A: Om or Aum or ॐ or ओम् or ओ३म् (For pronunciation click the audio below)
A: There is nothing Hindu or Muslim or Christian about it. Om – in its variants – forms part of all major cultures. It symbolizes goodness or power or meditation or respect.
Hindus use it as a chant for all mantras and bhajans and are more popularly associated with Om.
Christians and Jews use it as ‘Amen’ to denote strong affirmation.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters use it as ‘Aamin’.
Buddhists use it as Om Mani Padme Hum.
Sikhism is based on fundamental tenet of ‘Ik Omkar’ or One Om.
Omni which forms root of so many words implies infinity or ubiquity or tremendous presence. For example, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient etc.
Thus Om – like its source Vedas – is beyond all later day religious or cultural divisions and is for entire humanity just as air, water, sunlight, blessings of Ishwar, love of mother, compassion for fellow beings.
Q: Is Om found in Vedic texts?
A: Yes, it is derived from Vedas and commended in other Vedic texts.
For example, Om is mentioned in following Mantras – Yajurveda 2.13, 40.15, 40.17, Rigveda 1.3.7
It is praised in several Upanishads and Geeta. Mandukyopanishad is dedicated to glory of Om.
Q: What does this Om mean?
A: The Vedic culture unequivocally states that Om is the best name of Ishwar. Refer Yoga Darshan 1.27-28
Om is made from three syllables – A (अ), U (उ), M (म्)
Now each of these syllables represent various characteristics of Ishwar or Allah or God or Supreme.
A represents vast, universal, worth being worshipped
U represents brilliant, minute, source, controller
M represents infinite, undying, knowledgeable, caring
These are just few examples. However in essence, Om summarizes essence of all other names of Ishwar.
Here is a summary of meanings as audio:
Q: But how can A, U, M mean such things? It sounds so arbitrary!
A: To untrained mind, yes, it sounds very arbitrary. It is difficult to see a needle-hole while in a bumpy ride!
But this is the Vedic concept of origin of language:
To a mind in perfect tranquility, each pronunciation generates some feelings. During inception of civilization, Rishis characterized each such word (combination of pronunciations) to represent certain specific concepts.
The meanings for A, U, M are also derived from those feelings that each of these pronunciations produce in a tranquil mind.
An important note:
In fact this is how Vedas are to be interpreted. And this is the reason why most indologists fail to interpret Vedas correctly. One cannot understand Vedas until one is Yogi having perfect control over mind. Till we reach that level, we have to rely on other authoritative interpretations and logic.
Now since most people cannot have such control over mind, Rishis, classified some of the meanings of certain pronunciations in other texts like Nighantu. Based on this more coarser meanings of Vedic mantras were derived for less endowed people. Then they simplified them even further into simpler texts and so on. Most of us will have to use this texts, along with our own intellect to deduce the meaning of Vedic mantras. But while other texts provide clues to Vedas, Vedas themselves remain the ultimate benchmark that can be comprehended fully only in perfect state of tranquility. However the very process of trying to understand Vedas help us reach that level of mental capability. This forms the entire philosophy of studying and applying Vedas.
And that is why a reader of Vedas should be clear that Vedas can be understood only as per root essence of each word and possibly each syllable and not later day meanings. For example, ‘Go’ has the root essence of something that moves or provided progression. But fools try to interpret ‘Go’ in Vedic mantras to mean ‘cow’ everywhere and hence misinterpret Vedas. So Vedas demand understanding of root words, and ‘feeling’ the mantras rather than mechanical interpretations. And since its an evolutionary process for each of us, Vedic philosophy is quite liberal about those who believe in Vedas and to whatever extent as per Laws of Karma.
Q: Could you be more clear about this concept of meaning from pronunciation of each syllable in case of A U M? Give an example.
A: Clarity can come only with perfect tranquility of mind. But lets take an example to explain how different sounds evoke different feelings or meanings – ‘M’ denotes emotional and caring aspect of Paramatma/ Ishwar. And you would see that even among normal human beings, there is a strong common thread across almost all cultures when it comes to ‘caring love’. So the word to signify Mother in almost all languages and cultures has the sound of ‘M’. Some cultures use a close sibling ‘N’ which comes under the same family of sounds. This is the sound that most children utter first for physiological reasons and develop an emotional relation with. Ishwar’s language and His creation all go in sync.
Since this motherly love is one of the strongest emotions, we find it common across entire humanity in form of M. Same is case with other syllables which form part of Om.
Q: OK, I understand that Om has a great meaning. But why should I chant it?
A: Chanting of Om has several benefits – therapeutic, psychological and spiritual. Even if you don’t know the meaning of Om or are otherwise skeptic about it, you can still avail the therapeutic benefits from it. Some people stay away from Om considering that it belongs to a particular religion. But as we have seen, there is nothing religious about Om. It existed much before these new religions came into existence and is in any case part of all major cultures.
