Ganesha - The Elephant GodTo AUM or not to AUM by Sue Fuller

AUM also known as OM.  AUM is seen and heard globally, it is both a sacred sound and a sacred symbol, but what does this symbol and sound really mean?

AUM or OM is a sacred symbol and sacred sound that is beyond words.  AUM or OM is the sound of the whole universe, it is the truth behind all existence, it is the whole existence, it is the light of our true self and its sound has existed before the world began.

This is why the sound of OM holds different meanings for different people. Meditating upon the sound OM can bring peace and serenity and a sense of equanimity to current situations.

The sound OM is a very natural sound that we might create when thinking or excited and even during pain or sickness the sound OM is often uttered, children create this sound whilst playing.  It is one of the easiest sounds to make without force or effort.

In early yogic traditions OM or AUM is the single sound or word that represents the whole universe.

A represents the beginning. U represents the middle. M represents the end.

A stands for waking, U stands for dreaming and M stands for deep sleep.

OM is the eternal truth that underlies all existence.

Throughout history many ancient teachers have spent many hours, days and even years meditating upon the sacred symbol.  Pages and pages have been translated to try to reveal and explain the true meaning of AUM. 

Some teachers say to meditate upon heart chakra whilst creating the sound and other say the third eye and both are fine.  Everyone will experience the sound AUM differently, it will resonate in slightly different places each time it is chanted, the pitch or note might vary.  When you experience OM allow the sound to flow internally and be open to your experience.

If you do not feel like audibly chanting AUM you can always listen to the sound or chant the sound internally.

The Sacred Symbol of AUMHere are 7 quick facts about the ancient sacred symbol - AUM or OM.

1. The sound of OM is present in all human language, it is uttered globally by all ages whether happy or sad and it is an easy sound to create.

2. AUM is pronounced as OM, because in Sanskrit when an AU are next to each other the sound of “O” is created.

3. AUM is all encompassing, it represents the whole universe every stage of existence and spiritual development.

4. When meditating upon the sound AUM, A is the beginning and comes from the lowest place, as the sound rises U is created and M is created as the mouth closes and a hum vibrates in the head and then throughout the body.

5. At the end of AUM there is a silence. This represents the state known as Turiya, or the infinite consciousness, the extreme state of bliss, of complete knowing and realization.  

Ganesha - The Elephant God6. The symbol AUM consists of three curves, one semicircle, and a dot. The large bottom curve symbolizes the waking state, A. The middle curve signifies the dream state, U. The upper curve represents the state of deep sleep, M and the dot signifies Turiya. The semi -circle at the top represents the illusion of life or Maya which forms the biggest obstacle to overcome before experiencing Turiya.

7. AUM or OM is also associated with Ganesha, The Elephant God in Hindu Mythology who is regarded as the remover or destroyer of obstacles. The upper curve, of AUM, represents the head or the face of Ganesha. The Lower curve his belly. The twisted curve, on the right side of OM is the trunk.

When you create the sound AUM, allow the sound to flow freely and resonate, do not overthink the chant just let it happen.



Sue Fuller is the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes.  Sue has a range of over 60 different audio yoga classes available on CD or MP3, the range includes classes for the absolute beginner right through to strong classes for more advanced practitioners.  Sue is a columnist for the yoga Magazine and a regular writer for Natural Health; she is also a course author for The British School of Yoga.