OM - The EKAKSHARA BRAHMAN (एकाक्षर ब्रह्मन् )
The sound OM (ॐ) is the most powerful one among all other sounds. It is indeed the source of all. As per the spiritual tradition of Bharat everything in this creation is born out of OM - ओङ्कारप्रभवं सर्वं त्रैलोक्यं सचराचरम् oṅkāraprabhavaṃ sarvaṃ trailokyaṃ sacarācaram (Dhyānabndu-Upanishad, 16)...
The Divine Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram says - "OM is the signature of the Lord." What a profound meaning!!! Nothing happens in this creation without HIS sanction, HIS signature, and that signature is OM (तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ - Patanjali Yogasutra, 1.25)...
By reciting OM we get connected with HIM in everything and being. Our consciousness opens to HIS consciousness, it widens and realises its vastness. In this state all division starts disappearing, we start becoming free from our many limitations and narrowness. This way we become free from all our problems. Therefore the Divine Mother further says - Chant OM all will go well. What an assurance!!! Indeed when we chant OM with all sincerity, devotion, intensity and purity in our aspiration, it works amazingly. This has been the experience of many sincere sadhaks. We can write and read hundreds of books about OM, about the effect of its chanting etc., but if we put it into practice in our day to day life, it's much more meaningful. let's remember the supreme words of the Mother: A single drop of practice is better than ocean of theories.
The sound OM has to be chanted as one unit of sound. One should not break it into into its various components and chant it as a u m. Let’s remember it’s एकाक्षर ekākṣara, one single sound (ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म... गिरामस्म्येकमक्षरम्... omityekākṣaraṃ brahma… girāmasmyekamakṣaram… Gita 8.13; 10.25). The tradition says, one must chant OM in the beginning and at the end of a Mantra. The Manusmriti (2.74) says:
ब्रह्मणः प्रणवं कुर्यादादावन्ते च सर्वदा |
स्रवत्यनोङ्कृतं पूर्वं परस्ताच्च विशीर्यते ||
brahmaṇaḥ praṇavaṃ kuryādādāvante ca sarvadā |
sravatyanoṅkṛtaṃ pūrvaṃ parastācca viśīryate ||
One should chant OM in the beginning and end of a Mantra. Or else the mantra is meaningless, one does not gain much from his recitation of the mantra.
Why during chanting Mantra alone, it must be done while doing everything in life, when we sit for our food, when we start any work, when we go to bed, when we get up in the morning, when we start any work let’s start it with the chanting of OM. And once it is over let’s end it with the chanting of OM.
तस्मादोमित्युदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतपः क्रियाः |
प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ताः सततं ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ||
tasmādomityudāhṛtya yajñadānatapaḥ kriyāḥ |
pravartante vidhānoktāḥ satataṃ brahmavādinām ||(Gita, 17.24)
With the recitation of OM the acts of yajna, giving and tapas are commenced by the wise ones.