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Updated on July 19, 2010




                If there is one symbol which effectively describes the essence of Hinduism, it is the letter OM. Though it is often used very few understand its true meaning or nature, thereby reducing it to an unintelligible ritual of no great consequence.OM or PRANAVA as it called means ‘that by which God is effectively praised’ it also means ‘that which is ever new’.


                The universal acceptance ofOM in other scriptures like the VEDAS, UPANISHADS and GITA highlight its importance. In KATHOPANISHAD for example OM is described as the Absolute or PARABRAHAMAN. Patanjali his YOGASUTRA emphasizes that OM or PRANAVA is the symbol of God and he who wishes to attain Godhood should meditate and repeat the PRANAVA mantra.

It is the MUNDAKOPANISHAD which conveys its meaning in a picturesque manner as follows: ‘OM is the bow. This human mind is the arrow; Brahman is the object which we want to hit. This object is to be hit by concentrating the mind. When the arrow hits the mark, it penetrates into the object and become one with it – a Unity.


                The letter OM comprises of three intrinsic and independent letters viz; A, U and M. The first letter A represents beginning which in Sanskrit is called AADIMATVA, U conveys progress or UTKARSHA and M dissolution or MITI. Symbolically therefore it describes the three major processes taking place in the universe i.e. creation, development and dissolution.

Swami Vivekananda has graphically described its significance. According to him A is the root sound produced without touching either the tongue or palate and U rolls out of this which ends in M, representing the last sound of the letter. Swami Vivekananda’s interpretation is that all sounds therefore are included in OM and entire creation proceeds from this basic matrix or all sound.


Stripped of philosophical jargons and technicalities the Hindu view of creation can be very briefly summarized as follows:-

1.       Creation is a cyclical and not a linear process.

2.       God creates the universe by himself out of himself.

3.       Before every cycle of creation he utters VEDIC words denoting various classes of beings and objects. As OM is the matrix of all sounds OM is symbolic of God. So OM represtns all names of God.


Submit a Comment

  • ram_m profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from India

    thank you surabhi kaura. what you say is very true

  • profile image

    Surabhi Kaura 

    8 years ago


    Very well expained about OM. This mantra really gives peace and satisfaction. It's perfect when doing meditation. Om Namah Shivaye! =)


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