‘Aum’ is divine: it is said to be the primordial monosyllabic sound that existed at the time of the creation of the universe. It contains all other sounds, words, languages and mantras. Aum was born before anything else was born on earth. Before creation began, there was Shunyakasha—the emptiness or the void. There are numerous Aum chanting benefits and this excerpt, we will look at the meaning, significance, and benefits of chanting Aum.
Meaning of Aum
Shunyakasha, literally meaning ‘no sky’, is actually more than nothingness; because everything then existed in a latent, potential state. The vibration of Aum symbolizes the manifestation of God in form. Aum is the reflection of the absolute reality; it is said to be anadi, ananta—without beginning or end—embracing all that exists.
In Sanskrit, Aum is known as the Pranava
In Sanskrit, Aum is known as the Pranava, derived from the root nu, meaning ‘to shout sound’. Therefore, pra-nu means to create a humming sound in your mind. It is also the symbol of the sadi Brahman, the Creator. It is believed that the sound that echoed and vibrated at the time of creation resembled Aum, and hence, there are several benefits of chanting Aum.
The Benefits of Chanting Aum
Rhythm and harmony are intrinsic to nature. To align ourselves with the cosmos, we must be in sync with this rhythm. An important tool for this is – chanting Aum, which has a unique sound that vibrates into the cosmos and penetrates deep within our psyche. The power of Aum is such that all inner illusions are dispelled and all negativity melts away.
Chanting Aum emanates nectar from its very sound, and encompasses the past, present and future of the whole universe—it is beyond the periphery of Kaal or Time. Of the countless names of God, Aum is the most powerful. Aum is beyond all explanations; it is divine and above all the spheres of this physical world. In fact, all the sounds of the universe are born from it. The syllable of Aum cannot be governed by the rules of grammar; it is above all such rules.
Chanting Aum is Auspicious for beginning any new task
The Big Bang theory also propounds similar thoughts: that the universe was created with a gigantic sound. Aum is universal in essence, without attributes of space and time. It is said that Lord Brahma started the creation of the world after chanting Aum. Hence, its sound is considered auspicious for beginning any new task; it creates favourable vibes and the task is accomplished.
Aum creates a highly charged field around the chanter
The Gita expounds upon the chants Aum-tat-sat. At two instances in the holy book, Krishna says, ‘I am Aum’. The Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra have dwelt upon the spiritual, psychological and material benefits that accrue from sustained chanting of Aum—if done with full concentration.
When chanted properly, it creates a highly charged field around the chanter, regardless of his faith, and elevates his spiritual level. It leaves a profound effect on the body and mind of the chanter as well as on the surroundings.
A natural question that emerges is: what is the proper way to chant this mystic syllable? Yogis have thus described the correct way of chanting Aum:
Take a deep breath, hold it for a while and then release it gradually, starting from the well of your navel and passing it through all the intermittent chakras between the navel and the throat. Continue breathing it out.
However, before fully exhausting your breath, close your lips to allow the remaining breath to hum in the region of your mind.
By chanting Aum in this way, one’s energy centres become activated and one benefits both spiritually and materialistically.
Aum is not just a sound or a vibration. It is the entire cosmos
The benefits of chanting Aum is immense. It is not just a sound or a vibration. Nor is it simply a symbol. It is the entire cosmos—everything that we can see, touch, hear, smell and feel.
Moreover, it is all that is within our perception and all that is beyond it. It is the core of our very existence. To think of Aum only as a sound, a technique, or a symbol of the Divine is to miss out on its significance altogether. An eternal song of the Divine, Aum is the mysterious cosmic energy that is the substratum of all things and all beings of the entire universe.
Aum is the very essence of everything that is sacred in Hindu thought.
Aum forms the first letter of most Vedic mantras. The word has other connotations too. It is the diadem of Hinduism and an invaluable gift of the Aryans to humanity.