Tasya vachakaha pranavaha
AUM is His name (the sound representing the all-pervading consciousness, Ishvara). Meditation on AUM is remembering of God. By repeated chanting with a prayerful feeling, all obstacles are cleared and the Self is experienced.
– Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (I: 27-29)
All existence is in its basic form, sound. From sound has come the whole creation, such is the power of sound.
Even by simple personal experience, we know that sound has the power to affect our mind and body. Listening to certain kinds of music for instance helps to calm us down, certain sounds get on our nerves, etc. If ordinary sounds have such a tangible effect, then how much more the mantras developed by enlightened sages and chanted for thousands of years by yogis and common people alike?
The most fundamental sound or vibration in the existence is OM. OM or AUM is made up of three sounds: A, U and M. These sounds are the only three sounds which can be uttered without using the tongue and so are the most fundamental sounds that are the basis for all other sounds and words. These three sounds are capable of touching all the 72,000 nadis (energy channels) of the energy/subtle body.
See more: What really is OM?
Chanting OM immediately relaxes the body and mind, and increases peace and clarity. Those suffering from psychological disturbances, fear, anxiety, unstable body or mind, physical weaknesses, attention deficit disorder, etc are greatly benefited. Experienced meditators feel their mind pulled inwards more and more with this chanting.
To try for yourself,
- Sit in a quiet space. Preferably sit in a yogic posture like Sukhasana (cross-legged) or Padmasana (lotus posture). If that is uncomfortable, you may sit on a chair with your feet placed on the ground.
- Ensure that your back is comfortably straight and the body is relaxed.
- Place your hands, palms facing up, on your knees, and hold the chin mudra (jnana mudra) i.e. with the tip of the thumb and forefinger touching, holding other fingers straight and close together.
- Chant with gently closed eyes to better focus attention.
- Chant A-U-M with emphasis on each of the three sounds separately so that you can actually feel the vibration of each sound in the body and how the energy in the body is pulled upwards as you chant.
- Take a deep inhale.
- As you exhale, open the mouth slightly wide (not too much, just a little more than for normal speaking) to the sound AAA. Continuing the smooth exhale, slowly close your mouth so that naturally, the sounds UUU and finally MMM are uttered in sequence [the chanting of all three sounds should finish with the end of the exhalation]. Try to keep equal focus/time on each of the sounds A, U and M.
- As you chant the sound “AAAA”, notice the vibrations around your navel area. As you chant “UUUU”, notice the vibrations around the area of your heart. As you chant “MMMM”, notice the vibrations in the region from the throat to your head. The sound AAA also represents Vishnu, the Divine manifesting as the Preserver or Maintainer. This sound vibrates at the Manipuraka chakra and creates well-being. The sound UUU represents Lord Brahma, the Creator. It vibrates at the Anahata chakra. The sound MMM is associated with Lord Shiva, the Annihilator and the Vishuddha chakra. [Simply chanting MMM for some minutes annihilates unhelpful thought patterns and clears the mind – try it.]
- Repeat this chant for 7 or 21 times or more (54 or 108 times) if you prefer.
- After you finish chanting, remain still for a few minutes to observe and absorb the vibrations created by the chanting. It is important to not rush off to another task immediately after chanting but to remain in a meditative state and carry it with you as you slowly get up from your seat.
If you prefer to follow by video guidance, see the below video (~12 min) by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
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See also: Japa and Kirtan – the Ways of Devotion
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