The unifying power of Aum

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Discussion of how this ancient sound, aum, can change the world for the better.

Modern science has impacted mankind in a short span of time. Overdependence on technology and scientific achievements has made the use of the body and brain less important, creating new problems.

One is the vast inner emptiness that strikes at the heart of the individual and affects him psychologically. This mental imbalance is at the root of the world’s problems and violence. We are living in a fear-orientated world. Not only do individuals distrust and fear individuals but nations do the same. The arms race consumes money that could wipe out poverty, yet man has to realize that he has no enemy but himself. Man has got to learn the important lesson of how to live with himself. There will have to be a convergence between the material and spiritual and sciences, a marriage between the head and the heart, in order to experience the grandeur and beauty of the world and the riches it has to offer.

For such a convergence, there is no firmer foundation than the sacred sound Aum (usually pronounced Om).

Scientists theorize that this world emerged from sound – the “Big Bang”. Our Hindu Rishis many thousands of years earlier said the same thing – Om is the primal sound from which everything has been created, sustained and transformed.

Our Vedas say: “Om is the imperishable syllable. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of Om. The past, the present and the future, all that is, all that will be, is Om. Likewise, all else that exists beyond the bounds of time, that too is Om,” (Mandukya Upanishad).

This definition of Om gives the idea that the universe is one indivisible whole. Everything is interdependent. Om stands both for the psychic and material principles of life. This realization can save our world from the impending danger of dogmatism and materialism oriented by competition and the profit motive. The arms race consumes money that could wipe out poverty, yet man has to realize that he has no enemy but himself.

This vision gives members of the Indic religions – Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs – a friendlier attitude towards nature and a less aggressive attitude generally. Their common heritage grew from a civilization that is basically tolerant of diverse views, and an inclusive approach to the ultimate Goal or God. Their common name for God is Om or Omkar. Om represents this wholeness of approach. By meditating on Om, different levels of our being, as they occur in our existence and are reflected in the universe, become integrated. This integration is necessary for us to experience the harmony of life as it exists in the world. The effect of the sound of repeating Om is known to have limitless psychotherapeutic value, bringing inner peace and liberation from suffering.

For millennia, Hindu sages have been repeating It and attaining transcendental states of realization, experiencing the oneness of life. Today we have no other choice if we want to save ourselves from self-destruction. Begin with concentration to gather the disintegrated personality together. Focus on the transcendental Reality and merge the mind as an arrow with its object. In our Vedas, the Mandukya Upanishad advises: “Take up the great bow found in the Upanishad. Fix in it an arrow sharpened by constant meditation. Then draw the string with a mind absorbed in concentration. Hit, O good-looking one, the target that is the Immutable or Goal.”

It is unfortunate that we are living in a violent world where people have become prisoners in their own home. It is important that those who believe in peace and mutual coexistence assert themselves in a positive way. It is time to awake and arise, otherwise the negative attitudes and behaviour will continue to hold the world to ransom. There will have to be a convergence between the material and spiritual and sciences, a marriage between the head and the heart, in order to experience the grandeur and beauty of the world and the riches it has to offer.The way to do this is to become united. We have to free our world from fear and poverty by sharing our resources and visions. We can do it.

At the moment Hindus are not fully aware of this, and they think and live in isolation. The Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs who live in peace do not realize that they form more than one-quarter of the world’s population. This vast section cannot be ignored if they are united. Today people in authority notice only those who shout or raise fists. The new millennium will be different. The silent majority are going to assert themselves in a peaceful way. They will be taken notice of because they will stand together. Unity with a strong moral basis is going to prove more powerful than the barrel of a gun. With the modern systems of communication we can establish the spirit of fraternity and friendship among thousands of temples, organizations and important individuals. What is necessary is to co-ordinate the tiny forces that are already there into a dynamic system to work for the good of humanity.

On the basis of Om, we already have a formula acceptable to all, which is both creative and dynamic, to unify the collective consciousness of all who believe in peace and mutual coexistence to manifest the humanity in man, to make him aware of his position in creation as a responsible being and not to lord it over others. Om Tat Sat Hari Om.

Reprinted with the kind permission of Share International Magazine.

Authors Details: Devi Linda Gumahin interviews Swami Nirliptananda ‘ The unifying power of Aum / Om’

Swami Nirlipananda is a senior Swami in one of the temples of the Asian community in London, deeply acquainted with the teachings of Maitreya.

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