To deny oneself of benefit of Om simply because it existed before their religion emerged is akin to refusing to use one’s hands, legs, air, water, horses, vehicles, food items, medicines etc simply because these also existed before their religion emerged.
Further, there is nothing in the meaning and essence of Om that is against the definition of God/Ishwar/Allah in any religion. Thus one should not be hesitant in embracing ‘Om’.
Om is supposed to be the primordial sound of universe and its reverberations are the most natural experience for all souls. This Om through its reverberations forms the connect between us and the Supreme Entity. Buddhists call it Inevitable Laws of Nature designed to benefit us, and we call it Existent, Conscious, Blissful Ishwar.
Q: So what are the therapeutic or health benefits?
A: Om is a foolproof method to add healthy years to your life.
a. Chanting of Om several times would relax your entire body and regulate your hormonal system.
b. If you have disorders due to anxiety or worry, or you tend to lose temper, there can be no better remedy.
c. It acts like a detoxifying agent for entire body. If your environment is polluted, you MUST use it.
d. It strengthens heart and circulatory system.
e. It will make your digestion stronger.
f. It will bring youthfulness in body and face.
g. If you are tired and exhausted, it can serve as a great rejuvenator.
h. It can solve most worrisome sleep disturbance patterns, in case you suffer from it. You would wake up alert from sleep if you practice it in night.
i. It strengthens your lungs with some practice.
Q: What are psychological benefits of Om?
A: Om can become a life changing experience:
a. It can make you much more relaxed to face the world around comfortably.
b. It can help you control your anger and frustration. If you have been chanting Om regularly, it is unlikely that you get angry.
c. It can help you be in resonance with nature. Thus you would find yourself much more intuitive and in control of things. Your gut feel will become much higher.
d. Your interpersonal relationships will improve. You would be able to develop rapport with people much better and make friends from enemies.
e. You will find life much more meaningful and purposeful and carry that natural smile.
f. You will find a jump in your enthusiasm and activity level. Your alertness would increase.
g. You can never feel depressed if you are into Om therapy.
h. If you have a friend suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts, make him read this article and Gayatri Mantra therapy. Soon all depressing thoughts will vanish away.
Q: What are spiritual benefits of Om?
A: Meditation upon Om is the best spiritual exercise on earth.
a. It helps you develop emotional connect with Ishwar and realize your relation with Ishwar.
b. It helps you realize your purpose in life and how Ishwar is helping you.
c. It helps you realize your identity beyond this temporary hustle-bustle of the world around and develops a sense of how to make best use of this world for the bigger goal.
d. It provides a sense of security that is unmatched. You realize how you are constantly under protection of Ishwar every moment.
e. It helps you feel the Law of Karma and how each thought of yours is shaping the next moment of life and how Ishwar is managing this Law of Karma meticulously for your benefit alone. You understand why and how Ishwar is just and compassionate at the same time. How in his justice alone lies his pardon! How he loves you! How he is caring for you! How he is pampering you!
Q: How to derive these benefits? What is the method of Om therapy?
A: The complete therapy would be detailed and require separate coverage. Also, depending upon individual stage and requirements, it can be customized. After all its not a mechanical exercise but a direct one-to-one interaction between you and He, without any other entity in between.
But here is a standard procedure:
1. Sit down with backbone straight in a position where you need not worry about bodily discomfort. If you are unwell, you can do it lying down. But otherwise, always prefer to be seated. Close your eyes. Take some relaxed deep breaths to release any body tensions.
2. Four times are best for Om therapy – one immediately after waking up, one after morning cleansing, one in evening during sunset and finally before sleep. You can also do it when you have nothing else to do better – traveling in a bus (make sure you are not driving!), waiting for someone, feeling the need to get rid of negative emotions or having the relaxed morning walk in park. (Though make sure you are not into something that demands alertness)
3. Listen to the method of chant as provided in audio in beginning of article. You can prolong the duration of each chant depending on your comfort. In general, longer the better but if done with comfort.
4. Now do at least 3-5 chants each time. If chanting loud is an issue, you can do it silently.
5. During each chant, FEEL the Ishwar and his love around. Keep a slight smile and flow into the reverberations of the sound inside. This is not the time to think about Ishwar but to FEEL the Ishwar. We want to work at emotional level and not at logical level right now. (Rest of the day is for logic and if that be insufficient, we have enough material to counter and debate at Agniveer.com and hone these skills )
6. Continue the vocal chants as long as you enjoy, and then start chanting silently. You can also focus on rhythmic breath patterns for some time. Then you can switch to Gayatri Therapy and then again switch to silent Om Therapy.
7. After you have completed all this, you can switch to Shanti Mantra and conclude. Shanti Mantra basically prays for peace everywhere.
