Om mantra (or Pranava mantra, which literally means “that which is sounded out loudly”) is a Sanskrit sound representing the divine energy, the vibration of the Supreme, and the reflection of the absolute reality.
More importantly, it symbolizes the manifestation of God in form and connects us to the High Consciousness of the Divine Source.
The mystical Sanskrit sound OM is sacred and important in various Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The syllable is also referred to as Omkara, which literally means “om syllable.”
This sound for Buddhists and Tibetans starts or ends most mantras, representing the root of all mantras. It is considered that the “OM” sound contains all other sounds in it. Furthermore, it is thought that later it turned into “AUM” – for Hindu, “Omni” – for Muslims, and “Amen” – for Christians.
Meaning of Pranava Mantra
Often this mantra is not regarded as a word but as an essential manifestation of the reality of macrocosmic spiritual strength. It is, in fact, the embodiment of the Supreme Absolute in Maya (illusion in disguise).
Areas of manifestation regarding the physical, the psyche, and the unconscious are the three characteristic curves of the Sanskrit syllable Aum rendering; here, the Supreme Consciousness (the Divine) is symbolized by a point located outside and above, to light and shed its infinite splendor, thus revealing the other three fundamental areas or worlds.
Aum’s Sanskrit form of representation is the actual manifestation of the visible truth. Nothing in this universe, no concept, no phenomenon, no being is independent.
All this and more, still unknown, are only versions of the same unique consciousness, as they participate in its essence in different ways and to different degrees.
This fundamental reality (often unexpected) connects them all with each other in an inseparable way.
”Aum” Symbol Meaning
The Sanskrit graphic symbol of the Aum mantra comprises three distinct curves, one semicircle, and an isolated dot. The three curves are connected to each other and are mutually generated. Only the dot and the semicircle are independent. The dot, however, dominates everything.
To the initiated, this graphic symbol of the Pranava mantra clearly signifies the three main states of consciousness: the waking state (awakening), dream state, and deep sleep state; it also represents the supreme consciousness or the Eternal Self (Atman), who embraces, supervises and penetrates all phenomena, living beings, and things.
The semicircle placed near the dot signifies both the fundamental feminine principle (Shakti) and the infinite, indicating that finite thinking is rarely able to fully comprehend the mysteries, the depth or elevation of the Absolute Supreme (represented by the dot).
The material world of the waking consciousness, the level of the outer activity, is shown by the largest curve, which is below. The level of the consciousness’ dream state, which is stimulated not only by external objects but almost exclusively by thinking concepts and inner aspirations, is symbolized by the second curve, the smallest, which is situated halfway between waking state and deep sleep.
The upper curve symbolizes the unconscious, which we often call deep sleep; therefore, it serves as a mediator because it is closest to Absolute Consciousness.
Turiya – The Absolute Waking State
The dot represents the Absolute Consciousness, which illuminates, transcends, and dominates the other three elements of the symbol.
This is actually Turya (a state of super-consciousness, a feature of the human being who has reached enlightenment). It is also called the “fourth state” of consciousness because it goes beyond the usual three states of consciousness.
Without the state of Turya, there couldn’t be any thinking, intelligence, symbol, meaning, or universe. Therefore, the dot illuminates the three states of consciousness permanently.
It shines through its own lights and endless powers, but it cannot be discovered except by those rare human beings, which have already exceeded the three curves and, by reaching this point, they have managed to merge intimately with it.
The focus point in this representation can be interpreted as the Absolute Consciousness or Witness Consciousness, which is located beyond body and mind, a sign of absolution from the world of phenomena.
The sacred word OM is not written alphabetically in any language of the East because it is not part of the language.
It is written as a symbol; hence the same symbol is used in Sanskrit, in Pali, in Prakrit, in Tibetan – everywhere the same symbol, because all the mystics of all the ages have reached to the same experience, that it is not part of our mundane world; hence it should not be written in letters.
It should have its own symbol, which is beyond language. It does not mean anything as far as the mind is concerned, but it means tremendously much as far as your spiritual growth is concerned.
It is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the Universe and contains all other sounds, all words, all languages, and all mantras. OM represents the divine energy united in its three elementary aspects: A-creation, U-preservation, and M-liberation and/or destruction.
Benefits of Chanting AUM Mantra
Practicing this seed mantra purifies the mind, energy bodies, and chakras (energy centers), raising our vibrational state to the frequency of our Higher Self. AUM mantra produces a transformation in the practitioner’s mind and is meant to bring spiritual fulfillment.
In addition, by chanting this mantra, the practitioner is actually entering the vibration that the Creator uses in the act of creation.
It is important to know that the AUM Mantra is very often used in conjunction with other mantras, usually with the OM being the first or last sound in the whole mantra. For example, it is an essential part of the most important mantra in Tibetan Buddhism – Om Mani Padme Hum.
Often these other mantras refer to a specific deity or name of God.
Some practitioners consider the OM to literally refer to only one such name of God or deity. Still, other practitioners believe the OM refers to some different God or deity. For those born into such religious cultures, this diversity of use of OM is well known and does not cause confusion while also being aware that there may be discourses or debates supporting one view or another.
“The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of conscience, I will tell you briefly it is OM. The one syllable is indeed Brahman.
This one syllable is the highest. Whosoever knows this one syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma.”, from Katha Upanishad, explaining the meaning of the Aum mantra.
While this mantra has various meanings, one of its most significant uses is for meditation and contemplation in Yoga and Vedanta. The Aum Mantra is recommended in the Yoga Sutras and the Mandukya Upanishad, as well as in many other teachings.
AUM Mantra meditation refers to the traditional way of chanting the word OM, which can be pronounced as “OM” or “AUM.”
OM mantra breathing technique: there are two main breathing techniques. First: when you exhale: “OMmmmmm…”- inhale: “OMmmmmm…”. Second method: when you exhale: “OMmmmmm…” – inhale: “silence.” The sound of the OM mantra should be repeated 108 times for optimal benefits.
Pranava Mantra Meditation Benefits
Mantra vibrations that it creates give a sense of positivity to your life. It helps in calming the brain and revitalizes the mind, body, and soul.
Also, OM mantra chants as therapy during pregnancy have plentiful positive benefits for the mother and the developing fetus.
Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating – nothing is really standing still! The sound OM mantra, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature.
READ THIS NEXT: Buddhist Money Mantra Meaning – OM Vasudhare Svaha