The significance of AUM1

AUM existed. Nothing else. AUM exists. Nothing else. AUM will exist. Nothing else. What is AUM? It is the mother of all Indian mantras. What is a mantra? It is power in the guise of a sound. The sound of AUM is unique. Generally, when two things are struck together, we hear a sound. But this sound needs no such action. It is anahata, ‘unstruck’. It is the soundless sound. A yogi or a spiritual figure hears it self-generated in the inmost recesses of his heart. When you begin to hear it, you can be certain that you are far advanced in the spiritual life. Your God-realisation will no longer remain a mere cry in the wilderness. The day of your Self-realisation is fast approaching.
"A stands for Aspiration to realise God.
U stands for Union with God.
M stands for the Manifestation of God in us, with us and through us."

AUM says that man errs when he says that he lives because he breathes. He lives because in his breath there is the Power that is God Himself.

O man, AUM can fulfil all your desires or AUM can free you from all your desires. Only one boon is granted; choose either of the two. If your worldly desires seem infinite, then rest assured that God’s wealth is more than infinite. You can freely continue asking Him for things mundane. But if you want inner and outer freedom, God, being absolute Freedom, can eternally fulfil your highest aspirations. So you can freely go on aspiring for things divine.

AUM is a single Sanskrit character represented in English by three letters pronounced as one syllable. We could speak about AUM until the end of the century without exhausting its infinite meaning. We can say that AUM is a tree. A tree has its roots firmly embedded in the ground. Its trunk, branches and boughs reach up, up in a mute prayer to the Highest. A tree is a living symbol of flaming aspiration. The roots, digging deep as if trying to reach the very bowels of the earth to extract its life’s nourishment, are represented by the ‘A’. The trunk and foliage, manifesting the eternal Life for all of us to see on this plane of existence, are represented by the ‘U’. The topmost boughs reaching up toward the Infinite as a mute prayer to the Highest, are represented by the ‘M’.

AUM is a river. The ‘A’ is the source, surging forth from the bosom of the earth. The ‘U’ is the rushing current of eternal Life carrying with it all that it touches. The ‘M’ is the ultimate arrival at the infinite Ocean of the transcendental Beyond.

AUM is a lighted candle. ‘A’ is the wax, ‘U’ is the flame, ‘M’ is the light and heat spreading outward toward the farthest and upward toward the highest.

AUM is a man. ‘A’ represents his basic physical nature, the forces that nourish and propel him. ‘U’ represents his life’s manifestation, growing toward greater and higher forms of expression. ‘M’ represents his aspiring soul touching the Feet of the Supreme.

AUM is God. ‘A’ manifests the visible existence: creation in its infinite forms and innumerable expressions. ‘U’ is the current of Life eternal, carrying all creation onward and upward. ‘M’ is the infinite Supreme, the transcendental Unmanifest.

AUM is the soundless sound. It is the vibration of the Supreme. It is a single, indivisible, ineffable sound. When we hear the soundless sound within, when we identify with it, when we live within it, we can be freed from the fetters of ignorance and realise the Supreme within and without.

  1. AUM 1309. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, Prayer-World, Mantra-World and Japa-World