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What does OM mean?

The word OM in Hinduism refers to Atman or Soul, Brahman or the Universal Reality or the Cosmos.

The word OM is cited prior to the recitation of spiritual texts, prayers, spiritual ceremonies and is also known to be found in the beginning and end of the chapters in the Vedas.

OM was first used in the Upanishads and is related to the cosmic sound and affirmation of the Divine. It has also been known to relate to the ultimate reality, cause of the Universe, essence of life and Self-knowledge. The Upanishad indicates that OM is a tool of meditation empowering one to know God or the Universe within oneself.

In the Maitrayaniya Upanishad, OM represents Brahman-Atman and can also be pronounced AUM. The root of the syllable is A+U+M. The sound of AUM is the sound of the soul, a light-endowed body comprising of Agni and Vayu, and also represents a diety-endowed body comprising Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. It also covers the past, present, and future – creation, preservation, and transformation all in one being.

It includes the three essences of the Spirit – Immortality, Omniscience and Bliss. It alludes to the fact that Brahman is both material form which is constantly changing and the immaterial formless which is real and the highest epitome of Truth. Truth is the Brahman which is light. Light is the Sun which is OM as the Self!

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