OM (or AUM)

views updated Jun 11 2018

OM (or AUM)

A Sanskrit word of special sanctity in the Hindu religion, generally interchangable with AUM. It is pronounced at the beginning and end of every lesson in the Vedas (ancient scriptures) and is also the introductory word of the Puranas (religious works embodying legends and mythology). The Katha-Upanishad states: "Whoever knows this syllable obtains whatever he wishes."

There are various accounts of its origin; one that it is the term of assent used by the gods and possibly an old contracted form of the Sanskrit word evam meaning "thus." The Manu-Sangita (Laws of Manu), a religious work of social laws, states the word was formed by Brahma himself, who extracted the letters a-u-m from the Vedas.

Om is also the name given by the Hindus to the spiritual sun, as opposed to Surya, the natural sun.


views updated May 21 2018

Oṃ or Auṃ. The most sacred syllable in Hinduism, which first appears in the Upaniṣads. It is often regarded as the bija (seed) of all mantras, containing, as it does, all origination and dissolution. It is known as praṇava (‘reverberation’), and it is the supreme akṣara (syllable). See also ŚABDA.


views updated Jun 11 2018

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views updated May 29 2018

om in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts. The word comes from Sanskrit, and is sometimes regarded as three sounds, a-u-m, symbolic of the three major Hindu deities.


views updated Jun 08 2018

Om (Aum) Sacred mystical symbol representing a sound considered to have divine power by some Hindus, Buddhists, and other religious groups. The sound is chanted at the beginning and end of prayers, and is used as a mantra in meditation.


views updated May 09 2018

om- (omo-) combining form denoting the shoulder.

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