Om is the most sacred and important spiritual symbol of purity in India.
The ancient Indian Rishi Munis (sages) discovered the existence of Om (written in Devanagari as ॐ). Ever since, Om has a spiritual significance in all Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Om is an impartial mantra that refers neither to any particular religion nor a particular God. It refers to Atman (Soul, Self within) and thus symbolizes the Supreme Personality of Godhead residing in everyone.
When you chant this pious mantra, it encompasses obeisance to all the Gods and those who have attained the knowledge of the Self (Soul) and are progressing on the path of enlightenment.
Spiritual significance of Om
Om, when chanted with focused attention and concentration, is called ‘Omkar bindu sanyuktam’. Omkarbindu Sanyuktam means the awareness of ‘I am a pure Soul’. The end result of this awareness is liberation or salvation.
‘Om kar bindu sanyuktam, nityam dyayanti yoginah
Kaamdum mokshadum chaiva, Omkar namo namah.’
Meaning: ‘The constant meditation on the Omkar Mantra by the Yogi leads to his worldly as well as spiritual prosperity. I bow to the Omkara!’
Om is a sound that has great spiritual and creative powers to unify everything in the Universe, and hence it’s called the Shabda-Brahma. Whatever sounds we hear in the material world originate from the spiritual sound of Om, which is the reservoir of all energies of the Divine. The vibrations of this word energize our third eye and crown chakras and help us connect with our Divine Selves.
Philosophical Significance of OM
Om signifies the essence of ultimate reality. By chanting and meditating on Om, one can become free from material dualities and gain absolute knowledge. The Om sound works on our consciousness and brings us from material existence into spiritual consciousness.
The symbol of Om is said to represent our four states of consciousness: deep sleep (unconsciousness), dreaming state, wakefulness, and bliss (samadhi).
- The unconscious or the deep sleep state is where our mind is shut down doing nothing.
- The dream state is when consciousness is dreaming and desiring while in a world, experienced through dreams.
- The waking state is the general consciousness that is looking outwards and using the five senses in experiencing the world.
- The dot at the top of the symbol represents the absolute state, which is the fourth state of consciousness. The absolute state is when consciousness is quiet and blissful in the ultimate spiritual state of being. The absolute state is when consciousness is absolutely quiet and peaceful in the ultimate blissful state of being.
Not only does Om represent the three states of consciousness – waking consciousness, sleep, and deep sleep – but Om is all about various trinities:
- The sound of Om has three letters – A, U and M
- These three sustain threefold aspects of material existence, including sattva, rajas and tamo; i.e. goodness, passion, and ignorance.
- It includes the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas, which are the most ancient scriptures where all the philosophy comes from.
- Om constitutes the beginning, middle and end; and the beginningless i.e. the Absolute Soul as well
Scientific Significance of OM
Scientists have conducted various experiments using sophisticated software tools, mathematical equations, etc. and have researched the effects of the vibrations of ‘Om chanting’ on the brain, on our nervous system and also various other parts of our body. They have studied the results of before and after regular chanting of Om mantra, and have come out with some startling revelations.
They witnessed dramatic improvements not only in the focus, concentration, and steadiness of the person but also in the peace, balance, and harmony that came about in the person’s personality. They have concluded that regular chanting of Om has a profound effect on the body and mind of the one who chants it.
How it works
A hectic lifestyle impacts our mind and body very badly. Working until late at night, not taking enough sleep, building up stress and anxiety through the day disturbs our overall body cycle. By practicing Om chanting regularly, our life begins to balance and starts coming towards normality.
Om regulates one’s life automatically; what is required is only a regular practice. By chanting OM, within minutes, our mind becomes calm. When the mind becomes calm, the body automatically begins to relax. As our mind and body begin to relax, our breath too becomes slower and smoother. When breath becomes subtle, negative thoughts begin to die down and worldly thoughts begin to clear and give way to silence. The internal life force starts healing the self at the cellular level. Each cell undergoes repair, gets healed and becomes healthy with the power of Om.
Doing Om chanting, toxins are thrown out, blood circulation improves and a good amount of oxygen is supplied to the body cells. The vibrations improve the efficiency of the spinal cord. We get sound and enough sleep. We remain relaxed and happy even in adverse circumstances. Overall, we improve our work capacity and performance.
Most important of all, when we chant Om regularly, we feel serene and pious from within, as it is a form of meditation which keeps us aware about our inner self.
Om is the most auspicious word in this Universe.
Most mantras begin with Om to invoke this auspiciousness. How about beginning our day with Om? Try it as a regular practice, and see the results for yourself.