OM, although indivisible consist of 3 letters and represents 4 states of consciousness:
A, U, M and the aftersound – anagata, represented by the dot placed above the letter M in Sanskrit.
- A sounded “Ah” is the beginning of every language, sounded from the throat.
Vaiswanara, the Self as the universal person in his physical being. Whosoever knows Vaiswanara obtains what he desires, and becomes the first among men.
- U sounded “Oo” from the palate. It corresponds to Taijasa, the Self as the universal person in his mental being. Taijasa and the letter U both stand in dream, between waking and sleeping. Whosoever knows Taijasa grows in wisdom, and is highly honoured.
- M sounded “Mng” sounded through closed lips and teeth. The third letter M corresponds to Prajna, the Self as the universal person in dreamless sleep. He is the origin and the end of all. Whosoever knows Prajna knows all things.
- After the audible sound ends there is still a vibration. It is the unspoken anagata that is always there before the beginning and after the end. The Self is OM, the indivisible syllable. This syllable is unutterable, and beyond mind. In it the manifold universe disappears. It is the supreme good – One without a second. Whosoever knows OM, the Self, becomes the Self.
The three letters as described above can also be compared to all aspects of the Trinities found in different philosophy or religions, for example:
- The 3 aspects existence: birth, life and death
- The 3 aspects of time: past, present, future
- The 3 gunas: tamas (inertia, darkness and ignorance), rajas (activity and passion) and sattva (light and love)
- The 3 state of consciousness: conscious, subconscious and unconscious or dreamless sleep.
The symbol of OM contains three curves, one semicircle and a dot. The large lower curve symbolizes the waking state; the upper curve denotes deep sleep (or the unconscious) state, and the lower curve (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies the dream state. These three states of an individual’s consciousness, and therefore the entire physical phenomenon, are represented by the three curves. The dot signifies the Absolute (fourth or Turiya state of consciousness), which illuminates the other three states. The semicircle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. The semicircle is open on the top, which means that the absolute is infinite and is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. In this way the form of Om symbolizes the infinite Brahman and the entire Universe.
A quote from the Upanishads:
The essence of all beings is earth,
the essence of earth is water,
the essence of water are plants,
the essence of plants is man,
the essence of man is speech,
the essence of speech is sacred knowledge,
the essence of sacred knowledge is word and sound,
The essence of word and sound is Om.
The Power of Chanting Om
- The chanting of Om drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distraction and infuses new vigour in the body.
- When you feel depressed, chant Om fifty times and you will be filled with new vigour and strength. The chanting of Om is a powerful tonic. When you chant Om, you feel you are the pure, all pervading light and consciousness.
- Those who chant Om will have a powerful, sweet voice. Whenever you take a stroll, you can chant Om. You can also sing Om in a beautiful way. The rythmic pronunciation of Om makes the mind serene and pointed, and infuses the spiritual qualifications which ensure self-realization.
- Those who do meditation of Om daily will get tremendous power. They will have lustre in their eyes and faces.
Meditation on Om
Retire to a quite place, sit down, close your eyes and completely relax your muscles and nerves. Concentrate on the space between your eyebrows and quieten and silence the conscious mind. Begin to repeat “Om” mentally while associating the ideas of infinity, eternity, immortality, etc. You must repeat Om with the feeling that you are the infinite and all-pervading. Mere repetition of Om will not bring the desired result. Keep the meaning of Om always at heart. Feal Om. Feel that you are the pure, perfect, all-knowing, eternal, free, Brahman. Feel that you are absolute consciousness and the infinite, unchanging existance. Every part of your body should powerfully vibrate with these ideas. This feeling should be kept up all day long. Practice regularly and steadily with sincerity, faith, perseverance and enthusiasm in the morning, midday and evening.