1. If you go through Christian scriptures, in the Fourth Gospel of the New Testament you will find a verse as follows:
"In the beginning was the Word
And the Word was with God
And the Word was God"
2. There also a verse in the Vedas that reads as follows :
"Prajapati vai idam agre aseet
Tasya vag dvitiya aseet
Vag vai paramam Brahman"
"In the beginning was Prajapati, the Brahman
With whom was the Word
And the Word was the Supreme Brahman"
3. The New Testament does not tell us what the Word is, but in the Maitrayana Upanishad we are told that the Word is AUM.
4. Today we shall try to look at some aspects of this sacred syllable AUM.
5. Before trying to understand AUM, it is relevant for us to try to understand who we are. Hum hain kaun? Who am I?
6. So where does the Word come into the picture?
1. It is a scientific fact that matter and energy are interchangeable. All material things in existence are, at the level of the atoms and molecules, made up essentially of vibrating, pulsating energy. This primal, or fundamental, energy is manifested in our hearing awareness as a continuous humming sound within and around everything. This is the sound of the Universe and in Sanskrit this sound is called Anahata Nada or Unstruck Sound. The audible sound that most resembles this Unstruck Sound is the sound of the syllable AUM.
2. AUM is the most natural and universal sound that can be uttered - for example:
"Oh my God!" : an English exclamation of shock
"Umumum" : a baby's first words
"Omni-" : English prefix meaning "all" or "completely", derived from the Latin word "Omnis" meaning "all", it sounds and means like the word AUM
"Amen" : Hebrew, Arab and Christian prayers usually end with this word which remarkably resembles the word AUM
3. When we chant the mantra AUM, the process covers the full range of vocal elements that produce the sounds of any language.
1. There is no literal meaning of the syllable AUM that can be translated into the English language. But there is a tremendous amount of meaning and philosophy behind the sacred word.
2. The syllable AUM constitutes the central theme of the Mandukya Upanishad. This Upanishad analyses AUM in terms of the different states or planes of consciousness in which the individual can exist:
3. Thus AUM, in a single syllable, represents the totality of Atman-Brahman, which is the Supreme Reality, the Pure Consciousness and the Ultimate Truth. AUM is knowledge absolute, existence absolute and bliss absolute.
4. AUM symbolises the whole Universe, encompassing all planes of being and all phases of existence.
5. In the individual, AUM represents the Atman or True Self that pervades the three-fold existence of the waking state, dream state and deep sleep state.
6. AUM also represents all the Vedanta and all Hindu philosophy.
1. The chanting of AUM brings the mind under control, creating a state of mental peace and tranquility, a state in which the individual becomes one with God.
2. AUM brings relief from pain, expresses mental moods and brings peace and harmony to the mind even when uttered in distorted forms. So you can imagine the power of AUM when chanted in its true undistorted Vedic form.
3. The sacred word AUM is found at the beginning of most Vedic Mantras e.g. Om Namasivaya, Om Namonarayana. It is also by itself a Mantra. Many hymns commence with AUM e.g. Om Jai Jagdish Hare.
4. From early Vedic times AUM has been an aid to meditation. Invoking AUM inevitably invokes the Supreme Absolute.
1. AUM, when chanted with a feeling of total surrender to the Supreme Brahman, takes us through all the planes of consciousness, from the waking state through the dream state and the deep sleep state to the state of Pure Consciousness and oneness with the True Reality, Brahman.
2. AUM is the most powerful and most sacred sound, syllable and symbol in the Universe.
3. The mantra AUM provides the individual with a direct path to God and a direct line for communicating with God. So, if you wish to contact the Supreme Godhead, just dial A-U-M and ask for the Lord.
HARI OM TAT SAT
Compiled by Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot