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9893OM aum exoticindia

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  • satkartar7
    Jul 8, 2003
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      Om: An Inquiry into its Aesthetics, Mysticism, and Philosophy
      Article of the Month - December 2001
      In the Chandogya Upanishad it is said:
      The essence of all beings is the earth.
      The essence of the earth is water.
      The essence of water is the plant.
      The essence of the plant is man.
      The essence of man is speech.
      The essence of speech is the Rigveda.
      The essence of Rigveda is the Samveda.
      The essence of Samveda is OM.
      Thus OM is the best of all essences, deserving the highest place. Visually,=

      OM is represented by a stylized

      A deeper insight into this mystic symbol
      reveals that it is composed of three syllables combined into one, not like
      physical mixture but more like a
      chemical combination. Indeed in Sanskrit
      the vowel 'o' is constitutionally a
      diphthong compound of a + u; hence OM
      representatively written as AUM.

      Fittingly, the symbol of AUM consists of
      three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one
      semicircle (curve 4), and a dot.
      The large lower curve 1 symbolizes the
      waking state (jagrat), in this state
      the consciousness is turned outwards
      through the gates of the senses. The
      larger size signifies that this is the
      most common ('majority') state of the
      human consciousness.

      The upper curve 2 denotes the state of
      deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious
      state. This is a state where the
      sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any

      The middle curve 3 (which lies between
      deep sleep and the waking state)
      signifies the dream state (swapna). In
      this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the
      dreaming self beholds an enthralling
      view of the world behind the lids of
      the eyes.

      These are the three states of an
      individual's consciousness, and since
      Indian mystic thought believes the entire
      manifested reality to spring from this consciousness, these three curves
      therefore represent the entire physical phenomenon.

      The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as
      turiya. In this state the consciousness
      looks neither outwards nor inwards,
      the two together. It signifies the
      coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet=
      ,peaceful and blissful state is the
      ultimate aim of all spiritual activity.
      This Absolute (non-relative) state illuminates the other three states.

      Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya
      and separates the dot from the other
      three curves. Thus it is the illusion of
      maya that prevents us from the
      realization of this highest state of

      The semi circle is open at the top, and
      does not touch the dot. This means that
      this highest state is not affected by
      maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. This effect is that of
      preventing the seeker from reaching his
      ultimate goal, the realization of the
      One, all-pervading, unmanifest,
      Absolute principle. In this manner, the
      form of OM represents both the
      unmanifest and the manifest, the
      noumenon and the phenomenon.

      As a sacred sound also, the
      pronunciation of the three-syllabled
      AUM is open to a rich logical analysis.
      The first alphabet A is regarded as the
      primal sound, independent of cultural contexts. It is produced at the back
      the open mouth, and is therefore said
      to include, and to be included in,
      every other sound produced by the human
      vocal organs. Indeed A is the first
      letter of the Sanskrit alphabet.

      The open mouth of A moves toward the
      closure of M. Between is U, formed of
      the openness of A but shaped by the
      closing lips. Here it must be recalled
      that as interpreted in relation to
      the three curves, the three syllables
      making up AUM are susceptible to the
      same metaphorical decipherment. The
      dream state (symbolized by U), lies
      between the waking state (A) and the
      state of deep sleep (M). Indeed a dream
      is but the compound of the
      consciousness of waking life shaped by
      the unconsciousness of sleep.

      AUM thus also encompasses within itself
      the complete alphabet, since its
      utterance proceeds from the back of the
      mouth (A), travelling in between (U),
      and finally reaching the lips (M).
      Now all alphabets can be classified
      under various heads depending upon the
      area of the mouth from which they are uttered. The two ends between which
      complete alphabet oscillates are the
      back of the mouth to the lips; both
      embraced in the simple act of uttering
      of AUM.

      The last part of the sound AUM (the M)
      known as ma or makar, when pronounced
      makes the lips close. This is like
      locking the door to the outside world
      and instead reaching deep inside our
      own selves, in search for the Ultimate

      But over and above the threefold nature
      of OM as a sacred sound is the invisible
      fourth dimension which cannot be distinguished by our sense organs
      restricted as they are to material observations. This fourth state is the
      unutterable, soundless silence that
      follows the uttering of OM. A quieting
      down of all the differentiated manifestations, i.e. a peaceful-blissful
      and non-dual state. Indeed this is
      the state symbolized by the dot in the
      traditional iconography of AUM.

