Aum Om Ohm animated by Kythera Ann

"Aum, Ohm, Om" by Kythera Ann

Om, Aum, Ohm

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Om, Aum, Ohm is a holy meditation symbol of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (see graphic at top of page) with a profusion of esoteric and exoteric meanings.  In modern usage Om means the Word, the “parnava,” the eternal. Various accounts are given of its origin; one that it is the term of assent used by the gods, and probably an old contracted form of the Sanskirt word "evam" meaning "thus."  The laws of the "Manu" say that the word was formed by Brahma himself, who extracted the letters "a" "u" "m" from the "Vedas," one from each; and they thus explain its mysterious power and sanctity.  "Om" is also the name given by the Hindus to the spiritual sun, as opposed to "Sooruj," the natural sun.

The word is Sanskrit.  It is pronounced at the beginning and end of every lesson in the "Veda" and it is also the introductory word of the "Puranas."  It is said in the "Katha-Upanishad":  "Whoever knows this syllable obtains whatever he wishes."  This is because all words are said to be but various forms of the one sound, "om", according to the “Upanishads."  It represents the divine and the power of God.  It is the sound-symbol for the ultimate reality.

The three "mantras" of A, U, M also represent the outer, the inner and the superconscient states of consciousness and the waking, dream and deep sleep states respectively.  And beyond these is the modeless fourth state (a-matra), which is the Self, according to Advaiata. Another way of saying this is that Om is immortal and inexhaustible.  It is the symbolic expression of the creative spirit, the Word  (with reference to the three component sounds), the three human conditions (waking, dreaming, and deep sleep), the three times of day (morning, midday, evening), and the three faculties (action, cognition, volition).

The Om is also often referred to as the sound of the Earth…creation...the heart of existence.  To become one with the sound of the Om, through visual meditation and sounding of the vibration, allows one to become one with the source of become "realized"...a "master."  This last perspective of “Om” is how most westerners experience the “Om” and why it is used as an ending to many New Age ceremonies and gatherings.

If you choose to experiment with this sound for your own meditation and realizations, be sure to resonate the word (long o……m….)  in the deepest range of your vocal register, with a single breath.  Elongate the o with an open mouth and then vibrate the m through closed lips. Keep the repetition of the sound even in duration, breathing in between soundings.  After doing this exercise for 10 minutes or so, you may wish to transform the OM to AUM (ah…ewe…m…) and note the effect after 10 more minutes.  It also is helpful to visualize the symbol for OM while doing this, either with eyes closed or by looking at the symbol during a wide-eyed meditation.  See the symbol as a “seed” with each OM-AUM it grows inside you…until you become the OM-AUM.

Happy realizations!

 In Oneness,
Kythera Ann

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