What really is Om?

What really is Om?

– Excerpt from ‘The Truth Is’ a compilation of the teachings of Sri HWL Poonja

[…] It is not a word at all. When you breathe out, listen to what it is speaking. It is speaking Om. The first word of the baby when it is born is Om. Om is everything. It is not a word nor is it a non-word. It is how the creation was created. With the word Om, creation was there. Om is a soundless sound. It created everything and after the dissolution of everything it will be there. It is eternal sound and it has no form. You can read Gaudipada’s Karika. He comments very well on Om.

In 1972, I was in Cannes in Southern France, where I saw a TV interview of the Cardinal of France and Bhaktivedant. The Cardinal was insisting that in the beginning there was sun, so the light was first, otherwise, no creation could be found and no souls could live. So, he said, “In the beginning God sent light, as is written in the Bible.” But Bhaktivedant said that sound was first, and this sound was Om, as Hari Krishna, Hari Rama, whatever it is. He said that there was sound in the beginning and not light, but the Cardinal was not happy, or satisfied with this. The people I was with asked me if I could speak something regarding this. I said, “Yes, and I will silence him!” So a time was made for me to meet with the Cardinal on a Sunday about ten days later from four to six p.m.

When I arrived there were monks and priests and local people and again the same question was asked. So I said, “When your God said, ‘Let there be light,’ there was sound! This ‘let’ was sound and so light was after sound. Out from Om comes ‘Let’ and, therefore this sound is before light.” Then he didn’t speak, but quietly in French he said, “He is a very clever Indian!”


is the name of God, of Reality,
and is always chanted to cleanse body, tongue and mind.
Chant Om at the beginning and end of the waking state.

is that vibration in which millions of planets hang.
Inquiry is only through the mind and this mind is in the vibration.
Om is the vibration taking you to your Source,
Om takes you to Being.

To chant as long as possible is one way to empty the mind
because it pumps all the vasanas and desires out of the heart.
Then sit in meditation as long as possible
and you will win freedom.

This was picked up by the Christians and called Amen,
and by the Muslims who call it Ammin.
They are both forms of Om.

is Brahman is Sat-chit-ananda,
contemplation on Om is contemplation on Self.


Chant Om always and this is enough. Then you will be happy and in peace also. Don’t try to understand, simply go on chanting day and night, from when you wake up until you go to sleep. Om should always be in your mind and on your lips. You won’t lose anything. Even if you do this for only one day you will know what it is. It is meeting the Self because this word is the Self itself…

– Excerpt from ‘The Truth Is’ a compilation of the teachings of HWL Poonja

Poonja ji (or Papaji as he was lovingly called by his disciples), was a disciple of Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Arunachala. Like his guru, he taught the path of Self enquiry (vichara or atma vichara) in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta (the path of non-duality). Although this tradition is ancient, the most prominent teacher of Advaita Vedanta is considered to have been the great scholar and saint, Adi Shankaracharya (8th century C.E.).

See also:
Pointings from the Kena Upanishad
Ramana Maharshi on Birthdays

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