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MEANING OF THE WORD “OM”

This article is written by NILADRI DATTA who can be contacted at: dattanil@yahoo.co.in

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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.

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14 thoughts on “MEANING OF THE WORD “OM”

  1. Ramesh Patel says:

    Thanks for sharing such nice topic, learnt meaning of OM with spiritual feeling.
    Ramesh Patel(Aakashdeep)

  2. Osho Shivo says:

    Excellent article on OM.

    Listening to the sound of OM blesses one with immense bliss and takes one to the divine world. Many of the saintly practises are around the sound of OM. Nanak called it the way to meet god (Nanak naam jahaj hai, jo chade utre paar) Every enlighted saint went through listening of this cosmic sound including kabir, meera, dadu, sahjo, nanak, all the zen masters etc.

    In the present age, Oshodhara is giving Aum dishkha to all the sadhaks who join its samadhi program. YES, It is unbelievable but true. Join the oshodhara samadhi program level one and on the fifth day, you will begin to listen to this cosmic music of AUM. http://www.oshodhara.org.in

  3. VISHKI says:

    Excellent article

  4. syed says:

    even though i am a muslim-i can feel tender feelings and subtle , divine respect for Aum—a wisdom beyond comprehension ,Glory to Aum and the true Lord..

  5. Haroon Rooha says:

    OM ,is the sum of cosmic vibratory sounds.No human being can pronounce this sound. we are physiologically limited.what has been said above is in the back ground of Hinduism.Indology is the not religion.Religion is Judaism and its offsprings Paulism and Muhammadanism. the language of religions is history.The language of Indology is Mathemetics.Thus Respiration of animals or plants is 3 phased incoming gasses, diffusion and out going gasses and metabolites.To pronouce OM one inhales air ,its oxygen contents and exhales CO2 and acids ,,changes in metabolism of Lungs Heart cycles ,Brain function, Muscle,s liver , Kidneys,Bones and skin to intestines all are affected .thus limiting the time span of OM pronounment. thuOs putting the person in cosmic equation. making the person non oxygen dependent for that time in that space.OM represents the only fact of universes,THAT CHANGE IS THE CONLY CONSTANT every thing must change constantly.the changes are caused by forces of electromagnatics ,gravity in a given time and space,OM is depicted as swastica in Geometrical configerations and is interpretated in algebric equations as infinity.

  6. HITESH says:

    શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ શ્રી રામ

  7. Sushant Kumar says:

    I had learnt from a book that the dictionary meaning of the word ‘OM’ is ‘YES’. That is pure affirmation as such, that is, the affirmation of GOD. GOD (BRAHMA) affirms His existence. He affirms Himself by manifesting as all this nature (Prakriti). If we find the essnce of all existence, that is pure affirmation as such. All Nature is the manifestation of God, that is His affirmation (AUM).

  8. Vijay says:

    Aham Brahmasmi

  9. Hoaward Strougo says:

    I am a disabled male, looking for a girlfriend to meditate with.

  10. suresh says:

    This article is nothing but absurd.

    Aum is the essence of the three vedass.

    When the rishis wanted to get the essence of the vedas , they got 24 words , that is the Gayathri mantra.
    When they again wanted to get the essence of this mantra they got the three letters , one each from the vedas and when combined these letters became Aum.

    This is the evolution of Aum and it signifies all the three vedas.

    By adding this word to the mantra of any kind, it meant we have chanted all the vedas.

    One more thing also Rig veda says Narayano devam adhevam isham . If you cn get the true meaning of this vedic sentence , you will get to know the true veda philosophy.

  11. Ramesh says:

    ‘Om’
    it is nothing but every thing, om contains all the universe, om is sound of magic, that a normal humanbeing cannot understood forever,
    As per my knowledge
    A- akara(brahma) one who creates.
    U-ukara(vishnu) one who preserves.
    M-makara(maheswara) one who destructs.

  12. Ramadlan says:

    om was none other than aum abbreviation taken from three Vedas

  13. P C Chacko says:

    YOGA is hot subject now and the government and its main supporters is very much emotional about it and want to make Yoga compulsory to all Indian irrespective of their religion and religious faith. Religion, Religious faiths , Religious Rituals and customs are personal choice and cannot be enforced by Law or Force. India is a Secular Country where every person has a right to follow or practice his or her religion. But no one has the right impose ,enforce his religion on other ,by Law or by using force .

    Many people have hesitation to follow Yoga . One of the reason for this is because some of the Slogans and postures have a close relation to Hindu Culture,beliefs and rituals.

    The word Aum (OM) is one of the matter of Confusion. I am not an expert to say anything on this officialy . As far as I understand the Word Om (AUM ) has very strong Impact on body and Mind . Hindus and Christians believe in the Holy Trinity though there is some difference . According to Hindus Brhma is the creator, Vishnu is the Preserver and Shiv (Mahesh) is the destroyer. But According to Christians and Jews , The Father is the Creator, Son is the Redeemer and Holy Sprit is Strength and Knowledge . Pitha, Puthra and Parisudhalma the Holy Trinity . AUM represents the Holy Trinity and the relation of the soul with the Holy Trinity. I think Christians can use this by little change without guilty conscious Aum Pitha,Aum Puthra ,Aum Parishuthalma ,Amen believe, recognise and worship and Pray to the Holy Trinity . The Holy Trinity is the most difficult thing to Understand by human brain

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Devang Vibhakar
Devang Vibhakar
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SpeakBindas is a Limca Book of Awards winning blog. It's a PR3 blog with 1000+ articles & Interviews. Devang Vibhakar - Founder - has interviewed more than 350+ people and has been to Scotland, London & Germany. He's a writer, speaker, traveler & movie-goer !! He has also written four books. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of people from various sectors of life to avid readers of SpeakBindas. You can reach him here .