The Syllable Om

om

The Syllable Om

Many years ago as a young aspiring yogi, and with my very first attempts at meditation, I began my practice with the sacred syllable Om. Many years later and although I may have advanced somewhat spiritually, and practice bhakti-yoga, devotional service and the chanting of the Maha-mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, still all my morning prayers still begin with the syllable Om. Such as “om namo bhagavate vasudevaya” before my reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam. And my morning offering of respectful obeisances to my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada with the prayer “om ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā, cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ” and “nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale,śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine”. Today we are looking at a few slokas from the Bhagavad-gita where the syllable Om is used.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

pitāham asya jagato
mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra
ṛk sāma yajur eva ca

pitā—father; aham—I; asya—of this; jagataḥ—of the universe; mātā—mother; dhātā—supporter; pitāmahaḥ—grandfather; vedyam—what is to be known; pavitram—that which purifies; omkāraḥ—the syllable om; ṛk—the Ṛg-veda; sāma—the Sāma-veda; yajuḥ—the Yajur-veda; eva—certainly; ca—and.

I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support, and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Ṛk, the Sāma, and the Yajur [Vedas]. (Bg 9-17)

maharṣīṇāṁ bhṛgur ahaṁ
girām asmy ekam akṣaram
yajñānāṁ japa-yajño ‘smi
sthāvarāṇāṁ himālayaḥ

maharṣīṇām—among the great sages; bhṛguḥ—Bhṛgu; aham—I am; girām—of vibrations; asmi—I am; ekam akṣaram-praṇava; yajñānām—of sacrifices; japa-yajñaḥ—chanting; asmi—I am; sthāvarāṇām—of immovable things; himālayaḥ—the Himalayan mountains.

Of the great sages I am Bhṛgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas. (Bg. 10.25)

oṁ tat sad iti nirdeśo
brahmaṇas tri-vidhaḥ smṛtaḥ
brāhmaṇās tena vedāś ca
yajñāś ca vihitāḥ purā

om—indication of the Supreme; tat—that; sat—eternal; iti—that; nirdeśaḥ—indication; brāhmaṇāḥ—of the Supreme; tri-vidhaḥ—three kinds; smṛtaḥ—consider; brahmaṇaḥ—the brāhmaṇas; tena—therefore; vedāḥ—the Vedic literature; ca—also; yajñāḥ—sacrifice; ca—also; vihitāḥ—sacrifice; purā—formerly.

From the beginning of creation, the three syllables-om tat sat-have been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were uttered by brāhmaṇas while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices, for the satisfaction of the Supreme. (Bg. 17.23)

tasmād oṁ ity udāhṛtya
yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-kriyāḥ
pravartante vidhānoktāḥ
satataṁ brahma-vādinām

tasmāt—therefore; om—beginning with om; iti—thus; udāhṛtya—indicating; yajña—sacrifice; dāna—charity; tapaḥ—penance; kriyāḥ—performances; pravartante—begins; vidhāna-uktāḥ—according to scriptural regulation; satatam—always; brahma-vādinām—of the transcendentalists.

Thus the transcendentalists undertake sacrifices, charities, and penances, beginning always with om, to attain the Supreme. (Bg. 17.24)

There are many many other references and useages of the syllable Om, but today I was reminded of the begining of my spiritual life and how the “more things change, the more they stay the same”.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. GANASRAYA
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 10:30:46

    om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

    Reply

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