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The Importance of the recitation of and meditation on the meaning of Om:
A mantra of Yajur Vedam salutes the Sacred syllabale OM and comments on the significance of Pranavam this way: " O, Men, by me, the resplendent protector, the matter , the face of the eternal cause is protected. The spirit yonder is the Sun, the spirit dwelling inside the Sun is ME. I am vast like the atmosphere,greatest of all in merit,action and nature.OM IS MY NAME."
2. The View of the UPanishads on Pranavam
A Mantra of the Maha Narayanopanishad echoes the above message of Yajur Vedam as Follows: " Aditya, the supreme cause of this Universe isa denoted by the syllable Om.That form of Sun is Brahman. That is the pervading cause of All. That is water,fire, flavor and ambrosia (Immortality) . The three Vyahritis (Bhu:, Bhuva:, and Suvaha:) representing the three worlds and the PRANAVA representing the cause of the universe denote Brahman." Maha Narayanopanishad states elsewhere that the One syllable Om is Brahman. It also reveals that the Pranavam is recited and reflected upon to acheive the union with Brahman, who exists as the manifold universe. The Narayanopanishad also contains a reference to "AUM" in two places. "Omithyagrae Vyahararaeth" and "OMithyaekAksharam" . The latter is supposed to be the only mantram for Sri Vaishnavas. Eka Mantram: OMithyaekAksharam Eka NAmam: Devaki PutrOnamaha Eka Seva: Devaki PutrOseva The all-encompassing nature of Pranavam is explained by the Mandukya
Water. to him all desires shall come to pay homage." A passage in the Brugu Valli of the Taittiriya Upanishad explains to us the benefits accrued from recognizing and worshipping Om as Brahman. he becomes great. The Lord of Death (Yama Raja) reveals to the aspirant Nachiketas that " this word (Om) is verily Brahman. Let him meditate upon that as the Supreme. Brahma. Vishnu. You are the Vashatkaram (Power). Time and Form Completely. we get another insight into the significance of Om. Let him worship Aum (Brahman) as great. " Pranavam is recognized here as the resonating sound embodiment of the supreme being . O Brahman(Pranavam)! You are the sacrificial ritual.verily.It is for these reasons that the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad points out again that the Pranavam is identical to Brahman and should therefore be worshipped as Brahaman. Prsana Upanishad points out that AUM is recommended for the meditation on and the worship of Supreme Reality in its Saguna Brahman Form with attributes and the Nirguna Brahman Form without attributes .who pervades Space. present and the future. he comes to supermacy in Life. whatever he desires. It says: " Let him. meditate on the supreme (Aum) as the support. the aspirant. this word is verily the highest .who knows this word obtains . Everything is just the word AUM. Let him worship Aum as Nama(obesiance). " Brahman is the meaning of Omkara. Shining Stars and Ambrosia (Immortality). he becomes well supported.In the fourth Anuvakha of Siksha Valli of the Taittiriya Upanishad. He . It is the past . It is the embodiment of All that is subtle.Upanishad mantra as follows: " OM(AUM) the syllable is the whole world. My salutations to that Brahman! That Omkaram resides in the caves of the hearts of the human beings. In a Katopanishad Mantra." At the conclusion of the Vaiswa Deva Mantra passage of the Narayana Valli of the same Upanishad. Let him worship it as Mind. You are Indra. Rudra.gross and casual. he becomes thoughtful. Om is pointed out as the most sacred Mantra for the aspirant .
