All word and thought are an outflowering of the great OM, — OM, the Word, the Eternal. Manifest in the forms of sensible objects, manifest in that conscious play of creative selfconception of which forms and objects are the figures, manifest behind in the self-gathered superconscient power of the Infinite, OM is the sovereign source, seed, womb of thing and idea, form and name, — it is itself, integrally, the supreme Intangible, the original Unity, the timeless Mystery self-existent above all manifestation in supernal being.1
OM is the symbol and the thing symbolised. It is the symbol, aksharam, the syllable in which all sound of speech is brought back to its wide, pure indeterminate state; it is the symbolised, aksharam, the changeless, undiminishing, unincreasing, unappearing, undying Reality which shows itself to experience in all the change, increase, diminution, appearance, departure which in a particular sum & harmony of them we call the world…2
AUM – A the spirit of the gross and external, Virat, U the spirit of the subtle and internal, Taijasa, M the spirit of the secret superconscient omnipotence, Prajna, OM the Absolute.
OM is this imperishable Word, OM is the Universe, and this is the exposition of OM. The past, the present and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, is OM. Likewise all else that may exist beyond the bounds of Time, that too is OM.
(Both text from Mandukya Upanishad, translated by Sri Aurobindo)3
OM is the mantra, the expressive sound-symbol of the Brahman Consciousness in its four domains from the Turiya to the external or material plane. The function of a mantra is to create vibrations in the inner consciousness that will prepare it for the realisation of what the mantra symbolises and is supposed indeed to carry within itself. The mantra OM should therefore lead towards the opening of the consciousness to the sight and feeling of the One Consciousness in all material things, in the inner being and in the supraphysical worlds, in the causal plane above now superconscient to us and, finally, the supreme liberated transcendence above all cosmic existence OM if rightly used (not mechanically) might very well help the opening upwards and outwards (cosmic consciousness) as well as the descent.4
OM is the symbol of the triple Brahman, the outward-looking, the inward or subtle and the superconscient causal Purusha. Each letter A, U, M indicates one of these three in ascending order and the syllable as a whole brings out the fourth state, Turiya, which rises to the Absolute. OM is the initiating syllable pronounced at the outset as a benedictory prelude and sanction to all act of sacrifice, all act of giving and all act of askesis; it is a reminder that our work should be made an expression of the triple Divine in our inner being and turned towards him in the idea and motive.5
~ Sri Aurobindo
[Aum] is used in India to express the divine Immanence. There, it is associated with every meditation, every contemplation, every yogic practice.
More than any other sound, this sound ‘AUM’ gives rise to a feeling of peace, of serenity, of eternity.
Moreover, this word is instinct with the mental forces which for centuries all those who have used it have accumulated around the idea that it expresses; and, for Hindus especially, it has the true power of bringing one into contact with the divine Essence it evokes….
All those who by their constant and progressive inner and outer attitude had shown their deep and lasting goodwill, were greeted: “May the highest good be yours.”
And in certain instructors manifesting especially high forces, this word was endowed with the power of transmitting true gifts, for example, the gift of healing.6
~ The Mother
- CWSA Vol.19, Essays on the Gita, P: 329
2. CWSA Vol.18, Kena and other Upanishads, P: 258-59
3. CWSA Vol.19, Essays on the Gita, P: 329
4. CWSA Vol. 35, Letters on Himself and the Ashram, Page: 825-826
5. CWSA Vol.19, Essays on the Gita, P: 491
6. CWM Vol.02, Words of Long Ago, P: 67« Back to Glossary Index