Modern science and ancient Hindu teachings agree on one thing: matter is made up of vibrating energy. Ordinary audible sounds are created when two or more elements strike at each other, like the sound produced when the wind rustles the leaves or when the bow slides over the violin strings or when the waves splash acrossthe shores. Ancient India had discovered another awesome sound caused by elements vibrating together.Referred to as "anahata nada"in Sanskrit, the unstruck sound most resembles the sound of the primal energy and is called Om.
OM - A Cosmic Vibration
Held in high respect, Om is a word that basically says nothing. No one really knows about the exact origin of Om, but every Hindu knows it when they see or hear it. As a symbol, the Om is
to Hindus what the cross is to Christians, or the menorah is to Jews. It is the oldest mantra known to the sages of India and the most sacred. Found by itself on most letterheads, pendants, and wed ding cards, Om also occurs in everyday prayers like "Om Shanti Om" and "Om Namo Narayana." It is enshrined in every Hindu temple and family shrine. Om, the sound, stands for cosmic vibration, which is like the drone of millions of bees humming together in chorus.
Scientists have found that the cosmic sound cannot be heard by man's naked ears, for the vibrations emanating from planets are pitched twenty octaves below man's hearing. However, Hindus believe the unheard cosmic sounds are audible to spiritual practitioners in the higher state of consciousness. The sound Om is also called Pranava in Sanskrit, meaning one that sustains life and runs through our breath or prana. Om, the symbol, however, is identified with Brahman, the Absolute Reality, from which ev erything evolved, according to Hinduism. It is believed that repeated utterance of Om identifies oneself with the cosmic resonance, thereby reentering the source from which one emerged. Hindu tradition has it that this ancient mantra is composed of three sounds:A,U, M, and concluded by silence.
These are symbolically related to the basic states of consciousness, which are waking, dreaming, and sleeping. The fourth state or silence is the highest state and is a way of concen trating on, or even merging with, the absolute. Om embodies the most profound concepts of Hindu belief and most religious Hindus begin their day by uttering the word. A newborn child is ushered into the world with this holy sign. Om is also initiated into the life of a Hindu and remains with him forever, as the symbol of piety.
OM - The Primordial Sound
As the initial vibration of OM emerges from the unmanifest, it diversifies into all the different vibrations of the Universe, which manifest as the world we know. OM, therefore, contains within it all the mantras, sounds, and vibrations of the Universe. Everything in the Universe is a manifestation of OM and ultimately a reflection of Pure Consciousness from which it emerged. OM is the collective sound of the Universe, the Primordial Sound.
The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians says, “The One becomes Many, the Unity becomes Diversity, the Identical becomes Variety, yet the Many remains One.” The Gospel of John says, “The Word became flesh” (manifest creation). In Egyptian literature, the creator god pronounced the names of everything. Modern science tells us the Universe is expanding. Vedanta tells us that our Consciousness, or Awareness, expands as we grow towards Enlightenment. The Quran states, “And the heaven (space) We created with might, and indeed We are (its) expander.”
If, as Vedanta tells us, the Universe is a projection of our Consciousness, then the so-called expansion of the Universe is contingent on our spiritual growth, and at the moment of our Enlightenment, the Universe will also reach the conclusion of its journey and cease to exist as a separate reality. Om is also a popular symbol in contemporary body art and tattoos.Many Western rock bands have used it intheir works, including George Harrison, who used the symbol Om as the 3 on the cover of his album "Thiry Three and 1/ 3."
Chanting of OM
As OM is the sound of the Universe, it’s always present, so technically we can’t chant it. We cannot create OM by a chanting of it; we only produce a vibration sympathetic with the vibration that is already there, which is OM. It is not a chant made by us, created by us, or initiated by us. Rather, we establish a connection between ourselves and the Supreme Reality, which manifests itself as sound vibration in the form of OM.
An alternative way of chanting OM is in its separate form. In one breath chant, “Aaaa—Uooo—Mmm,” followed by silence. The fullness of the “A” sound collapses into “U,” then “M,” and finally the silence of all three together once they have ended on the gross level. The waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states merging into the Oneness of the Absolute.