The sound OM is a Sanskrit letter first found in the Vedas, sung in praise of the Divine. It’s one of the primordial seed syllables, or bija, mantras. This mystic syllable that’s considered to represent the primal sound of the Universe is the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.
It appears at the beginning and often the end of many Sanskrit mantras. Such as these two common mantras you may be familiar with: Om Gam Ganeshaya Namaha and Om Mani Padme Hum. Through its vibrational form created in sounding, OM connects us to the Divine.
Further teachings on the sound of OM were shared in the Upanishads, a collection of ancient Hindu sacred texts. The Mandukya Upanishad says, “OM is the universe… the past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is OM. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is OM.”
OM is the most elemental of vibrations. It’s the sound of the void, the sound of the universe. OM is also the prime mantra of the Higher Self or Atman. It attunes us to our true nature.
When we sound using the power of the breath, we engage our life force in action as the vibrations resound. This action can manifest as the creation of speech, but also as connection with the Divine to manifest our Higher Self.
Masaru Emoto, the Japanese scientist who explored the effects of sound on water, demonstrated the power of our intention and speech on matter around us. Sound healers also use toning and chanting to bring about transformation and healing to the body and mind. The sound we create is powerful.
So, what’s the best way to sound this sacred syllable of OM for the greatest benefit?
OM is sometimes written as AUM to facilitate the sounding of it. It contains three sounds, A (“aaah”), U (“oooh”) and M (“mmm”). Give them a try now.
For the “aaah” sound, open the mouth and relax the jaw as you create the sound rising up from your belly. In “oooh,” the lips come a little closer together to create a circular form in the mouth, as the sound moves more to the heart/lung area. For “mmm,” the lips come together, as the tongue floats within the mouth, creating a vibrating or buzzing sound in the head. Finally, there is silence. This is often considered the 4th syllable of AUM, as the sound ripples out fades into the universe.
Each of the three sounds corresponds to a different aspect of the Divine – as creator, sustainer, and destroyer — without which nothing exists, everything is sustained, and all things dissolve back into the void. In Hinduism, these are the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
According to Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi: “OM or AUM of the Vedas became the sacred word Hum of the Tibetans, Amin of the Moslems, and Amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians.” The creative potency and transformative power of the sound seem to be shared across many different cultures and religious traditions.
Interested in exploring the sound of OM further?
Find mantras for cleansing the chakras in my Free Healing Library.
How to Bring Life to Your Chakras: 7 Healing Mantras (my guidebook with accompanying audio recordings) is also available! Click here to purchase your copy of this life-changing program.