      The threefold symbolism of OM is comprehensible to the most 'ordinary'
      of us humans, realizable both on the intuitive and objective level. This is=

      responsible for its widespread
      popularity and acceptance. That this symbolism extends over the entire
      spectrum of the manifested universe
      makes it a veritable fount of
      spirituality. Some of these symbolic equivalents are:

      ****Colors: Red, White, and Black.

      Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Winter.
      Periods: Morning, Midday, and Evening.
      States: Waking-consciousness (jagriti),
      Dream (svapna), and deep-sleep
      Spheres: Earthly, Heavenly, and
      Poetic Meters: Gayatri (24 syllables), Trishtubh (44 syllables), and Jagati=

      (48 syllables).
      Veda: Rigveda (knowledge of the meters)
      Yajurveda (knowledge of contents),
      Samaveda (knowledge of extension).
      Elemental Deity: Fire (Agni),
      Sun (Aditya),
      Wind (Vayu).
      Manifestation of Speech: Voice (vak),
      Mind (manas), Breath (prana).
      Priestly Function: Making offering, Performing ritual, and Singing.
      Tendencies: Revolving, Cohesive, and Disintegrating.
      Quality: Energy (rajas),
      Purity (sattva), and Ignorance (tamas).
      Ritual fire: Of the home,
      of the Ancestors, and of Invocation.
      Goddess: Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika.
      Gods: Of the elements (Vasus), of the
      sky (Adityas), of the sphere-of-space (Rudras).

      Deity: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva.
      Action: Creation, Preservation, and Destruction.
      Power: of Action (kriya), of Knowledge (jnana), and of Will (iccha).

      Man: Body, Soul, and Spirit.
      Time: Past, Present, and Future.
      Stages of Existence: Birth, Life, and
      Phases of the Moon: Waxing, Full,
      and Waning.

      Godhead: Father, Mother, and Son.
      Alchemy: Sulphur, Quicksilver, and Salt.
      Buddhism: the Buddha, Dharma, and
      Sangha (three jewels of Buddhism).
      Qabalism: Male, Female, and the Uniting intelligence.
      Japanese Thought: Mirror, Sword, and
      Divine Attributes: Truth, Courage, and Compassion.

      According to Indian spiritual sciences,
      God first created sound, and from these
      sound frequencies came the phenomenal
      world. Our total existence is
      constituted of these primal sounds,
      which give rise to mantras when
      organized by a desire to communicate, manifest, invoke or materialize.

      itself is said to have proceeded from
      sound and OM is said to be the most
      sacred of all sounds. It is the syllable which preceded the universe and fr=
      which the gods were created. It is the
      "root" syllable (mula mantra), the
      cosmic vibration that holds together the
      atoms of the world and heavens. Indeed
      the Upanishads say that AUM is god in
      the form of sound. Thus OM is the first
      part of the most important mantras in
      both Buddhism and Hinduism, for e.g.
      Om Namoh Shivai and Om Mani Padme Hum.

      In a further development of the mystic conception of AUM, the
      Mandukya Upanishad states:
      AUM is a bow,
      The arrow is the self,
      And Brahman (Absolute reality) is said
      to be the Mark.
      Another ancient text equates AUM with
      an arrow, laid upon the bow of the
      body (the breath), which after
      penetrating the darkness of ignorance
      finds its mark, namely the lighted domain
      of True Knowledge. Just as a spider
      climbs up its thread and gains freedom,
      so the yogis climb towards liberation
      by the syllable OM.


      The omnific and omniparous quality of OM
      makes it omnipresential, and
      in-omissible from any spiritual practice.
      As an omnipotent symbol, the yogi who penetrates its mystery is indeed tru==
      ly omnicompetent and omnipercipient, and
      as an omniscient source, it is a virtual
      omnibus of sacred and mystical
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