We have all heard the sound of OM in a yoga class, chanted it during a meditation session, seen the beautiful symbol on a poster or a T-shirt. Acknowledged as the core of existence of this Universe, sound of Om, Ohm or Aum has powerful meaning which transcends much beyond it’s basic understanding. On an average we usually skim the surface level of it’s meaning and are in fact, inaccurate and downright wrong on how we understand and use this powerful synonym of the Universe we live in.
During my recent trip to Rishikesh India, I was fortunate to meet a deeply spiritual and renowned scholar – Shri Vishwashreyanandaji, who after renouncing his corporate life as an extremely successful CEO in an advertising company, has chosen to live the simple life of a Sadhu or a spiritual learner for life. The discussion I had with him, helped me grasp to a miniscule extend the actual significance and extent of power of of OM.
What is Om
Guruji explained that ancient Hindu scriptures describe OM as primordial sound from which the Universe was created and IS still present everywhere. As OM is the sound of the Universe, it’s always present, so technically we can’t chant it. We are not the ones who create OM by chanting it, we only produce a vibration in conjunction with the vibration that is already there in universe, which is OM. It is not a chant made by us, created by us, or initiated by us. Rather, we merely establish a connection between ourselves and the supreme reality, which manifests itself as sound vibration in the form of OM. The scriptures say that by meditating on OM, you can reach subtle levels of consciousness, which have the ability to unite you with God. OM rises from Pure Consciousness, which is primary and underlies all existence, constantly unfolding as our experience of the Universe.
Where does the sound of Om come from?
Guruji further explained, as the initial vibration of OM emerges from the nothing and everything, 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.
Om in Western Science
Western science is now coming on board and exploring this as well, and Quantum physicists have been studying the role of vibration at the root of matter itself. Quantum Physics tells us every state of matter has its own associated vibration and so does light. The very foundations of our Universe, of matter and thought, appear to lie in sound vibration. As mentioned by Nikola Tesla – If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. Modern science tells us the Universe is expanding. Vedanta tells us that our consciousness, or awareness, expands as we grow towards Enlightenment.
How to Pronounce Om ~ Aum
The correct way of chanting OM is AUM and in its separated syllable form. Chant the following sounds in one breath, “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. When OM is part of our daily spiritual and meditation mantra, we experience the fully expanded level of creation, attuning our individual souls to the ultimate reality of the universe – God. And when chanting is done on a collective level, in a room full of believers, the effect gets synergistic!A tiny little simple sound, and effects so transcending! 🙏🏼