As a yogini, when I recite this powerful word slowly yet firmly, it works magic in me. Its vibrations strike a chord with my inner being. As I close my eyes, sit in a meditative position and start with “aaaa”, “ooooo” and “mmmmm” I can feel my body, mind and soul in sync.

So, what is this word “AUM” all about?

Om, or Aum  is a Sanskrit mantra (religious chant) which is mystical, sacred and important for Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Having said that, Om is the source of all religions and religious scriptures. According to Paramahansa Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of a Yogi“, Om or Aum of the Vedas (Indian Scriptures)  became the sacred word ‘Hum’ of the Tibetans, ‘Amin’ of the Muslims, and ‘Amen’ of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians.” The syllable has been translated into many different languages, cultures, and religious traditions, but its sound has the power to transmogrify.

Therefore the first lesson that Om teaches us is Unity in diversity. Though we are different, our basis remains the same – we are all one as humans.

The second lesson it teaches us is that, GOD is one and the multiple forms don’t really matter.

Om is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a sacred invocation to be hummed at the start and end of a passage or prayer.

The three syllable A+U+M represents and salutes the Hindu Gods – ‘Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh’ to invoke their blessings.

It represents several important trios: the three worlds of “earth, atmosphere, and heaven”; “thought, speech, and action”; the three qualities of matter “goodness, passion, and darkness”; and the three sacred Vedic scriptures (collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India in Sanskrit) “Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda”.

Therefore, Om enigmatically embodies the essence of the entire universe.

How do we recite this chant?

Chanting Om is a sanctifying experience. It is a controlling force. Therefore, chanting Om before every auspicious activity is recommended.

Om must be chanted in a high and prolonged note with great devotion. Chanting produces a shivering sensation within. It affects every part of the body. The mind experiences unity with the body and soul. Negativity vanishes. Your entire being feels light. Worldly thoughts are forgotten and you are lost in enchantment. Your slumbering inner strength is aroused. You begin to believe in yourself. It is said, by chanting Om 7 or 11 or 21 or 51 times, sadness and disappointments disappear and contentment seeps in. When chanted in a group, the advantages are multiplied. In order to nurture your physical and emotional strength, Om should be recited with a quiet mind every day. Scientists also endorse its beneficial influence.

The third lesson is unwavering belief in oneself.

Additionally, when one pronounces Om correctly, all the basic sounds also echo. OM creates elemental vibrations and makes our voice gentle. It is believed to be the traditional way of clearing all the obstructions in the vocal cord. It helps to chant Mantras and hymns correctly.

‘Anne Dyer’ (a British academic administrator) suggests that in our chanting practice, we progress from chanting OM out loud to whispering the syllable. This aids the mind to focus on the finest. When the volume descends, we have to ascend our attention. When the mind is listening closely, the mind isn’t busy thinking. In silence, we might begin to hear the stillness, the sound of the void.

The fourth lesson is purity of thoughts and deeds.

It also has metaphysical connotations, which serve as supplements to meditation. AUM – a (pronounced “ah”) represents our waking state, which is also the subjective consciousness of the outer world; u (pronounced “ooh”) is the dreaming state, or the consciousness of our inner world of thoughts, dreams, memories, and so on; and m is the dreamless state of deep sleep and the experience of ultimate coalesce.

In the yogic tradition, Om is also associated with chakra (center of energy) meditation. It is linked with the 6th (brow point) and 7th (top of the head) chakras. It is a powerful mantra to focus and calm the mind. Repeating OM, 108 times with the help of a mala (string of beads), called “Japa Yoga”, is a sacred formula for peace.

Om is perfectly intelligible but completely mystifying. It is an earnest exclamation. It is an unfathomable experience within us.

The last lesson that I learnt from it is to be far from misery, sound, fear, greed, motion, and domination.

When I begin and end my yoga sessions by reciting “AUM” in a meditative pose, solitude enters into me and stays with me throughout the day. That aura of quietude transcends on to whomsoever I come in contact with, and it further spreads.

Come let me help you feel the contagious tranquility of “AUM” at Calida’s yoga sessions for beginners in Thane West at my home through a one-on-one, only for girls format from 7 to 8am on weekdays only for Rs.500/- for the first month.

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