These are meditated upon to get specific boons such as Knowledge from Saraswati. AUM Or Om or Pranavam is also known as the Brahma Vidya Mantram. the abode of the Supreme Lord. HREEM ( Sri Vidya Worship) . 4. The Etymology of Pranavam(AUM) The Syllable AUM arises from the Sanskrit root "AV" . are attached to the powers behind these Pancha Pranavams. 3. it is recognized as the Mantra that leads the Sadhakas (aspirants) to the other shore (Tara) of the ocean of Samsara(viz) . AUM on the other hand is recited and reflected upon to get the Supreme Brahma Gyanam. and KLEEM (Kama Kala Worship). This role of Pranavam makes all living beings bow before the Supreme Lord: " Pranan sarvan Paramatmani Pranamayati iti Pranavam" is thus the other defenition of Pranavam.to illuminate all his faculties including his own intellect(Medha Sakti) . In this context.SREEM ( Maha Lakshmi Worship). Pranavam is recognized here as the sheath of Brahman and the invocation of OM is declared as the equivalent of the invocation of Brahman. It is generally agreed that the Tantras are not totally disconnected to the Vedas . since Vedic Sookthams such as Sri Sooktham. AUM is understood therefore to protect the Universe and all of its inhabitants.. which means to protect. Durga Sooktham . Vedic and Taantric Pranavams Aum is known as the Vedic Pranavam to distinguish it from the other Pancha Pranavas known as EYM(Saraswati worship). Worldly wealth from Maha Lakshmi etc. . The above Pancha Pranavams are known as Tantric Pranavam. Kreem (Kali Worship).
"A. Bhokta (the Enjoyer) and the Sesha (the subservient being of the Lord Narayana and His Consort) . the truth symbolized by the sound "Om" arises. The Garhapatya Agni (Householder"s fire ) is its Agni.U. The Fourth part. In its Samashti form. Dakshinagni is its Agni. The Jeevan represented by M is recognized as the Jnata (the Knower). The Pranavam thus contains all the 4 Vedas and their immortal hymns from which the Brahman . The letter"U" represents the Yajur Veda and the intermediary world. subservient relationship of the Jeevan to the Divine Couple.5. M " represents the Lunar World and the Atharva Veda. The Ekarshi fire of the Atharva Ritual is its Agni. It represents the terrrestrial world surrounded by the seven seas according to this Upanishad. Lakshmi and the Jeevan or the individual soul. The half letter or the nasalization at the end of the three letters. M and the Ardha Matra (Half Letter) at the end of the sacred syllable represent the four constituents of Pranavam. 6. the nasalization is recognized as the eternal. A. who represent Eka Seshitvam. Karta (the Doer). Its fire is the Ahavagni. The Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad goes one step further and explains . The Vishishtadvaita Tradition and the four fold structure of AUM The letters A. The second Vedic fire . U. The letter "A" represents the Rg Veda. Nrsimha Uttara Tapini Upanishad explains how this four fold Vyashti (Constituents) from the Samashti (Whole). Multifold Structure of Pranavam(AUM): The syllable AUM has a four fold division according to Vedic Niruktham or Etymology. M are accepted here as representing Vishnu. U. The letter "M" represents the celestial world and the Sama Veda.
" . water in the underground springs. the upper kindling stick and by the practise of vigorous rubbing (Meditation). the sage may realize the hidden effulgent being as the Fire hidden in the sticks. As Oil present in the Sesamum seeds. the lower kindling stick and the Pranavam . Santi (Tranquility). He points out that OM should be sought by every one and that It is the beginning of every thing and the bestower of the final Beautitude. Lord Brahma explains to His son that this Pranavam is TuryaTurya or the Supreme Bliss and identifies it as the Prop of ALL. The 16 fold and the 128 fold divisions of Pranavam are also explained by Brahma to His son . Kaaladita( Beyond Time). Unmani (the state of absence of Gross Mind).Nada.Mnaonmani(State of Absence of Subtle Mind). who visualizes Him thru Truth and Penance. The last four are associated with the formation of Speech. 7. and Fire in the kindling sticks. Svetasvatara Upanishad"s explanation of the means of Realizing Brahman It says: " Making the Self .the 8 fold structure of Pranavam. so is the Supreme Being realized in the individual self by one. Sage Narada in the same upanishad. Pasyanti and Para . Puri. Kaala(Time). ghee in curds. Santyatita(Beyond tranquility) .Madhyama. The 16 fold division adds to the above four subdivisions following additional 12 subdivisions: Bindu.
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