Om or AUM is the most important sound, syllable, symbol which has great spiritual significance not only in Hinduism but also in most religions of the world. AUM is manifesting word of God. AUM is the energy which harmonise our body, mind and soul and connects with Cosmic Consciousness.
AUM represents the whole sound producing system in the mouth which starts from abdomen to heart to head and ultimately connects to cosmic consciousness. Om is the single most important sound that can, by itself, configure the human body optimally for maximum resonance.
The essence and importance of AUM finds mention in various Upanishads and other religious texts of Hinduism. It is a sacred spiritual invocation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during puja, ceremonies of rites of samskara, Meditation and Yoga. It is first syllable to initiate most mantras.
The sound and structure of AUM describes four states of consciousness viz. conscious state, active unconscious state, latent unconscious state and pure conscious state which operates through seven instruments & nineteen channels. The three root syllables of AUM represent three deities, three genders, three Vedas, etc.
OM is sacred in Jainism, & Buddhism, as Omkar in Sikhism, Hum in Tibetans, Ameen in Muslims, Amen in Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians.
In a pilot functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study, the neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting indicate limbic deactivation. Similar observations have been recorded with vagus nerve stimulation treatment used in depression and epilepsy, the study findings argue for a potential role of this ‘OM’ chanting in clinical practice.
The explanations of AUM, its science, details as per various scriptures of Hinduism and its relevance in other religions are as under:-
Puja is one of the important parts of six daily karma (activities) in Hindu scriptures:
Essence of Puja (What)
In Hinduism, gods/deities are worshiped as a practice or ritual. Puja is performed daily by family members in home and elaborate puja is conducted by pandit (aka purohit or priest) in home or temple by following various steps prescribed in Vedas.
Significance of Puja (Why)
Daily Puja is not mere ritual but important step in progress of spiritual journey. Person observing regular puja with devotion may get following benefits:
Performing Puja (How)
Simple puja is done by family members preferably in morning and evening hours.
Timings: As per Hindu belief, day is divided in three parts viz. Sattvic* (4 to 8 in morning & evening), Rajasi* (8 to 12 in morning & evening) & Tamasic* (12 to 4 in noon & night). Satvic puja timings are most auspicious. When a person performs puja in morning hours after taking full rest and with calm mind, it develops better divine connection.
Procedure: In simple puja, the following steps are generally done:
*Detailed description on Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic is given in Bhagwat Gita.