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Omkar - The source of Creation

Omkar is the most secred word for the Hindus. For them, it is synonymous
with the Supreme Godhead, the Impersonal as well as the Personal God. It
is the all-comprehensive Symbol and Name of God. It is also deemed as 
the *Maha Mantra* , the best aid and means for man to realise God.
In the timeless beginning, it is said, Brahman alone was. It was the
nature of Supreme Silence. Out of the Supreme Silence emanated the Nada
Brahman, the sound aspect and expression of God. That was the Primeval
Sound. That was Omkara. Out of Primeval Sound became manifest all 
creation composed of the five elements namely space, air, fire, water
and earth. Further, Omkar permeates all the creation. It is the life
principle of creation. That is why the sound of *OM* is also called
as Pranava - meaning that which runs through Prana or pervades all life.

The available literature upon the significance of this Vedic
Mantra is voluminous. Nowhere in the world can we meet another sacred
symbol that has got such a vast import or significance. The entire
history of the syllable is in the revelations of the Vedas and in the
declarations of the Upnishads.

There is a Vedic verse as follows :

	Prajapati vai idam agra asit
	Tasya vak dvitiya asit
	Vag vai paramam Brahma

"In the beginning was Prajapati, the Brahman with whom was the Word, 
and the Word was verily the Supreme Brahman."

The same is echoed in the Gospel of St. John in the New Testament :

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and
 the Word was God."

In Taithriya Upnishad, it is said, addressing *OM*, "Thou art the sheath
of Brahman." It means that Brahman is immanent in and contained in *OM*
and, therefore, invoking *OM* is invoking the Supreme.

In Prasnopanishid, it is said, Aum iti ekaksharam Brahman -" *OM* --
this monosyllabled word is Brahman." it further says that Om syllable 
alone is the True form of the Supreme God. One should meditate chanting
*OM*, only on the Supreme Purusha.

In Munkaka Upanishads, it is said, "To reach the central hub (Brahman)
and to know that all spokes (i.e creation and beings therein) radiate
from it, the mind is the instrument. Brahman, the target, is to be 
reached by an arrow-mind. Have your mind fixed on the target and using
Upnishadic teaching as the bow, shoot straight and hard at the Brahman
and Master. That is to say, the Pranava or the *OM* is the arrow.
Brahman is the target." ( Upanishad Vahini )

Maharshi Patanjali also says in his Yoga Sutra :
	Tasya vachakha pranavaha -- " The indicator of Parmatama i.e
his name is Pranava (OM).
All the above quotations only indicate the supreme significance of 
Omkara - *OM* is itself God and, at the same time, it is also the 
means for realising God.

Other Faiths too have a holy word like this OM in a little different
or modified form. To the Christians, it is Amen, Muslims call it Amin,
although their interpretation and usage is not quite identical with
that of OM.

OM symbolises all the names and forms of Personal God also 
In the Upanishads, God is extolled more in the Impersonal aspect. But
Personal God, God with form, with attributes, is the basis of the popular
religion. For the mind to concentrate on formless (Nirakar) Brahman is
very difficult in the case of most of us. The impersonal Godhead, in its
infinite compassion, has assumed different Forms, assumed different Names,
incarnated on earth several times from age to age for man to cognise the
divine glory. The intangible became the tangible for the benefit of human
comprehension and understanding. Thus we have the tradition of 
Ishat-Devata, the form of God of our liking, dear to our heart.

We have thus various forms of God, Siva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Devi,
Ganesha etc. *OM* indeed encompasses all the Names and Forms of God
which the human minds and hearts cherish.

Every name has a key letter- Beeja-akshara. Based on this, *A* is 
beleived to connote Brahma, *U* Vishnu and *M* Maheswara or Siva.

In the word Brahma, the last letter A, in the word Vishnu, the last
letter U and in the word Maheshware, the first letter Ma are said to be
the key letters. *OM*, pronounced as AUM, thus encompasses the 
Trinity, the Triple Aspect of Godhead the Hindus believe in. Let us see
how *OM* represents the other Names of Gods also like Lakshmi,
Parvati, Ganesa or Maruti or any other Name and Form which Hindus 
install in their heart as their Ishta-Devata (favourite deity).

A is said to connote Brahma. Where does Saraswati reside? She resides
on the tongue of Brahma. She is His Expression. She is His Vak-Sakthi.
She is so inseperable from Brahma. The aspect of knowledge and wisdom
of Brahma is Saraswati. Therefore, A is inclusive of the aspect of 
Goddess Saraswati also.

