Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Please be aware that ANYONE can use OM chant. If the OM mantra is repeated just for the feeling, having no sense of meaning at all, the experience can be quite pleasant, calming, and balancing. However, if one has a sense of the deeper meanings of the mantra, and different methods of using it, then the experience can be even richer and more revealing as one progresses in yoga meditation. We will be looking at different practices again later, however for the moment, as you read on through these expansions of OM and its significance, start to integrate the insights. The use of this mantra can be profound. At first, it is best to use the mantra gently and for short periods of time. Take your time, applying saadhana as has already been given here and gradually bring OM into daily life.
Of all the Upanishads, the one which actually deals directly with OM is the Mandukya. It is a short scripture but a potent one and Sri Gaudapada, (guru of Sri Adi Sankara) wrote a notational text (called कारिका/kaarikaa) which is a seminal work on Vedantic literature. It is a deep and intense work and will be studied by advanced students. As with all scriptures, though, there is something for the novice also. What we shall be exploring over the next few weeks, is essentially a 'summary'. It will be a scaffold from which to build saadhana.
Three weeks back, there was mention of seven levels of AUM meditation. Please review that. Here it is in chart form.
One thing to be remembered is that OM represents the substratum upon which this entire universe, this life, YOU are based. The vibration of OM is ever present, pervading everything and whether or not anyone is focusing on it, chanting it or even aware of its existence, it is there. It is when one acknowledges it and begins to align oneself to the vibration that purification truly takes place and clarity arrives.
Meaning of the symbol: Not only does the sound vibration of the AUM represent the four levels of consciousness, so too does the visual symbol.
1)The upper curve represents the causal, subconscious, and deep sleep level, called प्रज्ञ/prajna. (In writing, we begin here.)
2)The lower curve represents the gross, conscious, waking state level, called वैश्वनर/vaishvanara. (In writing, we 'ground' ourselves.)
3)The centre curve represents the subtle, unconscious, and dreaming level, called तैजस/taijasa. (In writing, we await the 'Muse'.)
4)The arc below the dot symbolizes the separateness of the final state, standing above, though ever remaining part of the other three. (In writing, acknowledging something 'other'.)
5)The dot, 'bindu', represents the fourth state, the absolute consciousness, which encompasses, permeates, and is the other three, and is called तुरीय/turiiya. (Silence and completion).
(Note that in other texts there are other names for the states, or rather, expansions on the concept which requires different nomenclature, but these will become apparent when we meet them.)
When settling down to practice AUM meditation, it is important for the sadhak to concentrate at first on the physical symbol itself. This is why many will have an image or 'statue' of the symbol in their meditation space. It is best to have this at a comfortable eye level to ensure that aasana is maintained. Study the form closely and remember the meanings of each part and also the concepts represented. This is mananam, contemplation. In this manner one begins to appreciate how the vibrational form and the matter form are related. This is not a hurried thing - but it will tie in the knowledge being gathered from other sources; we can come to see how vaasana-s are causative, and how Consciousness is All…
We come to see, in direct experience of meditation, how it is that there are latent impressions (vaasana-s) in the deep unconscious (the place of Deep Sleep; M of OM Mantra), and how it is that consciousness drifts over these latent impressions, causing them to stir from the Causal level (M of OM Mantra).
Then we see the way these vaasana-s arise into action internally in the Unconscious (the Active Unconscious associated with unseen mental processes and the Dreaming Sleep level; U of OM Mantra), forming many invisible thought processes, normally only experienced in dreams.
Next we see the way in which those stirrings in the Unconscious (U of OM Mantra) come forward into the Conscious, Waking state of reality (A of OM Mantra), along with the way in which the indriyas, the senses (jnanendriyas of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing) and means of expression (karmendriyas of eliminating, procreating, moving, grasping, and speaking) come into play so as to relate to the external world (A of OM Mantra).
We come to see how the four functions of mind interact within these levels (A, U, and M of OM Mantra), including Manas (sensory-motor mind), Chitta (storehouse of impressions), Ahamkara (I-maker or ego), and Buddhi (which knows, decides, judges, and discriminates).
Finally, we come to see the way in which all of these levels are both permeated by, and are the manifestation of, Consciousness itself: who we really are, is the Consciousness, not the forms which arise from it. We declare with conviction, what the sages have said all along, "I am not my thoughts! I am That I Am!.. Aham Brahmaasmi!"