What does Om mean? Why do we chant it?
Nowadays Om is as ubiquitous as the letter A in the English Alphabet. Its on rings and necklaces, tee shirts, scarves, yoga mats, bottles of water.. it hangs on the wall in yoga studios , gourmet delis and makes an appearance at the start of almost every yoga class. Ever wondered what the true significance is and the profound reasons we chant it ?
Om is a sacred powerful word . Chanting Om is a purifying experience for the body, energy and spirit – a source of deep happiness – a way to connect as one, to the divine consciousness within you. Its typically written as “Aum” , which seeems monosyllabic but actually has 3 distinct syllables, A+U+M, each with their own meaning. The trinity appears in most spiritual practices and religions somewhere – Aum is actually similar to the Holy Catholic trinity of father, son and holy spirit. In this case, the father is the same (God), the son is you – a human having a spiritual experience in this life , and the holy spirit is the divine consciousness within you.
It is literally the sound of creation- the sound of God the creator – the predominating force and power. For this reason, chanting Om before every auspicious activity is essential . The process of the mystical and powerful chanting of Om is called “Om-kar”.
Om must be chanted with passion and force, with a prolonged and sustained note and with great devotion. Chanting Om-kar creates an internal vibration which is often palpable : a summoned powerful energy from within which affects every part of the body:
* The mind settles and calms allowing for unity with the divine/higher self and strength
* Negative thoughts are obliterated.
* The weighty physical body feels lighter and buoyant.
* Low vibrational, mundane thoughts are put to rest.
* The higher self takes the reins from the mind, arousing dormant inner strength.
* Clarity increases; self confidence grows.
From a Hindu perspective, the 3 syllables represents and salutes the 3 attributes of God- Brahma, (God the father/ creator), Vishnu (God the operator) and Shiva (God the destroyer) as well as the three vedas or sacred texts – Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Sama-Veda. The syllable “A” is said to carry mankind like a horse, the syllable ” U” is a pointer to the condition and situation, the syllable “M” is indicative of the rhythm and melody of life. Together they are the roadmap and chariot bringing us to a unified state with the divine.
In the Bhagavad Gita, 8/13 Sri Krishna explains :
Whoever controls his mind and knowing that the soul resides in the forehead repeats the word “Om”, known it as representing Brahma (God as creator) and thinking of Me his soul leaves the body, that person shal attain the supreme goal.
In the Gopath Brahman, it states that if one chants a mantra without Omkar as a prefix, the mantra will not yield results. The “Om” is Shiva and the mantra following is Shakti – the two energies of divine union. When chanted together, the unified force yields achievement of purpose. All of the the Upanishads, the Dharmashastras, the Gayatri mantra and all mantras used in reverence to a deity or God begin with “Om”.
Chant your Om with all of the love and devotion in your heart, and embrace the happiness and peace which follows. <3