Where does Lakshmi reside? Her abode is the Vakshasthala of Vishnu. She
is inseperable from Vishnu. She is pure compassion aspect of Vishnu. It
is said Vishnu resides on Ksheerasagara. But in His Bosom itself the 
ocean is contained- the milk-ocean of kindness and compassion. Again,
Lakshmi is said to be born of the ocean. Actually, She Herself is the
ocean of compassion swelling in the Bosom of Vishnu, i.e, She is but 
the compassion aspect of Vishnu. Thus, the U symbol standing for Vishnu
includes the aspect of Lakshmi too.

What about Parvati? Parvati has no separate abode or existence, apart 
from Siva. She is part and parcel, the half-form of Siva who is the 
Ardhanareeswara, the half-male and half-female form. She is the aspect
of His supreme power, His Sakthi. Without Parvati, Siva is a recluse,
wandering and roaming in cremation grounds. Only with Parvati by His 
side, He gains auspiciousness. M symbol indicating Maheshwara, thus
includes Mother Parvati also.

Who are Ganesa and Subrahmanya? They are the sons of Siva and Parvati

Who is Hanuman? He is inseperably bound to Rama, ever enfolding Rama's
lotus feet in the palms of His loving hands.

Who is Dattatreya? he is the single and common expression of Brahma,
Vishnu and Maheshwara -- all the Three in One.

A similar anology can be drawn between Omkara and Rama's Name.
Rama is symbolises by the Pranava and the supporting sounds A, U and
 represent Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrughana respectively.

Thus it can be understood that there can never be a Name or concept of
God outside the fold of Omkara. *OM* is thus, the one expression 
which equally applies to all Names and concepts of God and quenches the
inner yearnings and satisfies the likes of all, i.e, individually as 
well as universally. In other words, all forms of God respond when
*OM* is chanted. That is why it is said that *OM* is the direct 
telephone number to commune with divine.

*OM* is the material, the sphota, of all the world of sound (words)
and is the basis for the science and phenomenon of phonetics
All sounds and words, have their origin in Pranava Sabda. all the sounds
that can be produced or uttered by combinations of different letters or
any alphabet come under the gamut of the three sounds produced by A, U
and M. If we take the example of Devanagri Script, the letters Ka, Kha,
Ga, Gha... emerge from the throat; Cha, Chha, Ja, Jha...are mainly 
from the palate; Ta, Tha, Da, Dha... originate from the tip of the 
tongue and Pa, Pha, Ba, Bha and Ma at the meeting of the lips.

Since the Pranava Sabda contains all the breath sounds, it is said that
*OM* is the sum and substance of the Vedas. All names are contained
within the Pranava and so it is the basis of all the different forms of
worship and all the different names by which God is adored.

*OM* represents all the state of consciousness, the physical as well
as the spiritual, and our awareness from the physical to the 
transcendental (divine) state
Upnishads proclaim that *OM* represents the Self which is the supreme
Non-dual Reality, Brahman or Atma. The Self is said to have four states
of consciousness. All of us are aware of three of these states of 
consciousness, namely, waking, i.e. Jagrat; dreaming, i.e Swapna; and 
deep sleep, i.e Sushupti. Most of us lead our lives in this world
experiencing these three states of consciousness (alternatively though).

But Yogis experience and dwell in another, a higher state of 
consciousness, the super-conscious transcendental state called 
Turiyavasta, which signifies "the thing in itself", running through and
pervading the threefold phenomena of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. 

This is the Samadhi Avasta- the Atmic state when one transcends all 
three states and realizes his identity with the Self of Sat-Chit-Anand
consciousness within. *OM* is said to signify all these four states 
of consciousness. The entire theme of Mandukya Upnishad is a description
of this only.

Just as waves arise out of the ocean, our waking, dreaming and deep 
sleep states of consciousness arise from the Atma, the substratum for
the different states of consciousness we experience. The A in Omkara
represents the waking state ( and our gross body), U represents the
dream state ( and our subtle body), and M represents the deep sleep
state ( and our casual body). But, further, when *OM* is pronounced,
there is the tailing silence, the Asabda, soundless state where the same
sound of *OM* rings without being aloud, vibrating in our ears even
when we have closed our lips. The letterless resonance, that rich 
humming sound of silence, represented by what is called *Amatra OM*
is said to signify the Self or the Atma, which is transcendental to the
three state of consciousness-- waking, dreaming and deep sleep. It is
deeper and beyond the three bodies-- gross, subtle and casual -- and 
is the core, the essence, the reality of our being. It is the basis
and substratum of our very being.

