The meaning of OM (AUM)

Many years ago after an invigorating yoga class the teacher had us end by sitting and  repeating the sound “OM” three times.  I was a little hesitant because I did not know what the word meant and what the significance of chanting it was.

Over the years most of the yoga classes I have participated in have either started or ending by sounding “OM” three or more times.  I have always loved the way the sound hung in the air after being verbalized. My mind instantly goes blank except for the sound  which penetrates deep in my head and chest.  The vibration tickles my lips and my teeth vibrate long after the sound has ended.  I have never been sure whether my state of calm and renewed sense of well-being was from the yoga practice, ending with savasana or the sounding of “OM”, and the deep quiet I felt during the sound and vibration.

Om is defined as a representation of Isvara.  Isvara is defined as God or Lord, or Brahman, I will also add my title of Creator to the group. The word is used as an identifier by the user, as a name.  Whichever name an individual is partial to is not as important  as the sound of Om.

In “The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali” Sri Swami Satchidananda, explains the importance of OM is that the sound is a representation of God, or whichever of the above names you use.  “The name OM can be split into three letters A, U and M. …A is the sound created by opening the mouth and is produced in the throat where the tongue is rooted, so the audible sounds begins with A.  Then as the sound comes forward between the tongue and the palate up to the lips U or “oo” is produced.  Then closing the lips produces M. After the verbal sound there is still the vibration.”  To listen to the sound you have to keep the mind quiet and then you can go beyond the sound and feel OM.

Satchidananda also states …”prana is the basic vibration which always exists and the basic sound is always vibrating in us.  It is the seed from which all other sounds manifest.”

So when I sound “OM” what I am creating is a verbal representation of “creator” and I am identifying with the energy of this creation.  In those moments I am centering my attention and energy with the energy of all of creation, which I am part.  In essence I am allowing my part to become a part of the whole.  I am just experiencing completeness within in the vibration of “OM”.