To begin, I shall examine the critical question: Why chant the AUM? While responding to the question, I shall highlight AUM’s uniqueness as the cosmic universe’s humming sound. Second, I shall discuss the etymology and historical context of the holy syllable AUM.
Every daily meditation session helps us to be present and focused. It is having a profound and strong connection with one’s higher self. There are several advantages to uttering the sound AUM for a few minutes each day. Because this is the fundamental sound of your physical existence, you will notice a remarkable improvement in the way you operate after a few weeks of listening to it.
The subconscious is guided by the higher consciousness, and many individuals feel a spiritual awakening when this occurs. With a more prominent spirituality comes an attitude that chooses to stay calm, focused, and motivated toward the great elements of life rather than the negative ones.
Having the desire to overcome obstacles with the assistance of an external force is also required. This greater force is both comparable to and influential in the same way that the subconscious mind functions.
Whenever we train our minds to focus on the good aspects of life, our ability to achieve success is not far behind. Our subconscious and the direction of our thoughts are responsible for all of this.
This accomplishment will then lead to even greater success and financial independence in the future. Chakra alignment may also bring about a flow of good fortune, radiant health, and limitless possibility in your life when they are activated and aligned.
It is no longer necessary to seek love, acceptance, and praise from other people when you have achieved a condition of perfect inner wealth. You are the source of all these things. You have the ability to be happy.
You came to the realization that money is just energy, composed of awareness in the same way that everything else is. You are blessed with financial riches, and you want to utilize this wealth to bring about a more harmonious reality for yourself and others.
Then, in the following two parts, I will discuss the meaning and symbolism of AUM with particular reference to the Mandukya Upanishad, as well as its significance in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the epic Bhagavad Gita. Finally, we will summarize by emphasizing the many holistic advantages of chanting AUM while practicing meditation in our everyday lives.
Om also spelled Aum, Udgitha, Omkara, Ekakshara, and Pranava, is the most sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It is utilized in spiritual devotion, religious ceremonial, ritual performance, and yogic and tantric activities as both a symbol and a sound.
In Hinduism, it is referred to as Brahman (God) in a syllable (Akshara) and sound form (nada). In practice, it is seldom repeated alone, but rather in conjunction with other mantras, religious prayers, either as a suffix or a prefix, with the belief that doing so would increase their power, vitality, purity, and holiness.
What is the AUM’s purpose?
Hindus have believed in the supremacy of reciting the holy word AUM, which is often referred to as the Hindu sacred sign, for centuries. For many of us, it may just be a term coined from our illustrious mythological/legendary history.
However, we will be astounded to learn that scientific study has now confirmed the extraordinary therapeutic, philosophical, mystical, psychological, and spiritual advantages obtained by chanting AUM. We shall experience a certain degree of vibration/pulsation in our body if we repeat the word AUM without using our mouth.
According to the Vedas, and even if we examine the nature of sound, all audible sounds are produced by the collision of two objects. Such as a drumstick striking a drum head, two vocal cords, wind rustling tree leaves, raindrops falling on leaves, clearing your mind, tiers against the road, and so on. In brief, all sounds within the hearing range are generated by objects, visible or invisible, vibrating or colliding, resulting in pulsing waves of air molecules that we interpret as sound.
On the contrary, AUM does not produce sound as a consequence of vibration or the collision of two things. It matures on its own. It is considered to be the universe’s humming sound, which contains all other noises. Additionally, focusing on the AUM mantra can bring us closer to one another and dissolve the veil of separation. Additionally, we may get many beneficial effects by reciting this AUM, including the following:
• It eliminates all worldly ideas, eliminates distractions, and fills the body with fresh vitality.
• It calms and sharpens the intellect and fills it with religious credentials that guarantee self-realization.
• It directs our attention away from our normal discursive mode and into a more contemplative one.
• It reaffirms life’s unity and harmony.
• It aids in the reduction of stress, enhances focus, and provides positive energy, among other benefits.
The AUM’s Origins
The origin of the term ‘AUM’ is entirely ambiguous. Numerous hypotheses exist about its genesis. It was traced back to the pronominal root “av” and its development comparable to that of ay-am, “this.” However, the evidence for this perspective is woefully insufficient. It is not mentioned in the Rigveda at all, but it is mentioned in the other Vedas and many Upanishads.
Primarily during the early Vedic era, due to the holy nature of the term, it was kept hidden and never spoken in public. It was utilized in private conversations and transmitted directly and discreetly from instructor to pupil or father to son. Additionally, it was not utilized in the ceremonies.
Numerous Upanishads wrote during the Post-Rigvedic era, such as the Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya, Katha, and Mandukya Upanishads, attest to its growing popularity. These Upanishads provide symbolic significance to it by connecting it to the Ultimate Reality or Supreme Brahman. They use the terms Om, Aum, Udgita, Pranava, and Omkara directly.
What does AUM mean?
Aum is composed of three syllables: A, U, and M, or “aaah,” “oooh,” and “mmm.” A is the first of the guttural sounds, and therefore the very first sound that man may make; M is the last of the labial noises, and U is the sound generated by rolling the tongue in the wind.
So, the union of these three basic sounds may be seen as containing the rudiment of all sounds that man can ever utter, and thus can be regarded as the most appropriate sound emblem for Brahman.
Additionally, the syllable AUM denotes many significant triads: Earth, Atmosphere, and Heaven; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; Sacred Vedic texts – Rg, Yajur, and Sama; Gunas: Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva; There are three types of actions: creation, preservation, and destruction; there are three types of time: past, present, and future. Survival stages include birth, life, and death; elemental deities include fire (Agni), sun (Aditya), and wind (Vayu).
