THE MEANING OF OM - AUM
The bija (sound, symbol, mantra) most frequently met within Yoga is the simple monosyllable OM. The word itself is a derivation of the Sanskrit `Aum` often met with in the older writings, but still frequently occurring in current Yogi literature.
OM is the expression for the highest state of consciousness.
It is the greatest of all mantras. It is used to precede most devotional activies. The sound, as such, is already perfect and represents the wholeness of all things. It is meant to fill the mind with eternal perfection and to free it from the world of narrow selfishness.
The sound of OM opens us to the reality of our innermost being - the true nature of our being. It is the sound of eternal rhythm of all living creatures.It is the expression of universal acceptance. The great mantra is repeated loudly, softly or mentally.
When OM is pronounced the sound is continued to a tapering point reaching out into infinity. This prolongation is called the nada and the sound is not cut off but dies away to an invisible and undetected finish like a sound of a bell.
`A` as `O` begins at the back of the mouth, the sound continues with `U` from the middle of the mouth and `M with lips closed - producing a humming sound when prolonged. `A` and `U` is blended into an `O` sound.
AUM is expressed as the three planes of consciousness:
A - (Jagrat) waking state - our subjective or ordinary consciousness of the eternal world (represented by the lower longest curve of the symbol).
U - (Swapna) dream state - the consciousness of the inner world - thought, feeling desires and aspirations (represented by the curve that projects to the right hand side of the upper and lower curves).
M - (Susupti) (deep sleep) dreamless sleep state - the consciousness of unifferentiated unity (represented by the upper smaller curve).