Q: What do you consider as the greatest word in all human dictionaries?

A: Om or Aum or ॐ or ओम् or ओ३म् .

Q: Oh, the Hindu chant of Om?

A: There is nothing Hindu or Muslim or Christian about it. Om – in its variants – forms part of all major cultures. It symbolizes goodness or power or meditation or respect.

Hindus use it as a chant for all mantras and bhajans and are more popularly associated with Om.

Christians and Jews use it as ‘Amen’ to denote strong affirmation.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters use it as ‘Aamin’.

Buddhists use it as Om Mani Padme Hum.

Sikhism is based on fundamental tenet of ‘Ik Omkar’ or One Om.

Omni which  forms root of so many words implies infinity or ubiquity or tremendous presence. For example, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient etc.

Thus Om – like its source Vedas – is beyond all later day religious or cultural divisions and is for entire humanity just as air, water, sunlight, blessings of Ishwar, love of mother, compassion for fellow beings.

Q: Is Om found in Vedic texts?

A: Yes, it is derived from Vedas and commended in other Vedic texts.

For example, Om is mentioned in following Mantras – Yajurveda 2.13, 40.15, 40.17, Rigveda 1.3.7

It is praised in several Upanishads and Geeta. Mandukyopanishad is dedicated to glory of Om.

Q: What does this Om mean?

A: The Vedic culture unequivocally states that Om is the best name of Ishwar. Refer Yoga Darshan 1.27-28

Om is made from three syllables – A (अ), U (उ), M (म्)

Now each of these syllables represent various characteristics of Ishwar or Allah or God or Supreme.

For example,

A represents vast, universal, worth being worshipped

U represents brilliant, minute, source, controller

M represents infinite, undying, knowledgeable, caring

These are just few examples. However in essence, Om summarizes essence of all other names of Ishwar.

Q: But how can A, U, M mean such things? It sounds so arbitrary!

A: To untrained mind, yes, it sounds very arbitrary. It is difficult to see a needle-hole while in a bumpy ride!

But this is the Vedic concept of origin of language:

To a mind in perfect tranquility, each pronunciation generates some feelings. During inception of civilization, Rishis characterized each such word (combination of pronunciations) to represent certain specific concepts.

The meanings for A, U, M are also derived from those feelings that each of these pronunciations produce in a tranquil mind.

An important note:

In fact this is how Vedas are to be interpreted. And this is the reason why most indologists fail to interpret Vedas correctly. One cannot understand Vedas until one is Yogi having perfect control over mind. Till we reach that level, we have to rely on other authoritative interpretations and logic.

Now since most people cannot have such control over mind, Rishis, classified some of the meanings of certain pronunciations in other texts like Nighantu. Based on this more coarser meanings of Vedic mantras were derived for less endowed people. Then they simplified them even further into simpler texts and so on. Most of us will have to use this texts, along with our own intellect to deduce the meaning of Vedic mantras. But while other texts provide clues to Vedas, Vedas themselves remain the ultimate benchmark that can be comprehended fully only in perfect state of tranquility. However the very process of trying to understand Vedas help us reach that level of mental capability. This forms the entire philosophy of studying and applying Vedas.

And that is why a reader of Vedas should be clear that Vedas can be understood only as per root essence of each word and possibly each syllable and not later day meanings. For example, ‘Go’ has the root essence of something that moves or provided progression. But fools try to interpret ‘Go’ in Vedic mantras to mean ‘cow’ everywhere and hence misinterpret Vedas. So Vedas demand understanding of root words, and ‘feeling’ the mantras rather than mechanical interpretations. And since its an evolutionary process for each of us, Vedic philosophy is quite liberal about those who believe in Vedas and to whatever extent as per Laws of Karma.

Q: Could you be more clear about this concept of meaning from pronunciation of each syllable in case of A U M? Give an example.

A: Clarity can come only with perfect tranquility of mind. But lets take an example to explain how different sounds evoke different feelings or meanings – ‘M’ denotes emotional and caring aspect of Paramatma/ Ishwar. And you would see that even among normal human beings, there is a strong common thread across almost all cultures when it comes to ‘caring love’. So the word to signify Mother in almost all languages and cultures has the sound of ‘M’. Some cultures use a close sibling ‘N’ which comes under the same family of sounds. This is the sound that most children utter first for physiological reasons and develop an emotional relation with. Ishwar’s language and His creation all go in sync.

