The Holy Sound of AUM (OM)
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda
He who knows Aum (Om) knows God
"Aum-Tat-Sat" is considered to be the triple designation of Brahman (God). By this power were created, in the beginning, the Brahmins (knowers of Brahman), the Vedas, and the sacrificial rites.
— The Bhagavad Gita XVII:23
The Unmanifested, The Infinite, the Changeless Spirit is called Para-Brahman: the One Absolute. But during the cycles of manifestation, the Nameless and Formless is described as Aum-Tat-Sat (or, of Sat-Tat-Aum)—so designated by the ancient sages. In the Christian Bible Sat-Tat-Aum is spoken of as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Aum (the "Word" of the Bible) is God the Holy Ghost, Invisible Vibratory Power, the direct creator and activator of all creation.
Tat ("That") is God the Son, the Christ or Kutastha Cosmic Intelligence actively present in all creation.
Sat ("Being, Truth") is God the Father, beyond creation, existing in vibrationless unchangeability.
Aum — Tat — Sat
As the calm ocean without waves and the ocean with waves in tumult are one and the same in essence, differing only in appearance, so also the Unmanifested Sea of Spirit (Parabrahman) and the Manifested Sea of Spirit (Aum-Tat-Sat) are the selfsame Sole Reality, differing only in form.
God as Sat is the Father of creation (Ishvara), though He exists beyond it. God as Tat is the Son or Christ (Krishna or Kutastha) Intelligence that pervades the universe. God as Aum is the Creative Vibration that upholds the worlds through Prakriti, Mother Nature, His consort. It is the macrocosmic triple conception that has established itself in the microcosmic human relationship of father and mother and their reflection in their offspring.
Man displays in himself the three divine manifestations. His body is the result of Aum or vibratory forces. His Christ Intelligence or Tat exists in his omniscient spiritual eye between the eyebrows. This Intelligence, individualized as his soul, is a reflection of Cosmic Consciousness or Sat residing in the thousand-petaled lotus in the brain.
These three measures of Spirit incarnate in man "from the beginning" are the Brahmins, Sat, "knowers of God," the soul; the Vedas, Tat, the soul's intuitive all-knowing intelligence; and the sacrificial rites, Aum, the vibratory life that creates and preserves the body, empowering it to perform its divine and dutiful rituals of existence—including the ultimate sacrificial rites of yoga (one of which is meditation on Aum) that reunite the soul with Spirit. By this inherence, indigenous in the coming-forth of mortal beings, the Lord has endowed to man the way and the means—and the irrevocable assurance—of salvation.
All yogis who perform the sacrificial rite of listening to the omnipresent holy vibration of Aum attain cosmic perception, Veda, and by this expanding blessedness ascend to cosmic consciousness and become Self-realized souls, the true Brahmins or "knowers of Brahman."
Aum of the Vedas became the sacred word Hum of the Tibetans, Amin of the Moslems, and Amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians. Amen in Hebrew means "sure, faithful." Aum is the all-pervading sound emanating from the Holy Ghost as it performs its work of creating and maintaining the universal structure. Aum is the voice of creation, testifying to the Divine Presence in every atom.
"These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." [Revelation 3:14.]
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him (the Word or Aum)' and without him was not any thing made that was made." [John 1:1,3.]
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." [Romans 10:17.]
"He who knows Aum (Om)
* Patanjali was great sage of ancient India, author of Yoga Sutras. More...
Aum is the divinely empowered creator of all things; it manifests itself as cosmic light and cosmic sound. As the ocean roar is a conglomerated sound of all waves and is manifested in each wave, so the cosmic sound and the cosmic light are the aggregate of all animate and inanimate creation, and are manifested in each man as the light of life and may be heard by him as the astral sound of Aum.
Each seeker who wants liberation from the world of delusion must pass through the sphere of the Holy Ghost vibration and the sphere of Christ Intelligence before he can reach God the Father beyond the phenomenal worlds. "No man cometh unto the Father (Cosmic Consciousness), but by me (Christ Consciousness)." These words were spoken by Jesus from his oneness with the Infinite Christ Intelligence:
"Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." [John 14:6,11.]
Jesus promised to send to his disciples the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to speed them on their way to Self-realization. An advanced devotee can hear the sound of Aum in his body and can see its light in his spiritual eye. After he has become acquainted with these two limited manifestations, in the bodily sound and in his spiritual eye, then, by further spreading of his consciousness in Omnipresence, he sees his small spherical eye of light expand into a cosmic sphere whose luminosity conflagrates the whole universe.
Similarly, as the devotee listens to Pranava, the holy sound of Aum, he forgets the restrictions of the human body and of space and can feel the Aum of his body vibrating into a perception of his cosmic body. He feels his consciousness vibrating everywhere with the ever expanding Aum sound. In ecstasy he suddenly sees his body as an atom or cell in the cosmic body. Perceiving the cosmic body as his own, he feels in it the cosmic Aum sound (see verse 24) and the Christ Intelligence (see verse 25). By further advancement he becomes conscious of his presence not only in all creation but with God the Father beyond creation (see verses 26-27).
Real Understanding of Aum
Therefore the acts of the followers of Brahman—sacrifice, gift-giving, and austerities as enjoined by the scriptures—are always started with the chanting of "Aum.”
— The Bhagavad Gita XVII:24
Audible utterance of "Aum" produces a sense of sacredness, even as a devotee feels awe at the sound of the word "God." At the beginning of all acts and rituals, repetition of the holy syllable, "Aum," the Pranava, symbol of the Divine, removes the taints and defects that inhere in all human activities, even the highest ones.
However, real understanding of Aum is obtained only by hearing it internally and then becoming one with it in all creation. That is why the ancient sages prohibited the study of the Vedas to those who were kayastha (body-identified) and thus unreceptive to the cosmic sound, Aum.
In the Bible Saint John tells us: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am ' Alpha and Omega, the first and the last"—the omnipresent Aum vibration by which God created the heavens and the earth. Devotees who '' can spiritually commune with Aum and understand its omnipresent significance are able to feel God the Father, beyond creation, manifested in creation as the creative Cosmic Vibration. [Revelation 1:10-11]
All aspiring yogis who would be performers of the inner holy rites of consuming restlessness and delusion in the fire of ecstasy, givers of unconditional devotion to God, and cultivators of true perception through Self-mastery, must begin their progress on the spiritual path by first chanting Aum, and then communing with Aum by hearing this sacred Word-symbol of God present right within the body-temple. (p. 1006-1008)