Om, Aum – Significance of Hinduism Symbol

Aum is one of the sacred sounds (pranava) in the great Indian tradition.  But AUM is a sound, word, and symbol that have permeated western culture more extensively than almost any other aspect of the Indian tradition.  It has been parodied on TV and in movies.  Tell someone you are learning to meditate, and often jokingly they will touch their index finger and thumb together and say “Om”.

‘Om’ or ‘Aum’ commonly appears on bumper stickers, windows, tattoos, and jewelry.  But is there more significance to this sound and image?  Are there other ideas, concepts, and principles encapsulated within this word?  If one were to look at the teachings from the great Indian civilization the answer would surely be, YES!

A Brief look at the history:

Originally AUM was a sound that was reserved for Brahmins and students of the Vedic system.  It was most commonly taught to Brahmins (priests), scholars, philosophers, and religious leaders.  It is in common usage amongst Brahmins and Vedantists. To them it is considered a sacred sound called pranava.

Literally the word pranava means, “Humming”. Pranava can be a reference to a boat that carries us across the ocean of birth and reincarnation.  It can also mean to “roar”, sound, or reverberate.  The word pranava comes from the Sanskrit root “nu”, which means to praise.  So AUM is literally a humming sound of praise, which aids to carry us across the ocean of transmigration or reincarnation.  Is it the only pranava sound?  No, it is considered the highest, but there are several pranava sounds that exist within different systems in India.

This article is contributed by Shri Yogi Baba Prem Tom Beal, Vedavisharada, CYI, C.ay, C.va,www.vedicpath.com

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6 Comments

  1. Vitthal says:

    what significance does the om symbol havein hinduism

  2. Bharat says:

    Not just tht its a humming sound… it represent the whole universe and beyond… the cycles or non-linear characteristic of nature and its presence is reflected in all creation…

    For simplicity… observe the chanting of AUM… the opening of your mouth… ‘A’ the power of emerging or creation… followed by subsequent expansion of ‘U’ (similar to Big Bang theory… universe created and expanding) and the ending with ‘M’ the termination of Universe back into Zero… AUM is whole cycle of universe creation and termination which goes on and on… infinitely

    And between two AUM whle chanting you could not skip a SILENCE… this represent the great silence or Turiya state which exist between the creation and termination of two universe cycles… complete silence… sleep

    Therefore, the world is ZERO… it emerges from this silence or ZERO state and merges back into this ZERO… so the sum total is ZERO, the ultimate reality is ZERO… in actual there was nothing, there is nothing, there will be nothing… What all we experience is MAYA which prevent us from feeling this nothingness… As Vedas put it… ‘Brahaman Satya Jagat Mithya’… only the Pure Consciousness is TRUTH the everything else is Virtual…

    Everything in this world follows the pattern of A.U.M…. also represented in the trinity of Hinduism