Why is Om Sacred? In Yogic philosophy it is believed that the universe emerged from sound. All matter is ultimately vibration. Similar to the Big Bang Theory that states that all matter emerged from a massive explosion, in the eastern traditions it is believed that Om, the primordial sound created and is still sustaining the Universe.
Quantum physics has taken a leaf out of these philosophies when it says that light, sound and matter are one and the same thing. All that differentiates them is vibration. They all have wave properties. In that sense, matter is frozen sound. All matter is vibrating at a particular frequency. This vibration is producing sound, even if they are outside the audible range that our ears can pick up on. If each one of us is emanating a particular sound, might it be possible to begin altering that sound/vibration through chanting? The practice of chanting mantra is not about the meanings ascribed, it is about the vibration/sound created. The difference we see in matter is all a consquence of different vibrations. For example, rice and vegetables appear very different. However, at an atomic level both are structurally made out of Carbon atoms. The difference we see between the two is a result of a different structural arrangement of these Carbon atoms that is caused by varied vibrational frequencies. Om carries a special vibratory tone that helps us connect to the root vibrtion of the cosmos.
Frequency of vibration is measured in Hertz. The sound Om carries the vibrational frequency of 432 Hertz. This is why all classical Indian and Tibetan music tune the base tone for their instruments to 432 Hertz. Interestingly, we can now calculate the vibration produced by the Earth rotating on it’s own axis. The Earth rotates once every 24hrs, which is what causes day and night. The vibrational frequency created by the Earth rotating is also 432Hertz. The ancient Yogi’s claimed that in advanced stages of meditation you can hear the Sound “Om”. Possibly these Yogi’s during their meditations, were tuning into the vibration/ sound being produced by the Earth’s rotation.
Om is comprised of three syllables. A, U and M. These are the only three root syllables/ sounds that we humans can make without using our tongue. There are many more sounds that we can make without the use of our tongue’s, but they are all considered to be a mixture of these three main root syllables.
A: This syllable represents the waking state of consciousness. When we chant this syllable, it is supposed to vibrate in the pelvic region of our body.
U: This syllable represents the dream state of consciousness. When we chant this syllable, it is supposed to vibrate in the chest region of our body.
M: This syllable represents the deep sleep state of consciousness. When we chant this syllable, it is supposed to vibrate in the head region of our body.
. : The dot or (Turiya) refers to the silence that is experienced after chanting OM. This represents infinite consciousness.
We begin every yoga class by chanting Om thrice. This is done to attune our vibrational field with that of the cosmos and the Earth. Additionally, chanting is a good way to clear the mind from past distractions and ground oneself into the present moment. For instance, in a regular drop-in yoga class, many students will be arriving straight from work and other engagements. Everyone will have a portion of their awareness still caught up in the tasks that they were involved in earlier. Chanting Om three times helps clear the minds of the students and the teacher and brings everyone on to the same unform field to begin the session. We end every yoga class by chanting one Om and three Shanti’s. Shanti translates to Peace. The first Shanti is an invocation for Cosmic/ Universal Peace, the second for Planetary peace and the third for Inner peace.