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12/20/2017 : Mantras - OM

Mantras - OM
Importance of Om at the beginning of all Mantras

The power and importance of om is not understood in its proper perspective. It is important that supreme value of this akara ( ) om
understood in its proper perspective. In the first place, is the connecting factor between a mantra, the practitioner and Brahman. Why
is accepted as akara? Because Vedas say so and Upaniad-s explain this further. This is how it is explained in Vc (pp 15). It is likely that
the syllable , the initiator, was also, as early as Brhmaa-s (Brhmaa-s are explained as rules for the employment of the mantras or
hymns at various sacrifices, with detailed explanations of their origin and meaning), the continuous humming sound it will become at a later
date in the Upaniad-s. Though imperceptible, it would underlay the whole ceremony
Rig Veda (I.164.39) subtly refers to . This verse says, The Supreme Lord is omnipresent like space and eternal like his word {word here
is explained as upon which akara, the indestructible syllable, the supreme position (parame vyoman) of all the gods (vivedev} taking
their seats}..the one who understands this comes close to Him and those who do know this cannot reach Him. In another context it is said,
Somehow it happened that he could not take the essence from one syllable (); just of . This syllable () became this speech and this
speech namely became the essence of breath
The above Vedic references go to prove the importance of and based on this, Kulrava Tantra (XV.56) says, A mantra in its beginning
entails the impurity of birth and at the end of impurity of death. Associated with these two impurities, a mantra does not fructify (impurities
are explained as not prefixing and suffixing ).
Taittirya Upaniad (I.viii.1) says, om iti brahma; om iti sarvam; .. which clearly says that there is no difference between and Brahman
and this statement is further emphasized by the next verse which is says is everything (omnipresent). This goes to prove that without ,
Brahman cannot be attained. All of us know that the very purpose of Mahoai Mantra is only liberation (oa keval moka sdhanam
oa is meant only for liberation).
Prana Upaniad (V.6 and 7)) says, He who meditates on three letters of AUM () separately will end up being subject to death. But if they
are taken together, this meditation is rightly doneIf you are able to meditate on that deity in the right manner, you will know the real
meaning of and once you know the meaning, you go far beyond. If you meditate on as Brahman, it takes you to the higher worlds. It is
again through that you attain the state of peace and fearlessness and you overcome age. You attain immortality and become one with
Brahman. (Please compare this with the last line of the previous paragraph).
Kaha Upaniad (I.ii.16) says, is Brahman with attributes and also without attributes. He knows this can get whatever he wishes. It
must be remembered that Brahman without attributes is iva and Brahman with attributes is akti. There are subsequent verses also to
explain this in Kaha Upaniad.
Mkya Upaniad (1) begins with by saying, is this phenomenal world. To make this clear, it is the past, the present and future. All this
is nothing but . If there is anything beyond this, that too is .
It is also that is the root mantra out of which all other mantra arise. It is clear that without in the beginning of any
mantra, rest of the bjkara-s of a mantra will not have any power. Further is also compared to pra (vital air; our inhalation
and exhalation). Without pra how can we sustain and similarly how can a mantra work without in the beginning?
There are quotations from ivapura. It says, , known as praava is so called because it is the ideal guide to liberation (moka), by
eliminating karma of those who recite and worship it There are innumerable references to and its importance towards attaining
liberation. All mantras are practiced for two purposes. One is for realizing the Self and the ultimate purpose is to attain liberation. The latter
always succeeds the former and this is the pinnacle of our spiritual journey.
Patajali in his Yoga stra-s (I.27) says, tasya vcakah praava. This means that there is no difference between and iva and we know
that iva is the one who can give liberation and not akti, who is only iva-jna-pradyin (Lalit Sahasranma 727). This interpretation is
reproduced below for easy reference.
She imparts the knowledge of iva, the Ultimate. iva jna (knowledge) means the knowledge of the Brahman, which is also known as the
Supreme knowledge. To know iva, one should first know His akt, who alone is capable of leading a person to the Brahman or iva.
Rmyaa says wind can be realized through movements, fire can be realised through heat and iva can be realized only through akt. It
can also be said that iva is the source of knowledge for Her.
It is said akara caitanyam which means that iva is both jna and kriy. He is the sovereign, pure free will in knowledge and action.
Based upon this principle, iva Stra-s opens by saying caitanyamtm. Caitanyam means consciousness of the highest purity and
knowledge. There is no difference between Brahman and the highest form of consciousness. But how akt alone is capable of unravelling
iva? This is answered by iva Stra (I.6) again which says that by meditating on akt, the universe disappears as a separate entity thereby
unveiling Self illuminating iva. The process of such happening is described in Spanda Krik (I.8) (another treatise of Kashmiri Saivism)
which says the empirical individual cannot ward off the urge of desires. But entering the energetic circle of the Self (iva), he becomes equal
to that Self. The seeker of iva becomes iva himself. This is known as iva jna and She imparts this kind of Supreme knowledge.
It is also said that iva cannot be attained without first realising akt. She alone can lead one to iva. iva is inaccessible directly. Unless She
chooses to impart the required Supreme knowledge, none can realise iva. Hence, She is called iva-jna-pradyin.
Thus there are very strong, authentic and proven evidences to prove that is the cause of any mantra and if is not prefixed to any mantra,
the mantra becomes ineffective. And if we go with Kulrava Tantra and various Upaniad-s cited above, one can understand the importance
of and its presence at the beginning of any mantras. If this is not done, then the mantra will not fructify.
To conclude, we must understand that purpose of any mantra is only to get liberation. There is no point in arguing whether is to be
prefixed or not. This has been explained with help of various sources in this particular article. My Guruji told me that without , mantra will
never be fructified. If we place in the beginning, I have observed that one is able to reach the highest spiritual level within six months. If
prefixing is a mistake, these men and women would not have attained this highest spiritual level. What is important is the goal and our
goal is liberation. I am of the opinion that should be prefixed to all mantras without fail. If this is not followed, then anyone could be
wasting his or her precious life in performing fruitless sdhana. Even after this detailed explanation, if doubts still persist, nothing else can be
done. Beyond this point, it is not right on my part to comment on this issue and hence, I close this issue with this article.
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12/20/2017 : Mantras - OM