8. After this, if you wish you can continue this meditative stage as long you enjoy and pray to Ishwar in whatever way you desire or whatever name you want to take with a thankful attitude. If you are an atheist, you can replace thought of Ishwar with sense of comfort and peace (Its one and same with difference in semantics alone)
I have just shared a trade secret in plain simple terms that otherwise has become a multi-billion dollar industry and bread and butter of many a self-help gurus! Only that this would be much more practical and effective! And that it has been provided without redundant jargon and packaging!
Q: But I am a Muslim and you abuse Muslims on your site. Why should I follow what you say?
1. As I said there is nothing Hindu, Muslim or Christian about Om or Gayatri Mantra. Do you refuse to eat mangoes because it is not mentioned in Quran? The only things that a Muslim is prohibited from is what goes against Quran. But there is nothing in Om or Gayatri that is against any theist or even atheist belief.
2. What you are referring to as abuses to Muslims is merely an intellectual debate on books and has nothing to do with being insulting to anyone. Do you refuse to have food from mother merely because you have different viewpoints? One should never mix intellectual differences with emotional bonding.
3. See, despite whatever we may have written that you may have objections to, we still openly claim to be proud of calling ourselves ‘Muslim’ because it has a great meaning. We proudly hail Genius Muhammad as our role model. And we proudly sit in Vajrasana which is nothing but Namaaz position because it is good for digestion and general health. Thus while we may differ, we are still one family!
4. Even if you hate us, why should you refuse to take benefits from Om Therapy? Do you refuse to receive your father’s letter because you do not like the postman? Agniveer is just a postman – a carrier. So even if you hate us, you should not stop yourself from imbibing good things that are compliant even with your own interpretation of Islam.
5. See, all these debates are superficial and merely tools to explore true wisdom. We may have different beliefs due to our different experiences in life and we should definitely discuss and debate to learn from each other. But beyond all these debates and arguments, which even get hot at times, we are still humans. And to love fellow beings is our innate nature – gift of Ishwar. After all we are one single family! But why prohibit yourself from deriving benefits from something which is neither Agniveer’s copyright, nor against Islam, nor can do any harm at all? Good things should be imbibed even from enemies!
6. So let us keep our intellectual differences aside, use other forums to sort those out. And if you are too angry with our other posts, feel free to scold or abuse us to your heart’s content through comments. We shall not delete them. But please make best use of Om Therapy. It can change your life!
Same logic we adopted for Christians and all other people who otherwise differ from us.
Q: I still have a doubt. In a world demanding actions, how can chanting do wonders? Is this not an escape mechanism to run away from challenges of life?
1. Any form of meditation or Om therapy or whatever is not a replacement for rest of the duties of life. It is on contrary a catalyst to increase the efficiency of our overall life. Thus one is not expected to run away from duties and chant Om. On contrary, one is supposed to do it for a limited period of time in general. It won’t take more than 15-20 minutes in entire day if you do it 4 times. You can increase the duration for specific objectives.
2. Chanting is nothing but a commitment. Its a promise you give to Ishwar/ Allah or God that you would cooperate with Him. That you would justify all his caring and love showered upon you. That you would try to imbibe the qualities that are expected from you. That you would try to emulate Ishwar in those qualities where you can – justice, compassion, discipline, consistency etc.
Chanting in this manner is a commitment at subconscious level. And hence it works! Those who chant with this overall theme, derive the best benefits.
However those who chant even mechanically would at least derive the health benefits. Even if you don’t believe in benefits of desi cow’s milk, it would still benefit you if you consume. Same is the case here. But when done with FEELINGS, benefits multiply!
Q: There are some more doubts. How do I address them?
A: Proof of the pudding is in the eating. Simply practice for a month and all doubts would be dissolved. However if you still have some really valid doubts or specific requirements, you can Contact us or comment here. But remember, we can show you the path. It is you who will have to walk across! And believe us, it would indeed be greatest fun!
So just get going into Om Therapy!
October 4, 2010 at 8:14 AM
All articulate sounds are produced in the space within the mouth beginning with the root of the tongue and ending in the lips — the throat sound is A, and M is the last lip sound, and the U exactly represents the rolling forward of the impulse which begins at the root of the tongue till it ends in the lips. If properly pronounced, this Om will represent the whole phenomenon of sound-production, and no other word can do this; and this, therefore, is the fittest symbol of the Sphota, which is the real meaning of the Om. And as the symbol can never be separated from the thing signified, the Om and the Sphota are one. And as the Sphota, being the finer side of the manifested universe, is nearer to God and is indeed that first manifestation of divine wisdom this Om is truly symbolic of God. Again, just as the “One only” Brahman, the Akhanda-Sachchidânanda, the undivided Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, can be conceived by imperfect human souls only from particular standpoints and associated with particular qualities, so this universe, His body, has also to be thought of along the line of the thinker’s mind.[From the complete works of Swami Vivekananda]