‘AUM’: The Universal Vibration of Spiritual Harmony

‘AUM’: The Universal Vibration of Spiritual Harmony April 25, 2024



AUM is a letter, a word. It is also a sound or resonance. There are three sounds in AUM which are known as ‘matra’ (vowel diacritics). They are ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’. When ‘a’ and ‘u’ merge they form ‘o’. when ‘m’ gets placed alongside with ‘o’ it forms ‘OM’. Thus, all sounds of all languages, either vowels or consonants, are all contained in ‘OM’. That is why OM is a unique universal sound.

According to Mandukaya Upanishad, the entire world of waking states is expressed by ‘a’, the first matra of AUM. The entire dream world is expressed by ‘u’ and the experience of deep sleep is expressed by ‘m’. However, the waking, dream and deep sleep state form the entire universe and symbols of these are ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’. Therefore, OM itself is an extremely wonderful symbol of God.

AUM: Unveiling the Divine Attributes

AUM is also the symbol of the attributes of God. According to Mandukaya Upanishad, the three states, waking, sleeping and deep sleep get created from Brahman or Atman and later merge back in it; similarly, AUM comprises the three states which gets created from silence or absence of sound and later merges in it. That’s why the silence between the utterances of AUM twice which is called amatra (Infinite knowledge) is the symbol of the attributes of Brahman or Atman. 

During the utterances of AUM, ‘a’ matra merges into ‘u’ and ‘u’ merges into ‘m’ and ‘m’ merges into silence. In the same way, during worship while uttering AUM as a support, a spiritual aspirant merges the gross waking world into a subtle world and subtle world into a casual world. Progressing further, he transcends that too and abides in the silence, attributes peaceful and non-dual self. This is the ultimate state in AUM worship.

AUM indicates everything that is in existence and that which is the basis of the entire existence and also that which is beyond all. AUM is also called ‘pranava’ (controller of life force) which means that through which God is glorified.

Why Chant AUM Before Mantras and Prayers?

The belief that God uttered “AUM” before creating the universe imbues the sound with immense power. It becomes a primordial vibration, the seed sound from which all creation unfolds. Chanting AUM before prayers or mantras is seen as a way to connect with that creative force.

AUM: An Auspicious Beginning:

  • The association of “atha” (an auspicious particle) with AUM reinforces the idea that chanting it brings good fortune and sets the tone for a successful practice session. Since many mantras and prayers involve seeking blessings or guidance, starting with AUM creates a positive and sacred space.

AUM: A Bridge Between Worlds:

  • Chanting AUM can be seen as a bridge between the ordinary and the divine. It allows the practitioner to transition from the everyday mind to a more focused and receptive state, preparing for the deeper meaning of the mantra or prayer to follow.

A Call to Attention:

  • The sound of AUM is distinct and resonant. Chanting it can serve as a call to attention, both for the practitioner themselves and for any unseen forces they wish to invoke. It brings focus and presence to the start of the practice.


AUM: A Resonant Symbol in Everyday Life

AUM, a sacred syllable in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, transcends religion. It’s not just a profound spiritual symbol; it finds practical significance woven into the fabric of everyday life. Therefore, AUM indicates everything. The aim in life and the means to achieve that aim. The universe and the Truth as its substratum.

AUM as a Greeting:

While not a common greeting in everyday conversation, AUM holds significance in specific contexts.  Hindus often chant AUM before starting their day, a new task, or even a journey. It signifies invoking a higher power for guidance and a successful outcome. In yoga or meditation classes, chanting AUM can act as a greeting, setting the tone for a space of mindfulness and connection.

 Chanting or meditating on AUM can help quiet the mind and improve focus. This can be beneficial for tasks requiring concentration or before important activities. The rhythmic chanting of AUM is believed to promote relaxation and inner peace. It can be used as a tool to manage stress and anxiety in everyday situations. The OM symbol itself, a visual representation of AUM, is said to represent the entire universe. Having an OM symbol around, like in a piece of jewellery or artwork, can serve as a reminder of our connection to something larger than ourselves.


AUM becomes a powerful tool for self-realization. By understanding its connection to the states of being, the silence between chants, and the experience of the non-dual Self, we can use AUM as a guide on our spiritual journey. It is a reminder that the divine essence lies not just “out there” but also within us, waiting to be discovered through focused practice and inner exploration. By understanding the reasons behind chanting AUM, we can deepen our appreciation for this ancient tradition.

AUM is the bow. The individual Self is the arrow. And the eternal imperishable Brahman is the target. That target should be pierced very carefully and after piercing by an undistracted mind the Atman becomes one with Brahman, as the arrow with the target.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ~ Mandukaya Upanishad 2.2.4



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