‘Om,’ 'Ohm' or 'Aum’ is considered to be the primordial sound originated with the universe and has been chanted for thousands of years. The continuous chanting of Om leads to profound enlightenment. The whole universe blends into this one word which represents the unification of mind, body, and spirit. Om symbolizes the spiritual and creative power, and its three core characteristics: creation, preservation, and liberation. Om is also a seed syllable, used as a building block for other mantras. In the chakra system, it is connected to the third eye or which represents intuition and self-knowledge.
The syllable Om is first mentioned in the Upanishads (Mundaka, Mandukya, Svetasvatara, and Katha), which are sacred Hindu texts that focus on the different theories of the Ohm meaning. According to the Mundukya, Om is imperishable which means it is present in all states of time, past, present, future, as well as transcending time itself. In Mundaka Upanishad, Om is described as the bow; the soul is the arrow, and Brahman is the target. Svetasvatara Upanishad describes Om like the fire which though potentially present in firewood is not seen until two sticks are rubbed against each other.
It is also mentioned in some chapters of the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and also thoroughly discussed in the oldest Vedantic texts.
A combination of curves, a crescent, and a dot makes the Om symbol. The top curve represents the state of deep sleep or unconscious, the large bottom and curve represent the waking state, the middle curve denotes the dream state, the crescent/ semicircle represents the illusions/Maya and dot is the absolute state or highest state of consciousness. This is the fourth state which is believed to be the state in which one could truly connect with the higher supreme. The meaning of the Om symbol is regarded as inexhaustible, infinite language and knowledge, and the essence everything that exists and of life itself.
Om Meditation involves the chanting of ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’. In Om meditation, as we exhale the A-U-M, the vibration of it links us to the original source of creation. If done properly, the sound resonates from your pelvis towards the crown of your head, filling your body with vibrating energy that simultaneously empowers and radiates serenity.
During meditation, when Om is pronounced in a correct manner, it has four syllables with pronunciation 'AUM'. The first syllable A pulsate the energy in the solar plexus and sending up into the chest. With the second syllable – U – the sound moves up into the throat as the sound moves forward along the upper palate. M – is the third and prolonged syllable that brings the vibrating energy through the throat, third eye chakras as the teeth come together to touch gently. Last and the final syllable is the deep silence of the infinite as the overall vibrating energy rises through the body and into the Universe. Try to meditate on OM till you attain Samadhi. If your mind gets distracted by Rajas and Tamas, practice Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation) again and again.
Significance of Om Chanting and Meditation
We chant “Om” at the beginning and end of a yoga class for several reasons: As Om allows us to separate the time of our practice session from the rest of our everyday lives. It signifies that our yoga and meditation session is a sacred time in which we care for ourselves while also practicing mindfulness. There are scores of other reasons why we chant or meditate on Om, such as: