What does Om mean?
Om is a very simple sound with a complex meaning. It forms the main auditory sense of the universe. It is the whole universe coalesced into a single word, representing the union of mind, body, and spirit that is at the heart of Yoga. So let’s learn this symbol.
Om and Shiva
Om Namah Shivaya is one of the very powerful mantras. It builds the energy in your system and clears the environment. Mantras are those energizing sounds which help to uplift the consciousness.
Om Namah Shivaya, these words are very important because ‘Na’, ‘Ma’, ‘Shi’, ‘Va’, ‘Ya’, these five letters indicate the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.
Om is the sound of the universe. Om means peace and love.
So when there is peace, love and harmony in all the five elements then there is bliss and there is joy!
Mantras are greater than the power of the horoscope. Whatever be the effects of the planets, you can remove them by chanting Om Namah Shivaya.
In exploring the signs of the total the number five comes up. Five toes, fingers, five senses, elements, and so on. Shiva is said to have five activities: to create, to keep up, to pulverize, to disguise, and to effortlessly reveal. This mantra filters our activities and practices tuning them to the purified activities of Shiva, of the source. Our five faculties of smelling, tasting, seeing, feeling, and hearing are likewise filtered and refined. The strength of the earth, the liquidity of water, the hotness of fire, the vaporous and imperceptible nature of air, and ultimately ether or the nature of the room. Chanting of the mantra refines and cleans these components or parts of our being.
The mantra is said to be the five-syllable mantra, na ma sivaya; na represents earth, ma water, si fire, va air, and ya ether.
Shiva is not mortally created. He is said to be self created or Swayambhu. He represents the vainness of life and resides in the cremation grounds. Om is symbolic of Shiva who has no starting and no ending. The three syllables of Om also represent three forces of nature. Namely the Trinity that is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Om together represents Brahma as the creator, Vishnu as the protector and Shiva as the destroyer. However, Shiva is said to have possess all these characteristics so he is called Omkareshwar.
Om: Om is an antique mantra often forming the centre of Hinduism and Buddhism. Om consists of three syllables a, u and m. In the Hindu tradition, the sound of om is said to contain the entire universe. It is the first sound from the beginning of time, and it also encompasses the present and the future. As such, its importance and power are difficult to overstate. It is also a seed syllable, used as a building block for other mantras. In the chakra system, it is connected to ajna chakra, it’s connected to the third eye indicative of intuition and self knowledge. Om is sometimes pronounced with a long O sound with a vibrating m. Sometimes the a and u sounds are separated pronouncing a ah-oo-mm sound. However, in Yoga, the chanting of om at the beginning of class ushers practitioners into the time and space that is about to be spent on the mat or in meditation. Shiva is called Adiyogi. Likewise, an om at the end of class signifies that your physical practice has ended and it is time to renter society. Chanting with a group of people also serves to unify the group and create a sense of community. As you feel the vibration of the chant and lose the sound of your own voice among those of your classmates, it’s possible to feel at one with other people and even with the universe. Om has a huge science behind it as well. Let’s have a look at it.
The science behind Om: Scientists have researched the effects on the brain of the vibrations created by chanting. According to a study of 2011 and it’s consequent follow up in 2018 the effects of using om as a mantra by taking functional magnetic resonance imaging MRI scans of the brains of participants as they chanted om and also the sound SSS as a control. Authors of the 2018 study, published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, noted that om chanting is associated with an experience of relaxation, specifically citing beneficial changes in the autonomic nervous system which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and other internal functions, and deactivation of limbic brain regions an area that controls emotion, memories and arousal. Researchers also observed brain activity during the om periods that was similar to that created by valgus nerve stimulation, which is used to treat depression and epilepsy. Scientists concluded that chanting om may have potential in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Although these results are considered preliminary, they offer scientific support for the positive effects many people experience from chanting Om.
Om symbol: The om symbol has become the unofficial logo of yoga. You’ll see it on mats and T-shirts, painted on studio walls, and tattooed onto the bodies of some yogis. It’s such a ubiquitous image in the yoga world that it’s easy to forget that its significance goes beyond proclaiming your love for all things yoga. The origin of the symbol is not known, but it is said to represent four states of consciousness which are as under:
- Deep sleep (unconsciousness)
- Bliss (Samadhi)
Gods and Om: The meaning of the Om symbol is also said to represent the Hindu God, Ganesh, as the shapes loosely represent his elephant form. The curves on the left of the symbol are seen as his head and belly, while the curve on the right is his trunk. Ganesh is most commonly known as the God who removes obstacles, which correlates to the Ohm meaning, as one must overcome all obstacles and let go of everything before the absolute state of being can be reached. The Ohm meaning also comes from the belief that the vibrations from the chanted sound link back to the vibrations that created the world. This stems from the Hindu belief that the Creator God Brahma’s thoughts started a vibration that turned into the sound Om, and this is what lead to the creation of the world. Om is also referred to as Pranava, which means to be in control of one’s life force. The three phonetic components of Aum represent the rule of three, as faiths are generally built around some sort of holy trinity. Not only does Aum represent the three states of consciousness, but the three realms: Earth, Heaven and the Underworld, as well as the Hindu triumvirate of Gods namely Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva the destroyer.
Even jewelries featuring the Om symbol is very popular as it represents unity and can be a reminder to breathe and focus. So this was a overview of what actually Om means. Hope all of you had a peaceful reading. Stay connected with us for more. We promise to be back soon. Till then take care and stay safe.