Meditating on the AUM or OM Vibration

By Desmond Yeoh SC

07art_Yogananda2In the article, the formation of the universe, we discussed that the universe was manifested by the vibration of the sound OM. The Holy Ghost in Christianity refers to this OM vibration. This is why spiritual practices involving OM is often used in Yoga techniques for self-realisation and in mantras. It is mentioned in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, “He who knows AUM (Om) knows God.”  Paramahamsa Yogananda further explained;

“Patanjali says that deep concentration on AUM is a means of liberation. Many people who do not understand the inward meaning of the scriptures think that by softly or loudly chanting AUM they can reach the super consciousness. The Hindu scriptures, however, point out that one whose mind is identified with the kaya or body cannot possibly perceive the true AUM sound”.

“In point of fact, none can escape a constant communion with AUM, for it pervades the consciousness and every fibre and atom of every being. Those who become consciously attuned to the omnipresent Cosmic Vibration receive untold blessings”.

“The scriptures classify ordinary chanting as (1) repeated loud utterance of the word AUM; (2) repetitions of AUM in whispers; and (3) continuous chanting of AUM in one’s mind, listening to it mentally”.

This clearly shows that the chanting of OM out loud, softly or mentally is not the practice referred to by Patanjali. Nevertheless, the chanting of OM is still an important spiritual practice especially before performing any spiritual acts or rites as explained by Paramahamsa Yogananda below;

“Audible utterance of ” AUM” produces a sense of sacredness, even as a devotee feels awe at the sound of the word “God.” At the beginning of all acts and rituals, repetition of the holy syllable, “AUM”, the Pranava, symbol of the Divine, removes the taints and defects that inhere in all human activities, even the highest ones”.

“The uplifting vibrations of ‘the Comforter’ bring profound inner peace and joy. The Creative Vibration vitalizes the individual life force in the body, which is conducive for health and well-being, and can be consciously directed as healing power to those in need of divine aid. Being the source of intelligent creativity, the AUM vibration inspires one’s own initiative, ingenuity, and will. Baptism in the vibration of the Holy Ghost loosens the hold of bad habits and wrong desires, and aids in the establishment of good habits and desires—ultimately transmuting desire itself into a single hearted attraction to blessed contact with God”

The practice referred to by Patanjali involves listening to the internal sound of OM. Paramahamsa Yogananda said, “All aspiring yogis who would be performers of the inner holy rites of consuming restlessness and delusion in the fire of ecstasy, givers of unconditional devotion to God, and cultivators of true perception through Self-mastery, must begin their progress on the spiritual path by first chanting AUM, and then communing with AUM by hearing this sacred Word-symbol of God present right within the body-temple. The Sacred Vibration, the Great Comforter, being imbued with the universal, reflected God-consciousness, contains the all-encompassing bliss of God”. This technique is taught in our Level 1 Kriya Yoga initiation.

This does not mean that only those who are initiated into Kriya Yoga will discover the internal sound of OM. A famous Buddhist monk, Ajahn Sumedho discovered that listening to the sound within can be very peaceful and he proceeded to teach his disciples to do so. He referred to the sound within as the “Sound of Silence”. Ajahn Sumedho said, “Somebody   referred   to   the   sound   of   silence   as   a   cosmic hum,   a   scintillating almost electric background sound. Even though it’s going on all the time we don’t generally notice it, but when your mind is open and relaxed you begin to hear it.  I found this  a  very  useful  reference  because in order to hear it, to notice it, you have to be in a relaxed state of awareness. When I describe this people try to find it. They go on a ten-day retreat trying to find the sound of silence, and then they say, ‘I can’t hear it, what’s wrong with me?’ They are trying to find this thing. But it’s not a thing you have to find – rather you just open to it: it’s the ability to listen with your mind in a receptive state, which makes it possible to hear the sound of silence. You’re not trying to solve any problems  but  just  listening.  You are  putting  your  mind  into  a  state  of  receptive awareness. Awareness that is willing to receive whatever is, and  one  of  the  things  you  begin  to  recognize  in  that  is  the  sound  of  silence”.

The phrase OM TAT SAT summarises the path to finding God (SAT). Only through OM can we become one with TAT, the cosmic intelligence or consciousness. We then can understand everything and clearly see the One Existence which is God, and that separation is only an illusion. We just have to look within to discover this. Paramahansa Yogananda said;

“Man displays in himself the three divine manifestations. His body is the result of AUM or vibratory forces. His Christ Intelligence or TAT exists in his omniscient spiritual eye between the eyebrows. This Intelligence, individualized as his soul, is a reflection of Cosmic Consciousness or SAT residing in the thousand-petal lotus in the brain”

“The advancing devotee progresses through three stages of spiritual awareness, the Sacred Trinity: First he experiences super consciousness, Oneness with the creative power in creation: AUM, “God the Holy Ghost.” Next comes Christ Consciousness, merging in the Infinite Intelligence within creation: TAT, “God the Son”. Finally, he attains the highest, Cosmic Consciousness, the Truth beyond creation, the ineffable Absolute: SAT, “God the Father.”

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