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Om

The meaning of «om»

Ōṁ (or Aum) (listen (help·info); Sanskrit: ॐ, ओम्, romanized: Ōṁ; Tamil: ௐ, ஓம்) is the sound of a sacred spiritual symbol in Indian religions, mainly in Hinduism, wherein it signifies the essence of the Ultimate Reality (parabrahman) which is consciousness (paramatman).[1][2][3] More broadly, it is a syllable that is chanted either independently or before a spiritual recitation in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.[4][5] The meaning and connotations of Om vary between the diverse schools within and across the various traditions. It is also part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.[6][7]

In Hinduism, Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols.[8][9] It refers to Atman (Self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge).[10][11][12] The syllable is often found at the beginning and the end of chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads, and other Hindu texts.[12] It is a sacred spiritual incantation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during puja and private prayers, in ceremonies of rites of passage (sanskara) such as weddings, and sometimes during meditative and spiritual activities such as Yoga.[13][14]

The syllable Om is also referred to as Onkara/Omkara and Pranav/Pranava among many other names.[15][16]

The syllable Om is referred to by many names, including:

The etymological origins of ōm/āum have long been discussed and disputed, with even the Upanishads having proposed multiple Sanskrit etymologies for āum, including: from "ām" (आम्; "yes"), from "ávam" (आवम्; "that, thus, yes"), and from the Sanskrit roots "āv-" (अव्; "to urge") or "āp-" (आप्; "to attain").[24][A] In 1889, Maurice Blumfield proposed an origin from a Proto-Indo-European introductory particle "*au" with a function similar to the Sanskrit particle "atha" (अथ).[24] However, contemporary Indologist Asko Parpola proposes a borrowing from Dravidian "*ām" meaning "'it is so', 'let it be so', 'yes'", a contraction of "*ākum", cognate with modern Tamil "ām" (ஆம்) meaning "yes".[24][25]

Regardless of its original meaning, the syllable Om evolves to mean many abstract ideas even in the earliest Upanishads. Max Müller and other scholars state that these philosophical texts recommend Om as a "tool for meditation", explain various meanings that the syllable may be in the mind of one meditating, ranging from "artificial and senseless" to "highest concepts such as the cause of the Universe, essence of life, Brahman, Atman, and Self-knowledge".[26][27]

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oma* omb* omc* omd* ome* omf* omg* omh* omi* omj* omk* oml* omm* omn* omo* omp* omq* omr* oms* omt* omu* omv* omw* omx* omy* omz*
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