You’ve chanted OM, hundreds maybe thousands of times, and the symbol is, well, everywhere. But have you ever wondered, what it is about OM, that makes yogi’s wholeheartedly chant its glory and live in its symbolic presence?
Here are 5 facts you may not know, to help deepen your knowledge and connect your heart to this ancient sacred syllable.
1. The sound of OM encompasses all words, all sounds in human language
OM is a matrix of all sounds, when in its diversified form gives rise to all words used in language.
Linguistically, all audible sounds are produced in the space within the mouth beginning at the root of the tongue and ending at the lips. The throat sound is A, and M is the lip sound; and the sound U represents the rolling forward of speech articulation which starts at the root of the tongue, continuing until it ends in the lips.
To pronounce OM correctly, remember, the sound vibration is pronounced “oom” as in home.
2. AUM and OM
In Sanskrit, the sound “O” is a diphthong spelled “AU”. A diphthong is the blending of two vowel sounds where both are normally heard and make a gliding sound. As a result, the difference between OM and AUM is simply one of transliteration.
3. AUM represents the 3 Fold Division of Time
A – is the waking state
U – is the dream state
M – is the state of deep sleep
At the end of AUM is a pause, a silence. This represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness
4. The visual symbol represents the meaning of AUM
The symbol OM visually consists of three curves, one semicircle, and a dot.
The large bottom curve symbolizes the waking state, A.
The middle curve signifies the dream state, U.
The upper curve denotes the state of deep sleep, M.
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, Turiya.
The semi circle at the top represents Maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. It signals to us that it is the illusion of Maya that is an obstacle to realization of the Highest.
5. OM is associated with Ganesha
The physical form of Lord Ganesha is said to be that of OM. The upper curve, of OM, is identified with the head or the face of Ganesh. The Lower curve his belly. The twisted curve, on the right side of OM is the trunk.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
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