Om – Sacred Sound and Om Chanting
Om, or Aum, is a sacred sound. This article will cover what Om is, why it’s considered a powerful mantra, and how to do Om chanting.
What is Om ॐ ?
Om is said to be the primordial sound that emerged from the vibrations of the eternal Cosmic Energy that created the universe. It is the representation of the Creator.
Om vibration is a sound that already exists in everything everywhere. Om exists in all of creation in its many forms. But Om is not a sound you hear with your ears, or see with your eyes, it is something you sense with your being. Om is a spiritual sound or vibration, and is not heard physically but felt spiritually.
Chanting Om is said to bestow upon you the highest knowledge, bliss, and realization. More on how to do this below.
Om is said to be the Holy Ghost, which is spoken of as Amen by Christians, as Om by Hindus and by Amin by Muslims.
Revelation 3:14 says:
“These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”
The Cosmic Sound is spoken of in the Christian Bible as follows: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1] The Word or Om came from God. He manifests as the cosmic vibration in creation.
Om is not a religious symbol, but universal or spiritual in a broad sense. It is said that the ancient Indians arrived at this sound naturally (without any preconceptions of Om) through meditation. The sound was given to them intuitively through “opening up to the cosmos”. Interestingly, Eben Alexander, who experienced a Near Death Experience, said that Om was the name of God, two years before he knew that people already associated God with Om on this planet. He commented that Om has no baggage.
Om is self-begotten, in other words it stands on its own and doesn’t depend on another syllable to make the sound. It is not the same as all other sounds because it is not a physical sound, in that the Om sound vibrates independently of the etheric medium, it is produced without needing to be detonated as with other sounds.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Om is stated as the symbol of Ishvara or God. This great authority on yoga refers to Om as a cosmic sound continuously flowing in the ether, unutterable by any human voice, and fully known only to the illuminated. Further, Patanjali says that deep concentration on Om is a means of liberation.
The vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical effect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind similar to meditation. When the mind is relaxed, blood pressure decreases and ultimately the heart health improves.
How to do Om Chanting
When Om Meditation is carried out with the right, sacred intention, you will be able to feel Om reverberating through your body, filling it with energy and serenity. Daily chanting of Om is said to provide untold benefits.
Three ways to do Om chanting:
(1) Repeated loud repetition of the word Om
(2) Repeating Om in whispers
(3) Continuous chanting of Om in one’s mind (listening to it mentally)
Om Has Four Syllables
Om consists of four syllables: A, U, M, and the silent syllable.
- A, first syllable: pronounced as a prolonged “awe.” The sound starts at the back of your throat and you stretch it out. You will start feeling your solar plexus and chest vibrating.
- U, second syllable: pronounced as a prolonged “oo,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along your upper palate. You’ll feel your throat vibrate.
- M, third syllable: pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm” with your front teeth gently touching. You will now start to feel the top of your vibrate.
- Silence, fourth syllable: this is the deep silence of the Infinite, merging your chant from the ‘M’ to the deep silence.
Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and it’s 3 main characteristics: (1) creation, (2) preservation and (3) liberation.
Superconscious Chanting of Om
Superconscious chanting of Om is listening to the Holy sound, not simply repeating the sound Om. Here, the mind is deeply directed, through the repetition of Om, to listening to the sacred sound as it vibrates beneath everything, cosmically. By deep inner concentration and intent, the devotee can hear Om at any time and in any place.
“This syllable Om is indeed brahman. this syllable is the highest. whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires.” – Katha Upanishad
“Om is the bow; the atman is the arrow; brahman is said to be the mark. it is to be struck by an undistracted mind. then the atman becomes one with brahman, as the arrow with the target.” – mundaka upanishad
Science Behind Chanting Om
Whilst the research is in its infancy, it indicates amazing benefits of chanting the simple, yet inherently powerful mantra, Om.
Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in physiological alertness, and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.
Science Behind Om Mantra:
Two interesting excerpts from the above article:
“The frequency of Om is exactly the same as the frequency of earth’s rotation around its own axis. So, in some sense, earth is saying Om.”
“Few years ago, scientists conducted an experiment in which participants who had never chanted Om mantra were asked to chant it for few minutes and each of their chants were recorded. The time frequency analysis of it showed irregular waveform which indicated unsteadiness in the mind. They were asked to chant the mantra on a regular basis and after few days, the experiment was repeated. The time-frequency analysis this time had some startling revelations. The waveforms were improved with regular spacing, had almost perfect symmetry and harmony. Not only had these participants witnessed dramatic improvements in focus, concentration & steadiness, but found themselves to be in peace, witnessed reduction in mental stress & could remain calm all the time.”
..the syllable Om that represents the changeless Brahman”
– Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
As you can see, Om is not just a sound, it is THE original sound, and contains much within it, to be accessed upon focussed recitation or chanting, even internally. May it bring you many blessings.
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