This article is written by NILADRI DATTA who can be contacted at: email@example.com
The real connotation of OM is not understandable through words. At best words can only endow with some pointers towards the extraordinary nature of OM and some understanding of it’s worth. From time to time the query is asked, “How did OM evolve?” One perhaps expects some allusion to the religious texts impending up with the idea of OM. OM did not evolve from anything. The whole thing evolves from OM.
Cosmic vibrations are reverberating ad infinitum in the universe, which the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras called ‘the music of the orb’. Far beyond the earth a grandiose music is being created incessantly by the forces of gravity, called the ‘interplanetary harmonics’ by the astronomers. This is recognized in the Vedas as the sound – vehicle of the clout of Brahman. It is designated as the Ultimate Reality in aspects of sound and word, and is enshrined in the Upanishads as the syllable OM.
Though OM should not be thought of in a restricted human way, it is nevertheless accessible in a human approach too. OM can be represented through the three letter A, U and M. OM is actually a sound that covers the whole progression of enunciation. It is like the sound of the gong that progressively tapers to a summit and merges into stillness. The beginning of OM is also silence. It starts with A , deep below the throat. What follows is the whole array of frequencies that one is proficient of producing but emblematically it is represented by the epistle U. Finally the mouth closes and OM is accomplished with the nasal M resonance.
There are hundreds of words for God and each one stands as a emblem of God. But there must be a simplification among these words- some common opinion of this entire icon……….. Is there any lucid and most natural sound of which all the other sounds are manifestations? OM is such a resonance. It must be the innate representation, the matrix of all the various sounds. It denotes the whole array and leeway of all the words that can be articulated. God- or any other name in any language- covers a restricted meaning. You have to add adjectives to connote Personal or Impersonal or Absolute God. The word OM, however, has around it all the assorted significances. OM is the mantra that leads towards the opening of the consciousness to the sight and feeling of One-consciousness in all things- in the inner being and the supraphysical worlds and the casual plane.
The continual utterance of OM in the spirit of dedication is identifying with the foundation from which one emerges because OM is the kernel-syllable of the cosmos. Reference to OM in the scripture and literature are abundant. Indian spiritual literatures through the ages indicate that every deity has been acknowledged with OM. The authority of the Vedas revolves around the word OM. OM is heard by the yogis in their heart. People immersed in worldliness do not hear it as said by SRI RAMAKRISHNA.
There is an interesting mythological story in the context of OM, popular in southern India. LORD SHIVA’s son Kartikeya once challenged Brahama regarding his knowledge of OM. Though he professed the knowledge of OM, Brahama botched to explain it’s meaning appropriately. Kartikeya therefore incarcerated him for his failing. After this incident Kartikeya challenged his father LORD SHIVA too. LORD SHIVA willingly admitted he did not know OM and requested his son to enlighten him on this topic. Accordingly the son became the guru of the father, who with the unassuming nature of a true disciple received his teaching. This story helps the ordinary man to comprehend how difficult it is to fathom the meaning of OM. LORD SHIVA seems to have preferred silence and humility to enunciation when he dealt with OM, though OM is LORD SHIVA’S own personality.