1) Om is the primordial sound of the universe
Heard in temples, yoga studios, households, even television and movies, the chanting and symbol of Om is familiar to most as it has pervaded the western world since the counterculture of the 1960s.
While to the layperson it’s synonymous to meditation, and seen simply as a doorway to tranquility for yogic practitioners, the true meaning of Om is deeply embedded in Hindu philosophy and to comprehend its truly profound effects one must have a basic understanding of sound.
Though many comprehend sound as merely something to be heard, its mechanism is a little more complex. Sound is made up of vibrations. These vibrations are produced from a source, travel through the air, and then are picked up by the ear before being interpreted by the brain, which assigns them some value. The number of vibrations per second is known as frequency. Because all matter is composed of atomic material, which is in constant motion, everything and everyone vibrates on some frequency.
The great inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla once said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”
The word Om is defined by Hindu scripture as being the primordial sound of creation. It is the original vibration of the universe. From this first vibration, all other vibrations are able to manifest.
2) Why meditate on Om
It is well-substantiated that sound vibration significantly impacts a person’s physical, emotional, and mental state. By chanting Om, we can align our frequency with that of the original universal frequency, which is essential in spiritual practice. As an iron rod becomes as hot as fire when it comes in contact with its flames, a person can spiritualize their life by staying in contact with the spiritual energy of the Absolute.
Om is the seed of transcendental sound, and it is through transcendental sound one can transform the mind and the senses. By chanting Om, the mind becomes aligned with the breath, which enables a person to get into an elevated state of consciousness called samadhi. The activity of attaining samadhi brings the materially absorbed mind under control, which enables a person to have one-pointed focus towards spiritual realization.
Because the Absolute is beyond the understanding of the mundane material senses, spiritualizing the mind — the center of all sensual activities, through sound vibration, is necessary to set in motion the process of transcendental realization.
Like a majestic tree that can be generated from a tiny seed, the glorious tree of spirituality can grow from the sincere chanting of Om.