AUM’s evocative symbolism
As the sound of AUM CHANTING symbolizes both the aforementioned triads and the sound of Brahman, the Sanskrit graphic symbol of AUM likewise represents everything. Three curves, one arc/semicircle, and a Bindu/dot comprise the AUM sign. Each feature of its look is believed to represent something more profound.
To begin, it depicts the human shape: the big lower curve represents the bottom portion of the human form, the higher curve represents the top part, the third curve represents the arms (bhujaya), and the semicircle with a dot represents the head (mind) of the human form.
Similarly, the sign symbolizes four stages of consciousness (waking, dreaming, profound sleep, and turiya), as well as four kinds of soul (vaishvanara, taijasa, prajna, and atman), which we shall examine in more detail in the next point with reference to the Mandukya Upanishad.
The AUM as depicted in the vedas
Mandukya Upanishad is the smallest Upanishad at twelve verses long. It discusses the word AUM, the four states of awareness, and the four aspects of the soul. It begins by stating that the word AUM is the whole of this world, and the remainder of the debate is structured around a four-fold structure formed from A+ U+ M+ Silence.
Verses 1-2 of the Mandukya Upanishad define the Self and the Absolute, verses 3-7 describe the four levels of awareness, and verses 8-12 delineate the four facets of AUM. AUM’s graphic symbol represents the four levels of consciousness and four kinds of soul as follows:
• The bottom curve denotes the gross domain of the cosmos, the mind’s conscious processing level, the waking state of awareness, and the soul’s Vaishvanara aspect (A sound of AUM Mantra).
• The central curve symbolizes the Subtle realm of the cosmos, the mind’s unconscious processing level, the dreaming stage of awareness, and the soul’s Taijasa component (U sound of AUM Mantra).
• The top curve symbolizes the universe’s Causal realm, the mind’s Subconscious processing level, and the Deep Sleep stage of awareness, as well as the Prajna element of the soul (M sound of AUM Mantra).
• The dot, point, or Bindu symbolizes the fourth stage of ultimate awareness, termed Turiya, which encompasses and pervades the previous three levels. (AUM Mantra remains silent)
The arc/semicircle under the dot represents Maya, which is what separates the Bindu from the other three curves. The arc is open at the apex, indicating that the absolute is limitless and unaffected by Maya. Maya has no effect on visible phenomena. Thus, the shape of ‘AUM’ represents both the Ultimate Reality Brahman and the whole of the universe.
Chanting AUM connects us to all that is alive, to humans, to nature, and to the universe. Additionally, for the AUM mantra to be beneficial, the pronunciation and method of chanting AUM should be proper
When properly said, AUM is believed to contain four sounds: A + U + M + Silence; “A” originates in the gullet, “U” rolls across the tongue, and “M” finishes on the lips. The last note is silence. The repetitive pronunciation of AUM calms the mind and focuses it on our objective.
Our posture should be cross-legged and erect, with our spine, head, and neck aligned. While reciting the chant, we close our eyes and take a deep inhale, and exhale. By doing this three times, we may feel the AUM sound’s vibration reverberating through every cell in our body.
It cleanses the atmosphere in which we live and generates pleasant feelings.
• It benefits not only the one singing it but also the others in the area where its vibrations travel; it purifies our aura and charges the whole vicinity with vital energy.
• It induces a meditative state and induces deep relaxation; • It relaxes and rejuvenates the mind, which enhances and raises our level of attention and aids in our ability to concentrate.
• It exerts control over our emotions, wants, and feelings, enabling us to view events objectively and rationally.
• The effects of chanting the AUM Mantra in a group are magnified.
• It assists us in overcoming negativity.
• It may also result in ultimate self-awareness.
AUM – Scientific investigation
Chanting AUM has both mental and physical advantages since it lowers the nervous system and calms the mind in a similar manner to meditation. The mind is relaxed and blood pressure is reduced as a consequence of the rhythmic pronunciation, ultimately leading to an improvement in heart health.
In today’s world, scientific experiments/studies have shown that “meditation/chanting of AUM is a stress reliever and therapeutic for a variety of other mental and physical health issues.” The following are some scientific advantages of reciting AUM:
• AUM chanting is a powerful tonic that significantly improves the human organism’s competence.
• It stimulates the synthesis of endorphins, which leaves us feeling calm and rejuvenated on a consistent basis.
• It benefits the heart and vascular health by reducing blood pressure and improving the competence of all the body’s cells and organs.
• It cleanses our bodies of toxins and provides us with a robust immune system and self-healing capacity.
• It also aids in weight loss by putting our whole body into a hypersensitive condition and stimulating our metabolism with its feelings.
• It strengthened our spinal cord as a result of the vibrations produced by the sound ‘Aaaa’ emanating from our belly.
• It benefits the thyroid glands and the throat due to the sound produced by the vocal cords, ‘Uuuu’.
• Additionally, it is claimed that rubbing our hands together while chanting AUM and placing those charged hands on various body parts cures or activates those bodily parts. For instance, if those energy-charged hands are placed on our eyes, our vision will begin to improve.
After such a detailed description, we can conclude that continuous chanting of AUM results in numerous benefits, including cleansing of the mind, body, and nature, the eradication of sins, mental calmness, the eradication of desires, delusion, and attachment, and the attainment of all four pursuits of human life, namely Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha, as well as numerous physical and mental health benefits.