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.Pranav Manthra - OM
The Meaning and the Significance
O'mkãram Bindhu Samyuktham - Nithyam Dhyãyanthi Yo'hihah: |
Kãmadham Mo'kshadham Šaiva - O'mkãrãya Namoh Namah: ||
Pranava Manthra "OM" is pronounced as "AUM" with a long vowel sound. Om is the comprehensive, Universal, holy Sound Symbol and Signifier of the Supreme Infinite Reality. The Universe is said to have been created with the Supreme Reality manifesting first as the Ether or Space of the Pancha Bootham [Five primary Elements] and comes in the form of "Sound" - "Om". It manifests as the totality of existence on four Cosmic and Spiritual planes; Physical, Psychical, Causal or potential and transcedental. Thus OM represents the Supreme Reality and all His manifestations and creations. Sri Ganesha, as God manifesting and represented with the face like an elephant is symbolic of the shape Om and is called "Pranava Swaroopa".

"The Goal which all Vedas proclaim, which all austerities and meditations seek and desiring which the sages lead the life of Brahmacharya -- I tell it to thee in brief -- It is Om." -- [ Katha Upanishad ]


" What is Om, O' Sathyakaama, is verily the Higher or Transcedental Brahmam and the Relative or Personal Creator-God Brahmaa. Therefore the Knower attains either of the two by this means."

" ... Verily, with this Om-kara as the Support, the knower attains what is peaceful, undecaying, immortal, fearless and Supreme - Aathman / Brahmam." -- [ Prasna Upanishad. ]

" Pranava - the Mystic sound Om - is the Bow; the soul within, the arrow; and Brahmam, the target. One should hit that mark with an undistracted mind, and like the arrow, become one with It."-- [Mundaka Upanishad.]

" All this Cosmic Universe is the Eternal word Om. Its further explanatyion is this: the past, the present, the future and everything is just Om. - And whatever transcends the three divisions of time -- that too is just Om. .. -- .. Thus the Word Om is verily the Self [Aathman]. He who knows this, with his self [Jiva], enters the Self [Aathman]. -- [ Maandukya Upanishad ]

--- Excerpts from: "Om Gayatri and Sandhya" - by Swami Mukhyananda...
Om and Gayathri

There are many meanings for Om and Gayathri but this one is worth studying and sharing with others. The words Bhur Bhuva and Swah as the three regions means "the three worlds of our existence here, around and Beyond" [or the three states of our existence - Physical, Subtle and Potential] causing the three wonders of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. The Mantra is Universal and is awesome. The following is one of the explanations given.

Original author this article is unknown.

One explanation of Om and Gayathri

(A) Om bhur bhuvah swah:
Bhur : the earth, bhuvah : the planets (solar family), swah : the Galaxy.

We observe that when an ordinary fan with a speed of 900 RPM (Rotations Per Minute) moves, it makes noise. Then, one can imagine, what great noise would be created when the galaxies move with a speed of 20,000 miles per second. This is what this portion of the mantra explains that the sound produced due to the fast-moving earth, planets and galaxies is Om. The sound was heard during meditation by Rishi Vishvamitra, who mentioned it to other colleagues. All of them, then unanimously decided to call this sound Om the name of God, because this sound is available in all the three periods of time, hence it is sat (permanent).

Therefore, it was the first ever-revolutionary idea to identify formless God with a specific title (form) called upadhi. Until that time, everybody recognized God as formless and nobody was prepared to accept this new idea. In the Gita also, it is said, "Om ity ekaksharam brahma", meaning that the name of the Supreme is Om, which contains only one syllable (Gita 8.13). This sound Om heard during samadhi was called by all the seers nada-brahma (a very great noise), but not a noise that is normally beyond a specific amplitude and limits of decibels suited to human hearing. Hence the rishis called this sound Udgith musical sound of the above, i.e., heaven. They also noticed that the infinite mass of galaxies moving with a velocity of 20,000 miles/second was generating a kinetic energy = 0.5 MV2 and this was balancing the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence they named it Pranavah, which means the body (vapu) or storehouse of energy (prana).


(B) Tat savitur varenyam:
Tat : that (God);savitur : the sun (star); varenyam : worthy of bowing or respect.

Once the form of a person along with the name is known to us, we may locate the specific person. Hence the two titles (upadhi) provide the solid ground to identify the formless God, Vishvamitra suggested. He told us that we could know (realize) the unknowable formless God through the known factors, viz., sound Om and light of suns (stars). A mathematician can solve an equation x2+y2=4; if x=2; then y can be known and so on. An engineer can measure the width of a river even by standing at the riverbank just by drawing a triangle. So was the scientific method, as suggested by Vishvamitra in the mantra in the next portion as under:


(C) Bhargo devasya dheemahi:
Bhargo : the light; devasya of the deity; dheemahi : we should meditate.

The rishi instructs us to meditate upon the available form (light of suns) to discover the formless Creator (God). Also he wants us to do japa of the word Om (this is understood in the Mantra).

This is how the sage wants us to proceed, but there is a great problem to realise it, as the human mind is so shaky and restless that without the grace of the Supreme (Brahman) it cannot be controlled. Hence Vishvamitra suggests the way to pray Him as under:


(D) Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat:
Dhiyo : intellect; yo : who; nah : we all; prachodayat : guide to right direction.

O God! Deploy our intellect on the right path.


Full scientific interpretation of Gãyatri Mantra:

The three worlds of our existence, here, around and beyond, as the earth (bhur), the planets (bhuvah), and the galaxies (swah) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound produced is Om, (the name of formless God.) That God (tat), who manifests Himself in the form of light of suns (savitur) is worthy of bowing/respect (varenyam). We all, therefore, should meditate (dheemahi) upon the light (bhargo) of that deity (devasya) and also do chanting of Om. May He (yo) guide in right direction (prachodayat) our (nah) intellect (dhiyo).

So we notice that the important points hinted in the mantra are:

(1) The total kinetic energy generated by the movement of galaxies acts as umbrella and balances the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence it was named as the Pranavah (body of energy). This is equal to 0.5MV2 (Mass of galaxies x Velocity2).

(2) Realizing the great importance of the syllable Om, the other later date religions adopted this word with a slight change in accent, viz., amen and ameen.

(3) The Formless God could be realized through the saguna (gross) upasana (method) by:
(a) Chanting the name of the supreme as Om and
(b) Meditating upon the light emitted by stars (suns).
See : Gayathri - Picture
and Mantra - composed by Saint Viswamitra
Also see Gayatri - Meaning
Explanationby an written other author
Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion
Home Pooja - Lessons - 01; - 03; - 05.
Home Pooja methods & Slokas

Devotional Paths, Prayers & Rituals