Yoga and the sound of “Ommm” have long been associated. It is the sound you hear when you enter a yoga class. But does it have any true meaning? Some people call it “the sound of the universe”, but is that really what it is?
Just like most spiritual things, “Ommmm” is something that easily defined. It can actually mean anything. It is vague. It is said that it is about sacred threes.
Om comes from the Hindus and like other faiths, the roots of Hinduism has its own trinities. While it has the sound of two letters, there are three syllables that create the sound: “aaah,” “oooh,” and “mmm,” creating a rhyming sound with the word “home.”
A slew of trios are represented by these syllables:
1). The earth, heavens, and the underworld
2). The Hindu gods Brahma – the creator god, Shiva – the destroyer god, and Vishnu – the sustainer god
3). The dreaming, the dreamless state, and the waking dreaming, and dreamless states
The sound of OM appears to have first shown up in the Upanishads. The Upanishads are a collection of sacred texts used in Hinduism. In an article from Huffington Post, according to the Mandukya Upanishad, “Om is the imperishable word. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of om. The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is om.”
That alone should tell you just how big om is. But there is more to this mystical sound. Om is thought to be the bija’s mother as well. This is the “seed” mantras where the potent, short, sounds correlate to each chakra. This in turns fuels longer chants and some will tell you it is related to either the 3rd eye or the crown chakra, both connecting us to the Divine.
For some Buddhist and other Indian religions, om is the core from where they derive their meanings. Some have said from deep in outer space, there have been sounds recorded where Earth itself has some of a om-y sound about it.
It has also been said that the visual shape of the om symbol symbolizes each of the syllables:
• The three is the “ahh” represented by the letter of Sanskrit
• The same three that has a mini ‘S’ is for the “oooh”
• The bindhi and half-moon on the top represent the “mmm”
There are others that say there is a connection between the symbol and the Hindu half-elephant god, Ganesh. Hindus believe is the Hindu god that removes obstacles. One can see the graceful trunk and rotund curves of this god when you squint.
There are several layers in the meaning of om, and it has endured in popularity because of the vibration felt when chanted. The sound seems to provide calmness for the nervous system. All chants focus and gather the mind, shifts us from our ordinary conversational mind and into a more meditative mode.
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