Since this motherly love is one of the strongest emotions, we find it common across entire humanity in form of M. Same is case with other syllables which form part of Om.

Q: OK, I understand that Om has a great meaning. But why should I chant it?
A: Chanting of Om has several benefits – therapeutic, psychological and spiritual. Even if you don’t know the meaning of Om or are otherwise skeptic about it, you can still avail the therapeutic benefits from it. Some people stay away from Om considering that it belongs to a particular religion. But as we have seen, there is nothing religious about Om. It existed much before these new religions came into existence and is in any case part of all major cultures.

To deny oneself of benefit of Om simply because it existed before their religion emerged is akin to refusing to use one’s hands, legs, air, water, horses, vehicles, food items, medicines etc simply because these also existed before their religion emerged.

Further, there is nothing in the meaning and essence of Om that is against the definition of God/Ishwar/Allah in any religion. Thus one should not be hesitant in embracing ‘Om’.

Om is supposed to be the primordial sound of universe and its reverberations are the most natural experience for all souls. This Om through its reverberations forms the connect between us and the Supreme Entity. Buddhists call it Inevitable Laws of Nature designed to benefit us, and we call it Existent, Conscious, Blissful Ishwar.

Q: So what are the therapeutic or health benefits?

A: Om is a foolproof method to add healthy years to your life.

a. Chanting of Om several times would relax your entire body and regulate your hormonal system.

b. If you have disorders due to anxiety or worry, or you tend to lose temper, there can be no better remedy.

c. It acts like a detoxifying agent for entire body. If your environment is polluted, you MUST use it.

d. It strengthens heart and circulatory system.

e. It will make your digestion stronger.

f. It will bring youthfulness in body and face.

g. If you are tired and exhausted, it can serve as a great rejuvenator.

h. It can solve most worrisome sleep disturbance patterns, in case you suffer from it. You would wake up alert from sleep if you practice it in night.

i. It strengthens your lungs with some practice.

etc etc

Q: What are psychological benefits of Om?

A: Om can become a life changing experience:

a. It can make you much more relaxed to face the world around comfortably.

b. It can help you control your anger and frustration. If you have been chanting Om regularly, it is unlikely that you get angry.

c. It can help you be in resonance with nature. Thus you would find yourself much more intuitive and in control of things. Your gut feel will become much higher.

d. Your interpersonal relationships will improve. You would be able to develop rapport with people much better and make friends from enemies.

e. You will find life much more meaningful and purposeful and carry that natural smile.

f. You will find a jump in your enthusiasm and activity level. Your alertness would increase.

g. You can never feel depressed if you are into Om therapy.

h. If you have a friend suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts, make him read this article and Gayatri Mantra therapy. Soon all depressing thoughts will vanish away.

Q: What are spiritual benefits of Om?

A: Meditation upon Om is the best spiritual exercise on earth.

a. It helps you develop emotional connect with Ishwar and realize your relation with Ishwar.

b. It helps you realize your purpose in life and how Ishwar is helping you.

c. It helps you realize your identity beyond this temporary hustle-bustle of the world around and develops a sense of how to make best use of this world for the bigger goal.

d. It provides a sense of security that is unmatched. You realize how you are constantly under protection of Ishwar every moment.

e. It helps you feel the Law of Karma and how each thought of yours is shaping the next moment of life and how Ishwar is managing this Law of Karma meticulously for your benefit alone. You understand why and how Ishwar is just and compassionate at the same time. How in his justice alone lies his pardon! How he loves you! How he is caring for you! How he is pampering you!

Q: How to derive these benefits? What is the method of Om therapy?

A: The complete therapy would be detailed and require separate coverage. Also, depending upon individual stage and requirements, it can be customized. After all its not a mechanical exercise but a direct one-to-one interaction between you and He, without any other entity in between.

But here is a standard procedure:

1. Sit down with backbone straight in a position where you need not worry about bodily discomfort. If you are unwell, you can do it lying down. But otherwise, always prefer to be seated. Close your eyes. Take some relaxed deep breaths to release any body tensions.

2. Four times are best for Om therapy – one immediately after waking up, one after morning cleansing, one in evening during sunset and finally before sleep. You can also do it when you have nothing else to d