In Indian culture, Aum or Om is a very sacred sound. It is a spiritual Hindu symbol often associated with the Gods. Before the beginning of any auspicious activity in Hinduism, Hindu people prefer saying Om.
It is believed that saying Om or Aum helps redefine the aura and positively impact the mind, body, and soul. However, it is necessary to note that Om isn’t used only by the Hindus but is significantly used in Jainism and Buddhism.
What does the Om Symbol mean in Hinduism?
In Hinduism, Om is one of the most spiritual symbols. It is said that chanting Om can radiate positive vibrations, which will further eradicate negative feelings.
In Hindu mythology and culture, Om stands for atman or the soul, which is the universe’s ultimate truth. It is the divine knowledge and cosmic spirit. Om is one of those syllables found not only in the Vedas but also in Upanishads and all holy Hindu texts.
It is a spiritual incantation that is sacred and holy. Om is recited before and after the readings of the holy Hindu texts. Apart from that, Om is also used during Pujas and private prayers. Apart from religious activities, Om is also chanted during yoga.
The Hindu symbol or syllable of Om is also known as Pranava, Omkara, or Ankara. Hence, in Hinduism, Om stands for the ultimate truth of the universe, which is the sound that gave birth to the universe. It is also known as the root mantra.
History of the Om Symbol
Other words used to describe Om are known as Akshara or Eksara. The om syllable connotes the beginning of the female divine energy.
The word Om had first been used in the Upanishads, one of Vedanta’s most important texts. Om is often related to the divine sound or the cosmic sound, something that is the mystic syllable and acts as the “affirmation to something divine.” All the spiritual concepts of the Upanishads are related to the Hindu symbol Om.
Om has constantly found its mention in the old layers of the Vedantic texts. The Sama Veda or the poetical Veda considers Om to be the audible sound that is the source of the numerous variations and acts to extract the musical meters from it.
The syllable Om revolves or finds its origin across many abstract ideas of the Upanishads. Various scholars have considered Om to be a “tool for meditation” and also state how this syllable can help to uplift the mind of those meditating from the artificial and senseless world to that of the “highest concepts such as the cause of the Universe, essence of life, Brahman, Atman, and self-knowledge.”
Om and Hindu Gods
There’s a whole new concept of Om in the Puranas, which is expanded to their theistic sects. According to the Vayu Purana, Om stands as the representation for the Hindu Gods, the Trimurti.
Om and Trimurti
In Indian culture, the Trimurti is the union of three Gods. Since Om is also known as AUM- A stands for Brahma, U stands for Vishnu, while M stands for Shiva. The three sounds echo the Vedas’ sounds, suggestively, Rigveda, Samaveda, and Yajur Veda accordingly.
Om has always been associated with Lord Shiva. As per the belief of Hindus, Shiva is Om and Om is Shiva.
Om and Brahma
The Vedas offer a different insight into the Vedic texts. The Brahmana layer of the Vedic texts starts Bhur-bhuvah-shah with Om. The Bhur-bhuvah-shah symbolizes the whole Veda. The Brahmanical layers of Veda bring different meanings of Om.
The sound of Om is said to be the vibration that created the world. It further relates to the Hindu belief that the creator, God Brahma’s thoughts, started the vibration, which eventually turned into Om. Hence, Om is suggested to be related to the creation of God.
Om or Pranava refers to the control of one’s life force. Many Hindus adorn the jewelry featuring Om, reminding them that it is necessary to breathe and focus. Om is considered to be a peaceful symbol that is essential for yoga and meditation. Changing Om helps to calm the mind and also rejuvenates the body.
Om and Ganesha
Om stands as a representation of the Hindu God, Ganesha, as it is a loose representation of elephant form. The curve on the symbol’s left stands for the head and belly. However, the curve on the right stands for the trunk for Ganesha.
Worshipping Ganesha will eventually help to remove obstacles and stands in correlation to Ohm. One must get over the struggles for reaching the absolute stage.
Is Om a religious symbol?
It is necessary to note that Om is not only a symbol but more than that. Since it is a sacred symbol, it is considered problematic and disrespectful to place this symbol near the Hindu faith’s feet or private parts.
Om is indeed a religious symbol and needs to be bestowed accordingly. Om is an essential Sanskrit mantra that is found in different religions.
Why is OM so important?
Om is the sound of the universe. It acts as the essence of reality and is used for signifying the ultimate truth. It is said that Om unifies everything in the universe.
Om is an embodiment of the divine energy and three major components that stand for liberation, preservation, and creation. Chanting the mantra can help to bestow a creative power that is ultimately spiritual. Chanting Om helps to practice mindfulness. It is the rhythmic pronunciation that has calming effects on the body.
Music of Om
The vibrations produced from changing Om can have a significant positive impact on the body. As stated earlier, chanting Om will have a deep impact on physical and mental health. Furthermore, it has deep spiritual powers that help to symbolize purity.
