Om (ôm), [Skt.,=yes, so be it] for Hindus and Buddhists, a mystic word or mantra. Om is regarded as the syllable of the supreme Reality and is sometimes called "the mother of mantras." It is often found at the beginning of prayers, mantras, and scriptures as a word of invocation and adoration. In Hinduism its three Sanskrit phonemes (transliterated a,u, and m) symbolize the triad of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, or the three levels of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. In Buddhism it is often understood as symbolizing the true "empty" character of reality, as that truth has been communicated by various historical Buddhas, celestial Buddhas, and, directly, by the true character of reality itself (see sunyata).
OM (or AUM)
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.