Sacred Mantra AUM

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Original article from AncientSacredKnowledge.com

Sacred-Mantra-AUMPerhaps the most widely known mantra in the world, AUM (popularly known as “Om”), is an ancient mantra which first appeared in Vedic writings as old as 1700-1100 BC and is found throughout sacred Hindu texts and at the beginning of many other mantras.

Its meaning is expounded in the sacred writings of the Upanishads, which were written between 1200-500 BC. It is described as the sound of creation, the essence of Brahman (the Absolute source), and present in all things.

“Om: this syllable is all this. A further exposition of it is: what was, what is, and what will be — all is only Om. And whatever else is beyond the three times, that also is only Om.”
~ Mandukya Upanishad

“Om is the primordial throb of the universe. It is the sound form of Atma (Consciousness).”
~ Maitri Upanishad

“This mantra Om indeed represents Brahman (the Absolute). It is the highest. He who knows its meaning and worships it attains the supreme goal and knows everything.”
~ Katha Upanishad

This sacred mantra is made up of three letters, “A,” “U,” and “M,” as explained below in the Mandukya Upanishad:

“This identical Ātman, or Self, in the realm of sound is the syllable Om, the above described four quarters of the Self being identical with the components of the syllable, and the components of the syllable being identical with the four quarters of the Self. The components of the syllable are A, U, M.”
~ Mandukya Upanishad

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva–gods of Hindu mythology–within an OM. This illustration is from a Mahabharata manuscript from 1795.

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva–gods of Hindu mythology–within an OM. This illustration is from a Mahabharata manuscript from 1795.

The text goes on to describe how each letter respectively corresponds to different states of awareness: A is Vaishvânara (worldly), U is Taijasa (brilliant), and M is Prâjña (cognitional), or waking, dreaming, and deep blissful sleep without desires. Thus to progress through each of the letters while chanting the mantra can represent a transition in consciousness from “worldly” perception to bliss (ânanda).

Try this mantra when you have some time to sit and not be disturbed. You can be in nature or somewhere comfortable inside. Sit, relax, and be clear within yourself of your intention in practising the mantra, reflecting on its deeper meaning.

A mantra practice can be a short or long duration — whatever you’re comfortable with — though it’s recommended not to exceed an hour. You can experiment with intoning the vowels longer than the “M,” or vice-versa. Try also doing the mantra out loud and then get quieter until you are just pronouncing internally in your mind. Find out what works best for you, and take note of how you feel after these mantra sessions.

“This syllable Om is used to give assent, for wherever one assents to something, one says Om (yes). Now, what is assent is gratification. He who knows this and meditates on the syllable Om, the Udgitha, becomes, indeed, a gratifier of desires.”
~ Chhandogya Upanishad

Here is a video of one way to pronounce this mantra along with a singing bowl:

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About Angela Pritchard

Angela Pritchard is an author and researcher into the universal nature of spirituality and consciousness. She is the co-author of two books on ancient sacred mysteries. Her primary focus is on experiencing spirituality firsthand, including through OBEs, and she has been dedicated to this for the past 10 years. She aims to uncover the hidden roots of what’s really driving the agenda in society and the world in relation to the war on consciousness and awakening, and writes alongside her husband on the website Belsebuub.com.

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  1. I had a great experience with this mantra today. I’ve had a problem I was trying to work out the past couple of days and had spent a number of hours thinking about it, going to different stores to see if there were parts that would do what I needed, asking people advice, and so on. After a number of roadblocks I had no more ideas and just sat at home feeling a bit defeated, but then I thought I might as well do the mantra since I wasn’t doing anything else.

    After 10 minutes or so of AUM all of a sudden I had a few clear thoughts come through which cleared up the whole situation for me, and I realized if I had thought of it originally it would have saved me quite a lot of time. I wish I had done the mantra earlier, but had put it off for a couple of days because I had been “too busy”. In fact if I had done the mantra and gained the understanding I would have been way less busy!

    This isn’t the first time understanding of situations has seemingly come out of nowhere when doing mantras. They really are quite awesome.

    • This isn’t the first time understanding of situations has seemingly come out of nowhere when doing mantras. They really are quite awesome.

      I had a cool experience like that once too. I lost my wallet and couldn’t find it anywhere. Almost in desperation I sat down to do mantra A for rememberance hoping it would work, and after about 20 seconds an image popped into my head of the post office counter where I’d left my wallet after picking up a package!

    • Patricia A. says:

      I found that this mantra helped in times when I was under a lot of stress and needed clarity as well.

  2. This is a beautiful mantra. I’ve found it to be very settling, and thought the text describing it as the “primordial throb of the universe” is a good way to describe how it feels.

    Thanks for highlighting this, I’m inspired to practice it further.

  3. I really like this mantra too. You can really feel the vibrations with it. It’s great to get some knowledge about the background and meaning of mantras too.

  4. Excellent mantra, thanks Angela.

  5. James N says:

    This is one of my favourite mantras – can definitely notice a dramatic difference internally after singing this mantra.

    Great to know some of the history of it too thanks very much.

    • Agreed James, each time when chanting this mantra with reasonable concentration I can definitely notice how the mind gets quieter and more peace can manifest. Also, chanting this mantra on a more or less regular basis has helped me to see more clearly that daily inner chatter and how unsettled mind allows unwelcome inner states (egos) to freely come and go as they please.

  6. Thank you very much for bringing this special mantra to our attention. It is one of my favorites too, probably because it feels simple, yet very potent somehow. On one instance when I was chanting it for longer time with a group of people, I felt very peaceful and clear afterwards, all my usual agitation was gone and my mind was quiet. It gave me a taste of the state i could normally be in, instead of the usual internal rush.

    I also like what I ‘ve read about it somewhere, that it is supposed to connect us with our inner God – it definitely felt to me that way, even if just in the incipient way.

    I also like the harmonies of the voices on your recording. Very nice!

  7. Matthew says:

    Thanks for pulling together all that research on this mantra.

    I’m familiar with it and have enjoyed chanting this mantra, and have also noticed it is incorporated into a lot of other mantras. I always realised it must have a special importance, and had seen new age slogans calling it the “sound of the universe” but I hadn’t read the ancient references to it before that explain why. It’s quite inspiring and helps to understand widespread use, and why it forms a core part of other mantras.

  8. richard says:

    One of my favourites thanks for putting it up, look forward to using it for my mantra this week and hopefully gaining deeper insights into it

  9. Thanks for posting this. I’m going to use it as my daily mantra practice and see how it compares to other mantras.

  10. Thanx Angela. I really like aum mantra. When i am very tired and scattered chanting this mantra always helps. I will reflect more on its meaning as i think it will add deeper experience of its power.

  11. I really like this mantra, I think it’s the most effective practice I have tried to still my mind.

    Something I heard of awhile back that I found works quite well when doing it is to really try and hear the sound in the space in between each pronounciation eg. AUM_AUM_AUM_ like it’s part of the mantra. It has helped me to go more deeply into the practice, especially when I’m doing it internally.

  12. Fantastic mantra! Thanks for sharing.