The Amatra *OM* signifies the Turiya state in which we abide in our
Self, oblivious of anything and everything else. It is said to be pure
awareness and the supreme state of Bliss.

*OM* is again said to be greatest aid to attain the Turiya state, the
transcendental state of consciousness. After chanting *OM*, it is said
we have to trail along with the tailing, lingering resonance of Amatra
*OM* and delve into the silence of our inner personality, into the 
depths of our heart. Then, we touch the source of our being. We cognise
the Self. That will be the state of divine consciousness.

*OM* must be chanted as slowly as possible-- A emerging from the 
throat (originating in the regions of the navel), the U rolling over 
the tongue in crescendo until the sound reaches the peak, and end in 
m at the lips. Then it must take a curve at M and descend as slowly as 
it rose, taking as much time as it took to ascend, and with Amatra 
*OM*, it must gradually merge into the silence reverberating in the
cavity of the heart. These stages represent the flower of one's 
understanding growing into a fruit and filling itself with sweet juice
of its own inner essence and finally releasing itself from the tree.

*OM* is the essence of life principle-- it is the vital vibration
that fills the universe and it is the subtle sound of our very breath
One who has the subtle 'ear' can hear *OM*, proclaiming the Lord's
presence in every sound. All the five elements vibrate with this sound.
The ringing of the bell in the temple is intended to convey the *OM*
as the symbol of the omnipresent God, besides being an invocation to 
Him. Like the temple bell ringing *OM*, inside the human bosom too,
the *OM* sound constantly goes on in its silent tone. The ever vibrant
Anhata sound in the Sushumna Nadi, which our gross hearing faculty
cannot hear is said to be *OM* only.

It goes on humming " SO HAM, SO HAM "....trailing off into *OM* 
vibrations. This is the sutle sound of our breath. 'SO' means He (God)
and 'HAM' means Aham, I (ego). Thus, it is the medium connecting man
with God. Constant mediation on this leads to the experience of 
Advaita, oneness of Paramatma and Jeevatma -Jeevo Brahmaiva na parah.

The Names of God, although they are highly potent by themselves,
need to be preceded by *OM*
It is believed that without a preceding or a preliminary Ganesh puja,
no ritual, even the worship of Ganesha's own mother and father, i.e.,
of Parvati and Siva, cannot fructify. Likewise, no Mantra-chanting,
no Name chanting is to be done without the prefix of *OM* to the 
Mantra or the Name. *OM* has to precede all sacred chantings, and even
for the chanting of the Name of Ganesa, who is himself Pranavakara,
we have to say, "Om Ganeshaya Namaha." It is, therefore to be 
understood that prefixing *OM* to any Name of Mantra potentiates the
power of the latter several-fold.

The modes of Omkara chanting
Vaikhari, Madhyama, Pashyanti and Para :
~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~~     ~~~~
 In any Japa chanting, the incantation passes through four stages of 
the sound process. The first stage is that of loud incantation. One
repeats *OM* in a loud voice so that the mind get forcibly concentrated
on the sound. This is best suited for the early stages till the mind
habituated to the Japa. This stage of the sound process is called

The second stage is *Madhyama*, where the sound of incantation is not 
heard, but the lips move while repeating the Mantra or the sacred
formula. It is a middle stage between sound and soundlessness. The 
sound in Vaikhari proceeds from the mouth, while in the Madhyama stage
it stems from the larynx but is hardly emitted from the lips.

The third stage of incantation is called *Pashyanti*, when all is
soundless. There is no utterance of the word, overt or covert, but 
the recitation of the Japa still continues in the mind without an
effort. In this stage, the conscious process of incantation comes to
a standstill, Japa becomes a part and parcel of one's being and one
perceives and experiences the Mantra involuntarily. The whole process
is from the conscious to the unconscious, from the voluntary to the 
involuntary, from the gross to subtle.

