What does "OM" mean?


#1

I’m trying to understand the purpose and meaning of chanting OM, but am getting different answers and am not clear what it means or represents.

I understand that it’s to be pronounced as if it were spelled “AUM,” is that right?

Also, the best understanding I have of what it means is that it represents the beginning and end of all creation, or all that is.

Is it a prayer?


#2

I can tell you what it means to me; it is a vibration. When I am in class and we all chant ‘om’ or ‘aaauuummm’, the vibrations feel good. Enough for me.


#3

[QUOTE=thomas;40725]I’m trying to understand the purpose and meaning of chanting OM, but am getting different answers and am not clear what it means or represents.

I understand that it’s to be pronounced as if it were spelled “AUM,” is that right?

Also, the best understanding I have of what it means is that it represents the beginning and end of all creation, or all that is.

Is it a prayer?[/QUOTE]

It is a very good question, which deserves a very good answer.

The author of the answer is Paramahansa Yogananda. You can find it in the thread “Yoga and Christianity” page 4 (of 7). I just posted what Yogananda
wrote. It is indeed very, very deep.


#4

Thanks oak, but where is that thread?


#5

[QUOTE=thomas;40741]Thanks oak, but where is that thread?[/QUOTE]

Just perform a search for Christianity.


#6

Thanks, I found it. I scanned through the thread, and will come back to it when I have more time. I’d like to read it all. Lots of interesting posts there.


#7

This post in another thread may be of use, too.

"Very interesting reading about AUM chanting. Would like to add some more information.

Basically, AUM is a primordial sound. “A” when the lips part to let the air in or out, “M” when the lips close again and “U” the whole trajectory in between. So simple, yet takes lifetime to really understand. The many benefits of AUM-chanting have already been mentioned in the posts.

Let us also know that one can begin there but can take AUM to much greater heights. Chanting it is relaxing and invigorating; listening to it is thousand times more so. AUM is a cosmic vibration that resonates in each cell, molecule and atom of our being. Listening to AUM from our entire being takes us in a meditative mode and at the feet of the inner guru. That’s why the association with the Ajna chakra.

Talking of higher octave or lower pitch to chant AUM, each has its effect on gross or subtle bodies. In Vedas, the sound frequency of extremely high vibrations of the fourth state (turiya) is called para-naad. That of the third, causal body, is 25% of it and called pashyanti-naad. That of the second, astral body, is 25% of pashyanti and called madhyama-naad and that of the first, physical body, is 25% of madhyama, and called vaikheri-naad. When we chant aloud, our whole range of sound is this vaikheri. We can only imagine what para-naad could be; but listening to AUM gives us some access to subtle levels. Yoga Masters say that when the inner guru starts teaching, AUM is the first topic."


#8

Suhas I love this I’ve said before…Question…Do you think that singing, anything say, might touch on the AUM sounds for short or long periods and be beneficial? or is that not a possibility in that it must specifically be AUM. (if you get me)


#9

Karen,

In my experience, in yoga there is ‘this AND that’ and never ‘this OR that’. If one wants to sing (and can :D) its a good way to start and get involved. Wisdom is in knowing that there is a whole range of heights to which one can take it. As I said, listening AUM is so much more joyful.

Caution is however required in not forcing AUM with loud, forceful breaths as some practitioners do. AUM vibrations need to be in sync with what our given body-mind system can take. Information about sound frequencies is useful.

Finally, the very high frequency recital of AUM is what the inner guru only will teach.


#10

Suhas…If one wants to sing (and can:D )

I do hope the inner guru doesn’t mind one being out of tune :eek:


#11

I have heard that the chanting in yoga is linked directly to the devotional aspect of yoga and some compare it almost to prayer. Is this true?


#12

one may study mandukya upnishad to know what these three letters stand for


#13

[QUOTE=prasad;41980]one may study mandukya upnishad to know what these three letters stand for[/QUOTE]

Do you have a brief definition you could share?


#14

u may get online translations. this one may not be the best http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/mand/Mandukya_Upanishad.pdf,
ohm is described at sloka 7 onward.


#15

There is a lot written about “AUM”. But it is the easiest and quickest thing you can try to experience. Close your eyes, sit in a quiet environment, allow your body to relax by deep breathing, allow your mind to get away from the chaos (say, if you have watched TV before or talked a lot), then try this:

Take a full breath. Open your mouth by parting lips slowly to let air out to form a natural sound of a (sounds like ‘u’ in ‘hulk’) which grows into ‘o’ (as in ‘bold’) as you continue to open the mouth wider. About half way through your natual exhalation, start closing the mouth bringing the lips together. When you close the lips the sound will naturally turn into ‘m’ (as in ‘jam’). Keep releasing the last quarter of your breath into ‘mmmm…’ finally remaining just a vibration.

Over time, you can improve this in many directions, but 2 most important:

  1. Feel the vibration not just at the end, but through out and feel it in every part of the body. Then drill it down to organs and cells and as deep as you can go.
  2. Slowly shift loud recital into quiet listening of AUM from all over the body.

Good luck.


#16

[QUOTE=thomas;40725]I’m trying to understand the purpose and meaning of chanting OM, but am getting different answers and am not clear what it means or represents.

I understand that it’s to be pronounced as if it were spelled “AUM,” is that right?

Also, the best understanding I have of what it means is that it represents the beginning and end of all creation, or all that is.

Is it a prayer?[/QUOTE]

The Mandukya Upanishad defines it ad nauseum. A Google search should find you an online copy.


#17

Om

reminds me of Amen.

I wonder why that is?


#18

[QUOTE=The Scales;45563]Om

reminds me of Amen.

I wonder why that is?[/QUOTE]

Probably because Amen came from Om which came from Hinduism, the Ultimate Eternal Super-Religion?


#19

[I]FROM the book of Ernest wood (1954)

" OM is an introductory mantra. the other three are called seed mantras (aim, klim, strim). Mantra OM is used in the beginning and the end of all prayers. It is considered to have harmonizing effect… It is composed of letters A, O , U, M, with A and O blended together.

The meaning may be derived the following way. As A is sounded from the throat, it is the beginning of all sounds, and M is formed by closing the lips and is the end.

In the Upanishad Shandilya , the yoga is told to meditate on the OM. at the same time thinking of three goddes. Gayatri represent letter A, Savitri letter U, and Saraswati letter M. Those goddes are three wives of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, hence represent three shaktis, powers of the Trinity."[/I]


#20

[QUOTE=Indra Deva;45570]Probably because Amen came from Om which came from Hinduism, the Ultimate Eternal Super-Religion?[/QUOTE]

Probably.

LOL