Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Word Contemplations; O

Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

These articles first appeared on Yamini-amma's personal blog. They were designed to promote deeper thinking on values, personal growth, Vedantic understanding - and to prompt conversation. Use them for contemplation either before or after your regular meditative practice. 

A.U.M. The primordial sound. "O"rigin.

 मृ॒त्युरा॑सीद॒मृतं॒  तर्हि॒  रात्र्या॒ अह्न॑ आसीत्प्रके॒तः।
आनी॑दवा॒तं स्व॒धया॒ तदेकं॒ तस्मा॑द्धा॒न्यन्न प॒रः किञ्च॒नास॑॥२॥
Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

को अ॒द्धा वे॑द॒  इ॒ह प्र वो॑च॒त्कुत॒ आजा॑ता॒ कुत॑ इ॒यं विसृ॑ष्टिः।
अ॒र्वाग्दे॒वा अ॒स्य वि॒सर्ज॑ने॒नाथा॒ को वे॑द॒ यत॑ आब॒भूव॑॥६॥
But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

इ॒यं विसृ॑ष्टि॒र्यत॑ आब॒भूव॒ यदि॑ वा द॒धे यदि॑ वा॒ न।
यो अ॒स्याध्य॑क्षः पर॒मे व्यो॑म॒न्त्सो अ॒ङ्ग वे॑द॒ यदि॑ वा॒  वेद॑॥ ७॥
Whence all creation had its origin,
whether it was fashioned  or whether it was not,
He, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
He knows - or maybe even does not know.
( excerpts; Rg Veda 10;129)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
(John 1 KJV)

All languages of the planet have a sound, and most have a graphic form (letter) for 'a'. Sound is formed in the larynx and can only ever start with this expression. "A" represents the spark, the beginning. As sound moves through the mouth, it reverberates in the palate and becomes more of the 'oo' sound. This is the sustenance of sound, the continuation of the universe. As the sound exits the mouth, the lips close gently around and cut it off. The lips cause the sound of 'mm' and represent the destruction of that sound, leading into the fourth state, which is an apparent silence (turiiya), during which the inwards breath is taken for the renewal of sound to take place.

Made up of the movement of sound in the mouth, given three letters, the sound is homogenised as OM.

In Hindu philosophy, it is accepted that the Rsis of ancient times, in their enormous capacity for meditation, heard the sound of the universe, the reverberation of shrishti - that which we perceive as creation. In recent times, the 'silence' of the cosmos has been broken, as science catches up. The Rsis understood physics, the unseen particles which modulate, coagulate, create, remain, disintegrate and recycle. They understood the importance of sound in the process of generation.

There are many ways to view the power and substance of the cosmos. Many refer to That as 'God'. It's as good a word as any but comes with the inherent problem of keeping that power and substance separate from us. The majority of the population who subscribe to spiritual faith do so with a view of 'God' as something other (dvaitam/dualism). In what form is not relevant. The point is that it is challenging to comprehend a Formless, Immutable, Eternal Presence with which we are integrated. Our limited selves need the comfort of form and circumscribed function. Mankind, therefore, created the 'gods later than creation'.

That, from which all this arose, had-has-will never have form. That which 'breathed' and created the first sound and, by default, vibration, set in motion this which we call creation. OM was the first sound, the opening word, and that word became 'God'.

OM is still not That; it is only the breath of That. That sits in the turiiya, the silence beyond the breath. All this (us, world, cosmos) sits there also. The purpose of meditating upon the OM is to find our way to turiiya and then to moksha. Re/Union with the Self - Realisation of The One, (advaitam/non-dualism = singularity).

What's that you say? Can't do it? Fearful? All tosh?

No worries. I was there once. Secure in what I knew. Then came the time where what I knew couldn't help me. The time comes when one is stripped so naked inside, the universe opens and swallows - and everything 'known' becomes nothing. As it says up top, the problem with 'knowing' is we block ourselves from growing. The jiiva, separated from That, keeps manifesting physical forms until it reconnects.  Thus it might, in one life, completely deny anything beyond the physical, what can be seen and touched. In another life, it may start to comprehend something a little more, but it will be 'charismatic' and filled with a level of dream and fantasy. Then there will be lives of seeking, but still missing the connections… then will come the life where all the dots get joined. All lives, all paths are valid to the jiiva on its journey back 'ome.

OM waits for those ready to return. Even if they never knew they'd departed.

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