The fourth stage is reached when the Mantra itself is forgotten and
only its impact remains within the consciousness. This is called the
*Para* stage of Japa where every reference to Japa is set aside and 
the consciousness reaches its transcendence, its own inherent nature.
Para means far. far distant - transcendent. This is the Turiya state
where there is nothing but bliss, happiness and upsurging waves of 

*OM*, as said earlier, is Mahamantra itself. It is the key that
unlocks for us the doorway to the mansion of the Lord. As we chant
*OM* from the depth of our being, from the Nabhisthan or the region
of the navel, it elevates and lift our consciousness to higher and
higher realms, ultimately lifting us to the supreme Brahmic state.
It awakens the Kundilini power lying coiled and dormant in us and 
leads us to the supreme state of consciousness.

Mind is habit-forming. We have to practice Omkara chanting with a
conscious. To make it more readily appealing to our mind, we should
add the Name of our Ishta-Devata to it, like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna
or Siva, and word it as "Om Sri Ramaya Namaha", "OM Sri Krishnaya
Namaha", "Om Namo Narayanaya", "Om Namah Sivaya", "Om Namo Bhagavate 
Vaasudevaya", "Om Sri Sairam",..... and so on. The chanting in due
course will crystallise into a habit within our mind. Even in our 
sleep and unconscious moments, the mind will go on chanting *OM*,
as used to be the way with Draupadi, Radha and Meera, whose hearts
used to chant Lord Krishna's Name so incessantly whether they were
awake or asleep. The chanting thus should crystallise into our very
nature, like our inhalation and exhalation, a regular and unceasing

Omkara bestows liberation and immortality and unites us with God
for ever
In the chapter of the *Gita*, the "Akshara Para Brahma Yoga", Lord
Krishna says,
	Om ityekaksharam Brahma vyaharan Mam anusmaran
	Yah prayati tyajan deham sa yati Paramam Gatim

"......uttering the one-syllabled *OM*, Brahman, and remembering Me,
he who departs leaving the body, attains the Supreme Goal."

In our last moments, if we remember or chant *OM*, there will be no
more birth and death for us, the cycle of birth and death will be
snapped and broken once for all and we will merge in Lord Krishna
and for ever will abide in him only. That is the Moksha state which 
the Jiva aspires for, that is the highest and supreme state. There
is never any coming back into this world. That is the ultimate goal
or fulfilment of human life. It is eternal union with God.

Omkara chanting purifies our breath and bestows good health too
besides its spiritual benefits.
Let Omkara chanting be our constant hobby. Let this hobby settle down
to habit. This habit will crystallise into our very nature by continued

We have to synchronise and regulate the Omkara chanting with our
breathing. Through this synchronisation and regulation of the breath,
physical well-being, mental purification, intellectual enlightment,
blossoming of the heart and spiritual unfoldment- all these accrue as
one advances. Though, far away may be this ultimate attainment of us,
physical well being and sharper and brighter intelligence will surely
be the immediate reward. To quote from Indra Devi's book *Yoga for
You*, "Only a few men die from a sudden lack of air, but multitudes
perish because for years they have not been breating enough.". 

Our breathing is most erratic, shallow and superficial. It never fills
the lungs even half, thus causing half of our lungs to retain foul,
polluted and stagnant air all the time or rather perpetually all through
our lives. Unless breathing is deep, rhythmic and regulated, physical
health suffers and mental calm and peace will be elusive. To regulate
our breathing, *OM* chanting helps greatly. We should synchronise the
chanting with deep breathing (inhalation and exhalation). This will
have a dynamic effect on our physical well-being and there will be 
mental calm and peace (equanimity and tranquility). Our power of
concentration increases and our mental faculties become capable of 
higher persuits, both secular and spiritual.

Let *OM* be our constant companion from today. Let our mind cling to it.
With every simple chanting of *OM*, we are marching one step forward,
and nearer and nearer to God. Sooner or later, we are sure to reach His
Lotus Feet and become nearest and dearest to Him.

Omkar Prayers
	Omkaram bindu samyuktham
	Nityam dhyanathi Yoginah
	Kamadam mokshadam chaiva, Omkaraya namo namah

"The Omkar written with a dot (bindu) signifies that we are bindus
(drops) of that *OM* from which we have come. The Yogis always 
meditate upon it, keeping this truth ever present in their mind.
Through the recitation and understanding of Pranava, one experiences 
the highest Bliss and attains liberation. I bow down before the 

Jaya Guru Omkara, Jaya jaya Sadguru Omkara
"May *OM*, the supreme God, be our Guru"

Note :- This article has been compiled from the Sri Satya Sai 
Pre Sevadal Course material.

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