December 2, 2015

The Symbolism of OM.

Photo: Yanni De Melo https://www.instagram.com/yogiyannii/

There is a reason why so many of us have a hesitancy to use the word “God” to describe the sense of the sacred in our lives.

Linguistic form is always linked to culture, history, context. There are no words that can rightfully describe that which supersedes and precedes all language. All names are shorthand, sign posts.

There is no name that can ever contain, express or fully communicate the grandness, purity, love, power and peace of God but, according to traditional yoga philosophy, only the holy sound OM comes remotely close.

It can be traced back to the ancient Rig Veda from the 2nd millennium BCE. It is a mystic syllable for the name of God, felt in the cosmic sound, the vibration that lies underneath and connects the entire universe. The Upanishads say the essence of all things is contained within OM.

The mystic symbol is composed of three syllables which explains why you often see it written as AUM. In Sanskrit the vowel “o” is a diphthong compound of “a” and “u” making the sound much like one long “o” and not two separate “a” and “u” sounds.

The a symbolizes the waking state (jagrat), the most common human experience in which state consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The u symbolizes the dream state (svapna) in which the consciousness is turned inward to a personal reality and the m symbolizes the dreamless sleep state (sushupti). These three states are experience by everyone. The dot symbolizes the resonance, the turiya state, a fourth state of consciousness only available to yogis and spiritual seekers.

The mind is in a calm, equanimous state free from obstacles and fully liberated.

Think back to your first yoga class and remember the vibration of OM that touched your heart beyond thoughts and concepts.

OM is the vibration of stillness that rings out from silence, the sound that echoes to the depths of the universe. The purity of its vibration can bring us into an experience of divine greatness.

Our mind stills. Our heart opens. Our spirit sings. And the resonance opens a channel in to the direct experience of God.



Author: Kino MacGregor

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Yanni De Melo/Instagram

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