The power of Om̐ / Aum
Meaning of Aum
The Om̐ or Aum has a primary importance in Hinduism. This symbol is a sacred syllable representing Brahma, the impersonal Absolute - all-powerful, all-pervasive and the source of all manifest existence.
This syllable represents the totality of what exists, as well as the Hindu trinity, it is the symbol of the absolute universe. It is considered the original, primordial sound, "the whisper of the universe".
The Om̐ is a mantra, that is, a word or group of words that is chanted and repeated, a sacred sound repeated to strengthen concentration and keep mental activity in total silence. It is as if you were earth, and you were preparing this earth to sow seeds that will give beautiful fruits.
This mantra is considered by all as the mantra of mantras. It represents the original sound from which the universe was structured.
It is practiced in many religions (Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism), but it is pronounced HUM among Tibetans, AMIN among Muslims, AMEN among Jews and Christians.
It is the same sacred sound that is common to all mankind.
Aum in different traditions
The Hindu Aum-Om
In Hinduism, Om is one of the most important spiritual sounds. The syllable is often found at the beginning and end of chapters in the Vedas (set of texts), Upanishads (Sanskrit Vedic texts of Hindu philosophy) and other Hindu texts, and is often chanted independently or before a mantra, as a sacred spiritual incantation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during puja and private prayers, in rites of passage (sanskara) ceremonies such as weddings, and during meditative and spiritual activities such as yoga.
This is the most sacred syllabic symbol and mantra of Brahman, which is the ultimate reality, consciousness or Atman (the inner Self).
It is called the Shabda Brahman (Brahman as sound) and is thought to be the primordial sound (Pranava) of the universe.
The Buddhist and Tibetan Aum-Om
Since Buddhism originated from Hinduism, it is not surprising that the mantra "Aum" was absorbed into the Buddhist tradition; however, Buddhists almost never transliterate it as "Aum", but instead use "Om".
The mantra "Om mani padme Hum" in Tibetan script
There are many Buddhist mantras that incorporate the sound of "Om" in their formulation. Probably the most famous of these is the six-syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. The common translation of this mantra is "Hail the Jewel in the Lotus" ("Aum" = Hail, "Mani" = Jewel, "Padme" = Lotus and Hum).
However, the scholar Donald Lopez, in his book Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, challenges this conventional translation, which he claims is an interpretation supported neither by linguistic analysis nor by Tibetan tradition.
He suggests that Manipadme is in fact the name of a bodhisattva, a form of Avalokiteshvara who in any case goes by many other names, including Padmapani or " lotus flower in hand. The Brahmanic insistence on absolutely correct pronunciation of Sanskrit collapsed when Buddhism was exported to other countries where the inhabitants had difficulty reproducing the sounds. In Tibet, for example, where this mantra is on the lips of many Tibetans during their waking hours, the mantra is pronounced: "Om mani peme hum".
The Indian Aum-Om
In Indian philosophy, "Aum" is frequently used to represent three subsumed into one, a common theme in Hinduism. It implies that our present existence is mithya, or "skewed reality," that to know the full truth we must understand beyond the body and intellect and have an intuition of the true nature of the infinite, of a "divine background" that is imminent but also transcends all duality, being and non-being, which cannot be described in words.
In this metaphysical paradigm, the three are represented by the lower curve, the upper curve and the tail subsumed in the ultimate One, indicated by the small crescent moon and the point, known as the chandrabindu.
In essence, by attaining moksha, mukti, samadhi, nirvana, liberation, etc., one realizes the fundamental unity; it is not the reunion of a previous division of variety. When one acquires true knowledge, there is no separation between the knower and the known: one becomes knowledge/awareness itself. For many Hindus, "Aum" is the signifier of the ultimate truth that all is one.
The mantra Aum or Om̐ is composed of 3 sounds:
- The letter "A" represents Brahman, the creator god. It is the earthly world, the creation, the beginning, the birth.
- The letter "U " represents Vishnu, the patron god. It is the intermediate world, the dream, the continuation, the life.
- The letter "M" represents Shiva, the destroyer. It is the centrifugal force, sleep, the end, death. "M" is the state of deep sleep, the celestial world.
This cycle repeats itself ad infinitum: everything is born, lives for a time, then dies and returns to merge into the universe, the great Whole. The Aum or Om̐ is the representation of the 3 phases of life.
The syllable thus represents the totality of what exists, it is what contains the past, present and future, as well as the Hindu trinity.
The pronunciation of Om̐ is sometimes described as follows: a emerges from the back of the throat, towards the palate, u rolls over the tongue m ends on the lips, a symbolizes wakefulness, u, dream, m, sleep. Awakening corresponds to the fourth time: silence, the departure and return of Pranava, and thus, Kali, temporal goddess.
This syllable would be the sum and substance of the sound of the Universe. Om is the sound of that which is not clashed, contrary to air on the larynx, or the sound of a tree breaking.
How to make the aum sound?
- Sit comfortably in a chair or armchair
- Posture is important: sit with your feet in contact with the floor, back straight, shoulders relaxed, and hands resting on your thighs
- Close your eyes
- Breathe normally for a few moments
- Close your lips gently and murmur the MMM sound on your lips until you feel that this sound is resting on your inner earth
- Then you can begin to pronounce the OOO. The lips are rounded, the mouth is almost closed and the tongue is a bit back. You can bring the sound down into the belly if you wish, it gives stability.
- And finish the sound with the MMM by expelling the remaining air. You can help expel the air by placing your hand flat on the chest.
- Repeat several times until calmness sets in, inner silence always sets in after the chanting of Om̐.
For the sound to be uniform, it is necessary to control the relaxation of the muscles of the respiratory system when exhaling. Indeed, if there is tension in the throat or the muscles of the rib cage, the sound will be jerky.
Notice how you feel afterwards. Notice that feeling of peace and relaxation within you.
Influence of repeating Om̐ for meditation or yoga
In meditation, when we chant the Om̐, we create a vibration within us that resonates with the cosmic vibration and we begin to think universally. The momentary silence between each chanted chant becomes palpable.
It allows you to :
- Gradually bring back calmness.
- Improve concentration through better control of the mind. You stop the fluctuations of the mind and the thoughts of everyday life.
- Achieve a refined state of consciousness.
The three letters resonate throughout our body, from bottom to top, and the vibrations help to purify and activate all our chakras.
During your meditation or yoga class you can repeat this mantra but also concentrate on its symbol in order to enter in resonance with it. The visualization of the Aum symbol is a vibratory key that puts you in harmony with the universal consciousness.
What is the symbol of Ohm - Aum - Om?
The symbol most commonly known in the West is the one below. But there are many variations throughout the world.
In this symbol we find the 4 elements. Earth is the curve on the left, water on the right, air is represented by the semicircle and fire by the point.
Connecting to this symbol allows us to be in harmony, in resonance with the universal consciousness.
How to use the Aum symbol?
● The Om̐ is a very effective symbol for rebalancing your energy state.
● Placing an Om̐ under your food, beverages, seeds and food supplements helps to energizethem.
● You can place your stones, minerals on this symbol to cleanse and recharge them.
● You can also hang an Om̐ on the wall or as a sticker on the window to reharmonize some rooms.
Having an Om̐ symbol in your house or wearing it on you brings positive energy. It is beneficial to any person.