After having discussed about the importance of praava () at the beginning of all mantras, we will now proceed to discuss why
is so important. consists of three alphabets and nda and bindu. Thus om has five components a, u, m, nda and bindu. Tirumlar is one
of the ancient sages and he had composed Tirumantiram which consists of 3047 Tamil verses. In verse 2035 he has referred om subtly. On
the grosser side, this verse means namaivya, Shiva packara mantra. But on the subtler side, this verse refers to om. The verse says that
everything is sublimated by om; if om is meditated upon (using it as a mantra), it causes trance, leading to liberation and those who do this
are truly blessed.
Tirumlar has confirmed these through four other verses beginning from 2675 to 2678. In 2676 he says that om is Shiva and om is Shakti as
well. Shiva, because of its subtle nature; and Shakti because of its power of manifestation from subtle to gross (Praka and Vimara). In
2677 he says that om is Brahman, who is formless (nirgua Brahman), it encompasses infinity and diversity, and om alone gives liberation.
Everything originates from om and dissolves unto om. In the next verse he says that five principle elements (kaa, air, fire, water and earth)
originated from om, the entire creation originated from om (because om is Brahman), three types of creations originated from om (three
types of creations/ jva-s are bound, liberated and eternal; there are other interpretations for three types of jva-s; sakala, pralaykala and
vijnkala) and om represents the union of individual self with the Supreme Self. In 2688, he says om comprises of a, u and m and this
alone causes Bliss, Divine Grace, creation, expansion, substratum and everything else. The wise fully realising this, repeat om and get
liberated.
Dhynabindu Upaniad explains om like this. One has to transcend nda and bindu of om and reach the ultimate state of akara, where all
sounds are absorbed, that is the state of Liberation. The one who understands om reaches the state of prtvam (completeness, the state of
complete knowledge, the state of doubtlessness). The one who does not realize the essence of om, can never become a yogi. The essence of
om is explained as the inherent oil in sesame seeds and the smell of flowers. Presence of oil cannot be realized unless the oil is extracted and
on the contrary, the smell of the flowers is always felt. The Upaniad says that om is both gross and subtle. Om is bow; individual soul is
arrow and the Brahman (the destination) is the aim. This subtly conveys Self-realization. Upaniad goes on explaining about the importance
of om.
Now let us analyse what Mkya Upaniad says in detail about om. This Self is in the form of letters and it is om. It is in the form of
adhimtra (in the form of mtr or letters). These letters are a, u and m which corresponds to three states of consciousness, active, dream
and deep sleep states. Nda and bindu are the states of turya (realization of the Self) and turytta (merging into Brahman - Liberation). Om
is the beginning, the middle and the end of everything and the one, who knows this reality, knows Brahman. Brahman is the Self, witnessing
all our actions. The wise who understands this reality is not troubled by dyads i.e., pleasure and pain etc., and he transcends all dualities. He
alone is liberated.
Amtanda Upaniad says that praava (om) is not to be pronounced, it is neither a vowel nor a consonant. It is akara, the indestructible
(kara means perishable) and omnipresent. It is both subtle and gross, like Brahman and His manifestations. Hence om is called akara
(imperishable).
Vedas originate from om. Om should not be recited with svara. Svara-s are of seven types and they are nida, abha, gndhra, aja,
madhyama, dhaivata and pacama as it is beyond svara. It is beyond everything. It is the source of origin and absorption. It is imperishable.
Many times, om is grossly mentioned and rarely it is subtly mentioned. Any mantra or Vedic recitations should begin only with om and end
with om. It is said, If anybody says that the om is the only sound symbol, with nothing else being suitable, he is wrong. That is why Patajali
did not use om, and instead he said tasya vcakah praava.
This article is not in response to the comments made on the previous part, but only to elucidate the utmost importance of om. Someone
distastefully commented and asked: Which lineage adds it? Show me? I respectfully submit to them that it is not my job to look into what
others teach or follow. I follow and teach what my Guruji taught.

