Arjuna Rigby Discover the meaning of OM article

Discover the Meaning of OM by Ed Mclaughlin

This article is dedicated to those interested in the Vedantic symbolism that can be found in the picture of a sunburst with an AUM symbol at its center. 

Arjuna Rigby Yoga OM symbol paintings

The intended understanding of the radiating sun portion of the picture seems the most difficult to achieve by a worldly mind. In truth, what it represents That, which is nameless, formless and without attributes. However, for the purpose of communication, we assign it a name using the Sanskrit word Brahman, and the image of a fancy, radiating sun. Brahman is the SELF, the one without second. Brahman is pure Consciousness, existence, sathya/truth.It is real and unchanging as apposed to what is an illusion, unstable and always changing. That sun is also being referred to in the mantras; So-hum, ‘ I am That’, Aham Brahman, and ‘I am God’. It is our goal in life, whether we know it or not, to become one with Brahman. Jesus put it simply when saying, "The Father and I are one." That can also become your truth.

The three lettered AUM, (pronounced Ohh, Mmm, silence) is most beautiful. When pronounced it begins deep within and becomes a sound in the throat chakra, “OH.” It then goes out the open mouth into the world as an expanding energy of vibrating air. Then, with the lips closed, “Mmm” the second sound, is most noticeable within the chest area. Finally, the third sound is silence. It returns to its source – You as Atman, the Soul, the dweller in the heart. It's the You that you really are, not what you or others think you are. Realizing you are an embodiment of love when you chant OM, you are radiating love, peace, and all that goes with it, out into the world for its benefit.

Audi Shankar, considered to be the father of modern day Advaita Vedanta, has said that if you could read only one Upanishad from the Vedas, choose the Mandukya. It is only twelve verses and is all about You and AUM. In the picture, AUM is unmanifested. Creation has not yet occurred. You can think of it as Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient in a potential state. It is curious those three words all begin with Om. The enormity of what these three words represent should not be underestimated. It is more than the human mind can imagine.

Science tells us there was a Big Bang and the cosmos was created - born in its infancy state. Space and time, along with matter, and energy all came into being. These are the first two pairs, the first duality. In the gross world known as the ‘subject–object split’ that can be described as ‘you and everything else’. Brahman pervades the cosmos. Matter and energy pervades space and time. Then, Mother Nature, with her laws of nature, began the evolution of the universe. Eventually biological life happened and after more time ... Ta-da ... here we are! Happiness!!! Joy to the world!! Peace within us!

We can think of AUM as having two states– one before and one after the Big Bang science describes. ’Before’ creation unmanifested as a potential or an intent. Then ‘after’, the cosmos seemingly manifested now as we know it.

Though Brahman has no attributes, we can think of it as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Metaphorically, some like to think of Brahman saying the OM sound, releasing the three ‘OMni’ words which brought the cosmos into existence. Vedanta says, because this is all in Maya, it is all an illusion, not Sathya-Real but Mithya-illusion.

God's divine plan was put into action. ‘Doing’ happened, which may not make much sense until you begin to realize you are not the ‘doer’ in your life.

Simply stated, one explanation of cosmology goes like this; it takes the form as a sequence. At the moment of creation Isvara manifests himself. He is God the Creator - the Father (Abba in Hebrew). Through him, the causal body was created– it is the world of ideas. You as ideas. Eventually, because of your ‘doing’ the causal body holds your karma - samskaras which become vasanas.

Next in the sequence, comes the subtle body. You are there at its center as the reflected consciousness of Brahma - the little ‘self’. Also, in the subtle body are the mind (an infinite ocean of objects from the senses, ideas, and concepts ), the ego (your sense of self), and the various levels of intellect (higher - slow thinking, lower - fast thinking, the lowest knee jerk type thinking and all the types in-between). The mind, ego and intellect are all always influenced by the three Gunas. The predominant guna in all the three parts of the subtle body are always changing.

You are Consciousness, and as such you, the SELF, are aware (witness) of the waking state, the dream state, and the deep sleep state. As the ‘little self’ you experience them.

Arjuna Rigby Yoga OM symbol artwork

The Bhagavad Gita best describes the waking state as Arjuna (you) in a chariot (your human body-mind) with his driver Krishna (the Lord) in the drivers seat (your heart). Krishna is controlling the reigns to the horses (the five senses) which are pulling your chariot into the war (your perceived problems) on the battle field (your world) at Kurukshetra. Sanjaya, the mystical seer, is the witness of all the actions/events and what is said (karmas) on the battle field. He gives this information to the blind king, a symbol of ignorance and of you in your unrealized, unenlightened state.

In your dream state, the mind creates stories from all the materials you have allowed into your mind. Your ego may contribute feelings and emotions to your stories. Sometimes the stories seem so real that they are remembered in your mind and can be recalled upon awaking. Your higher Intellect may be somewhat suspended. You may find yourself flying, free from the force of gravity, for example. Things that seem impossible to your intellect, in the waking state, are possible in the dream state.

Finally, in your deep sleep state, your senses are shut down for the most part. This quiets your mind. As consciousness, there is nothing worldly in your awareness.There are no new sense objects entering your mind. There are no disrupting high energy emotions. There is nothing new to think about or to create dreams. Upon awaking you do not remember anything of the deep sleep state. There are no experiences from there to report.You can report that you know you slept soundly (the sound of silence). You know you had a good sleep. You feel relaxed and refreshed. You are ready to reenter the battlefield of life for another day.

My hope for this article will provide some meditative and contemplative material for your spiritual transformation, while you are answering the eternal Vedantic questions: "Who am I?", "What am I?" and “Why am I here?”

The Bible says in John 1:1 ‘In the beginning was the Word (AUM), and the Word was with God (Brahman), and the Word was God (the cosmos).

The existence of Brahman can not be proved, but nonetheless, here we are, as One.

Blessings and Love,

Ed McLaughlin

Arjuna Rigby Yoga OM symbol artwork
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