OM: THE MOST KNOWN MANTRA EXPLAINED
OM, also spelled as AUM, is a sacred mantra which is considered to be the primordial sound of the universe, representing the creation, preservation, and dissolution of everything.
DEFINITION OF AUM
The sound of AUM is made up of three syllables: A, U, and M. Each syllable represents a different aspect of existence:
"A" sound: represents the beginning or creation
“U" sound: represents preservation or maintenance
"M" sound: represents dissolution or destruction.
When pronounced together, they create the sound of AUM, which represents the entire cycle of existence.
What is often forgotten is that after the “M” sound, there is a moment of silence. Silence represents the ever present, unified, pure consciousness in which the other 3 states exist. It’s the primordial sound of the void.
BENEFITS OF CHANTING THE MANTRA OM
AUM is often chanted during meditation or yoga practices. The sound is believed to create a vibration in the body that helps to calm the mind and connect you with something greater than you. From a scientific perspective, chanting mantras has been shown to have several benefits, which include:
Reducing stress and anxiety: Chanting mantras has been found to have a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and anxiety. A study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that chanting the mantra "OM" for just 10 minutes reduced stress levels in participants.
Improves focus and concentration: A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that chanting mantras can help improve cognitive function, attention, and memory.
Enhances mood: Chanting mantras has been found to enhance mood and increase feelings of positivity. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that chanting the mantra "Hare Krishna" for 20 minutes increased feelings of joy and decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.
Boosts immune system: A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that chanting mantras has been found to increase levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which plays a crucial role in the immune system.
Lowers blood pressure: Chanting mantras has been found to lower blood pressure in participants of a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
THE AUM SYMBOL
The symbol of AUM is also significant. It is a visual representation of the sound, with the:
"A" representing the wakeful state
"U" representing the dream state
"M" representing the deep sleep state
Crescent shape at the top of the symbol represents the illusion of Maya, or the material world
Dot above the crescent represents the ultimate reality or consciousness
In conclusion, AUM is a powerful mantra and symbol that has been used for thousands of years in various spiritual practices. It represents the cycle of existence and the connection between the individual and the universe. By regularly chanting AUM you can attain spiritual growth as well as scientific benefits which include reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus and concentration, enhancing mood, boosting the immune system, and lowering blood pressure.