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Ashtottaram 16: OṀ OṀKĀRABHŨMYAI NAMAH

OM is a sacred sound and a spiritual symbol in Indian religions

Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti

Om or Aum is a sacred sound and a spiritual symbol in Indian religions. It signifies the essence of the ultimate reality, consciousness or Atman. More broadly, it is a syllable that is chanted either independently or before a spiritual recitation in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. 

Ashtottaram 16

16) OṀ OṀKĀRABHŨMYAI NAMAH: 

                        OṀ (AUM)-O’Ṁ-KAA-RA-BHOO-MYAI–NA-MA-HA

                                                ॐ ओंकारभूम्यै नमः

                            (OṀ: Sound vibration of the universe, name of God)

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Om or Aum is a sacred sound and a spiritual symbol in Indian religions
Our ancient ṛishis and seers realized this profound knowledge through deep meditation. Unsplash

Oṁkāram is Parabrahman, the name of God, the sound vibration of the universe, and it represents all three spheres of time- present past and the future. It is the combination of A, U and M, which represents the four states of being i.e. – awake, sleep and dream states. The fourth state is Turiya or the state of God-Consciousness wherein the pure Consciousness alone exists. If you reorder the A, U, M-it’s UMA-the mother goddess representing cosmic energy, the female personification of Iswara. Modern science, after exhaustive research, has come to realize that the universe is nothing but energy. Our ancient ṛishis and seers realized this profound knowledge through deep meditation and passed on this sacred knowledge to us through oral traditions.

The Sanskrit root for OM is Ava. OM is avati rakshati iti OM, which means- that which protects us. It symbolizes the Infinite. It also represents Hindu Sanātana Dharma. When we worship God with ashtottaram or sahaśranāmams, each mantram starts with OM and ends with namah. There is no worship in Hinduism that does not start with OM. Of all the mantras, the OM is considered to be the most powerful and sacred. The entire Mandukya Upanishad is about OM. It is used as an aid to meditation by spiritual aspirants.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: संघ प्रमुख भागवत के निर्देशन में विहिप ने तैयार किया आगे का प्लान

In Sanātana Dharma, worshipping Śhakti– the female personification of God, teaches us that there is no gender difference to God. The manifest and un-manifest forms of the Lord are realized only by our ancient ṛishis who passed on this knowledge through the Vedas. Hence, Omkāram has no gender difference. Every Hindu can thus worship God in whatever form they chose to, a feature unique to our land and religion, and you do not see anywhere or in any other religion on the Earth. We can hear this sound vibration OM from outer space and also deep under the ocean’s water. The question comes why OM should be chosen among all the sounds known to human kind?

Om or Aum is a sacred sound and a spiritual symbol in Indian religions
The manifest and un-manifest forms of the Lord are realized only by our ancient ṛishis who passed on this knowledge through the Vedas. Unsplash

In the first place, OM is considered as an appropriate choice by virtue of the fact that it represents the entire sound phenomenon. A is a throat sound which is created from the root of the tongue, while U represents the rolling forward of the impulse in the space between the root of the tongue and the lips. M is the last sound produced by closing the lips. Thus all articulate sounds produced by an individual are aptly represented by these three sounds, A-U-M.

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A mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts.

There are volumes written about Omkāram.  According to one legend, a poet was walking with several bullock carts full of bundles of palm leaf manuscripts to offer to the King of his kingdom. When asked by a passing merchant what the bundles were, the poet replied that they were only a small portion of his whole writings on OM. Hence, there are infinite meanings to OM, which represents and is also the name of the Lord.

The land which declared that the sound vibration of the universe is ‘OM’-is none other than our-‘Omkāra Bhūmi’.

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