Understanding Om
Let us understand what OM is. OM comprises of three Sanskrit alphabets Ah, U, Ma and a bindu. It is called Ahkara, Ukara Makara Bindu
samyuktham i.e. OM is made up of these three letters with a dot above Ma, which is called bindhu. We should pronounce OM beginning
from our naval area which is called muladhara chakra. So Ah starts from the naval chakra. U should be joined with Ah at heart chakra or
anahat chakra. Ma should be joined with Ah and U at the mouth which is called vishudhi chakra. Bindu should be joined in the area of eye
brows or ajna chakra. At ajna chakra OM takes its complete form and from here it moves to the top of the head or crown chakra and merges
with akash or ether. From ajna chakra to the crown chakra there are a number of chakras in between, which we will discuss later
duringkundalini meditation. OM has been referred as Brahman by various Upanishads. In Katha Upanishad Yama, the God of death
says that OM is indestructible Brahman.

Yama also says that OM is both with attributes and without attributes (prakasha and vimarsha). Chandogya Upanishad says that OM
isuthgitam. Uthghitam means chanting aloud. When a singer sings it is called uthghitam. This Upanishad also says that OM is paramatman
or the universal consciousness. Nasikyam pranam udgitam upasancakrire says Chandogya, which means that OM is worshiped by Gods as
the vital force in the nose. This is the reason that third eye or ajna chakra is given great importance. Om ithi Brahma, Om ithi sarvam says
Taittiriya Upanishad. OM is Brahman and OM is everything says this Upanishad. It also says that OM implies assent. This is the reason why
all mantras begin with OM. Mandukya Upanishad begins with OM iti etat aksharam idam sarvam meaning OM is everything. This
Upanishad further says that OM being everything, it is past, present and future. If something can be conceived beyond OM it can only be OM.
We have so far seen that OM or Omkara is indestructible Brahman, it is worshipped by even Gods and OM does not have time concept and it
is everything. There is nothing beyond OM. The OM meditation lays a strong foundation towards self realization.

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