subtle impressions of the mind. It connects us to an inner sense. Which we can see and feel with our senses. Ooooh lets in lightness, clarity, balance and goodness. When you chant this letter the sound moves up, resonate with the heart centre and vibrate in the chest The sound denotes “Chit”, illumination or pure wisdom.
The M (mmmm): sound characterizes the Transformational energy of the universe and the thoughts and beliefs of your being (Buddhi or Ego). This sound unites you to the awareness of oneness. It allows you to slow down to feel the connectedness of all that is. The sound “mmmm” is produced by closing the lips and it resonates with pineal gland and pituitary gland and vibrates in the head. The sound symbolizes “Ananda” (bliss).
The fourth sound is silence or Anagata. It is the vibration which is beyond verbal pronunciation. It is pure consciousness of the Self or the Atman, the unity of Sat – Chit – Ananda (I exist, I know, I am bliss) is experienced with silence.
The experience of Om is multifacet. It truly is an experience oneness. The sound of OM/ Aum includes the entire process of sound and all other sounds beyond. Therefore, Om is called the seed sound (Bija Mantra). The original sound from which all other sounds and matter manifested from. In simple words, OM represents God – the shapeless, formless divine exists in every atom, particle and photon of the universe, Bhraman, Source, Universal Consciousness. Because it has the power to create everything.
OM in your Yoga Classes
Generally, Yoga classes begin/ End with the chanting of Om three times. In simple terms, this mantra allows the energy of the group to begin the process of harmony by breathing together and sharing in this mantra. It tunes each person into themselves and reminds the body and mind to set aside worldly concerns and to turn your attention in to the everlasting joy yoga can bring.
My Comment and advice on Using OM:
Om is most neutral and universal sound that all people of all faiths can bring into practice. It helps you to become calm, helps deepen breathing, relaxes and gives you an essence and awareness of the greater meaning of life.