FIND A CLASS NEW STUDENT OFFER GIFT CARD

Focus of The month

THE SOUND OM

by Anna Lunegova| June, 2024

< Back To Insights

taj-japas tad-artha-bhāvanam

– Maharishi Patanjai’s Yoga Sutra I. 28

Chant and repeat OM, and realize the Divine within

– Translation by Manorama

“… and it rang with instant pain, shaking the body of the universe with thin air and fire, the Sacred word Om.”

This is how the great Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev (1886-1921) describes the influence of the practice of reciting mantra Om on the ancient Dragon.

The yogic texts say that the practitioner can hear the vibration of the universe and even go beyond the sound. Just as fish are in the water, so humanity is in constant vibration, but does not hear it. The ability to hear is associated with the development of consciousness. Sharon Gannon draws our attention to attentiveness: from listen – to hear – to know – to become – to be.

In Hinduism and in the Vedic tradition, Om is the primordial sound, the sacred mantra, the vibration of the universe, the phonological manifestation of the Absolute. The ancients called this sound Shabda Brahman. This sound is often interpreted as a symbol of Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).

Om is believed to symbolize the three main Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Samaveda. Many of the most important Upanishads begin with the primordial and sacred Om (e.g., Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, Isha Upanishad).

The Om mantra is comprised of three sounds A + U + M that symbolize the triads of our reality: creation, preservation and destruction; sky, airspace and earth; desire, knowledge and action; body, mind and their unity.

As part of the mantra OM TAT SAT, the syllable Om is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita (17:23), where it is said that these three words “from the beginning of Creation have been used to denote the Supreme Absolute Reality.”

The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to the analysis of various aspects of Om. This syllable is identified with time in its threefold aspect – past, present and future. The individual components of Om (A, U, M) correspond to a certain state of consciousness: jagrat – wakefulness (A), swapna – sleep with dream state (U), sushupti – deep sleep (M), and silence after Om – turiya, that is beyond all three states.

The technique of pronouncing the sound Om is conditionally divided into three time periods. Each of the components of Om (A, U, M) arises and is maintained in different parts of the body: A in the chest area, U in the neck area, and M in the head area, the echo of which gradually fades away in the crown area.

Similar techniques can be found in the treatises of the Natha and Gorakha traditions of yogis. In the Dhyana-bindu Upanishad, it is said that in pranayama, “Brahma is filling, Vishnu is delay, and exhalation is Rudra (Shiva), this is how pranayama is interpreted.”

The yogi determined to achieve their goal should pronounce the sound Om and understand what it represents. This should be done to know the source of the universe by awakening their sleeping consciousness.

Of course, modern life dictates its own tasks, but if we understand the power of knowledge that we gain, particularly, if we understand the sacred meaning of sound Om, then we will realize what chance we are given and will be able to use modern technologies and benefits to free up time for the realization of true goals. Let’s hope that the knowledge gained in the process of practice will unite us with ourselves and others.

TEACHING TIPS

  1. If you listen to the sounds of Tibetan bowls, you can hear that they are singing Om. Let the musical accompaniment of the class be a playlist of recordings of singing bowls or live accompaniment by a musician with bowls and a gong. – Use different tracks with the constant recitation of the Om mantra.
  2. As the sound Om is the primary basis of all sounds and languages, use modern music where the Om mantra is recited.
  3. Make reading the texts mentioned in the essay your personal yoga practice.
  4. As a basis for dharma talk, use quotes from yogic texts referring more to the primary sources and offering less of your interpretation.
  5. Japa Om – as an independent practice or preparation for meditation.
  6. Start or finish the class with japa Om. Observe what state of mind the practitioners and you will have after japa at the beginning of the class.
  7. Use different pronunciation options for the mantra. For example, all together 108 or more times; cacophony – everyone begins to pronounce and, as soon as a person finishes pronouncing the sound Om, they continue to pronounce in their own rhythm; taking turns – one student begins, and others continue one after another or any other variations.
  8. Let the physical practice be focused on the development of hip joint mobility so that the practitioner can choose a seat and be still for japa Om and meditation
  9. Considering the sound of Om in the body, make the focus of a class as follows:
    • opening the front of the body as the sound A is located in the chest;
    • inversions as the sound U is located in the neck area;
    • headstand as the sound M is located in the head.
    • It is also possible to combine any of the above together.

 

From jivamuktiyoga.com/fotm