Why do Hindus consider ‘Om’ sacred?

Om has been considered as the most sacred word from time immemorial in Hindu mythology. Chanting ‘Om’ is a serene and peaceful experience for all Hindus. Nowadays, it is also spelt as Aum. The three-syllable a+u+m represents Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shankar) and chanting it is believed to sought their blessings. The syllables may also represent the three Vedas – Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Sama-Veda.

‘Om’ is the fundamental word for all religions and religious scriptures. The syllable `a’ pulls the mankind ahead as if a horse pulls a chariot. The syllable `u’ represents the conditions and locations. The syllable `m’ suggests the rhythm and melody of life. The uttering of the sacred and mystical ‘Om’ is called Om-kar or On-kar. It is believed to be the sound of Brahma. Hence accepted as the melody of life. It bestows with the predominating force and power. The effect of chanting Om-kar, makes it necessary to be chanted before every auspicious occasion. From the mythological period, devotees admire  `Om-kar’ the most.

In the Kathupanishad, 12/15, Yamdev tells Nachiketa:

Nachiketa, I will tell you about the power of the word that has been praised in the Vedas and repeated in lore by devotees. The word is the essence of the Vedas. It is the speech of devotees and the experience of the learned. It is `Om’ and `Om’ only.

Again in, the Kathupanishad, 1/2/16-17,it is mentioned that `Om’ existed even before the creator, Brahma. Om helps a person achieve the finest foundation and the last resorts. It is believed, people who find the concealed knowledge in Om, are graced with a place in Bramhalok, the abode of Brahma.

 The Mandukya Upanishad, Agam Prakaran, 25 advises:

 Concentrating on `Om’ `Om’ is the only fearless liberation for a mind. Those who concentrate on it, are never afraid of anything.

 In the Bhagavad Gita, 8/13, Sri Krishna has said:

Whoever knows, the soul resides in the forehead and recites word `Om , thinking of me and Knowing it represents Brahma, they shall reach the supreme goal.

        Again, in Bhagavad Gita, 17/24, Sri Krishna says that all eminent persons are aware of the importance of beginning the rituals with the chant of Om while performing religious ceremonies and the reciting the Veda mantras.

In the Gopath Brahman, it is said, prefixing Om brings the desired results of the mantras as it  enhances the power of the mantra. ‘Om’ represents Shiva, and the mantra tends towards Shakti. The purpose is achieved, when chanted together. To perform a Yagya, all Upanishads, Dharmashastras, Gayatri mantra and all the mantras need to begin with `Om’.

‘Om’ must be chanted in devotion with a high and prolonged note. The Chant creates a quivering sensation and power. Every body part is affected. Mental strength and unity is experienced. It provides buoyancy to the body, inner strengths, tranquility of mind, self confidence, and divine thoughts are generated with a positive note. It makes you forget sadness and disappointments by chanting it 7,11, or 21 times. To maintain physical and mental health, Om can be chanted.

Scientists believe, the electrifying effects of chanting Om, influences the brain by cleansing unwanted brain deposits.

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