OM: A Quick Guide

India Deities

OM: A Quick Guide

From Holy Sound to Mantra


Believed to be the first uttered word of the universe and to encompass its vibrational energy, the OM symbol are the most sacred symbol and mantra in yoga. It is also known as the “sounds of all sounds”. In the West, OM is commonly seen only in yoga practices while in the East, many temples, monasteries and spiritual manuscripts display this sacred symbol.  This is true, particularly in Asian countries where Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism is practiced. 
Buddhism is mistakenly credited for the origin of OM, but Hinduism is the original source. This is documented in the sacred Hindu scriptures called the Upanishads written in 800 B.C. where OM is mentioned as an abstract spiritual concept under the Vedanta philosophy. The Upanishads indicate that OM represents the three cosmic reaction stages and the three phonetic components: AUM.

Parts of the Symbol

India - Hinduism

Om is not just a sound or vibration. It is not just a symbol. It is the entire cosmos, whatever we can see, touch, hear and feel.”

The visual symbol represents the meaning of AUM which itself represents the 3 Fold Division of Time. 
A= Waking State. It is represented by a large bottom curve. 
U= Dream State.  Represented by the middle curve
M= Deep Sleep. Represented by the upper curve. 
The dot represents the 4th, but the unknown state of consciousness which is separated from the rest of the symbol by the semicircle underneath it. This is to indicate that this 4th state (turiya) is too far removed from the human experience. Altogether,  OM stands for the Four stages of consciousness.
This 3 Fold Division of Time is not the only correlation between OM and the number three. The symbol also stands for the three major Hindu gods: Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva; and the three sacred scriptures: Samaveda, Rigveda, and Yajurveda.

OM is the holy syllable that preceded the Universe and from which these gods were created. This concept is deeply rooted in the Indian philosophy that states that the Creator made the OM sound which later led to the formation of the universe and presently holds the structure of the heavens. 


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