What does OM mean? Why do we chant OM?

OM is considered primordial sound of the Universe. All other sounds emanate from IT. OM is also called Pranava which means, ‘That (sound or symbol) by which the Lord is praised’. OM is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of mantras, prayers and texts. Both the symbol and the sound of OM have high vibrational energy. It carries immense Pranic energy, it is a mystic syllable, and considered to be the most sacred sound in Hinduism.

Patanjali said: “Chant OM and you will attain your goal. If nothing else works, just chant OM.”

Mandukya Upanishad opens by stating, “OM, this syllable is the whole world”. Aum is all states of time: the past, present and the future. Aum is the state of Atman: Everything is Brahman, but Brahman is Atman (the soul, the self). Aum is all states of consciousness: the wakeful, the dream, the deep sleep and the state of Ekatma (being with one Self).

Mandukya Upanishad explains the etymological roots of AUM. Its first element A is from Adimatva (being first) or Apti (reaching or obtaining). The second element U is from Ubhayatva (intermediateness) or from Utkarsa (exaltation). The third element M is from Minati (annihilation) or from Miti (construction or erecting). The fourth element Turiya is without an element, beyond the expanse of the universe, it is experienced only in silence. Thus, in this way OM is the Atman (the self).

The first letter of AUM which is A invokes Brahma – the creator, U invokes Vishnu – the preserver and M invokes Shiva – the destroyer.

Why do we chant OM?

The vibration that is emitted by chanting OM is at the frequency of 7.83 Hz which is the same frequency at which the Earth and the Cosmos resonates. So by chanting OM, which is the sound of the universe, we are turning ourselves into that sound and acknowledging our connection to the universe, nature and all living beings.

Chanting OM makes our mantras and prayers more effective with its pranic energy. OM is more about the vibrations it gives out than its literal meaning.

In addition to the frequency, the vibrations and the rhythm with which OM is pronounced also have a physical effect on the body. It calms the mind and slows down the nervous system. Hence, when the mind is relaxed, the blood pressure decreases and the health of the heart improves.

OM connects us in a deeper way and creating a spiritual bond.

Benefits of Chanting OM

It helps to improve concentration and get more attentive

It relaxes the body and mind, regularizes heart beats and decreases blood pressure

It gives deep relaxation and ensures a good and sound sleep

Creates positives vibrations and purifies the environment around

Chanting OM reduces stress

It improves blood circulation and enriches the body cells with oxygen

The deep breathing associated with chanting OM, detoxifies the body

It improves mental awareness

It strengthens the spinal cord as the sound of OM is generated from the abdomen and it helps strengthen the muscles supporting the spinal cord.

It gives better immunity and the power of self-healing

How to get the most of chanting OM

Understand the purpose and meaning of the syllable and chanting OM

Produce each sound slowly, spending time on each letter and feel the vibration of each letter in the body. The tone and reverberation changes from one sound to the other

Visualize the sound of the vibration moving through the Chakras, from the Base Chakra to the leading to the Crown Chakra.

With each chant of OM, tune yourself deeper and feel connected to the Divine and the Universe.

Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”