Om chanting – is it religious?
Wow..Time has gone so fast, I wrote my last article three months ago, before leaving for India.I am back with this interesting topic-Is Om chanting important? is it religious?
This topic was in my mind for a long time, because in every class when I chant Om, I need to explain that it is not religious, it is only for good vibrations, chanting Om is your personal choice etc. So here I have tried to give a summarized significance of Om.
Though this is a very deep topic, I would try my best to keep it in simple.
What is OM?
In general, Om seems like a word with certain meaning, but Om is not a word and it does not have any particular meaning. Om is a symbol, it is the eternal sound. Om is the first mantra or first sound of the universe.
In the Bible, it is also said,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the world was with God and the Word was God.”
That Word was Om because there is only one sound that can be produced by opening the lips as well as by keeping them closed. With your lips closed, if you hum any sound of any language, it will come out as Om.All sounds derived from Om. All mantras originate from OM.
Ref-Om-the eternal witness by Swami Rama
Relation of Om with other languages
Om is derived from ancient Sanskrit language, which is also known as the mother of all the other languages.
- Om is made up of A,U,M
A-comes from the throat from our vocal cords.
U-rolls down the palate
M-comes when you seal your lips.
- Now if we notice all the holy words like Amen, Allah, starts from ‘A’, this very much describes the presence of Om in each sound.
- This is also very interesting to know that all the languages of the world start from sound‘’A’’.
- Om is the cause or root of any sound produced or heard and that is why it is present in all the languages.
Om in the ancient scriptures
In almost every Indian Vedic literature you will find Om, but Mandukya Upanishad especially deals with this topic-
Mandukya Upanishad starts with Om-
- Harih Om! Om ity-etad-aksharam-idam sarvam ! –
- The entire universe is the syllable Om
- Tasyopavyakhyanam bhutam bhavad bhavishad-iti sarvam Omkara eva! –
- The following (universe) is the exposition of Om. Everything in the past, present, and future is verily Om.
- Yaccanyat trikalatitam tad apy Omkara eva !- That which is beyond time, space and causation is also Om.
OM Mantra is also suggested as a direct route to samadhi in the Yoga Sutras.
–Sage Patanjali described Om as Pranavah–
- Tasya vacakah pranavah ! His (God’s) designator is OM ! ((PYS-1.27)
- Remembering the sound vibration of AUM (or OM), along with a deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents, brings both the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles that normally block the path of realization.(PYS-1.28/29)
Significance of Om in Yoga
- As we can observe that Om is not a simple syllable, it has a deeper significance in Indian philosophy and is considering it as the sound of universe or God.Therefore every time when we chant Om, we connect or unite ourselves to higher consciousness.
- Yoga means union, union of the individual soul to the Supreme Soul (God), and that is why Om chanting has a special place in a Yoga class.(remembering the union with ultimate).
- Apart from this, according to Yoga Gurus, vibrations of Om help to calm down the mind and improves concentration.
- It is not necessary that one has to chant Om verbally, meditation while looking at the picture of Om or mentally chanting of Om is also suggested by many schools of Yoga.This helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Therefore, in my opinion, Om chanting is not religious, it is a beautiful connection to the almighty and useful vibration for the human being.
Hope you have enjoyed this information.
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Om Shantih Shantih Shantih!