The Divine Om


Om is the origin of creation, it is the source and the sustenance and the strength. It is the Prana of every being.

- Swami

Patanjali, the original writer of Yoga Sutras, has stated that OM is the Name or Word or Sound representing God (Tasya Vacakah Pranavah). Ordinarily nama (a name) is chosen arbitrarily and has no natural or mystic relationship with the person named. Avacaka, on the other hand, is a name which has a mystic relationship with vacya, the entity designated. So in one sense, OM is God and God is OM! Not a Hindu or Christian or Muslim God, but the One God, acclaimed by all religions.

OM is pronounced A - U - M. The sound 'A' indicates creation (Brahma), 'U' indicates preservation (Vishnu) and 'M' indicates dissolution (Shiva). The eloquent silence after 'M' represents the tendency to hide behind phenomena and Grace. In another sense, the sounds refer to the conscious, the semi-conscious (dream state), and the deep sleep or super-conscious states, signifying the omnipresent God in all the three states and beyond.

One of the explanations of the derivation of AUM is as follows: God is infinite; so only an infinite number of words can explain him fully. Infinite number of words are, in fact, infinite number of sounds. The three primary sounds come from the three primary movements of the lips: Aa (opening the lips)"O (pursing the lips), and Mm (closing the lips). These are the sounds that create OM. (In Sanskrit A and U combine to produce 0)

Om is the composite of three sounds: A (aa) arising from the region of the navel, U (oo) flowing through the throat and tongue, and M (mm) ending up at the closed lip. It has to be pronounced rising in a cescendo as slowly as possible, and as slowly coming down, until after the M there will be the echo of the silence reverberating in the cavity of the Heart…Baba

Swami recommends the repetition of OM twenty-one times. This enables the five senses of action, the five senses of perception, the five vital airs and the five vital sheaths, to be purified and clarified, bringing the individual soul into harmony with the energy of God; in short, harmonising the individual with God, As the Mandukya Upanishad says, the one who repeats OM with its trailing silence properly, merges the self in the SELF. "That leads to Abiding Peace, Youthfulness, Immortality and Fearlessness ultimately" says the Prasnopanisad.

So the repetition of OM, remembering the purpose of the repetition, is actually a prayer to God for harmonising the individual will with the Divine will, and recharging one's batteries with Divine energy for inner guidance in day-to-day life. One can begin the day with OM and repeat it at any other time of the day also – there is no need for a particular posture or place.

"Its constant repetition ( japa) and meditation on its meaning, results in the disappearance of obstacles and turning inward of consciousness."

The repetition of OM can transform us: rather than being motivated by preyas (what gives pleasure for the moment), we are motivated by sreyas (what gives abiding happiness), and find our true nature to be Peace.

Courtesy: emailed by KM on 13.07.2007

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