When one chants the music of Om, the vibrations will be felt throughout the body. This holy mantra can indeed have several benefits. Many have developed Om therapy because of the positive effects, which are further used for treating different diseases.
- Chanting Om gives you a sense of detachment from the world, which plays an important role in releasing tensions and worries.
- Regularly chanting Om gives you peace of mind and helps form a pious connection, further enabling you to fight anxiety and depression.
- Many research has shown that chanting Om can help to strengthen the spinal cord. However, to get this benefit, it is necessary to practice chanting Om under proper guidance.
- Chanting Om helps to regulate blood flow and relieves hypertension. It helps to normalize breathing, respiration, and heartbeat.
- Music of Om can play an important role in boosting sleep. It is necessary to chant Om regularly so that you can have a sound sleep.
How is OM used on the day today?
Om is used for chanting during yoga. In yoga, om chanting begins at the beginning of the class. The meditation mat is laid out, and Om chants begin to transcend into the reality of time and space. However, Om chanted at the end of a class signifies that the practice has ended and it is time to come back to reality.
Most people prefer chanting Om in groups so that it can unify and create a sense of community. As you keep chanting, you get to feel vibrations on your own. This helps you feel one with you and your classmates. It also helps you become one with the universe.
As far as vibration is concerned, chanting Om can be helpful. Before the beginning of any religious practice or Puja, people sit in groups and chant Om.
The 4 Parts of Om
Om is divided into different sections. While the four stands for AUM_, the fourth point is not actually a sound.
Om usually stands for the four states of human consciousness. From the modern and ancient eras, Yogis believe that the world begins and is sustained and destroyed. The one sound is related to the beginning of supreme reality. Om is the symbol of what is, what was and what it shall be.
The four states of human consciousness reflected through Om include the following:
The waking state or A of Aum stands for Jagrat. In this situation, consciousness is reflected in that of the outer or external world. It is all about experiencing the overall materials with the help of the senses. The waking state helps to maintain the consciousness of emotional and mental health.
The Dream State or U of Aum stands for Swapna. Svapna literally translates to dream. In the dream state, one is turned to the inner world. In this state, the mind can fulfill all its desires, wishes, and attractions, even those wishes that cannot work out in the external or real world.
Deep Sleep State
The deep sleep state is the M of Aum, and it stands for the unconscious state or Prajna. In this state, one has no desire or dream sequence. It is the state in which the impressions of the mind are sowed like seeds. If the conditions are met, these actions may either turn to the dream State or eventually become a reality of actions in the waking state.
Pure consciousness is the final stage of Aum or the ‘_’ part. It is also referred to as turya. In this state, one is neither conscious towards the out or the in. It is the amalgamation of the previous three states. In the Turya stage, one begins to observe the panorama of consciousness or define the different levels of it being played.
Why do we chant Om 108 times?
In the Hindu culture, one can observe the chanting of Om around 108 times. It is considered to be a holy practice. The number 108, when observed individually, stands for 1, 0, and 8. It reflects that there’s nothing and eventually everything (8 signifying infinity) in the universe. 108 is indeed the ultimate reality of the universe, something for which the Chant Aum stands.
108 signifies one, emptiness and infinite. In Hinduism and yoga practices, 108 is considered to be a sacred and holy number. The males, prayer beads also have 108 beads. The mala is used for chanting mantras repeatedly. Many devout believers keep the mala and chant the mantra throughout the day to gain peace and ultimate Shanti.
108 also finds its importance in the Vedic culture. It is considered as the state of wholeness of existence in the Vedic culture. The numbers are also associated with the solar bodies, especially, Sun, Moon, and Earth. How? If you calculate the sun’s distance and the moon from the earth, the outstanding result is 108 times in respect to the diameters (of the moon and the sun).
Furthermore, as per the Yogic tradition, India has 108 pithas or sacred and religious places. A body has 108 religious or sacred places. Moreover, in Hinduism, there are 108 mantras and 108 Upanishads.
What is the most powerful Hindu mantra?
The Gayatri Mantra is regarded as the holiest and the most powerful Hindu mantra. It is believed that the Gayatri Mantra invokes Brahma or the principle of knowledge and leads to the primordial Sun.
It is regarded to be the most representative way of prayer in Hinduism. In many Hindu households, this mantra is recited daily. It is said that chanting this mantra can promote a spiritual feeling, and imbibing and dwelling sound will eventually have a positive impact.
The Gayatri Mantra is taken from the 10th verse of Hymn 62 from Book III of Rig Veda.
Om or Aum is discussed in several religious Hindu texts. In the Mandukya Upanishad, it brings out the concept of one, which is considered significant. However, in the Puranas, the syllable is kept together for sectarian use.
If you want to feel Om’s vibrations and the power of the universe, you need to chant it aloud every morning. Not only will it be a great start to your day but also a significant yogic practice that will help you move further in life.