The universal mahamantra.
The primordial sound of the universe.
Every single thing in this world, animate or inanimate, reverberates with the OM, says the vedas.
OM is chanted before and after prayers. This tradition is predominant in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Every yoga session in the world will start with OM.
OM is called the Pranava or the primordial sound.
Chanting the OM stills the mind, all thoughts are brought under control and it helps in focusing our attention to the work at hand.
Why does OM bring grounding of the thoughts?
I once heard a speech by Swami Sukhabodhananda, the author of “Oh! Mind, Relax Please!”. During that discourse, he elaborated on this subject. Though it has been years since I heard it, it has stuck with me. I will try and recall as much as possible here!
The sound we utter when our mouth is wide open is “AAAAA”. The sound we can utter with the lips closed is “MMMMMM”. Every other sound is uttered with the lips slightly open. It is represented as “UUUUUU”.
That means, all the words that we can say are sounds that we can say between “AAAAA” and “MMMMM”. “All words” implies all the objects (living and non-living) in this physical world. All objects in the physical world implies the whole universe.
Hence “AUM” contains everything. That is why it is the Lord Himself.
Lord Krishna declares in the Bhagawad Gita “Pranavah sarvavedeshu” or “I am the Pranava in all the Vedas”.
Imagine this scenario:
Sit comfortably, but erect in a cross legged position. Close your eyes. Relax your body. No lines crossing your eyelids. Think of nothing. Watch your breath, inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately.
Nothing to be seen, felt, heard, or expressed.
Inhale deeply, and start chanting OM.
First there is a ripple, a vibration…. and the sound “AAAAAA” starts slowly and rises in crescendo………..then the sound changes to a steady “UUUUU” maintaining the vibration………then the vibration slows down….. the sound becomes a mere sensation of “MMMMMMMM” and then………….
After a gap of some seconds, inhale again, chant the OM,
The silence is broken again………
The gap in between 2 sounds is called Turiya or state of pure consciousness. Scientists call this hypo-metabolic state as “restful alertness”. Turiya is the state that is beyond the 3 common state of consciousness, wakeful, dream and deep sleep.
To be in the Turiya state is the state of knowing the Lord.
Silence is the constant, like a witness, then when AUM appears, the silence appears to undergo a change in vibration. When the vibration stops, silence is restored again. The silence never went away, it was always there.
That silence is GOD. God, the Universal Supreme Being is the unseen energy in every thing.
Everything starts with nothing (that is GOD), reaches a peak and has to merge back into the nothing.
That is the essence of all Vedantha.
May we all be able to sense the underlying silence in all the chaos around us.