Monday December 17, 2018

The Power of ‘Om’: Find Peace with Mind, Body and Soul

Om is the cosmic vibration, giving birth to all sounds that exist

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Chanting Om. Image source: www.stylecraze.com
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  • Om is considered the absolute symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Uttering the spiritual word leads to self realization and reconciliation of the inner self
  • There are various physical benefits of chanting Om and is good for heart

“The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is Om. This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma.”
~ Katha Upanishad I

‘OM’ or ‘AUM’ is one of the most important symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is often chanted during the recital of spiritual texts, pujas, weddings and meditative activities of yoga. It is the cosmic vibration, giving birth to all sounds that exist.

Om Symbol. Image source: www.hinduwebsite.com
Om Symbol. Image source: www.hinduwebsite.com

It comprises of syllables A-U-M, corresponding to three principles of nature:

A- Waking state | U- Dream state | M- State of deep sleep

Benefits of uttering Om-

Uttering the spiritual word leads to self realisation and reconciliation of the inner self. It also instils peace and deep sense of being.

Chanting om links all the beings that exist together, including the nature and the universe. There are various physical benefits as well. It lowers down the blood pressure, calms the mind, slows the nervous system and improves the health of the heart in the long run.

A recent TOI report said that the Government of Madhya Pradesh has announced to observe International Yoga Day on June 21 by chanting of ‘Om’, but necessarily not in the morning.

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Right technique of chanting-

Chanting Om during Yoga. Image source: Zeenews
Chanting Om during Yoga. Image source: Zeenews

First, sit cross legged. Make it a point that your spine, neck and head are aligned. Close your eyes and detach yourself from the outer world. Breathe in deeply and while exhaling, chant the word om. It is pronounced like home, without the h. Stretch the syllables equally.

Repeat this 3 times. You will be able to feel the vibration of the word in every cell of your body.

Benefits of Om in Daily Life-

Om pendants. Image source: mulpix.com
Om pendants. Image source: mulpix.com

Although Om symbolizes the most profound concepts of Hindu belief, it is used by many for the benefits it brings with it. The sacred symbol of Om can be seen at the head of letters, hang it on the main door of the house, at the top of examination papers and so on.  Om is popular with people of all ages, specially Hindus as they wear it in the form of pendants as an expression of spiritual perfection. The symbol is present in every Hindu temples and premises in some form or the other.

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Hindu born children are ushered into this world with this holy sign. According to the ritual, the child is cleansed and the sacred syllable ‘Om’ is written on its tongue with honey. Thus right at the time of birth the syllable. Apart from that, Om is also a popular symbol and is used in contemporary body art as well as tattoos.

-prepared by Devika Todi, an intern at NewsGram. twitter: devika_todi

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Also, Om is used before any Mantra because it increases the power of Mantra and forgive for any slip of tongue during chanting a mantra.

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The Risk of FGM Hangs Above British Schoolgirls During Holiday Break

Ending FGM requires multiple entry points (and) enabling families and communities to be proactive in ending the practice of FGM is ultimately the most effective channel

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Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, judge
A badge reads "The power of labor against FGM" is seen on a volunteer during a conference on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 6, 2018. (VOA)

As many families prepare to holiday abroad during the festive season, British charities on Monday warned that girls taken overseas could be at risk of female genital mutilation(FGM)

Known as FGM, female genital mutilation is a ritual that usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, including the clitoris. Some girls bleed to death or die from infections.

Cutting affects an estimated 200 million girls worldwide and is a rite of passage in many societies, often with the aim of promoting chastity, with the highest prevalence in Africa and parts of the Middle East.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM. Many cases go unnoticed because they had happened at a young age and abroad, campaigners say. Campaigners say teachers should look out for warning signs, such as when a child is taken abroad for a long time to a country where there is a high prevalence of female genital mutilation.

FGM
– A doctor checks her phone as she poses for a photograph in Mumbai, India, June 8, 2016. The 50-year-old woman defends what is widely considered female genital mutilation within her small, prosperous Dawoodi Bohra community in India. VOA

“The best way of preventing the practice is by working with girls and their families … and training professionals like teachers and social workers to spot girls at risk of FGM,” said Leethen Bartholomew, head of Britain’s National FGM Center.

Some warning signs that a girl might have been cut include difficulty walking or sitting down, spending a long time in the toilet or becoming withdrawn, said the Center, run by children’s charity Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association.

FGM has been a criminal offense in Britain since 1985. Legislation in 2003 made it illegal for British citizens to carry out or procure female genital mutilation abroad, even in countries where it is legal.

In 2015, it became mandatory for health professionals, social workers and teachers in Britain to report known cases of FGM to police.

FGM
FILE – A T-shirt warns against female genital mutilation. Its wearer attends an event, discouraging harmful practices such as FGM, at a girls high school in Imbirikani, Kenya, April 21, 2016. VOA

The practice mostly affects immigrant communities from various countries including Somalia, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt.

British-based charity Forward, which supports FGM survivors from African communities, said though teachers have a crucial role to play, they should not stigmatize certain communities.

“While teachers need to be alert at all times about safeguarding children in their care, we also need to ensure that some communities are not unduly targeted and stigmatized,” said Naana Otoo-Oyortey, executive director of FORWARD.

Also Read: Female Genital Mutilation Unconstitutional: Michigan Judge

“Ending FGM requires multiple entry points (and) enabling families and communities to be proactive in ending the practice of female genital mutilation is ultimately the most effective channel,” she said in emailed comments to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Britain in November pledged $63 million to combat female genital mutilation in Africa. (VOA)