The Sacred Syllable OM

By Brittany Martinez, LTY 200 Hour trainee/2017

The Scared Syllable OM goes way back past the early times of Sanskrit. It is said that reciting this vibrational sounds is the process of emergence from the unconscious realty to the diverse empirical world. Mantra-Yoga-Samhita explains this as, “Where an effect is experiences, there also is some vibration associated with it. And where there is vibration there always is a connected sound.” Therefore, OM is used as a mantra during meditation.

OM is pronounced by the letters a, u, and m. In the ancient text, Mandukya-Upanishad, it states that OM represents the entire universe, past, present, and future. Furthermore, each of the letters a, u, and m have a meaning. “A" is associated with the waking state, “u” with the dream state, and “m” with deep sleep. There is also a fourth state which is displayed through the silence which is said to too beyond the other three states. This awareness of silence is neither inward nor outward but of pure consciousness which is the universal consciousness of the Self.

The syllable Om is supposed to take the unconscious mind and bring it to an awakened stated of pure consciousness. The mind must be free and clear of distractions and thoughts in order to achieve the Absolute. There are extreme forms of this meditative practice that require ultimate sacrifices such as asparsha-yoga or the Yoga of non contact. This radical approach assumes that in reality there can be no contact with anything because there is only the Self.

Ultimately, there is a more realistic approach through mantra-yoga that uses the syllable OM to unify the mind by recitation. When OM is chanted the vibrational energy travels through the body from the navel to the “third-eye” in the middle of the forehead. The deeper the practitioner decides to go he or she will follow the sound waves into even higher octaves of experience and let themselves be carried by the mantric current to the hidden spiritual reality behind the sacred sound. This practice of pranava (humming) is used to help turn the mind inwards and clear any mental blocks.

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