What is Om… Aum… ॐ…
OM or AUM is the The Beginning, Middle and End of All Beings.
Explanation from a Sage
On such a profound and important subject of Om, it is only right that I start with the authority of a Sage. In the words of Sri Ramana Maharshi : “In the sphere of speech, Pranava (the mystic sound AUM) represents the transcendental (nirguna). Om is the eternal truth. That which remains over after the disappearance of objects is Om. It does not merge in anything. It is the State of which it is said: “Where one sees none other, hears none other, knows none other, that is Perfection.” (Yatra nanyat pasyati, nanyat srunoti, nanyat vijanati sa bhuma.) All the upasanas (practices, worships), are ways to winning it. One must not get stuck in the upasanas, but must query “Who am I?” and find the Self.”
Meaning of Om
Om represents the Eternal, Absolute, Unlimited, All-pervading, All-powerful, Blissful Reality, the One Self.
Om or Aum, is constructed with three sounds. A (pronounced as Ah), U (pronounced as Ooh), M (pronounced as Im as in him). Ah is the Beginning sound, Ooh is the Middle and Im is the End. A (Ah) emanates from deep in the body indicating the beginning, U (Ooh) emanates from the throat indicating the middle, M (Im) is said with closed lips, indicating the end. Together they indicate the Being-Consciousness-Bliss Self, as the One that is the Beginning, Middle and End of all Beings.
Again, A (Ah) refers to the Waking State, U (Ooh) refers to the Dream State and M (Im) refers to the Deep Sleep State. When Om or Aum is chanted, there is a brief silence afterwards. This Silence indicates the Absolute Blissful Being Reality.
Where is Om used
Om, (Auṃ or Oṃ, Devanagari: ॐ) is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Hindu religion. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
Om is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
What is Om in Hinduism
In Hinduism, Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols (pratima). It refers to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge). The syllable is often found at the beginning and the end of chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads, and other Hindu texts. It is a sacred spiritual incantation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during puja and private prayers, in ceremonies of rites of passages (sanskara) such as weddings, and sometimes during meditative and spiritual activities such as Yoga.
The syllable is also referred to as omkara (ओंकार, oṃkāra), aumkara (औंकार, auṃkāra), and pranava (प्रणव, praṇava).
The syllable Om is referred to as praṇava. Other used terms are akṣara (literally, letter of the alphabet, imperishable, immutable) or ekākṣara (one letter of the alphabet), and omkāra (literally, beginning, female divine energy).
The Om symbol ॐ is a ligature in Devanagari, combining ओ (au) and chandrabindu (ँ, ṃ).
How is Om used in Hinduism
Om came to be used as a standard utterance at the beginning of mantras, chants or citations taken from the Vedas. For example, the Gayatri mantra, which consists of a verse from the Rigveda Samhita (RV 3.62.10), is prefixed not just by Om but by Om followed by the formula bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, waking, dream and deep sleep. Such recitations continue to be in use in Hinduism, with many major incantations and ceremonial functions beginning and ending with Om.
, Om is a tool of meditation empowering one to know the God within oneself. In one little Sacred Word or Sound, Om denotes the One transcendental, attribute-less, all-pervading, all-powerful, blissful Reality, SELF.