is a word used by Hindu yogis to represent a vibration
which they say pervades the entire universe. They believe
this is the same sound as the one heard internally as
a result of practicing yoga.*
generally, Om represents God, the supreme, all that
is used as a mantra (a word or phrase that's said repeatedly
out loud or in one's head) in Japa Yoga.
is a variant spelling of Om. The word can be spelled
either way because the letter o is regarded
as a diphthong consisting of a and u.
to one of the most famous Hindu scriptures, the Mandukya
Upanishad, Om symbolizes the four states of consciousness.
The letter a represents the waking state, u
represents the dream state, m represents deep
sleep, and the whole word represents the fourth state
(turiya), which is the state of enlightenment.
is a name used for the syllable Om. For example,
you might say, "I recited the pranava a thousand
times," meaning you said "Om" a thousand
times. Literally, pranava means "pronouncing"
in Sanskrit. The word consists of the prefix pra
(a cognate of the Latin prefix pro) and the root
nu meaning "call out" and "exult."
also means the sound that people hear internally after
they practice yoga for a while.
place of these concepts in yoga is summarized nicely
by this paragraph from the website of the Himalayan
Pranava in Sanskrit means "humming." The mantram [mantra]
Aum denotes God as the Primal Sound. This sound can
be heard as the sound of one's own nerve system, and
meditators and mystics hear it daily, like the sound
made by an electrical transformer or a swarm of bees,
or a thousand vinas playing in the distance. It is
a strong, inner experience, one that yogis hold with
great reverence. The meditator is taught to inwardly
transform this sound into the inner light which lights
up ones' thoughts, and to bask in this blissful consciousness
of light. Pranava is also known as the sound of the
nadanadi sakti. Hearing it one draws near to God Consciousness.
When we are living in the lower chakras, or when the
world too strongly dominates our mind, this sound
may, for a time, not be heard. But it returns as awareness
withdraws, as the mind becomes perfectly quiescent,
silent, still. Listen for this sound in your quietest
moments and you will learn to recognize it as a daily
encounter with the Divine that lives within all men,
within all creatures, within all existence. Aum Namasivaya!
skeptics say that the humming heard by experienced meditators
is actually a form of self-induced epilepsy.
of the information on this page is drawn from Georg Feuerstein's
article, The Sacred
Syllable OM, on the website of the Yoga Research and
Education Center. Any mistakes are ours, not his.
RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE
classic Sanskrit scripture that explains the significance
of Om in terms of the four states of consciousness..
main reference page on the Sanskrit language.
Sacred Syllable Om
superb article on the history and meaning of Om. On
the website of the Yoga Research and Education Center.
Homepage of the Himlayan Academy
explanations, and quotations from famous teachers. This
is a terrific site.
on the Mandukya Upanishad
classic Sanskrit scripture is all about Om.