Question: AUM is not a term which as meaningful to us in our culture.Sri Chinmoy: True. In your culture the most significant word is 'God'. In India, we repeat AUM or the name of a cosmic god or goddess, like Shiva or Kali. In chanting a mantra the most important thing is to know in what aspect of the Supreme we have absolute faith. I use the word 'God' here in the West because I know that all your life you have been trained to pray to God. But today AUM can enter into you with all its significance. The time will come when you can go deeper within, and if 'AUM' inspires you more than 'God' then you should chant AUM. It is the inspiration that you get which is of the utmost importance. You can chant the word 'God' if that gives you more inspiration.
Sri Chinmoy, Prayer-world, mantra-world and japa-world, Agni Press, 1974