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The Meaning of Om

Info: 1266 words (5 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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The Meaning of Om

Everyone desire to be blissful and happy and this also lies at the very core of our inner being. Chanting and meditation of Om is the way to reach and abide in that ever-blissful nature underlying our surface personality. Om is unconditional bliss, a bliss that is everlasting, undecaying, pure and stainless. Om is our blissful Self.

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The word Om is believed to originate from the Veda, the most ancient literature of the world. Even in the Veda, the term Om is used almost in every verse. Om is used as a symbol, which means everything in this entire universe and Om is believed to sustain in everything. The universe means not only the physical universe, but also include the spiritual universe. Om is also used as a name of the Lord and it means, the truth of the Lord. Once you know the meaning, “Om” becomes the name of the Lord for you. Now you can call him, invoke him, pray to him. This is why many of the prayers, chants or mantras begin with “Om”.

No one can ever know what exactly OM is and what all it encompasses. That it encompasses everything known and unknown is a given. OM is many things, many concepts, and all the elements in the universe. In fact, OM is the universe. OM is the origin sound of the universe. But when you say sound, you limit its function to that of only sound. OM is more than just sound. OM is the starting point of the universe. OM is the mysterious first, original source from which sound, space and time emerged. OM is the beginning, the end and the entire functioning of the universe.

Before OM rent the universe, there was no sound, no light coming out of that void. Whatever it was self-contained. It was soundless, incomprehensible, inconceivable and indescribable. Even today, after the manifestation of the universe from that dense point of energy (which was pitch black, which has been described in Genesis as ‘Black Fire’) and soundlessness, that self-contained sphere remains nameless and untraceable and as incomprehensible as ever

The vibrations associated with sounding the word Om signify not only compressions and rare fractions that are generate in the air, all the vibrations that together make up the cosmic energy these vibrations includes protons and electro-magnetic waves in the either that need no material medium for their travel, the pulsations of matter and gyrations of electrons around atomic nuclei. Om encompasses all patterns and rhythm, including the notes of music, the chirping of words, the ultra- sound by which bats perceives objects the beating heart, the sensory waves of our nervous system, the dance of neurons within the brain, the tidal waves in the ocean, the orbiting of planets round the sun and of the moon round the earth [1].

Om is unbounded space with all its visible and dark matter, it is the microcosm of the microcosm, and it signifies all existence with its cause-effect relationships, consciousness, activity and perception. It is the air that we breathe, it is the vital force Prana, and it is the thinking mind. [1]

Om is the energy that manifests itself in motion i.e. Kinetic Energy or as electric, magnetic, chemical, nuclear or light energy. Indeed, all matter is energy in a concentrated form, revealed in autonomic reactions and explosions and in stellar emissions. Om includes also subtler forms of energy such as endless potential energy in man. All forces of action and reaction as well as forces of good and evil are embodied in Om. This symbol is of the eternal Sphota is essence of nature that leads to knowledge and wisdom through the media of existence, sound, space, air , energy, water, earth, mind, senses, karma, austerity and revelation.[1]

The universe is multifarious. We often look only at one part i.e. physical part of tis universe. The world’s oldest language is Sanskrit and the language is full of compounds. In this compound the God is given as a name of Om. All the languages on this earth produce some sound. Especially when I don’t know a language, I hear only sounds. In every language, certain sounds repeat themselves which is the unique characteristic of that language. When we open our mouth to make a sound, the sound that is produced is ‘a’ and if we close our mouth and make a sound, then the sound is ‘m’. All the other sounds are in-between ‘a’ and ‘m’ sounds.

Therefore, one sound that can represent all the other sound, in a sense round-off all the sounds, you round your lips and make a sound. It will be ‘o’. Now I can combine these three sounds which represent all the sounds; ‘a’ plus ‘o’ plus ‘m’ and make a one word, will become “Om”, the name of the Lord. Once you said “Om”, you have said everything.

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The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key, pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate; M represents the last sound in the series, being produced by the closed lips, and the U rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding board of the mouth. Thus, Om represents the whole phenomena of sound-producing. As such, it must be the natural symbol, the matrix of all the various sounds. It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made.

Being an oral tradition, Vedas explain Om as made up of three parts. These are phonetic parts of that ‘Om’ sound and each of those parts are loaded with certain meaning. That is called superimposition, adhyāsa. You superimpose a meaning upon those sounds. In Om, there is ‘a’ there is ‘u’, and there is ‘m’. ‘A’ is a vowel, ‘u’ is a vowel and ‘m’ is the consonant. Thus, this ‘a’ plus ‘u’ plus ‘m’ together becomes ‘Om”. ‘A’ plus ‘u’ becomes ‘o’, a diphthong. If you see how the ‘a’ and ‘u’ is pronounced, as a combination at the sthāna, the place where the sound comes from, then you will see that ‘a’ plus ‘u’ cannot be but ‘o’. And with ‘m’ ending, it becomes “Om”.

The letter ‘a’ stands for the entire physical world of your experience. The experiencer, the experience and the experienced, all three of them are covered by the sound ‘a’. When you are awake, you are aware of your physical body and this physical world – known and unknown. You are also aware of the experience of the physical world. At the same time, you are also aware of the experiencer – that is you. All these three you are aware of, are ‘a’.

The letter ‘u’ is the thought world, which is distinctly experienced as other than the physical world. A thought world which is distinctly experienced, as your dream, as your imagination and as abstract or subtle, SÅ«kùma or subtle is represented by ‘u’. The thought world, the object of the thought world and its experience are the meaning of the sound ‘u’.

Then there is ‘m’. It stands for the experience you have in deep sleep, the unmanifest condition. What was there before and after the creation is the meaning of the sound ‘m’.

Thus, the sleeper and the sleep experience, the dreamer and the dream experience and the waker and the waking experience all these three constitute what we call everything that is here. All these three together represent ‘Om’. Om is complete. We saw what existed before, what exists now and what will exist later is all Om. Even all known and unknown that is experienced, the experience and the experiencer, is also Om, vidim aviditam sarvam Omkāraþ. That is the Lord, Bhagawan or ishvea.

[1] Parkash M., (2011) Om Our cosmic connection. Shipra Publications. New Delhi


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