Do you love the art of chanting sounds? Are you one of those whose day starts with reverberating sounds of ‘Om’? Then this may appall you because it is not Om that you must chant; it is ‘Aum’. Meditation experts say that the Sanskrit word ‘Aum’ has, over a period of time and owing to the ravages of spread and traveling, has become ‘Om’. And this isn’t make-believe; there’s science behind it.
Om is basically a monosyllabic word, as compared to Aum, which is tri-syllabic. This is because of the difference in the way the two words are pronounced. Om is simply pronounced the way it is written. Against this, Aum is pronounced as aa-uu-mm.
In Sanskrit, ‘O’ is a diphthong sound. This means that it is formed by combining the two sounds ‘A’ and ‘U’. The difference between the two variations, Aum and Om, developed only due to transliteration.
The concept of the Anahat Nada
‘Anahat Nada’ or the ‘unstruck sound’ basically refers to sounds that do not cause any obstruction in the oral cavity while they are pronounced. Aum is one, and perhaps only, such chanting.
The idea behind chanting certain sounds is that they cause vibrations in our body. This has a corollary in science where scientists see the entire universe as reverberations of energy. This translates into the entire existence as being an amalgamation of sounds.
When you chant the three syllables of Aum, you will experience vibration in your body at three spots named below.
When you chant AA: You will experience the vibration around your navel and abdominal area. It is related to the waking state.
When you chant UU: You will experience the vibration in and around your chest cavity. It is related to the dream state.
When you chant EEMM: You will experience the vibration in and around your throat. It is related to the state of deep sleep.
After you chant one Aum, there’s a pause. It represents Turiya, or infinite consciousness.
As per spiritual experts, these three sounds will manifest themselves in your life and benefit you in different ways. The chanting of Aum must be learned by an expert and should not be practiced by oneself as a wrong mantra chanting may have adverse repercussions.
Though believing in the science of chanting is an absolutely personal call, a study was conducted by Lady Irwin College on its athletes to check for the effectiveness of Aum chanting. It was inspired by the Isha Foundation, a proponent of Aum chanting. The study concluded that the chanting bridged the gap between knowledge and behavior, making athletes stay well-hydrated which they earlier did not despite knowing how important that is. Also, the athletes had improved heart rates, better physical agility and were more focused.
How do you pronounce om?
- The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged “awe.” The sound starts at the back of your throat and you stretch it out. You will start feeling your solar plexus and chest vibrating.
- The second syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged “oo,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along your upper palate. You’ll feel your throat vibrate.
- The third syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm” with your front teeth gently touching. You will now start to feel the top of your mouth vibrate.
- The last syllable is the deep silence of the Infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, you have to merge your chant from the M to the deep silence.
Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy of Shakti and its three main characteristics: (1) creation, (2) preservation, and (3) liberation.