Fix Your Mind Upon the Personality of Godhead

In our previous post Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, which is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m, was discussed. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, was a means of changing the habit of the mind, to bring the mind under control. But in this next verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step in God Realization, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

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Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization

…Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, which is a transcendental but mechanical way of getting into trance, as devised by the experience of great mystics, one is able to bring the mind, which is materially absorbed, under control.

Oṁkāra is the seed of all transcendental sound and it is only the transcendental sound which can bring about the desired change of the mind and the senses. Mind or desire cannot be stopped, but to develop a desire to function for spiritual realization, the quality of engagement by the mind has to be changed.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, the praṇava (oṁkāra) has been accepted as the direct, literal representation of the Supreme Absolute Truth. One who is not able to chant directly the holy name of the Lord, as recommended above, can easily chant the praṇava (oṁkāra). This oṁkāra is a note of address, such as “O my Lord,” just as oṁ hari om means “O my Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” As we have explained before, the Lord’s holy name is identical with the Lord Himself. So also is oṁkāra. But persons who are unable to realize the transcendental personal form or name of the Lord on account of their imperfect senses (in other words, the neophytes) are trained to the practice of self-realization by this mechanical process of regulating the breathing function and simultaneously repeating the praṇava (oṁkāra) within the mind.

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Om or Hare Krishna?

Om or Hare Krishna?
By Kurappiah Chockalingam

Though the sacred sound om is often associated with impersonalists, only the devotees understand its full import.

The Gosvamis of Vrndavana have analyzed om (a-u-m) as follows: The letter a refers to Krsna, the master of all planets and all living entities. The letter u indicates Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Krsna, and m indicates the living entities. Thus omkara represents Krsna; His name, fame, pastimes, potencies, and devotees; and everything else pertaining to Him.

THROUGHOUT THE VEDAS there is much mention of the syllabel om. This spiritual vibration, which is sometimes called omkara or pranava, comprises three Sanskrit sounds – a, u, and ma (the a in ma is silent). When these three sounds are combined, the result is the single-syllabled vibration om.
An unusual attribute of om is that it has no direct translation from Sanskrit into English. And though every Vedantist will accept om to be a representation of God, exactly how om is viewed differs according to various schools to thought. These schools can be classified into two main categories, the Mayavadi, or impersonalist, and the Vaisnava, or devotee.

The impersonalist, as the name suggests, is happy to treat om as an impersonal, formless, representation of the Absolute Truth. Therefore, the Mayavadi will very openly chant om, being careful to avoid names such as Krsna and Rama, which according to them, are limited. A Mayavadi might explain his theory of pranava om like this: “Since this whole universe has been created by Him (God), whatever there is in the universe is Him alone.

As such, He has no name. But if He has to have a name, then all names are His, for He alone is appearing in all forms. The first sound in most languages is a; the last sound to leave as our mouth closes is m; u is the center of the two. Together, they represent all the basic sounds from which words are produced. And threfore, these three sounds, making up the syllable om, represent the entire universe of names and forms.”

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